The path to Renaissance looks different for every staff member who is a part of the REMS community, but for many, the path to REMS is deliberate and focused because of our known core values of educating the whole child. Our principal, Trena Hand, sought out a leadership position at Renaissance specifically because of those core values and how much they align with her ultimate goal of being a school leader who helps facilitate a strong school community where every child feels a safe sense of belonging and an inherent value as an individual.
Trena gew up splitting her time between her mom in Indiana and her dad in Colorado. Graduating early from high school in Indiana allowed Trena the opportunity to move out to Colorado permanently to live with her dad and step-mom and to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder (Go Buffs!) With aspirations to be a cultural anthropologist like Margaret Mead or Jane Goodell, Trena studied abroad in the rainforests of Panama and in Paris, France, and graduated with a degree in Cultural Anthropology with an emphasis on human rights. It was with this love of fostering equity for all people that motivated Trena to dive into the world of education. After receiving her secondary education license in English and Language Arts, Trena wore many hats for many different schools around the district at various secondary levels. In the meantime, Trena married her husband Matt and eventually they moved to various states around the country for Matt’s job and welcomed her son, Sullivan before they came back to Colorado where Trena wanted to settle down and pursue her goals in administration.
“I love learning and improving who I am in a leadership capacity. I love continuing to foster my own education, so school leadership was my next step. Getting into the professional development side was a way I could impact students in the classroom on a more global level. I had great mentors ... I had inspiring principals along the way and I learned from the best. I really wanted to give back to my community.” Trena’s administrative experience consisted of numerous roles at Douglas County High School and then at Mountain Ridge Middle School, but Trena was drawn to elementary school, specifically to Renaissance where she saw an alignment of our core values as a community and her dedicated passion as an advocate for individual acceptance and human rights.
Trena lost her father unexpectedly when she was 26 years old. It was this experience, along with her helping to raise her younger brother who is transgendered, when she vowed to always put the social and emotional wellbeing of students at the forefront of her passion as an educator. Helping create environments where students feel a sense of agency and support is a driving force for her each and every day. “Being able to advocate for equal rights for everyone and accepting and understanding everyone for who they are is personal for me.” Trena found those values within our REMS community. “The core values of Renaissance were the first and foremost most important aspect that drew me to this community. The way that we foster student growth and curiosity in a different, non-traditional way is inspiring. We march to our own beat! We offer kids a lot of voice and choice in the learning experience that they want to have and they’re involved in the process. We aspire to have them achieve in academics, but we really foster their growth as human beings in global experiences.” It is with this willingness to give students a voice where we find a supportive environment that offers students a deeper sense of belonging; a deeper sense of CREW.
“I never knew that I’d fall in love so quickly with elementary students. When you walk into the building, despite COVID and the hardships that families and teachers are facing, the energy and excitement to come to school is apparent. The joy and laughter you hear in the hallways and in the classrooms ... Students are having fun, and our teachers are taking such good care of them. Everyone is showing up to be a part of the crew.” While the transition into a new role has had its challenges during this unprecedented school year and the restrictions that COVID has placed on Renaissance, Trena has been overwhelmed with gratitude with the entire REMS community being “gracious, welcoming, and kind.”
Even though we have seen the changes this school year has brought us, inside the school day the students are working and laughing and playing and the work has continued on. As principal, Trena notes that every day is different and it’s this variety that makes her role so exciting. “I learned a very important lesson early on … try to fill your daily calendar with the activities you love first. There are always going to be items that need your attention, but my focus each day is to get into the classrooms, connect with kids, and connect with and coach our teachers.” You have probably seen Trena outside in the mornings and in the afternoons at pick up and our children see her each day in the lunchroom, she does her best to carve this time out each day to continue to interact with students in different environments to continue to build those relationships. “We always want to make sure that everyone is safe and that everyone feels like they have a sense of belonging and in doing so we are continuing to promote what makes Renaissance unique … this sense that We Are Crew.” Trena is excited for what the future holds at Renaissance and to see our valued traditions.
When Trena is not at school you can find her and her family either cheering on their favorite sports teams (the Buffalo Bills, the CU Buffaloes, or the New York Yankees) or finding an outdoor activity to pass the time. Trena’s family are avid outdoor enthusiasts when it comes to golf, snowboarding and skiing, paddleboarding, and traveling to new places! Experiencing new cultures together has been a family favorite. Regardless if it’s an outdoor activity or an inside night of playing games, Trena enjoys spending quality time with Matt, Sully, and their dog, Lola!
We have been fortunate to have Trena’s enthusiasm and passion as we have navigated through a challenging calendar year and we look forward to continuing to share with her the values and traditions of Renaissance!
We are crew
We love to celebrate all of the ways our Parent & Staff Crews make Renaissance a great place to grow and learn!