Here’s how True to Tomorrow, the 2023 strategic plan for Aspen Country Day School, came about
What is school for? This is an important question being asked in education circles nationally and globally. Here at Aspen Country Day School, we believe in the power of an intentional school experience to contribute to the greater good of the world.
We seek to give children not only a solid academic foundation for their future studies, but also a holistic education that feeds the childhood roots of adult happiness — a rich, deep reservoir of skills, memories, habits, relationships, and core values to draw upon throughout a lifetime of learning.
As Aspen Country Day School looks ahead, it helps to consider how far we have come. In 2020, the school marked its 50th anniversary and completed its latest strategic plan, 2020 inSight.
That plan began in 2016 and guided extraordinary accomplishments, from record growth in enrollment and faculty, to completion of a landmark $50 million capital campaign. 2020 InSight described the outcomes we seek for our graduates; the attributes we look for in a teacher; guidelines for admission; target school size, and more.
During this time the school worked with a consultant to better define and articulate our intention:
The 50th birthday year should have been all about celebration. Instead, 2020 brought the pandemic and widespread disruption. Yet here, too, Aspen Country Day School showed its maturity and strength, successfully continuing with in-person learning through two years marked by complexity and challenge.
In that same timeframe, Aspen became even more well known as a destination for families seeking a sense of community, an outdoor life, and balance. This boost helped ACDS accelerate its progress toward reaching the goal, outlined in the last strategic plan, of having two sections in each grade, Kindergarten through Eighth Grade.
Today, enrollment has stabilized at approximately 300 students, and the years of rapid growth are behind us.
As always, the school is made up of a lively mix of families — those who moved here more recently, and those who have lived here longer or perhaps even attended Aspen Country Day School themselves. A record number of alumni now are parents here.
What all have in common is the intentional choice to seek an education that balances challenge and nurture, rigor and joy. If there are sometimes tensions, school can be a place where we come together around our shared vision:
Working thoughtfully over the past few months, a volunteer committee sought to design strategy that will
- ensure the school is fully prepared to continue to thrive
- strengthen understanding of the school, its culture, and its identity
- ignite new hopes and dreams
The committee heard some consistent themes, including a sense that ACDS needs to remain true to its identity and heritage, all while leaning into a future that is bright, energetic, and focused on creating the best possible educational experience for families.
Another philosophical priority: balance. Participants consistently called for a holistic approach, whether in children’s daily lives, work-life balance for employees, or the importance of balancing the three elements of our program in academics, arts, and outdoor education.
The Strategic Planning Steering Committee wishes to thank the Aspen Country Day School community for its participation in creation of this plan, which was approved by the Board of Trustees February 1, 2023.
Meet the Strategic Planning Committee for 2022-23
Clare Evert-Shane, co-chair
chair of the Board of Trustees, parent of graduate (‘14), current parent (Seventh)
Clare Evert-Shane moved to Aspen in the summer of 1988. Originally from Florida, Clare grew up playing competitive tennis, winning national titles, and becoming an All-American at SMU. Upon graduation from college, Clare began at the Aspen Club, and eventually became director of tennis and, ultimately, assistant general manager. After meeting her husband, Steven Shane, Clare shifted to event coordinating for both for- and non-profit organizations in the sporting world. Clare and Steven have two daughters, a graduate and a current student at Aspen Country Day School, where Clare is the chair of the board of trustees. She is also actively engaged with Theatre Aspen, where she serves as vice chair.
Josh Wolman, co-chair
Head of School
For more about our Head of School, click here
current parent (Third, Sixth, Eighth)
Abby’s experience with schools includes being a trustee at Marin Country Day School and The Little School. Her professional experience includes founding a technology-focused executive search firm and developing business strategies, organizational structures and teams as a senior executive, venture capitalist and management consultant. Abby has a BA from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
First Grade teacher
Rachael graduated from Penn State with a BS in Elementary and Early Education and has completed the comprehensive Orton-Gillingham course through the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education, as well as graduate coursework in literacy through the University of Colorado Denver. She is currently pursuing studies in speech pathology.
Gretchen Cole ’84
alumna, parent of graduates (’11, ’14, ’20), former director of admission
Gretchen is an alumna, parent of three graduates, and former admission director of Aspen Country Day School, where she also founded the annual boarding school fair. Previously, she was a boarding school placement consultant, an associate director of philanthropy for the Colorado chapter of The Nature Conservancy, and director of mountaineering operations for Mountain Travel*Sobek, a California-based global adventure travel company. She serves on the boards of Aspen Words and Summit 54, and is a trustee of The Austin Memorial Foundation, along with advocacy work for many local nonprofits. Gretchen graduated from Milton Academy and holds a BA in psychology from UC Berkeley.
Michael Davies ’89
alumnus, parent of graduate (’22), current parent (Sixth)
current parent (PreK & First)
Angie is the chief of human resources for the Roaring Fork School District, leading HR for the district’s 1,000 staff. She has been working in education for nearly 20 years, including a decade of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses. Prior to joining the school district, Angie worked as the strategy and talent manager for a Denver-based consulting firm and as the development director for a valley nonprofit. Angie’s academic background includes an MA and Ph.D. in communication from the University of Colorado and a BA in rhetoric and communication from the University of Richmond. For fun: mountain adventures (chasing the kids down the ski slopes, hiking, camping, and river trips), aspiring to be a chef, live music, and great novels. Angie also coordinates Aspen Country Day School’s dining hall volunteer program, matching parents with the opportunity to help serve lunch daily.
director of admissions & fInancial Aid, current parent (Kindergarten & Third)
Susan guides families on their first steps in the Country Day journey and has a particular talent for welcoming new parents and children to the community. A parent of two children, she has worked in many areas of the school and joined the admissions team in 2014. Prior to joining Aspen Country Day School in 2009, she worked in the sales development and marketing departments at TIME and The New York Times in New York City. Susan earned her BA with a major in English at Hamilton College.
Nicole Hernandez ’00
alumna, trustee, PIE Parent Association chair, current parent (PreK, Second)
Nicole Hernandez is a founder and principal of Matter Planning and Design, LLC, an interior architecture firm based in Aspen. Originally from Denver, her family moved to Aspen in 1990 and she attended Aspen Country Day School in Kindergarten through Eighth Grade. Nicole is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the Rocky Mountain School of Art and Design. Previously, Nicole worked in marketing for both the Aspen Writers’ Foundation (currently known as Aspen Words, a program of the Aspen Institute), and in account management and production for Eleven Inc., and advertising agency based in San Francisco. Nicole is now a parent of two Aspen Country Day School students. She has served the Aspen Country Day School community as a volunteer on the Mission Minded branding project, the PIE Welcoming Committee, the PIE Co-Chair, and is the current PIE Chair for the ’22/’23 school year.
director of finance, past parent (’17, ’19, ’21)
director of advancement, parent of graduates (’06, ’12)
Carolyn, whose previous roles at school have included communications and admissions, has a BA in history from Bowdoin College. Before joining Aspen Country Day School in 2005, she was a reporter and editor for Gannett News Service, USA Today, the Rocky Mountain News, and Aspen Magazine, and was director of publications at Anderson Ranch Arts Center.
trustee, current parent (Kindergarten, Second)
Bret is a partner at Obermeyer Wood Investment Counsel, rated the top independent wealth management firm based in Colorado. Prior to moving to Aspen in 2018 with his wife, Amanda, and two boys, Bret lived and worked in New York City. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned his B.S., cum laude, in philosophy, political science, and economics. Bret is trustee of Aspen Country Day School, where he serves on the executive committee. He also serves on the boards of the Boulder Chapter of YPO; the President’s Society at the Aspen Institute; and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. Lastly, Bret is an avid Boston Red Sox and Celtics fan.
trustee, current parent (Sixth, Eighth)
current parent (Preschool, Kindergarten, Second)
Jon currently runs a family office with investments across a wide range of asset classes including public securities, real estate, and venture capital. Previously, Jon served as a Partner at Tiger Global Management from 2001 to 2014, an investment firm with approximately $50 billion under management across public and private equity funds. He also served as an analyst in the Mergers & Acquisition group at Morgan Stanley from 1999 to 2001. Jon is a Director of Rightway Healthcare, a healthcare navigation and pharmacy benefit manager since 2019 and advises multiple other private businesses.
Mr. Locker holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Harvard and an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. An avid volunteer, he is co-chair of the Tiger Foundation and a former board member of Blue Engine, Avenues for Justice, and the Morgan Autism Center. Jon moved to Aspen in September 2021 with his family.
trustee, current parent (Fourth, Seventh)
Ashley grew up in New York City and attended The Chapin School before moving on to Deerfield Academy and receiving a Bachelor of Science from Yale University. Following a 15-year career in public relations, she relocated to Palm Beach, Florida and started a new career working for Sotheby’s auction house. Ashley currently is an art consultant. She was on the boards of Jazz at Lincoln Center and Wildlife Conservation Society in New York for over 10 years and the Palm Beach Zoo while in Florida, and has also served as an advisor for the Everglades Foundation. In Aspen, she sits on the boards of Aspen Country Day School and the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES).
Drama teacher, parent of graduate (’12)
treasurer of the Board of Trustees, parent of graduate (’22), current parent (Third, Fifth, Seventh)
Alex grew up in Carbondale and attended Roaring Fork High School. He earned a degree in marketing and organizational management from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Alex has taught at Aspen Country Day School for 11 years in Fourth and Fifth Grade, Outdoor Education, international travel, and physical education.