CUSD Spotlight on Shane Schmeichel, 7 Things You Didn't Know About CHS’ Assistant Principal and CoSA Director

Posted by: District 1 year, 1 month ago

CUSD Spotlight on Shane Schmeichel, 7 Things You Didn't Know About CHS’ Assistant Principal and CoSA Director

When Shane Schmeichel isn’t taking care of business at Coronado High School he’s daydreaming of hitting the slopes, especially with winter so near. Schmeichel grew up and went to college in North Dakota, and then worked in several school districts across Minneapolis for 17 years. His passion for the arts and his experience in teaching and administration brought him to Coronado where he’s in his fifth year as Assistant Principal of CHS and Director of CoSA.


Between helping kids find their own passion for the arts and coordinating student meetings, Schmeichel chatted with us to give a glimpse of his typical day at CHS and find out why music and art are so important to him.

1.    What does your typical day at CHS look like?

I observe classrooms, submit state and grant required data and reports, work to raise money for the arts, support students and staff, lead innovative projects, and attend student performances and exhibits.

2.    What subject was your favorite when you were in school?

I really enjoyed music and math. I’m kind of both right- and left-brained, so the music side soothed the soul. The fact that I could express myself through music really appealed to me. Being a classically trained violinist and being part of a group meant making art with colleagues in the orchestra, not just by yourself. For me, it’s about being able to take an existing piece of music and be able to make it your own and express it in a way that shows the personality of both you and your team members in the orchestra.

Then, I liked math because patterns are definitely a strength of mine. When it comes to numbers and patterns and formulas, being able to visualize that in my head is a strength. On one hand it’s the opposite of music, on the other side there are a lot of similarities because there are some patterns and organized repetitions.

3.    What inspired you to work in education?

I’ve always had a passion for music education—being able to see the excitement on students’ faces when they learn an instrument or overcome a challenge as a musician. Typically for students, both music and other art forms tend to be quite different than everything else they do in their life, so it’s fun to be a part of that.

4.    What do you like best about your job?

I love seeing students succeed in classrooms and programs, and explore new things. Recently, I’ve been really focused on watching students and seeing how their creativity helps them find their own personal strengths and how those strengths can help them in all aspects of their life. Through creativity and the art of expression, you can learn new things about yourself that you maybe would not learn through other venues or avenues.

5.    What are some of the challenges that face your students?

I think the biggest challenge is time. Because Coronado School of the Arts is an extended day program, many of our students are at school from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. But if they’re in a show, those kids may be here in class from 8 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. for months during rehearsals. So we as a high school support students being highly involved, because this is a point in their life where they can dabble and try new things, but the reality is there’s only so much time in the day. Especially our CoSA students, they struggle with time, but then they learn majorly beneficial time management skills.

6.    What goals do you have for this school year?

I want to continue to expand arts experiences for all school-aged students in CUSD. Over the summer, our non-profit foundation, which helps raise money so that we can provide more arts experiences, changed our name. We used to be known as Coronado School of the Arts Foundation and we are now Coronado Art Education Foundation. We know that this community values the arts, but our reality is the state only gives so much money to school districts and we often don’t have the resources to do everything we believe kids should be able to do. By both energizing the communities to support the arts and working and directly partnering with our other organizations like the Coronado Schools Foundation and Coronado Cultural Arts Commission, we can better use our resources to support students’ art experiences.

7.    What is one secret talent that you have?

I am a snowboarder and have skied almost every resort in the state of Colorado. My favorite is Telluride because I love the fact that there’s old town Telluride, the original, which has the hippie vibe, and then on the other side of the mountain you have the new resort in a very modern, urban part of town.