Dave Entwistle is the administrator for the Christian Heritage School this year. Entwistle moved to Steamboat Springs from Casablanca, Morocco.

Photo by John F. Russell

Dave Entwistle is the administrator for the Christian Heritage School this year. Entwistle moved to Steamboat Springs from Casablanca, Morocco.

New CHS administrator has worlds of experience

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— A unique path led Dave Entwistle to Steamboat Springs.

Entwistle, 52, is the new administrator of Christian Heritage School, overseeing kindergarten through 12th grade. The Seattle native moved to Kenya, West Africa, with his parents in 1962 at age 5 and lived there until he was 18. After living in New Mexico, Kentucky and Morocco, he arrived in Steamboat less than a month ago.

"It's an amazing turn of events that led us here," he said.

After spending 18 years teaching with his wife, Mona, at a school for children of missionaries in Kenya, they decided to return to the U.S. Entwistle spent four years as the secondary principal at a Christian school in Las Cruces, N.M., before a two-year stint as the principal of a Christian high school in Lexington, Ky.

Last year, Entwistle and his wife taught at an American school in Casablanca, Morocco. They committed to only a year at the school, wanting to get back into Christian education in the U.S., he said.

So the Entwistles began praying for something to open up in Christian education, preferably in Colorado, because his wife had always wanted to live in the mountains, he said. For a while, Entwistle said, things didn't look great.

He sent resumes to Christian schools across the U.S., including Christian Heritage School. He had some interest from a couple of schools, but things didn't work out.

Until one phone call.

The Entwistles received a last-minute call in May from Shawn Zwak, president of Christian Heritage School's board. They were about to leave for a flight to Lubbock, Texas, to attend their daughter's nursing school graduation at Texas Tech. The call forced them to change their return trip to Morocco. Before heading home, they would stop in Steamboat to allow Entwistle to interview at Christian Heritage.

The school previously had operated with two administrators. For the past six years, Tim Calkins was the grade school principal. Al Weisberg served as middle and high school principal for the past four.

Zwak said that because of the economic times, the school's board decided to have only a single administrator, who wouldn't teach as Calkins and Weisberg had, and who only focused on the day-to-day operations of the school. Assisting the teachers was the top priority, Zwak said.

Calkins and Weisberg were finalists for the position, in addition to Entwistle, Zwak said. He said another out-of-state candidate also was brought to Christian Heritage to interview.

After his interview May 18, Entwistle said he felt confident. He and Mona flew from Denver to Frankfurt, Germany, on their way back to Casablanca. At the Frankfurt airport, Entwistle received an e-mail from Zwak that said the board had one more question for him.

They were unable to get in touch until after the Entwistles returned to Casablanca, nearly three days after the interview. Entwistle received a phone call at 3 a.m. that morning. It was Zwak. On behalf of the board, he asked Entwistle whether he would become the administrator of Christian Heritage.

"It was definitely a big sigh of relief," Entwistle said last week. "We sensed it was confirmation God wanted us here."

Zwak said Entwistle's selection with the board was unanimous. Entwistle's world perspective was a factor in their decision, Zwak said. He said the experience could help give students an idea of what lies beyond Steamboat and Colorado.

But more than that, Zwak said, Christian Heritage wasn't just looking for a person to run the school, but someone who could be personable with staff and engage the community. They were looking for a leader, he said.

"This is someone who can take a school to the next level," Zwak said about Entwistle.

Entwistle said his new job entails some challenges, such as dealing with tight budgets in a down economy. He said it's important for Christian Heritage to retain families, some of which they've been losing in recent years, especially at the high school level.

But the first task in his new role, before the school year begins Aug. 26, is developing a good rapport with the faculty and forming good working relationships, Entwistle said.

Entwistle has called many places home throughout the years. Now, home is Steamboat Springs.

"We're thrilled to be here and excited for the next chapter in our lives," he said.

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