Aspen School District hires new HR director |

Aspen School District hires new HR director

Staff report

The Aspen School District announced Tuesday the hiring of attorney Molly Owens, a public defender in Glenwood Springs, as its new human resources director following a search that began in January.

A screening committee with the district fielded 19 applications for the post and whittled that down to seven candidates who were interviewed by teachers, support staff, school principals, administrators, Board of Education members and Aspen Education Association representatives, the announcement said.

Owens’ first day on the job is May 1; she’ll draw an annual salary of $120,000, according to the school district.

“The district was very fortunate to have so many qualified candidates apply for the position,” Superintendent John Maloy said in a statement. “However, in the final review of the broad-based interview team, one candidate stood out as the clear choice — Ms. Molly Owens.”

Owens’ hiring comes after then-human resources director Elizabeth Hodges resigned in January after the district learned the previous year she had been disbarred for committing unethical conduct as an estate-planning attorney in Missouri, where she also was criminally convicted for her work as a lawyer.

In its announcement, the district said it offered Owens the job after it conducted “extended reference checks of former and current colleagues and supervisors and background checks, including fingerprinting.”

Owens has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Carroll College in Montana and a juris doctor from the University of Colorado School of Law in Boulder, with the concentration of her work in employment and labor law.

Owens served as an equal opportunity specialist with the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, Human Rights Bureau before moving to Colorado to serve as a public defender with the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office. She currently serves as a senior deputy public defender in the Glenwood Springs office.

“Having grown up with a mother that worked for and retired from the public school system, I know how hard teachers work and how challenging the profession can be,” Owens said in a statement. “Consequently, I am looking forward to my new role and learning how best to provide encouragement and assistance to the teachers, support staff and administrators.”

As part of her transition, Owens will have access to training and development seminars and coursework to obtain a professional in human resources certificate, membership with the Western Slope Directors of Human Resources and the Colorado Association of School Personnel Administrators, in-district training from the acting director, and mentoring from current district administrators, according to the announcement.