At Red Sandstone Elementary in Vail, Marcie Laidman created a legacy of relationships

Principal is retiring after spending her entire 28-year career with Eagle County School District

As Eagle County School District closes out the school year and celebrates the graduation of the Class of 2023, it is also saying goodbye to four principals who collectively represent 80 years of experience in the district.

Red Sandstone Elementary School’s Marcie Laidman is retiring after spending her entire 28 years with the district, the last 10 of which she spent in the top leadership role at the Vail elementary school.

Leading a school as the principal requires creating “a climate and culture where learning will flourish,” Laidman said. “Respecting and empowering teachers and students is the best way to make that environment.”

Laidman spent 16 years as a classroom teacher, two as a master teacher, and the final 10 as a principal.

When she started, Laidman said she set a goal to “create a legacy of relationships.”

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“Love and respect must be present for children to learn and for staff to connect to make the magic happen,” she added.

“Marcie has truly made RSES a community in every sense of the word,” said Betsy Otis, a kindergarten teacher at Red Sandstone. “She has worked tirelessly to establish and maintain connections with the town of Vail, our students, our families and our staff. RSES is not a stepping stone of education; Marcie has truly made it the foundation. It’s home.” 

On May 16, the Vail Town Council read a proclamation, dedicating June 1, 2023, as “Marcie Laidman Day.”
Kris Widlak/Courtesy Photo

But what made her stand out was her openness and approachability that was seen not in individual moments, but day to day, Otis added.

“What principal do you know that walks down each morning to pick up bus riders in rain, sleet, snow or shine? What principal do you know that does multiple recess duties a day? How about lunch duties? Subs in classrooms?” Otis said. “Marcie is hands-on and makes memories with her RSES people each and every day. She’s not looking for glory. This is her passion, and it shows.”

And it’s from the community that Laidman has learned the most.

“I have learned to look at opportunities and challenges from different angles and listen to all stakeholders. There is always a new perspective I hadn’t thought about, allowing me to learn more about the community I serve,” Laidman said.

With this foundation set, Laidman sees the school continuing to “make tracks toward our vision of minds collaborating respectfully, driven by inquiry and empowered by curiosity to solve life’s challenges successfully.”

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