Johanna Kugler: Advocacy for the whole child, team and community


Johanna Kugler

I’m Johanna Kugler: mother, wife, educator, volunteer, community member and hobby farmer.

I work at Open Arms Childcare & Preschool and I wear a variety of hats: educator, coach, parenting trainer and back-of-the-house expert, including licensing, public and environmental health regulations, scholarship creation, billing and student / teacher records. My husband and I have been in Summit County since 2007. We came for the summer and fell in love with Summit and decided to stay. At Sapphire Point, my husband suggested we have our house in Dillon Valley and we have three children attending the Dillon Valley Elementary.

As a family we are hobby farmers with our chickens and a huge garden. We are currently in the middle of our annual autumn preservation and make jams, peaches, salsa, spaghetti sauce, sauerkraut, red cabbage, soups and vegetables. The whole family takes part in this work all year round, feeding animals, cleaning stables, picking peas and converting compost. In our free time, my kids attend the Alpine Dance Academy, Lake Dillon Theater Co., Summit Strikers / High Country Soccer, Summit Baseball, Dillon Community Church, and all the extras at school.



I have a Masters in Administrative Management and Policy Studies with a focus on early childhood. My bachelor’s degree is in sociology and I have a minor in world religions. I have a Level VI Early Childhood qualification, the highest level, and I am qualified as a Director for Large Centers. In 2020, I was named Best Virtual Teacher in the Summit Daily News competition. I have completed the Leadership Summit and the Summit Foundation’s Nonprofit Resources for Grantees coaching program. I am reliable in assessing and reviewing multiple children and in curriculum instruments, implementing socio-emotional frameworks, and am trained in assessing administrative systems for early childhood education.

Internationally, I attended Chaing Mai University, worked at Port Chulalongkorn University and taught Buddhist monks, volunteered at a Chaing Mai school for the deaf, and spent months volunteering in and around Chiang Rai with women and children from the Sex trade industry.



In the United States, I am a former team member of the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps. My service time was in the south after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, building houses with Habitat for Humanity, restoring school buildings for reopening and volunteering after my shifts as tutoring for children and work in blackboards.

At the state level, I’ve been a representative of It’s About Kids Summit County through the Colorado Children’s Campaign since 2010. It’s About Kids has three areas of expertise: Early Childhood, K-12, and Health, which works concurrently with legislation, policy, and implementation for children. Every year I help bring the Colorado Kid’s Count data to our ward. I sit on the Buell Foundation’s Buell Alumni Leadership Council and work in particular on the professional development of managers and professionals.

At the local level, I am honored to serve as Vice President of the Parents, Teachers and Students Association in Dillon Valley. In July I was appointed to the Summit School District Education Committee. Over the past 14 years, I have served on many committees and working groups that have directly impacted the children and families in Summit County.

Priority # 1: Whole Child

We need to meet every child where they are academically, cognitively, socially / emotionally and physically. Every child deserves to have the tools, resources, and support systems to be successful. We need researched holistic assessments along with test results to see the child’s growth. Children are successful on every path if they are courageous, curious, globally aware, prepared and growth-oriented.

Priority # 2: Whole team

We need to build a real collaborative partnership with parents (expert on the child), educators (expert in the classroom) and children (expert on themselves). Communication is the key to this partnership. We need common definitions about curricula, strategic plans, growth areas and expectations. All voices should be at the table and heard, knowing that we all have the best of intentions for every child. Once the core basics of learning, such as reading, are taught, it is not the school’s job to teach a child what to think, but how to think. The entire team plays an active role, with the child’s education coming first.

Priority # 3: Whole Community

Teachers, support staff, administrators, children, and families make up the Summit School District ward, and that’s one-third of the Summit County’s ward. Summit County should be accountable and proud of the district. The district should contribute to discussions about community needs, such as: B. Housing, transport, care, wages, land use, etc. In order for this district to flourish, there must be shareholders at all levels.

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