The student news site of Arvada West High School

The Westwind

The student news site of Arvada West High School

The Westwind

The student news site of Arvada West High School

The Westwind

New Principal Micah Porter filled with nothing but excitement, hopes, aspirations for the future of A-West

Throughout his career, Porter has fulfilled roles as being teacher, coach, Athletics and Activities Director, and Assistant Principal. As he begins his twenty-eighth year in education, Porter is ready for his next adventure at A-West. Photo courtesy of Porter


 “Brace yourself for a year of achievement, growth, belonging and joy,” are the words new Principal Micah Porter told the Arvada West staff at the beginning of the 2023 through 2024 school year. As he is entering his twenty-eighth year of education with a career that spans experience in being a teacher, coach, Athletics and Activities Director, and Assistant Principal, Porter is filled with nothing but excitement, hopes, and aspirations for Arvada West High School.

History as an Educator:

Growing up, Porter “was an athlete,” who always “loved studying history,” and “loved working with young people.” So, to him, education seemed like the best path in order to stay involved with what he loved to do.

 After graduating with a degree in history and psychics, Porter packed up his Ford Ranger, and drove halfway across the country from Michigan to start his educational career in Colorado. When he arrived in 1994, Porter received his first educational role as a social studies teacher and the cross country and field coach at a then year old D’Evelyn J.R./S.R.high.

To Porter, his history with coaching widened his eyes as an educator and provided him with the opportunity to see his students as people outside of a classroom. 

He explains, “I didn’t recognize when I was an athlete how important the role of a coach can be in a young person’s life. What you’re able to do is see them outside of the classroom, build a relationship with them, so they can seek you out as an adult if they need help with something…What coaching did is that it really opened my eyes to the fact that there is so much more to being an effective educator outside of reading, writing, and arithmetic.”

He continues how coaching impacted him: “Coaching gave me a window into the importance of sponsors and conductors, everyone that is involved with students outside of a classroom, and how big of an impact they can have on the experience a young person has. That changed my life.”

After nineteen years at D’Evelyn, Porter left and opened up Northfield High School in Denver, Colorado, where he was Athletics Director. Three years later, he decided to move back to Jefferson County schools. At Jeffco, he started at Alameda International J.R./S.R. High  as  Activities Director, and then moved to Warren Tech as Assistant Principal for three years.

With a vast experience in the field of education, it is evident that Porter has had experiences that have defined who he is as an educator. When he was working at Northfield and Alameda, Porter says he learned, “about the importance of making sure that you are creating a culture in the building, where students feel welcome, and feel like they belong.”

During his time as the cross country and field coach at D’Evelyn, Porter’s role taught him lessons about being an educator too. “I think when I first get into coaching, you are always thinking about the results. You are thinking about the outcome of a game or a performance, and those are important, but it is often the process and the journey you have to get to that point. It is most important. The outcome is the goal, but it doesn’t define what you’ve gone through as an athlete or a student. I think the same of what’s in the classroom,” he says.

So, with all of his experience in a number of positions at different schools, Porter has learnt lessons that have established him as the educator he is today, making him ready for a new beginning at A- West.

Arvada West:

In early 2023, former A-West Principal Geree Santarelli announced she would be retiring after 23 years at the school. Soon after, Porter’s announcement for his position as the new principal came out. With a new chapter in his career beginning, Porter describes his feelings for the beginning of his time at A-West as “excited” and “overwhelmed.”

However, his announcement of principal came with some backlash and concerns, about his identity and background. He explains how those concerns impacted him and says, “It was a little bit of a rough start last year with some of the stuff that happened, that people were concerned about, about how I was as a person.” 

But Porter believes that those concerns do not define him as a person, and with time, the students of A-West will see him as a “ …a passionate, caring, and committed educator.”

During his short amount of time at A-West, Porter has seen the closeness in the tightly knit Arvada West community, and he says the students have “welcomed me way beyond anything I’ve ever expected.” 

 On his Instagram page, Porter has posted photos of himself at a number of events with different groups of students such as the Wildcat Welcome, the City of Arvada Harvest Parade, and football games. He has also introduced himself to businesses in the Arvada community, and  is trying to build relationships with parents, by meeting and communicating with them face to face instead of communicating via email.

From sports games, to the City of Arvada’s Harvest Parade, Porter believes in the importance of supporting the A-west community. He has been out and about at a number of events to show his support to different groups in the student body.
Graphic made in Canva by Chloe Rios

While he has attended a number of events, Porter says his favorite so far has been the Wildcat Welcome. “I really enjoyed the Wildcat Welcome. What that did is it allowed me to spend a little bit of time with the band, with the poms, and get to know some of the families. So, I enjoy going to concerts and games, but a lot of times you’re just there for the game, and you can’t always be at the play or you’re at the play and you miss the game. But, when you have events where all different groups are welcomed to the school, that is a lot of fun.”

However, just because a community is close among the students and families, does not mean that it is always the same with the school’s faculty. With a large school, A-West staff is oftentimes spread out, making it hard to have a close bond among the entire school’s faculty. Porter does acknowledge this challenge, however he wants to find ways to work around it. 

He explains, “I want to hear what the teachers are saying. I want to get to know them on a personal and professional basis. Having a staff that knows each other and understands each other, and how we tick, and what frustrates me, and what makes me happy, and what fills my bucket each day is important for all of us to know how we can support each other, and what our strengths and weaknesses are.”

When Porter announced to his staff the school year being about achievement, growth, belonging, and joy, he wanted that message to inspire the students and faculty, and for it to spread across A-West to become a part of the daily routine. He explains why he decided to choose that message and says, “Whether you have been here 20 years, or this is your first semester as a student, I want teachers to feel like they are growing and improving. I want students to feel like they are better today than they were yesterday. I want them to find joy in going to school”

This message connects to Porter’s ideology he has held throughout the years that “all students can be successful. I believe that every student who walks through the door can achieve what they want to achieve.”

Porter believes that Arvada West is on the path to be a “flagship school” for Jefferson County Public Schools. Now that he is Principal, he wants A-West to be inclusive and a place to foster students aspirations.
Graphic created in Canva by Chloe Rios

 Whether it is Homecoming or the springtime fish release in Mr. Madsen’s classes, (both events Porter is looking forward to), he is well aware of the greatness that is already in the culture of Arvada West. Of course, he has his own goals to improve the school, the biggest one being, “ … the school to be viewed as an institution or an organization where every individual regardless of their faith, the skin color, their socioeconomic background, their abilities in the classroom or on the playing field, has a smile when they walk into school everyday, and that they are happy to be here. I want it to be a place that is safe and welcoming, and fun. That’s my goal.”

 About Porter

 As an educator, Porter describes himself as someone who is kind, patient, and open minded, but of course there is more to him than just his part as principal.

In his free time, Porter loves to do a variety of different activities. With his partner Brendan, they love visiting new restaurants, and traveling. Both Porter and his partner have family that live out of state, so they take any opportunity they have to visit. When he travels to visit family, Porter loves to spend time with his nieces and nephews. He explains, “I’ve got ten nieces and nephews, I spend a lot of time connecting with them.”

Travelling is also an opportunity for Porter to experience new cultures and countries. He likes to, “..experience what their worldview is.”

Before school, he enjoys working out, and believes it is important for his mental health. “I exercise a lot… I get up early in the morning, and I’m in the gym at 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. That’s kind of my time to get ready for the day.” 

For Porter, there is one person that he believes has had a big impact on his life. He considers one of his role models to be Indian teacher and writer Eknath Easwaran. “I used to teach a religion class, and he has framed my thinking about what it means to be someone who has  a deep spiritual belief. It’s not necessarily tied to any religion, but he represents spiritual truths…Truths are about what it means to be human, and that brings me inspiration every day…He had a big impact on my life as an educator.”

No matter what the students of Arvada West may think or know about Porter, he wants them to recognize that he is approachable, and someone who will not judge them. “If they ever have a question or something that they want to know, they can always come up and talk to me.”

While it is the very beginning of Porter’s role as principal at Arvada West High School, it is evident that he is very excited, grateful, and ready for his new adventure. Only time can tell how he will help shape the future of Arvada West, and how he will ultimately leave a legacy at the school.

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About the Contributor
Chloe Rios, Editor
Chloe Rios is a junior this year, and it is her second year on staff. In her free time, she loves to paint, listen to a lot of Taylor Swift, and spend time with her friends. She is a part of A-West's Theatre Company, National Honors Society, and Link Crew. She loves 'The Westwind', and is super excited to be back for another year of journalism!

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