Hayden principal resigns

Schafer cites philosophical differences as reason for leaving

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Hayden High School Principal Nick Schafer resigned Friday after accepting a principal position in La Veta, where he said his philosophy "will be a better fit."

Differences in opinion with district administration and in particular, superintendent Scott Mader, persuaded Schafer to leave, he said.

"There's been some concerns for a while," he said. "I decided the time was right to go now."

Schafer did not want to elaborate on the problematic issues, but he did say that his philosophy puts children and education absolutely first and that he did not feel that was happening in all parts of the Hayden School District. He said several issues that arose during the past school year prompted him in late spring to begin searching for a new job.

Mader said he didn't anticipate Schafer's resignation and declined to comment on philosophical differences between himself and Schafer.

"My recommendation was that he return to the district for the next school year," Mader said, adding that the district offered Schafer a contract for the 2004-05 school year.

"Nick did a lot of good things here, he did exactly what we expected him to do when we hired him. ... I think he's leaving here with some accomplishments," Mader said.

Schafer took over the principal position at Hayden High School in fall 1999. His job at the high school was "almost perfect," and he had no issues with teachers, staff or the Hayden School Board, Schafer said.

He has taken the principal position at La Veta Junior-Senior High School in Huerfano County in Southern Colorado.

"It's the hardest decision I've ever had to make," said Schafer, who will leave his wife and son behind in Hayden until the family can make the transition to La Veta.

Despite a huge outpouring of support from the community, he doesn't plan to change his mind.

"I think it would just cause more confrontation and antagonism if I stayed," he said.

Whether Schafer's resignation will be discussed at the School Board meeting June 16 is up to the board, Mader said. Board members were not available for comment.

The district posted the high school principal job Wednesday and will be taking applications until June 21. The district hopes to select a candidate for the job by July 7, Mader said.

-- To reach Tamera Manzanares call 871-4204 or e-mail tmanzanares@steamboatpilot.com

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