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Aspen continues to work together

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By Bernadette Lauritzen

This year couldn’t be more exciting for Aspen Elementary Principal Kathryn Vandenkieboom.
She starts her seventh year as the leader of Aspen’s Tigers and she has been in education for 23 years, teaching for 16 years prior to her administrative position.
When Aspen started the 2013-14 school year, there was an eye on construction, as the Tigers become the first elementary school in the district to update their facilities on such a large scale.
“I am most proud of how the students and staff dealt with the construction process,” said Vandenkieboom. “It was not an easy adjustment, traveling back and forth to the gym for lunch, a small playground, a major move in October and no common hallway for visiting.”
Three words can be used to describe Vandenkieboom, her staff and PTO members through the phases of construction: grace under pressure.
All parties worked together to solve difficulties and spirits were kept high as parents worked to keep up morale throughout the year with special events for students and treats for staff.
Naturally, her biggest goal for the year will be to move into the new building, which, if things go according to plan, may take place in October.
The principal said there were plenty of people who deserve the credit for Aspen’s success.
“Vigil and Associates Architects, Jaynes Construction and all of the folks at the LAPS Facilities and Maintenance Department, not to mention all of the staff members and community members involved in the planning process,” said Vandenkieboom. “We’re going to have a fabulous school that will support the learners who call Aspen home. Thank you to all the people who’ve made the construction process livable and successful.”
While the construction and transition continues, one thing Aspen loves and could use even more of is volunteer help.
She appreciates them all, but extended a special thank you to, Reading with Dogs and Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteers.
“You make a difference in kids’ lives,” she said. “Please come and read to our students.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern New Mexico offers a special Lunch Buddy program, in which local volunteers come spend one lunch period a week on campus.
Those wishing to learn more can contact BBBS at 505-614-4231.
Vandenkieboom spent her summer with family visiting Colorado and Washington, D.C.