Aubrey Fennewald serves on the governing board as a parent of three at Mountain Song Community School. She and her husband, Derek, belong to the circle of founding families, having volunteered many hours in the original chartering of the new school. Aubrey is a native of Colorado Springs where she graduated from (and later taught at) Widefield High School. Not new to the field of education and administration, Aubrey’s professional experience includes teaching at GLOBE Charter School, her position as Instructor of Children’s School Creative Dramatics at the Colorado Springs School (CSS), and in administration as the Development Manager at Community Prep School. She was twice invited to CSS (2010 and ’12) for the prestigious Artist In Residence program where she produced and directed a musical and a readers theater for their Middle School theater program. Aubrey has gained much of her program development, fund development, and nonprofit management experience through her work for numerous organizations throughout her career, including the CU Environmental Center, KRFC Community Radio in Fort Collins, and locally, the Catamount Institute. She earned her BA in Anthropology from CU Boulder and her Masters in Public Administration from the School of Public Affairs at UCCS. She is co-founder of the nonprofit Proprius Learning, a resource for local self-directed learners of all ages (www.propriuslearning.org). Presently, she works as the Development Coordinator for the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region. Aubrey fully believes in developing the WHOLE child through the Waldorf Method, and she is happy to serve on the Board as an advocate for MSCS in our community.
I was born in Massachusetts to immigrants from Cabo Verde, a former Portuguese colony. After receiving my bachelor’s degree from MIT, I was commissioned in the Army as an Aviation officer and served for 27 years in Europe, Africa, and all over the US before retiring in 2015. My education and experience include a masters degree in international affairs, designing and teaching an undergraduate course as the senior Army fellow to Georgetown University, running a large military staff for both routine operations and natural disaster response, operational deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, and serving as a sub-Saharan Africa Foreign Area Officer.
My wife and I are fortunate to have 3 great kids: one daughter in college and a son and daughter currently in Mountain Song Community School. I am thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to be more involved in my children’s education now that I have retired. I kept myself busy last year volunteering in Mountain Song classes and am now doing part time work as a middle and high school substitute teacher.
I enjoy spending time with my family, riding my Thunderbird motorcycle, exercise, reading, Colorado hikes, and catching up with friends and extended family throughout the USA.
Rita Issagholian is an attorney, licensed in CO and CA, and currently specializes in Domestic Relations law where she serves families in transition. Rita also holds a Masters’ Degree in Spiritual Psychology which reflects her passion for higher consciousness and human dynamics. The hallmark of her law practice and her life in general is that both the compassion of her heart and the wisdom of her mind play equal parts in all she does. A longtime supporter of Waldorf Education, Rita was a member of the Founding Board of Mountain Song Community School and served as President on the school’s first governing Board of Directors. Rita is pleased to continue her work on the Board of Mountain Song in service to the children of Colorado Springs.
Shannon self describes as a Purveyor of Awesome, insisting that she invests her time, talent, and energy only into things that fulfill her spirit. Though the hard work of those ventures isn’t always enjoyable, the fundamental purpose is. Mothering and “Wife-ing” are her primary focal points during her children’s young years and as such, choosing the right educational fit for them has been essential. When her oldest child was in Kindergarten, Shannon and her husband considered a move to Denver to offer him the opportunity to enroll in a Waldorf school. After further discovery of the bigger city, they decided to stay in Colorado Springs and embarked on a 3 year home schooling journey. When Mountain Song Community School showed promise, they knew it would be a good option and after learning about the teachers who were hired, there was no looking back.
The Root family is fully invested in the success of Mountain Song Community School, the teachers who shine their life experiences upon the minds of the students, and the children whose parents are putting their faith in our school to care for and educate them. It was this investment and the broad picture of how MSCS will impact the community that inspired Shannon to join the Board of Directors.
Shannon brings to the Board an analytical mind, an aptitude for problem solving and process-oriented organization, and a mindfulness about group dynamics and collaboration. A proud Colorado native raised in the midwest, she has enthusiasm for outdoors. She is currently a mathematics student at PPCC, an assistant and Transaction Coordinator for a local Realtor, and improv comedian.
Some of you may know me from my time as Interim Principal of MSCS during its first year of operation. It’s great to be back! I am a resident of Woodland Park, where I served as a teacher and principal at Columbine Elementary School.
I have also worked in Denver as an educational researcher and organizational specialist with McREL, and with my own company, Focused Leadership Solutions. I coached schools, districts, and state departments of education across the country in applying educational and organizational research to their work with children.
I have always believed that schools need to be true communities in which quality relationships are paramount, and where each child is recognized and honored for his or her strengths. As part of this focus, I served as chair of the Blue Ribbon Panel for the Character Education Partnership, vetting finalists for the prestigious National School of Character designation.
My wife, Susan Demos, and I enjoy visits with our grown children and their families in Denver and Charleston, S.C., and getting to know our four month old grandson. When at home, I enjoy reading, hiking and snowshoeing, gardening, movies, and training our new Chihuahua puppy!
Jennifer Barnes is a local parent, wife and owner of two successful Early Learning Centers in Colorado Springs. She spent 10 years as a public school teacher before opening her own Reggio Emilia inspired child care centers and has a master’s degree in Special Education. Having had first hand experience as a teacher and then as a parent in traditional public schools, she worked to create alternatives for her children and the children of Colorado Springs.
Jennifer loves to ski with her family, read, travel and garden. She spent last year volunteering in various capacities and joined Parent Council this winter. She is hopeful that her educational background, her experience operating two schools and her dedication to the success of Mountain Song Community School will serve the community well.
Michael was born in Denver and grew up in Evergreen Colorado. He attended Vassar College where he majored in English and Spanish and has a Master’s in Political Science from Loyola University of Chicago and a Master’s in Education from DePaul University.
He first thought that a Waldorf education was only available in a private school setting, so he was overjoyed to discover that a public charter school was in the planning stages when he moved to Colorado Springs. Determined to support the effort to create Mountain Song Community School, he volunteered to help write the special education section of the charter application and spoke before the D-11 Board about the benefits of a Waldorf-inspired curriculum for students with special needs. With over thirteen years of teaching experience, Michael decided to further support the school by joining the Board of Directors. He hopes that he can utilize his knowledge of Special Education, Response to Intervention (RTI), and the realities of assessments and State Standards to help move Mountain Song Community School forward into a successful future.
Michael enjoys skiing, biking, soccer, and cooking and loved volunteering on the Mountain Song Farm with his family. He also wrote a book about determining relationship compatibility through astrology. As a parent, he feels that one of the best things about Mountain Song is having a child that proudly announces that she loves school!
Neah Bay Douglas – for the tireless effort, countless hours, co-creation, and implementation in the vision, the creation, and the launch of our school.
Stephanie Fernyak – for serving on our Founding Board and all of her hard work and long hours as Chair of the Facilities Committee.
Gary Feffer – of Fountain Colony Realty, for the many hours he gave to ensure we opened August 2013 in a building that is a good fit.
Elise Bowan and Linda Johnson – for serving on our Founding Board and all of their hard work and long hours as Co-Chairs of the Outreach Committee.
Raj Solanki – for the safeguarding of our vision, founding effort, and many hours in support and governance of our school.
Rita Issagholian – for her service as our first Board President, and her countless hours of hard work and dedication to the creation and continued success of Mountain Song.
Laurie Ristig– for her service as a Founding Board member and Governing Board member and her tireless work helping start the school and seeing to its success in its first two years of operation.
Martin Schneider – for carefully and courageously protecting the vision of the school as a board member and essential leader guiding us through important transitions.
Eva Manz-Jackson – for dedicated service as a founding family and founding board member, bringing encouragement and balance to many situations, projects and committees.
Melanie Chadwick – for faithfully safeguarding the school in a time of struggle to find its feet and plant them on firm ground.
Greg Augspurger – for leading the school to safe and firm financial standing as board treasurer.