A HARTful goodbye for Dr. Nielsen

Dr. Collyn Nielsen has served as an administrator for 18.5 years at Hart High School, with his first year in 1998.

Dr. Collyn Nielsen has served as an administrator for 18.5 years at Hart High School, with his first year in 1998.

Dr. Collyn Nielsen has served as an administrator for 18.5 years at Hart High School, with his first year in 1998.

Kacie Nielsen, Editor in Chief

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Dr. Nielsen started his administrative career at Hart as an assistant principal in 1998.  For eight years, his roots grew deeper and deeper into the school and, in 2006, Dr. Nielsen took over as principal and now holds the record as the longest standing Hart administrator in the history of the school. Today, unfortunately, is his last day.

During his eighteen and a half years at Hart, Dr. Nielsen remembers a vast array of experiences that came along with working at a high school, but picked his top five favorite to share.

  1. “The Hart Holiday Community Dinner. Being able to see the joy in everyone’s eyes that nice is truly amazing.”
  2. “Senior Awards Night, 2013.  A student who had gotten past gang involvement was invited to the ceremony and he had no clue why.  His story was told at the ceremony and Dustin Soto, a fellow student, started a standing ovation on stage and it spread through the rest of the audience.  It was just incredible.”
  3. “The growth of the Advanced Placement program throughout my years here has been eye opening. When I first started here, we administered about 1,000 tests. Now that number is close to 1,400.”
  4. “The repeated band championships shows the excellence in our music program.  14 out of my 18 years here they have won. Credit to Mr. Bailey.”
  5. “There is a tie for my fifth favorite memory.  Our 2013 CIF Football victory over Valencia and my son’s 54 yard, record breaking, field goal against Santiago High School in 2014.”

During his lengthy run at Hart, Dr. Nielsen was able to witness the students and staff undergo a major change.  

“We are much more accepting of everyone’s uniqueness today compared to when I first started working here, and I think that contributes to the atmosphere we have on campus. We are one big family,” said Dr. Nielsen.

Not only was Dr. Nielsen principal, but his kids were raised on the campus. His two children were toddlers when he started working here and his youngest was born a few years later. They all attended Hart during his tenure as principal. Throughout his years, he has developed personal relationships with many of his students because of his own kids, which had a tremendous effect on his great reputation.  He treated a lot of his students like family and was loved by so many families.

“Dr. Nielsen has given 18 wonderful years to Hart. We had a discussion recently about if he is excited to move on to working closer with the district and he assured me how grateful he was for the opportunity but he reminded me that he will miss being around the students the most. That conversation mixed with a variety of other selfless acts displays the main reason why Dr. Nielsen truly is the best principal any student could ask for. He wholeheartedly cares for the kids he is responsible for. As a student body, it is much easier to enjoy high school when you have a staff and administration that cares for the students, and Dr. Nielsen has ensured that as Hart High’s legacy. Thank you Dr. Nielsen for all that you’ve done for this school. P.S. The Patriots didn’t win a Super Bowl until Dr. Nielsen became Hart’s principal. Now that he’s leaving, they’ll never win another one,” said Mitch Gordon, senior class president.

As his time at Hart comes to an end, Dr. Nielsen reflects on his time as principal and he thought of how he wanted to be remembered.

“I want to be remembered as a principal who cared, who did his very best for his students and teachers, and who rose to the challenges that face a comprehensive high school over the course of 10 years,” said Dr. Nielsen.

Dr. Nielsen will truly be missed on campus.  Losing him as principal is like losing a piece of our h(e)art but our hearts are open and ready to welcome Mr. d’Autremont, the new principal, back to Hart.

“Mr. d’Autremont, welcome home,” Dr. Nielsen said.

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A HARTful goodbye for Dr. Nielsen