October 2019 - Carrie Yantzer

Colorado Association of Latino/a Administrators and Superintendents

October 2019

Welcome to the CO ALAS Membership Spotlight.  Each month we introduce you to one of our many CO ALAS members. Let’s see what they are doing and what’s on their mind!

This month we are featuring Carrie Yantzer, Director of Professional Learning and Operations, Colorado Association of School Executives, Center for Excellence in Educational Leadership.

Career Highlights & Education

My mom and grandmother are my two heroes despite neither one graduating from college.  Their influence on the importance of education has been with me since 2nd grade. It was then I decided I wanted to be a “teacher.”  I was the first in my family to graduate from college and I am proud to share the passion for education that my mom and grandmother treasured so deeply.  My mother passed away eary at age 54, about 16 years ago, but every day I have “Moments with Mom”--these moments are lessons that guide me daily toward living life with a passion, purpose and plan. 

I grew up during a time when being “brown” was not something to be proud of. I remember my aunties tell me not to learn Spanish, even though they knew it!  I spent my childhood hiding my Hispanic culture instead of celebrating it. However, now one of my highlights is honoring my Torres family’s heritage as proud descendants of the Auraria Campus Community (Downtown Denver, 9th Street). 

My mom always told my brother and me, “if you have a wish, you can make it come true. However, you will have to work for it.”  I was naïve enough as I never considered not going to college.  It was difficult to pay for college, but I was blessed by our family values of perseverance, and hard work. I graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with my Bachelor’s Degree and teaching certificate.  After a few years as a middle school English/PE teacher and coach, I continued my education at Regis University and received my Master’s in School Counseling. I loved being a school counselor, but I had awesome mentors who believed in my leadership abilities and they encouraged me to continue my education and I received my Principal License from Denver University.  

I spent 25 amazing years on the Western Slope in the Delta County School District.  This district believed in growing their own and I was honored to have “grown up” in this district as well as having both my daughters graduate from the Delta County School System (Hotchkiss PK8 School and Hotchkiss High School). I was the proud principal of Hotchkiss PK8 School for 16 wonderful years.  It was an honor to serve my students, my staff, my parents and my community. Three years ago, we made the very hard decision to leave Delta County and our farm. We moved to the Eastern Slope back to my hometown of Erie, Colorado. I finished my 20+ years of administration as principal at Nederland 6th-12 Grade School in the Boulder Valley School District.

Currently, I am the Director of Professional Learning and Operations at CASE (Colorado Association of School Executives) as well as an adjunct Professor for Western Colorado University in their principal licensure program.  I also serve on the CAMLE (Colorado Association of Middle Level Educators) Board of Directors. 

I have been honored with awards and accolades throughout my career, but my greatest career accomplishment has been being able to serve ALL my students and staff members over the years. But the icing on the cake was this past May when I was selected by my former students to be their commencement speaker.

What is exciting about my job?
My foundation is built around my 3 P’s of Leadership – Passion, Purpose, Plan.  My passion is to love and educate every student every day to the best of my ability.  My purpose will always support my passion. Once my passion and purpose are in alignment a plan can be developed. Every day I take this conviction to my “job.”  I don’t view it as a “job”; rather, I view my work as my passion. The sign above my desk reads Another day in paradise.”  This sign has hung above my desk for almost 25 years as what fills my bucket of happiness every day. Now I get to engage with amazing educators from around our state as they are doing OUTSTANDING things for the betterment of ALL our students.

Advice you would give a new superintendent or school leader:
One of my favorite sayings, is “Be proud of who you are and what you do always.”  That would be my advice, live, and lead what you believe.  Be you, love what you do, and let your servant leadership shine.  Service beyond self is the greatest gift we give.  Create relationships as it is the foundation to the 3 P’s of leadership – passion, purpose and plan!

If you catch me outside the office, you’ll find . . .
This past summer my husband and I decided to open an ice cream shop, Cow-A-Bunga Ice Cream, located in Lafayette Colorado.  Of course, both my husband (Lyons MS/HS) and I are educators therefore we had to have a mission statement: “Promoting Global Cooling . . . One Scoop at a time”.  You will find me in my lime green and hot pink Cow-A-Bunga shirt scooping up happiness for others (we do special events and catering too if you are wondering)!  If I happened to not be at the scoop shop, I am sure I am watching my beloved Denver Broncos (through thick and thin)!  

There are not as many moments now that both our daughters are adults, but I love laughing and spending any moment I can with our girls and my husband.  My oldest is a behavioral interventionist at Lookout Mountain Juvenile Correction Facility in Golden, Colorado and my youngest is finishing out her last year at West Texas A&M in Canyon, Texas. 

How does CO-ALAS add value?
I often say to myself I wish I had known about CO-ALAS many, many years ago, as the connection, leadership and fellowship are exceptional. I am eternally grateful for CO-ALAS.  This organization has helped me strengthen my love for my culture and I am in awe of the outstanding latinx leaders we have in our great state. CO-ALAS has helped us all find purpose in what we do as we have an undeniable connection to our CO-ALAS family.  I am very appreciative to be a part of CO-ALAS and I look forward to continuing my involvement.

CO-ALAS is a professional education association that advocates for the continued development and placement of Latino/Latina administrators who are committed to quality public education for all students.


PO Box 13109
Denver, CO 80201