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Pahrump Valley High School’s new principal lays groundwork for upcoming year

A new era at Pahrump Valley High School is set to begin in early August.

Jennifer Ehrheart, named as principal of the high school over the summer by the Nye County School District, has been preparing for her role and the upcoming school year since then. She will welcome some 1,200 students this fall.

“I look forward to finding out how I can connect with the staff and students to help everyone be successful,” Ehrheart said.

Ehrheart has already made some connections at the high school after receiving training from the district’s leadership teams, and in turn, sharing it with teachers, who were also given time to collaborate and prepare their classrooms, she said.

Before the school year gets officially underway, orientation for incoming freshmen is on Aug. 4 from 5 p.m.-6 p.m., at 501 E. Calvada Blvd. After orientation, an open house will be held from 6 p.m.-7 p.m.

School starts on Aug. 7 for Pahrump Valley and all schools in the Nye County School District. Pre-K and kindergarten classes are delayed one week and will begin on Aug. 14.

About the new Pahrump Valley principal

Ehrheart brings 21 years of experience in teaching and administrative roles to the high school.

Her last role was for the Anchorage School District in Alaska, where she was hired as an assistant principal and worked in three high schools over her seven-year tenure.

Ehrheart spent about 15 years overall in the Last Frontier. Prior to Anchorage, she made her way to Barrow, the northernmost point in the state. There, she spent time as a director of child development and director of student services at Ilisagvik College.

Born in Kankakee, Illinois, later moving with her parents to Oregon, Ehrheart started her career as a teacher at the Oregon Trail School District in 1996. She is a graduate of Oregon State University, where she received her bachelor’s and Master of the Arts in teaching.

Ehrheart replaces former principal Chris Brockman, who moved to Beatty High School for the upcoming year. He departed following graduation at the end of May.

Brockman began his tenure as principal at Pahrump Valley High School in 2014 after serving as assistant principal at the high school for five years prior to that.

Ehrheart made her move on the position, as Alaska’s economy has been rocky for the past couple years. Declining oil prices have led to layoffs and negative impacts on the general financial health of the region.

What to expect

One of Ehrheart’s focuses is student success. “I really want to focus on student success, making sure that every student makes at least one year of gains,” she said.

One way to do this will be through what are called Professional Learning Communities (PLC). These are 45-minute morning meetings where teachers and paraprofessionals collaborate about how to deliver educational material in the most effective way to students in the district.

“We’re going to look at what students know and how they’re doing on assessments, making sure that we’re meeting the needs of every student,” Ehrheart said.

Some of the tools Ehrheart took from her experience in Alaska also transferred over to Pahrump.

“…Every school is the same, in that there’s kids that find school easy, there’s kids that struggle in school and there’s kids that don’t want to be in school,” she said.

And there are solutions for each type.

“We’ve got to engage the kids that don’t want to be there and find their passion,” Ehrheart said.

She gave one example of a solution. “If you don’t like English, and you love child development, you (teachers) start to integrate English through child development classes and then those skills develop.”

Parent involvement is another way to success for the students.

“As we move forward with district initiatives, we’re really focused on growth — growth in teachers, growth of students, and I hope that parents will be supportive of that and help on their end with getting homework done, studying for tests and becoming part of the high school community,” she said.

Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at jmeehan@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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