David Schmid named interim principal at Aspen High

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The Aspen Times / Courtesy

David Schmid

— A former principal at Steamboat Springs High School has been named interim principal of Aspen High School.

David Schmid, who was named Colorado high school principal of the year in 2003, will serve as the school's top administrator through June 8. His appointment comes two months after the abrupt resignation of Art Abelmann, who stepped down for personal reasons after 16 months on the job.

“We are delighted and certainly ecstatic that we were able to recruit and hire someone with the experience and credentials that David has and will bring to Aspen High,” Aspen Superintendent John Maloy said in introducing Schmid to the Aspen Board of Education on Monday.

Maloy selected Schmid from a pool of 16 applicants, five of whom were interviewed for the position.

“Dave was certainly heads and tails above the rest,” Maloy said.

Schmid's resumé includes 16 years as a teacher, followed by 19 years as a school administrator. The majority of this time was spent as a high school principal, first in Adams Twelve and later in Steamboat Springs. It was during his 11-year tenure in Steamboat that the Colorado Association of School Executives named Schmid principal of the year.

Schmid's career as a high school principal and educator helped push him to the top of the applicant pool, Maloy said.

“Quite frankly, when we begin looking for a permanent principal, we will be looking for someone with similar skills — namely, experience as a high school principal,” Maloy said. “We are lucky to have found that in Dave. We are lucky he wants to be back in the school setting.”

Working with students is also what drove Schmid to apply for the interim principalship.

“I miss being in a school. I miss being with the kids and teachers,” he said. “It's not that I don't have plenty of other work to do, but I am looking forward to getting back into the school environment.”

Most recently, Schmid served as a leadership coach for the Public Education and Business Coalition and as a facilitator for the National Reform Initiative.

“I think Aspen would like to see a collaborative school culture, and I have a lot experience with that,” he said. “And there is a focus on academics, and I have always been focused on academics.”

Schmid also served as an interim principal before — for Walnut High School in Walnut, Calif., in 2008-09. He said he will use what he learned there to benefit Aspen High, which was shaken a bit by the recent turnover at the helm.

“I will listen to what they have to say, and I will help build relationships and trust so everyone can move forward,” he said. “I'd like to see us accomplish something before the end of the year.”

With an interim principal now in place, district administrators will begin the search for a permanent principal. The process will include surveying parents, teachers and students about what they want in the next Aspen High School principal, the creation of application questions and the development of an interview team. Maloy's goal is to have a permanent principal in place by July 1. Schmid said Monday he was unsure if he will apply for the position.

“It feels good to be here, and I look forward to the next four months,” he said.

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