A longtime Montezuma-Cortez High School science teacher will be taking over as principal this coming fall.
Eric Chandler has been selected to fill the role for the 2019-20 school year. He takes over for Jason Wayman, who announced his resignation in February.
“I am pleased to announce that Eric Chandler will be the new principal for the 19-20 school year,” Superintendent Lori Haukeness wrote in a letter Tuesday. “I am confident that Eric will continue the momentum of M-CHS and lead the teachers and students forward toward even greater accomplishments.”
Chandler has taught at the high school for the past 14 years. Before that, he taught for two years at Southwest Open School and two years in Farmington, in addition to working for a few environmental education nonprofits.
During his time at M-CHS, Chandler held several leadership roles, including department chair, according to Haukeness. He is enrolled in a principal licensure program.
“We’ve made a lot of progress as a school over the last few years,” Chandler said. “And I just wanted to see us continue to move in a positive direction. And I thought I could help do that.”
He hopes to build upon the school’s successes and to strengthen and expand all the offerings for students – from the core subjects and electives to the career and technical education, Advanced Placement and dual enrollment programs.
And having served as a science teacher, he said that he understands multiple perspectives within the school.
“I understand the struggles, and I also know the successes, because I’ve been here long enough,” Chandler said. “It’s nice to know what has been done in the past, what has worked and what hasn’t worked, so that we can not repeat the same mistakes. And then also what is working so that we can build from those strengths, and continue to move the school forward in the direction we want it to go.”
Community members are invited to meet Chandler at an open house at the high school from 5 to 6 p.m. July 31.
The first day of school is Aug. 19.
“It will be different for me, being on the other side of the desk,” Chandler said. “But I’m looking forward to seeing the students and helping them in a different role than I have in the past.”