Board Members

Jennifer Barnes

President – jbarnes@mountainsongschool.com

I have dedicated my career to creating and growing holistic places of learning for children and their families.  My vision of what makes a school great is that it puts relationships first.  I was the creator and owner of three private preschools/child care centers in Colorado Springs but now only own one.  I was a Special Education and Literacy Teacher with 9 years of public school teaching experience at the elementary and middle school levels but was frustrated by typical public schools.  I earned a Master’s Degree in Special Education from the University of Northern Colorado, and am certified to teach students ages 0-21.  I believe in creating an environment of collaboration, consistency and respect in order to foster a child’s innate desire to learn and explore.
 
I am the mother of two teenage girls who attended Mountain Song Community School during their elementary years.  I was involved with Mountain Song Community School as a member of the Preschool Committee before the school opened and began volunteering in the classrooms and Parent Council in the fall of 2013.  I joined the Board in February of 2014 and served as Vice President, President, Treasurer and Member at Large during her time on the Board.  I continued to volunteer on various committees after my term ended and rejoined the Board in July 2020 as Board President.
 

Christina Halligan

Vice-President – thalligan@mountainsongschool.com

I was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina into a military family. I spent the first part of my life in Germany where I was able to attend a German school that held the same values found in Mountain Song Community School. We relocated to Colorado Springs when I was 9 years old and lived here until I joined the Army. I obtained my first degree at Pikes Peak Community College and went onto CSU-Pueblo where I was awarded by Bachelors of Science in Nursing.  I served 20 years in the Army ending my career as a Trauma Nurse in 2015.

I have a blended family with 4 children Anthony(18), Elijah(17), Mackenzie(7) and Maria Sophia(5). I am married to the most amazing man (Jeff) who also served in the US Army and has proudly served as a stay at home dad since 2010 while supporting me with my career. As a family we strive to live a life of self-sustainability in the city and raising our children to appreciate and cherish our earth and what it offers us. We are so excited for our daughters to begin their journey with Mountain Song Community School. Being on the board allows me to become an active part of the school and its future while showing our children how invested we are in their education.

 

Bill Burkett

SECRETARY – wburkett@mountainsongschool.com

With my move to Colorado Springs in 2007, I have now lived in all four continental US time zones. I grew up in Ohio, earning a B.S. in Systems Engineering at Ohio State (I am a Buckeye!). After graduation, I worked for an aerospace company in St. Louis, then moved to Los Angeles, where I lived for 19 years before coming to Colorado Springs. We landed here because my wife and I were adopting a child and wanted to be a one-income family for a while – and you can’t be a one income family in LA and live comfortably.

Our daughter, Anna, is in the 7th grade at Mountain Song. And I follow in the footsteps of my wife, Rita Issagholian, with my Board service. She was a founding member of Mountain Song and served on the Board for several years. So I’m now able to bring the voice of “the community” back to the Board.

 

Hilary Hoekenga

Treasurer – hhoekenga@mountainsongschool.com

My wife and I have 3 wonderful children, one adult son and 2 twin girls. The twin girls started school at Mountain Song in 2018 and our family feels we have really found our community and academic home.  We are very much a work hard, play hard family- when we are not working, we enjoy spending time together, swimming, jet skiing, boating, playing games, stargazing, spoiling our animals (3 dogs, 2 bunnies, 1 tortoise) and camping.
I have had a long experience with medicine throughout my personal and professional lives- I was born in New Mexico to a mother who was a high-acuity nurse and a father who was an accomplished Cardiology physician.  Throughout my career, I have thrived at finding efficiencies and improving operations. Prior to becoming fully immersed in a healthcare career, I was the VP of Operations and part owner of a small, independent record label in Manhattan. I received a double Bachelor’s in Sociology & Religion from Colorado College and hold a double Masters in Business Administration and Healthcare Administration from University of Colorado- Colorado Springs. I tend to get REALLY geeky & excited about strategic planning and data analysis.
 
 

    

Scott Deibert

sdeibert@mountainsongschool.com

We were fortunate enough to be able to join the Mountain Song Community School family, and it has proven to be a perfect fit for our family. Our son has really blossomed in the school’s Waldorf inspired teachings, and it’s unique sense of community. I feel honored to be on the Board of Directors, and able to help contribute to the success of the school & community that have so significantly enriched our lives.

I have been lucky enough to wear a variety of hats throughout the various chapters of my life. I have spent many years working as a sound engineer, in both live & studio environments, and have had the privilege of working with many unique musicians & artists of various sorts. I feel that keeping one’s eyes & mind open to multiple ideas & viewpoints can tend to prove itself beneficial. The power of intention is an amazing thing, and when paired with hard work & perseverance, the world becomes a plethora of possibilities.

 

Alexandra Kogan

akogan@mountainsongschool.com

In 2015 our family moved to Colorado Springs for love nature and to raise our son. We love being outdoors, hiking and observing nature around us. Now that our son is school aged, our research of education that aligned with our core beliefs led us to Waldorf Education. He’s is loving his Kindergarten experience at Mountain Song.

I’ve joined the Mountain Song Board of Directors to play an active part in my community and believe that our school has an amazing future ahead. We are excited to be apart of it and enjoy what Mountain Song has to offer.

 
 

Laurel Sullivan

lsullivan@mountainsongschool.com

I am a current junior at Colorado College studying Sociology and Education. I was born and raised just outside of Boston and decided to move west for my time in College. I am from a large family of educators, so have been surrounded by conversations about education my entire life. While at CC, I have had the pleasure of serving on the Curriculum Executive Committee, working to change our general education requirements. I was a Public Achievement coach at Mitchell high school last year and just finished a semester off-campus teaching environmental education to fifth-graders at Columbine Elementary School in Woodland Park.
 
In my free time at Colorado College, I enjoy being a member of the Nordic Ski Team, a club team that I joined having never skied before entering college. I also enjoy spending time with my nephews and cooking new recipes! I am interested in pursuing educational policy after graduation and am eager to be involved with the Mountain Song Community School. I am excited to have the opportunity to be a part of this community, and learn from all those involved.
 

Binah Reiss

breiss@mountainsongschool.com

I was raised in the New York suburbs, blessed to have a stable childhood steeped in family, culture, food and love.

I have always been drawn to adventure, nature, and beauty.  My first gypsy wagon brought me to the beautiful Rocky Mountains for college.  I earned Bachelors of Science in Psychology from Colorado State University in Fort Collins.  Some of my other adventures include serving in the Peace Corps in El Salvador and working in El Paso, Texas at a birth center on the border where I completed a certification in Midwifery.  I hold a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from UCCS. I have countless hours of workshops and classes on health and healing.  My work experience includes home birth, birth centers and public health. Currently I am in private practice working with Women throughout the life cycle.

My son, Isaiah Sage, has been my greatest teacher. I knew when he was born that Waldorf Education was our only option for schooling. I was grateful to learn of Mountain Song which was in its early years when Isaiah was born.

I chose to join the Mountain Song Board to support the school during the time of COVID.  I believe that a Waldorf education is more important now than ever before.  My hope is to give back to this lovely community that serves our children, our families, the earth and ultimately the world at large.

 

 

Thank you!

AND A VERY SPECIAL THANKS TO:

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, returning for a second Board term, helping to secure the school’s first charter renewal, 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.

Mike Galvin – for returning to serve the school as a Board member for a year of tremendous growth after having stepping in as Interim Director during its first year.

Aubrey Fennewald – for offering steady footing, a sense of formality and process, and courageous leadership as Board President.

Shannon Root – for bringing a clear focus on strategic planning and process as Vice President, Secretary and President, which raised the Board’s ability to accomplish critical tasks.

Jennifer Barnes – for bringing seasoned and dedicated leadership, and never-ending time contributions as Board member, President and Treasurer:  whenever and wherever needed.

Michael Katzenberg – for his common sense contributions and thoughtful inputs to complex Board items as Board member and Secretary.

Nicole Nicolleta – for bringing her local government experience to the Board and her hands-on contributions to Board operation.

Pedro Almeida – for his strong leadership and steady, clear steering of the Board operation, ensuring the Board was always on-track in meeting its responsibilities.

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