Delta Middle School staff members are wearing pins in the shape of puzzle pieces -- a reminder from principal Jennifer Lohrberg that "every piece has a place and every piece belongs."
It's her way of saying that staff, students, parents and the community are all a piece of the "big picture" -- challenging the students at Delta Middle School to be the best they can be.
Lohrberg moved from northeast Nebraska, but is a Western Slope native, having grown up and graduated from high school in Cortez. Determined to spread her wings, she decided to attend the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. She majored briefly in broadcast journalism but quickly changed her major to special education/elementary education. After teaching a year in Lubbock, Texas, she returned to Nebraska where she administered an "Excellence in Education" grant to identify gifted behaviors in at-risk students. She did her postgraduate work at Wayne State College. A move to Norfolk, Neb., brought with it her first administrative position. She was most recently assistant principal at Norfolk Middle School.
As her two active sons grew older and more independent, Lohrberg started looking for principal openings. Through a "fluke," she learned of the opening in Delta, where several family members live, including a grandmother, aunt, uncle, cousin and family.
"I know Delta well," she said, "because we've always come here at least once a year."
After talking it over with son Aaron, they both agreed it would be a wonderful opportunity. Aaron is a sophomore at Delta High School and is on the cross-country team. An older son, Caleb, is studying landscape design at the University of Minnesota.
Lohrberg visited Delta Middle School in May and was pleased with the school culture. The students interacted with the staff and with each other, and the teachers came out of their classrooms to greet her. "It was such a warm feeling," Lohrberg said.
She quickly accepted the job offer that followed her interview, and in July she moved to Delta. She has been working closely with staff all summer, and is delighted those gifted teachers can offer such a varied and broad range of opportunities for DMS students.
Assistant principal Sheryl Yeager transferred from assistant principal at Cedaredge Elementary School to join fellow assistant Timothy Fifer. Yeager has been employed by Delta County Joint School District #50 since 2006. Fifer began his career in education in Garfield County and is now in his fifth year of employment with Delta County Joint School District #50. He served as assistant principal at Lincoln Elementary and is now in his third year at DMS.
One of Lohrberg's most immediate goals has been bringing the administrative team together. "Our goal is to challenge ourselves, to improve ourselves daily, so we are modeling growth and challenging our students to be the best they can be," she said.
Lohrberg says she loves the spontaneity of each day. "If I'd known being a principal was so fulfilling, I would have done it long ago. I get to work with such gifted staff, such gifted students, every day. I'm uplifted by what I see going on at DMS."
During a preliminary hearing in Delta District Court on Tuesday, Jan. 15, Judge Steven Schultz found probable cause for second degree murder charges against Heather Jones.
Jones previously faced three counts in the shooting of Ryan Redifer in Paonia on Jan. 12, 2018 -- assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree and violation of a protection order.