Aspen High School principal will retire in June
ASPEN – Aspen High School Principal Charlie Anastas will leave his post at the end of June, making him the second administrator to leave the district this year.
While Anastas, 58, is retiring, Aspen Superintendent Diana Sirko has been appointed deputy commissioner of education for the state of Colorado. Her resignation is effective June 4.
“Everybody is working hard to make as smooth a transition as possible,” Sirko said of she and Anastas leaving at the same time. “It’s hard, especially with the budget issues.”
The district has been told to anticipate a loss of $800,000 to $1.4 million in state funding for operations in the next school year.
Sirko said the district received 40 applications for Anastas’ position, and the job search has been narrowed down to six candidates. On-site interviews will be conducted next week, she said. Applicants come from within the state as well as nationally; there were no applicants from within the district.
Sirko said the goal is to have Anastas’ position filled by July 1.
Anastas has been principal for the past five years and was assistant principal for two years. Before that, he taught Spanish for 15 years at Aspen High.
But his career in education, which spans 34 years, began in Boston shortly after college. After teaching there for four years, he went to Mexico City and taught at the American School for one year.
In 1981, the mountains called. He, his wife and a friend moved to Aspen. Anastas started out as a janitor and bus driver at Aspen Country Day, a private school on Castle Creek Road.
Aspen at the time was feeling the effects of a recession so jobs were tight, and Anastas wanted to ski. His custodial job allowed him to do that.
When his boss found out Anastas had teaching experience, he was moved out of the custodial department and into the classroom, where he remained for seven years before going to AHS.
“They must have been impressed with my janitorial skills,” he joked, adding that whatever position he held during his career was rewarding. “They service kids in one way or another.”
Anastas decided last year that it was time to start enjoying life and engage in the activities that drew him here originally.
“When you live in a town like ours you want to be having some fun,” he said. “I want to get out there and enjoy life.”
Anastas oversees 45 faculty members and 535 students at AHS. His primary focus has been on academic achievement, programs, parents and teachers.
A highlight of his career was watching both of his children graduate from AHS, he said.
Anastas admits that administration is less enjoyable than being in the classroom, but said in the grand scheme of it all, all aspects of the job have been rewarding.
“You enjoy most of it or you don’t do it,” he said. “I feel very fortunate to work in a school system like Aspen where we’re top-notch. It’s been a privilege.”
School board member Charla Belinski said Anastas is a “classy” individual who gained the respect of staff, parents and students.
“It’s definitely a loss to the community and schools,” she said.
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The Aspen High School girls soccer team fought off a couple of key injuries to finish in a 1-1 draw with visiting Roaring Fork on Thursday night on the AHS turf. Over in New Castle, Basalt girls soccer edged out Coal Ridge for a 1-0 win.