John Arledge to lead Rifle High School
Special to the Citizen Telegram
The Garfield Re-2 school board has selected longtime Mesa County educator John Arledge to become the new principal at Rifle High School.
Arledge currently works as restorative justice coordinator for R-5 High School, a charter school in the Mesa Valley 51 School District. He will take the helm at RHS starting July 1, replacing Todd Ellis, who tendered his resignation earlier this year to become the assistant superintendent in Garfield District 16.
Arledge has 29 years of experience in public education on the Western Slope of Colorado. He began his educational career in Mesa Valley 51 teaching eighth grade science at Orchard Mesa Middle School, and social studies and science at Fruita Monument High School. In his time at Palisade High School, he completed an administrative internship, taught several International Baccalaureate classes and was the head football coach prior moving to R-5.
Through his work at Palisade High School, Arledge said he gained a great admiration for Rifle.
“I have always been impressed with the Rifle community and the kids,” he said in a news release. “There is a sense of love and belonging that I have not seen anywhere that I have been.
“That sense of belonging and love is gravitating and I want to be a part of that,” he explained. “While I was a teacher and a coach at Palisade High School, the one place that I always had the greatest respect for were the kids at Rifle.”
Arledge has a passion for serving his community and helping each child reach his/her potential, in large part because it was his teachers and coaches that gave him a hand up.
“I have had the opportunity to be cared for and loved by some of the best people on earth,” Arledge said of his youth. “Ultimately, I became a teacher and a coach because someone did it for me. I would not be here today if it wasn’t for my teachers and coaches that nurtured and loved me in my school years.”
He explained that his mother was from Japan and his dad was in the military, “so I was bused and moved many times,” he said.
“Living in a hotel for a year, attending over 12 elementary schools, and living in poverty kept me aware of my surroundings and who was in my best interest,” Arledge said. “Because of these experiences I have a deep devotion to all of our children that will be attending Rifle High School.”
The Rifle High School principal position is an opportunity he said he was hoping for years would become available.
“Around 20 years ago I told my wife that if I ever get a chance to belong to that community and work at that school, I am going to pursue that. I am very excited to be a part of such a wonderful community,” Arledge said. “I find it an honor to serve and be entrusted with the great young people of Rifle High School, and I will do everything to make it even a better place than it already is.”
Ellis remains as principal at RHS through the end of the current school year after 30 years with Garfield Re-2.
On May 3 and 4, three finalists for the principal position went through a two-day interview process that included a student interview panel, and a second panel that included teachers and staff from Rifle High School and Garfield Re-2 administrators, and parents. All participants provided feedback for Garfield Re-2 Superintendent Brent Curtice to review as part of the deliberation process.
The other finalists were current RHS Assistant Principal Alice Steindler, and Dorey Matthew (Matt) Pounds, principal at Burlington Re-6J in eastern Colorado.
“We had exceptional candidates for the Rifle High School position,” Curtice said. “Mr. Arledge has an incredible passion for students, staff and community. I am confident that his work ethic and deep commitment to seeing every child succeed will bring help Rifle High School become even more successful in years to come.”