Jordan Cerna

Jordan Cerna is one-third of Eagle Rock’s Outdoor Education Department, where we are charged with organizing and facilitating outdoor experiences for students and staff. For the better part of the last decade, Jordan has fostered a career and passion in experiential and outdoor education. This “spark” for outdoor expeditions began in 2012 when he was on a river trip abroad. He realized that people are at the heart of a successful expedition. When people are willing to work together, ask for help, navigate interpersonal conflict, and take ownership of their own learning, beautiful things can happen. Since then, Jordan has consistently sought out the natural world as a sanctuary and classroom. Through working with Eagle Rock School and the National Outdoor Leadership School, Jordan has spent over 150 weeks in the field co-leading outdoor expeditions. In 2023, he now seeks out a more balanced life where he plans to foster relationships in Estes Park, return to finding joy in personal trips, and nest in his home off-campus.

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My favorite thing about Eagle Rock is the access to the landscape that surrounds our campus.

Mark Rutberg

Mark Rutberg is Eagle Rock’s Human Performance & Athletics Coordinator. Mark is responsible for creating and implementing a vision around empowering students to lead healthy lifestyles. Prior to joining Eagle Rock, Mark spent 6 years at Sanborn Western Camps, most recently as a director for the camp’s summer residential adventure program in Colorado. He grew up in New York and has a B.S. in Kinesiology and Pedagogy from the University of New Hampshire, where he also played football. After university, Mark worked as an athletic director and educator in New York City for 4 years prior to moving to Europe to teach at an American International School in the Netherlands. Mark holds a Masters Degree in Health Education, a certificate as a K-12 teacher, a level 2 ropes course instructor, a single pitch climbing instructor, and Wilderness First Responder. He has also participated in a NOLS 30-day outdoor educator mountaineering course. Mark finds passion in helping youth discover their potential and self-worth. As someone who struggled in traditional academic settings, Mark uncovered his own confidence and sense of self-worth through experiential education and team sports throughout his academic career and, more recently, through outdoor education. Mark and his partner Sara are Piñon houseparents and they live on campus with their dog Jerry.

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My favorite thing about Eagle Rock is the effort put into creating a sense of belonging and the ability for both staff and students to be part of something bigger than themselves.

Tyson Rose

Throughout his academic and professional career, Tyson has served as a teacher, administrator, mentor, advisor and advocate for students supporting access to education and developing a life-long love of learning and education. His own life experiences with mentors and supporters served to ignite his passion for supporting young people to take an active role in changing the world.

Prior to joining Eagle Rock, Tyson was a faculty member at the University of Hartford. He served for 6 years as Director and Principal Investigator for the Upward Bound Program at the University of Massachusetts. He has provided academic support to high school students to graduate students, numerous programming projects, and organized and facilitated workshops and training for staff and students. Tyson is an author and community activist, publishing articles on Hip Hop based Education and Access to Education.

Tyson served as the Assistant Residential supervisor at the A Better Chance House in Amherst, MA supporting high school students who travel from northeast states to pursue their educational goals. Tyson also worked for 12 years as a Civil and Environmental engineer in Massachusetts and California.

He is one of the original members and organizers of 3rd EyE Unlimited, a social justice, Hip Hop-based youth advocacy, activism, and community development organization. He served as an organizer and facilitator for the Julius Ford/Harriet Tubman Healthy Living Community, an intergenerational, anti-racist organization dedicated to fostering social justice and healthy, vibrant communities.

Tyson received a Bachelors’s in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a Masters’s in Social Justice Education from the University of Massachusetts.

Tyson has two sons, Phoenix and Onyx who are pursuing their own life goals in New York and Massachusetts.

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Students inspire me when they manufacture their own “Aha” moments, take ownership of their education, and realize they are experts of their own experience!

Akeem Cheek

Akeem Cheek is the Information Technology And Facilities Maintenance Associate. The position is a hybrid between maintaining the physical campus and its digital infrastructure. He has been working in schools and community organizations for many years. He has worked as a school bus driver and in after-school programming. He honed his IT skills by being a natural tinkerer and working in a small family business. He worked for two community-based organizations supporting black farmers in North Carolina before coming to Eagle Rock. He has a BA in History from North Carolina Central University and has completed coursework in clinical psychology.

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My rock is my family and extended family.

I’m really moved by students who have strong character, are driven, and are purposeful.

Hayden Webster

Growing up Hayden struggled in the traditional school setting, which is why if you went back in time and told he worked at a High school and that he was HAPPY to be doing it… He would be flabbergasted. Being a curious and outspoken young kid generally gave him the label of “defiant” to the authority figures in his life at the time. Thankfully for the rest of us He has refined those traits that once got him into trouble and has used them to propel him into his own path. While all the other friends in his life were out going to college getting degrees they never truly cared about. He went exploring… climbing, biking, and skiing around the country and internationally. These experiences paired with therapy, deep introspection, and a variety of hardships along the way set him up to become a passionate, patient and caring community member. Starting his work with youth at the age of 17 he learned through direct experience how to engage, connect, push, and inspire the students he works for. Creating his own unique style along the way.  In his personal time when he’s not outside, he enjoys playing chess, reading graphic novels/comics, watching survivor, or leaving his half-full coffee mug somewhere random to find days later.

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My favorite thing about Eagle Rock is the dining lodge … I mean working with the students

Brad Brandewie

Brad is part of our Operations or “Rockin Ops” Team. He has a degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication from the University of Cincinnati. Brad moved out west after college and began his first career as a corporate trainer and software tester.

After meeting the love of his life, he left the Front Range of Colorado to support his wife’s career as an ecologist in places like Silverton Colorado, Stanley Idaho, and Sequoia National Park. During this time he started a software training company and worked as a large format printer reproducing artwork.

When he and his wife welcomed their second child, Brad left the computer world to become a stay-at-home parent. Five years later, when his kids started school, he became a tour guide in Sequoia National Park. This led him to the realization that he preferred a career that involved more human interaction, so when he moved back to Colorado he became a substitute teacher, which eventually led him to Eagle Rock. Now he spends his days supporting the staff and students on campus and absorbing their positive energy.

When he’s not at work, you’re likely to find him in the mountains, enjoying a bike ride or rock climbing with his family.

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My favorite thing about Eagle Rock is the supportive and friendly mindset of the staff and students.

Caitlin Welsh

Caitlin joins Eagle Rock School as Special Projects Coordinator where she works to create opportunities for students to learn and practice horticulture, maintain and manage access to the library collections, and collaborate with staff to guide students’ off-campus learning experiences through the Real World Learning program. Having grown up in the deciduous forests and freshwater lakes of Michigan, Caitlin has found joy exploring the unique natural environment she has called home while also working to protect and share those places with others as an educator and environmental steward through organizations like AmeriCorps (Massachusetts), San Joaquin Outdoor School (California), Summer in the City (Detroit), AIM Academy (Pennsylvania), and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. Most recently she spent 5 years supporting avian conservation as an assistant bird bander, educator, and curriculum consultant for Willistown Conservation Trust in Newtown Square, PA. This is also where she put her years of experience weeding and tending her mother’s extensive gardens to use as a farm worker for the community-supported agriculture program at Rushton Farm. Caitlin earned her bachelor’s from Indiana University and a Master’s in Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in advocacy and education. When she’s not coddling seedlings and slinging library cards, Caitlin enjoys riding her bike, romping with her dog, Kelly, getting to know the local wildlife, baking banana muffins for the Juniper House family, and reading the next epic fantasy series.

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I really love helping others find joy, wonder, and fulfillment in the outdoors.

Cami J Thomas

Cami is the Program Director for Eagle Rock’s Fellowship Program. They manage the fellow program administratively but also serve as a mentor and coach to fellows through their Eagle Rock experience. Cami comes to us with over 5 years of experience with Public Allies programming. They are an alum of Public Allies Milwaukee where they also served as the Training and Learning Director. Cami has a variety of experiences that makes them uniquely qualified to cultivate a robust and effective Fellowship Program here at Eagle Rock. They earned their BA in Africology and their MA in African and African Diaspora Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Cami is dedicated to the liberation of Black people. Cami has served the academic and non-profit sectors in Milwaukee in program management, youth development, racial equity, and reproductive justice for over 10 years. Initially focused on economic development and financial independence, Cami served on many boards of cooperative businesses/organizations along with facilitating grassroots workshops and programs around supporting Black businesses. After serving in Public Allies and having a child, they shifted their focus to understanding and implementing healing justice for Black and queer communities. In 2016, Cami co-founded the reproductive justice organization Maroon Calabash where they served as the Policy and Advocacy Director. Through their experiences as a parent, healing justice and beloved community have become the frameworks for how Cami executes their work focusing on relationship building and community care. Cami believes in the words of Fannie Lou Hamer “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”

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I am really moved by young people discovering their own power.

My rock is my spiritual practice which keeps me grounded and grateful.

Shawna Perales

Shawna is originally from Nebraska and also spent time in Colorado while growing up. After receiving her Associate of Arts Degree, her path of secondary education took her to New Mexico, where she graduated from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM with a Bachelors’ Degree in Business Administration. After Graduation, she spent time in Albuquerque and Taos where she grew her career in Hotel and Hospitality Management and over the years and realized how this industry really fed her servant’s heart. Her Hospitality Career continued as a Director of Sales for Kessler Collection, a boutique luxury brand of hotels, but wrapped up in 2020 when she began homeschooling her son, Oliver. With Oli back in school, Shawna joined the Eagle Rock Team supporting Finance and Operations. She, her husband Josán, and son Oliver reside as House Parents of Ponderosa.

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Shawna is inspired by her family and by making people happy so being able to serve the Eagle Rock community from an operations standpoint brings her much joy.

Chris Bennett

Chris Bennett is a Colorado native and culinary veteran with 20+ years of experience in the industry. At 18, Chris attended New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont, where he earned his AOS degree in Culinary Arts. For most of his early career, Chris specialized in upscale French cuisine,  Mediterranean, and “New Style American Cuisine”, honing his skills and building his repertoire in some of the best restaurants in Las Vegas, as well as Denver. From Joachim Splichal’s Pinot Brasserie in the Venetian, and Daniel Boulud’s DB Brasserie in the Wynn, to Denver’s Rioja, Bistro Vendome, and Elway’s to name a few, Chris gained a solid foundation. In 2014, Chris became the only chef to be selected for Sister Cities International’s international Chef exchange program which took him to Brest, Bretagne France to stage within a couple restaurants/resorts as well as shadow instructors and present to Students at the Fenelon School of Culinary Arts. Upon his return, Chris set his sights on learning Asian cuisines and earned his way from part time line cook to Executive chef of Uncle Joe’s Hong Kong Bistro within a year. Not only earning new skills but also earning the restaurant a feature on the Travel Channel’s hit show “Food Paradise”. After 3 years as Executive chef there, he expanded to Japanese, becoming executive Sous chef at Ototo Den (of the Sushi Den family of restaurants) training in the intricacies of Japanese cuisine before turning his sights on global street food, helping open Street Feud in 2019. In 2021, Chris saw an opportunity arise to join the kitchen team at Eagle Rock, and made it his mission to become part of the team, where he has been able to use his years of experience in multiple cuisines to help not only provide ERS students and staff with balanced meals but also give expose them to flavors and cuisines they may not have tried before.

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My favorite thing about Eagle Rock is getting to work with such a diverse group of people from different backgrounds and areas of expertise, as well as cooking for such a diverse group of students.