Compass School head to retire

Rick Gordon will step down in June from helm of independent school

WESTMINSTER — Compass School's Director and founding board member Rick Gordon has announced his retirement at the end of this school year.

“Gordon will leave a legacy of giving students a fresh start and opportunity for success in his over 20-year career at the school,” the school said in a news release announcing his retirement.

Gordon was instrumental in implementing many of the Compass School's signature programs including Global Connections, a travel program to provide every student, regardless of family income, the opportunity for international travel and cultural exchange.

He also started the school's now-foundational portfolio system, where all students are actively engaged in reflecting on their learning and celebrating their growth. And he initiated many capital improvements, including adding an arts lab and science lab, solar-powered electricity, and a soccer field.

“We have done a great job the past few years detailing and documenting our curriculum, our overall educational program is well established and strong in all its purposeful elements, and we have a stable, high quality staff,” Gordon said in a news release. “I think any organization benefits from a change of leadership from time to time to keep things fresh and vibrant, and this seems like a good time for me to be moving on.”

In 1999, Gordon, along with a small group of parents and community members, wanted to create a public school system with options so that every child could find a school where they fit, felt valued, and could find success.

After initial efforts to be part of the public system, they were successful in starting Compass as an independent school. Over the following two decades, Compass has seen its students achieve a near-100 percent graduation rate, with 90 percent of graduates accepted for postgraduate education.

“Rick is more than just a director,” said Compass senior Ben Allaire of Westminster, who has been a Compass student his entire middle and high school career.

During that time, Allaire wrote and directed documentary and dramatic films, interned at local historical societies, taught special history classes, and along with his entire class traveled to Spain with Gordon.

“Rick is a teacher and a mentor and, more than anything else, a friend. He has helped me become a better student and a better person, and he has helped me discover the wider world,” said Allaire, who will graduate in May and is headed to college in the fall.

Gordon's successor will be Eric Rhomberg, Assistant Director and teacher at Compass School. He has been with the school almost as long as Gordon and is beloved by students and parents alike.

“Working with Rick has been one of the highlights of my career,” Rhomberg said. “His vast experience, intelligence, and skills and his heart-centered commitment to the Compass mission have been a bedrock of our success. I am thrilled to be working with our outstanding faculty and the entire Compass community to advance this mission next year and beyond.”

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