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

Bio Coming Soon!

Melissa Kacel

Melissa Kacel

Assistant Director of Student Support

melissa.kacel@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 Bernier

Ashley Bernier

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

ashley.bernier@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 - ECE Registration and Finance

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, 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 - ECE HR and Kindergarten Pedagogical Development

elizabeth.mccune@jeffco.k12.co.us

Ms. Liz is excited to be the teacher of the Bluebirds Kindergarten class. In her pre-kid years she worked as a Marriage and Family Therapist, but more recently she has spent the past two years as an assistant in the Kindergarten and loved it so much that she began the teacher training program at Rudolf Steiner College this past summer. Ms. Liz was introduced to the “magic” of Waldorf education through seeking to find a fitting pre-school program for one of her own children. She and her family landed at a Waldorf-based home preschool, and life since then has never been the same. Waldorf education inspired a renewed love of childhood, magic, and learning!

Ms. Liz is also a MPCS parent – her four children all attend the school (5th, 3rd, 1st, and Pre-K). Their family has chickens, bees, and a new, much bigger than expected, puppy. Originally an Ohio Buckeye, she is married to a Colorado native. Liz lived previously in Albania, Texas, Mississippi, Scotland (her 2 boys were born there), and back in Ohio, before settling down in Denver 5 years ago. In her spare time, Liz can be found...wait, what’s spare time? Her most recent achievement: winning the Blue Ribbon at the Denver County Fair for her 9 grain bread (she mills the flour)! Lately, her (nighttime) dreams include crock pots and wool roving.

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

Registrar/Instructional Data Systems Coordinator

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

Upper School Office Secretary/Student Records Coordinator

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/District GT Liaison

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

Bio Coming Soon!

Adele Sakich

Adele Sakich

Student Health Coordinator

adele.sakich@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

Sonja Pierce

Sonja Pierce

Backup Health Aide/Office Assistant

sonja.hill@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

Lynn Edone

Lynn Edone

Upper School Office Secretary/Back-up Health Aide

lynn.edone@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio coming soon.

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!