An administrative and athletics staff shakeup is underway at Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8, under the leadership of a superintendent who took the job less than a year ago.

Six top administrators are being replaced at the high school and middle school, according to D-8 spokeswoman Christy McGee, as part of staff changes for the 2016-2017 academic year.

The district's school board was set to approve the new personnel at a meeting Wednesday night.

Two new principals, a new athletic director and three new assistant principals have been hired to take over starting in July for, in some cases, people who have held those jobs for years.

"That happens; schools go through transitions," McGee said.

Burnie Hibbard, who has been the principal at Fountain-Fort Carson High School since 2010, will be gone at the end of this school year.

Hibbard, who resigned in February, said Wednesday in an email that he could not comment on the administrative changes.

Longtime district athletic director Kelley Eichman has been reassigned to D-8's alternative school, the Welte Education Center, where she will serve as assistant principal.

Chris James, Fountain-Fort Carson High School's assistant principal for the past two years, will become athletic director at the end of the school year. He's a graduate of Pueblo South High, where he returned to coach wrestling after he left the Army. James has been working for D-8 since 2005.

Patrick Krumholz, principal at East High School in Pueblo, is replacing Hibbard. Krumholz also was principal at Pueblo South High, for four years.

D-8 Superintendent Keith Owen is an alumnus of Pueblo South High and a former chief academic officer and a principal in Pueblo City Schools District 60.

William Dallas, most recently principal at James Madison Elementary School in Colorado Springs School District 11, will be the new principal at Fountain Middle School.

Although the contracts for Krumholz and Dallas begin in July, both are "involved immediately in the hiring processes and selection of administrative and teaching staff positions that may need to be filled this spring for the 2016-2017 school year," McGee said.

Krumholz appeared at a meet-and-greet at the school Wednesday.

"Both applicants demonstrated how their depth of experience, knowledge and skills would help each school and (the district) continue to improve student achievement and growth," Owen said in a statement.

In addition, all varsity sports coaches are being asked to reapply for their positions or be out of a job next month. The coaching assignments are not being automatically renewed.

Again, not unusual, McGee said, because coaches' contracts are up for renewal annually and are not long-term agreements.

"Nobody was fired," she said. "We encouraged them to all reapply."

It's all about a new philosophy the district is adopting under Owen, who left his position as deputy commissioner at the Colorado Department of Education to become D-8's superintendent last July.

Krumholz and Owen talked with head coaches at the high school Friday about the new direction and expectations for coaches, which McGee said emphasizes developing a pipeline for athletics, starting with middle school students and kids involved in community sports programs.

Thus, coaches are being asked to reapply for their posts to "give all applicants a chance to commit to the new approach and demonstrate their commitment to excellence, both in and out of the classroom, for the student athletes," McGee said.

She said she didn't know how many of the current coaches had applied so far or how many new applications were received. The openings went up last weekend.

Among those who could be out of a job are Mitch Johnson, whose name appears on the school's football stadium, and Ben Montoya, who led the boys' 5A state track and field team to four titles in the past six seasons.

D-8 board president Suzanne Foster said in a statement that the decisions were made with "full knowledge and support of the board."

Foster was on the committee to name the sports complex after Johnson.


Contact Debbie Kelley: 476-1656

Twitter: @inkywoman


Staff reporter, education and general news and features

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