It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the new fall term as we begin our 22nd year of school! In 1995 we began operations in the main building with two classrooms and 40 students, comprising one early childhood class and one lower elementary class. We employed six staff members to oversee the entire organization. (although in hindsight, I realize that we each did the job of five people!) I worked at Cliff’s Amusement Park in the evenings and on weekends to supplement my family’s income so that I could put every dime I made back into the new school. Executive Director by day, Ride Operator by night...and it was a roller coaster either way you sliced it!
The year 2016 finds us now with 8 classrooms, 145 students and 30 faculty members! We occupy six buildings and two greenhouse structures on 7 acres...and we even have our own little BUS! My colleagues of 25 plus years have raised their children in this method, and some even in this school, and are now themselves, grandparents who will soon be seeing their grandbabies enrolled at Cottonwood and performing at the sing-alongs in the months ahead! Throughout our many years of teaching, it was our fervent hope that this innovative method of education would cultivate independent thinkers and life long learners who carried with them a burning desire to find their place in the world and change it for the better! We believed our educational philosophy could transform lives...and that if only a handful of people would trust us to do this, the results would be phenomenal and become evident in the fullness of time. Though cliché, we often said, “if we build it, they will come.”
And now here you are! You have joined the ranks of those who dared trust, who dared hope for something better for their children! And believe me, YOU HAVE FOUND IT! Want proof? Our teacher’s aide, Audrey Scott, who is working in the Junior elementary, is a Cottonwood alum who has returned to work with children after traveling the world and earning a degree in Psychology at UNM. Her colleague, Deirdre Sullivan, an aide in Ms. Elizabeth’s Early Childhood class, is also an alum who will begin working on her Masters in Education next year. You already know how picky I am about hand selecting my staff but this was an easy fit! Many of your elementary students attend the Full Circle Camp in the Jemez each August which is staffed by our former students so you can already see for yourself what interesting young people they are. One of those students just finished earning a degree in Neuroscience and was accepted into medical school. He came by to visit and tell me that he attributed his success as a student, person and life long learner to his time at Cottonwood and emphasized to me that he is the person he is today because of his early childhood and elementary years spent at Cottonwood School! He then promised to write up a testimonial newsletter for me which I could share with all of you so that you can see “where all this leads!”
So there you have it folks! That same care awaits your child. We are WILD ABOUT LEARNING and we are so glad that you and your family will be joining us for what will prove to be some of the greatest times of your children’s lives, played out right here on our campus. The future is unwritten...so let’s scribble a bit on the blank canvas together, shall we?