Administration & Operations Bios
Director of Education
Upon returning from Peace Corps Ecuador in 1991, Michael Heffernan began his career in education at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor completing a master’s degree in education and in Detroit Public Schools as an elementary school teacher. From 1991-95, he taught in a two-way Spanish/English immersion school and studied Waldorf education with faculty from two area independent schools. In July 1995, Michael and his family relocated to Flagstaff, AZ to assist in the opening of Pine Forest Charter School (PFS). From 1995-2000, he was the grade 4-8 lead teacher, teaching all subjects, as well as Spanish, games, music and health. He also acted as faculty chairperson and served as a faculty member on the PFS Governing Board.
After graduating his 8th grade class, Michael took a one year leave from teaching and worked with a local river rafting company as a guide and business manager. He returned to formal teaching in the fall of 2001 as an educator in the Coconino County Juvenile Detention Center and Coconino County Jail. Michael and his family moved to Tucson for a year and, while his wife completed her masters degree in education, he taught algebra and physical education in a grades 6-8 middle school with 1200+ students. During that time, Michael completed his administrative coursework and received his Arizona principal’s certificate. In 2003, he and his family returned to Flagstaff and PFS where he served as the school’s principal and the executive director from 2003-17.
In addition, Michael and his wife Rose, public-Waldorf educated adult children and school-aged son, is an avid outdoor adventurer and professional musician. As a family, they have embraced the lifestyle and principles of public Waldorf education for many years and serve the Mt. Phoenix community with excited enthusiasm and desire to support carrying the school's mission forward.
Director of Enrichment & Student Support
Maggie was born and raised in Jefferson County, Colorado. After graduating from CU Boulder with a degree in Physics, she spent 5 years in California on a soul searching quest. The first few years were spent doing hydrology research as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Northern California until she moved to Southern California where she began a midwifery apprenticeship.
After moving back to Colorado to be near family as she started her own, Maggie found her way to Waldorf education through parenthood and the wish to find a holistic and meaningful education for her children. In 2003, she joined a small group of parents who shared the same vision of starting a charter school in Coal Creek Canyon. Following much pedagogical research and school visits, this group wrote and presented the charter for Mountain Phoenix Community School to the Jeffco Board of Education in 2006. Astonishingly, the charter was approved and the school opened for the 2007-08 school year as a small 3-room, multi-aged classroom school in the mountains. Since the beginning, Maggie has helped to midwife Mountain Phoenix through many different roles. She has served as a governing board member and president, teacher, administrator and a parent. All the while, her commitment to public Waldorf education strengthened. For a period of time, Maggie stepped away from the school as she attended the University of Denver earning a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and Certificate for Principal Licensure in 2016. She returned to Mountain Phoenix as an Assistant Director in 2017 and became the Director of Enrichment and Student Support in 2019. In 2022 she earned a Certificate in Transdisciplinary Studies in Healing Education, an advanced Waldorf Education program offered through Antioch University. Maggie is grateful every day to have found her life's work and to be a part of a community striving towards the Principles of Public Waldorf Education.
Maggie has three children of her own who have attended Mountain Phoenix. She and her husband Matt, along with two of their children, live on a half-acre parcel in Wheat Ridge that they hope will soon become an urban permaculture farmstead. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, reading, weaving, camping and spending time in nature.
Assistant Director of Student Support
Melissa is a dedicated educator with a passion for Waldorf education and a commitment to whole-child development. With a master's degree in school leadership and years of experience as a former class teacher, she has been working in education since the late 1900's. Melissa has always had a deep love for teaching and knew from a young age that she wanted to make a difference in the lives of students.
Melissa joined Mountain Phoenix many years ago when her daughter was in preschool, and she has come to cherish the school's creative and unique approach to education. As an administrator, Melissa is passionate about supporting the social-emotional and academic success of students, partnering closely with families to build healthy relationships that foster growth and development.
Outside of work, Melissa treasures spending time with her family and enjoys exploring the great outdoors in the beautiful Colorado landscape. She is thrilled to be a part of the Mountain Phoenix community and is committed to helping students thrive in all aspects of their lives.
Suzanne is a Colorado native and has 19+ years working in the Accounting/Finance field. With a degree in Early Childhood Education, she has wanted to work in the education field again in some capacity. When the MPCS Business Manager position opened, it was the perfect fit! She is excited to be a part of the Mountain Phoenix Community both professionally & personally. Her daughter has attended MPCS for the past 8 years with the same amazing teacher! In her free time she enjoys reading, walking her two dogs, making jewelry and spending time with her family and friends.
Program Director for Early Childhood
Meet Joy, the loving and devoted Program Director for Early Childhood at Mountain Phoenix. Joy's journey with the school began in 2011 when her first child was about to start grade one. From the moment she stepped foot on campus, Joy knew that she had found a community that she could call home.
With a deep love for young children and a passion for preserving the magic of childhood, Joy brings her experience and expertise to every aspect of her work at Mountain Phoenix. She holds a degree in Outdoor Recreation and Early Childhood, which has given her a unique perspective on how to create engaging and dynamic learning experiences for children of all ages.
As Auntie Joy, she is always ready to lend an ear, give a hug, or offer guidance to anyone who needs it. Her warmth and kindness are felt throughout the entire early childhood department, and her dedication to the children in her care is unwavering.
When Joy isn't at the school, you can find her on her next adventure with her family. She loves spending time outdoors, particularly on the beach, and shares her passion for nature with the children at Mountain Phoenix.
Joy has also committed herself to puppy rescue work and teaching yoga as a way to give back to her community. Her energy and enthusiasm for life are contagious, and she is truly an inspiration to all who know
Suzy was born in Arvada, Colorado. My children are 7th generation Arvada area residents. She attended Red Rocks College, Front Range, Benedictine College, and DU while trying to figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up. In the meantime, Suzy fell into the Real Estate business and got her brokers license when she was 20. After working in Real Estate for years, Suzy is happy to be in the role of Office Manager at MPCS.
"I love to spend time with my husband, two children (who both attended Mountain Phoenix), and step-daughter. I love riding my ATV, camping, playing with my chickens, cooking, and gardening. "
Assistant Director of School Development
Julie came to Mountain Phoenix a year after the Wheat Ridge location opened to enroll her younger boys. As she was looking for a place where her boys could be boys, learning but playing in nature whenever possible, she felt MPCS was the perfect fit. Both of her children were blessed with a stress free, play and art oriented ECE and Elementary experience while only doing homework when necessary. What more could you ask for?
Julie is married with 4 children - all boys! Her husband was born in Colorado while she hailed from New Jersey. Having a large extended family and they spend most of their time visiting and looking out for each other. Her favorite pastimes are traveling, going for early morning walks or paddle board rides, camping, and hiking, spending time with family and friends, and solving fun puzzles.
"It's been a privilege to be part of this community. I am inspired by all people big and small, relationships, spirituality, being in nature, learning, working with people to realize a vision, problem solving, and going on an adventures."
Nicole grew up in Castle Rock, Colorado, back in the days when it was mainly open fields and roaming cattle. She then went on to college at the University of Montana in Missoula where she received a bachelors degree in Political Science with emphasis in Public Administration. After becoming a mother, Nicole started assistant teaching in a private Montessori school in Evergreen. Eventually she ventured on to receive her Upper Elementary Montessori Training at the Center for Montessori Training in New Rochelle, NY.
In her personal time, Nicole enjoys time with her family, as well as hiking, reading, horseback riding, gardening, snowboarding and any kind of home fix-it and design projects.
Student Health Coordinator
Backup Health Aide/Office Assistant
Upper School Office Secretary
Originally from Texas, Lynn and her family have been pioneers at Mountain Phoenix with her two girls (currently high schoolers) which attended MPCS when it first opened and continued through Grade 8. Lynn loves hiking, gardening and skiing!
Communication & Marketing Manager, Volunteer Coordinator
Mountain Phoenix graced Sondra's family over 6 years ago with the admission of her then 6th grader and Dandelion Preschooler. Over the years, the community has become family, the festivals have become tradition and the campus has become her office.
Sondra holds a Bachelor's degree in Public Management with a lifetime of experience in Marketing. Her other past lives include Real Estate and Property Management, Aveda Esthethician and Marine Corps Reservist. In her spare time (or scheduled free time), she loves to repurpose, craft sustainable goods, study holistic nutrition, and practice photography. Hiking, discovering new adventures, trying hidden gem restaurants, and attending live theatre/concerts with her 2 kids, husband and father are also some favorite past times!