Growing up around the country, Daniel Rosentreter discovered his passion for English education and the Western United States, leading him to pursue a career in education that brought him from Indiana to Colorado.
Born in Indiana, Rosentreter moved around with his family throughout his education. He completed his primary education in Las Vegas, Nevada, and parts of southern Nevada before his family moved back to Indiana when he transitioned to middle school.
During high school, his passion for English solidified his career path into education. A desire to coach was another factor that led him into teaching.
“I think a lot of it was my high school English teacher,” he said. “She was phenomenal and always motivated me. I always had a love for reading and especially for writing.”
Beginning a four-year English teaching program at Purdue University, Rosentreter transferred to one of Indiana University’s extension campuses to reduce his student debt.
“I saw how much I would make as a first-year teacher and my student loans were adding up,” he said.
Teaching and coaching in Colorado
After earning his undergraduate in English education, he entered the workforce, teaching three years in Indiana. While Indiana was his home, Rosentreter enjoyed living out west and when a job opening posted in Olathe, he jumped at the opportunity.
“I was 26 years old, single and didn’t really have anything holding me back,” he said. “I was actually on vacation out here when I interviewed.”
Rosentreter was visiting national parks around the surrounding states and received a call from Olathe’s principal about an interview while he was in Zion National Park in southwestern Utah near the town of Springdale.
“I packed up and drove 8 or 9 hours to get here to interview the next morning,” Rosentreter said. “He was going on vacation in two days, so if I didn’t make it over there, I had to wait for two weeks.”
Waiting two weeks would also prevent Rosentreter from providing adequate notice to his current employers.
He was offered and accepted the English teaching position at Olathe Middle/High School and he also served as the head volleyball coach for nine years. With experience competing in athletics during high school, Rosentreter said he was passionate about sports and teaching youth valuable life skills outside of the classroom. Originally, he was interested in coaching basketball, but while teaching in districts near Muncie, Indiana, volleyball was popular.
Fostering a friendship with the girls’ volleyball coach at the school, Rosentreter became the boys’ volleyball coach and fell in love with the sport.
“I think coaching specifically is just a great opportunity to connect with kids on a different level,” he said. “They can choose to be there when they’re playing sports as opposed to being assigned to your class. You can really get to know them and their passion for what they want to do.”
Transitioning to school administration
Throughout his tenure at OMHS, Rosentreter completed his master’s degree through the University of Texas – Arlington’s online program with the support of his mentors and colleagues. He randomly received an email from the University advertising the new master’s program, so he enrolled and graduated in the second cohort after 18 months.
“Specifically, it was Brent Wareham who told me he thought I would be a good administrator and that inspired me to start pursuing it,” he said.
Rosentreter began applying for administrative positions around the state, but it wasn’t until two years later when he was hired as the assistant principal at OMHS. He transitioned from teaching English to the administration, which he said was a new mindset.
“I think it was a good transition because I was pretty well established,” he said. “People knew me and knew what to expect from me and I knew what to expect from them. It’s always a little bit awkward when you go from being a peer to now being a supervisor, but it was a great five years as assistant principal there.”
Over the course of those five years, he took his approach to coaching and applied it to his role.
“My philosophy that I’ve shaped is similar to what I did as a coach,” he said. “My job is to motivate, inspire and really push people to see the best they can be and give them the resources they need to be the best they can be.”
While he continued to apply for principal positions as they came open, he did not have a desire to leave the Olathe area.
About to wrap up his fourth year as the assistant principal at OMHS, Rosentreter experienced a seizure and the doctors found a benign tumor on the outside of his brain. Surgery was scheduled for July, so he stopped applying for any openings knowing that he would likely be recovering at the beginning of the school year in August.
He went in for surgery Friday morning and was home on Sunday, despite the doctors’ expectations for Rosentreter to be in the hospital for a week. The doctors expressed concern about the surgery causing damage to his left side motor skills, which did not occur.
“I was never really worried about (the tumor), but I just knew I didn’t want to take a principal job knowing I wouldn’t be there at the beginning of the year,” he said.
He returned to his role at OMHS in mid-August to prepare for the start of the school year, which would be his final year as the assistant principal there.
In March of 2018, a principal position opened up at Northside Elementary that Rosentreter applied for and accepted.
“I was excited, but a little nervous transitioning to elementary school,” he said. “I had very little experience (in elementary education), except for some in college as far as just working with elementary students.
“I’ve learned that kids are kids, teaching is teaching. Lessons are little bit different or the content, but that’s it.”
Rosentreter walked into Northside Elementary in the midst of the school going into a turn around status with the state for low test scores. The stress of the situation had impacted staff’s morale, which was compounded by around 18 staff either transitioning into a new role or coming to Northside for the first time.
Rosentreter had previously been through this process during his time at OMHS. He focused on building up his team.
“Going back to my coaching time, it was one of the things that I loved most was coming into a program that’s been struggling for a while and really working to use that same mentality,” he said. “The biggest thing is to get your team to have confidence in themselves because the teachers are amazing, but the stress was wearing on them I think.”
Rebounding stronger, the Northside Elementary team boosted students’ test scores before having to proceed through the state’s program.
Throughout his career, Rosentreter has applied his passion to support students in the classroom, on the court and as an administrator with the goal to help students achieve their goals.
“I knew this is what I wanted to do – just that opportunity to make a difference big or small,” he said.
This feature is part of a series on principals with the Montrose County School District.