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Montezuma-Cortez High School has a new principal – The Journal

Thomas Graves, new principal of Montezuma-Cortez High School. (Courtesy picture)

Thomas Graves takes over

Thomas Graves, who will replace Eric Chandler as principal of Montezuma-Cortez High School this fall, touted his commitment to “compassionate responsibility” during his introduction to the Re-1 Board of Education.

Chandler resigned from his position at the end of the past school year.

“Here’s what I can guarantee,” Graves told the board. “Our focus – not just mine, but the District and the staff – discipline, accountability, hard work, no excuses. In everything we do.

He added that some people thought he was “crazy” and maybe they were right, but he would counter that he was “crazy as a fox”.

Graves was selected for the job last week, and his first official day was July 18, according to Re-1 Superintendent Tom Burris. Graves and his family are moving from Virginia to Colorado.

“I’m really excited about him,” Burris said. The newspaper.

Before coming to Cortez, Graves worked as a principal in the Española School District in New Mexico and as an educational consultant for schools across the country. He has held administrative positions in districts in Virginia, Montana, Wyoming, Florida and Alabama, according to his resume. He also worked as a criminal investigator in Alabama.

“I basically did the school turnaround all over the country,” Graves said. The newspaper.

Graves ran on the track at Auburn University as a five-time All-American NCAA athlete and qualified for the 1980 Olympic Trials in the 5,000 meters. He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Technology and a Masters in Educational Administration, Counseling Psychology, and Secondary Education (Science), all from Auburn University.

At the July 18 school board meeting, Graves stressed that he would prioritize bell-to-bell instruction and overall consistency of discipline and academic performance across all classrooms.

“When you’re incredibly consistent with kids and teachers, you’d be amazed at how well they hit the level of expectation,” he said. “And I’m telling you, we’re going to teach bell to bell, we drive hard, we’re compassionate. We’re going to do everything we can to help the kids, but here’s what we’re not going to do: we’re not going to give out diplomas, we’re not going to give out grades. We’re going to support the students, and they’re going to earn these things.

Specifically, Graves detailed his three-knock late policy, with a student’s third knock equating to a 6 a.m. meeting including himself, the student, and the student’s parents.

“I don’t like suspending students,” Graves said. “I don’t like expelling students. It’s the worst thing you can do for them. But I will hold them accountable with compassion.

He noted that lateness was a leading cause of employee layoffs and that it was important to establish appropriate high school standards before students entered the workforce or moved on to the next stages of their careers. their education.

Graves invited all members of the community, council and staff to visit the secondary school at any time.

“Cortez is a wonderful city, I’m super excited,” he said. The newspaper. “My family was here, and now we’re really looking forward to working at one of the best facilities in the state, high school-wise. And we’re looking forward to working with the great staff and making it one of the top performing high schools in the state.