Letter: Loss of a critical resource

Aspen has a history of challenging norms, be it through offbeat politics, embracing environmental issues or having an independently owned, world-class resort. Within the school district, however, when the status quo gets challenged, the visionary resource gets lost. Kim Martin recently resigned as the principal of Aspen High School, and when Kim leaves, we lose that norm-challenging vision, that resource and that resolve to provide the best education possible for our children. There are, of course, a host of detractors and perhaps a system that does not stand behind the leadership within the building, but her focus over the past three years has been on our children. Kim’s chosen career path in life is her true passion, and she does not see it as simply a way to earn cash, as some do. While there will be some people breathing sighs of relief, ultimately, we should have sighs of grief about the loss for our high school, our district and most importantly our kids. Kim brought a perspective to the school that was questioning and curious, but most of all, her desire was to build an environment that embraces our community values while striving for educational excellence. Yes, we are fortunate to have received “District of Distinction” accreditation from the state of Colorado, but the question is, “Can we do better?” Of course we can. Unfortunately, we have lost that voice, that vision that was willing to stand up and say that, yes, we are good, but with the resources at our disposal, this district could actually be great. Unfortunately, down the road, when the dust has settled and the administration bases its success on those “District of Distinction” laurels, we should ask ourselves, “Are we OK with our kids’ education as simply a status quo?” Ultimately, we could have kept an integral resource, yet we are losing the third principal in the past few years — one who was actually willing to question the status quo and be an agent for change!

We as a community find many topics of concern to challenge and embrace, yet we rarely question our school administrators, our board or our system of policy and governance on what could very well be the most important issue we face as a community: the education of our future. We had a resource to challenge the norms, and we let it go.

Steven Psaledakis