Humphrey to step down at Coronado; naming of new principal set for April

       Susan Humphrey has had a tough time letting go of Coronado High School.

Coronado High School Principal Susan Humphrey in her office.
Westside Pioneer photo

       The seven-year principal actually submitted her retirement to District 11 two years ago. Last year was to be her finale. Then along came breast cancer. The surgery fixed her up physically, but leaving right after being sick wasn't the exit she'd envisioned. “I didn't want to go out because of that,” she said in a recent interview. Besides, she explained, “I wasn't ready to go. It's a fabulous school, and I work with fabulous people. I'm very connected to Coronado. It's hard to leave.”
       So last spring Humphrey “unretired,” as she put it. In the back of her mind was the hope that she could take it a little easier. “The doctors said I should get my job stress under control,” she said. But the reality was unavoidable. “This job isn't a job,” summarized Humphrey, now 61, who started 26 years ago with District 11. “You have to be willing to make it a lifestyle. I spend an incredible amount of time here.”
       On top of that, there are grandchildren in Fort Collins she would like to see more of.
       At last, she said, “I came to a conclusion. I wanted to get my life in balance.”
       This school year will be it. The district has begun advertising for Humphrey's replacement. “Numerous” people have applied, including two of her assistant principals (David Engstrom and Marcia Landwehr - “both are capable and competent”), Humphrey said. Interviews March 5 are to include staff as well as parents and students. According to Tom Strand, a Westside-residing Board of Education member, the actual hiring decision is planned for April.
       Humphrey's legacy will include spearheading completion of the new school auditorium in 2008 (a star-crossed district bond-issue project that greatly exceeded its original cost and schedule), the return of a student-run school newspaper in 2006 and nurturing the Engineering Depart-ment's Project Lead the Way program that started 11 years ago.
       She also leaves with a sense that she has helped carry on Coronado's traditions of longevity. “I think I'm only the seventh principal this school has had,” said Humphrey, who had worked three years previously as a CHS assistant principal. “You get to know kids and families and you see what's special about the Westside community.”
       For example, she noted that several Coronado staffers are school alumni. “They aren't just passing through,” she said.
       She has no specific plans for retirement (other than the grandchildren). “I don't think I'm done,” she said. “But I have no plans to go and do something else.”
       It wouldn't be surprising if it's in education. The genes seem hard to deny. Not only has it been Humphrey's career (after raising her own children), but her grandfather had been in that field, her father was on an Illinois school board, her sister taught in D-11, her son is a teacher and her daughter is a high school dean of students. “I look at my granddaughter, and she's lining people up and bossing them around,” Humphrey chuckled. “I told my daughter she won't have to do any career counseling.”

Westside Pioneer article