Zabel to lead Hayden schools |

Zabel to lead Hayden schools

Tamera Manzanares

Troy Zabel will be the new principal of Hayden High School and Hayden Middle School.

The Hayden School Board hired Zabel on Wednesday night and determined he will lead the two schools with the help of a part-time dean of students focused on day-to-day activity in the middle school.

The decision came with considerable input from parents and school staff who filled the meeting room and questioned whether one primary administrator adequately could address the different issues at each school.

“I just feel that we need somebody to deal with the students –some of them need to be addressed immediately,” middle school secretary Barbara Manzanares said.

Several parents emphasized the importance of the principal knowing students’ names and seeing them in the hallway on a daily basis.

Zabel reassured parents and staff he will keep a presence at both schools and guaranteed there will be fewer discipline problems while he’s principal.

Zabel left his job as principal of South Routt Elementary School to take the Hayden job. The South Routt School District implemented a similar principal structure a year ago.

“I’m very confident this is workable,” he said, noting that he will collaborate with staff to develop a system to oversee all aspects of the schools.

Several teachers said they already handle most of the discipline problems.

“I think we’re capable as a staff of handling it, but it’s important to have reinforcements,” middle school teacher Gina Zabel said.

Acting superintendent Mike Luppes said hiring for the dean of students position would be open to all middle school and high school staff.

Also at the meeting, the board filled two of the three teacher vacancies at the high school. Don Cherni of Sheridan, Wyo., will be the new band director, and Ken Neis of Steamboat will fill the cyberschool instructor position. A new English teacher should be on board soon as well, Luppes said.

Parents expressed their disappointment in failed efforts to change the half-day kindergarten program to full-time status.

Luppes said the district received only half of the 18 deposits it needed to progress with the program, but some parents argued the district might offer more financial support in addition to exploring other funding sources.

“I think we can make it work; I really want to try,” said Kathy Hockett, who stressed that some parents can’t afford to pay $250 a month for the full-day program.

She pointed out that families with two working parents might qualify for assistance from the Routt County Department of Health and Human Services. She also suggested that some of the funds made available through the principal restructuring process might be put toward the all-day kindergarten.

“Let us crunch some numbers and think about it,” board president Kurt Frentress said.

In other business:

n Luppes reported that a fire Monday night in a trash bin outside the high school did not cause any damage. Sawdust from work being done to the school’s gym floor probably combusted spontaneously, he said.

n Luppes also reported on a Professional Learning Communities conference he attended in Aurora with several staff members. Based on the philosophy of educator and author Richard DuFour, the conference stressed a collaborative approach to teaching. Luppes said the conference offered useful information that likely will be discussed at future board meetings.

n Board members approved a new social studies curriculum, which outlines standards for economics, civics, history and geography. Curriculum coordinator Janet Bohart said new curriculums for physical education and foreign languages may also be complete this summer.

— To reach Tamera Manzanares call 871-4204 or e-mail

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