Aspen School Board narrows field to three candidates |

Aspen School Board narrows field to three candidates

The Aspen Board of Education has selected Dwayne Romero, Jeff Siegel and Blake Appleby as the final three candidates vying for a vacant board position.

At Monday’s board meeting, which commenced an hour after the deadline to apply for the spot, the board revealed the names of eight of the nine applicants.

Appleby was the unnamed candidate, per his request to the board.

Appleby said Friday he previously wished to remain anonymous because he felt “it was not relevant to the selection process.”

Aspen School District Secretary to the Board of Education Angela Rittenhouse said nine applicants for one position is the most interest she could recall of any previous application cycle.

The high volume of applicants and level of interest from the community was met with excitement and appreciation at Monday’s meeting.

School board President Susan Marolt and Secretary Sheila Kennedy Wills interviewed applicants Tuesday and Wednesday and narrowed its applicant pool accordingly.

Rittenhouse informed The Aspen Times of the board’s decision Friday.

The term of office for the position, which opened April 25 following the resignation of former board Treasurer Bob Glah, is until the November 2017 election.

The final interview will take place in a Q&A-type panel of all three candidates before the board during the June 2 meeting.

All four board members will be involved in the final decision, which Marolt said she hopes to announce the following day, June 3.


Romero moved to Aspen in 1997 from Boston. He is a graduate of both West Point and Harvard.

In his near two decades in the Roaring Fork Valley, Romero has been a member of several boards, including that of the Aspen Rotary Club, Aspen Historical Society, Aspen Fire Protection District and Roaring Fork Transportation Authority.

He also served on the Aspen City Council for two terms from 2007 to 2011 and 2013 to 2015.

Romero is the former president of Related Colorado, the development team responsible for Snowmass Base Village.

Last fall, Romero worked as a consultant for developer Mark Hunt as Hunt campaigned to get voter approval for his Base2 Lodge development.

In 2015, Romero founded the Basalt-based management group The Romero Group.

Romero and his wife of 25 years, Margaret, have three daughters: a fifth-grader and a seventh-grader at Aspen Middle and a sophomore at Aspen High School.

Margaret works as a kindergarten teacher at Aspen Elementary.


Siegel relocated to Aspen from Irvington, New York, with his family in the summer of 2011.

After driving his motorhome across the country for what he intended as a vacation, Siegel called his wife, Lori, and said he wanted to move the family to Aspen.

The family followed shortly after and found a home in Snowmass Village, where they still reside.

“And here we are, happy as can be,” Siegel said Friday.

A graduate of Rutgers University in New Jersey, Siegel double majored in economics and psychology and has worked in finance for most of his career.

In 2013, he founded the investment firm Pyramid Peak Capital LLC, where he has worked since.

His wife, Lori, is an oil painter and teaches paint classes at the Red Brick Recreation Center.

Together, they have four boys — a 26-year-old; a 23-year-old; a 21-year-old, who graduated Aspen High School in 2013; and a sixth-grader at Aspen Middle School.


Appleby has lived in Aspen since 1991. Like Siegel, Appleby came to Aspen for what he thought would be a short period of time — a ski season, in Appleby’s case — and never left.

Appleby works at Douglas Elliman Real Estate Aspen and has a marketing degree from Baylor University in Texas.

He is married to Alana Appleby, who was recently contracted by the Aspen School District to help improve the district’s communication with the community.

The Applebys have two sons in the Aspen School District.

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