Marie-Louise has a strong and dedicated relationship with CCS - seven years as a mother of a student, one year as Governing Council member, and almost four years as project director. She was instrumental in obtaining the grant and managing the design and construction of the new campus. Now she has been our dedicated director for the past 3 years.
"One of the aspects of CCS that most delights me is the engaged relationship between teachers and students. How together they work out individual learning paths incorporating the unique strengths that best suit each student. Our students discover and create their world with curiosity. I enjoy the school’s caring and creative atmosphere every time I enter the building."
Michael Pacheco was hired to be the school’s first onsite IT and Building Systems Manager. Michael has a background in Organizational Management and Computer Information Systems from DeVry University. Michael's career has taken him to both the environmental and public health sectors, where he used his knowledge of technology and business to design highly successful and innovative systems that reduced overhead cost and increased productivity. Michael has a passion for learning and believes education and technology are the cornerstones of our civilization. Michael also participates on the school's Mentorship Program, teaching programing and electronics classes.
The AmeriCorps program drew me to Crestone a year ago, now I’ve officially joined the Crestone Charter School team as the school counselor! I am overjoyed to become a bigger part of the school and the community.
My professional background has had a focus on school social work, primarily with students who have severe emotional and behavioral disabilities. Additionally, I’ve had roles in addiction recovery, child welfare, career readiness and planning, research and data collection and served on several board of directors.
Wanting to switch things up from my Denver city-life, I joined Alpine Achievers Initiative as an AmeriCorps member in Crestone. As the end of my dedicated time came into focus, leaving the collective amazing experience and community didn’t seem like a viable option. Serendipitously, I had the immense fortune to be considered for the school counselor position.
My school counseling philosophy lies in strength-based, solution-focused theory. This means finding tangible solutions to issues or struggles our students and families may be facing. I believe school can be a place for students to be transformed into connected, balanced individuals and guide students to become the best version of themselves.
A Colorado native, I love playing in the outdoors – hiking, camping, backpacking, kayaking, snowboarding, you name it! My best adventure buddy is my gorgeous husky-mix pup, Willie (namesake: Willie Nelson).
Cristina Cabeza-Kinney spent her childhood in South Florida and received her Bachelor of Science in Communication and Business from Florida State University in 2000. Since then, she has worked as a community organizer, group facilitator, restorative justice practitioner and as director of two non-profit organizations. For the past several years, as business manager, she has helped build her family's local thriving business at Blue Earth Design. Cristina has been a CCS parent since 2009 and a Crestone resident since 2004, discovering what it means to be well while raising her family and loving the land. Her passions lie in all kinds of reconciliations . . . financial and otherwise! Cultivating a culture of belonging wherever she works and plays grounds her and gives her life meaning. She loves organizing, learning, creating, singing, dancing and sauntering in the woods.
As Office Manager at CCS, she thrives in the diverse and dynamic work environment with the central service being to the leaders of tomorrow. She values building relationships and the trust necessary to grow together . . . students, parents, staff and community. Cristina looks forward to continuing to help build the CCS culture of belonging, where everyone enters and feels seen, heard, received, supported and loved.
During her time at CCS Orca has worked as an AmeriCorps service member, a classroom aide, and the K-8 PE Teacher. In addition to committing her time to better the CCS community, she has also dedicated her life to the youth, holistic healing art, and healthy relationship building. Orca writes “I believe that if we want to change the world, we must change the way we relate to each other, starting with our young ones. We must speak from an honest heart, ready to give and receive love, listen to each other and be responsible for one another”. What she says is in short how Restorative Justice achieves its goal, described on the Colorado Restorative Justice website as “making a concerted effort to support the development of Restorative Practices in Schools that train, implement and practice with fidelity and consistency over the long term”. As Restorative Practices Coordinator, Orca will work with students, teachers, parents, and the community to embody the message and practices of restorative justice in the school.
Jane Elliott has been passionate about learning and teaching her whole life, and has always been interested in alternative approaches to education that include travel, project-based learning, community service, and creativity. She has extensive experience teaching children in the elementary grades, with unique expertise in reading, writing, and math instruction. She’s also trained and certified as a school counselor.
This is how she sums up her teaching philosophy: “The most important gifts we can give a child are the abilities to explore, self-reflect, evaluate, and ask questions and seek answers. As educators, it is our job to lead children toward this.”
Matthew Nava is ecstatic about his upcoming role as the Primary Teacher at Crestone Charter School. What better place to put his vast and unique teaching knowledge to use than here at CCS.
His experience includes six years as a first-grade teacher for Aurora Public Schools, where he was on the leadership team, worked as a mentor, and headed the gifted and talented program. Matthew then served as the Elementary Music Teacher for four years, where he incorporated and led the introduction of mindfulness practices in the classroom along with everyday Music instruction.
Matthew has built strong relationships with our students and staff. Kids love Matthew! In the 2.5 years living in Crestone, he has served in many rolls. Teacher Assistant in the Early Elementary Class, Intermediate Teacher Assistant, and then this last school year as the Elementary Music and PE teacher. Matthew is most excited about the exploratory learning approach at the Charter school and the opportunities for hands-on creative learning that goes beyond just the everyday content. He believes, “The day should flow like a ribbon, with all things connecting. The more connections the deeper the sense of learning.”
Robin began classroom teaching in the Boulder County Schools in 1990, after graduating from the University of Colorado, Boulder with an Elementary Teaching Certification, and a degree in English Literature specializing in Shakespeare and Biblical Influences on Western Literature. She also focused her education on Spanish Language, Mathematics, and Astronomy. She worked with K-1 combined classrooms and bilingual 6th grades in Boulder, Colorado. She taught K-3 Montessori for one year in Evergreen, Colorado and taught one year of Waldorf, in Gunbarrel, Colorado, just before moving to the Museum of Natural History, New York, running field programs in Chaco Canyon National Heritage Site.
She runs her Primitive Living and Survival Skills business, Earth Knack, locally and nationally, and internationally, teaching cultural immersion programs in communities that still live traditional lifestyles. Robin is an author, Earth Knack: Stone Age Skills for the 21st Century, published by Gibbs Smith Publishers in 1996, as well as a singer/songwriter with a CD titled My Loin Cloth Has No Pockets. She is adjunct faculty for Experiential and Outdoor Education at Prescott, Antioch, and Evergreen State Colleges and Alfred University. She also teaches archaeo - astronomy classes for the Crestone Charter School.
She has three children who have attended the Charter and Moffat Schools.
Middle School Language Arts and Social Studies
Audrey moved to Crestone in 2016 to begin her teaching career. She studied English and Education at St. Lawrence University in upstate New York, graduating in spring of 2015. During her college years, she taught in a variety of schools from Portland Place School in London, England to Gouverneur Middle School. She plans on continuing her education in the next few years.
This year, she is ecstatic to develop students as readers, writers, and researchers of human civilization. The unique qualities of this school allow her to flex her creativity in the classroom, and connect lessons to science, math, everyday life, and each student individually.
Middle School and High School Science
Welcome, Lee, our new secondary science teacher! Lee comes to us from Leadville with extensive teaching experience both in science and math. In addition, he is a geologist.
Lee lived and taught on Native reservations where he learned restorative practices first hand, long before schools introduced restorative practices into their discipline approach. Lee has a gift for teaching and was recommended to us by one of his students and former LINK-student.
Lee loves to write, to Practice Martial Arts, he loves his pets, and of course loves his mother and two sons, who are going to move to Crestone with him.
High School Language Arts and Social Studies
Rachelle Wilson joins CCS from Indianapolis, Indiana. Originally from Churubusco, Indiana, Rachelle grew up with a love of sports and being outdoors. Upon graduating Rachelle moved to Bloomington to attend Indiana University. She graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Secondary Education with a focus on English Language Arts, grades 6-12, in 2010. Her first job out of college was at Talisman Summer Camp in Zirconia, North Carolina. As a Wilderness Expedition Leader, Rachelle led students in a sixty-mile open boat expedition, and two thirty-mile backpacking expeditions. Although the job was only a summer contract, it sparked a curiosity for outdoor education that would later lead her to Crestone.
After leaving Talisman, Rachelle began her teaching career for Indianapolis Public Schools. During her time with IPS, Rachelle taught at the middle school level for six out of her seven years. She is looking forward to being back with the older kids at CCS! During her tenure with IPS, Rachelle coached tennis, softball and basketball. She regularly incorporates athletics in her lesson planning, emphasizing the importance of team-work inside and outside of the classroom. In addition to coaching students, Rachelle worked as a teacher leader to help teachers grow their practice through her Peer Observation Video Initiative. She relies heavily on Project Based Learning in her classroom and encourages students to explore their creative potential. Her students were featured on the cover of the district newsletter two years in a row- for putting the Grinch who stole Christmas on trial, and for hosting a Skype conference with a ground commander for the International Space Station.
Besides sports, Rachelle's hobbies include stand-up comedy, kayaking, and hiking. She often would travel to Colorado during her breaks to hike Colorado's beautiful trails. In March of 2017, Rachelle stumbled upon Crestone while visiting Colorado on Spring Break. Feeling drawn to the town, she knew that coming to work for Crestone Charter School would be the chance of a lifetime and finally allow her to follow her dream of working at an outdoor school.
Middle and High School Mathematics
Hi, I am Fabrício Raimundo Fernandes. I have been teaching Math since 2011 for middle school, high school and some personal classes to college's students. Before I started to teach math I worked as an Electronic Technician. I studied to be a technician during high school. I worked full time when I was18 years old and started to study Math because I have loved math since early elementary school. In 2011 I had my first opportunity to teach, and the experience changed my life forever. I love teaching math, being with the children and teenagers, and passing on my love for math. I decided to be the best teacher that I could be, so I earned a Masters Degree in Math. I also studied to teach in English.
Teaching in Crestone is a dream come true. My goals are to improve myself as a Math teacher and to improve myself as a person. It is a big challenge for me, maybe the biggest in my life, but I love challenges.
All School Art
Middle and High School Band
Welcome, April, our new Custodian, and Van Driver! April was born and raised in Crestone, and therefore, knows more about the history of Crestone than most people.
April is excited to work at the Crestone Charter School because she wants to support our students in any way she can. With her incredible energy and enthusiasm, she has already prepared and painted Rainbow Cave and reorganized our storage, there is more to come.
April gets joy and fulfillment from maintaining a place in order and cleanliness. What a gift that April has joined our team.