October 20, 2017


In November, Bob Johnson will finish his third term and 12th year of service on the Roaring Fork School Board of Education. Throughout this time on the board, as well as the years prior when he wore the hats of parent and coach, Johnson earned a reputation as a dedicated and selfless advocate who can be counted on to propose realistic and creative solutions. Over the years, these solutions have resulted in countless improvements for the district, large and small. Those who have had the pleasure of working closely with Johnson describe him as gracious, reasonable, and incredibly impactful.

Fellow board member Matt Hamilton notes that serving on the board is not a nine to five job, and that Johnson has always been willing to make himself available to parents, staff, and community members. “Bob’s service to this school district has been significant--not only his length of service, but also the way in which he has served. He has consistently made himself available on a number issues and been willing to share his expertise in a way that positively benefits our students and staff on everything from the minutiae to the big picture,” Hamilton said.

Superintendent Rob Stein also acknowledged Johnson’s accessibility, noting that Johnson was the first board member he met: “Bob was extremely courteous, curious, and supportive of my exploration of becoming Superintendent, while making it clear that there was a process which must be respected. That first impression never changed. Bob is the quintessential board member: always friendly and respectful while adhering to the most ethical principles of good governance.”

Others speak to Johnson’s thoughtful and selfless approach. RE-16 Superintendent and former RFSD Assistant Superintendent Brad Ray described Johnson as someone who always asks for perspectives. “He has no agenda of his own--only to serve the students of the Roaring Fork Valley. He is unselfish--someone who listens and makes informed decisions, always putting students and parents in the forefront of his decisions.”

Long-time Basalt Elementary School Principal Suzanne Wheeler-Del Piccolo described Johnson as an incredibly kind and solutions-oriented leader--the kind of person who never has a negative word about anyone and who seeks to positively solve problems. Wheeler-Del Piccolo had the opportunity to work with Johnson in a different capacity, as the accountability chairperson at BES, before Johnson joined the board.

“Bob and a few other parents made a difference for our school community that has carried through for many years now,” recalled Wheeler-Del Piccolo. As a Board member, Wheeler-Del Piccolo recognized Johnson’s incredible leadership and professionalism as great assets to our district.

Myles Rovig, who served with Johnson on the board and on various other committees, confirms Johnson’s effectiveness, calling him a “genius” in strategy and marketing. Rovig asserts that it was Johnson’s creative theme--“The Power of Three”--which provided significant momentum to help get the 2004 bond passed.

“I’ve watched and listened to him be a calming influence in times of turmoil, while presenting realistic solutions to sometimes impossible challenges. He has done this without drama, but with a huge amount of common sense,” Rovig recounts.

Shannon Pelland, the district’s Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Superintendent, first started working with Johnson during the 2004 bond and mill levy override election. “I quickly learned that Bob approaches everything with a positive, can-do attitude, selfless determination, and common sense,” Pelland said. “Bob is not about fanfare, recognition, or notoriety--he is about kids, period.”

In reflecting on his service, Johnson demonstrated his characteristic grace by thanking and recognizing others--the Roaring Fork Schools staff, community, partners, and his fellow board members--for making the district a special place to learn and work:

“Over the years it, has been my honor to serve the district and to see firsthand the evolution of our educational system and our focus on excellence while working with so many committed professionals and community members. It is refreshing to see an entire community come together on so many levels to make education such a priority. Thank you to the community for the great support shown through Bond and Mill Levy ballot items; to the vast numbers of volunteers, the educational professionals, and district support staff who are so committed to ensuring our students get the most out of learning; and, finally, to my fellow board members for the many hours of time dedicated to help make our district what it is today. What framed my work as a Board member was always the question ‘what’s best for our kids?’. My hope is the future will never lose focus on that. Best of luck, and thank you for the opportunity!”

The Roaring Fork Schools community has been incredibly lucky for Johnson’s long-term and unwavering dedication to improving our schools. Wheeler-Del Piccolo summarized it perfectly: “We are better because of him and his many years of service.”

All are invited to the October 25 board meeting at the Carbondale district office at Bridges High School (400 Sopris Ave). The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a celebration of Johnson’s service. Those who are unable to attend can email comments and appreciations to Kelsy Been, Public Information Officer, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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