Principal leaving Battle Mountain | VailDaily.com

Principal leaving Battle Mountain

Scott N. Miller

EAGLE-VAIL Dream jobs don’t come around very often. That’s why Mark Bullock is taking this one.Bullock, the principal at Battle Mountain High School, will leave his job in Eagle-Vail at the end of January to become the director of rugby for the city of Glendale in the Denver area.”I wasn’t looking for a job,” Bullock said. “These people came looking for me.”The reason Glendale came looking for Bullock is his 19 years of involvement with the sport. He helped organize the first national rugby team for players under 19, and has coached and run programs for nearly 20 years.At Glendale, he’ll be starting a program from the ground up. The city has plans for youth, women’s and men’s rugby teams, playing flag, touch and full-contact versions of the sport. The city will also build a dedicated rugby “pitch,” a field and stadium next to the city’s recreation center.”Rugby’s actually one of the fastest-growing team sports, particularly among youth,” Bullock said. “It’s relatively inexpensive, it can be non-contact, and teaches teamwork and leadership.”In fact, Bullock said, rugby has become a family activity for a lot of people, who come out for youth games in the morning, then participate in games for parents through the rest of the day.”It’s also one of the rare sports where you get together with your opponents afterward and share a meal and a drink,” Bullock said.The family element is part of the sport’s attraction for Glendale officials. The city is mostly stores, bars and restaurants, with a lot of apartment and condominium complexes. “They see this as a way to give Glendale an identity, to bring in teams from around the state and the country,” Bullock said.Great opportunityBullock is leaving with the best wishes of his bosses.”It’s an awesome opportunity for Mark,” said Eagle County School District Superintendent John Brendza. “He told me once that his love for education is second only to his passion for rugby, so how can you not be thrilled for him?”But Bullock will be missed.”We’re disappointed to be losing a person who has been a very progressive administrator,” Brendza said. “He was dedicated to our reform effort, and brought a lot of energy to his job.”Big shoesReplacing Bullock will be tough, and will probably take some time. Since news of his resignation came only late last week, district officials haven’t yet come up with a plan for an interim replacement. That person probably already works in the district. But Bullock’s eventual replacement may not be an internal promotion.”We’re committed to finding the best person we can, both as an interim replacement and for the long term,” said Mike Gass, the district’s director of secondary education.”We have a veteran assistant principal in Ronda Woodall,” Gass said. “But we intend to do a national search.”In the interim, though, Gass said the district needs to provide teachers and students with all the support they need in a year that already had plenty of change. The school this year began the district’s controversial Teacher Advancement Program and had also changed the school calendar from two semesters to three trimesters.”I expect I’ll be spending a lot of time up there over the next few months,” Gass said.Bullock himself was a mid-year replacement, taking over from former principal Jack Waugh in January of 2002. He earned the job after putting his name into a pool of candidates.And, Brendza said, replacing Bullock, or any high school principal, is tough.”That’s one of the hardest jobs in education,” Brendza said. “This is the position of a lifetime for Mark,” Eagle County School Board President Scott Green said. “But it’s unfortunate for the district. He’s been doing an incredible job.”Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 613, or smiller@vaildaily.com.Vail Daily, Vail Colorado