New high school principal highlights change at Center Schools


CENTER — Classrooms are humming again at the Center Consolidated School District, highlighted by a new high school principal, Nicole Neufeld.

Although Neufeld isn’t new to the district, her current position fits with the trajectory of her career. Principal Neufeld started as a special education teacher at Sangre de Cristo Elementary 16 years ago. Then she spent two years managing kindergarteners at Haskin Elementary, her first position in the Center School District.

Neufeld stretched beyond the classroom from 2013 through most of 2021 before returning to Center last November to teach secondary special education. For the intervening eight years, Neufeld held the position of Associate Director of the Early Childhood Council of the San Luis Valley.

The Early Childhood Council of the San Luis Valley concentrates on the connection between education, family stability, and available services for early childhood development. Neufeld’s experience in the classroom helped her contributions to the Council, an experience likely to bolster her job as a principal.

After Neufeld returned to the district last fall, Center High School principal Kevin Jones took a job as Superintendent for Sierra Grande School District at the conclusion of the 2021-22 school year.

Neufeld started her new leadership role this summer. She started her career in education by earning a bachelor’s in Sociology at the University of Colorado in Boulder. She then earned her master's in Educational Leadership and Early Childhood Education from CU-Denver.

A graduate of Denver Public Schools, Neufeld came to the Valley after she completed her higher education. More than 15 years ago, she married Valley native Brian Neufeld, owner and operator of Neufeld Farms near Hooper. They grow potatoes and barley in Alamosa and Saguache counties. Both of their daughters are students at Haskin Elementary and Skoglund Middle School.

In other Center Viking news, another development program kicks off on Sept. 12. Designed for girls between third and eighth grades, Girls on the Run is a 10-week program that prepares participants for a celebratory 5K run at the end of the session.

Through physical running games and coaching, the program also builds life skills and provides social interaction. Participants who join the group will receive training on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 to 5 p.m. in the gym or on the track. The cost is $20, and scholarships are available.

With a network of more than 200 councils across 50 states and the District of Columbia, Girls on the Run of the Rockies (https://girlsontherunrockies.org/) is part of Girls on the Run International. The first training session at Center Schools is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 12.

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