Sandoval to step down as Coronado AP

       Tom Sandoval is best known for having been Mitchell High School's football coach from 1983 to 2002. But the 31-year District 11 educator has developed fond thoughts for Coronado High over the past seven years leading up to this, his retirement year.

Tom Sandoval in his office at Coronado. He has been at the school for seven years.
Westside Pioneer photo

       He has been an assistant principal at Coronado, a position he'd never held anywhere before. “Coronado has been a great place for me,” he said in an interview this week. “I've enjoyed all my time here. And I appreciate everything [Principal] Susan Humphrey [who's also retiring after this year] has done for me, helping me learn to be an administrator.”
       While all high schools are similar - mainly in having students who are experiencing “growing pains,” as he put it - Sandoval has enjoyed the way Coronado is tied to the Westside. “I found that out in my first year here,” he said. “There is a lot of community pride in the Westside community.”
       He gave as an example the school's Homecoming Parade through Old Colorado City. Even though some $1,800 is still needed to pay for next fall's parade (which will be the 40th annual), “it's going to happen,” Sandoval said, “because it's such a great event.”
       Regarding his replacement, Sandoval said the normal procedure would be for the district to post the position, then interview applicants, with the school's new principal (who is to be announced in April) involved in that. However, with the district's budget shortfall, “there is a possibility that Coronado will only have two assistant principals so my position may not exist next year,” he said.
       A Colorado Springs resident since second grade, Sandoval graduated from Palmer High in 1971 (as did his wife, Monica). An athlete, he also played varsity baseball and a year of football at Adams State College before graduating with an education degree.
       He'd hoped to coach, and it happened quickly. At age 22, he was hired to head up the football, basketball and baseball programs at Trinidad High School, where he also taught PE, driver's education and history. Sandoval's District 11 career started in 1978 at Mitchell, where he continued coaching and teaching and was assistant line coach for the school's state championship football team in 1981.
       During his 20 years as Mitchell's head football coach, his sons (Marc and Adam) were among those who went through his program. Those were high points in a career that featured “lots of great memories and great people… I thought I'd coach forever,” he said.
       But as things turned out, 20 years felt like enough, and he started taking courses to qualify him to become an administrator. This brought him to the Coronado assistant principal position, starting in October 2003.
       His duties include responsibilities (sometimes disciplinary) for a third of the Coronado student body (last names from H to O). He also takes the lead on class registration, open house, parent/teacher conferences, student and staff recognition, field trips and senior academic awards. And, he's the administrative liaison to different departments, security and Student Council.
       Now 57, Sandoval decided to retire after this year because of a change in District 11 policy that would mean a drastic reduction in his sick-pay accumulation benefits starting in fall 2010.
       He likes the idea of taking a break for a while - typical days can go from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. - but “I've been pretty busy my whole life,' he said. “I'm not the kind of person who will sit down and be a couch potato.”
       He also suspects he might start missing “the interaction with kids,” which is his favorite aspect of education. “Who knows? I might even get back into education in a year or two,” he said.
       The only catch, he pointed out, is that it would have to be in another state (to avoid a conflict with the benefits he will receive after retirement through the state of Colorado).

Westside Pioneer article