New BES principal starts in August

The Roaring Fork School District has selected Grant Waaler as the next principal of Basalt Elementary School starting in August 2020.

According to a news release issued recently by the school district, “Waaler has been teaching and leading in schools for over 22 years – largely in Colorado – and has extensive experience as an elementary school leader. Most recently, Waaler served as the principal of the Village School of Guatemala for three years; he has a master’s in education and an advanced graduate degree in educational leadership.”

In a published statement from Chief Academic Officer Rick Holt it was noted that, “Grant is an experienced leader who puts the needs of students and staff first. I was extremely impressed with his ability to connect with students, putting them at ease and engaging them in meaningful conversation.”

Holt added that, “Grant has a deep respect for the challenging work teachers engage in and leads through his belief that teachers thrive in trusting relationships and the opportunity to develop mastery.”

Waaler was selected using the district’s established hiring process for school leaders, according to the release. It pointed out that both adult and student members of the interview committee had commented on Waaler’s leadership style, it was evident how much Waaler likes kids and believes in their ability to meet challenges and exceed expectations. Committee members were also impressed by his philosophy of leading by example as well as his openness, approachability and “willingness to truly listen to staff and students alike; his belief that continuous improvement should be driven by data; and his sense of humor and passion for education.”

Waaler and his family have spent the past three years in Guatemala.

“I am looking forward to becoming a Longhorn and working together to bring out the best of our students,” he stated.

The new principal will join an established team of leaders and educators.

“Grant will be supported by an amazing team at BES, including assistant principals Marisol Henriquez and Whitney Carper Bell, an incredible front office staff, and dedicated teaching staff,” Holt stated.

“We are confident that we have the right team in place to provide Basalt’s youngest students the educational opportunities they deserve,” he added.

Nonprofits, dealers team up on electric vehicle promotion

A coalition of local nonprofits has launched a three-month promotion to encourage car buyers to go electric, according to a press release. The Western Slope Electric Vehicle Sales Event started Monday, March 16 and continues through June 15 at seven Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction auto dealerships.

Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER), which is based in Carbondale, is organizing the campaign. It receives funding from the Colorado Energy Office, Garfield Clean Energy, Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE, which is based in Aspen) and Walking Mountains Sustainability in Avon.

“Some of the incentives being offered are considerable – up to $11,250 – thanks to a combination of manufacturer discounts and negotiated local dealer discounts,” according to the release. “The dealers hope to make it up in volume.”

Anticipated for later this spring “as public health precautions allow” are a series of outdoor “ride and drive” events called the Experience Electric Road Show.

For more information about discounts, tax credits and the Experience Electric events, go to