Waddick is a ‘Man of the Valley’ | PostIndependent.com

Waddick is a ‘Man of the Valley’

Anna Gauldin
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

It’s hard to find a man as generous and motivational as Jim Waddick. Waddick has devoted his life to helping and educating children as a teacher, a counselor, a principal, and now a Pre-Collegiate mentor.

Waddick is also a member of the Rotary Club and a part-time ski instructor at Buttermilk, not to mention that he is involved with the Buddy Program and works one day a week on the golf course at Aspen Glen during the summer.

Born in California, Waddick graduated from California State University before becoming a social studies teacher. After teaching for 18 years at a public school on a Navajo Reservation in northeastern Arizona, Waddick and his family moved to Cortez, CO. He later took a one-year sabbatical in order to earn his master’s degree from the University of New Mexico.

In 1994, Waddick started his first administration job as the assistant principal at Roaring Fork High School. He later became the principal of Basalt High School (BHS), where he worked until his retirement in 2008.

As an administrator, Waddick has been involved with the Pre-Collegiate Program since its beginnings, though this is his first year as a mentor. He is currently working with a group of eight freshmen at Basalt High School.

“It’s a unique and wonderful opportunity to get to know the kids,” Waddick said. “They need a lot of support and advice.”

As a Pre-Collegiate mentor, Waddick works with the students to create resumes, increase their academic involvement, and prepare them for college. Because college is so important to him, Waddick is personally motivated by the program.

“Education has been my whole life. It’s something I believe in as a teacher and as an administrator,” Waddick said. “I worked with high school kids for 32 years … I wanted to stay involved.”

With his immense experience with high school students, Waddick is well-equipped as a mentor. “He jokes around with everyone at the school and seems to, in some way, understand them,” BHS freshman Dani Chacon said. As one of Waddick’s students, Chacon has come to know him well during the school year.

Waddick meets with his group of students once every two weeks to work with them on both their life and academic skills. “He has taught me that I have to take responsibility for myself … and that I can get the grades I want just by working hard,” Chacon said.

Outside of the Pre-Collegiate program, Waddick has a busy life. He teaches four- and five-year-olds to ski and occasionally fills in as a substitute teacher. He also has an eight-year-old buddy through the Buddy Program, whom he is planning on teaching to ski this winter.

Waddick is also interested in the arts, specifically pottery. He enjoyed art classes during his school years and took pottery classes throughout college. He continues to make pottery today, and also hopes to fit some fishing into his schedule this spring and summer.

There is the type of person who retires to relax, and then there is Jim Waddick. “It’s about doing something significant for the kids,” Waddick said. “I get satisfaction from that.”


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