Finding community – for family, work and home – The Sopris Sun

Interviewing Lindsay Hentschel, her endearing sense of humor and love for her community shines through.

Hentschel is entering her 20th year with the Roaring Fork School District (RFSD) and will be taking on an assistant principal role at Glenwood Springs High School (GSHS) next year alongside assistant principal Gayla Rowe.

On May 31, GSHS Director Paul Freeman announced that she would take over from Assistant Principal Pat Engle, who announced plans to step down this spring.

Hentschel’s roles at RFSD have included serving as a teacher, instructional facilitator, counselor, professional development coordinator and, in the 2021-22 school year, as a counselor at GSHS.

The eldest of four children, she was born in Connecticut and moved to the Fort Collins area in middle school. Her parents and a brother are still there, and last year one of her sisters moved to Carbondale.

Hentschel and her husband Hadley, who teaches science at Roaring Fork High School (RFHS), met while they were in college. In 2003, one of Hadley’s college friends, an RFHS graduate, was offered a position at Basalt Middle School. When the friend heard about the RFHS science job opening, he called Hadley and told him to apply.

Her drive to Carbondale for interviews got off to a bit of a rocky start, Hentschel shared. “There had been a rock fall, so we had to drive up a pass in the middle of the night to get to the interview, and I said to my husband, ‘Where are you taking me?!'” she recalls with a big laugh.

As a freshman teacher, she taught seventh grade language arts at Carbondale Middle School, and after four years there she taught English, journalism and creative writing at RFHS.

While at RFHS, Hentschel helped promote the return of the student newspaper The Rampage, first published as a supplement in the Valley Journal and continuing with the journal’s transition to The Sopris Sun.

Hentschel taught journalism and worked with former and current editors of Sopris Sun. “We restarted the student newspaper, but I appreciate Will Grandbois because he knew what he was doing,” she said, laughing. “And then Raleigh Burleigh was one of my students and ran the paper for a while,” Hentschel said.

While teaching at RFHS, she and her husband worked on an international adoption and traveled to Haiti several times a year. In 2013, they brought home their boys, ages four and six.

During this time, she served as an instructional coach in the district offices, worked with first-time and new district teachers, and was also responsible for the professional development of all teachers. She later developed curricula in K-8 language arts, middle school sciences, and high school math that were adopted by the district.

In March 2020, she earned a graduate certificate in restorative practices from the Pennsylvania-based International Institute for Restorative Practices. Hentschel explained, “A big part of restorative practices is ownership — the idea that we move forward by acknowledging and owning our stories — and then thinking about how, collectively, can we make it better and how can we repair the damage that’s been done?”

Ahead of the 2021-22 school year, Freeman of GSHS asked Hentschel to consider working as a Counselor and found that her degree in restorative practice with a focus on narrative therapy would make a great addition to her team. “I was interested in doing more relationship work and taking on more leadership roles,” she said.

Hentschel pointed to the growing number of students within the RFSD. GSHS, the district’s largest school, has over 1,000 students and 100 teachers and staff, a dramatic change since arriving in the Valley 20 years ago. She credits Freeman and Rowe’s years of experience and says they’ve “managed this tremendous growth over time. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to learn from them.”

She agreed that the district as a whole has principals who work well together. “It’s a solid team. I’ve been watching it for years, from the county board level. They can call each other and they support each other.”

Hentschel added: “I want to help build community because schools are one of the biggest social institutions in the valley. Glenwood has deep traditions and we can continue to build on them. This is where families come together.”

Having lived in Carbondale for nearly 20 years, she understands the strength of the community. She said, “When we moved here, I didn’t know where we were going, but that’s what kept us here.”

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