Former Teaching Fellow Uses Tools He Learned About at Eagle Rock

Tyler Holmberg has been away from the Eagle Rock campus for more than a decade now, but this former Public Allies teaching fellow still retains Eagle Rock’s philosophy that the student comes first in the education equation.

Tyler HolmbergTy was our 2004/2005 Public Allies Teaching Fellow In Human Performance. His passions ranged from teaching and working with young people to agriculture and carpentry. While he was with us, Ty focused this combined energies on a class called Green Thumb Bums.

In the late summer of 2005, when his fellowship came to an end, Ty packed up his year’s worth of belonging and — armed with Eagle Rock’s educational values that include learner-centered classrooms conducted in small democratic spaces where student voices are honored and respected — headed to Philadelphia. There he reconnected with his passion for carpentry, using that craft to build houses as a part of his service with AmeriCorps. Following that two-year stint, Ty rejoined the education community, enrolling in one of the first cohorts of the Philadelphia Teaching Fellowship, which is now part of The New Teacher Project (TNTP). (For anyone who may be interested, TNTP currently offers teaching fellowships in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Indianapolis, Nashville, New York City, New Orleans, Nevada and Michigan).

After becoming certified as a science teacher in Pennsylvania, Ty taught 7th grade science at a public school in south Philadelphia. Public school, you say? Yes, Ty said he found it necessary to become a part of the public school system in order to fully understand what was broken so he could Continue reading…

We’re Hiring: Eagle Rock Director of Students

Eagle Rock School Community

As most of our readers know, Philbert Smith, our beloved and longtime director of students, is retiring at the end of this summer after serving our student population deeply — and with great commitment — these past 22 years.

Words cannot do justice to the gratitude Eagle Rock owes Philbert for his service. And while no one will ever replace him, we do need to move ahead and start the process of finding a new director of students.

We understand that the best candidates often come from the personal relationships we have with professionals around the country, which should help us generate a great pool of applicants. So it’s critically important that the Eagle Rock community kick into high gear and help us get the word out.

If you know someone who might be a good fit, please direct them to the Eagle Rock Employment page for more information on the position and the application process. In the meantime, here are some of the highlights associated with the job: Continue reading…

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 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…