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 and served for 27 years in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the US before retiring in 2015. My education and experience include a masters degree in international affairs, designing and teaching an undergraduate course at Georgetown University, running a large military staff, operational deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, and serving as an Africa Foreign Area Officer. After the Army, I volunteered in Mountain Song classes, did part time work as a middle and high school substitute teacher, and served as an adjunct professor at Pikes Peak Community College where I taught American Government. I am currently employed at School District 49 as the Chief Operations Officer.
My wife and I 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 completed my Army career.
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.
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 6th 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.
We were fortunate enough to be able to join the Mountain Song Community School family 3 years ago, and it has proven to be a perfect fit for our family. Our oldest son has bloomed in the school’s unique sense of community, and we look forward to when our daughter & younger son will be old enough to attend. I feel honored to be on the Board of Directors, and be 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.
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.
I am a proud native of Colorado Springs, spending most of my childhood on the United States Air Force Academy. Straight out of high school I traveled the west coast where I learned about farming, sustainability, and the importance of community. Shortly after my traveling journey I settled down and earned a Master’s Degree in Sociology from UCCS. I teach college level Sociology with an emphasis on the food shed and community engagement. For the last four years I dedicated much of my life (outside of motherhood) to the City of Manitou Springs where I sat as a council member, 2 of those years as the Mayor. It is an honor to sit on the Board of Directors for Mountain Song Community School, frankly it is the least I can do to give back to a community that has given my family so much.
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.