John Marchino has some lofty goals as he begins his new job as principal at Hotchkiss K-8 School. One of them is to learn the names of each of his roughly 400 students. It makes for more personal relationships with the students, said Marchino. When addressed by their first name, "Students know you care."
Marchino served the past six years at Durango School District 9-R, where he played a dual role as principal at Fort Lewis Mesa and director of Durango School District 9-R Shared School program, which offers enrichment opportunities for the home school community.
Marchino went from being a Roadrunner to a Bulldog after learning about the Hotchkiss position through former principal, Carrie Yantzer, who served 16 years at Hotchkiss K-8 and is now principal at Nederland Middle/Senior High School in the Boulder County School District. Marchino said they met through the Colorado Association of Elementary School Principals, of which Marchino is past president and Yantzer is current president.
She had so much pride in her school and was always telling him about all the great things happening in Hotchkiss, said Marchino. When he heard about the opening, he jumped on the opportunity.
Filling her shoes will be a challenge, said Marchino. "She's done a great job with the school and left it in good shape." The students are also very well mannered. In the first week of school they were introducing themselves to him, which makes the lofty goal of learning their names all the more easy, he said.
Marchino is becoming familiar with the area after moving to Hotchkiss in June. Wife, Laura, and two stepsons will remain in Durango for the time being, where Laura is currently assistant director for the Region 9 Economic Development District of Southwest Colorado. She is preparing to take over as regional director, said Marchino.
Marchino also welcomes 15 new staff members on board, including technology instructor Jessi Mautz, a 2012 Hotchkiss High School graduate; K-5 music teacher and middle school drama teacher Merrily Talbott; fifth grade teacher Tricia Tittle; third grade teacher Keith Wharton; counselor Jeffrey Higgins, whose new position is funded through a Colorado Department of Education School Counselor Corps grant; Jeannie Hinyard, a returning ESL teacher and reading interventionist; Jean Latourette, interventionist and second grade teacher; kindergarten teachers Linda Hodges and Sheryl Farmer; and art teacher Annalise Lord.
Hotchkiss K-8 also welcomes three new paraprofessionals, Kaitlyn Kissner, Sarah Moore and Angela Caldwell; and two custodians, Kathy Sheppard and Kat Dickinson.
The staff has a lot of energy, he said, and are "very supportive and eager to work... They really care about the kids."