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Principal Profile: Roxborough Primary and Intermediate School

Rick Kendall and Jennifer Murtha

DOUGLAS COUNTY – Nestled among the foothills at the northwestern edge of Douglas county, lies a secluded community where two school buildings house nearly 900 elementary students. 

Roxborough Primary School serves children from kindergarten through second grade; Roxborough Intermediate School serves students from third to sixth grade. While each school has its own principal, both schools integrate into a cohesive learning environment with a common mission.

Principals Jennifer Murtha (Roxborough Intermediate), and Rick Kendall (Roxborough Primary), work closely together to bring a unique level of support to students and staff. With a principal in each building that is focused on the unique needs of each group of learners, the “One School, Two Buildings” model allows each principal to tailor their school system to best meet those needs.

Murtha and Kendall emphasize that both the Primary and Intermediate schools maintain a deep connection with the community, embracing supportive parent involvement and close staff connections. These connections provide a solid foundation for the school’s focus on student inquiry and candidacy to become an International Baccalaureate campus.

“Our collaboration gives the community a consistent PK-6 vision for Roxborough,” said Murtha. “We are truly partners, and it is rare to have a teammate in this profession. It is so amazing to have this level of support for our community, our teachers and our students.”

Kendall, elaborating on Murtha’s sentiment, adds, “With our unique model of "One School, Two Buildings,” we feel that it is vital to have a common SAC, PTA, and teacher leadership team.  Because we respect the strengths of the other person, we rely on one another’s perspective and experience to make the best decisions.  We also purposefully bring the staff together for much of our staff development in order to maintain vertical alignment of our vision.”

Meet Rick Kendall

When Rick Kendall has a passion for something, he sticks with it. His interest in teaching began during his own elementary school years, an inspiration that he attributes to his fourth- and fifth-grade teachers. 

“They both provided a positive male role model for me during an important time in my education and my life, and I wanted to provide the same for future generations,” Kendall explains.

Kendall attended the Colorado School of Mines and the University of Colorado, receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry and a Teacher Certification from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He then earned a Master's Degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from the University of Phoenix.

Kendall discovered a new passion when he arrived at Roxborough Elementary School as a teacher. After teaching sixth grade and the technology specials class, he accepted the role of assistant principal. It was during his tenure as assistant principal that the second building was constructed and opened as Roxborough Intermediate. After serving three years as an assistant principal, KendalI was named Interim Principal of both the Primary and Intermediate schools, a position he held for two years before becoming the full-time principal at Roxborough Primary. Kendall has spent his entire career in education at Roxborough.

“As a primary school, we are focused heavily on developing our students into readers, writers, and mathematicians; but we also need to provide the foundation for our students to become responsible, productive citizens of the world. I also believe that as a school, we need to have a close relationship with families.”

10 facts about Rick Kendall

  1. What was your first job?
    Sales Associate at K-Mart
  2. Advice for a college graduate entering field of teaching:
    Love your students, partner with their families, and do everything you can to support their growth!
  3. Who inspires you?
    My mother. She is selfless, and always puts the needs of others above her own.  
  4. What is the last book you read?
    Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
  5. What was your favorite subject in high school? 
    All types of Science
  6. Are you a cat or dog person? 
  7. What was your first car? 
    1976 Yellow Toyota Corolla
  8. Favorite store to browse? 
    The Apple Store
  9. Favorite Colorado getaway? 
  10. Favorite quote?  
    To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.  –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Meet Jennifer Murtha

Jennifer Murtha didn’t plan to become an educator. She had set her eye on a career in journalism, and graduated from the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication and Economics. The path to achieve her degree, however, laid the groundwork for where she finds herself today.

“As part of my entrance to journalism school, I had to volunteer 10 hours a week. I gave my time to an elementary school near campus and realized that I could make a difference for kids every day. I was hooked!”

Murtha continued her education at the University of Colorado, earning a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction, and an Educational Specialist Degree in Administration, Leadership and Policy Studies. After teaching at the elementary level for 10 years, Murtha spent four years as an assistant principal before becoming the principal at Roxborough Intermediate. This is her fourth year in the role.

When asked what she enjoys most about the job, Murtha was quick to reply. “I love working together with parents to solve problems; I love building lasting curriculum and instructional practices and I love, love, love our students, who make me laugh and amaze me with their brilliance each day.“

“Our students are the most creative people I have ever met!  They are problem-solvers who want to make a difference in our community,” Murtha shared. “Our teachers are so vested in our students' success and I am continually inspired by the time, effort and heart they give for the sake of our students. Our award-winning parent community serves our students by giving them memorable events and modeling servant leadership.”

10 facts about Jennifer Murtha

  1. If you had the opportunity to pursue another career, what would you choose? 
    I can't imagine doing anything else. I was born to be an educator. 
  2. Advice for a college graduate entering field of teaching: 
    Take risks and fail. A lot. You will only grow through reflection of your failures.  
  3. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be? 
    Flying. Oh! And super-strength like the Hulk. I think that would be cool.
  4. Who do you believe will be remembered for their impact on society during the early 21st century? 
    Steve Jobs. Business and technology are just different because he was here.
  5. What was your favorite subject in high school? 
    Creative writing
  6. Are you a cat or dog person? 
    I like cat videos on YouTube. Does that count?
  7. What was your first car? 
    Hot wheels 
  8. Favorite Colorado getaway? 
    Kenosha Pass--as long as I don't have to go camping. :) 
  9. Do you collect anything? If so, what is it? 
    I have a drawer in my office of all the nice letters and cards teachers, kids and parents have written me. When I have a rotten day the cure is to go to the drawer!
  10. Is there something about you that would surprise your colleagues? 
    My dream is to be on Let's Make a Deal. 


November 19, 2014 | By SCPaulsen | Category:

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