Senior staff members include the School Director, Pedagogical Director, Business Director, Development Director, Admissions Director, Lower School Administrator, High School Administrator, Human Resources Director, and Athletics Director. Their role is to provide leadership and coordination in their respective areas. They also support and advance the work of the Board in their area of expertise. Our school leaders seek collaboration and input from faculty, parents, alumni and support staff, whenever appropriate and effective.
Additional staff positions include the Grounds Manager, Facilities Manager, Lower School and High School Receptionists, Communications and Database Coordinator, Event Coordinator, Alumni Relations Coordinator, Special Projects Coordinator and Bookkeeper.
Paul Boak, Facilities Manager Paul grew up in England, spending the first ten years of his working life in a Civil/Structural Engineering office. He moved to the United States in 1996 and spent ten years in California before moving to Boulder in 2007. He brings a skill set which lends itself well to the facilities department, being well-versed in all levels of building construction and maintenance. Paul has a young daughter, Annabelle. He plays soccer in the local Boulder league and enjoys running in our beautiful state.
Nita Davanzo, Alumni Relations Coordinator
Nita, an SMWS alum herself, joyfully returns to Shining Mountain as Alumni Relations Coordinator. After her thirteen years at SMWS, Nita spent her undergraduate years majoring in Theater at Barnard College in NYC, with her junior year spent at a dramatic academy in London. After graduating magna cum laude, Nita took to the west coast to pursue acting, music (violin and singing), and it was during this time that she fell into teaching – and fell in love with it. Prompted and inspired by this “teaching bug”, Nita returned to graduate school at Naropa University where she attained her MFA in Contemporary Performance, and has been teaching and directing ever since. After years spent teaching at Highland Hall Waldorf High School in Northridge, Nita and her husband moved just a bit north to sunny Santa Barbara where they now currently reside. Nita’s love for her “very own” Shining Mountain Waldorf School, her passion for bringing people together, and her desire to hear and share inspiring stories all come into practice as Alumni Relations Coordinator, a title which she feels proud and blessed to carry!
Johna Dickerson, Bookkeeper
Bio coming soon.
Ann Erwin, Special Projects Coordinator
Bio coming soon.
Mary Eaton Fairfield, Admissions and Marketing & Communications Director Currently Shining Mountain’s Admissions and Marketing & Communications Director, Mary first joined the Shining Mountain staff in the Development Office as the Fundraising and Outreach Coordinator in 2011, where she spent three years holding the school’s major fundraising and outreach events. Mary brings extensive business skills in marketing, public relations and account management to her role, having worked in the advertising industry for many years. She received a BA in Theater Arts (Performing Arts Emphasis) and Music Minor from San Francisco State University. Mary enjoys singing, acting, gardening, outdoor activities and living in this beautiful mountain region. She especially likes spending time with her daughter, Fiona, who is thriving at Shining Mountain.
Marilyn Fox, Pedagogical Director
Marilyn has been a Waldorf Teacher since 1980. She received her BA and Waldorf Training from the Waldorf Institute of Mercy College of Detroit in 1980. In her time as a Waldorf teacher, she was a class teacher, and a painting and handwork teacher. Marilyn has taken a 1-8 class rotation and three 1-5 rotations at Shining Mountain since 1992. During her time at Shining Mountain, Marilyn has always taken an active role in the administration of the school. Marilyn has also taken part in a variety of adult Waldorf teacher training and mentoring programs where she has taught a wide variety of curriculum and painting classes. Marilyn and her husband Stephen have raised 2 daughters who attended Shining Mountain from K-12 grades. In her free time, she enjoys painting, hiking, and spending time with her grandson. Marilyn is excited and honored to take on this new role of Pedagogical Director at Shining Mountain.
Bridget Gallagher, High School Receptionist and Administrative Assistant
Bridget Gallagher is our High School Receptionist/Administrative Assistant. She (wo) mans our front desk and constantly interfaces with students, parents and faculty striving daily to create joyful harmony and order in our high school’s daily rhythm. Born and raised in central New York State, Bridget earned a B.A. in English Writing Arts from SUNY Oswego. Her passions are art, literature, and theatre. She and her husband, Stephen Smith, have two Shining Mountain graduates, Rory (Class of 2004) and Patrick (Class of 2010). Rory graduated from Metro State University of Denver in May 2012 with a BFA in Printmaking and Patrick graduated from NYU in May 2014 with a BA in Music Business.
Jon Ray Gardner, Grounds Manager Jon Ray has been growing food, landscaping and working with Biodynamics full-time since 2003, when he started as an intern with Gunther Hauk at the Pfeiffer Center in New York. He then moved to Carbondale, CO, where he started and managed a small CSA farm on leased land for five years. He also started and managed a landscaping business providing design, installation, maintenance and irrigation services in the Roaring Fork Valley from 2008-2014. Jon Ray and his wife Meg, a class teacher at Shining Mountain, have two sons, Solomon and Oliver, who both attend Shining Mountain. Besides managing the grounds, Jon Ray is also leading gardening lessons and activities with 2nd and 3rd grade and teaching Middle School practical arts. He is working to create a healthy campus organism with the land that Shining Mountain calls home through good organic horticultural practices, Biodynamics and an uncommon level of care and attention. Originally from Indianapolis, he holds a BA in Religious Studies from Indiana University.
Mike Hawkes, Athletic Director, IT Director A true Colorado Native, Mike Hawkes was born in Denver and grew up in Arvada where he attended Pomona High School. A former and current student at the University of Northern Colorado, Mike is working on a Sociology degree. Sports have always been part of Mike’s life and coaching became a passion as his two sons moved up through the competitive soccer ranks. This passion grew as he began coaching his younger sister’s basketball team and ultimately took the position as the Varsity Head Coach for the SMWS Girls’ program. Two years later Mike has taken his dream job within our community as Athletic Director where he plans to continue the great work of those preceding him.
Leigh Ann Hill, High School Administrator
Bio coming soon.
Karen Kumar, Human Resources Director
Karen joined Shining Mountain Waldorf School in August 2013. Born in Michigan, she has enjoyed living in the Boulder area for over 30 years. Like so many, she came to visit and decided to stay. Her business career has been in the financial sector, which lead to an opportunity to be a founding member of a bankcard processing company where she designed and implemented operational and human resources systems. A wife and mother of two teenage boys, Karen loves to spend time with her family, traveling, reading, skiing and hiking. Karen is thrilled to bring her experiences to SMWS and embraces the caring culture and talented community of SMWS.
Anita Li, Community Notes Editor, Database Manager, Online Forms Manager Anita is a yooper, born and raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She worked at Shining Mountain in 2000-2001, left to study at Naropa University, and returned to SMWS in 2006. She comes to the office each day knowing that her work supports a school that nurtures children on many levels, showing them that community is possible and that their gifts are welcome. Anita has a BA in Writing & Poetics from Naropa University and a strong interest in history, particularly the history of democracy.
Kim Lytle, Lower School Receptionist
Bio coming soon.
Anne Nadelson, Lower School Administrator
Anne holds a BA in Anthropology from Rutgers University and pursued postgraduate studies in Psychology at New York University. She worked for many years in the psychology field with adolescents and adults as a counselor. After her children were born she was a Waldorf homeschooler, a childbirth educator, a La Leche League leader, and served on the Board of a Holistic parents group.
Anne grew up on the beaches and forests of the East coast, and came to Colorado in 2007 so her oldest child could join the second grade class at Shining Mountain. For many years she was very involved in the parent life of the school, and joined the administrative staff as the Lower School Coordinator in 2014. Back East she was always looking for her Waldorf community and has found it in Shining Mountain. In her free time she loves to hike, run, swim and knit.
Kim began her professional career in restaurant management and did consulting, event management and marketing for several corporate concepts. After 20 years in the restaurant industry and the birth of her first daughter, Kim became deeply passionate about Waldorf education and began working the aftercare program at the Austin Waldorf School.
Kim and Julian have two daughters at Shining Mountain, Sydney and Suri and welcomed their son, Julian Mathis in July of 2015. Kim loves travelling with her family and exploring Colorado. In her free time she likes to hike, camp and fly fish the beautiful Colorado rivers.
Robin Stephens, Event Coordinator
Robin’s love of Waldorf education began in the Sierra Nevada foothills when her two youngest children enrolled at the Sierra Waldorf School. She states that her love of all things beautiful, reverent, and good led her to Waldorf education; her love of the philosophies has made her a lifelong ambassador. Robin served as the Festival/Events Chair during her children’s years at the Sierra Waldorf School.
Robin has an extensive background in large-scale event planning spanning a wide spectrum of private, non-profit, and civic organizations. She has directed and been involved in successful fund-raising efforts for schools, the performing arts, and environmental and social justice organizations.
Robin holds a BS in Human Development and a minor in Psychology from Arizona State University. She is delighted for the opportunity to watch her granddaughters blossom on the beautiful SMWS campus.
Jane Zeender, School Director Jane came to Shining Mountain Waldorf School in 2008, and spent three years in the Development Office, two as the Development Director, and one year as the Admissions Director. She feels extremely blessed to be serving Shining Mountain Waldorf School in her third year as School Director. Jane grew up in Maryland and has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University and a MBA in Marketing from The George Washington University. She has spent her career in various sales, sales management and marketing positions in Fortune 100 companies (Johnson and Johnson, Warner-Lambert), as well as being a marketing consultant for high tech, medical device and environmental start up organizations. Prior to moving to Boulder, she was an early parent at Potomac Crescent Waldorf School in Arlington, Virginia, where she served on the Board of Trustees for 3 years and was instrumental in helping them achieve Developing School Status with AWSNA. Her two children are enrolled at Shining Mountain and are thriving. In her spare time, Jane loves to hike, mountain bike, read and cross country ski with her husband, Ryan, and children.