Governing Council Biographies

MPCS Governing Council

Don Toups

Don Toups

President

don.toups@mountainphoenix.org

Don has had two children attend Mountain Phoenix. He and his wife, Rina, enrolled their elder daughter in MPCS the summer before the opening of the Wheat Ridge campus, participating in school work days during the summer of 2011—at which point terms such as “lazure” and “eurythmy” entered their working vocabulary. Their younger daughter joined the Sunflower kindergarten class in the fall of 2012.

Don is motivated to serve on the GC both by the opportunity to further Waldorf education in the public realm and by the potential MPCS holds as a leader in that movement. Among the various aspects of the Waldorf educational philosophy, Don most appreciates its holistic approach to child development and its presentation of topics and skills to children when they are developmentally ready to integrate them.

Don works as an Instructional Designer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, designing learning and training materials to achieve business objectives. Outside of work and GC activities, Don enjoys spending time with his family, taking care of their sheep, chickens, and bees, hiking, skiing, reading, cooking, and traveling.

Don has an M.A. in English and Applied Linguistics and a B.A. in Journalism, both from Louisiana State University. He has intermediate fluency in Spanish and speaks enough French to confuse wait staff and make jokes that embarrass his wife.

Jeff Wilhite

Jeff Wilhite

Vice-President

jeff.wilhite@mountainphoenix.org

Jeff has been involved with MPCS for the past 3 years, initially facilitating the establishment of the MPCS Foundation. He was instrumental in the purchase of the current campus as the advisor to the school in arranging for the underwriter of the purchase bond. Jeff was asked to join the MPCS Governing Council based on his demonstrated commitment to the school, his interest in Waldorf Education, and his experience in charter school governance.

Jeff’s commitment to charter school education started when his son and daughter enrolled in middle school at Rocky Mountain Academy of Evergreen. RMAE was extraordinarily impactful for his children, shaping the fundamentals for their subsequent educational and personal successes. Jeff served on the RMAE Board for 3 years, holding the positions of Treasurer and Board President. He was a founding board member of the RMAE Foundation, also serving as its Executive Director for one year. Jeff served on the State of Colorado Educational Success Task Force for two years. He serves as a frequent member of the CDE charter school start up and expansion grant award committee and as a presenter at the Colorado League of Charter Schools convention.

Jeff has been involved in banking for over 30 years, primarily focusing on real estate/ construction lending and business development. He has a BA from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN, and a MA from Goddard College in Vermont.

Sarah Landreth

Sarah Landreth

Secretary

sarah.landreth@mountainphoenix.org

Sarah Landreth currently serves MPCS as the chair of the School Accountability Committee and as Secretary for the GC. She and her husband Scott have three children at MPCS, now spanning from the ECE program to Grade 4. When considering school options for her children, and with her passion for "outside the box" teaching, Sarah found MPCS. She was immediately drawn as a parent and teacher to Waldorf education's strong emphasis on human development, bringing forth of the whole individual, and community emphasis. She strives to be a positive steward of MPCS’s mission and vision and to further MPCS’s work as a leader in the Public Waldorf movement.

Before her current work as a stay at home mom, Sarah was an elementary teacher for seven years in a variety of school settings in Colorado and Oregon. She holds a BA in Psychology and Elementary Ed certification from CU Boulder. Outside of MPCS, you might find her tinkering on her piano or camera, in yoga class, jogging, or reading, but especially enjoying moments with her family.

Samantha Siffring

Samantha Siffring

Treasurer

samantha.siffring@mountainphoenix.org

Samantha joined the MPCS community as a parent in 2012 when her oldest son started in the Sunflower Kindergarten. She has been active in the community helping with the Winter Market, as a class representative, and as a member of the Foundation. She and her husband Stuart have three children who are in preschool, 1st grade, and 3rd grade at MPCS.

Samantha was first drawn to MPCS while looking for a preschool that honored child development, a child’s need for play and outdoors, and valued creativity. Her family has stayed at MPCS for all these things and many more as her understanding of Waldorf education and love of the school’s community have deepened. As a member of the board, she hopes to help the school reach new heights as a leader in the public Waldorf movement.

Samantha grew up in northern Virginia and attended James Madison University. She has a BS in Psychology and an MA in Human Services: Counseling. When not on the MPCS campus, Samantha runs her own business helping moms launch and build online businesses. She enjoys trying new recipes, camping with her family, yoga class, volunteering, doing crossword puzzles, and writing.

Beth Cossette

Beth Cossette

Member at Large

beth.cossette@mountainphoenix.org

When researching schools for her daughter to attend for Kindergarten, Beth was disappointed with her options at traditional public schools. After many tours and research, she discovered Waldorf education and MPCS. She was drawn to the Waldorf philosophy because of it's whole child education model and its emphasis on imagination and experience in education.

Beth joined the MPCS community when she enrolled her son in the Seedlings program where she experienced Waldorf education first hand. She feels strongly that everyone should have access to a public Waldorf education. By joining the governing council, Beth plans to ensure the long term health and stability of the school to serve many Colorado families to come.

Beth grew up in Massachusetts and has a B.S. in communications from Boston University. She is currently Marketing Director at CenturyLink. Outside of work and GC activities, you can find Beth hiking, snowboarding, baking, reading and spending time with her husband and two children.

Thomas Hensley

Thomas Hensley

Member at Large

thomas.hensley@mountainphoenix.org

Bio and pic coming soon.

Carla Mead

Carla Mead

Member at Large

carla.mead@mountainphoenix.org

As a Mountain Phoenix parent, I am passionate about our school, our community, and our children. I am honored to be able to serve on the Foundation and look forward to helping make the best decisions to grow responsibly and in the best interests of our families. I have been part of the MPCS community since the Wheat Ridge campus opened in 2011. I am a proud product of the Jefferson County public school system and have lived in Wheat Ridge since 2002.

My experience includes volunteering for the MPCS Auction the past three years, and two years of serving as a MPCS classroom parent representative. Prior to
volunteering at MPCS, I served on the board of the Wilmore-Davis Elementary PTA, and have ample work experience in the technical writing, marketing, and
business management fields.