“I’ve given my entire life to education. I just finished my 25th year in education back in the Spring. That’s my identity, that’s who I am, an educator. When this opportunity came along to become a principal, I said ‘absolutely!’ I couldn’t pass it up. I was so excited to open up a school, to found a school. The first time I drove out here to come to a community meeting I thought, ‘oh my God, it’s so far away, it’s near the airport!’ I was living in Lakewood at the time and thinking, ‘okay I can do this, I can do a commute, that’s not a big deal.’ I think it was 24 miles one way. It was a year and a half of doing that commute and every month the commute got longer and longer. It got to the point I was leaving the house at 6:20am, dropping Logan off and getting to school at 7:30am. As a single parent that’s not the quality of life I wanted. So although education has been my identity for so long, now my second identity is being a mom and being a single mom requires a lot.

I wasn’t thrilled with our neighborhood school and Denver Public Schools has an elaborate choice system. I choiced him into a new school opening in Northfield knowing that I was going to move to this side of town. He started in 2nd grade, going to a DPS school and I was really excited. I was initially looking at living in Stapleton but what I could afford there was much smaller than my Lakewood home and just not what I was looking for. Really, one of the most important things to me is family and friends and being able to have people over. My parents come to town several times a year so I really wanted a home where my family could visit and spend the night and be comfortable and that just wasn’t gonna be an option in Northfield or Stapleton. Eventually, I widened my search and ended up looking at homes in Green Valley Ranch where my job is. When we walked into this house, I immediately knew the floor plan because I had seen the model home, so I knew I loved it. It just felt like the right fit.

I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time in 19 years. My cousin and her sister-in-law have always hosted Thanksgiving and this is the first time I’ve had a space big enough to host. There were 16 of us and everybody fit, we had plenty of room. The kids got in the hot tub and we all played games, it was super fun. It’s so great to be able to have the space to host family.

It’s kinda nice to live in the community where I work. I had been on the west side for so long and in DPS schools on the west side of town so it was kind of an internal struggle for me to leave all that was familiar. A lot of my friends live on the west side of Denver and this does feel really far removed but what I love about Green Valley Ranch is the diversity. In my school we have 15 languages spoken and we have families from all over the world and I love that about GVR. Not all of Denver feels diverse so it really is a nice community with a lot of diversity with languages, races, socioeconomic status. I feel like I have to get a little dressed up on the weekends when I go to the grocery store because I know I’m going to run into my families. I feel bad when I’m in my cap with no makeup but that’s real life. It’s nice to run into families here in the neighborhood. A lot of my families didn’t realize that I had moved here and I explained that the commute had become so unmanageable that I had wanted to live in the area. It gives me a little more credibility because I’m part of this community, I’m invested.

It’s not what I expected when I took this job. I never would have anticipated that I would move to GVR but it’s been a good move and my quality of life has greatly improved. I’m only spending 15 min getting Logan to school and then coming back into my work. It’s giving me more time with him and the stress level is less. There’s more time to enjoy life, it’s been nice. Moving is hard and the process of selling a home and buying a home, and just the expenses involved, it’s very stressful but in the end it’s worth it.  The process took a little longer than I anticipated. We put the house on the market at the end of July, and sold at the end of September and then bought this house at the end of October but it all worked out in the end and we got through it.”