Dave Schmid's recognition as Colorado's Principal of the Year is an honor not only for him as an individual but also for Steamboat Springs High School and the school district as a whole.
The Colorado Association of School Executives and the Colorado Association of Secondary School Principals selected Schmid from a pool of nominees for the honor. He is now among the winners from each state who will be considered for National Principal of the Year.
Schmid is certainly deserving of the award. Since coming to Steamboat Springs in 1995, he has helped mold Steamboat Springs High School into one of the best in the state. This year, the school achieved the state's second-highest rating and ranked 35th out of 354 statewide in the Colorado Department of Education's School Accountability Reports. The school's CSAP and ACT scores rank among the top 10 percent in the state and its dropout rate is among the lowest.
Schmid's success, said Superintendent Cyndy Simms, is in his ability to stay focused on students.
"From the very beginning, he asked us to start and end our decision making with the question 'is this the best thing for our students,'" Simms wrote in a letter nominating Schmid for the award.
Schmid has challenged his staff to lead curriculum development, staff development and leadership training. He is an advocate of consensus building and involves his teachers and staff in solving problems, Simms said.
In an article he wrote for an education trade publication Schmid said, "We want our school to be a place where conversations inspire people and create passion for making a difference in the lives of students, reminding us why we entered our profession in the first place."
As is his nature, Schmid deflected credit for the award. "It's an honor to be recognized like that, but I think it's really an honor for our staff and the school," he said. "I work with some amazing people."
This hasn't been the easiest year for the school district. From the bitter public feud between Simms and Strawberry Park Elementary School Principal John DeVincentis to the debate over a proposed Montessori Charter School, the district has faced its share of controversies.
But despite such distractions, the district continues to enjoy success, from Strawberry Park becoming the first school in Northwest Colorado to earn an excellent rating in the school accountability reports to Schmid's award. That is a credit to staff members like Schmid, who have worked so hard to distinguish the district and have rightfully earned our congratulations and our thanks.