Spring Hiring Updates and End-of-Year Ceremonies

April 26, 2021

Greetings, CSS community!

We are in the HOMESTRETCH for the school year, and it will be May before we know it! I hope you all have been reading your weekly ROAR and Kodiak Bulletin for the updates and happenings that will take place in the CSS community during the next several weeks. It truly is exciting to be entering into the spring season, the final academic quarter, and pre-summer planning. I am learning about the twists and turns of Colorado weather, and our latest weather has brought an opportunity for increased campus usage. Whether it’s lunch on the quad, PE classes on the soccer field, or just a meeting under a tree, we are all feeling grateful for the warmth.

The twists and turns and changes over the past several months have prepared us to accept change and uncertainty. There has been much talk in the media about the losses in education, the economy, and many other industries. No one can remain unaffected by the truly challenging times we have had to face during the pandemic. The only thing that has been constant this year is change. We have taken our mission to heart and continuously look to each new challenge to prepare students and ourselves for the dynamic world before us.

Your children have remained a resilient and determined group of young people, and we count ourselves fortunate to be able to work with them each day. The students of CSS and their teachers have worked phenomenally hard to keep up to speed, and the calm manner in which they have taken on each hurdle is an inspiration for every one of us. As we plan for the 2021-2022 school year, some CSS community members will embrace more change as they exit CSS and move to other opportunities. Please join me in thanking the following members of our community who will not return to CSS next year:

  • Sandy Cox, Children’s School Spanish & Art teacher
  • Tim Ferguson, 5th Grade teacher
  • Eric Gaylord, Middle & Upper School Science teacher
  • Nicole Goyette, Middle & Upper School Director
  • Elena Hall, Registrar
  • Katrina Tijerina, Director of College Counseling

A special thanks to all the parents, students, and faculty/staff who have served on interview panels to aid in the thoughtful hiring of new individuals. Some of these hiring schedules remain in progress. If you know of a qualified candidate interested in applying, please direct them to the Employment Opportunities page of our website.

Kelley Jefferson, Ron Hamilton, Tila Hidalgo, and Erik Playe
Kelley Jefferson, Registrar
Kelley Jefferson has lived in Colorado Springs for 36 years. Working alongside many great educators in District 11, she is an experienced Registrar. Her other passions include her love of gardening, camping, and exploring our Colorado mountains.
She is looking forward to being a part of the Kodiak community!
Ron Hamilton, Middle School Director
Ron Hamilton is an inveterate resident of the westside of Colorado Springs. A graduate of Manitou Springs High School, Mr. Hamilton began his career teaching college freshmen writing and rhetoric at the University of Denver. He has been supporting young people in our area as a 6th-12th grade English and technology teacher, an International Baccalaureate program coordinator, and a school leader for the past 26 years.
Ron’s story with CSS began as part of a teenaged crew operating a giant dragon puppet in a movie shot on campus in the 1980s. He has also officiated weddings on the patio of the Trianon and is married to Mrs. Julie Hamilton, who taught in the Children’s School for many years. Mr. Hamilton’s daughter, Estella, is a 2016 graduate of CSS, and his daughter, Amelia, attended Children’s School and Middle School at CSS. When he’s not hiking with his son, Jack, and his dog, Juno, Mr. Hamilton enjoys gardening, snowmobiling, and listening to live music.

Tila Hildalgo, Upper School Director
Tila Hidalgo is originally from Houston, Texas. She earned her B.S. in Biomedical Science from Texas A&M University, an M.S. in Biology from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and an Ed.D in Educational Leadership from Abilene Christian University. She has taught high school science in Texas and internationally in Guadalajara, Mexico, and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She is currently the secondary principal at an international school in Hanoi, Vietnam. Tila is very excited to return to the United States and join the leadership team at The Colorado Springs School.

Erik Playe, Upper School College and Career Counselor
Erik was born and raised in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he graduated from the Williston Northampton School. He attended St. Michael’s College in Vermont and majored in English Literature and minored in Spanish. He earned a Master’s in Liberal Studies with a focus in Humanities from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. For the past thirteen years, he has taught English and/or served as a college counselor at three U.S. independent schools and at an international school in South America. He served most recently as the director of college counseling, academic dean, and softball coach at a boarding school in Arizona.
Erik and his wife, Kelly, are excited to move to Colorado Springs. Kelly is a horticulturist who is starting her own business in resilient landscape design. Kelly and Erik enjoy hiking, snowshoeing, biking, gardening, and birding together.
Juniors will be introduced to Mr. Playe on Wednesday, April 28, in a class meeting. Mr. Playe will meet seniors and senior parents on Friday, April 30, in a class meeting. He will continue to reach out to all junior and senior families in early May to set programming and discuss college plans.
Ceremonies and Celebrations!
Ceremonies and Celebrations are quickly approaching. These events warm our community’s heart and solidify all of the hard work and dedication of both teachers and students. Division Directors will follow up with more specific details about covid mitigation, confirming guest counts for reserved family seating, reporting times for students, and celebratory attire.
Friday, May 21, 2021
7:00 p.m., Upper School Awards e-Assembly
A join link will be shared as we near this event
  • Attended by Upper School students and parents (virtually) and Upper School faculty/staff (in-person)
  • Highlights to include: Departmental and Special Awards
Friday, May 21, 2021 - Thursday, May 27, 2021
Senior Art Show
Louisa Performing Arts Center - Gallery
Enjoy the artistic endeavors of Senior art showcased in the gallery. Details will be forthcoming to reserve a time to walk through the Senior Art Show as a family.
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
9:00 a.m., Colorado Expedition Slideshow Video
In classrooms; e-blast to follow with YouTube viewing link
PreK - 5th Grade will watch the Colorado Expedition videos in their classrooms and the link will be shared out to families to watch at home at your convenience.
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., 5th Grade - Class of 2028 Continuation Ceremony
On the Quad (facing the mountain)
  • Attended by PreK - 5th-grade students and faculty/staff.
  • Each 5th-grade family will be permitted eight guests to sit in a reserved family pod.
  • Highlights include Longevity Awards, 5th Graders Continue, Musical Tribute, Grade Progression for Pre-Kindergarten - 4th Grade, and Class Photo on steps of Trianon Terrace.
  • Livestreaming will be available on the school’s Facebook page.
  • Due to the constraints of projecting a video outside in the sunlight, the Journey Through Childhood video will be watched as a class and shared with families to view at home.
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., 12th Grade - Class of 2021 College T-shirt Photo & Graduation Practice
Trianon Terrace/Quad
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m., Middle School Awards Assembly
Carriage House Lawn
  • Attended by Middle School students and faculty/staff.
  • Parents of a student receiving an award will be invited to attend. Those parents will be notified by May 12.
  • Highlights include Kodiak Scholar Recognition, Departmental and Special Awards.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
12:15 p.m. - 1:15 p.m., 8th Grade Family Picnic
Picnic on Boddington Field
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., 8th Grade - Class of 2025 Continuation Ceremony
Carriage House Lawn
  • Attended by Middle School students and faculty/staff.
  • Each 8th-grade family will be permitted eight guests to sit in a reserved family pod.
  • Highlights include Longevity Awards, Advisor Speeches and 8th Grader Speeches, Grade Progression for 6th and 7th Grade, and Class Photo on Front steps of Trianon.
  • Livestreaming will be available on the school’s Facebook page.
  • Due to the constraints of projecting a video outside in the sunlight, the Journey Through Childhood video will be watched as a class and shared with families to view at home.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
6:30 p.m., Senior Tributes and Senior Capstone Shareout for Class of 2021
Louisa Performing Arts Center
  • Each 12th-grade family will be permitted six guests to sit in a reserved family pod.
  • Highlights include a personal tribute to each Senior in the Class of 2021, a Senior Capstone reflection, and the Senior Slideshow video.
Thursday, May 27, 2020
8:30 a.m., Class of 2021 Commencement Exercises
On the Trianon Terrace/Quad
  • Attended by seniors, senior families, freshmen, sophomore, juniors, faculty/staff, board of trustees, as well as students performing in the band or musical tribute.
  • Each 12th-grade family will be permitted eight guests to sit in a reserved family pod.
  • Highlights include Musical Tribute to the Senior Class, Commencement Address, Presentation of the Roses, Presentation of Awards, Senior Farewell, Head of School’s Charge, Presentation of Diplomas, Processional/recessional music performed by an ensemble of the CSS Band, and Faculty/Staff Receiving Line.
  • Livestreaming will be available on the school’s Facebook page.

Sincerely,

Tambi Tyler
Head of School
Kelley Jefferson, Ron Hamilton, Tila Hidalgo, and Erik Playe