Experienced, talented educators are ready to help students discover learning with purpose
Compass Community Collaborative School has been designed by a diverse team of experienced, licensed educators, students, business owners, nonprofit leaders, and parents in the co-working space at the Music District, a hub of entrepreneurship and creativity. We are passionate about embedding design thinking and creative, research-based learning pedagogy and real world problem solving into secondary education to secure a safe and healthy future for our community.
Jan Harrison M.Ed., M.Sc.
While I have had many job titles over the course of my career, the thread that binds them together is my passion for learning. I have three master’s degrees, two in science and one in Educational Leadership, as well as a principal’s license. I have been a dedicated public educator for fifteen years in Fort Collins, serving as a high school classroom teacher, a department leader, a Dean of Students, and as a district-wide high school interventions facilitator. I am privileged to now be the School Leader of Compass Community Collaborative School.I became a teacher to change the world. What better way to create a more just and humane planet for all of us than to help orchestrate a rich learning ecosystem that inspires creativity, develops intellect, and fosters compassionate action around the globe? My commitment to social justice and to public education as a critical foundation for our democracy are matched by my responsiveness to data, research, and the educational demands of our rapidly changing world I am honored to be facilitating the work of a team of creative, thoughtful, and energetic change agents who are committed to writing the next chapter in public education. Compass Community Collaborative School is revolutionizing education for students, for their families, for the city of Fort Collins, and for the world.
Jason Malone, M.Ed.
Assistant School Lead
As a public educator in Fort Collins for the past two decades, I’ve always been focused on not just my students’ learning, but my own. I believe that the best teachers are also lifelong students, which is one of the reasons I’m drawn to the work we are doing at Compass Community Collaborative School. Prior to opening Compass, I worked as an International Baccalaureate Program Coordinator for 10 years as well as an IB Workshop Leader, Consultant and Program Evaluator working with schools all over North America. My collaborative spirit and desire for learning has also led to my work with the Colorado State University Writing Project, a professional organization of teachers working to improve writing and communication skills in K-12 students on the Front Range. This has reinforced my desire to break down walls of traditional discrete subject courses (science, math, history, etc.) and help kids see that education is greater and more powerful than what they often learn in the traditional classroom. Yet no experience has had a greater impact on my view of education than my work as a teacher of high school epistemology – the study of knowledge – for the past decade. Leading students through this course helped solidify my understanding of the power of self in the learning process. To understand the world around you, it is first important to understand yourself; how your personal experiences and beliefs impact the way you see and interpret your world. This honoring of identity and the power of each individual student is at the center of my teaching philosophy and our work at Compass.
Pamela Barker, MA, PT
Culture Architect: Social Emotional Learning and Restorative Practices Specialist
I am an educational psychologist and trainer in Emotional Intelligence (EI) and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), a parenting coach, and conflict mediator. I work with individuals, couples, families, schools, and organizations to foster the skills necessary to create and sustain mutually beneficial relationships and make optimal decisions in an ever changing world. I believe that we teach who we are and that learning happens best when intentional efforts are made to foster the social and emotional lives of children and their teachers. I know I am joined with my Compass colleagues in the commitment to helping our students and each other continue to develop these skills.I am certified with Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Network to deliver the Self-Science and EQ Matters curricula and SEI Emotional Intelligence Assessments and with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to deliver the Anchors of Emotional Intelligence curriculum. I hold an alternative dispute resolution/mediation certificate with Mediators without Borders, am trained in Restorative Dialogue, and am an advanced facilitator of Restorative Justice practices. My research explores the intersection of SEL, Restorative Justice, and Transformational Learning.
Director of Operations/Office Manager
Bonnie Cowen, M.Ed.
Teacher-Adviser: Humanities; Compass Historian
After graduating from Kent State University, I moved to Colorado to fulfill a year-long volunteer service commitment. Ultimately, I was hired to develop an adolescent program for a homeless shelter, and it was in that role of teen advocate and school liaison that I decided I wanted to be a teacher. I saw first-hand that having an adult who believed in them was essential to positively changing the trajectory of children’s lives. Equally important, I wanted to inspire in children a desire to learn. As a result, I earned a Post-Bachelor’s Teaching Certificate in Secondary Education and a Masters of Education in Instructional Leadership from Colorado State University. I spent the next 15 years teaching social studies, and while I taught core courses (American History, World History, Civics, Sociology), I spent the majority of my career teaching both Advanced Psychology and International Baccalaureate Psychology. I served as Exam Reader/Grader for the The College Board and Examiner/Moderator for the International Baccalaureate World School and was the recipient of Poudre School District’s Excellence in Education Award. My entrepreneurial spirit led me to start my own business and most recently be a project coordinator in Larimer County connecting systems for young children’s social-emotional development. Now, I am quite excited to return to where my main passion lies, teaching. I am dedicated to Compass Community Collaborative School’s mission and trust that our student-centered, meta-learning approach to education is the most powerful way we can support students in becoming their most authentic selves.
Kayla Crowe-Stover, B.A.
Teacher-Adviser: English; Community Liaison
I was fortunate to be hired for an English teacher position in Poudre School District immediately after completing my bachelors degree at Colorado State University. Being a young teacher was both challenging and rewarding, but what I discovered early on in my career was that I had something to learn from every student I taught. Each student’s unique story became a part of my own story as we built relationships together. Now, twelve years later I have interacted with students in a variety of different settings: as an International Baccalaureate and general education teacher, as a coach and dance teacher, as a theater choreographer, as a sponsor for poetry and service clubs, as a Compass summer prototype teacher. In that time, I also become a parent to two remarkable children. In each of these diverse settings, I realized that kids want to tell their stories in one form or another. As teachers, we have the privilege to be co-creators in these narratives, and our responsibility is to learn to listen carefully and compassionately to our youth. With this idea in mind, I am passionate about fostering opportunities for ALL people to find their voice, and what better vehicle than through teaching the craft of writing? As a CCC teacher, I am dedicated to researching and implementing the best methods to help students find their voices. My current Masters in English thesis digs deeper into how we can best support students to voice their ideas and help shape these ideas into realities. I look forward to listening, working, collaborating, and ultimately building relationships with the future students of Compass Community Collaborative.
Dawn DuPriest, M.Ed
Teacher-Adviser: Mathematics/Computer Science
After working as a software engineer for almost a decade, I followed my heart and became a math, science, and technology teacher in Poudre School District. I’ve been a middle school teacher for my entire teaching career and I enjoy working with students as they grow into who they are as people and learners. During my time attending conferences, interacting with other educators online, experimenting with my own teaching and getting to visit other schools and classrooms, I became passionate about learner-centered education. I always enjoy working on rich and authentic projects with my students, and I can’t wait to make this kind of learning my full-time job. I am a lifelong learner myself.I’m a fellow in the National Education Association’s Teacher Leadership Initiative, and I was the Fort Collins Rotary Clubs’ PSD Teacher of the Year in 2012. I became an Allen Distinguished Educator in 2016, an opportunity awarded to teachers with innovative programs in Engineering, Computer Science, and Entrepreneurship. I make light-up, musical Ugly Christmas Sweaters every year in addition to other geeky crafts. I’m looking forward to being creative along with our incredible Compass students!
Jenny Findlay, M.A.
Director of Development
I received my Master’s Degree in Teaching and English Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and taught at multiple levels of both middle and high school, in New York and New Jersey, before our family made the move to Colorado. Holistically, my time at Columbia as student, teacher, curriculum-geek, and all-round education enthusiast, refined my educational philosophy and shaped my vision of education in the 21st century. I believe scholarship must be accessible to students of every background, ability, learning style, and modality. I believe excellence in education is based on maintaining a balance among academic rigor, creativity, and plain old fun- through which the urge to inquire about our world and delve into self-discovery is nurtured and valued. I believe in dynamic, experiential, and interdependent learning that fosters solid relationships among students and their peers as well as with teachers, the local community, and the greater society at large. The educational culture and approaches to curriculum that we are crafting at Compass will enact these beliefs. Sir Ken Robinson put it best when he wrote, “We have to recognize that human flourishing is not a mechanical process; it's an organic process. And you cannot predict the outcome of human development. All you can do, like a farmer, is create the conditions under which they will begin to flourish.” Compass Community Collaborative school is a ripe and fertile landscape to nurture the growth of the students of Fort Collins, and will undoubtedly become the benchmark model for educational innovation nationwide.
Sam Gleeson, B.Sc.
I have been a teacher in Fort Collins for four years. Over the last three years I have worked to bring more opportunities to my students by creating projects such as bringing in CSU ecology students to mentor students on an authentic ecology research project, launching weather balloons, engineering devices to clean unsafe water, and building electrical power generators. I have searched out a variety of roles outside of the classroom to continue building positive relationships with students. I have been a soccer coach, a club sponsor, and last year I coordinated a trip with students to the Galapagos and Ecuador. I look forward to continuing my learning and my travels with students at Compass by organizing international trips, outdoor excursions and other exciting, immersive experiences for our students. Last summer I was able to teach the prototype for Compass with a terrific group of kids. The process of teaching students about climate change, writing and the art of filmmaking was great fun and very affirming of our educational model. I believe that students need a place where they not only are having authentic, personally engaging experiences, but where their voices matter and they feel like they belong; I look forward to creating that culture at Compass Community Collaborative School.
Adam Fallik, M. Ed.
Teacher-Adviser: Special Education
In 2002 I got a job working with adults with developmental disabilities, with an emphasis on community accessibility and recreation. For more than ten years I worked with these incredible individuals and it changed my life. I learned how to be patient and practice gratitude in every endeavor in my life. Working with adults with disabilities taught me how to make a contribution in people’s lives. In 2011 I graduated from The University of Northern Colorado with a Master’s Degree in Special Education. I began working as a special education teacher at Reflections for Youth in Loveland while attending graduate school full time. I also worked in middle schools focusing on significant emotional disabilities and Autism. For the last two years I worked as a Social Worker for a Guardian Ad Litem and did one to one mental health therapy. I learned how the system affects disenfranchised youth and families and want to work hard to make sure that our students and families don’t fall through the cracks. I am excited to see how our team teaching and venture project model can benefit from my experience in special education and my love for learning. I look forward to sharing ideas with students and teachers, and to make this school an incredible opportunity for growth. I have been an active member in the community and can help build bridges with professional organizations and creative individuals. I believe that students deserve to be heard and the ability to study what interests them. Students should enjoy going to school everyday instead of dreading it. As Buzz Lightyear emphatically states, “To Infinity and Beyond!”
Katie Malone, M. Ed.
Teacher-Adviser: Science; Project Coordinator
Having been in education for 12 years, I take my teaching philosophy from my ecology background: All of our destinies are intertwined and, as such, we all play a role in creating our best possible future. I have extensive experience in a variety of educational programs, from outdoor education, special education, AVID and Discovery to the International Baccalaureate Program, both Middle Years and Diploma. This work has pushed me to believe that all students are brilliant- they just need an atmosphere and community that recognizes that. Over the past few years, in designing and teaching Project-based Learning science courses, I’ve come to realize that it’s time for educators to change their perspective and begin to help kids find their voice and passions. We are all stronger when our students are empowered to be active citizens in their community and pushed to realize their potential, both as students and teachers. That is our purpose at Compass Community Collaborative School.
Teacher-Adviser: Mathematics/Science/Computer Science
Teacher-Adviser: Student Support Specialist
I was born and raised in Fort Collins, Colorado. As a first-generation Latino male, I learned first hand the struggles of succeeding in the current educational system. Although I excelled academically, I found that the coursework and structure of the classroom prevented me from reaching my full potential, in addition I did not feel an investment in my future from my teachers. Rather than dropping out, I decided to enroll into a local “alternative” high school called Centennial. This school and teachers created an environment where I truly felt valued, revitalizing my desire to learn and grow. Due to the influence of Centennial High School, I can say that I am a college graduate. In May 2018 I graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education. Although my education has a focus on children, many of the lessons I have learned can serve any learner. For example, I believe in “not stealing a student’s struggle.” Although I will wholeheartedly support each student individually, I plan to do so in a way that guides them towards success and growth which often includes overcoming obstacles. I also have a great amount of experience working in the community, specifically with underserved students. As a child, I was a participant in after-school and summer school programming through the local Northside Aztlan Community Center. In my teenage years, I was hired on as a support staff in the same programs I was raised in. 15+ years later, my passion for creating opportunities for all students has only grown and I am excited to continue to teach and learn at Compass Community Collaborative School.
I am an "old school" mechanic. My experience as a mechanic began in my youth learning from my Dad, wrenching on race cars. I went on to join the US Marine Corps where I learned and performed Aviation Mechanics. I am a US Certified Airframe and Power plant Mechanic and have worked in various industries performing many different aspects of maintenance my entire career. My adult daughter and my life partner's three children bring joy to my life and I love the experience of parenting again. At home I can be found working on my Model A (converting it to an electric car), doing yoga or biking the back roads of Northern Colorado. I have a lot to offer to Compass, my life experience has taught me much and I have always wanted to pass on what I have learned and make a difference in my community.
Board of Directors
Gina Curler, M.A., Parent of future CCC student
I have been on the search for more creative, innovative options for education since high school, when I wrote my college application essay about how school dampened my natural love of learning. The essay got me into Colorado College, which was most recently voted the most innovative college by U.S. News & World Report. After having my love of learning reignited, I went on to work on a PhD in Anthropology from UW Madison. I have over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit world, ranging from working for Colorado College's Development department, to the Center for Field Assistance and Applied Research at the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C. (her only governmental stint), to Assistant Producer at Wisconsin Public Radio's "Here on Earth." Just over a decade ago, I moved to Fort Collins to create humans (future Compass students!) and to help my husband found No Barriers, a non-profit dedicated to providing transformative experiences for people facing adversity. In my role of being "married" to No Barriers, I have worn many hats, from creating fundraising strategies, to program and curriculum development, to frankly, stuffing envelopes...Most recently, I have been involved with redeveloping the No Barriers Field Campus in Red Feather, and in creating scholarships for Lincoln Middle School students to travel to Costa Rica. When not entrenched in raising children or starting Compass and No Barriers, I enjoy ceramics and playing cello.
Russ Brown, M.Ed., High School IB History Teacher, Published Author
Board Vice President
I am a veteran educator in the Poudre School having taught for over two decades. During that time I have worked with a wide array of students including students seeking their GED, returning to high school after dropping out, taking Advanced Placement courses, and pursuing their International Baccalaureate diploma. I have been recognized for my teaching with awards including the Colorado DAR Outstanding Teacher of American History, Poudre School District Excellence in Education Award, and Fort Collins Sam’s Club Teacher of the Year. I am the co-author of Student-as-Client (Phi Delta Kappan, March 2014) as well as articles that have been published in American Diplomacy, The American Historian, and Principal Leadership.
Anthony Burrell, CPA, School Finance Director, KIPP Colorado
I am a native of New Orleans with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of New Orleans and a CPA. I have seven years of professional services and accounting experiences, five of which were spent at Ernst & Young where I provided financial and non-financial assurance services to public and private companies, and most recently at Envestnet where I was the Revenue Manager. Looking to make a positive difference in the world, I recently completed the prestigious Education Pioneer Fellowship, a program designed to move exceptional talent in finance, management, and operations into the field of education to support innovation and growth. I have been living in Denver for the past three years. I am now working as the Finance and Accounting Controller for KIPP Colorado, and am excited to work with the Compass team and contribute to Compass Community Collaborative School as the Board Treasurer.
Chris Whitman, B.S.M.E., MBA, Manager of Product Strategy and Design
I love to solve problems! Over the course of my career I have focused my personal development into becoming a process and product improvement superhero with a singular focus on customer value. I mostly use my powers for good, but I sometimes use them for awesome! I am equal parts agilest, designer, product guru, salesperson, educator, engineer, manager, consultant, and marketeer in the mechanical and software product development industries. I'm currently the Manager of Product Strategy and Design, focused on bringing a "Voice of the Customer" app to market. Outside of work, the running and mountain biking trails around Fort Collins keep me sane, and I have a second job as an event producer & live performance musical mixmaster. Lastly, I’m a son, a brother, a husband, and a father of an 11 year old boy and an 8 year old girl who definitely use their powers for awesome.
Irene Nissen, B.S.B.A., Director of Innovation - K-12 Education
Irene Nissen has worked in the field of libraries and education for over a decade and is currently serving her fifth year in the role of technology and innovation director for a growing K-12 charter school. Irene believes that technology can truly change the educational landscape by inspiring creativity, establishing a love for lifelong learning and creating opportunities for students to apply their knowledge to real-world situations. By supporting meaningful integration of technology in the classroom Irene has helped to facilitate learning opportunities in which students create connections, spark interests and establish 21st century skills that are imperative for success in the work place. Irene has provided leadership and direction during three separate school expansion projects between 2014-2017. This includes interior design work, low voltage and network mapping, and new construction oversight. Irene was recognized as one of the 2005 Young Entrepreneurs of the Year by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship and has presented numerous sessions on technology infrastructure optimizations, effective technology integration in the classroom, cyber safety and 21st century learning throughout Northern Colorado. Irene is the mother of an outgoing and curious little boy. She and her husband have lived in beautiful Fort Collins since 2005. Irene holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Colorado State University along with a teaching certificate for business education. She is completing her Master of Science degree in teaching and learning through CSU Global.