Charter school loses director

Mary Bramer's contract at North Routt Community is terminated

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After three years in operation, the North Routt Community Charter School is shifting its focus from that of a start-up school to long-term viability and success.

Mary Bramer, the only director the Clark-based school has known, won't be part of that transition.

Bramer's contract was terminated by the North Routt School Board last week, board President Chris Gander said Wednesday.

"We decided the time was right to make a change," Gander said. "She did a lot of great things. This was a heart-wrenching decision for us because of the small nature of our community.

"But it really is in the best interest of the school and will help (it) in the long-run."

Repeated attempts to contact Bramer were unsuccessful.

The school will interview candidates for the director position Saturday, Gander said. Educators hope to make an offer to a candidate shortly thereafter.

"We're really looking for the right piece to fit into our organization," Gander said. "We're really encouraged by the applicants we have so far."

The school has focused its search on local candidates.

"It's a community charter school, and it needs to be someone who will work with the community," Gander said.

Bramer was instrumental in developing the academics and curriculum of the charter school, Gander said. But as the school has grown, so has its needs.

The school and community need a director who can focus on marketing the school to increase student enrollment and funding opportunities, Gander said.

"We needed a leader who could foresee things and be proactive with the things we need to deal with," he said. "It's a new beginning to a new phase of our growth."

One of the school's strengths is its curriculum, which emphasizes place-based education and individualized instruction, Gander said. Bramer's work in that area made the decision to find another director difficult.

"Mary's strength was academics," Gander said. "It was a very difficult decision to move on without Mary because of all she's done in that area."

Bramer's contract was to expire at the end of July. Though her last day of work was Friday, many of the school's administrative responsibilities had been turned over to Tonya Dean in mid-May. Dean is serving as the school's interim director.

The North Routt Community Charter School opened in fall 2001 with a mission to provide community-based education to North Routt County students. Enrollment issues and other growing pains won't deter the school from being a success into the foreseeable future, Gander said.

"The charter school isn't going away," he said. "We're just going to continue doing what we're doing."

-- To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234

or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com

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