Sublette names new principal for middle, high schools

5/2/2014

By ANGIE HAFLICH

By ANGIE HAFLICH

ahaflich@gctelegram.com

It was a surprise to hear of an opening for the principal position at Sublette Middle and High School, even to Monty Marlin, long-time athletic director of the middle/high school.

After former principal Cesar Pena announced plans to leave the position early, it never crossed Marlin's mind to apply — until several colleagues convinced him he should.

"I had some people just talk to me about it, you know, people that I respect kind of told me they thought I might be able to do a good job at it," Marlin said. "It wasn't something that I had even considered. I wasn't looking for a principal job. I got my education administration degree back in 2004 and, really, for these last 10 years, that's not something I've really pursued. And then I had some people who just kind of convinced me that maybe I needed to look into it, and so I did."

Marlin has been the middle/high school athletic director since 2006, but has worn many hats in 34 years with the district, at one point serving as head coach of both the boys' and girls' high school basketball teams.

"I was also teaching three hours of physical science a day, and I tell you what, that got to be a lot," he said.

Over the years, Marlin also has taught biology and physical education, and he's coached the golf team, the high school wrestling team and was an assistant coach for the high school's track team. He also was involved with development of the district's Curriculum Coordinating Committee.

As the boys' basketball coach, Marlin led the team to six sub-state championships, five final fours and one state championship.

"When I interviewed, I told the school board and superintendent, 'You know, I've been in this school district 34 years and people know me, and that could be an advantage or that could be a disadvantage,'" Marlin said.

He believes his familiarity with the district, staff, parents and students, as well as his experiences in coaching, will translate well into his new role.

"That's what I would hope, and I think if you look at a lot of principals and ADs, a lot of us come from a coaching background and that's where you develop your leadership skills — if you can lead 14-, 15-, 16-year-old kids, you can probably lead 30-, 40-, 50-year-old adults, hopefully," Marlin said.

USD 374 Superintendent Rex Bruce said he had been suggesting the position to Marlin every time it became available in recent years.

"And then five years ago, when we had an opening, he just wasn't ready, and this time, I went to him, I said, 'What do you think now?' And he said, 'You know, I'm kind of thinking about it,' and then he and I talked a couple of weeks until both of us were convinced he could take a shot at it," Bruce said. "We interviewed three people and he got the nod."

Marlin and his wife, Ellen, a sixth-grade teacher at Sublette Elementary School, never intended to stay in Sublette when they moved there 34 years ago.

"My wife and I moved to Sublette in 1980 with the idea that we were going to do the jobs and get our experience and then move on to bigger and better things, but apparently we still haven't gotten that experience yet," Marlin said, laughing.

Bruce described Pena as a good principal who left the position to pursue another opportunity. The district's plan is to continue in the direction Pena established.

"Things were going in the right direction. We were really pleased with everything, so our plan is to keep it going the direction it's headed — with some of his own ideas," Bruce said. "We've had good test scores, good graduation rates and everything, so we'll just kind of continue the programs we have in place."

Marlin officially will take the reins in August, and said he's happy to be given the opportunity in the district he calls home.

"To be perfectly honest, I probably wouldn't have had an interest in being a principal in another school that I wasn't familiar with," he said. "I mean, I don't want to sound sappy, but this is my school."

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