Meet The Team: Residential Life Coordinator, J. Jacques Fournet II

Jacques Fournet is our residential life coordinator, overseeing and working to improve the on-campus life and experience of our students. A lot of that responsibility includes supporting and working closely with our house parents and staying actively involved in all things impacting the residential life experience here at Eagle Rock.

Jacques-Fournet-eagle-rock

Jacques spent 13 years in college — six years studying petroleum engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer engineering and civil engineering at the University of Southwestern Louisiana. Then, after six years of coaching basketball and facilitating new student programs, Jacques discovered he wanted to teach, which led to seven years at Colorado State University (CSU) where he studied mathematics, education and counseling. Jacques finished a K-12 mathematics certification, and obtained a masters degree in education, and another masters degree in counseling in 1999.

Here’s the rest of his story:

Eagle Rock: What did you do prior to coming to work for Eagle Rock?

Jacques: I actually worked for Eagle Rock in the Wilderness Department for nine years as a wilderness instructor and student orientation coordinator. Then in June of 2009 my wife, Alana, and I got married and a year later we served in the United States Peace Corps in the Philippines for three years. When we returned to the states I was offered the opportunity to come back to Eagle Rock in the newly created position of Residential Life Coordinator.

Eagle Rock: What attracted you to Eagle Rock?

Jacques: My first step onto Eagle Rock property was on a tour in April of 1994. I was enrolled in a teacher education program at CSU and heard about this innovative school that had just opened in Estes Park.

I knew enough about myself to know I wouldn’t be happy or work well in a normal public school so I came up to visit. Eagle Rock had just 16 students at the time — one had a rainbow Mohawk — and the Lodge hearth was still covered in plastic because it wasn’t finished being built. If I remember correctly, the Human Performance Center was a mound of dirt.

Anyway, the philosophy, the way the school was set up, the students being served, and energy of the place all attracted me to ‘The Rock’.

Eagle Rock: What do you like to do in your spare time?

Jacques: At this point in my life, Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Staff and Instructors Share Their Vacation Plans

We checked in with a number of Eagle Rock staff members and faculty to find out what they are up to during the trimester break that started last week and ends in early-September — and some of their activities are more exciting than you might think.

These dedicated faculty and administrators are taking to the summer heat by attending bicycling competitions at altitudes of more than 10,000 feet; canoeing in the Yukon Territory; attending music festivals with an endless string of bands; and even spending time on a volcanic island.

"Concepcion from finca" by David Ansley - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Concepcion_from_finca.JPG#/media/File:Concepcion_from_finca.JPG

“Concepcion from finca” by David Ansley – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Commons.

Below, in no particular order, is an offering of “What I’m Doing on My Summer (Trimester) Break,” summed up by 10 Eagle Rock staff and faculty members:

Brighid Scanlon, our instructional specialist in world languages, is in Nicaragua to spend some time on Isla de Ometepe, a volcanic island (see image above). She plans to do lots of yoga and hiking while staying in an international community on the island.

Jesse Beightol, our instructional specialist in outdoor education is spending his break canoeing the Snake River in the Yukon Territory. He and Jack Hilbrich, a 2014-15 Public Allies Fellow in Outdoor Education who returns to us as a contract instructor this fall, are driving to Whitehorse and then flying to the river. They are spending about 18 days whitewater canoeing. This article from The New York Times (Far, Maybe Too Far, Into the Yukon) covers where they are and what they’re doing.

Dan Condon, associate director of professional development, is heading off to Aspen to watch Stage 3 of the USA Pro Challenge. He says it’s like a United States version of the Tour De France — only much steeper.

Meghan Tokunaga-Scanlon, our instructional specialist in music said her plans include Continue reading…

The Latest News From the Rock — December 2014

Having just wrapped up our 64th trimester, a blanket of quiet has settled over our campus. And looking back, it proved to be a busy and productive trimester for all of us here at Eagle Rock.

We kicked ER 64 off by welcoming eight new full-time Eagle Rock staff members, 10 new Eagle Rock Public Allies fellows, and one wilderness intern — Jack Bresnahan — to our mountainside community. Add it up and that’s just about 40 percent of our staff. Considering all the newness, we’ve done pretty well.

As expected, our students continued to deepen their understanding of our five expectations — making healthy life choices, communicating effectively, practicing leadership for justice, being an engaged global citizen and developing an expanding knowledge base. Much of this was absorbed through engaging classroom discussion.

And, of course we’re proud to have sent our three newest Eagle Rock School graduates — Gigi Hagopian, Isaac Holmes and Cat Leger — out into the world.

In addition to classroom activities, we’ve been working hard to improve the quality of student life elsewhere at Eagle Rock, and this trimester we had a lot going on, thanks to a large extent to The Magnificent 7 — an elite group of veteran students who help out with evening duty.

This trimester, the M7 put on an exciting house versus house Olympics, and when the dust settled, Aspen and Lodgepole were tied for first place. To break the tie, student Ziyad Johnstone, representing Aspen, and Isiah Gonzales, representing Lodgepole, played a nail-biting game of egg roulette for the tiebreaker.

If you’ve never seen it, egg roulette has each person work back and forth through a Continue reading…

New Faculty And Staff Members Join Our Ranks

We’re not exactly a revolving door here at Eagle Rock, but staff members do come and go on occasion, as was the case this summer when we said farewell to last year’s Public Allies Fellows and a handful of staff members.

And now we’re turning around and tossing down the welcome mat for eight new full-time staffers — some of whom we already know who have taken on new positions, and some who are brand new to our mountain side high school.

Without further ado, let’s introduce our new staff members, in no particular order:

Brighid_Scanlon_Eagle_RockBrighid Scanlon, World Languages Instructional Specialist, Ponderosa House Parent

Brighid has a Master of Arts degree in foreign language pedagogy (Spanish focus) from the University of Delaware Newark, Del., and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the same institution in Spanish studies and mass communication.

Recent Eagle Rockers will recall that Brighid was the World Languages Fellow two years ago, and this past year was the interim performance and music instructor after Ike Leslie moved on. She will be co-house parenting this year with second-year Public Allies Science Fellow, Sara Benge.

Dan-Hoffman-Eagle-RockDan Hoffman, Language Arts Instructional Specialist

Dan received his teaching certification in secondary education and social studies From Prescott College after earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban & Environmental Policy from Occidental College in Los Angeles.

Some of you will recognize Dan from his year as the Eagle Rock/Public Allies Societies and Cultures Fellow in 2009-10. Dan returns to Eagle Rock having worked at Voyager Academy High School in Durham N.C., as a curriculum specialist and social studies teacher.

Dan will join the Ponderosa House team.

Diego-Duran-Medina-Eagle-RockDiego Duran-Medina, Societies Cultures Instructional Specialist

Diego’s impressive creds include a Bachelor of Arts degree from Colgate University; a Masters of Arts degree from New York University; and, a Masters of Education degree from Teachers College, Columbia University. While at Columbia, he studied educational administration at The Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership.

Diego has extensive experience with independent schools, having worked at the Punahou School  (Honolulu, HI) and The Edmund Burke School (Washington, DC).

He will join the Juniper House Team.

Stephanie Dixon, Registrar and Life After Eagle Rock Counselor

Stephanie worked for five years as a career and post-secondary counselor and teacher in the high-need Denver Public Schools that featured a diverse population of young people between 14 and 24 years of age — most with multiple obstacles to educational success.

She was also a Continue reading…