Montezuma-Cortez High School will be seeing some new leadership soon, as Principal Jason Wayman has decided to step down at the end of this school year.
The high school on Friday emailed a letter from Superintendent Lori Haukeness that announced that Wayman will leave Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1 at the end of the 2018-19 school year to “pursue other opportunities.”
“I leave behind some very close friends and colleagues as I open the next chapter in life,” Wayman told The Journal in an email. “I have experienced nothing but support year after year, and I am pretty sure that nowhere will ever be the same. I look forward to the next chapter in my life with uncertainty and nervousness, but thankful for the strong foundation that I was given.”
Wayman stepped into the M-CHS principal role in 2012 after having served as principal and assistant principal at Mesa Elementary. Earlier in his career, he taught at Cortez Middle School.
He is a Cortez native himself, having graduated from M-CHS in 1998. He holds a bachelor’s degree in math and teacher education, a master’s degree in educational leadership and a doctorate of education in leadership with an emphasis on educational leadership and curriculum.
Haukeness’ emailed letter lauded Wayman for expanding certain programs and credited him with helping to raise the high school’s graduation rate.
“During his time at M-CHS the school developed and implemented pathways to support student success including expanding Career and Technical Education and college preparatory courses to ensure all our students have the opportunity to develop the skills they need to be successful in college or career,” Haukeness said. “Under Dr. Wayman’s leadership the school’s graduation rate improved to 89% last year.”
Wayman said he doesn’t know where he is headed next, but added, “I just feel that it is time for new blood to take the school to a new level.”
“The RE-1 school district has been such a blessing in my life,” he said. “The memories are a long history of firsts. ... I had the opportunity to serve at every level from PK-12, and the training that was provided helped me achieve my doctoral degree.”
Haukeness said the district is beginning a search process for a new principal, adding that staff will put together a team of educators and parents to assist with the process.
“I am personally grateful for Dr. Wayman’s leadership and service to our students during his time in RE-1 and are (sic) proud of the improvements in graduation and drop-out we have seen at MCHS,” she said. “I wish him the best in this next step in his career and I am sure he will continue to contribute to education in our area in his new role.”