For Information on Individual Schools (such as School Supplies, Handbooks, registration information), click above On Prairie Elementary or Prairie Jr Sr High
A school report card is available for the Elementary and Junior-Senior high school. Click on the links below.
We will create, deliver and responsibly manage opportunities for all children to learn every day and become contributing citizens. These opportunities will be developed in partnership with the community and will be provided in a safe and supportive environment.
Every Student Learning Every Day
Respect, Dignity, Honesty, Responsibility and Teamwork
Prairie Jr/Sr High a 5 Star School
Prairie Elementary a 4 Star School
Distinguished Elementary School
NATIONAL BLUE RIBBON SCHOOL OF EXCELLENCE 2014
Superintendent’s Welcome to School Year 2022-2023
This is year #2 as the Cottonwood School District superintendent. My first year as the superintendent was a whirlwind and a breath of fresh air all in one. I thoroughly enjoyed the elementary atmosphere, all the smiles in the hall, the eagerness to learn, and overall excitement the students displayed on a daily basis. The start of the 2022-2023 school year has arrived. The teachers have been back in the building for a week now in preparation for the students to walk through the door this Wednesday, August 31, 2022. It has been great seeing the staff busy in their classrooms and I am looking forward to seeing all the students this week as well.
Cottonwood School District’s enrollment leading up to the first day of school is currently at 441 students. Last year at this time we had 423 students enrolled. We currently have 51 open enrolled students from other districts. We only took open enrolled students from our newly hired teacher this year.
Our fall sports seasons kicked off on Wednesday, August 12th and there have been a solid number of participants. Our football and volleyball teams kicked off their season this past weekend in Middleton, New Plymouth and Genesee. First Cross Country action is Thursday in Bovill. Jr High football started last week and Jr High girls basketball will kick off on the first day of school. Student organizations FFA, BPA, HOSA & Knowledge Bowl will begin their meetings when the school year starts. Open House at the elementary school was held on Monday, August 29th from 5:0 – 7:00. 209 students out of 231 elementary students came with a 90% attendance rate. We served 344 hamburgers and hotdogs. We have great community support and it was great seeing the excitement from the kids as they get ready for the new school year. Prairie is offering numerous dual credit courses again this year. we have a great partnership with LCSC and appreciate the dedication our teachers show by giving out students the opportunity to accrue numerous college credits before they graduate high school. 727 credits were earned by high school students during the 2021-2022 school year. This saved the students $258,812 in college credits. This is a very impressive number. We look forward to continuing this opportunity for all of our students.
We welcome new staff members to the district this year
Dena Francis – Dena was born and raised in the Clearwater Valley area until she was 10, and then moved every three years from Grangeville to Lapwai to Lewiston. She spent her senior year in high school living in Bolivia. She attended LCSC and did her student teaching in Senegal, West Africa. She’s been married for 24 year to Kevin, who is a history teacher at CV. They have six children – four boys and two girls – ranging in age from 9 – 31. Their 2 youngest daughters are enrolled at Prairie (Anna – 7th and Lydia – 4th). She loves spending time with her family outdoors – swimming, kayaking and hiking. They also enjoy playing long, complicate, competitive board games when they have time. Visiting and living within different cultures is one of her favorite things to do. She will be teaching 7th, 8th and 9th grade English at the Jr/Sr High School. She’s excited to be a part of the Prairie Pirate educational team! Welcome Dena!
Brittany Stewart – Brittany grew up in Post Falls, but made her way to the Camas Prairie roughly ten years ago. She attended the University of Idaho for her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and Master’s in Educational Leadership. She is a mother of two wonderful boys who like to keep her on her toes, but she wouldn’t want that any other way. Dawson is nine and going into fourth grade and Sawyer is eight years old and entering third grade. She loves going on new adventures with her boys. Her Achilles heel is coffee. In the mornings, you probably won’t ever see her without a coffee cup in her hand. Coffee makes her happy, so she has fully embraced its presence in her life. This will be her 13th year in education. She learned a great deal being a behavioral specialist in the Mountain View SD, she looks forward to getting back into the classroom. She is excited to be a member of the PES team and the district as a whole. Brittany will be teaching 6th grade this year at PES. Welcome Brittany!
John Eynon – John is coming out of retirement to help keep the music program going. He was a former band and choir director in the Cottonwood School District. He has been a resident of Idaho County for 28 years. He is a retired U.S. Navy Commander, Navy Aviator and a retired school music teacher with 15 years of classroom experience directing bands, choir and musical theater. He also has a decade of curriculum consulting experience working for several major educational publishers. John will be teaching HS Band, and 5th and 6th grade band. Thank you John and welcome back to the district!!
Jarret Nuxoll – Jarret grew up in Kooskia, Idaho. He graduated from CV high school. He graduated form LCSC with a welding degree. He got married last year to his wife Hannah (Duuck) Nuxoll, and they have a baby boy on the way! The now live in Cottonwood! He will be teaching the Ag classes on a 1 year emergency provisional. He is excited for the opportunity. Welcome Jarret!
Shelly Sanford – Shelly was born in Clarkston and attended Clarkston schools through the 8th grade. Their family moved to Meridian and she graduated from Meridian High School. She as a brother that lives in Cottonwood and a sister who lives in Middleton. She also has a half sister. She moved to Cottonwood 8 years ago working at Cottonwood Foods and then St. Mary’s Hospital. She enjoys fishing and she also has a hours, mule and 2 dogs. She was hired this summer as the head custodian at the elementary school. She will be a rockstar! Welcome Shelly!
Laurie Karel – Laurie is glad to be back at Prairie teaching Elementary Music after a 4 year break. She taught Elementary music, drama, choir and guitar in Bellevue, near Sun Valley for 2 years. She retired 2 years ago to be with her husband Dan when they found out his cancer was terminal. All of her kids will all be married soon. Her son Kevin is marrying Dottie Harmon on September 3rd, and she and her son Aiden will join their family. Anthony and Chynna just celebrated their 1st anniversary. She had 2 knees replaced and can finally walk down stairs without pain! She enjoyed helping her parents this past year chauffeuring them to doctors and to see family. She loves to travel and went on a 3200 mile solo road trip through 5 states this summer. She visited cousins in South Dakota, Laura Ingalls’ homes in Desmet, and had a family reunion with Dan’s mom’s family in North Dakota. She has 4 beautiful grandkids – Miles, Ella, Challis and Aiden. She gets to babysit Ella 2 days a week this school year. She has a supportive family that helps her in so many ways. She loves to go boating on Dworshak, watch sunsets, and read and make music. Laurie will be teaching K-4 music Wednesday/Thursday! Welcome back Laurie!
Amber Nuxoll – Amber was born in Rupert. She was adopted and was raised in Cottonwood, graduating from Prairie High School in 2010. She is married to Curtis, and they have 4 kids (Ava, Matt, Adam, and Abby). She enjoys gardening and canning. Unfortunately the storm on August 11th wiped their gardens out along with their fruit trees! They enjoy camping and being with family. Amber came on board last year after spring break part time working 3 days a week in the elementary kitchen. She will be working 5 days a week part time again this year! Welcome Amber!
Cami Shears – Cami grew up in Clarkston, Washington, graduation from Clarkston High School. She obtained her teaching certificate from LCSC in 2001. She worked as a lead preschool teacher and parent educator in Spokane, WA. They decided to move their family to Cottonwood in Fall, 2020. Her parents have a cabin down the road from the high school, which they lived in until their new house was completed this year. She is married to Wayne and they have 3 kids (Reece – 11th grade, Riley – 9th grade and Kennedy 4th grade). Cami was hired as a paraprofessional for the upcoming school year. Welcome Cami!
Projects – Numerous activities happened over the summer. We offered a summer school program for elementary students in July and August 3 days a week for 4 weeks. This was facilitated by Becky Higgins and her summer school help consisted of Cami Shears, Ashle’ Sowa, Megan Rambo, Lisa Riener and Erin Shears. There were 35 students enrolled with a 90% attendance rate. All the students did well in the program. Thank you to these ladies for their hard work and taking time out of their summer to assist these students.
Projects throughout the summer – Rick Forsmann updated the water system in the elementary school. He began the project in January 2022 and the project was completed at the end of July. The water system under the building was 70 years old and there was no access to those pipes. rick wanted to put everything overhead and now all the pipes under the building are obsolete and turned off. This was a huge undertaking and Rick did a fantastic job getting everything up and running.
New hot water heaters were installed at the elementary school, as they replaced the original hot water heaters in the building which were installed in 1060!
We finished the tiling project at the elementary building. This project began last summer and we finished up the remaining classrooms this summer.
New carpet tile was installed in the upstairs classrooms, library, principal’s office and copy room at the Jr Sr high school.
Laurie Workman painted the IDLA room in the Jr Sr high school, which hasn’t been completed in many years. All furniture was pulled out with the floors being refinished. Laurie trimmed the trim and painted the classroom door red, it turned out fantastic.
New tile was added in the hallway in the auxiliary gym along with the bathrooms. The stainless steel sinks were taken out, due to leaks. New sinks were installed.
New LED lights were installed in the auxiliary gym using an AVISTA grant. The cost was minimal, but the gym was brightened up substantially!
Matt Elven took it upon himself to begin the refinishing project of the gym stage area. This project will be done in stages. He finished the front part and will be lining students up to complete their senior projects during this process.
New cameras were installed by CompuNet over the summer at both the Jr Sr high school and the elementary school. This was a much needed upgrade as there were no cameras in the elementary school and the cameras at the Jr Sr high school were old and needed to be upgraded. The district purchased a new storage container for the auxiliary gym along with the Cottonwood Youth Wrestling Club. It will be used to store wrestling mats and other items as well. With only 2 buildings in the district now, one area we lack is storage.
All 3 gyms were refinished this summer and are ready for the upcoming sport seasons.
A major project coming up after the 1st of the year will be the renovation of the Jr Sr high school gym foyer/concession area. We will be upgrading the bathrooms with more stalls and space. The foyer will be widened. The concessions stand will be moved to the existing foyer area and the old concessions area will become storage for numerous items that need to be at ground level to avoid lifting heavy objects up onto the stage. Our goal is to begin this project around the middle of February. It will impact Missoula Children’s Theater, Prom, and Graduation, but we will be flexible and make everything work out. I hope the majority of the project will be completed and ready for use by August 2023! Fingers crossed.
We are looking forward to another great year. If any community members are interested in being on an email list for the schools, please contact Jennifer Riener at the elementary school firstname.lastname@example.org or Matt Elven at the Jr Sr High School Elven.
We hope you all have a fantastic 2022-2023 school year!