The student news site of Aspen High School


The student news site of Aspen High School


The student news site of Aspen High School


Kelly Donnelly’s Future Plans After Moving on from AHS

Courtesy of Kelly Donnelly
Kelly Donnelly hiking in her free time.

Many students and parents learned via email on February 16 that Aspen High School Counselor, Kelly Donnelly, is resigning on March 22. Donnelly will move on to pursue a position within the State of Colorado Office of School Safety.

After 22 years as a school counselor, two of which were at AHS, Donnelly is switching careers in an effort to train schools on emergency safety situations. She will be working with schools in the North West district of Colorado.

“My area is Steamboat over to Craig down to Ouray, Eagle County, and The Roaring Fork Valley, including Aspen,” Donnelly said.

At these schools, Donnelly will be training the staff on how to execute school-specific emergency plans. Some of these training sessions will be virtual.
“Usually there are two people that are training schools and so I might have to go to other regions of the state and cover for other people and they might come here and help me out,” said Donnelly.

She will also be attending and presenting at conferences.

“Summer is a very busy time because there’s a lot of professional development for school leaders and other professionals around school safety so they do presentations at conferences and things like that so I think I’ll be busy attending conferences,” said Donnelly

Donnelly learned about this position through a newsletter for administrators. She still has a lot of training coming up, but she has already taken a polygraph or lie detector test. She believes that her skill of being calm under pressure, which came from being a crisis counselor, will help her in this new position.

Donnelly has lived in the valley for 22 years and one perk of this new position is that it will not require her to relocate. This line of work appeals to Donnelly because of violent school events in her life. A few events that stood out to her were Sandy Hook because her kids were around the same age as the victims and the Aspen School District Hoax last year.

“Just being in a hoax of a school incident was frightening and to be in a real situation I just created a lot of trauma,” Donnelly said.

Donnelly’s former position is still posted. An opening for a school counselor until the end of the school year and a permanent position have both been posted.

“I think it’s a super important topic. There’s a lot of money and legislation at the state level that goes into school safety and I think they’re really trying to help schools be prepared to be preventative. That’s what I’m most excited about is trying to prevent acts of violence in schools” said Donnelly.

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