Administration & Operations Bios


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Administration

Michael Heffernan

Michael Heffernan

Director of Education

michael.heffernan@jeffco.k12.co.us

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.

Maggie Payne

Maggie Payne

Assistant Director of Operations, Assistant Director of Education, & School Assessment Coordinator

maggie.payne@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio coming soon.

Dee Roy

Dee Roy

Business Manager

dee.roy@jeffco.k12.co.us

Dee oversees everything that has to do with human resources, accounts receivable, and accounts payable.
Her gifts include being detail-oriented and methodical about seeing the big picture. Dee has been working for charter schools since 2000 and this is her seventh year at MPCS.

Dee loves that Waldorf education teaches “to the heart and soul” and considers herself particularly lucky because she can hear the children singing and watch them playing during the day from her bright office on the second floor of the Main Building. She loves to interact with the students and often brings her granddaughter to festivals at the school.

When Dee’s not working, she does a lot of handwork. She spends her spare time knitting, crocheting, and doing other crafts, including glass fusion.

Ashley Mendoza

Ashley Mendoza

"The Head" of MPCS Early Childhood Leadership - ECE Licensing Director

ashley.mendoza@jeffco.k12.co.us

In 2010, Ashley decided to take a complete turnaround in her career from retail to child education. She wanted to do something meaningful and worth her time; therefore, Ashley went back to school and changed her major.

Ashley started as a floater working with infants to preschool in a Montessori School in East Plano, TX. She became close with the assistant director who asked Ashley to work alongside her, in her own in-home daycare with the ages infants up to 2 years. Ashley was thrilled and wanted to learn more working with someone who had the knowledge and experience. She continued to work at the in-home daycare until she moved to Colorado in June 2013. Ashley is a happy graduate of 2015 finishing her Associates in Early Childhood Education and Director’s Certificate from Red Rocks Community College. She is currently in the Sound Circle II training for her Waldorf Certificate in Early Childhood. With time permitting, Ashley plans to open up her own Waldorf-inspired, in-home daycare.

When not at work, Ashley spends her free time listening to music, going to concerts, watching movies, crochet, hiking, working out, traveling, sight see and visit what beautiful adventures Colorado has to offer.

Ashley is always excited for a new school year and happy to be back in preschool assisting in the Buttercups. Ashley also feels blessed and appreciative for having the opportunity being the ECE Licensing Director. She loves working with the wee little ones and watching them grow.

Joy Wegs

Joy Wegs

"The Hands" of MPCS Early Childhood Leadership - Enrollment, Re-enrollment, Budgets, Program Purchasing

joy.wegs@jeffco.k12.co.us

“Auntie Joy” is the Lead Teacher in the Sweet Peas classroom, and an integral part of MPCS's Early Childhood Leadership Team. Auntie Joy has been here since MPCS arrived on this campus. She brings her ALL to her classroom, her Administration role various committees throughout our campus. She proudly calls MPCS her home away from home!

Aside from her teaching responsibilities, she is also a mother to two spirited boys (Aizik who is in 8th grade and Ember who is in 4rd grade, both at MPCS), a wife, and a yoga instructor. She holds a BA in Outdoor Recreation and Leadership, and a two-year degree in Early Childhood Education. Joy has completed the LifeWays of North America training, focusing on Stiener’s views of child development birth through age 7 and the Waldorf Foundations program. She is currently in her second year of the Sound Circle Early Childhood Waldorf Program.

Her history with Waldorf Education goes back quite a ways, but she knew the moment her first son was born that she needed to learn more! She used to live in Grand Junction where she partnered with other community members to start a small Waldorf Kindergarten, where she was both the President of the Board and also a Teacher (both at different times, of course)! Auntie Joy is living proof that Waldorf is an education for all, both young and old!

Elizabeth McCune

Elizabeth McCune

"The Heart" of MPCS Early Childhood Leadership - Early Childhood Pedagogical Support

Operations

Cathy Darrow

Cathy Darrow

Middle School Office Assistant

cathy.darrow@jeffco.k12.co.us

Cathy graduated from Red Rocks Community College with a degree in Early Childhood Education and Metro State College (1991) with a BA in Elementary Education and a Minor in Special Education.

She taught at Foothills Academy from 1994 to the closing of the school in 2011. When MPCS took over the campus, she joined the faculty as an Interventionist and Substitute Teacher until 2014 and then became a Middle School Office Assistant.

Cathy also was an MPCS parent. Her youngest daughter Chloe attended middle school at MPCS.

Sara Merkel

Sara Merkel

Office Manager

sara.merkel@jeffco.k12.co.us

Sara moved to Evergreen, Colorado from upstate New York when she was a child. After high school, she attended the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and then, having fallen in love with the Northwest, stayed in Washington state for 8 years. In 1999, she and her husband moved back to Evergreen to raise their own children. Having a passion for non-traditional education, Sara has worked in a variety of educational settings including residential and day treatment, preschool, literacy lab for middle & high schoolers, Montessori upper elementary, and special ed. Deciding she wanted to put her OCD skills to work, she looked for a place she could combine her love for children but move into a more administrative position. The office at Mountain Phoenix has become the perfect home for her!

In her spare time, Sara loves to spend time with her husband, two teenagers and two dogs. Whether on an outdoor adventure, or having a quiet cup of coffee, Sara enjoys being with family and friends as much as possible. She feels so thankful to have found a community with so many kind and interesting children, families, and coworkers.

Shannon Fiedler

Shannon Fiedler

Communications and Volunteer Coordinator

shannon.fiedler@jeffco.k12.co.us

After growing up in the southwest Chicago suburbs, Shannon graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana with a degree in International Studies and moved to Colorado shortly thereafter.

She spent years working in the technology sector because it allowed her to study her passion, yoga, and live the good life in Colorado. Shannon is now taking her first steps into the education field by working at MPCS.

A husband and two kids later, most of her days revolve around being a mom and a householder. One of her proudest achievements as a mother is sending her children to our amazing school. Shannon feels deeply about the mission of our school and is dedicated to helping grow this incredible community.

Nicole Rohnke

Nicole Rohnke

Student Accommodations Coordinator/Enrichment

nicole.rohnke@jeffco.k12.co.us

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 husband and two teenage children, as well as hiking, reading, horseback riding, gardening, snowboarding, and any kind of home fix-it and design projects.

Vince Ruiz

Vince Ruiz

Facilities Manager

vince.ruiz@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio coming soon.

Leslie Fox

Leslie Fox

Community Outreach and Enrollment Coordinator

Leslie.Hartford-Fox@jeffco.k12.co.us

Leslie has a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts with a concentration in art history, fibers, and studio arts. She worked as an Office Coordinator and Early Childhood Aftercare Teacher at the Tucson Waldorf School and also is a former Waldorf student herself. Additionally, she has served as a receptionist at the Four Seasons and a tour guide while living in Florence, Italy. She will be conducting our tours at MPCS and outreach within our local community.

Julie Ortiz

Julie Ortiz

Systems Analyst

julie.ortiz@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio coming soon.

Suzy Kumley

Suzy Kumley

Clinic Aide

susan.ross-kumley@jeffco.k12.co.us

I was born in Arvada, Colorado. My children are 7th generation Arvada area residents. I attended Red Rocks College, Front Range, Benedictine College, and DU while trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. In the meantime, I fell into the Real Estate business and got my brokers license when I was 20. I worked in Real Estate until recently, and I am excited to now be the clinic aide for 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.