New principal hired for Bayfield High School

The Bayfield School Board has hired a new principal for the high school.

Tuesday evening they unanimously approved Superintendent Troy Zabel's recommendation to hire Leon Hanhardt, who is currently assistant superintendent for instructional services in Prescott, Ariz.

In his recommendation letter, Zabel said, "We had an extensive interview process that had excellent representation from teaching staff, students, and parents. Each of the committees were very impressed with Mr. Hanhardt's background and the skill set he will bring to BHS."

Hanhardt worked in the Garfield County RE-2 district and the Lone Star School District in Colorado before going to Prescott. He is licensed as a principal in Colorado and has a teaching license in agriculture and natural resources, plus an endorsement in Career and Technical Education (CTE). He has a masters degree in ag education from Colorado State University and has completed graduate studies at Adams State College.

Zabel said of Hanhardt, "I am very confident that he will bring the right personality and skill set to advance BHS forward. He recognizes the incredible talent that we have on this staff, and I believe he will establish the necessary relationships with students, staff, and parents to take an excellent school to the next level."

Departing BHS Principal Scott Story told the Times earlier this month he wanted to work closer to his home in Cortez, where he has children in school, and he is starting in a teaching position there.

With school out for the summer, construction work at BHS is moving into the original part of the building while work continues on the performing arts auditorium and auxiliary gym additions, project manager Marty Zwisler reported.

"Tomorrow morning we start tearing all the concrete out," he said. That will close the school's main entry. Entry will be directly into the classroom wing. "The maintenance department has salvaged a lot of pavers and items from the Senior Legacy Days," Zwisler said.

The last of the sod in the new baseball field was supposed to be laid down Wednesday. The lush green grass "looks awesome," he said. "We have a lot to lose, so we are being extra diligent" with watering it, he said. The area outside the ball field fence will be seeded.

School roof repairs or replacement will focus on the BEPS east building and the elementary school this summer, Zwisler said. BES will be another big roofing project. It still has the original roof from when the school was built in the late 1980s.

Also Tuesday night, the school board approved Zabel's recommendation to allow a middle school student to skip a full grade level. The student is operating at a very advanced level.

Director of Instructional Services Karen Rodberg and Gifted and Talented coordinator Jessica Robbins also supported the full grade advancement, as opposed to single subject advancement.

Normally, full grade advancements for students identified as gifted and talented have been allowed only in grades K-6, Rodberg said. "We had to change the procedure because of this student."

Some students struggle when they are allowed to skip a grade. Robbins and Rodberg said they will stay in touch with how this student is doing.

"Usually when a student is ready and it's coming from them, not the adults, it's fine," Robbins said.