Pueblo Central Hall of Honor 2012 Inductee

Dr. Henry Roman (1965)

Born in Bessemer, Henry Roman attended Bessemer Elementary and Keating Junior High before graduating from Pueblo Central High School in 1965. Henry benefited immensely from the overall education he received at Central. He received a strong academic education, learned many leadership skills even as a student and acquired many great social skills from his fellow students and his excellent teachers. Dr. Roman has stated that his teachers had a tremendous impact on his life. They were demanding yet caring making Central the great high school it is today.

With a strong background in mathematics and science Henry went on to Southern Colorado State College (SCSC) earning a B.S. in Mathematics in 1969. Dr. Roman has stated he was well prepared for a college education and especially in mathematics. He also earned his teaching credentials and was then employed as a math teacher at Pueblo South High. After three and a half years teaching math at South High he became the Interim Assistant Principal at East High School for one semester. The following year he served as a Community Liaison Specialist for the school district. This was in the early 70s during a time when there was great community unrest across the country and our city. This was especially true in our schools. This position was designed to mitigate this unrest and attempt to create a sense of community in our troubled schools. The US Office of Civil Rights had established a strong presence in our school district due to formal complaints that remained unresolved for years to come.

Soon thereafter, Dr. Roman became assistant principal at Roncalli Middle School and at South High School. He quickly learned the many difficult discipline challenges facing our schools. Much time was spent dealing with the rights of students versus the authority of the school and its officials. The length of boys' hair and of girls' skirts were the issues of the day. He knew then as well as today, that our schools must focus more on teaching and learning and less on these other matters, however important they may be. After all, does length of hair really matter when it comes to student learning?

At about that time Dr. Roman completed his M.S. in Mathematics from Louisiana State University through a National Science Foundation Grant and became the Director of Affirmative Action. He then became Principal of Risley Middle School before becoming the Executive Director of Secondary Education. After earning his Doctorate in Education from the University of Northern Colorado he became the Deputy Superintendent of Instruction and finally the Superintendent of Schools/Vice President of USC under the "Alliance" with the University. He held the position for eight years before retiring in 1999.

The Alliance with the University was an interesting educational experiment. It was a sincere attempt to create a seamless K-16 educational experience both educationally and operationally. To that end, Dr. Roman was given the title "Vice President" in order to function effectively within the University setting. Dr. Roman has stated that as challenging as this experience was, it was equally rewarding. Its disappointments notwithstanding, its successes were many.

During his 30 years with the district, Dr. Roman was actively involved in the community serving as a member of Rotary 43 and the Lions Club. Now he is a member of the Pueblo Fraternal Order of Eagles, Aerie 145. He served on numerous committees and boards including the Neighborhood Housing Services Board, the Packard Foundation Community Advisory Board, the St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center Community Board, and now The Pueblo Community Health Centers Foundation Board and the Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation Board just to name a few. In addition, Dr. Roman served on many state and national committees.

As rewarding as his experiences with Pueblo School District No. 60 were, Dr. Roman believes that his experiences since he retired have been even more rewarding. After all, Pueblo School District No. 60 was already an excellent school system nurturing his development as a leader. Dr. Roman has stated, "I only hope I have given as much as I have taken." On the other hand, since he retired he has taken on significant challenges with the various organizations he assisted.

When he accepted the Acting Dean position at the Pueblo School for Arts and Sciences (PSAS), the charter school had just closed its high school prompting the dismissal of the Dean. Dr. Roman stepped in and was able to fund the addition of modular classrooms and teachers thereby reducing class sizes which had become a problem. Overall student achievement improved and today, PSAS is a high performing K-8 charter school within the district.

The following year, Pueblo School District No. 70 had a crisis of leadership when their superintendent had to be dismissed during the summer. The District No. 70 Board asked Dr. Roman to step in with the beginning of school just a couple of months away. As Dr. Roman has said, "District No. 70 is an excellent school district. All I had to do was provide some guidance and a bit of leadership, but all else was in place with an excellent staff on board."

The next year, Dr. Roman was asked to help Hanover School District address their budget and school accreditation problems. In addition, the superintendent and the elementary principal had been dismissed and the high school principal resigned. Intended to be a short-term position, Dr. Roman stayed four years on a half time basis not only correcting the budget issues and moving the district from probationary status to good standing with the state department, but also building an elementary school in a remote part of the district. Once again Hanover School District continues to perform well and remains in good standing. Most recently, two Pueblo charter schools were at the point of being closed due to many issues described in detail in a state sanctioned audit. The Executive Director had been dismissed, the high school principal had resigned, the significant bond debt was coming due, staff licensure was in question, and many personnel issues had to be addressed immediately. In addition, the Colorado Department of Education was demanding action from the school district with the possibility of the schools being closed. Within one year, the schools were on track once again with all issues addressed and corrected, leadership in place, and board governance ready to move ahead. Needless to say, School District No. 60 did not close the schools and, in fact, the district formally authorized a new five-year charter contract. Dr. Roman recently said, "Working with these two charter schools and turning them around was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had! The issues were much greater than I thought, but once again, the staff and board were so supportive. As a result, my task was so much easier."

At the present time, Dr. Roman is devoting his time to his family and to the community he loves. Married in 1983, Anna and Henry have two children.

In particular, Dr. Roman takes a great deal of pride serving on the Pueblo Community Health Centers (PCHC) Foundation and the Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation (PHEF). PCHC serves Pueblo's low socio-economic population that is typically medically underserved and the PHEF provides scholarships to needy but capable students residing in our community. "I have been blessed to live in this community; it has been so good to my family and me. All I want to do now is give back and support my community anyway I possibly can," Dr. Roman said.

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