Put the facts on the table | AspenTimes.com

Put the facts on the table

I have been a member of the Aspen community since 1969, and my daughter attended the Aspen schools, graduating in 1999. My son will attend Aspen High School next fall.

My experience as an involved parent and parent volunteer has consistently been positive and the administration and teachers have always been responsive to my concerns.

In the last 33 years I have known many children who have graduated from Aspen High School, attended the colleges of their choice and become successful, well-rounded citizens.

This letter is to add my voice to the support of Tom Farrell and express my concern about the current witch hunt and rumors involving Tom, and the fallout from this hunt which has been hurtful to our wonderful and dedicated middle school principal, Griff Smith, as well as high school history teacher George Burson.

Tom Farrell has done an extraordinary job in all areas – test score improvement, a new high school building and particularly in relating to kids, parents, staff and administration and in encouraging an open, easy communication.

Kids are not afraid of him but, rather, like and respect him as a mentor and friend. I wonder how many parents can remember such a strong, available ally from our high school days.

As stated in Carrie Morgridge’s and Laurie Michaels’ letter of May 10: “I am engaged in a serious, lawful effort to separate fact from rumor.”

The rumor I have heard repeatedly the past several months concerns “big guns, deep pockets and hidden agendas.” Do the deep pockets of parents with little history in Aspen or with the Aspen School District, like Ms. Morgridge and Ms. Michaels, have inordinate influence on our public school system? What is the hidden agenda?

The rumor that needs to be validated or put to rest concerns Barb Pitchford, principal of Aspen Elementary School. Does Ms. Morgridge’s and Ms. Michaels’ ardent desire to find a reason to fire Tom have anything to do with Barb’s upcoming retirement at the end of the 2002-2003 school year, according to an agreement reached with Tom Farrell and the school board two years ago?

In every corner of town people are asking if it is true that Barb told these ladies, “If you want to keep me, you have to get rid of Tom.” In an effort to separate fact from slander and halt these negative and hurtful rumors and to protect the good names of our dedicated administrators, clarification of Ms. Morgridge’s and Ms. Michaels’ agenda is necessary.

Student morale has been affected – witness letters from students in the last week’s papers. That an agenda which is hurtful, unclear and unsubstantiated should affect our children in an effort to better our schools, is a shame.

We don’t want our incredibly dedicated hardworking teachers’ morale affected. Is this in the best interest of our children and our school district? Let’s get ALL the facts on the table!

P.S. Thanks, Tom. The community supports our superintendent and appreciates your dedication to making our school system excellent. We don’t want to lose you!

Diane Stouffer


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