Principal Profile: Chris Zimmerman
Get to Know Chris
1. What do you enjoy most about your job?
Helping students and families be successful in their journey through middle school
2. Who inspires you?
The students and professionals that are passionate and empowered to make a difference in our community
3. What was your first job?
Foreman - building houses.
4. If you had the opportunity to pursue another career, what would you choose?
Firefighter, but I love education too much to go that route.
5. What's an interest or hobby you have that not a lot of people might not know about you?
Family, Fishing and Woodworking
6. What's your favorite item on the school lunch menu?
Popcorn Chicken Bowl
7. Do you have any pets?
Two golden doodles
8. What was your first car?
9.What advice would you give to a college graduate who is entering the field of teaching?
This is the most rewarding job that you could ever have. Work hard and be kind to students and colleagues. Appreciate every opportunity that comes your way!
10. If you could be any superhero, who would you choose to be?
Superman because I have coffee in a Superman mug each morning.
Many principals strive to make their school the nucleus of activities for not only their students, but their families and community members. While many schools achieve that goal, there aren’t many schools out there that have done it like Cimarron Middle School, in Parker.
Principal Chris Zimmerman has been involved with the leadership team at Cimarron Middle School for the last seven years and is currently serving in his fourth year as the school’s principal.
“I feel blessed to get to work here with the people we have— It's pretty amazing. I feel like, for me, leadership is such a big passion,” Chris continues, “I read a lot of leadership books because I think there are not enough good leaders in the world. So, there are some leaders who have inspired me to be a better leader and I hope and want to continue to help people, whether it’s families, kids, staff members, throughout their life.”
Chris was born in California, but grew up in the small town of Hotchkiss, Colorado, living and working on his family’s farm. After graduating college with a statistics degree, Chris worked as a construction foreman until deciding his passion was working with kids. He came to the Douglas County School District when the Legend feeder opened and started out as a math teacher and eventually became the assistant principal at Legend before moving to Cimarron Middle School.
“I believe if you want to make an impact in a community, you have to be loyal to that community and you have to be immersed in it. That’s why I live in this feeder. My children attend schools in this feeder. It’s all because I believe in it and I want to immerse myself into in it so I can make a difference,” says Chris.
Chris credits his childhood in Hotchkiss to be a major contributor in the way he believes Cimarron should run and feel for his students and the community.
“When you live in a small town you know everyone. My town growing up was around 800 people. That’s smaller than this entire school. In a small town, everything is centered around the school. It is where you get to know people, it is where the community starts.” Chris continues, “I try to treat this school as that hub. So, not just where kids come, but where parents are meeting other parents. And, especially when you have a middle school child, it can be such a hard time to parent, so we work hard to build that community because it does take a village to raise kids.”
Community is one thing Cimarron knows well. Each year the school partners with outside groups to create learning moments and events for kids. One of its most known events is its celebration of Veteran’s Day. Each year hundreds of people attend to watch the student-produced program, giving gratitude to the men and women who have served.
“We bring empathy, passion and learning to the building, or we take our students away from the building and seek it out. So it isn’t just about Veteran’s Day or the September 11 stair climb, but for the kids, it is seeing and talking to those veterans and people impacted by events and making sure our kids understand the depth of different events that have happened and shaped our world to what it is today.”
Chris' Top Books on Leadership and Parenting:
It’s those lessons in understanding empathy and the world around them that has given Cimarron’s eighth-graders the opportunity to be awarded and accepted into the Library of Congress, twice.
“Our students work at such a high level. If you release them and give them the responsibility to work at high level, they will achieve it. Most of the time they will go above and beyond the expectations, especially if you put them in front of an audience,” says Chris.
It’s lessons like those in empathy, hard work and kindness that Chris feels are pivotal for young minds, especially as they grow and determine who they will become.
“I tell my own kids every day, 'you need to work hard and you need to be kind.' I tell my teachers and our students here the same thing every day,” says Chris. “I often tell our parents, 'you need to know what you value and you need to model those values; because when your son or daughter are trying to figure out who they are in this middle school realm, they’re developing that part of their brain. You need to say it verbally and then model it because that is who they will end up being on the road.'”
For Chris, allowing kids to explore and find their potential is just one of the many reasons why he feels his job is the greatest. "The best part about my job is just being able to help people. It fills up my bucket at the end of the day. That’s why I got into administration. I just really like the leadership aspect of it. I like to empower people to go after their passions and at the same time, help people find that path for themselves.”