Incumbent Katy Frisch runs for school board as husband runs for U.S. House seat

Katy Frisch
Courtesy Photo

Katy Frisch is the incumbent among the four candidates racing for two Aspen School District Board of Education seats this Nov. 7. Elected back in 2019, she took office right before the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools across America. The mother of two teenagers (one in Aspen High School), she remembers how turbulent those years were for Aspen students and teachers.

“Gov. Polis closed Colorado schools on March 15, 2020. People were worried about the impact on their children’s education. We had as many as 300 people attending online school board meetings,” she told The Aspen Times. “I fought hard to get the kids back in school as soon as possible. My husband, Adam, got certified as a substitute teacher to help with the teacher shortage. He taught in elementary school to help more students return to classrooms.”

Now, her husband’s campaign is in the national spotlight. Many of his fundraising emails are written in Katy’s voice, recounting Colorado 3rd congressional district campaign anecdotes. She likes those emails and says the stories are true. But right now, she says she’s sticking to her own campaign trail.

“We are a team and I’m 100% behind him and supportive, but for the next seven weeks, I’m focused on my campaign,” she said. “He’s got a great team helping him. There are about 1,500 kids in my school district, and I want to do my best for them.”

She said that school board races seldom involve raising campaign funds. She will buy yard signs for supporters to display. She plans to rely on getting her goals and messages out online as well as by talking to people in person. Her future goals as a school board member include making sure there are scholarships for students who need financial help to attend college.

She is proud that affordable housing for teachers now numbers more than 100 units. But she is concerned about shortages that may occur as teachers retire and about housing for school support staff.

“APCHA requires applicants live here for four years before getting affordable housing, so it can’t really be used as a recruiting tool (for newly arrived residents),” she explained.

And she wants to provide suitable housing for Aspen schools’ lunch staff, custodians, maintenance workers, school bus drivers, and other support staff who may be priced out of Aspen housing but are crucial to keeping students’ safe and healthy. When asked about her proudest achievements as a school board member, Frisch named her involvement in the district’s transition to the K-12 International Baccalureate plan, the hiring of the new superintendent and three principals, as well as expanding Career Technical Education opportunities.

Katy is a Brown University alumna who earned her master’s at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business; she ran her family’s New York-based business, Arrow Communication Labs, which manufactured cable TV equipment.

This is the first profile of each of the four Aspen school board candidates.