Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron soon will be called “Dean Skadron” when he steps into a leadership role with Colorado Mountain College later this summer.
Skadron has served three consecutive terms as mayor since 2013 and his final council meeting is Monday. Because of term limits, he could not seek office in the spring contests for mayor or council.
On Aug. 1, he will take the helm of CMC’s Aspen and Carbondale campuses as vice president and campus dean, reporting directly to CMC president and CEO Carrie Hauser. In addition to overseeing campus operations, he will have budget oversight.
“CMC shares many synergies with the efforts he championed as mayor, including the outdoor industry economy, sustainability and thoughtful approaches to transit and infrastructure,” Hauser said in a press release announcing the hire. “In light of the transformative opportunities that lie ahead for CMC, Steve is the right person, at the right time, to take on this exciting role.”
Skadron will succeed Linda Crockett, who announced last month that she will return to a full-time teaching position at the college. The dean’s job was not posted publicly: Hauser told staff that Skadron was one of the few direct appointments she’s made.
Also last month, the college’s board of trustees announced that fundraising would begin for the purpose of updating the Aspen facility and its course programming. Potential projects include building out the campus to include student housing and adding degree programs in sectors that relate to the local economy, like hospitality.
Skadron was previously associated with CMC as an adjunct professor in the Isaacson School of Communication, Arts and Media. He taught social media and e-commerce courses from 2010 to 2012.
“I love all of the different kinds of students, I love those who are there for lifelong learning and I love the degree-seeking students,” he said.
Skadron himself has been a student at the college, taking classes in guitar, Spanish and mountain-biking maintenance.
“I’ve had a relationship with CMC over the years, I really love it as an important component of the community and I’ve always thought there was great opportunity there to elevate it,” he said.
Knowing he was term limited, Skadron said he spent time this spring exploring what his next career could be. He looked at a variety of options that related to his policy work in Aspen, including the sustainability and mobility fields, working within the Colorado governor’s office or continuing to work on the uphill economy trend that he pushed for Aspen.
However, many of these positions would require leaving the Roaring Fork Valley, his home of nearly 25 years.
“I have momentum here and have familiarity and roots and I know the community, so rather than starting over in Washington, D.C., or Denver or something it all kind of came together,” Skadron said.
Along with overseeing facility upgrades at the Aspen campus, Skadron will be tasked with running day-to-day operations for the Carbondale campus.
“I’m so excited to have a foot in Carbondale, because there is such opportunity there and I love the collaboration between Aspen and Carbondale in the valley,” Skadron said.
Skadron said the connections between the educational institution and the towns have untapped potential. Along with creating a hospitality degree, he also envisions an outdoor recreation track that would benefit the job market locally. He also mentioned the potential for visiting professorships and community events.
“The opportunity there to deliver a need is obvious,” Skadon said, “and with my experience here and familiarity with the community and relationships, perhaps we can do something to make all of us better.”