Letter from Principal Alex Marquez

It is with great pleasure I welcome you to James Irwin Charter High School. We have an incredible faculty and staff whose goal is to partner with you to deliver the best college prep education in Colorado Springs. We are consistently selected as one of the top high schools in the nation according to reviews by publications like Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Post. We are a seven-time winner of the John Irwin Schools of Excellence award. This high honor was awarded to schools in the top 8% of the state based on overall academic achievement and is now awarded to schools that exceed expectations for academic achievement and student growth. For the past three years, JICHS has received a Best High School – Reader’s Choice Gold Award from The Gazette. We have been awarded Gold and Silver Medals by U.S. News & World Report for being one of the top high schools in the nation. Be assured, we are not resting on these humbling accolades, but continuing to strive for ways to improve our programs in order to best serve each student.  

Whether you already attend JICHS or are exploring enrollment, I commend you for your consideration of James Irwin Charter High School. Our commitment to character development combined with our rigorous academic program continues to prepare students for success, not only in college, but for life. Our academic, athletic, and extra-curricular programs are seeking students who are committed to excellence.

On behalf of the board, administration, faculty and staff, I hope you enjoy the exciting James Irwin experience and may you be blessed with a successful school year!


Alex Marquez has been in the education field since 1990 and has worked as Principal at JICHS since the summer of 2008. In addition to administration, Mr. Marquez teaches Character & Ethics, a required course for all JICHS students. He received an Associate of Arts degree from Miami-Dade Community College in 1987, a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Florida State University in 1990, and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University in 2003. He is currently working on a doctorate degree in education. Mr. Marquez holds Colorado professional licenses in education for K-12 music and school administration. Prior to his role as Principal at James Irwin Charter High School, Mr. Marquez’s career included one year as an elementary music teacher, seven years as a middle and high school Director of Bands, and seven and a half years as a school principal. His career also includes stints as a county manager for crisis counselors in Project HOPE, a bank trainer, and editor of a small newspaper. 

Mr. Marquez met his wife, Ruthie, in 1985 and they have been happily married since 1990. They have three boys ranging in age from 14 to 21, and stay busy managing a small urban farm in their own city backyard complete with a garden, chickens and goats. Their two oldest sons graduated from JICHS in 2018 and 2019. While in Florida, Mr. Marquez was involved in several community theater productions and a brass quintet. He co-wrote two plays and several television scripts with his long-time writing partner and friend, who is a principal in North Dakota. In 2004, one of their sitcom pilots placed in the semi-finals of a script competition. Their other projects in-progress include a motion picture script, a self-published novel series, and several short video projects for a local production company. Mr. Marquez hopes one day to be able to contribute scripts and books that are family-friendly, yet meaningful and inspiring. During the spring of 2016, Mr. Marquez returned to the stage after a 15-year hiatus to play George Banks in the Forestgate Community Theatre’s production of Mary Poppins. Mr. Marquez immensely enjoys teaching an Outlier University class he created called Breakthrough to Better Relationships. He is a certified trainer and consultant for Strata Leadership, a company that provides character education and seminars for schools, businesses, and civic organizations across the United States and abroad.

While enjoying his role as Principal of JICHS, Mr. Marquez also loves dating his wife, spending time with his sons, writing, playing piano, singing, traveling, playing board and video games, and serving as a Bible teacher and counselor. After living in Florida most of his life, Mr. Marquez and his family moved to Colorado Springs in the summer of 2006. He states, “We absolutely love Colorado! James Irwin Charter High School is an incredible place where the staff and parents team up to do what’s best for the students. The mission of JICHS, to develop students’ character and academic potential, is lived out each day in a real way with amazing teachers who truly care. I’m so excited to be part of one of the top schools in Colorado and feel incredibly blessed to serve alongside the best and finest faculty and staff anywhere.”