Sheridan set to move back |

Sheridan set to move back

Jennifer Davoren
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The Aspen School District’s assistant superintendent said Monday that an offer from some old friends, and not local politics, spurred his resignation last week.

Joel Sheridan said he is looking forward to returning to work for his former school district in Craig because of the opportunity to work with old colleagues. Recent complaints by a handful of parents regarding Aspen district policies did not enter into the decision, Sheridan said.

“Since I left [Craig] two years ago, and all along over the last couple of years, staff and a couple of [school] board members have asked me to consider returning,” he said. “It worked out right now – there’s been some changes in personnel and so on, and a lot of the people I’ve worked closely with over the years are forming the team.”

The efforts of two parents to oust District Superintendent Tom Farrell did not spur the move, Sheridan said.

“I don’t think so – I was certainly considering it before that,” he said. “While things are disconcerting right now, they are, from time to time, in education and in any kind of public entity. That certainly wasn’t any determining factor.”

Sheridan, who has been with the Aspen district for the past two years, said he accepted the job with the Moffat County School District last Thursday and announced the decision to Aspen officials on Friday. He said he will be working with Moffat County administrators in a similar vein, though the job is “a little more focused on curriculum and staff development” than his Aspen appointment.

The Moffat County School District contains eight schools and serves about 2,500 students. The district also contains an early learning program much like the one Sheridan helped start in the Aspen district.

The Colorado Preschool Program has become a pet project of sorts for Sheridan since the Aspen district was designated as a program partner last year. The program helps identify and aid “at-risk” preschoolers who might have problems learning later in life – children with learning disabilities, or perhaps those who speak a second language – and gives them a head start on their education.

Aspen’s chapter of the program is expected to move into its own room at the Yellow Brick School next year, and Sheridan predicts that, if extra funding from the state becomes available, the Aspen district could accept even more than its restricted number of 15 children per year. The program will still be a district concern, Sheridan said, even though he will no longer be around to supervise its progress.

“I think it certainly should be looked at as one of the priorities in the district,” he said. “It’s as crucial as any program we have.”

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