Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Coronado graduate will lead school as principal

By Debbie Kelley Published: May 13, 2014

The second time around seems to be the charm for Coronado High School's assistant principal, Darin Smith.

A 1990 graduate of Coronado, Smith is poised to become the school's principal for the 2014-15 year.

Smith's appointment was presented to staff and community members April 29 and will be considered for final approval Wednesday, before Colorado Springs School District 11's board of education.

It's his second try at landing the job.

Smith initially was one of five finalists being considered for two principal openings at D-11 high schools, Doherty and Coronado. Kevin Gardner of Cedaredge High on Colorado's Western Slope was selected in March to take over at Doherty, but none of the remaining four candidates was named to lead Coronado.

Instead, D-11 administrators reopened the search for the Coronado job.

"They tell you, 'We're not going to hire you, but we want you to reapply,' and you wonder what they're looking for," Smith said Tuesday. "I decided I wanted to make sure I did everything I could to get the job. So I reapplied."

Smith surfaced as the leading candidate through an extensive interview process, which included several rounds of interviews with administration, school staff, students, parents and community members, according to Principal Marcia Landwehr, who is retiring.

Smith said that since he grew up in Colorado Springs and is a Cougar alum and a west-side resident, "Coronado is a special place for me."

In addition to hiring two assistant principals, he plans to work on getting staff, students and parents on board with the main goal of preparing the 1,600 or so students for the next level of life, whether that be the workforce, tech school or college.

Before becoming a school administrator in 2010, Smith taught chemistry at Coronado for five years. He had been preparing for an upward move by earning a master's degree in curriculum and instruction and a principal license from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Two of Smith's five children, twins, are graduating from Coronado next week, and two more will be attending school there in the fall.

What do they think of Dad being the principal?

"I think they probably try not to think about it," Smith said, chuckling.

A teacher for 14 years, Smith started his career at Carson Middle School in Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8. He then moved to D-11 and taught at Wasson and Palmer high schools before joining the Coronado staff in 2005.

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