Cedaredge High School is pleased to have Mr. CJ Cannell as the new Assistant Principal and Activities Director (AD). When I asked him to take part in this interview, Mr. Cannell expressed to me his desire to continue to build on the excellence that has already been established at CHS.
In order for folks to get to know him better, he was generous enough to share his background, goals, and much more.
Take us through your background: I grew up in Paonia, Colorado and graduated from Paonia High School in 2007. I was a three-sport athlete. I played college baseball at Mesa State College and then Colorado State University after that. I have eight years of teaching Math/STEM at CHS along with experience being a head baseball coach, and an assistant football and middle school basketball coach. I got my masters in ELPS through UNC at Greeley.
What led you to decide to pursue the AD position? Who inspired you?: My wife and I are rooted in Cedaredge. It's where we met, where we want to raise our kids. The town and the people especially make it such a special place.
I had gotten my masters in my third year of teaching after being told I would make a good administrator. When former AD, Brandon Milholland, decided to leave and the position opened up, it just felt like the right time to try and advance my career. As far as being inspired, my Grandpa Bruce Cannell was an administrator for years in the Olathe and Nucla areas, and my dad was a classroom teacher for 15 years, as well.
What are your thoughts about the value of athletics and activities and their effect on students? The value of the athletic/activity experience is second to none. There are so many lessons and situations that can be taught and enjoyed through this setting that are difficult to recreate inside a traditional classroom. I think that our coaching staff at Cedaredge does a phenomenal job at using these activities to build relationships with our students and then through those relationships, they are able to influence their lives in a positive manner. As far as the effect on students, it's simple: kids who are actively engaged in something outside of the classroom are more engaged and perform better inside the classroom. The great thing about our activities is that we have a variety of options with a variety of outstanding coaches, so a student has multiple options even in a small-school setting like ours.
What exactly does your new job entail? I am the Assistant Principal and Activities Director at Cedaredge High School. So that involves teacher evaluations, student discipline, coordinating and implementing curriculum changes, etc. As the Activities Director, it involves scheduling all events and travel, evaluation of programs and coaches, etc.
Do you have any goals that you would like to accomplish in your first year as AD at CHS? I have two big goals that I would like to accomplish in my first year as the AD. 1. I want to support our coaches and activity leaders as much as I can. I want to get to know them, what their program does well, where I can help them, etc. And then the second is to learn as much as I can.
Is there anything you would ask parents/guardians and athletes to do to prepare for the upcoming sports/activities season? I think that 2019-2020 presents some very exciting opportunities for our activity programs. For athletes, the biggest thing I would tell them is to commit. Commit to their activity and completely dedicate themselves to the activities they are in. To the parents, stay involved and come support your student as they compete throughout the year. And to both parties, enjoy every moment of it because it's such a short time period and it has something to offer everyone.
What can we look forward to from Cedaredge High School athletics and activities this upcoming school year? I think that there is something for every program to achieve this year. We have some programs that are looking to improve upon tremendous accomplishments from last year. We have some programs that are hungry for redemption from last season. Overall, I think people should be looking forward to seeing the Bruins compete, day in and day out, working towards competing at their best at the right times in their season.