School district looking for new faces | AspenTimes.com

School district looking for new faces

Jennifer Davoren
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The Aspen School District is preparing for two major staffing changes set to take effect next summer ? and district parents are encouraged to help with the hiring process.

District officials have contracted national search firm Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates to help find a new Aspen Elementary School principal as well as a new district finance director. The positions are being vacated due to the retirements of Principal Barb Pitchford and Finance Director Joe Tarbet.

The search for a new elementary principal will begin with a district meeting for parents in the school’s library on Oct. 14 at 6 p.m., Superintendent Tom Farrell said. Parents who attend are encouraged to offer what they see as the best qualities in an elementary principal. (Though Oct. 14 is a school holiday, the elementary school will be open for the meeting.)

On Oct. 15, search firm associates will poll district staff and administrators for their opinions on the new hire’s responsibilities.

“As a result of these two days in Aspen, they will write up what they hear as the job description,” Farrell said. “About two weeks after, they’ll begin running the advertisements for the two positions.”

Ads will run in a number of national education magazines, much like the ads that attracted over 60 applicants for the Aspen Middle School principal position that opened last year. Phyllis Taylor, a former principal at Carson Middle School in Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, was selected by the search firm and relocated to Aspen last spring.

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The district will also charge the search firm with the location of a new finance director. Current director Tarbet is retiring from his post at the end of this school year, and district officials hope to find a candidate to train with Tarbet before his exit.

Though the district’s search firm is currently scanning resumes for principal and finance director candidates, the so-called “headhunters” have already filled one district position successfully. Joanne Ihrig, the former head of Denver University’s doctoral program for educational leadership, has officially accepted the assistant superintendent position, Farrell said.

Ihrig’s main responsibility with the district will be curriculum, much like her predecessor, Joel Sheridan. Sheridan, who helped Aspen schools implement new math and preschool curriculums in his two years with the district, left Aspen in early June to take a position with the Craig School District.

[Jennifer Davoren’s e-mail address is jenniferd@aspentimes.com]