New AP finds ultimate fit

Barbara Lawlor – Nederland

Everything Greg Guevara has done in his life was useful, but it didn’t fit into any plan. Last month, New assistant principal in Nederlandall the pieces came together like a jigsaw puzzle. He discovered the whole he was meant to be a part of.

Guevara was hired as the Nederland Middle/Senior High School assistant principal. Last spring, a group of parents gathered to discuss concerns they had about student discipline and asked the Boulder Valley School District to find the funds to hire an AP. Principal Lynn Donnelly supported this quest and finally succeeded in gaining the position. The school also was granted the position of a dean of students and athletic director.

Last year’s Athletic Director Bob Billings has taken a position of district-level coordinator of schools in his previous district in Greeley. He began work there on July 1 after getting Nederland’s agenda in order.

He said in his resignation letter, “The 70k miles I have driven the past two years was a lot. It has been a pleasure working with and getting to know all of you and the Nederland community. There is so much potential and good work happening at NMSHS. I implore you to work together for the greater good of the students and fully commit to the STEM/STREAM program. ‘Nothing great is ever easy.’ Thanks for the great experience and learning that I had threes the past two years. You are fortunate to work in a great district, with outstanding leadership. Be thankful!”

The hunt was on for two new administrators to fill Billings’ shoes: that of assistant principal and athletic director. At the same time Guevara was searching for his career fit.
He grew up in Medford, Oregon, and attended the University of Oregon. His primary passion was being outside, in the woods, having adventures, but he found inspiration in a few teachers on the way. “These teachers were dynamic and they cared about me. The wanted to know who I was.”

His most inspiring teacher was his father who was a teacher, administrator and counselor. Guevara was destined to walk in his footsteps, but in his own way. He considered his dad as a man of high integrity whose work was all about the students and who said every year he had the opportunity to impact a student’s life. Guevara said he now has the opportunity for that every single day.

After college, the new AP began his teaching career with Roosevelt Middle School students in Eugene, OR, where he taught 6, 7 and 8 grade global studies, world history, Greece/Rome and physical education.

He then went on to Killington High School in Vermont where he was employed by the Academy for Global Exploration as a social studies teacher. He created and implemented Cultural Studies curriculum specific to Greece and Costa Rica.

In August 2005, when Guevara returned to Ashland, OR, he started the Academy for Global Exploration traveling high school. It was a private school that enrolled 12 students who engaged in semesters of international trips to Greece, South Africa, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

Guevara also led domestic trips to Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, California, Colorado, Tennessee and West Virginia. For four years, he did just about everything that needed to be done.

In July 2009, it was time to settle down and Guevara moved to Colorado; in fact, he moved directly to Nederland which he had never heard of before. He became the associate head of the Watershed School in Boulder, which was a combination of dean of students and director of operations. He chose to live in Nederland because of the proximity to the Eldora Mountain Resort and the Indian Peaks Wilderness area.

After about six months, Guevara wanted to be more involved in the community he lived in and became a member of the TEENS, Inc., board, of which he is now the president. He jumped onto the 2010 Vision Committee.

“But the NMSHS was always on my mind. When the assistant principal position became available, I was excited to apply. I went through the interview process, was hired and began work last Thursday, Aug.1. It seems as if everything I have done and learned has led me to this position.”

Through Guevara’s work in the community, he has become familiar with the town and many of its residents, but when he stepped into NMSHS last Thursday, it was his first time in the building. Since then he has been exploring and meeting people.

“My biggest thing right now is getting to know everyone, know the students and their families. I will be involved with discipline and will implement the restorative justice program, sessions I have run often, but my passion is on the focus of school culture, climate, services and the connection with the community.”

Guevara has his Toyota truck which is usually packed with outdoor gear for mountain biking, climbing and camping. His favorite book is “Undaunted Courage” by Stephen Ambrose, a nonfiction account of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

With the imminent beginning of the 2013 to 2014 school year, he will be in his office and says he wants people to drop in and introduce themselves, ask questions and offer opinions.

Barbara Lawlor

Barbara is a reporter for The Mountain-Ear.