Meet the Team: Brett Youngerman, Literature and Literacy Instructional Specialist

Today, we’d like to introduce you to Brett Youngerman, our Literature and Literacy Instructional Specialist. Brett joined us for two terms (2015/16 & 2016/17) as our Literature and Literacy Fellow before becoming that area’s fulltime instructional specialist in the fall of 2017.

Eagle-Rock-School-Fellow-Brett-YoungermanFor the past three years, Brett has taught a variety of classes within the humanities, ranging from creative and academic writing to literary and historical analysis. We asked him to tell us a little about Brett — without referring to himself in the third person.

Here’s what he had to say:

Eagle Rock (ER): What did you do for work before arriving at Eagle Rock School?

Brett Youngerman: I worked at Genesee Valley Outdoor Learning Center in Parkton, Maryland. It was there that I discovered I wanted my career to focus on working with young people. I designed and facilitated daylong team-building experiences for both children and adults. This was also where I first heard about Eagle Rock. I have also worked a few retail jobs, selling shoes. One of my favorite parts of that job was educating people on how to choose running or hiking shoes that would best suit their needs. Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Residential Life Program Coordinator, Courthney Russell Jr.

Courthney Russell Jr. is the residential life program coordinator here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, tasked with the responsibility of fostering a safe and secure environment within our on-campus community.

Born in Fort Knox, Ky., Courthney lived in the U.S. Virgin Islands for a time, and eventually moved to East Atlanta, Ga., an underserved community devoid of many of the services found in more well-funded communities. He attended Oakwood University in Huntsville, Ala., and received his medical degree in 2011 from Windsor University School of Medicine on Saint Kitts Island in the Caribbean.

Courthney Russell Jr

It was while taking classes at medical school that Courthney made the decision to dedicate his life to humanity — to help neighborhoods like the one he grew up in. He says by leveraging his medical knowledge in a non-traditional way to become what he calls “an authentic, determined, humble leader by example,” he is doing his part (while helping others) to make the world, one neighborhood at a time, a better place to live.

Courthney joined the Eagle Rock community in 2014 as our community advocate and student support consultant and was promoted to his current role in Residential Life four years later. We recently sat down with him to learn more about his past, his thoughts on Eagle Rock and his interests.

Here’s what Courthney had to say: Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Student Services Program Manager, Nia Dawson

Nia-Dawson-Eagle-Rock-SchoolAs our Student Services Program Manager, Nia Dawson develops and supports non-academic activities within the Eagle Rock community. As a member of the student support team, she works closely with students and staff to develop sustainable opportunities for partnership.

Nia grew up in Los Angeles and began her career working in youth services with the YMCA. She received a bachelor’s degree in social work from Syracuse University in New York with a concentration on youth development.

And over the past two decades and prior to joining our team in January of this year, Nia developed and managed programs on both coasts for the Urban League, the Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) — New York chapter, and most recently the Harlem Children’s Zone — a pioneering nonprofit organization committed to ending generational poverty in Central Harlem, New York.

We posed a few professional and personal questions to Nia and here’s what she had to say: Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Eagle Rock Chef Instructor, Carlos Perez

After more than 15 years as a cook in several Miami Beach restaurants, Carlos Perez joined the Eagle Rock School family last fall, working in our kitchen as a chef instructor.

Carlos-Perez-Eagle-Rock-SchoolWhile professionally trained to prepare gourmet meals in a number of styles — including Latin, Italian and American — Carlos admits his favorite task at Eagle Rock is coming out from behind the stoves and ovens and supervising student kitchen patrol teams in meal preparation and cleanup, as well as instructing students in food preparation technique for a few hours each week.

We asked Carlos to let us in on a few details of his life for this blog post. Here’s what he had to reveal:

Eagle Rock: What exactly is it that you do at Eagle Rock?

Carlos Perez: As a cook instructor, I get to spend time each Wednesday and Saturday instructing Eagle Rock School students in a variety of cooking functions and techniques. And while I love to cook, what I really look forward to the most is instructing the students and being a part of their development.

Eagle Rock: What did you do for work before arriving at Eagle Rock?

Carlos: I was a cook in Miami at several restaurants, including a steakhouse, and restaurants serving Continue reading…

Meet The Team: Business Office Administrative Assistant, Elizabeth Rivera

Solving complex office issues and working with the public are two things with which Elizabeth Rivera, Eagle Rock’s new business administrative assistant excels. This Florida expat works side by side with our office staff, playing a crucial role in the areas of student insurance billing, student banking, data entry, and an endless amount of other paperwork that’s important to the administrative functioning of Eagle Rock.

As a way of further introducing Elizabeth to our campus community and other Eagle Rock stakeholders, we asked our new office staffer to answer a few questions about herself.

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Here’s what she had to say:

Eagle Rock: What did you do for work before arriving at Eagle Rock? Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Megan Rebeiro, Director of Students

Megan RebeiroMegan Rebeiro is the perfect example of a life coming around full circle. This Eagle Rock School graduate returned to Estes Park in 2016 as our director of students, succeeding Philbert Smith who retired after 23 years of Eagle Rocking.

Today, it is Megan who oversees a range of responsibilities related to student services conducted outside of the classroom, which places her exactly opposite of where she was in the scheme of things just 20 years ago as a fledgling high school student.

Prior to her return to Eagle Rock, this Massachusetts native was a program consultant working directly with our Head of School, Jeff Liddle, on special projects. And she prides herself with her work as sponsor to a number of students over the past five-plus years.

In her own words:

Eagle Rock: What exactly is it that you do at Eagle Rock?

Megan Rebeiro: As the director of students, I serve as a member of the leadership team overseeing the student services team, which includes Admissions, our wilderness programming, the kitchen, Wellness, Life After Eagle Rock, Residential Life including houseparents, evening programs, and service. This means that I make sure students have a fully integrated holistic experience and are prepared to make a difference in the world. My No. 1 priority is to love the students and partner with them to ensure their Eagle Rock School experience is as transformational as possible.

Eagle Rock: What is your favorite Eagle Rock School success story?

Megan: Some of my favorite memories include Continue reading…

Meet The Team: Jack Hilbrich, Adjunct Outdoor Education Instructional Specialist

Jack Hilbrich is a huge part of our outdoor education department, responsible for stewarding our wilderness curriculum, as well as instructing and supervising on our new student wilderness course each trimester. A semester with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) launched his career as a course director, taking Jack to the deserts of the American Southwest, the Northwoods of Canada and other wildernesses areas. We caught up with Jack — who previously served as our 2014-15 Public Allies Fellow in Outdoor Education — in between paddling, biking and ice hockey to ask him about another favorite interest: Eagle Rock School.

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

Jack Hilbrich: Prior to coming to Eagle Rock I worked as a Continue reading…

Meet The Team: Interim Science Instructional Specialist — Sara Benge

Many staff and students around our campus call her Science Sara. She is the science instructional specialist and a house parent for Aspen House. Sara Benge has invested years in teaching and working with youth, including a stint in the Peace Corps in rural Morocco, teaching ESL at Horizon Science Academy in Columbus, Ohio.

She then taught science at a nature center in New Hampshire. In addition, Sara has led international service and adventure trips for high school students with The Road Less Traveled.

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Below, we quiz this science wiz on her life before Eagle Rock, her objectives here and some other fun trivial factoids: Continue reading…

Meet The Team: Josán Perales, Eagle Rock’s World Languages Instructional Specialist

It’s true that Josán Perales — our team member in the spotlight this month — was born in Zaragosa, Spain, the child of parents of Spanish and Puerto Rican descent. However, Josan spent most of his formative years in New Mexico.

So when asked about his heritage, he quips that he’s probably New Mexican. Or New Mexirican to encompass his American heritage. Or New Mexiricanol to also incorporate his Spanish birth.

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Whatever his nationality, at points in his life, Josan has hung his hat in Spain, Britain, California, and, of course, New Mexico. Now he’s our world languages instructional specialist and a Colorado resident. We asked this world citizen to tell us a little about his life and his thoughts about Eagle Rock School:

Eagle Rock: Where did you go to college and what was your major?

Josan Perales: I graduated from Willamette University in Salem, Ore., in 2002, earning my Bachelor of Arts and majoring in Continue reading…

Meet The Team: Eagle Rock’s 2016/2017 Public Allies Fellows

Fresh off two full weeks of on-campus training, our 2016/2017 cohort of Eagle Rock Public Allies Fellows now officially begin — or in some cases continue — their year-long service and leadership development as part of the national Public Allies Fellowship.

During their time here, these new and returning fellows will take an active part in Eagle Rock’s residential and community-based school, as well as support our Professional Development Center’s national work. Each fellow has shown a passion for alternative teaching and progressive approaches to learning, youth development and empowerment. And each is expected to support our objective of re-engaging high-school students in their education.

All fellows participate in on-going professional development on a weekly basis, and are a part of regular full-staff meetings. Professional development topics include teaching approaches and pedagogy, leadership development, capacity building, equity, cross-cultural understanding and social justice, among others (including self care).

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Here is a short biography and educational history of each fellow in the cohort:

Aaron Segura, 2016/2017 Public Allies Teaching Fellow in Curriculum

Aaron was brought up in Ohio and graduated from Clark University where he studied political science and environmental studies, and played for the men’s soccer team. Aaron most recently resided in upstate New Hampshire where he worked at an alternative boarding school. A few of Aaron’s interests include watching and playing soccer, rock climbing, ultra-running, and learning about human anatomy and physiology.

Alexus Bell, 2016/2017 Public Allies Teaching Fellow in Science

Alexus is originally from San Diego, Calif., but found her career passion while majoring in educational science at the Continue reading…