Former Aspen school administrator dies in bike accident
A former assistant superintendent with the Aspen School District was killed Saturday while riding her bicycle in Colorado Springs.
Julia Roark, 55, who left the district in 2015 after five years, was cycling with her husband, Greg Roark, at about 2:30 p.m. when she was hit by a car while attempting to cross traffic lanes, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.
“It’s sickening,” Aspen Superintendent John Maloy said Monday. “We’re all heartbroken.”
Maloy said he felt “total devastation and shock” when he heard the news.
“A number of us who worked with Julia are in total disbelief,” he said. “Some staff have taken time off to go to Colorado Springs to be with Greg and the family.”
Julia Roark was pronounced dead at the scene, and the driver of the car that hit her is not facing charges and police don’t believe alcohol or speed were factors, according to a story in the Colorado Springs Gazette.
Roark arrived in Aspen in 2010 after a teaching stint at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, according to a Colorado Springs school district online post announcing her job there. She made a strong impression on teachers while here, said Georgina Levey, a fifth-grade teacher at Aspen Elementary School.
“She had a pretty big vision of things that could make our school district strong,” Levey said. “She was trying to engage the teachers. She preferred to lead from within, not from above.”
She left for Colorado Springs in 2015 and an administrator position with that district. She was in charge of education programs for schools in the district and was in the process of developing a master teacher program for elementary school student literacy, according to the Gazette.
Greg Roark, who was not injured, continues to lead the Aspen School District’s aeronautics program, Maloy said. He commuted back to Colorado Springs on weekends to spend time with his wife, he said.
They have two children — Alexandra, 29, of St. Louis and Austin, 23, of New Orleans, Maloy said.
“She was willing to go the extra mile for anyone to see that they were successful,” Maloy said. “I found her to be very warm and friendly.”
Memorial services will be held for Julia Roark in Aspen and Colorado Springs, Maloy said. They have not yet been scheduled, he said.
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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has tested positive for the coronavirus. Polis and his partner, Marlon Reis, both have COVID-19 and are asymptomatic, the governor said in a statement Saturday night.