Our 2015/2016 Public Allies fellows depart our mountainside campus at the end of this week after spending a year teaching, learning and being an enormous part of the Eagle Rock family.
This latest cohort of fellows joins an impressive 150 Public Allies Fellows who have completed the program here at Eagle Rock. In fact, our program is among the most successful in the nation, scoring in the high 90th percentile. You can learn about this group at their arrival on campus last September by reading 2015/2016 Public Allies Fellows Arrive On Campus.
Meanwhile, here’s what our “graduating” fellows have planned for their immediate future:
Ally Bolger, Science Teaching Fellow: After Eagle Rock, Ally is moving to Colorado Springs where she will be teaching high school biology and chemistry at CIVA Charter High School. She is excited for the opportunity to apply all she has learned about alternative education, engaging teaching strategies, and building supportive relationships with students. In her free time, Ally is also excited to spend more time outside and explore her new surroundings. And since she’s very familiar with the 2.5-hour drive back to Eagle Rock, we’re looking forward to many return visits.
Aranda Salazar, Residential Life Fellow: Aranda will be sticking around Colorado after her year with us, pursuing whatever her heart desires. During her time at Eagle Rock she was better able to see that she values working directly with people, being a part of a team, and feeling valued as an employee. She hopes to find these qualities in future work places. And in her continued pursuit for happiness, she plans to spend more time with her family, travel to new places, and continue to build strong, ever-growing relationships with those around her. She would like to give a shoutout to those awesome people at Eagle Rock who fearlessly supported her, always dealt with her bursts of never-ending emotions, and pushed her to be her best on a regular basis.
Brett Youngerman, Literature & Literacy Teaching Fellow: Brett will be remaining at Eagle Rock for another year in the same position. He is excited to use many of the instructional approaches that he learned and practiced over the course of his first year. He is also excited to have the opportunity to further explore the alternative education landscape.
Chris Iafrati, Human Performance Center Teaching Fellow: For the fall, Chris plans on continuing his education in the form of studying psychology and earning his Registered Yoga Teacher Certification from the Yoga Alliance. Work will include teaching lifeguarding classes (a skill he gained at Eagle Rock) and helping out with work on a farm. Next year, Chris hopes to get an Outdoor Education position with Eagle Rock as well as an internship with the Buffalo Bills. He will fill in the blank space with traveling opportunities.
Claire Oliphant, Visual Arts Teaching Fellow: After Eagle Rock, Claire will begin teaching at Arthur Morgan School, a small residential Quaker and Montessori-based middle school in Western North Carolina. Claire will be teaching art — including blacksmithing and ceramics —as well as language arts, thanks to Eagle Rock’s professional development focus on literacy across the curriculum. Claire will also manage Arthur Morgan’s kitchen and work on the school’s farm. Claire is excited to take all of her learning from Eagle Rock and apply it to a new school environment.
Helen Higgins, Math Teaching Fellow: Helen is completing her year at Eagle Rock with an alternative math teaching license. After being inspired by student engagement in math at Eagle Rock, Helen is thrilled to return to us in September for a second year in her position, where she plans to continue promoting innovative approaches to math education.
Joi Ward, Health, Wellness & Counseling Fellow: Joi will be returning to Eagle Rock as a second-year Health, Wellness and Counseling Fellow. She looks forward to continuing her work with students and supporting the new group of Public Allies fellows.
Maya Edery, Society & Cultures Teaching Fellow: Maya will be moving to New York City to pursue her Master’s degree in Social Work in Community Organizing, Planning, and Development at Hunter College. She is also participating in an abortion doula training program where she will organize around reproductive justice issues. She is looking forward to moving to a new city, being a student again, and organizing around issues she is passionate about.
Mia Stroutsos, Professional Development Center Fellow: Mia’s biggest take away from Eagle Rock is her exposure to a variety of education models both here at school and across the country. She is northwest bound, and is excited to reconnect to her roots in Seattle, Wash, where she has accepted an AmeriCorps position with Communities in Schools. In between, she will be taking an epic road trip to reconnect with friends and see beautiful places and eat beautiful food. She will also be in deep contemplation of her year and all the wonderful people and experiences she’s encountered here.
Michael Grant, Music Teaching Fellow: Michael will be returning to his native Pacific Northwest to pursue high school teaching positions in Seattle. He wants to continue learning and incorporating innovative alternative education models, connecting with students who have struggled in school, and bringing out the musician in everyone. He’s also looking forward to mushroom hunting, kayaking, and sitting on porches in this next phase.
Monserrat Alvarez, Outdoor Education Teaching Fellow: Monse will continue to pursue her passions in whatever form comes her way. She will be staying in Colorado and returning to Eagle Rock to lead a course in the fall (and hopefully more courses in the future). Eagle Rock taught Monse to value her work and appreciate the amount of heart she puts into everything she does. She is excited to return and continue to work with Eagle Rock School students in the outdoors. Long-term, Monse plans to find an organization that will uplift not only outdoor programming, but also the social justice and community aspects that she values.
From all of us here at Eagle Rock, thank you to each and every one of the Public Allies Fellows listed above. Eagle Rock has evolved as an organization and community because of you!
Readers — Stay tuned for a blog post introducing the 2016/2017 cohort of Eagle Rock Public Allies Fellows. In the meantime, if you’d like to learn about being a Public Allies Fellow yourself, please visit the link below:
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About The Author: Christi Kelston is the director of Public Allies at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center in Estes Park, Colo. Kelston, who serves on the organization’s Professional Development Center team, has spent the last 16 years working with nonprofits that challenge traditional concepts of education and youth development. Prior to rejoining the team at Eagle Rock (she was a Public Allies instructional fellow in 2008-9), Kelston was the program director of quality improvement at Family League of Baltimore, where she oversaw the quality, implementation, evaluation and tracking of professional development and technical assistance for community schools in Baltimore, Md.