Faculty & Staff

Steamboat Mountain School employs dynamic, highly competent teachers and staff who push students to strive for their best in the classroom, in the mountains, and around the globe.

Faculty & Staff

Adam Hirt
Maintenance Manager
more Adam has lived and worked at Steamboat Mountain School for six years and is excited as ever to be a...

Adam has lived and worked at Steamboat Mountain School for six years and is excited as ever to be a part of the school community. Born and raised in Colorado, he truly enjoys everything the state has to offer including camping, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, backpacking, kayaking, and rock climbing. During winter months, Adam loves to go skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, snow cave camping, ice climbing, and snowmobiling. His diverse life experiences include employment ranging from Security Officer for high tech industrial buildings, Park Ranger at Eldorado Canyon State Park, Insurance Adjuster in Nashville, TN, to a residential/commercial Electrician. In his spare time Adam likes to work with wood. He has built several kayaks, an arbor for his sister's wedding, and escapes to Taos, NM to continue building his cabin. He occasionally strums the guitar and is attempting to learn the banjo. Adam loves to learn new things and strives to keep a positive outlook on life.
hirta@steamboatmountainschool.org

Andy Barnes
Chef
California School of Culinary Arts
more Andy Barnes was born and raised in La Crosse, Wisconsin on the Mississippi River. He began pursuing...

Andy Barnes was born and raised in La Crosse, Wisconsin on the Mississippi River. He began pursuing his culinary passion in Madison, where he worked in several different farm-to-table restaurants and he graduated from the California School of Culinary Arts. Since moving to Steamboat Springs, Andy has been exploring outdoor activities including: hiking; biking; fishing; hockey; and snowboarding. Andy's excitement and commitment for food shows in every bite we take.
barnesa@steamboatmountainschool.org

Kaiti Kinshella
Spanish I, II, III
B.A., Gonzaga University, M.A. Colorado College
more Kaiti Kinshella was born and raised in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. After spending her childhood...

Kaiti Kinshella was born and raised in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. After spending her childhood years exploring the wonderful Rocky Mountains, she decided to try another state on for size. She packed up and moved to Spokane, Washington to attend Gonzaga University. While at Gonzaga, she enjoyed a plethora of classes that landed her with an English Literature major and a double minor in Spanish and Religious Studies. During her college years, she adventured around the vast natural world that the North West has to offer, leading climbing, rafting and backpacking trips for the outdoors program at Gonzaga. In her third year, she spent five months studying at Centro de Lenguas Modernas in Granada, Spain. In Granada, she fell in love with the Spanish language (and churros con chocolate). After graduating, Kaiti moved back to Colorado (where she belongs) to pursue a Master’s in Teaching at Colorado College. During the first half of her Master’s program, she took classes at CC while teaching high school students both English literature and the Spanish language at a local public high school. During the second half of the program, she was the Spanish apprentice at High Mountain Institute in Leadville, Colorado. As an apprentice, she wore many hats: teaching Spanish, acting as the head of a cabin of students, and leading multi-week ski and backpack trips in the Rocky Mountains and the Canyons of Utah. Kaiti is thrilled to now be working at Steamboat Mountain School as a Spanish teacher. This position molds together two areas of her life that are not easily combined in other educational settings: exploration within the classroom and exploration outside of the classroom. When she is not adventuring or teaching, Kaiti adores a good yoga session, intense Harry Potter discussions, and dabbling in ceramics.

Brian Smith
Dean of Students, Calculus I, II
B.S. Illinois Wesleyan University, M.A. University of Northern Colorado
more As the Dean of Students, Brian Smith strongly believes in a community's ability to teach character...

As the Dean of Students, Brian Smith strongly believes in a community's ability to teach character development to the students at Steamboat Mountain School. In addition to his Dean of Students responsibilities, Brian is a Calculus I and II teacher, and is committed to exercising in the Steamboat Mountain School classroom the topic of his Masters of Mathematics research project: How to help students more efficiently and effectively communicate in mathematics. The graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University joined Steamboat Mountain School in 2000 as a teaching/dorm fellow. He spent five years as a dorm parent in addition to his teaching duties. Mr. Smith has led Steamboat Mountain School GIS trips to Costa Rica, Mongolia, China, and South Africa. He has also led many outdoor experiential trips for canoeing, mountain biking, whitewater rafting and horseback riding. A member of the Steamboat Rugby Club, Mr. Smith played Division III football in college and coached middle and high school wrestling for five years.
smithb@steamboatmountainschool.org

Brick Root
Chemistry, Physics, Algebra II, Precalculus
Dartmouth College
more Having grown up in Colorado, Brick is at home in the Rockies. Hiking, biking, and backcountry...

Having grown up in Colorado, Brick is at home in the Rockies. Hiking, biking, and backcountry skiing fill his seasons. Brick taught math and science here at the school for 20 years before taking a seven year "sabbatical" during which he pursued several dreams. Included were a season at a field camp in central Antarctica, a summer on the fjords in Alaska and most recently a year of teaching math and science in the country of Bhutan.  After earning a degree from Dartmouth College he worked for several years in outdoor recreation leading trips, running a cross country ski center, and exploring opportunities in the natural world. Brick has spent significant time on all seven continents, led seven GIS trips abroad along with countless other outdoor trips. He consistently participated in professional development opportunities during his two decades of teaching. This lifetime of experience has well prepared Brick to help Steamboat Mountain School students develop the intellectual and global perspectives, which are the school's mission.

rootb@steamboatmountainschool.org

Charlie Smith
Tech Director- Film & Graphics Teacher
B.S. Metropolitan State, University of Denver
more Charlie Smith is an innovative film director/producer and educator who lives to bridge...

Charlie Smith is an innovative film director/producer and educator who lives to bridge the world audience with stories of the human experience in the quest for meaning, inspiration, and creativity.  He has trained film makers both nationally and internationally in numerous educational settings. He is a professional photographer who has worked closely with various youth organizations and individuals in creating powerful works of visual art that intimately portray their lives, passion, and work.  Charlie recently returned from a trip around the world where he spent extensive time in Tanzania and South Africa training youth to deliver leadership workshops with their peers using his most recent documentary One Step Beyond as a platform for discussion.  He is excited to join the community and build a robust media program at Steamboat Mountain School.  When not teaching or making films, you can find Charlie flyfishing, playing guitar, learning about new cultures, and immersing himself in all life has to offer.
smithc@steamboatmountainschool.org

David Lea '11
Director of SAP, Maintenance and Outdoor Pursuits Assistant
B.S. University of Montana
more David grew up in beautiful Steamboat Springs and attended Steamboat Mountain School for all four...

David grew up in beautiful Steamboat Springs and attended Steamboat Mountain School for all four years. After graduation, David spent two years at Montana State University and then transferred to the University of Montana to finish his schooling. David enjoyed working on the University/city Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm for two years which taught him how to grow sustainably on ten acres in downtown Missoula. It provided thousands of pounds of all natural produce for the local food banks, farmers markets, and low income families, as well as the 100 CSA families  During college, he obtained many certifications such as Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician, Emergency Medical Technician, Swiftwater Rescue Technician, and obtained a Level 1 Avalanche certificate. David graduated from the University of Montana with a Bachelor of  Science in Physical Geography and minors in Mountain and Environmental Studies. He was on the ski patrol at Big Sky Resort in Montana for two years during college and was a raft guide on the Colorado River in Moab, Utah. When not working, David can be found on the ski mountain, rock climbing, rafting, or enjoying the outdoors in any other way.
Sustainable Agriculture Program (SAP)
lead@steamboatmountainschool.org

Emily Colin '03
Residential Head of Girls Dorm; Geometry, Chemistry
B.S. Colby College
more Emily Colin first came to Steamboat Mountain School community in the fall of 1999 as a Lowell...

Emily Colin first came to Steamboat Mountain School community in the fall of 1999 as a Lowell Whiteman School student. She was pursuing her goal of becoming an Olympic alpine ski racer. Inspired by her teachers and the experiential education at Steamboat Mountain School, Emily dreamed of someday returning as a faculty member. After high school, Emily spent three years ski racing with the US Ski Team until a series of major injuries halted her career. At that point, Emily enrolled at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, and graduated with dual degrees in geology and chemistry, and a minor in studio art.
After college, Emily and a fellow LWS graduate founded a not-for-profit organization, PEDAL for Change, which was inspired by their high school education and experiences. PEDAL's mission is to empower youth through cycling to live simply, consume locally, work together and strengthen community. PEDAL runs cycling/volunteer trips throughout Ecuador. Upon returning from PEDAL's first project, Emily taught Art and Science at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center in Estes Park, Colorado. The school works with high risk students and focuses on hands-on learning through experiential education.
Emily returned to Steamboat Springs in 2012, and coached at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, taught pilates at Steamboat Pilates and Fitness, and took a few classes at Colorado Mountain College. As she watches her hard work pay off and her dreams fall into place, Emily is extremely grateful to be entering another year as teacher and community member of Steamboat Mountain School.
coline@steamboatmountainschool.org

Eric Pombier
Assistant Chef
California Culinary Academy- Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco
more Eric comes to Steamboat Mountain School from Wisconsin, where he most recently was one of three...

Eric comes to Steamboat Mountain School from Wisconsin, where he most recently was one of three chefs at A Pig in a Fur Coat, a fine dining restaurant in Madison. He also was a partner at a catering company, and cooked and traveled with many well-known musicians while on tour and as part of SummerFest. Eric started his cooking career at age 5 along side his grandmother, who was the chef at the summer camp he attended as a child. Eric likes to lake fish and looks forward to trying fly fishing in the waters around Steamboat. He plays Frisbee golf, hikes and rock climbs. He plans to go on some rock climbing adventures with Steamboat Mountain School's David Lea '11.
He also enjoys exploring new places and all that Steamboat has to offer.

pombiere@steamboatmountainschool.org

Erin Gilbertson Davis
College Counseling, Front Office Manager, English
B.A. Whitman College
more Having grown up in Steamboat and graduated from Steamboat Springs High School, Erin “Gilbo” Davis...

Having grown up in Steamboat and graduated from Steamboat Springs High School, Erin “Gilbo” Davis has long been fascinated by Steamboat Mountain School and was thrilled to be hired in 2004 to teach French. Since then, she has held many various positions at our school. She has her degree in French Language and Literature and has spent much time abroad living, guiding bicycle tours, and admiring art. Mrs. Davis has traveled the globe extensively in Europe, the Americas and Asia, Africa, and Central America, many times chaperoning Steamboat Mountain School Global Immersion Studies trips. The former collegiate alpine ski racer has coached local SSWSC youth for 10 years, and is an avid mountain bike rider. She also loves playing her cello, good design, practicing yoga, skiing, and fresh air. Currently, alongside her husband Tom, she is working on her life’s work and biggest adventure yet,  raising two adorable children: Henry (4), and Felicity (1).
davise@steamboatmountainschool.org

Gina Wither
Life Sciences, Biology, Competitive Ski & Snowboard Program Coordinator, Director of Alumni Relations
B.S. Illinois Wesleyan University
more Gina Wither plays multiple roles at Steamboat Mountain School. After graduating from Illinois...

Gina Wither plays multiple roles at Steamboat Mountain School. After graduating from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1999, Gina joined our staff and has been here ever since.  She teaches Anatomy and Physiology, works as liaison for the school’s Competitive Ski & Ride Program with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (SSWSC), and has recently started as the Director of Alumni Relations. Mrs. Wither is active in local theater and a member of the professional juggling troupe "We're Not Clowns." She lives on campus with her husband Scott, and their young son Owen. On many mornings, she loves to sled down a rather steep hill to school from the Lockwood Faculty House. She loves skiing, riding bikes, playing cribbage, reading, baking bread, and playing guitar.
witherg@steamboatmountainschool.org

Jaudz Liu
Mandarin Chinese Teacher
B.A. Soochow University, Taipei Taiwan, Taipei Language Institute certified Mandarin Chinese teacher
more Jaudz loves traveling and learning different languages.  She grew up in Taipei Taiwan, and she...

Jaudz loves traveling and learning different languages.  She grew up in Taipei Taiwan, and she put her passion for philosophy, art, and dance into teaching and designing marching band shows and traditional Asian drumming performances.  The groups she taught have attended multiple international events around the world and won many awards.  In 2012 Jaudz moved to Steamboat Springs, where she has continued her passion for working with high school students.  In her spare time, Jaudz enjoys hiking with her husband, doing yoga, participating in the Steamboat Dance Theater, and pursuing knowledge of the mind-body connection. Jaudz teaches Chinese both at Steamboat Mountain School and in the larger Steamboat community.
liuj@steamboatmountainschool.org

Joanne "Doc" Lasko
Academic Dean
B.A. Pomona College, Ph.D. American University
more Joanne (Doc) Lasko spent her childhood in California, Germany, Lebanon, and Virginia. She attended...

Joanne (Doc) Lasko spent her childhood in California, Germany, Lebanon, and Virginia. She attended Duke University and earned her undergraduate degree in English from Pomona College and ultimately her Ph.D. in Literary Studies, with an interdisciplinary field of Music, from the American University in Washington, D.C. Prior to coming to what was then Whiteman School, she taught for five years at American University and for four at The Madeira School (for girls) in Greenway, Virginia. Her AP English students attest to her being a Shakespeare fanatic. (She has read Hamlet more times than any other sane human – and she still relishes each new romp through the play.) Passionate about the English language and the world of math, she encourages hard work and humor in her classes.  Doc is also an experienced GIS leader, camper, skier, and horseback rider. When not teaching, she is probably playing the piano, tending her organic garden, taking her cat Homer for a walk, or (lately) pushing the limits of her newly-replaced knee and hip. Dedicated to education, “Doc” is in her thirty-first year with Steamboat Mountain School, in her mind the best little high school in the world.
laskoj@steamboatmountainschool.org

John Morse
English Teacher
B.A. Oberlin College, M.A. Middlebury College (Bread Loaf School of English)
more English teacher John Morse likes to combine his joy for learning in the classroom with an...

English teacher John Morse likes to combine his joy for learning in the classroom with an appreciation for the mountains and deserts of the West. As an avid mountain biker and former ski instructor, he is part of the reason his students learn to enjoy the combination as well. After graduating from Oberlin, Mr. Morse received a DeWitt-Wallace scholarship to attend Middlebury’s Bread Loaf School of English for his Master’s degree, which included the opportunity to study Shakespeare at Oxford. Prior to joining the faculty at Steamboat Mountain School, Mr. Morse attended NOLS (the National Outdoor Leadership School) in Patagonia, taught high school in rural Alaska, and managed a ski and bike shop. He enjoys spending time with his family, immersing himself in books, learning about neuroscience and its connections to education, and (when time permits) trying his hand at freelance writing and copy-editing.
morsej@steamboatmountainschool.org

Marta M. Miskolczy
Director of Marketing and Advancement
B.S. University of Vermont, M.A. Columbia University
more After directing admissions and enrollment at Santa Fe Prep for 14 years, Marta and her family...

After directing admissions and enrollment at Santa Fe Prep for 14 years, Marta and her family relocated to Steamboat Springs for their next school/life adventure. Marta has embraced the challenge of marketing, fundraising and recruiting for Steamboat Mountain School. As a fourth generation graduate of independent schools, she likes the combination of academics and adventure that the school provides. She has been working hard to tie the school to the greater resource of Steamboat Springs by starting and hosting Artwalk, helping foster the new Sustainable Agriculture Program (SAP), and strengthening ties to the greater community. When she is not at work, she can be found supporting her high school aged son in his varied pursuits: Mandarin lessons, soccer, lacrosse, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, and work as a junior ski patroller at Ski Santa Fe during school breaks.
marta@steamboatmountainschool.org

Margi Missling-Root
Director of Experiential Education
B.S. Montana State University
more We call her “Margi,” as she considers “Mrs. Missling-Root” too formal. Margi has 35 years of...

We call her “Margi,” as she considers “Mrs. Missling-Root” too formal. Margi has 35 years of experience in outdoor education, and her specialty is educating high school students about the natural world. She has been a naturalist, backcountry instructor,  guide and since 1978, and she has led a foreign trip for Steamboat Mountain School almost every year, 24 in all. There are few continents Margi has not traveled thoroughly. The programs she manages include outdoor activities of all kinds, camping, foreign travel, and community service.
Margi feels the tops of mountains and the shores of foreign locales feed the minds and souls of our students. Having a keen interest in plants, she is a master gardener and also the school’s landscape designer. Margi is a firm believer in the mind body connection; she studies natural healing and meditation. She raised her son, Bridger (Steamboat Mountain School `07) on campus, has trained service dogs, and plants trees and gardens wherever the earth needs enrichment. She loves to sing, play the guitar, meditate, garden, garden, garden, hike, backcountry ski, snowshoe, and take walks with her very smart dog, Lorax. Margi educates students and guides the Experiential Education Program with this quote by Luther Standing Bear. “The old Lakotas were wise. They knew that a person’s heart away from nature would become hard. They knew that a lack of respect for growing and living things soon led to lack of respect for humans too. So they kept their youth close to the earth’s softening influence.”
margi@steamboatmountainschool.org

Meg Morse
Head of School
B.A. Trinity College, M.A. Middlebury College (Bread Loaf School of English)
more After teaching at Westminster School in Connecticut and The Bishop’s School in California, Meg...

After teaching at Westminster School in Connecticut and The Bishop’s School in California, Meg Morse came to Steamboat Mountain School in the fall of 1999 to serve as math and English teacher and college counselor. After twelve years of college counseling, she transitioned to the role of Academic Dean. In 2013 Meg became the Head of School and continued to teach Algebra II. Meg received her graduate degree in English from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English and spent two of her five Bread Loaf summers studying Shakespeare at its Oxford University campus. Meg has spent her years as a high-school educator running dorms, teaching all levels of English and most levels of math, and coaching field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse. Having led the Vietnam/Cambodia Global Immersion Studies trip four times, she is the school’s resident expert on Southeast Asia. In her free time, Meg loves to cook, knit, read, spend time with her son, and tackle puzzles and play games as a way to improve brain flexibility.
morsem@steamboatmountainschool.org

Nikki Durkan
Biology, Environmental Science, Geography, Global Politics and Environmental Issues Teacher
B.A. University of Colorado - Boulder
more Her research on the effects of logging in Routt National Forest as a student at the University of...

Her research on the effects of logging in Routt National Forest as a student at the University of Colorado at Boulder may have spurred Miss Durkan’s interest in Steamboat Springs and its alpine ecosystem. As the Environmental Science and Biology teacher, Miss Durkan’s diverse field experience also spans beyond the woods to waters. She worked previously as a naturalist for the Pacific Whale Foundation, becoming an expert on reef ecology, local marine mammals such as the Humpback Whale, the geology of the Hawaiian Islands, and local green sea turtles. Following a coral reef ecology course with field experience diving in Cozumel, she received her SCUBA certification and also learned to free-dive up to 40+ feet for extended periods of time. Her science classes can be found all over campus, collecting water and soil samples, planting seedlings to prevent erosion, and monitoring wetlands. Ms. Durkan studied abroad in Italy and has traveled throughout Europe, Central America, and Asia. Her travels inspired her to enroll in a variety of humanities courses in college and ignited a passion for learning and teaching about the diverse ecosystems and cultures of our world. She strives to generate this same excitement in the geography course. Nikki is an avid skier, whether it’s cross-country, alpine, or snowboarding and she loves to hike and bike in the summertime.

durkann@steamboatmountainschool.org

Pearson Alspach
Director of Admissions
B.S. University of Vermont
more After graduating from the University of Vermont with a B.S. in communication, Pearson ventured to...

After graduating from the University of Vermont with a B.S. in communication, Pearson ventured to the wild, wild West, Lander, Wyo. to work for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). She started as the public relations intern and transitioned to a full-time employee in the NOLS Marketing department. During her tenure at NOLS, she traveled throughout the U.S. to talk to potential NOLS students in all different venues. While living in Wyoming, she took advantage of the open spaces and never missed an opportunity for a new adventure, be it rock climbing, cycling, running, or skiing.
Pearson found Steamboat Mountain School to be the perfect opportunity to continue to promote "top of the line" education to potential students. She arrived in Steamboat Springs excited to embark on her next endeavor and new adventures on campus, within the community and amidst the mountains.
alspachp@steamboatmountainschool.org

Robbie Tesar
History Teacher, Boys' Dorm RA
B.A. Connecticut College, M.A. Naropa University
more Prior to moving to Steamboat Springs, Robbie lived in Boulder, CO where he studied religion as a...

Prior to moving to Steamboat Springs, Robbie lived in Boulder, CO where he studied religion as a graduate student at Naropa University. As an under graduate student, he double majored in American Studies and U.S History at Connecticut College, where he also played four years of hockey.  He began his teaching career at Vermont Academy, teaching: world history, history of the 1960's, and history of the American Wilderness. Robbie lives and is a dorm parent in Elizabeth Hall with his wife Alice and their dogs, Patterson and Midge. Robbie enjoys the practice of fly fishing, the guitar stylings of Jerry Garcia, and the life ways of caribou. At Steamboat Mountain School, he teaches World History, U.S History, and Global Issues. Robbie also leads the fly fishing POPs activity.

“Each thing in its way, when true to its own character, is equally beautiful.”
~ Edward Abbey
tesarr@steamboatmountainschool.org

Patty Oakland
School Nurse
B.S. William Jewel College
more Patty Oakland joined Steamboat Mountain School in January of 2014, and is excited to be part of...

Patty Oakland joined Steamboat Mountain School in January of 2014, and is excited to be part of evolving the health program for our students.  As a Registered Nurse, she has worked for Northwest Colorado Public Health Office, Kansas City VA Emergency Department, and Swedish Medical Center Neurology/Neurosurgery Unit.  Patty has volunteered her time to multiple nursing outreach programs including: medical mission work with the Maasai people in Kenya, emergency and disaster preparedness in the Kansas City area, numerous medical special events for United States Veterans, and even some time at Leavenworth State Penitentiary. Patty attended William Jewell College, graduating with a double B.S. in Nursing and Critical Thought and Inquiry, as well as a minor in Coaching and Performance Enhancement.  Patty is a graduate of Steamboat Springs High School and alumna of SSWSC as a freestyle skier.  Growing up in Steamboat, she had a distant admiration for Lowell Whiteman School and the opportunities available to its students.  Patty, with her husband and son, has returned to the Yampa Valley, making her admiration for our school not so distant by providing new health related opportunities for our students. nurse@steamboatmountainschool.org 

Kara Freedman
Spanish IV, V, Girls' Dorm RA
B.A. Pomona College
more Born and raised in New York City, Ms. Freedman grew up with a strong desire to travel and explore...

Born and raised in New York City, Ms. Freedman grew up with a strong desire to travel and explore other places. This lead her to a degree in International Relations from Pomona College, where she learned about the history and cultures of Latin America and sub-saharan Africa. She studied both French and Spanish, and spent a semester in Argentina learning about Latin American politics. Her time in college also included leading outdoors orientation trips for incoming students and a Wilderness First Aid certificate course. After graduation, she lead a experiential learning trip in Costa Rica and taught English in Peru. Ms. Freedman is thrilled to be able to explore the Rocky Mountains and introduce her students to the rich cultures and histories of the Spanish-speaking world.

Andy Weynand
Business Manager
B.A. University of Texas at Austin
more Andy joined Steamboat Mountain School in 2017, after a rewarding career in the hospitality industry...

Andy joined Steamboat Mountain School in 2017, after a rewarding career in the hospitality industry.  Andy started his career as a bellboy, where he learned to hustle, serve, and persevere. He worked his way up the ranks to become the Vice President of Operations for the east coast with Wyndham.  In Steamboat Springs, he led many large condominium resorts as General Manager.  Andy brings a deep understanding of successful business practices, extensive hiring and mentoring experience, as well as a strong financial acumen.  In his role as the Business Manager, Andy’s goal is to provide stable financial management as well as consistent reporting to the Board of Trustees, parents and faculty of the school.  In addition, he is committed to the concepts of sound property management, faculty support and financial stability.  Andy has been a resident of Steamboat Springs since 1992 with his wife Jayme, his son Chase and daughter Catcher.  As a family, they are passionate environmentalists, conservationists, volunteers, archers and active pursuers of all things Colorado.