Waaler hired as Basalt Elementary School principal; Wheeler-Del Piccolo steps down after 22 years | AspenTimes.com

Waaler hired as Basalt Elementary School principal; Wheeler-Del Piccolo steps down after 22 years

Staff report
Grant Waaler

Basalt Elementary School will have a new principal for the first time in more than 20 years in August when Grant Waaler takes the reins from Suzanne Wheeler-Del Piccolo.

Wheeler-Del Piccolo is stepping down in what is her 22nd year at BES. Her last school year has been dramatically affected by the coronavirus. All Roaring Fork School District schools started spring break early and are out of class until at least April 17.

Waaler was selected after the district used its established process for school leaders.

“Adult and student members of the interview committee commented about Waaler’s leadership style — that he conducts himself knowing his leadership is always on display — and that it was evident how much Waaler likes kids and believes in their ability to meet challenges and exceed expectations,” the school district said in an announcement. “Committee members also called out his philosophy of leading by example; his openness, approachability and willingness to truly listen to staff and students alike; his belief that continuous improvement should be driven by data; and his sense of humor and passion for education.”

Waaler has been teaching and leading in schools for more than 22 years, mostly in Colorado. He has extensive experience as an elementary school leader. Most recently, he served as principal of the Village School of Guatemala for three years. He has a master’s degree in education and an advanced graduate degree in education leadership.

“After spending three years in Guatemala, my family and I are thrilled to join the staff and families of Basalt Elementary School,” Waaler said in a statement. “I am looking forward to becoming a Longhorn and working together to bring out the best of our students.”

Editor’s note: This story was amended to reflect that Suzanne Wheeler-Del Piccolo did not retire; she moved to a different position in the district.