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It’s never too late to follow your intuition

Corey Hafey, '92

Corey Hafey was well on his way to a career in corporate America after earning his business degree and wrapping up his time as a student-athlete on the Mesa baseball team.

He was working in management for Target Corporation and moving up the ladder fast — opening up new stores and leading employee training programs. Even though he was making good money and there seemed to be a bright future ahead of him, his colleagues kept telling him he had a real knack for teaching and motivating people. There was also something inside him, what he refers to as a “drum beat”, that never went away and was somehow motivating him to try something else.

When his wife received a good job opportunity in another state he decided to forgo the corporate career and complete a teacher licensure. Their family came back to the Western Slope and he began teaching in Mesa County Valley School District 51.

Shortly into his teaching career a savvy principal took him aside and said you’re making a huge impact on your class of 25, but you should really be making an impact on far more students — you need to be a school leader. He heeded her advice and completed a Master of Education coupled with a principalship licensure.

That was 15 years ago and since then he’s been a principal at two different schools. During his tenure, his schools have been awarded the Colorado Governor’s Improvement award a few different times and have been recognized with the District 51 Growth School Award, for total student improvement in reading, writing and math, almost every year since the district started the award six years ago.

“These awards required a total effort by everyone involved - parents, teachers, kids and support staff - which is what I’m most proud of,” said Hafey.

When reflecting on his college experience, he thinks it gave him very useful tools to be successful. He also feels fortunate to continue working with his alma mater as he seeks and employs talented teachers from the education department.

His son Christian will be the third generation Hafey to attend CMU and play college athletics. 

christian and corey hafey
Christian and Corey Hafey

With two other kids in college and one more not too far behind, he said their family was blessed when Christian was selected for the prestigious Waldeck Nursing Scholarship. Christian decided to pursue nursing because he was inspired by the excellent medical care his grandfather received as he was battling cancer. And following in his dad’s footsteps, he’ll be suiting up in the Maverick pinstripes to pursue a baseball national championship.

Regardless of the path they take, Hafey hopes his kids always trust their gut and keep an ear open for the “drum beat” because he can’t imagine life not being an educator.


Written by Jared Meier