~ by Gabriel Paulson ~
Without prior notice or indication, Manitou Springs Middle School Principal Ron Hamilton has resigned, leaving the district in a lurch as officials begin the search for a replacement before the current school year has come to an end.
Hamilton has declined to comment on his decision to leave the position.
During the interim, Eric McMartin, the district’s superintendent of instruction and innovation, will serve as principal of Manitou Springs Middle School while district officials begin the selection process. He will fill the role until the end of the current school year.
During the process, he will work closely with Assistant Principal Areashera Bartlett, staff, parents and the students to ensure the school year ends on a positive note.
Superintendent Elizabeth Domangue said the district was thankful that he was willing to step up to the plate to fill this role until someone can be hired to fill the position. The district hopes to have the position filled by July 1.
McMartin grew up in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, attended Lane Community College in Eugene and graduated from Western Oregon University in Monmouth.
He began his teaching career at Harrison School District 2 as a first grade teacher. He spent 10 years as a teacher, instructional coach and district assessment coordinator for Harrison. After that, he spent five years at Widefield School District as k-12 assessment coordinator. Then, he served as assistant principal of Bricker Elementary School in Harrison School District prior to being hired by Manitou Springs. While he was training to be an administrator, McMartin earned his master’s degree from University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. He and his wife Melissa have two children.
He has only been with the district a short time, but loves the people and the district, who have made him feel welcome, McMartin stated in a biography on the school’s Website. The district’s chief financial officer and human resources director Suzi Thompason said the district is leading a community-engaged process when it comes to hiring a new principal.
The district has already hosted principal search engagement processes with students, staff and family members and have provided the opportunity for staff and parents from all schools in the district to volunteer to serve on the interview committee.
The position has been posted on various educational Websites and the Colorado Association of School Executives and the district’s own Website. The announcement was developed based on the current needs of the district, future direction the district wants to take and feedback provided by the community, Domague stated.
The district is looking for a candidate who meets the following qualities: models open and transparent communication with respect, honesty and integrity; models follow-through and a willingness to learn, unlearn and relearn while leading toward a shared vision; knows each student by name and how to support the student and family; understands the history, traditions and uniqueness of Manitou Springs and the Ute Pass community; coordinates and collaborates to grow Pre-K to 12th grade vertical alignment strategies by building strong relationships across all schools and families.
The position was posted in late February and closed this past week. Interviews are scheduled for March 10.
The community is invited to attend a meet and greet for the candidates from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10 at Manitou Springs Middle School, 415 El Monte Place.
Domangue said she hopes all parents in the district will attend the meeting and help in the decision-making process for students of the district.