We’re all enjoying our summer here at Sandbrock Ranch, but the kids will be heading back to school before we know it! Our new on-site elementary school, Sandbrock Ranch Elementary, will open its doors this fall.
Sandbrock Ranch Elementary will be a part of Denton ISD, an A-rated school district that serves our area. Built to accommodate 750 students, Sandbrock Ranch Elementary will be the seventh elementary school serving students in the Braswell High zone and the 25th elementary school in Denton ISD.
The new Principal at Sandbrock Ranch Elementary, Claire Springer, says Sandbrock Ranch Elementary will be a place where all students will be challenged to try new things and will be encouraged to be the best version of themselves.
Ms. Springer brings 13 years of experience in education to her new role, and she’s also a hometown local. She graduated from Denton High School in 2007 before going on to get her bachelor’s degree at Oklahoma State University and her master’s in educational administration from Texas A&M.
We had a chance to sit down with Principal Claire Springer to talk about her role at Sandbrock Ranch Elementary, what makes the school so unique, and why every student will strive to be “courageous, compassionate, and committed.”
How long have you worked in the education profession? What made you want to go into this field?
I have been in education for 13 years. I started my career down the road in Frisco ISD and taught third and first grade. I had the opportunity to write curriculum for the district and lead teachers in professional development. My goal has always been to be in education, particularly to be a principal. My mom recalls that I started telling people that I wanted to be a principal when I was four years old. In 2015, I came back home to Denton ISD and began my leadership journey as an assistant principal at Savannah Elementary. I was lucky to be there for seven years. During my time there, we were recognized as a PLC Model School by Solution Tree, the world’s leading professional development company for schools. We were the 27th elementary school in the state of Texas and 224th in the United States. I am thrilled to live out my dream job as the founding principal at Sandbrock Ranch Elementary. It is my duty to ensure that all students learn at high levels each and every day.
What’s your favorite thing about being a principal?
I love making an impact on hundreds of students’ lives each year. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a struggle turn into a success, which I have the opportunity to see each and every day. I am lucky to partner with families in our community and impact their children’s foundational years in education. Kids change a lot over the years, and it is really neat to be a small part of that story. Another favorite part of my job is leading my teachers and staff in learning. I believe we should always be learning in order to produce every day for our kids. I love being the instructional leader on campus and having the opportunity to push our practice, mine included, to make the greatest impact on students.
What do you think will make Sandbrock Ranch Elementary teachers special?
When we were interviewing for teachers and staff, we spent countless hours calibrating on what qualities we were looking for. We spent many hours interviewing candidates to find the best of the best to serve our students and families. I am a firm believer in hiring teachers I would want my own kids to have. If it is not good enough for my own, it is not good enough for yours. In our search, we found teachers who love kids at the core and care about their well-being, not just academically but socially and emotionally too. Everyone we hired believes in the “all means all” mentality, meaning it is not “my classroom or my kids” but “our kids!” We hired teachers with a variety of experience, some who are lucky to start their career at Sandbrock Ranch Elementary and others who have been teaching for 25 years or more, but the common thread between all of our teachers and staff is that they’re all hardworking, devoted to their craft, lifelong learners, and excited about coming to work every day.
What do you think will make Sandbrock Ranch Elementary a unique elementary school?
I am most excited about our vertical teams. Every student and staff member will belong to a Stable. Every Stable represents a champion horse: Appaloosas, Clydesdales, Galineers, Mustangs, Ponies, and Shires. Students will work very collaboratively with students across the school, not just students who are in their grade or classroom, to earn points for their Stable, participate in service projects, and develop teamwork skills. Every Friday we will have either Celebrate Sandbrock or Stable Huddles, where each Stable will participate in either an assembly/pep rally or a huddle meeting. During Celebrate Sandbrock we will recognize students who represent our 3C’s (Courage, Compassion, and Commitment), award Jolly Ranchers for representing our word of the week, preview student performances, award Stable points, and more. During Stable Huddles students will be involved in service projects as well as building community with one another and learning what it means to be in their Stable. This is exciting for our school community because it fosters independence and responsibility, even in children as young as kindergarten-age, and gives students a place to belong. It is our goal that everyone has a sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves, and this is one way we will cultivate that at Sandbrock Ranch Elementary.
What would you want to tell new parents about Sandbrock Ranch Elementary?
Come visit us! We want our parents to be involved by volunteering on campus, working with kids, eating lunch with kids, visiting classrooms, and so on. We have a very excited PTA, and I encourage all parents to get involved, even if it is in a small way. Your kids are going to be loved on each and every day, they will be challenged to try new things, and they will be encouraged to be the best version of themselves. Our school is set up in “learning locations” so students will be given opportunities to learn across the building, inside and outside. This structure allows for more flexibility, collaboration, and teamwork. Parents are welcome to visit the learning locations to see the great things going on, and I encourage parents to reach out to me for a tour.
Can you tell us about any special electives or programs that might interest parents or that you are particularly excited about?
Besides Meet the Teacher Night on August 9, our first schoolwide event will be September 15 at 6 PM, hosted by our Special Areas team. This night will be an opportunity for you to learn about what your kids will learn each week in Art, Music, PE, and Library. You will have an opportunity to meet the Special Areas teachers and ask any questions you may have. We also have our Fall Festival on October 7 hosted by our PTA. This will be an “old school” festival with cake walks, photo booths, a silent auction, games, food, and more! If you are interested in being a sponsor for our Fall Festival, please contact PTA President Christina Hopper. In addition to events, we will have student clubs available in the fall and spring. Watch for the virtual signup within the first few weeks of school. Some of the clubs being offered are Living Things, Choir, Dance, Cheer, Makerspace, Cultivating Champions, Yearbook, Winter Warriors, Robotics, Yoga & Mindfulness, and more.
What does the slogan “courageous, compassionate, and committed” mean to you?
When I was in high school my grandmother passed away from cancer. She encouraged our family to have courage in everything we do. This has stuck with me even as an adult. My personal mantra is “let courage carry you!” This mantra gives me strength in hard times or challenging moments. When I was visioning for SRE, a former principal who founded a school advised me to start with three “missional words.” I knew immediately I wanted courage to be one of them. From there, I came up with compassion and commitment, and the next thing you know SRE3C was born! It really means a lot to me, and it makes me proud to know it is the foundation of every decision we will make as a school community. Our mission at SRE is to build the hearts and minds of Champions to become courageous, compassionate, and committed learners. It is our responsibility to capture our kids’ hearts before we can capture their minds. This is our promise to you, our parents and community, that your kids will be loved and taken care of every day they are at school!
Parents wanting to register new students for Sandbrock Ranch Elementary should visit the Denton ISD Online Registration Information page for enrollment requirements and an application. You can also visit the Education page on the Sandbrock Ranch website for additional information about area schools.
Sandbrock Ranch is a community built around a “Live True” lifestyle, which means that we encourage a life full of special times, new traditions, and fun adventures in a close-knit community of caring neighbors. Sandbrock Ranch Elementary is just the latest addition to our vibrant Ranch community. Won’t you come be our neighbor?
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