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Administrative Leadership Team

Mr. Hoerl - Principal
I am honored to be serving as the Principal of Durango High School. My background includes 19 years in public education, my first 16 in the Cherry Creek School District. I spent the first 11 years at Grandview High School as a science teacher, dean of students, and athletic director. For 5 years, I served as an assistant principal at Overland High School. When I got the chance to take the Principal job here at DHS, I didn't think twice about moving with my four kids and wife to this beautiful community. In our spare time, we enjoy spending time with our kids in nature or on the athletic fields. We are working hard every day to make Durango High School the number one public school in Colorado!
Ms. Swartz - Assistant Principal
Mr. Tarshis - Assistant Principal
It is my pleasure to return to the Administrative Team of Durango High School. I attended the University of Colorado - Boulder for a Bachelors in Physics, and Columbia University for a Masters in School Leadership. I have taught high school Physics and AP Physics in several urban settings, as well as worked as an instructional coach for math and science teachers. Most recently I served as an Assistant Principal in Denver. Some of my responsibilities at DHS include: coordinating Advanced Placement, supervising the Math, World Language, and PE departments, and overseeing 11th and 12th grade student culture. 
Mr. Thurston - Assistant Principal
I’m looking forward to serving the students and staff of Durango High School for a third year. Prior to coming to DHS, I have worked in middle and high schools, taught math and science, and have worked in various administrative capacities. I fell in love with Durango as a student of Fort Lewis College and dreamed of one day returning. I enjoy working in such a dynamic environment where we get to support our students through the many challenges and changes they experience as a young adults. Go Demons!
Mr. Bright - Activities & Athletic Director
I am excited and honored to be a part of the great tradition that is Durango High School Athletics and Activities. I come to Durango with several years experience as a high school athletic director, high school head coach, and teacher. My experience also includes coaching at the college level and working in college athletic departments, as well as time in Major League Baseball and several stops in Minor League Baseball. Our goals for DHS Athletics and Activities look well beyond trophies and winning and towards higher GPA's and creating great experiences for all of our students through involvement in extracurricular activities. I look forward to seeing you at a game, match, play, concert, or any number of other activities we provide for our students to become involved! It's a GREAT day to be a Demon! 
Mr. Garland - Dean of Students
After graduating college from Fort Lewis with a psychology degree and a minor in history and doing a couple of other professional jobs in Durango, I landed at Durango HS in 1990. I was initially hired to facilitate the gifted and talented program at DHS and then moved to the social studies department where I taught Advanced Placement European History, modern world history, and U.S. government. I also have been the advisor to the DHS Student Leadership program for the past 21 years. In my current role as Dean of Students focusing on 9th grade, I try to help 9th grade students make a successful transition to high school by monitoring attendance issues and helping 9th graders make good decisions. I also like to work on developing leadership options for DHS students as well as helping make DHS a positive place to work and go to school.
Instructional Leadership Team
Mr. Cash - Social Studies Department Coordinator
I am currently in my 28th year of teaching, 25 of those at DHS. I received a BA in Political Science from the University of Tennessee and a Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of South Carolina. I currently serve as the Social Studies Department Chair and teach AP World History, Modern United States History, and AVID. I am grateful everyday to be living in such a beautiful area with my wife, Suz, who teaches at Park Elementary and our son, daughter, son-in-law, and two incredibly intelligent and good-looking grandchildren.
Ms. Colsman - Counseling Department Coordinator
I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Fort Lewis College with a Bachelor of Art in US History in 2004. I then received a Masters of Education in Technology Integration and Curriculum Development from Grand Canyon University in 2007 graduating Magna Cum Laude. Finally, I completed a Master's of Education in Educational Leadership in 2010 also graduating Magna Cum Laude. I came Durango School District 9-R where I served as the IB MYP coordinator, yearbook advisor, social studies teacher, and now, academic advisor. I grew up in Bayfield, CO where I live currently with my husband Ben and three children; Emily, Caelyn, and Ethan.
Ms. Dickman - Office Manager
Ms. Haller - Math Department Coordinator
I have had the pleasure of teaching mathematics for the past 27 years in grades 7 - 12. I graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1991 with a B.S. in Mathematics and earned a Masters degree in Mathematics with an emphasis in teaching from the University of Northern Colorado in 1997. Prior to moving to Durango, I taught at East Grand Middle School in Granby, Colorado and then at University High School on the campus of the University of Northern Colorado. For the past 23 years, I have taught AP Calculus alongside every other math class offered at Durango High School, with the exception of AP Statistics. Two years ago, I accepted the challenge to begin teaching AP Computer Science Principles at DHS and this year I am adding AP Computer Science A to my repertoire. I am enjoying the challenge of learning how to code and especially enjoying working with our DHS students as they learn to use coding as a problem solving tool. Outside of my passion for teaching, I also enjoy gardening and exploring the outdoors in and around the Southwest.
Mr. Jackson - Science Department Coordinator
I graduated from Mississippi College with a bachelor of science degree. I received my teacher certification at Fort Lewis College. Currently I am working on a Master of Science for Teachers from New Mexico Tech. I have been teaching science at Durango High School since 2005. Prior to teaching, I worked on a tiny island in the South Pacific Ocean called Johnston Island where we destroyed chemical weapons. I am married to my wife of 18 years, Maryane, and have a son, Caleb, who is twelve.
Ms. Jordan - English Department Coordinator
After graduating from Swarthmore College, PA, with distinction in my English Literature and Education major, I began teaching in alternative and outdoor education, a path that brought me to Durango. I have been teaching English classes at DHS for twenty-one years. While I have taught almost every English class offered at DHS, most of my teaching roles included AP English Literature and Composition, Language Arts 4, Honors Language Arts 1, and Language Arts 1, along with Public Speaking. My Masters in Arts from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College, VT, continued to foster my love for reading, academic dialogue, and a learning, and I love sharing this passion with my students. My family includes my husband, Mike Jordan--who teaches at Escalante Middle School--and our two daughters and step-son.
Ms. Karpel - Arts Department Coordinator
Teaching Visual Arts at Durango High School has been, and continues to be, my dream job. I completed my student teaching at Durango High School in 1993 and have been teaching Visual Art in this community since then. I received by Bachelor of Art in Fine Art and Art Education from Fort Lewis College in 1993, my Masters of Art with an Emphasis Painting from Adams State University in 2007, and my Masters of Education in Teacher Leadership in 2015. All of these experiences have reinforced my belief in the importance of a strong visual and performing arts program at every level of education and I am honored to be in a community, and a school, that shares and supports this belief.
Ms. Kopack - AVID Site Coordinator
I left upstate NY to attend Adams State College where I studied art, education, and English. I have been at Durango High School for the last eleven years and have worked as an English teacher, art teacher, and am currently the AVID 11, AVID 12, and SAT Prep teacher, as well as the AVID site coordinator.
Mr. Logan - Instructional Coach
I graduated from DHS in 1977. I enjoyed the old campus (now the Admin/Smile/Big picture buildings) and was the first graduating class from what is currently DHS. I am a third generation graduate from 9R and my family has had someone in the district at some level since at least 1917. One side of my family homesteaded in the Animas Valley and I have many fond memories of growing up in Durango. I am in my 21st year of teaching social studies at DHS and continue to find that I love working with young people in and out of the classroom. I coached girls’ soccer for 17 years and then took an 11 year sabbatical. Starting this spring, I once again will coach the girls’ program at DHS and I am very excited to get back on the pitch and interact with some amazing young women. I count each day as an opportunity to enjoy life, young people, and of course, social sciences. I have also taken on a new role in the building as an instructional coach, which means I interact with other teachers helping them improve the art and science of teaching. I have been married to my wife Mary for thirty-three years and we have three boys who also graduated from DHS making them the fourth generation to have passed through this amazing school.
Ms. Bright - Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department Coordinator
After receiving my Business Management degree from Abilene Christian University, I started my career working for multiple Fortune 500 companies in the Dallas area, with most of my experience on brand marketing teams at Dr Pepper Snapple Group. This experience provided me an endless amount of real world application that I use every day in my Business Education courses at Durango High School. I began my teaching career in 2012, after realizing that I wanted to work with students, and help them on their path to career or college readiness in a variety of fields, including Business Education and Culinary Arts. I moved to Durango with my husband, Adam Bright, and our toddler son Preston in 2016. We love all the outdoor activities the San Juan Basin has to offer and love calling Durango home.
Ms. Stuntz - World Language Department Coordinator
Teaching French has been my passion since I came to Durango in 1986. Fresh out of college, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French from the University of Oklahoma, I started my dream job in this beautiful mountain town. I have had the pleasure of teaching beginning French at Miller and Escalante, as well as French I through AP at DHS. I am grateful everyday for the opportunity to pass my love of French to my students and watch them soar!
  Ms. Thyfault - Health and Physical Education Department Coordinator
Ms. Lyon - Mathematics Department Coordinator
I am currently in my 20th year teaching secondary mathematics.  I joined the amazing faculty of Durango High School for the 2018-19 school year.  My current teaching assignment includes Math 1 and Advanced Placement Statistics.  I moved to Colorado in 1991 after completing my Masters Degree in Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma.  After working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Boulder for several years, I discovered my true passion was teaching and returned to CU Boulder to earn my teaching certification.   My husband, two cattle dogs and I are excited to have made Durango our new home.