Last week, Aspen School District announced David Baugh as the new superintendent. He will transition to the Roaring Fork Valley from Pennsylvania this summer; he currently serves as the superintendent for the Centennial School District.
Baugh said he is looking forward to living in the Rocky Mountains to spend time outdoors and be close to his daughter who lives in Avon, CO.
Why were you originally interested in applying for this job with the Aspen School District?
I was interested in applying for two reasons. I love the Rocky Mountains and that entire lifestyle, and I am just a rabid public school guy. To be able to merge my interests of living in the mountains with my passion for public schooling, it just seemed like a fantastic opportunity.
Anytime you apply for one of these national-level high profile jobs, it is always a super long shot. But I figured, the door won’t open if I don’t knock on it, so I applied.
What is the thing you are most excited for when starting in July, and also starting with the students in the fall?
For me, the really big, exciting thing is actually getting to know the teachers and the kids and their families in the Valley. You’re not an educator if you’re not into relationships, so I want to get out and start meeting people and forging those relationships.
The district has gone through some tough experiences with previous superintendent John Maloy. Some officials say trust is broken between the district and its staff, students and families. How are you going to work to rebuild that trust?
Trust comes from lots of interactions, and interactions where you say you’re going to do something and then you do and people go ‘Oh, he or she did what they said they would do. I guess they can trust that person.’ So with time, visibility, following through on commitments and actually being honest.
I’m not saying the last guy wasn’t. I don’t know, I’m not speaking to that. From developing trust with me and with the board and with the community, it comes with being visible and being present and doing what needs to be done.
When people email, I write back. When people call, I call back, and that goes a long way.
You were recently named the 2020 Superintendent of the Year in Pennsylvania. Why were you ready to transition from your current job to Aspen School District?
I am really honored and grateful to my peers to have been selected as the superintendent for Pennsylvania for 2020. I mean, golly, that’s really cool. But Aspen was open, so I applied and it had nothing to do with me being superintendent of the year.
As I told the board in the interview process, I am happy to stay home. We are doing a lot of great work in Centennial, but that being said, this is a chance to come and serve the students and teachers of Aspen and it’s high in the Rocky Mountains, which is pretty cool. Those kinds of jobs don’t open everyday. I was deeply interested in the community of Aspen, deeply interested in the lifestyle of Aspen, and it seems really like a neat place to live and work. I am very excited.
Editor's Note: Molly Dove is reporting for Aspen Public Radio remotely from Wisconsin.