Alan Kaylor named principal at Fort Lupton High School

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New principal looks to apply data-driven approaches to help boost achievement

By Ben Wiebesiek

    FORT LUPTON — Fort Lupton High School will have a new principal at the start of the school year.

    Alan Kaylor decided to take the job because of a cooperative program between the district and the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. Kaylor will be attending a weeklong program with the university later this month.

    “That excited me when I read a lot about the Darden School. It fascinated me because, for the first time, it seemed that there was a way to replicate success with a kind of business model,” Kaylor said. “One of the things that can be frustrating in education is that we don’t always plan very well for success. I want to make sure that’s what we do in Fort Lupton, and it feels like the University of Virginia is going to help do that for us.”

    The Darden program promises to use data-driven approaches to help schools adjust to changing situations.

    “I’m a math guy – I taught mathematics, so anytime you put numbers in front of me, it intrigues me,” Kaylor said. “Data tends to tell a story, and we need to make sure it’s telling the correct story.”

    Kaylor was recruited from his previous job as principal of Iver C. Ranum Middle School in Adams County School District 50.

    It was his work there that caught the eye of Weld County School District RE-8 Superintendent Mark Payler.

    “I was impressed; he’s got it all covered,” Payler said. “He has a proven track record. At Ranum, he took a school that was on turnaround status with the state, and a year later it was up to priority improvement status, and a year after that, the school was up to improvement [status].”

    Payler also looked at the raw data at Ranum to see how Kaylor worked with at-risk students including the number of students receiving free-or-reduced lunches.

    “At Ranum, the school was 89 percent minority students, and 93 percent free-and-reduced,” Payler said. “He was also supervising 830 students and 58 teachers.”

    While he was Ranum, Kaylor was merging two different programs at the building: the traditional school plus an instructional service center.

    “It was kind of like blending two schools together to make it work,” Kaylor said. “I was very fortunate; I had a great a great staff to work with.”

    And he already has praise for his current staff including assistant principals Marcia Hester and Joe Gutierrez.

    “They’re awesome people,” Kaylor said. “Marcie and Joe have absolutely done the lion’s share of the work, and they’re kind people with hearts of gold. They have the experience and they want to do what’s right for Fort Lupton High School.”

    Kaylor fills the vacancy created with the resignation of Alice Sueltenfuss, who became principal during the 2011-2012 school year.

    “She was really good at making sure that the kids were recognized, for things like attendance and GPA,” Payler told the Ft. Lupton Press last month. “She really did get into bully-proofing the school, and in fact, we had fewer incidents and fewer expulsions than I have seen in my nine years here. She was instrumental in putting together the CSU Alliance program, which allows our kids, if they qualify, to go to CSU and get introduced to the university.”

    Kaylor said he doesn’t want to set specific goals for the next school year until he’s met with staff more and learned about the operation.

    “Anytime you take a leadership position, you need to listen, learn and then lead,” Kaylor said. “Mr. Payler has put a lot of trust in me, and I want to make sure I do the best job I can, and I owe that to the kids at Fort Lupton High School.”

Contact Ben Wiebesiek at 303-659-2522, ext. 205, or email bwiebesiek@metrowestnewspapers.com.