The Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1 looked into its own ranks in finding the high school principal to replace the retiring Gordon Shepherd.
The district selected Mesa Elementary Principal Jason Wayman, 32, to take over as Montezuma-Cortez High School principal starting July 1.
Wayman, for the past three years, has been the principal at Mesa Elementary and for two years prior to that he was the assistant principal at the school.
He also taught at Cortez Middle School for four years before moving over to Mesa Elementary five years ago.
Wayman has a secondary degree in math, and once served as the coach of the high school football team while at the same time working as an assistant principal at Mesa Elementary.
He said the high school principal position was not something he initially pursued, but added that when life changes, goals sometimes change.
We had discussions about it, he said. I was the one who put in the transfer request when I had seen the length of time the position had been open.
He admitted that there will be challenges at the high school with one priority being to help the school get over the hump, so the district does not lose its accreditation. The district is on a five-year improvement plan that was mandated from the Colorado Department of Education to improve its schools.
He said he wants to make sure the accreditation is not lost and mentioned he was a student in the district while growing up and his three children also are Re-1 students.
He said he hopes he provides some consistency to the high school principal position because it has been a revolving door for a number of years. He said the students and teachers have seen a lot of changes in past years because the leadership has always been changing.
He said there are no guarantees or promises, but added stability is something he hopes to bring.
I am relatively young, so I could be there for a few years to provide them some consistency, he said.
Wayman was interviewed by a committee of high school teachers, a few high school students and two central office administrators on May 9 and was offered the job the following day.
I think having as much vested interest in the district has helped my vision and passion, he said.
Perhaps his biggest changes as the high school principal will be working with teachers who teach one subject area compared to the elementary teachers who teach all the subjects as well as the age of the students.
Wayman has a masters in education leadership from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix and is pursuing a doctorate in education leadership from Nova College in Florida, which he hopes will help him be as effective as possible in helping the high school and the district.
He also said he hopes to increase teacher and student morale and plans to collaborate with both groups to achieve this. He said this was one of the committees biggest wants that were relayed to him when he was interviewed.
Less than a week after Wayman was selected as the future high school principal, the district Tuesday named his successor at his current school.
K.D. Umbarger accepted the position of principal at Mesa Elementary School for the 2012-2013 school year. She has worked at Mesa Elementary for 12 years.
In a press release from incoming Superintendent Alex Carter, he said Umbarger has demonstrated her deep commitment to supporting the students and teachers at Mesa Elementary in their academic and personal growth.
In addition, the district also named Curriculum Director Donetta Dehart to be the new principal at Manaugh Elementary and also named Angela Galyon as the principal for Kemper Elementary. All four positions are for the 2012-13 school year.
Reach Michael Maresh at firstname.lastname@example.org