Dear Weld RE-5J Community,
 
It is with great excitement that I introduce myself as your Johnstown-Milliken Weld RE-5J School District superintendent! While the 2018–19 school year will mark my first as your superintendent, I have been getting to know the Johnstown-Milliken community for many months now. I can clearly see the great things that are already put in place as well as the limitless possibilities ahead. The excitement resonates through the students I have met, the parents and community members I have had the opportunity to talk with, and the many staff members I have had the opportunity to work with so far.
 
As we look to the year ahead, I am most excited about working together to create memorable moments and experiences for our students, families, and staff and collaborating with the community to make our schools’ models for the nation. I hope to be there to witness our parents’ proudest moments, be part of teacher celebrations of student success, work side-by-side with our school leaders as they build trusting relationships within and beyond each building, and actively support our elected school board members in strengthening connections within our community and making new connections that benefit our students and schools.
 
Clearly, our students benefit from living in and around the small, connected communities of Johnstown, Milliken, Berthoud and Greeley, which create a desirable quality of life unmatched along the front range of Colorado. Personally, I’m looking forward to not only working in this community but living here, too! I want to assure you that I genuinely wish to hear from you, to understand the past and get your ideas and input on how we, as a school district, can build on what’s been done and best serve students into the future.
 
Going into the 2018–19 school year, my first priority aside from getting to know the community is to ensure that every Weld RE-5J student in every school has access to high-quality support, resources, and instruction that will lead to their success. As a community, we also have some very important decisions to make this year relating to long-term facility investments in our schools. Much work has already been done on this, and the district will put forth a road map to continue this work, with an eye on a November 2019 ballot referendum. You can read more about this here . In the meantime, we will take advantage of every opportunity to bring dollars into the school district to offset facility repairs and reduce taxpayer impact. There is no question that, if we expect our students to come to school prepared and ready to learn, our facilities should be ready to serve them. How our facilities can best support learning, teaching, and innovation will be at the heart of our conversations this year.
 
Another focus of our conversations will be creating a profile of a Weld RE-5J graduate, to define—in addition to our high expectations and belief in their ability to achieve at the highest level—the skills and experiences that our graduates need to be successful. While we instill in our students pride in the community they live in, we must at the same time recognize that they will eventually be working alongside and competing with their peers not just in neighboring school districts but in Colorado, the nation, and the world. I am excited to bring my in-depth knowledge of other education systems and the private sector to Weld RE-5J to ensure that our students are not merely on par with their peers but have the edge that they will need to get ahead.
 
I look forward to earning your confidence and support in the year ahead. I invite you to reach out to me anytime at Leslie.arnold@weldre5j.org .