Aspen High begins principal search in earnest |

Aspen High begins principal search in earnest

ASPEN – The Aspen School District has narrowed in on what it wants in a new high school principal, and it’s much the same as it was the last time the district hired for the position.

That conclusion comes after surveying students, parents and staff in the months since the abrupt resignation of Art Abelmann, who stepped down in November after 16 months on the job.

“Much of the information that was shared by the respondents mirrored the responses provided by parents at the community forum that was held two years ago,” said Aspen Superintendent John Maloy. “The respondents believed that similar items contribute to the high-quality education students receive at Aspen High School and what they considered as non-negotiable items they would not want to see cut.”

According to a report released Wednesday, these similar items include rigorous academics, experiential education/outdoor education, professionally trained teachers who work collaboratively, college preparation and counseling, IB program and small class sizes.

In addition to questions regarding what the school community wants and does not want in its next high school principal, the district sought input on the hiring process.

“I was pleasantly surprised by the great questions the respondents would ask the candidates if they were serving on an interview team. As a result of these wonderful responses, we plan on using some of these as we develop questions for the principal candidates,” Maloy said.

Applications are being accepted for the position and will be reviewed beginning March 19; the district hopes to have a permanent principal in place by July 2. The district also is forming a parent interview team this time around, according to Maloy.

When Abelmann was hired to replace longtime Aspen High School principal Charlie Anastas before the 2010-11 school year, there was no dedicated parent interview committee.

“There were two interview teams during the last interview cycle. Each team consisted mostly of teachers with two or three parents added per team,” Maloy said. “There was not a separate teacher, parent or student team.”

Interim principal David Schmid, hired in January, will remain at the helm until a permanent principal is hired.

“David has brought a calming effect throughout the high school. He has engaged the staff in meaningful conversation around classroom instruction and curriculum design. He has gathered feedback from staff on the strengths of Aspen High School and the challenges staff face in preparing all students for the 21st century,” Maloy said. “David has been very visible during the instructional day and at after-school activities, which is providing him the opportunity to get to know students.”

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