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  • Brodie Farquhar

Hayden starts school next week with new superintendent

New superintendent Eric Owen says he wants to highlight celebrating success this year, something he says educators are not doing enough.


Hayden students will return to school next week with a new face in the Superintendent’s office, as Eric Owen starts his first school year in the new role.


Teachers have been getting ready since Aug. 8 for the return of students on Monday.


The district's new superintendent, Eric Owen, 54, has been in education for 24 years – 15 as an elementary school principal. Most of his career has been spent in Woodland Park, Colorado Springs and the Fountain-Fort Carson School District. When he hasn't been an administrator, he's been a fourth-grade teacher.


“I really enjoy that age,” he said. “They're beginning to understand themselves and they're still eager to learn and open to new experiences.”


Owen anticipates that the district will have 420-430 students this school year. He's dealing with staff vacancies even at this late date.


“I'd love to find a K-12 music teacher, an elementary counselor and a district social worker,” said Owen.


He's staffed up at the administrator level, with two locally grown principals – Kaylee Voegtie in the elementary level and Vickie Blomquist at the middle school. And at the high school level, he has Linc Sellden, who previously was principal at Central High in Grand Junction.


Owen said he's excited to come on board for the second year of the district's master plan, which calls for Hayden graduates to have skills in critical thinking, be globally aware, independent, confident, well-equipped and courageous. That's quite a package, he said, and bodes well for student’s future success.


And when Owen was introduced recently to district staff and teachers, he had his own list of goals for employees: work hard, have fun, support each other and celebrate success.


“Educators don't typically do a good job at celebrating their own or each other's success,” said Owen.


All too often, opportunities to celebrate success get lost in the daily tasks of lesson planning and grading papers, he added. And yet, educators have positive impacts on students and fellow teachers alike, he said.


What he wants to foster is a feeling of family that crosses school boundaries. For example, if a middle school teacher has a student who is struggling with one area, an elementary school teacher might have the key to fixing that problem. Similarly, a middle school student might have the energy and skills to do advanced work, and a high school teacher might have lesson plans to keep that student challenged and engaged.


“We have three separate schools in the same building, and it is too easy to get narrowly focused on your school,” said Owen.

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