Compass has new director, CCS principal |

Compass has new director, CCS principal

Sam Richings-Germain

Compass, the Woody Creek-based nonprofit organization that operates the Carbondale and Aspen community charter schools, has a new executive director, Michael Hayes.

Likewise, the Carbondale school starts the new school year next week with a new principal, Sam Richings-Germain.

Hayes takes the helm of Compass from Skye Skinner, who retired after 22 years in the executive director’s post.

“It is a sincere joy to hand the reins to someone who cares so much about small schools and educational choice,” Skinner said in a press release.

Hayes has been a teacher and school leader for 20 years, including nine as a teacher at Colorado Rocky Mountain School, an independent college prep school in Carbondale.

Most recently, he helped start and was head of school at the new Mountain Village Montessori Charter School in Steamboat Springs.

“It’s an honor to accept this position and to build upon the great foundation that exists,” Hayes said in the release. “I’m inspired to work with the talented educators at our two thriving schools, and it’s an added bonus to return to this beautiful valley.”

Richings-Germain makes the move to the principal position at CCS after her most recent stint as assistant principal at Crystal River Elementary School in Carbondale. An educator for 12 years, she replaces longtime CCS Principal Tom Penzel, who is now working as Capstones coordinator for the Roaring Fork Schools and Glenwood Springs High School.

“As an administrator and educator, I will strive to ensure the strongest and best educational opportunities for students in the unique small school environment of CCS,” Richings-Germain said in the release, adding she has a passion for projects-based learning.

Compass operates the tuition-free, K-8 Carbondale and Aspen schools under charter agreements with the Roaring Fork and Aspen school districts. Combined, the schools serve 270 students in the Roaring Fork Valley.

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