Curt Wilson, current president of the CHSAA Board of Directors, has been named the Colorado High School Principal of the Year by the Colorado Association of School Executives.
Wilson, 47, is principal at Centauri High School in La Jara. He was a finalist for the award last year.
"I cannot articulate how proud I am of our school, our kids, our staff and our community," Wilson said on Wednesday. "Because this is them. It is a unified team effort.
"Individual accolades are appreciated, more than I can articulate," he added. "But I am cognizant that this is just a reflection of so many good people, and that includes the kids that come to Centauri High School everyday and their accomplishments, their attitude, their willingness to strive for excellence. This award is nothing but a reflection on their efforts, and -- along with good colleagues -- I appreciate and love every single one of them."
CASE gives the award annually as a recognition of "leaders who have succeeded in providing high-quality opportunities for students." The process starts with a nomination, then a application from each candidate. An interview committee selects the winner.
Columbine's Frank DeAngelis, set to retire at the end of this school year, won the award in 2013.
"(Wilson) has a great passion for success in education. He's all about kids," said Elizabeth principal Greg Wieman, who sits on the board for the Colorado Association of Secondary School Principals and oversaw the interviews for the award.
As Colorado's winner, Wilson is now eligible to win National High School Principal of the Year, an award which will be announced later this year.
Wilson served on CHSAA's Board of Directors prior to his appointment as board president this school year. He remains the District 8 representative on the board, though a new rep will be appointed for 2014-15. Wilson will be board president through 2015.
"The CHSAA is honored and excited to hear that Curt Wilson has been selected as the Principal of the year," CHSAA commissioner Paul Angelico said Wednesday. "All of us that have worked with Curt have come to know him as an outstanding educator that stands for integrity, honor and high standards while keeping the needs of kids as his primary concern. We are proud and honored to be associated with Mr. Wilson and wish him a hearty congratulations on this appointment."
CHSAA board president is one of many hats Wilson wears. In addition to Cenaturi's principal, he also serves as district assessment coordinator and has absorbed various administrative roles within the North Conejos School District.
"Many jobs in the district had shifted because of some changes," Wilson said. "So I've had the support of a staff and a high school office that has allowed me to fulfill other responsibilities beyond high school principal. And a family, a wife and kids, that have sacrificed and supported me to make that happen."
As is his habit, Wilson deflected credit for the award. Wednesday, he continually pointed to his family and Centauri's students, staff and community as reasons for the award.
"That's really where the action is: a student who's willing to get it, teachers who do far beyond the contract, and a community that has supported those type of efforts," Wilson said.
He also pointed to his experience with other teachers and administrators around the state.
"Through my service as a principal and through my service with CHSAA," Wilson said, "I have learned much from some superior top-shelf people. And you emulate what's good in them.
"Being exposed to CHSAA has been an integral part to that. Because I emulate what is good, effective. It makes you grow. And for that, I am appreciative. In this state of Colorado, we have the best individuals working with our kids."