Berthoud Weekly Surveyor | Covering all the angles in the Garden Spot

BHS hires Richard Harris as new principal

April 20, 2017 | Community News

By Aaron Reynolds
The Surveyor

Richard Harris

Berthoud High School (BHS) will have a new principal come next fall, as Richard Harris has been hired to replace Chris Garcia, who had served at BHS since 2009. While Harris is originally from southern California where he was raised, attended college, and taught, he is no stranger to Colorado, having also worked at Broomfield High School and Longmont High School, the latter of which he acted as the assistant principal since 2013.
Despite leaving a mark as both a teacher and administrator at previous high schools in California and Colorado, Harris said one of the biggest draws to applying for the opening at Berthoud was the size of the community.
“I had heard really great things from Berthoud,” Harris commented. “There are teachers at Longmont who live in the Berthoud community and are always talking about how vibrant and inclusive it is. That was one appealing thing. Secondly, in taking the step to becoming a principal I wanted to be in a community where I could reestablish relationships with students, and Berthoud High School is a great size. They were the two reasons I felt like Berthoud was a great fit.”
While it was announced by the Thompson School District that Harris would officially fill the vacancy beginning July 1, Harris has already been forging relationships with the community, including attending the recent Berthoud Bash where he was “introduced to lots of parents and community members” and found “the outpouring of support for the schools and the educational development of kids is simply awesome.”
Harris added current principal, Garcia, has been “really great with this transition and making it as seamless as possible” and confirmed the two have had a number of conversations, especially regarding educational initiatives such as “Sources of Strength” and “Friends of Rachel,” peer mentoring programs “where the students are really tasked with helping to create the culture at the school they want to see take place” in light of a few of the tragic stories that have come out of the high school in the past few years.
“What I intend to do is get to meet as many people as possible and kind of talk about what they see in the Berthoud community, and any ideas they might have to make it a more inclusive environment where students feel like they can get the support they need regardless of what the issue is.”
Harris is from Ventura, Calif., and received his undergraduate degree in English from California State University, Chico, and Masters in Education from National University in San Jose. After graduating from National University, Harris taught at East Side Union High School in San Jose before relocating to Broomfield where he was also an English teacher.
He is currently pursuing a doctoral program in Organizational Leadership from Grand Canyon University.
Harris — like any new administrator stepping into a new school — has plans, however he acknowledged “the best thing for me to do [right now] is get to know what Berthoud is all about before I decide to make any kind of imprint of my own.”
He summarized, “I think it is really relevant to know what works really well, what are the traditions and the expectations of the community, and how we can work together to make any modifications to make it even better. I’m very excited to be a part of the Berthoud community. I’m going to have an ‘open door’ policy and look forward to speaking to as many people as I can.”

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