“I want kids to love school.”
That’s the bottom line for Scott Schleich, the principal at Aspen Crossing Elementary. Helping children develop a love of learning early on is the singular reason he has done so many crazy things during his 12-and-half years as an elementary school principal. That includes spending an entire day on the school roof, being his students’ favorite dunk tank target, dressing up as everything from a penguin to a cow with udders and being duck-taped to the gym wall for three hours.
“Every one of our 550 students put a piece of tape on me,” Schleich recalled.
He’s also kissed a pig.
“It wasn’t a pretty pig like Wilbur,” Schleich laughed. “It was an ugly, hairy pig with tusks!”
An Illinois native who loved elementary school as a child, Schleich attended Beloit College in Wisconsin and began his career as an educator there, teaching third grade. After moving to Colorado, he taught third grade at Antelope Ridge for two years, then moved into administration as an assistant principal at Holly Ridge and Holly Hills. That was followed by seven years as the principal at Homestead Elementary, before he moved to Aspen Crossing six years ago.
Schleich and his wife Deb have two sons, Garrett and Gavin. It’s important to him that they love school, just as he hopes his students do.
Like any outstanding principal, Schleich takes care of the business side of school: creating and maintaining a culture of excellence and inclusiveness, hiring outstanding faculty and staff members, using data to drive instruction and support academic growth, developing a rapport with parents and community members. But this towering educator (Schleich is 6’8” tall!) knows that our littlest learners also need to have fun at school. He wants them to look forward to coming to school each and every day.
To that end, he’s proud to show his school spirit. In fact, last year, he shaved Aspen Crossing’s mascot, Marty the Marmot, into his hair. This year, he helped his students find their voices and learn that their words can have power through a letter-writing campaign that resulted in Marty the Marmot being the newest animal featured on a Frontier Airlines jet.
“The kids have learned that they can make a difference if they put pen to paper and make an effort,” Schleich said. “That's an important lesson.”
The craziest thing Schleich has done lately is facilitate an all-school field trip for nearly 600 students and staff to the Frontier Airlines hangar to for a surprise unveiling of the new aircraft. (Read more and watch the video here.)
But it probably won’t be long before he tops that with some new antic, and honestly, we can’t wait to see what’s next!