An “exciting and important time for our community” at the ASD Board of Education


Harper Axelman

(From left to right) Tom Heald, superintendent of the ASD, Suzy Zimet, Susan Marolt, Dwayne Romero, and Sandra Peirce, current board members, at a recent board meeting.

The ASD Board of Education has recently implemented new changes in the school district, including purchasing 6 new housing units for a total of 50 for teachers and bringing world language classes to the Elementary School.

On November 5, two members will be leaving the Board, and the voters will elect new members from a group of six candidates. The Board will host a forum on October 15 where the community can meet the candidates and hear more about their perspectives on the future of education. The candidates will bring new ideas to the BOE, but the board will also maintain their current values and intentions, such as employee housing, fiscal planning, and communication.

Dwayne Romero, the president of the BOE for the past year who has served on the Aspen City Council and the board of the Aspen Fire Protection District, feels the values of the board should embody the students, parents, and staff.

“The board is elected by the community therefore the board serves as representatives and must absolutely have a service-based view of leadership and try to take inputs from the community, try to synthesize that down into major themes and threads and to be able to try to help to translate that into the mission and the objectives and the plans and the execution of work within the district so that we all are moving in a similar direction and a shared direction towards excellence,.” sSaid Dwayne Romero.

He also talked about the shifts within the board.

“That’s a lot of changes occurring so the two new seats, it’s a really exciting and important time for our community.”

Bettina Slusar is a candidate for the BOE who has taught French classes in Europe and has sat on the District Accountability Committee (DAC). She has also worked teaching dance to all ages of students and has supported district initiatives such as gun control marches. Slusar feels that there should be different perspectives on student success in the district.

“Here in Aspen, where we have such a large segment for hospitality, I think that’s something that we really need to get behind and open up the idea that success can look different to lots of different people, it does not have to be an Ivy League school. It could be Culinary school of America or any other version of that it could be learning to be a really top-notch plumber and making a lot of money here.” Slusar said.

Jim Pomeroy, another candidate for the board who has attended and taught at the Aspen Schools and served on the DAC, feels that transparency in district communications is another priority of the board, as well as the main focus on students.

“..I’m not a big worrier about test scores or things like that. I worry more about the kids who come out of Aspen High School are able to take on the world that they really are good citizens and that they have good heads on their shoulders to deal with adversity and problems.”

The community will be able to hear from the other four candidates this October and throughout the election process. Susan Marolt, vice president of the board for the past two years and mother to three children, said that the election process will be a great time for the community to get more involved.

“They’re going to have lots of ideas, the community is going to get to hear all about all of their ideas and it’s a really good chance for us to have a conversation as a community about what it is that we feel like is really important in our district.”

*Updated on Oct 1 with two corrections. Six units were purchased, not 50, and Dwayne Romero and Susan Marolt have been serving on the board for the past year, not two as previously stated.