New principal at Midland understands ‘international’

       The new principal at Midland Elementary may never have taught at or managed an International Baccalaureate (IB) school, but no one can say he hasn't worked at being worldly.

New Midland Principal Jeremy Cramer in his office. The background is a floor mat he obtained while teaching in Malaysia. It was made by a (former) head-hunting tribe in Borneo.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Jeremy Cramer's resume resembles a passport, with service at schools in New Zealand, Malaysia and Hungary comprising nearly a third of his 20-year educational career. “Spending six years overseas keeps your vision a little wider,” he said, when asked how his experience might apply to Midland's IB program. “It helps with IB, where you learn by inquiry and connect to a larger picture.”
       Cramer, who most recently was assistant principal at Pioneer Elementary in District 20, replaces Midland's previous principal, Robyn Colbert. According to District 11 spokesperson Elaine Naleski, Colbert has been promoted to principal at Galileo Middle School after two years heading Midland.
       Mary Thurman, a D-11 assistant superintendent who focuses on personnel, knew Cramer from mutual employment in D-20 in the '90s. “He was a star teacher (fifth grade) when I was there,” she said. She also praised Cramer for seeking the Midland position specifically, taking IB courses to prepare himself and being “enthused, energetic and a good fit for the students, staff and community.”
       An Indiana native, Cramer earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Indiana University in 1990. The travel bug struck him around that time, and he did part of his student teaching in New Zealand - using the opportunity to also visit Australia and other ports of call in the South Pacific.
       He first relocated to Colorado Springs in '91 - attracted by memories of childhood vacations here and also pleased to reunite with a sister and family friends in this area.
       Cramer taught in D-20 until 1998, when he marked his marriage that year by moving to Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, where he and his wife Michelle both took teaching positions at an international private school. He described such schools as typically having students from 30 or more nationalities, with about 10 percent from the local culture. “I think it was for the adventure,” he said, when asked about his globe-trotting inspiration. “I did some research and talked my wife into it. It wasn't that hard.”
       He enjoyed Malaysia, where the people are outgoing and nearly everyone speaks English, but he and Michelle had wanted a diverse experience in the few years they planned to be overseas, so in 2000 they moved to another international school in Budapest, Hungary (where people are more reserved and English is not as common, according to Cramer). During four years there, he worked again as an elementary teacher but also filled in as interim principal at times.
       He followed up on that administrative tack a year after returning to education in the United States, becoming principal/superintendent at an elementary school district in California in 2005-06.
       At that point, he and his wife decided they wanted to come back to Colorado Springs. He has been at Pioneer Elementary the past three years.
       Although admitting he has a “travel bug” and that Michelle is interested in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Cramer said he has no itch to take off anytime soon. He is now the father of twins, age 3, and wants to be sure his kids develop a connection with their own country - a process of many years.
       Looking to the present, he said he plans to share with Midland the philosophy he's evolved in his multi-miled career: “I believe it hasn't been a good day till I've laughed with the kids and the staff, and we've worked hard.”

Westside Pioneer article