Making A Difference, One Student At A Time


Abrie Hayles

New principal, Tracie Cormaney, in the middle of a busy day.

For new principal, Tracie Cormaney, it’s all about making connections– with her staff, students, and community. Coming into Pine Creek after a year rattled by COVID shutdowns and alterations to learning and activities, Cormaney and her new administration are breathing life back into school. “My favorite part about being a principal is just getting to know the staff and the students at Pine Creek. They obviously have a reputation of excellence and success, and I am excited to be a partner with them, and to be a part of that journey with them,” Cormaney said.

 A Colorado Springs native who graduated from Air Academy high school, Cormaney has worked in education for 29 years. She has coached softball, volleyball, and soccer, served as yearbook advisor, an English teacher, and an assistant principal for 13 years. “Being in various schools has given me a perspective of the community, the school, and the city, and the growth that’s happened over the last couple decades. I think that the more experiences you have allows you to create a more inclusive and more welcoming environment for students, which is really the most important part. If I can offer that environment to all 1810 kids, and they feel like if they come here, they can get what they want, which is different for me, different for you, different for everyone, then I’ve done my job well,” Cormaney said. 

She expressed that something that sets Pine Creek apart is the amount of community involvement. “ I’ve worked at several different schools, and I think Pine Creek’s difference is the community buy-in. I feel like the community is on the same page in regards to what the end goal is for their students, and as a result, I feel like the faculty has the same end goal. This history of excellence, and making sure that the kids are able to get what they need, to access what they need in order to be successful, is super unique! This community is super involved. And that’s a good thing, because parents have to be the biggest cheerleaders for their students, so I am just happy to be a partner in that, and to help parents feel like their kids are getting exactly what they envisioned for their last four years of guaranteed education, before they decide what their next step is.” 

Cormaney has already been a supporter for her students in the first few months of school. She’s attended sporting events, club meetings, and gets to school at 6:30 am to greet kids as they arrive. At 9:45 on a Friday morning, she had already greeted students arriving at school, met with a new Principal’s Advisory Committee, and was scheduled for lunch and hallway duty later in the day, all before even opening her email. “Every day, as soon as I see kids, I’m ready to go. I might have emails, I might have issues that are waiting for me, but as soon as I get to interact with kids and see their faces, and they tell me about how their night went, or what they have planned for the weekend… that is what motivates me every day. I love being around kids,” Cormaney said.  Despite the busy schedule, Cormaney enjoys being a part of her student’s lives, especially making connections with them in the mornings. “I like to see people as they come in. I think you can learn a lot about a person when you watch them on a continuous basis. So, I can see some kids every day, and I know immediately if there is something off, and I can address that and get ahead of it, and then that kid knows ‘people are hearing me, seeing me, knowing what I go through’ and I think that is super important: that my kids know that I see them. And that I hear them. And that I recognize if something is off, and that we are here to help them navigate through whatever it might be.”

Cormaney and the other administrators  have already instituted and encouraged many new school spirit activities– from seasonal assemblies for clubs and activities, to the Miles Of Smiles welcome line–and celebrates any new ideas students may have. “I’m up for anything. I will hear and try anything. Some things are going to be awesome, and we’ll do them again, and some things we’re going to be like ‘Well, that was not awesome!’ But that’s okay. You have to be vulnerable, and you have to be able to, especially as an adult, be able to say to people ‘That idea I had was terrible!’ And that is okay. Because we ask kids to be responsible, and take responsibility for their actions, positive and negative, and adults absolutely have to do the same thing. I have had to beg for forgiveness many times, for things that were not great decisions, or not implemented or executed well, and that lets kids know that I’m also human, and I also ask for forgiveness, and that it is okay to do so,” Cormaney said. 

Her goal for this year is to bring normalcy back to Pine Creek. “This year I hope to really bring people together. That’s one of our main initiatives for the building, is to reconnect with people and kids. I feel like kids know who we are, teachers know who we are. They feel like they’re being heard, they’re being seen. Really this year, we want to get people back on track. Academically, socially, and just to feel confident and calm when they are here,” Cormaney said. Following COVID, and navigating a ‘new normal’ in education and life, her advice to students about the future is to go forward with an open mind, heart, and conscience. “I think your optimism and hope is the greatest thing you can bring into any situation. If you come into something with a preconceived notion, you will not be successful. You can’t have this big picture of what things are supposed to be. Nothing ever ends up the way it’s supposed to be. If you come into something with a preconceived notion, positive or negative, you’re not giving yourself a chance, and you’re removing the power of what you can create in the moment. Allow yourself the freedom to be flexible. To be creative. To be optimistic, inclusive, and to be kind.”