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

Director of Enrichment & Student Support

maggie.payne@jeffco.k12.co.us

Melissa Kacel

Melissa Kacel

Assistant Director of Student Support

melissa.kacel@jeffco.k12.co.us

Suzanne Blette

Suzanne Blette

Business Manager

Suzanne Blette@jeffco.k12.co.us

Joy Wegs

Joy Wegs

Program Director for Early Childhood

jwegs@jeffcoschools.us

As the Program Director for Early Childhood, "Auntie Joy" is here to help, hold and assist in anyway she can! She has been an integral part of Mountain Phoenix since the school moved to this campus in 2011. She is thrilled to wrap her arms around the entire Early Childhood Department and various committees throughout our campus. She proudly calls MPCS her home away from home!

Along with being an Early Childhood Director and Teacher, she also has a random degree in Outdoor Recreation (rafting anyone?), as well as a certificate in Waldorf Early Childhood Education. Outside of Mountain Phoenix, Joy loves spending time teaching and practicing yoga, hiking with her family and snuggling up her pups.

Operations

Suzy Kumley-Ross

Suzy Kumley-Ross

School Secretary

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

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. "

Julie Ortiz

Julie Ortiz

Assistant Director of School Development

julie.ortiz@jeffco.k12.co.us

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."

Cathy Darrow

Cathy Darrow

Administrative 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.

Nicole Rohnke

Nicole Rohnke

504 Coordinator

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 family, 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

vincent.ruiz@jeffco.k12.co.us

Adele Sakich

Adele Sakich

Student Health Coordinator

adele.sakich@jeffco.k12.co.us

Sonja Pierce

Sonja Pierce

Backup Health Aide/Office Assistant

sonja.hill@jeffco.k12.co.us

Lynn Edone

Lynn Edone

Upper School Office Secretary

lynn.edone@jeffco.k12.co.us

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!

Stephanie O'Friel

Stephanie O'Friel

School Enrichment Program Coordinator

sjofriel@jeffcoschools.us

Stephanie found Mountain Phoenix 9 years ago with her now sophmore in high school and is blessed to continue the experience with her 3rd grader and kindergartener. She has become passionate about Waldorf education and has enjoyed working at the school for the last four years. Stephanie is excited to take on the position of Enrichment Coordinator this year!

Stephanie holds a Bachelor's degree in Sustainable Agriculture and a Master's Degree in Holistic Nutrition. Her favorite past times include spending time in nature - hiking camping, and paddle boarding, being a plant nerd, gardening, naturalist hikes, spending time at the botanical gardens and going to see live music.

"I love winter and snow so I feel even more blessed to be a Colorado native! I also enjoy spending time with my friends and family. I have three kids, two energetic australian shepards, and a very large extended family that keeps me busy!

Sondra Lockett-Cameron

Sondra Lockett-Cameron

Communication & Marketing Manager, Volunteer Coordinator

sondra.lockett-cameron@jeffcoschools.us

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!