By Eric Heinz
Denver North High School principal Scott Wolf is passing the torch—or perhaps the Viking bugel—to Germán Echevarria.
Echevarria was assistant principal at North for four years before spending the last three as the principal of Sheridan High School in Englewood.
“I could not be more excited that Germán is taking over,” Wolf said. “There’s nobody else in this entire world that I know who I think is just going to take North to the next level. What’s nice is I’m transitioning (the position) to somebody who I have full confidence with and who was here previously.”
Echevarria said he’s most excited to reintroduce himself to the community and to meet with the new parents and teachers who have become part of the North High family during his time away. He said the school has focused on increasing equity for its students and families, and he wants those programs to continue as the school grows.
“Being a community member here since 2000, and now being a parent of a student who’s currently enrolled at North High School, allows me to have different vantage points around what specific needs the students might have, the staff might have, or families might have,” Echevarria said.
Helping students plan their future is a big part of what Echevarria said is his focus when he officially returns to run the school in the fall.
“Traditionally it was more about we get them in, we graduate them and (say) ‘good luck,’” he said. “I think a lot of the work that’s happened at North, especially with those post-secondary opportunities, is really thinking about, ‘Yeah, you’re graduating, but what’s going to happen for you after, and what does that mean?’”
Wolf started as the principal at North in 2015 after working two years as an assistant principal for the high school. He said the increase in graduation rates is something he’s proud to have overseen during his time at the school, which reached a four-year average above 90%.
“North was in a state of turnaround, and we moved to a place where our graduation rates were not only exceeding the district average but also were outpacing the growth,” Wolf said. “We were above the district average for graduation rates and had shown growth by over 10%. We’re the only school that was on both those lists.”
Wolf said North hired a college transition coordinator for students to get help with their next steps, and there were also five-year graduation plans for students who needed more assistance.
“We’ve been able to build upon and enhance our programming here at North, where we now offer double the number of electives that we did previously, doubled the number of concurrent enrollment, and advanced rigor courses that we offered,” Wolf said.
Wolf is taking on a position as the Denver Public Schools’ operational service director that supports 37 schools across the district.