Harrison K-8 School

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Principal's Message

New principal, assistant principal join school

By Carie Canterbury

 

The Daily Record

John Pavlicek and Brian Sprenger both graduated from Colorado Springs' Doherty High School in 1999, but they really didn't know one another very well until they were hired as Harrison K-8 School's new administrative team. 

"We want to continue to move Harrison School forward and make it the best school it can be," said Pavlicek, the school's new principal. "I'm not interested in comparing us to the state, I'm not interested in comparing us to the other schools — that's not it — I want to do everything I can to make this the best school it can be and to make it the place where people want to bring their kids."

Pavlicek and Sprenger replace former principal Marty Blowers, who accepted employment in Texas, and former assistant principal Vicki Knapp, who assumed the same position at Fremont Elementary School in Florence. 

"We are going to bring a high level of energy and charisma to this school, we're going to pick teachers up and support teachers, we are going to listen to parents, we're going to build relationships and we are going to certainly focus making this as safe of a school as possible, as well," Pavlicek said. "I think when you start putting the structures in place that are missing, that's when you can truly move forward."

Sprenger said the school plans to embrace the community by welcoming parents, mentors, business owners and interested residents to actively be involved in student success. 

"I want the community to know, and I want parents to know, that their involvement is vital," he said. "We want them to understand that they are a vital piece of a child's educational journey — without them, they can be successful, but not nearly as successful as with them."

Pavlicek grew up in the Colorado Springs area, attended college in Grand junction and took his first teaching job teaching Language Arts at Pueblo West Middle School. From there, he was an AP English teacher at Fountain-Fort Carson High School for four years. He said he loved teaching and being in the classroom, but he wanted to transition from being a "leader of students" to a "leader of teachers." 

"I could tell very, very quickly in this age of school accountability that teachers like me were kind of getting pressed out of the system a little bit," he said. "The innovative approach that I wanted to take to get kids to the goal — that art of teaching was being replaced with the science of teaching, and I wanted to preserve teachers like me and be in a position where I could allow teachers to get there but in a different way — but with accountability."

Most recently, Pavlicek was principal of a K-6 grade school in the San Luis Valley. He and his wife, Kim, have two sons who attend first and fifth grade this fall. In his spare time, he enjoys competitive sports, fantasy football and spending time with his family. He played football into college, and he played rugby for the U.S. Junior National team for a year. 

In addition to acting as assistant principal, Sprenger also will be the school's athletic director. He spent the last 11 years in Colorado Springs — the first nine were spent teaching fourth and fifth grades, then he spent a year as a teacher coach, and most recently, he was a dean of students for 750 pupils. 

As an administrator, Sprenger said he plans do his job through a teacher's lens, helping to take obstacles away so they can focus on teaching. 

He and his wife Lisa, have four children, the oldest of whom will attend kindergarten and fourth grade at Harrison this fall. The younger children are three and one. Outside of school, he enjoys musicals, community events, spending quality time with his family and being involved in his family's church. 

Pavlicek and Sprenger said it's important that they each — along with their families — relocate to Cañon City and fully immerse their lives in the local community. 

"We're 100 fully percent committed," Pavlicek said. "We are excited for where this journey is going to go."

Carie Canterbury: 719-276-7643, canterburyc@canoncitydailyrecord.com