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Niwot High School principal honored by CASE


April 15, 2017

Eric Rauschkolb, Principal of Niwot High School in St. Vrain Valley Schools, has been selected as the 2017 Colorado Secondary School Principal of the Year by the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE) and a committee of his peers from the Colorado Association of Secondary School Principals (CASSP).

Upon being notified of receiving the honor, Rauschkolb said, “ This is an acknowledgement of the hard-working staff, and the passionate and committed students that Niwot High is honored to educate. To be able to serve this school is a privilege and this recognition really deserves to be shared among all our school community and partners. I’m lucky to be a part of Cougar Nation!”

Rauschkolb has served as a school administrator for 12 years, with three of those years as the principal of Niwot High School. Rauschkolb’s dedication to the Niwot High School community of 1,300 students in grades 9-12 is evident in his efforts toward rigorous academics, personalized learning and empowered students, teachers and staff. Through his leadership, the Niwot High motto has been updated to “At Niwot High School, YOU MATTER!”, which has been emblematic of a climate shift to focus on the needs of each individual student beyond achievement and test scores.

Niwot High senior, Rachel Oliver says, “Mr. Rauschkolb really emphasizes [the motto], and not only by saying the slogan at assemblies or meetings, but he actually puts actions behind his words. He makes an effort to know his students, know the staff and build connections with everyone at the school. He goes above and beyond as a principal and as a person.”

Additionally, Rauschkolb’s care for the whole person is evident in the ways in which he has increased co-curricular opportunities and increased the percentage of students involved in CSHAA-sanctioned activities. His enthusiasm and encouragement for those participating is evident for each activity, as he strives to attend as many events as possible. Moreover, while Niwot High has a high attendance rate of 96 percent, Rauschkolb did not want to overlook the other four percent, and has generated an attendance team to increase attendance/awareness for these students. To encourage all students, Rauschkolb aims to create a culture of positivity – highlighting students-of-the-month, sending bi-weekly newsletters to parents alerting them of all school happenings, and ending each day on a positive note.

His personalized and positive leadership style is also apparent in the ways he manages and supports the staff of 90 at Niwot High. From teacher-tailored professional development, a “good news share” during monthly staff meetings, and bringing in professional speakers to encourage staff to pursue their own development and learning, staff feel valued and supported. When Niwot High rolled out their 1:1 iPad initiative in 2016, Rauschkolb was hands-on in ensuring teachers received the technological training for a comfortable and smooth implementation of this program.

“Eric is a ‘man about school’… He has fostered great rapport with staff…[who] are more at ease with professional development, and much more involved,” said Niwot High School Spanish teacher Isaac Pena. “Overall, his approach in building relationships with teachers to motivate, coach, encourage, and assist others has proven to be essential and effective in getting the results we have.”

The Colorado Association of Secondary School Principals (CASSP Board of Directors), an affiliate of the National Association of Secondary School Principals and a department of Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE), selected Rauschkolb based on a rigorous selection process.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals sponsors the Principal of the Year program. This award recognizes outstanding middle level and high school principals who have succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession. Selection criteria include personal excellence, collaborative leadership, curriculum, instruction, assessment and personalization of learning opportunities for students.

CASE and CASSP will formally present Rauschkolb with his award at an upcoming school event. He and other CASE award winners also will be recognized at an awards ceremony later this month, as well as at the 48th Annual CASE Convention this summer in Breckenridge.

As Colorado High Level Principal of the Year, Rauschkolb is eligible for National Principal of the Year recognition, which will be announced later this year. He will represent Colorado and be honored along with other state winners in Washington, D.C. in early fall.


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