Mountain’s new principal believes excellence lives at the school

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By Carol A. Clark

Gerry Washburn is well acquainted with Mountain Elementary School. He got his start there in the education field teaching a fourth and fifth grade combination in 1997.

Washburn went on to teach fifth grade and then sixth grade at Mountain for several years and was team teaching sixth grade with Mountain teacher Laura Patterson when the Cerro Grande Fire hit.

He and Patterson became heavily involved in the Volunteer Task Force and the Quemazon Nature Trail. They worked with hundreds of students to repair area hills and trails damaged by the fire.

Washburn began teaching third grade because he really wanted to team with Bernadette Ziomek, he said and see how she implemented the math curriculum at the time.

“My time in third grade really made me a better teacher,” Washburn said during an interview in his office Tuesday. “It taught me about pace and how to chunk information into smaller bits. When you work with a master teacher, and I’ve been blessed to work with several, it just makes you better and it certainly made me better.”

Washburn left Mountain for a time to serve as vice principal at Los Alamos Middle School where he also coached sports.

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