Even superintendents get butterflies on the first day of schoolDr. Cindy Stevenson says she’s honored to serve Boulder Valley School District this school year
BOULDER – After serving more than three decades in education, including 12 years as the superintendent of the state’s largest school district, you might think that those back-to-school jitters are a thing of the past for Dr. Cindy Stevenson. Boulder Valley School District’s superintendent, however, says she still gets those same butterflies. “On the night before school starts, I still have that feeling of nerves and excitement,” Stevenson said. “At a system level, I am hoping that everything goes well for the children, all of the parents and all of the schools. On a personal level, I find the first day of school completely energizing. It is a new year. You have every option open to you. We can do great work for the children. I find it really exciting.” She believes that school should be something that students look forward to every day.
“I want school to be joyful and I want school to be exciting,” Stevenson said. “I want kids to go home every day and think, ‘I’m a smarter person today, because I was there.’” During a recent meeting with new administrators in the district, she implored them to dedicate themselves to meeting this goal. “We owe every one of the 31,000 students every ounce of our passion and commitment,” Stevenson said. “I don’t care if you’re in this office, a school, in the kitchen, construction – I want passion and commitment that shows every minute of every day. Our hearts and souls need to be here.”
Stevenson says she is impressed by BVSD and the work already being done by its teachers and staff. “It really is an honor to work in this organization and to provide leadership,” Stevenson said. “The people here are incredible educators.” Stevenson’s roots are here in Boulder. The longtime Boulderite originally moved to the city in 1968. “Most people won’t remember this, but I was here way back when the anti-war demonstrators shut down the highway,” Stevenson said. She studied at the University of Colorado at Boulder and student taught at Eisenhower Elementary during the year the school opened. Even when she was the superintendent in neighboring Jefferson County, she says she would keep tabs on BVSD.“I always paid attention to the school district in Boulder,” Stevenson said. She hopes during her year as superintendent to help build even stronger teamwork within the district. “Boulder Valley is a great team, but that is an area that any organization can look at and say, we can always get better there,” Stevenson said. “I am a real believer in the collective capacity of people. You are always better to work as a team, rather than an individual because of the skills and talents that are brought to the table.” She says that many people ask her about BVSD’s Strategic Plan, the Success Effect, and whether it will continue forward. “It is the plan for the district. It is the plan to increase the achievement of our kids. It’s the plan to take care of our staff. It is the plan for how we operate as a district,” Stevenson said. “We are going to continue the work that is going on. It’s good work. It is the right work.” In the end, Stevenson says she remains focused on the same question that she was as a student teacher in BVSD, “How do we best serve children?”