Hayden teacher hired as new Rangely High School principal

RANGELY — There will be a new school superintendent next year. And, as of Wednesday, there will be a new high school principal.
Robert Winn, 31, a high school science teacher in Hayden, was hired as the new principal at Rangely High School, which next year, with consolidation, will include grades sixth through 12th.
Winn, who has a master’s degree in education administration and supervision, will replace Nicole Walker, who resigned.
Five candidates were interviewed last weekend, four in person and one by phone. Two of the candidates were from within the district — Mark Jansen, a teacher and athletic director at the high school, and Amy Ward, a teacher and assistant principal at the middle school.
“It was a very tough decision,” said Lisa Piering, school board member. “We had very good applicants, including two from within our own district. It was hard for us to make this decision. We just felt this was the best fit for the conversion process we’re going through.”
With Parkview Elementary being closed at the end of the school year, the district will consolidate grades preschool through fifth at the middle school and sixth through 12th at the high school building.
School board members made the decision to hire a new principal, which typically would have been handled by the superintendent, with board approval. However, newly hired superintendent Barry Williams won’t start until this summer.
“Obviously, with him living in Virginia he wasn’t able to be part of the process,” Piering said. “Normally, we would not be involved, other than the approval of the hiring.”
Besides school board members, another committee — made up of an administrator, teachers, parent advisory group members and community members — also interviewed the principal candidates.
“Another committee went through separate interviews and gave their recommendation to the board,” Piering said. “Their decision concurred with ours.”
Still, it was a difficult decision, given the quality of the candidates, said Matt Scoggins, school board president.
“All of the candidates were well versed,” Scoggins said. “They all brought strengths to the table. They all seemed to be people of integrity who cared about education. It made for a tough decision on the part of the board.”
Winn was director of an alternative high school in Craig for two years, and prior to that was with an alternative high school in Denver. He and his wife, Melissa, who is a nurse, have one daughter, 3.
“We just felt like he has a really great attitude and is interested in creating a dynamic, high-achieving school,” Piering said.
School board members had an abbreviated meeting Monday. About 25 people attended; however, the board made no decisions about proposed budget cuts. Superintendent Dwayne Newman was sick and unable to attend the meeting.
“I opened it up to the public, because they want to have a voice, but nothing was decided; it was just a conversation,” Scoggins said. “I would imagine at the next meeting we’ll see more people there, when we’ll have the details. We’ve talked about trying to come up with our budget and making final decisions at that second board meeting in May.”