Aspen School District hopes to hire new Aspen High principal by early August
Officials at the Aspen School District offices have filled all but two of a dozen teacher vacancies for this year, have fielded 39 applications for the position of principal at Aspen High School, and have promoted former Aspen High School Athletic Director John Bangley to fill a one-year interim position as assistant principal of the high school, according to Superintendent John Maloy.
In the meantime, Maloy wrote in an email last week, the running of the high school as well as the school district as a whole has fallen largely to him and Assistant Superintendent Tom Heald.
“Since the departure of the high school administrators (former Principal Kim Martin and former Assistant Principal Mark Grice) in June, Tom Heald (assistant superintendent) and I have been working with appropriate staff to maintain the operations of Aspen High School,” Maloy wrote. “All things are progressing well as there are several responsibilities that we are overseeing in order to prepare for a new school year.”
Heald is a former Aspen High School principal whose most recent post was as the district’s curriculum director, before he was picked to replace outgoing Assistant Superintendent Julia Roark.
Among the ongoing tasks Maloy mentioned in his email, besides looking for replacement personnel, are:
• Finalizing the high school schedule for the 2015-16 school year.
• Preparing for student registration.
• Addressing the issue of late fees for this year and classroom fees for next year.
• Working with the Aspen Music Festival and School regarding two Aspen School District facilities the organization uses for its summer programming.
• Ordering textbooks and support materials for the coming year.
• Overseeing building maintenance and cleaning in preparation for the coming school year.
Maloy noted that the turnover rate at the end of the past school year, when 12 teachers either resigned or retired, is below both the average turnover rate of 14 teachers, and well below the highest recent turnover of 21 teachers in 2008. It also is well above the lowest turnover rate of nine in 2014.
Looking strictly at teacher retirements, Maloy wrote that the average number of teacher retirements since 2008 has been three per year, with seven being the highest number of teacher retirements in 2012.
This year, three teachers retired, Maloy reported.
He also wrote that all openings at Aspen Elementary have been filled, with one each remaining at Aspen High School — Phys. Ed/health — and Aspen Middle School — fifth grade.
A national search firm reported 39 applicants for the Aspen High School principal position, Maloy wrote, and associates with the search firm were scheduled to “begin vetting the applicants and conducting background checks” during the past week.
Maloy was scheduled to talk with the president of the search firm this week about the status of the search, “and hopefully I will receive the names of the applicants that will be recommended as candidates” for the principal’s job, Maloy wrote.
He reported that a “broad-base principal interview team consisting of volunteers, which includes students, teachers and parents,” are to meet in the next week to prepare for interviewing the principal candidates selected by the firm. Interviews are expected to take place in mid-July.
According to Maloy, “The district hopes to have a new high school principal on board by early August, before the start of the new school year.”
The selection of Bangley as the new assistant principal, Maloy wrote, largely was because “it is our belief that a principal new to AHS, even with experience, should not be spending a great deal of his/her time mentoring an assistant principal while attempting to learn about the Aspen community and lead AHS.”
The job was posted “internally and externally” and attracted eight applicants, though only three qualified for a final interview based on qualifications — holding a valid administrative license and having had administrative experience.
The superintendent wrote that seven high school “teacher leaders,” along with three administrators and one school board member, took part in “the final interview of the most qualified candidates for assistant principal,” and the group picked Bangley.
Bangley, Maloy reported, has worked as a classroom teacher and has taught advanced-placement course as well as having had administrative experience before coming to Aspen.
Maloy quoted some of the teacher leaders as concluding that Bangley “cares about people and building relationships,” is “an extremely positive person” and is “supportive of coaches, teachers and students.”
Maloy wrote that, as a result of Bangley’s reassignment, the district is now looking for someone to fill a one-year, interim athletic director’s job for Aspen High School.
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