Our amazing instructors are called Learning Partners. Many of them are members of our Durango community who have taught for years. Our Learning Partners have a lot of education and/or experience in their topics and they have passion and heart for what they teach. Read their bios, share in their stories, and sign up for their courses. Spread the word and let people know education and learning are alive and well in Durango!
Dr. Barb has been involved in education and learning for over 17 years. She has been an entrepreneur offering courses in parenting, a mediator for families, and a therapist for children and adolescents. Her growing love for education guided her into work as a Faculty Development Director offering faculty training and support. Enhancing the classroom experience for students is her passion. Dr. Barb continues working with companies
Suzanne has over 15 years experience in executive coaching and human resource management, most recently leading Human Resources for a regional craft brewery in Southwestern Colorado. Prior to relocating to Durango six years ago, she directed Human Resources and served on the executive leadership team for an Emerson manufacturing facility in Boulder, CO. Suzanne grew up in Seattle and studied at the University of Washington
Jasper Welch is married (to Susie Louis, m.1975) and he has been a resident of Durango, CO since 1976. Educated at the University of Colorado [B.S, 1975], Jasper completed training and earned certifications in business planning, personnel assessments, quality management and local governance. As a small business owner and business development expert, Mr. Welch has worked in the printing, office supply, marketing, business incubation, coworking
Paul Boyer left the academic world in the middle of a Ph.D. program in Italian and Renaissance Literature, in 1974, because he wanted to pursue an interest in photography. That decision carried him and his photography into varied and interesting corners of the world.
He worked as a photographer in Port Townsend, Washington, from 1980, to 1999, when he relocated to Durango, Colorado. His career has
Lindsay Nyquist has lived in the Durango area for over 15 years and initially moved to the region to work at Colvig Silver Camps during her college years. After completing a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration, she started working in social media strategy and education. Now she serves as Fort Lewis College’s Director of Digital Communication, as well as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Business
Jenny Mason is an award-winning writer versed in fiction, non-fiction, screenplays, and graphic novels. She has worked with publishers big and small, from Scholastic Inc. to Gareth Stevens Publishing. Her diverse work has appeared in literary journals, online newspapers, Cobblestone, Muse, and Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Jenny received an M.Phil in Popular Literature from Trinity College Dublin. She also earned an M.F.A. in Writing for
Laura Pritchett is an American author whose work is rooted in the natural world. Her four novels have garnered numerous national literary awards, including PEN USA Award for Fiction, the High Plains Book Award, the Milkweed National Fiction Prize, and the WILLA Award. She’s published over 200 essays and short stories in magazines (including The New York Times, The Sun, O Magazine, Salon, High Country
Vincent Capaccio specializes in beginning computer programming (algorithm development) as if a student has never touched a computer. If you have a will, he can teach anybody to program! He has taught many languages and Computer Science concepts including data structures, computer math, advanced programming, database, and computer information systems to name a few.
Currently he is employed as a Senior Automation Engineer at a prestigious
Fred is a passionate, creative teacher with over 15 years’ experience in the world of education. Born in France, he has been a devoted linguist and world traveler since childhood, mastering French at an early age and taking on Mandarin as part of McGill University’s East Asian Studies program. Prior to relocating to Durango, he built Chinese language programs at independent schools in Pennsylvania and
Julia Hastings-Black has been working in the food world for more than a decade. She has taught cooking to learners of all ages and skills, developed recipes for cookbooks and curricula, and researched food psychology for Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab.
Julia completed an apprenticeship in organic gardening at Shelburne Farms in Vermont and a BA in French literature at Cornell. She is currently sous-chef in the deli at Nature’s
Khara Wolf is a passionate professional of the arts in both music and graphic design. Focusing on small business and brand identity, Khara has been working as freelance graphic artist through her business Khara Wolf Design since 2014. As an avid performer and music educator, Khara plays the oboe and English horn with the San Juan Symphony and is a co-founded her Neo-Celtic ensemble Better
JoAnne has just born to be a teacher. She taught at Riverview Elementary in Durango 9-R back in the 80’s and 90’s for 20 years then became a teacher-trainer and curriculum developer at the District office for 11 more. After retiring in 2010, she became an educational consultant and in 2012, a mindfulness instructor with her own mindfulness business, On-Point Mindfulness. She introduced mindfulness instruction
Fran Sutherlin, MS, RD
Fran helps people to feel better, lose weight, and gain more energy to survive today’s busy life through her step-by-step Optimal Health Blueprint. She has coached thousands of clients over the last 10 years, across the U.S., in both group and one-on-one settings. Fran is a Registered Dietitian and Wellness Coach with a master’s degree in Nutrition and extensive training in Functional Nutrition.
Cindy Arnold Humiston
Cindy is a nationally-known fundraiser and nonprofit developer who made the Durango area her permanent home six years ago. Cindy has received a number of awards for her work, including a “Gloria Award” by the Ms. Foundation for Women. Her enthusiasm, vision and “can do” approach have been the hallmarks of her 30 years’ service with non-profit organizations and social enterprises in North Carolina and Texas.
Robert has lived and studied in both Avignon, France (Collège Littéraire Universitaire) and Québec, Canada (Université Laval). He worked for Air France passenger services at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. Robert’s career was divided between teaching French for 20 years in the suburban Chicago area as well as being a tour guide for 18 years throughout Europe and the world.
Annie Phenix, CPDT-KA
Annie Phenix, CPDT-KA, author of:
The Midnight Dog Walkers: Positive Training and Practical Advice for Living with a Reactive or Aggressive Dog
Certified Dog Trainer Annie Phenix, CPDT-KA®, helps your dog to learn how to behave and enjoy life with its human companions. After being heavily involved for more than 15 years in rescuing and retraining hundreds of dogs from every Central Texas animal shelter, Annie has
Kimberly McKnight is a native of Durango and has been a Classical Pilates Practitioner for over 15 years. She has owned and operated Mind’s Eye Movement Pilates Studio since 2003 and received her certification from the world-renowned Pilates training institute, The Pilates Center, in Boulder, Colorado. Throughout her client-focused career, she’s remained committed to maintaining the integrity of the authentic Classical Pilates Method.
Developed by German-born Joseph
Donna Arment has lived in Durango, CO., for over 25 years and feels there is no better place to work or play. She holds a Masters in Library and Information Science from Drexel University and is a graduate of Fort Lewis College. As a previous faculty member at Fort Lewis College, Donna has over 15 years’ experience in education and learning. Over the past 5
Amber Davis – Owner of New Hat Baking and To the Penny. New Hat Baking is a graduate of the SCAPE program and creates gluten free baking mixes with unmatched taste and texture by utilizing a unique flour blend & classic baking techniques. This provides a win-win solution for families who want healthy, nutritious, gluten free products everyone enjoys eating! Amber also has a very
Patty is a retired Investment Advisor. She owned an investment firm in NH, where she grew up, and sold the investment firm to a business partner in 2005. While working in NH, most of the business was retirement planning, managing over $200 million in assets for clients. She often had opportunities to teach investment principles to groups and quickly learned that she was most excited
Robert has been practicing close up and macro photography focusing on flower imagery and gardens for 40 years. He was educated in the backyard school of photography and is largely self-taught. Robert has taught his unusual approach to photography at various community colleges in Colorado and New Mexico, and his work has been published most recently in Spirituality and Health. For the past several years he has taught Photoshop, creative photography,
Erin Easton is a language teacher and mindfulness coach. She has trained mostly in the Plum Village tradition established by Tich Nhat Hanh, and has experience with Vipassana meditation, Shambhala and Tibetan Buddhism, yoga, sound healing, and many other mindfulness practices. She recently moved back from Geneva Switzerland where she was doing her masters research on the effects of mindfulness and meditation
Chef Safari was born in Kenya (east Africa). He lives in Durango with his family of five, including his wife Lucy and children Jacklyn, Victor, Grace, Angel and Sasha. He is a member of the Kenya culinary team and he took part in the chef’s Olympics in Erfurt Germany in 2004. Chef Safari earned a culinary degree from Umea University
Nancy Ann Hibbs
Nancy Ann Hibbs, ASID is a professional member of the American Society of Interior Design. She earned a Master’s Degree in Interior Design from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York, and a B.A. in Art with a teaching Certificate from the University of Montana. Nancy has worked in the design field for over 20 years.
She has taught at University of Alaska and University of New Mexico and
Yvonna Graham, M.Ed.
Yvonna Graham, M.Ed., has over 35 years of experience in education; tutoring, home-based, public, charter, co-op, & private. She offers classes and workshops for parents, teachers, and tutors on how to use recent research to inform best practice, making learning to read fun and successful for students with dyslexia. She is the co-author, with her daughter, Dr. Alta E. Graham, of Dyslexia Tool Kit for
Allison Aichele is currently employed as the La Plata County Treasurer. In this role she uses her accounting and finance knowledge and experience, as well as her management, leadership, and process improvement skills.
She has two undergraduate degrees (German and Accounting), and two graduate degrees (MBA/MA-Human Resources and Organizational Psychology.
Prior to relocating to Durango, Allison lived in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Connecticut, California, Oregon, Washington and Texas. The
Frank Fristensky, M.S.
Frank was born and raised in the former Czechoslovakia and personally experienced the Soviet led invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968. Following the invasion, he defected to Switzerland and later to the United States.
He has traveled extensively throughout Eastern and Western Europe and has lived in Durango, Colorado for the past 20 years and has led small group tours in Central Europe (Czech Republic, Poland,
Lakshmi Van Atta
Nerve Therapist, Dancer/Choreographer, Yoga teacher and Pilates instructor.
She is a fabulous teacher, gifted with patience and humor so her students will understand the concept/s according to their own body. She created the Joyful Arts dance School and out of that formed the Joyful Arts Dance Ensemble, a California touring dance company in the 90’s comprised of 12 students, 9 to 18 yrs. of age.
Marcy Mitchell – Your Digital Shepherd
As owner of MTECH Internet Marketing, Marcy Mitchell has served as a digital shepherd for small business owners since 1995. She has worked with hundreds of owners to develop websites, marketing strategies and Internet presence for the past 20+ years. Her extensive experience in web design, copy writing, search engine optimization, PPC management, and Internet marketing has assisted many small
Doc Roberts has been operating his own websites since 1997. Skiboards.com has been # 1 on Google for over 10 years. He currently operates 8 niche internet businesses that generate automatic income. He will focus on cutting through the hype to help you create your own automatic cash money machine. BS in Behavioral Psychology, MS in Vocational Counseling and PhD. in Human Potential
Heather Robertson is a mentor of self-discovery and is dedicated to changing the lives of motivated women seeking to enhance their personal and professional leadership skills. These women recognize, in fact prefer, a holistic, authentic, solutions-based approach to self-discovery.
She attended Syracuse University and Prescott College receiving a degree in Global Agriculture and Politics. The fifteen years following, Heather pursued training in economics, leadership, coaching, yoga, conflict
Amy Schweim has been in the teaching profession for 10+ years with an interesting background and variety of experiences. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, she has touched and influenced the lives of 100’s of children. She has taught in Colorado’s public and private elementary schools in Gunnison, Crested Butte, Salida, Carbondale and Durango 9R. In addition, she taught at an International School in
Anna Hopkins-Arnold, PhD
Anna Hopkins-Arnold, PhD a Professional Genealogist with Rootfinders Genealogy Research teaches classes on genealogy research topics from Beginning Genealogy to Civil War Ancestors, British and Irish Research, and DNA Testing for Genealogy. Anna has twenty-one years of genealogical research experience, twelve years experience researching for others, and five years doing professional genealogy research and teaching.
She has experience researching veterans of every American War from 1608-1945. She
Peg McMahan, HHP, CHt, LMT
Peg McMahan, HHP, CHt, LMT who has “learned from” several chronic and painful conditions, both physical and emotional. Peg is a certified holistic health practitioner, clinical hypnotherapist, wellness ’n life coach, and massage therapist with 20 years of experience in helping you heal and cope with life as an Earthling.
Eric Sirois moved to Durango from Vermont in 2001 to attend Fort Lewis College where he studied engineering and business. By the age of 23, Eric was a foreman for Elk Run Builders Inc. and at the age of 24 started his first business Beautiful Homes, LLC. In 2011, Eric co-founded Rent A Man, LLC. Rent A Man is a well-known and well-liked home repair
Wendy Campbell is a small-town girl who lived her dream of becoming a wife, mother, and entrepreneur. Raised in a Colorado ranching community, she overcame many challenges and fulfilled her dreams with the support of excellent role models, her faith in God, and the love of a good man, and two amazing children. Today, as a successful financial planner, she helps her clients build their