D-49 principals retire a year after turmoil surrounding their jobs

April 27, 2010

Two popular Falcon principals who were saved from the chopping block last year and whose predicament spurred a recall effort of school board members are retiring.

Sandy Collins of Vista Ridge High School and Mike Collins of Sand Creek High School are among 21 Falcon staff members who accepted early retirements as part of a plan to save money without cutting jobs, according to Falcon officials.

The board will vote on the hiring of the Collinses’ replacements Wednesday night.

Last spring, after a public outcry and organized protests, the board decided to renew the two principals’ contracts. The community group failed in an attempt to recall board members Kent Clawson and Dave Martin.

Two other members of the beleaguered board decided not to run for re-election and Clawson later resigned. Martin remains on the board.

“We especially want to thank the students and parents of our high schools for the support and love they have shown us while we were here, especially last spring,” Sandy Collins said Tuesday.

She added, “We are on to new adventures.” They have purchased a 44-foot sailboat and plan to travel the Caribbean and scuba dive. They also plan to spend time in England with two grandchildren and Mike Collins’ elderly mother. Their home base will be Pueblo, where Sandy’s elderly parents live.

The community activists are not upset that the principals are leaving a year after such an effort was made in their behalf.

“It has been very difficult for them,” said Charlotte Lingard-Young, a parent who helped lead the recall. “We wish them well but wish they were not retiring. But they are leaving on their own terms.”

The administration is recommending that Sean Dorsey, principal at Wasson High School in Colorado Springs School District 11, be hired as principal at Sand Creek, and Bob Felice, principal at Falcon Middle School, be promoted to principal at Vista Ridge.

The Collinses have 50 years of educator experience between them.

Sandy Collins has been a teacher and administrator for 30 years, including 20 in Colorado. In her eight years at Falcon she served as assistant principal at Horizon Middle School, principal at Skyview Middle School and was in central office administration. She was planning principal for the new Vista Ridge high school before becoming principal.

Mike Collins has 20 years in education, including six years in Falcon, four as Sand Creek principal. He had served 20 years in the British Royal Marines.

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