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One Exceptional School

One Exceptional School
Nancy Hoyer, Aristotle Campus Assistant Principal
I am honored to have been chosen to fill the role of Assistant Principal at the Aristotle campus beginning this June. I am wrapping up my sixth year of teaching music at Liberty Common – four years at the Plato campus and now two years at the Aristotle campus. My husband and I have also been Liberty parents for the past 11 years as our five children made, and are continuing to make, their way through the high school. My youngest, Kurt, will be a senior at LCHS next year. As a family, we have been blessed in many ways by the structured, content-driven curriculum, the exceptional teachers, and the loving and supportive community here at Liberty. As a teacher, I have been likewise blessed by my passionate colleagues, the principled approach to teaching, and the grateful and thoughtful families I have gotten to know and love.
Liberty is truly one exceptional school with multiple campuses.
When my husband and I moved back to his native Colorado from Los Angeles in 2013, we were just about to complete our 12th year of homeschooling our 5 children. Having been unimpressed with the school offerings available to us in the many places we had lived over the years, and outraged at the consistent undermining of parental rights many of those schools were engaged in, we embraced our new homeschooling lifestyle with gusto,  landing squarely in the classical-education camp after much research and reading.  From an early age, my children learned Latin and Greek roots, memorized excellent poetry and chapters of Scripture, read voraciously, and crafted succinct sentences, even if some of them tended to employ semicolons more frequently than is deemed appropriate.
It was a privilege to teach my children, but it was an honor to learn alongside them. My greatest education came through homeschooling my five little people. I read with them, memorized with them, discussed with them, disagreed with them, and even confessed frequently I didn’t know the answer to a question they asked, but would be thrilled to try to find an answer together. We would grapple with information until we came to conclusions.
When we moved to Colorado we assumed we would continue homeschooling exclusively, but then we heard about this school called Liberty Common. We talked with people who attended and we looked into Liberty’s website. I read the following statement under Liberty Common’s philosophy: “Liberty Common firmly believes that it is the right and responsibility of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children.” I thought to myself, “What is this place?” We enrolled our oldest, who was then 16, in three classes to augment his homeschool education – this was back when part-time enrollment was an option at LCHS. One of his teachers that year was the great Jeremy Tullius, who taught him AP Language and Composition. Mr. Tullius captivated him. My son began asking if I could come a little later to pick him up so he could chat with Mr. Tullius after class – about books, about writing, about history, about everything. At this point, I was even further shocked a school like Liberty existed.
We have since had four other children make their way through the high school – all very different people, but all well-served by the education they received.
Six years ago, I chose to apply for a music-teaching position at the elementary school – the only elementary school at the time – now the Plato campus. I was fortunate enough to get the job, and since then I have been struck by the excellence of the Core Knowledge Curriculum presented to our younger students. Daily, I am inspired and challenged by my colleagues, and I am richly blessed by the relationships I have built with my students and their families.
If I could boil down all I have learned about Liberty over the past 11 years it would be this:
Liberty Common School is a parent-led school with a content-rich, classically-oriented curriculum, which embraces and attempts to duplicate the excellent traditions of our forebears, encourages and expects upright behavior and wise choices from its growing students, and aims to fill its schools with teachers who are passionate about, and experts in, their chosen fields. Simply put, it is a really wonderful place to send your kids to be educated.
This brings me, finally, to the new campus in which I currently work – the Aristotle campus. What a privilege it has been to be a part of opening up the Aristotle campus and providing Liberty’s rich education to more eager families in Northern Colorado. From the first time I stepped foot in the building, there was a sense of awed anticipation at what could be, at what would be. Because if anybody knows Aristotle’s principal, Mr. Casey Churchill, you know if he sets out to do something, it will indeed come to pass. There was excitement and energy palpable in the hallways, even on summer weekdays when the building was mostly empty. We gathered for meetings, emptied semi-trucks filled with desks and chairs, ordered street signs and custom quotes for the walls, Foundation-Stone signs, and waited anxiously for our boxes to be delivered from the Plato campus so we could unpack and make our spaces inviting.  We anticipated ways to help students coming from all different educational backgrounds. We worked hard to fill seats.
Mostly, we hoped. We hoped we would be up to the challenge. We hoped the mechanics and layout of the building would contribute to efficient learning days. We hoped the families who would call this school home would be eager to learn and participate with joy.  And on that last point, I am happy to report they are more eager than any of us dreamed. From the opening of the doors at the first back-to-school social, we have been encouraged and awed by the energy and vigor with which students and families have attacked learning. There have been days where tears have come to my eyes to watch the excitement over making a connection or learning something formerly elusive. People here are still in the “what is this place?” stage, and it is heartwarming to watch.
As we press on toward summer break, I encourage you to dig into what your students have learned here at Liberty. Discuss things with them, ask them questions, grapple over ideas, challenge their opinions, experience beauty together by listening to excellent music and drinking in beautiful artwork. Remember it is an honor and privilege to be able to learn alongside your children. Don’t allow the magic of this school and its family to become commonplace over time. I will keep reminding myself I am blessed such a school exists and I have the opportunity to experience it daily. I encourage you to do the same. Push hard to the year’s end, friends, and then delight in your summer days.


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