New school year never gets old for veteran principal

Kristin Lipe starts 24th year leading Ranchwood Elementary

Ranchwood Elementary Principal Kristin Lipe greets kindergartner Mateo Dehuma at the front entrance on the first day of the 2023-24 school year. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

The excitement of a new school year never gets old for veteran Principal Kristin Lipe.

“The first day and the last day are the best days,” said Lipe, starting her 24th year at Ranchwood Elementary School. “That’s what keeps me coming back every year – just seeing those smiling faces and the kids so eager to learn.

“Yukon is amazing, and we have the best teachers. We’re going to do our best to ‘raise the bar’ high and have our kids achieve.”

The 2023-24 school year kicked off Aug. 17 across Yukon Public Schools. Lipe is Yukon’s longest-serving site principal.

“It has been a great start to our new school year,” the Yukon High School graduate said Thursday morning. “Our teachers have been so diligent preparing their classrooms and doing professional development so they’re ready to reach all of our learners.

“We have embraced all our families – and are thrilled to have them as part of the ‘Ranchwood family’.”

There were plenty of smiles – and a few tears – as students returned to school, officially ending their summer break.

Ranchwood Elementary School, 607 Annawood, is one of seven YPS elementary sites.



Ranchwood has about 450 students enrolled in pre-kindergarten through third grades. The school has some 60 faculty and staff members.

“We continue to grow every single year,” Ranchwood’s longtime principal added. “And we’re almost out of space.”

Ranchwood Elementary was named for the adjacent Ranchwood Heights neighborhood north of Main Street. The school opened in 1971 and an addition was completed in 1991.

In summer 2022, a new playground was installed behind Ranchwood school funded through the 2021 YPS bond issue.

An accessible sidewalk now connects the school building to the updated playground equipment.

The school also has new furniture throughout the building.

Lipe is in her 26th year working for the Yukon school district. She taught for one year and was assistant principal for one year at Skyview Elementary in the late ‘90s before becoming Ranchwood’s head principal.