At any East Grant School District event with a grill, Superintendent Frank Reeves would always flip the burgers.
It’s one of the many things school board chairman Ed Raegner and the rest of the East Grand community will miss as the superintendent retires at the end of this month.
“Lots of feathers in Frank’s hat,” Raegner said. “If you get into the backcountry ethic of ‘Leave it better than you found it,’ I would definitely say Frank can look back on his time at East Grand and say we did a lot of not with him in mind.”
Reeves has spent 33 years in education with his last six as superintendent of East Grand. He came to East Grand after four years as a superintendent in a small district in the Eastern Plains, looking for a place that could provide more opportunities for students.
Reeves said he wasn’t initially going to apply for the job after seeing some of the divisions at the time, but a friend convinced him to give it a try. He was selected as a finalist and, after touring the schools, realized this was perfect for him.
“I said, ‘This is where I want to be,'” Reeves said. “Once you got into the schools and understood the opportunities and the things that our schools do for the kids in addition to great academics, it was like, ‘Oh yeah, I want this job.'”
Reeves was tasked with helping bring the community together and making sure everyone felt heard, Raegner recalled. Reeves worked on the district’s brand to publicize the work being done at the school.
He also helped establish the Homegrown Talent Initiative and Career and Technical Education programs in schools, paving the way for project-based learning – something many school districts in Colorado are just beginning to do.
What stands out about Reeves’ time at East Grand is the COVID-19 pandemic and the East Troublesome Fire. It wasn’t easy, but Reeves said it was during this time that he also felt most proud in the district.
“Although there are awful times in life, it showed what’s great about being here and what’s great about people here,” he said.
Raegner said he was proud of how the district got through such a difficult and often divisive time in a district where opinions on things like masking were often split down the middle. He attributed this in part to Reeves’ approach to decision-making.
“I’ll say this: I think that’s a really big thing that I took away from my time with Frank: Any time you make a decision, school-wise, you really have to put in what’s best. for the kids as the first setting as you go through the decisions,” Raegner said. “It’s something that Frank always brought to every discussion and certainly lived through.”
Reeves was also instrumental in helping the district pass a factory tax waiver for teacher raises and, the following year, a bond to help build much-needed improvements, including a new elementary school. Reeves said seeing the community’s trust grow over the years has been one of the most rewarding parts for him.
“I wouldn’t say I have any control over this, but over the past six years the amount of scholarships our seniors have received from the local community has increased enormously to the point where this year it has exceeded $200,000,” he said. “It’s a source of pride because our community seems to trust us and what we do, and trust that our kids are going to move on from here and be successful.”
Reeves plans to stay in Granby and his wife will continue to work at Granby Elementary School. He is excited to see what East Grand will do in the future and is confident the district will only get better.
“We have such a good management team and staff,” he said. “I can’t wait to see where they go. I just think we’re becoming a better overall district every year and seeing that continue to grow is exciting to me.