RIDGWAY Ridgway Secondary School Mike Bryson, Industrial Arts
Born in North Carolina, Mike traveled around as a child of a military family. He earned a degree in finance at the Birmingham Southern College, and for the past ten years was a wildland firefighter throughout the west. He currently coaches U-15 soccer for the Ouray-Ridgway soccer program. His wife Cecily was born and raised in Telluride, Ridgway and Ouray.
Nancy Randall, Middle School Spanish, Journalism
Nancy grew up in Colorado Springs but became deeply attached to Colorado’s Western Slope during the years she attended Western State College in Gunnison. In the past she has taught various subjects, from social studies while living in Gunnison, to English and French in the Dominican Republic, to library and technology in Denver.
“I firmly believe in the power of education to change lives, and I can't wait to get to know the students, staff and community of Ridgway as we team together to give our students the best education possible,” she said.
Maggie Guscott, High School Math
Maggie grew up in England and arrived in the U.S. with a B.S. in Math and Physics.
Maggie came to the field of education relatively recently, after a career in high technology as an engineer, engineering director and marketing consultant. Maggie later took a sabbatical cruising on a catamaran in Europe, finally crossing the Atlantic in 1998. On landing in Texas, she changed her career direction and gained a teaching certificate and an M.S. in secondary education, with a specialization in math.
For the past five years Maggie has been writing math textbooks. She now looks forward to both teaching math here in Ridgway and pursuing a doctoral degree at Walden University.
When not involved in something educational, Maggie loves to swim, hike, and work out. She also enjoys doing art and believes that art is a wonderful path to self-discovery.
“I look forward to meeting everyone in the Ridgway School District community,” she said.
Ryan Wilson, High School Social Studies
Ryan comes to Ridgway from Flagstaff, Ariz., where he recently obtained an M.A. in History and an M.Ed. in Secondary Education. He has taught U.S. History to ESL students, World History to high school sophomores and juniors, environmental education to sixth graders, and Problem Based Learning to undergraduates at Northern Arizona University.
Before joining the teaching profession, Ryan graduated from the University of Texas in Austin with a B.S. in creative advertising. He began his professional career as a creative copywriter for an advertising firm in Denver, CO.
Then, in 2001, Ryan moved to El Salvador where he joined his wife Robyn, who was a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer. There he learned to speak Spanish, worked with several rural communities in El Salvador and enjoyed traveling through every Spanish-speaking country in Central America.
Capitalizing on these experiences, Ryan and Robyn began their graduate careers at Northern Arizona University in 2003, where they studied contemporary and historical issues in Latin America. Securing a research fellowship in 2006, the couple returned to El Salvador and conducted research for their respective theses. At the same time they filmed, produced and edited a 10-minute promotional documentary for the Permaculture Institute of El Salvador.
In addition to teaching U.S. History, Government, and Advanced Computers/Graphic Design at Ridgway High School, Ryan will act as an adjunct professor with Mesa State College, allowing him to teach a college-level U.S. History class for Ridgway High School Students.
Mary Owens, Junior and Senior English, AP English, and Yearbook
Mary is a native of Southern California and has been teaching English at an urban Orange County high school for six years. “There are a number of reasons why I decided to leave California and move to Colorado, but the main reason was to be closer to my family in Cortez and Grand Junction,” she said.
Jessica Kimball, Middle School Physical Education
Jessica is originally from Jackson Hole, Wyo. and completed both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the University of Wyoming. She enjoys outdoor activities and traveling and has spent extended periods of time in Europe and South America.
“I look forward to getting to know the students, teachers, parents, and community of Ridgway!” she said.
Anne Hilleman, Middle School/High School Special Education
Anne Hilleman moved most recently from Fort Collins, Colorado with her two children, Nolan, 6, and Tessa, 3. She has a background in Leadership Studies, Community Development, and Experiential Education and brings this experience to her work as a Special Educator. “I am excited to be a contributing member to the Ridgway students and families and the broader Ridgway community,” she said. Mostly Anne is passionate about learning and sharing the learning adventure with young people and all who are young at heart.
Mary Haskins, Middle School English
Mary taught middle-school in Delaware and New Jersey for six years, and she also has three years experience with college level instruction. She also has over ten years experience as a corporate and professional-development trainer, including training in software, management and supervisory skills, business writing, and diversity training. Mary said she’s looking forward to the school year and feels very fortunate to be teaching in the Ridgway School District.
Tim Lyons, Technology
After a year in Europe, Tim is returning for his third year at Ridgway Schools. Tim said that he is excited to guide students again in the computer lab in all sorts of useful technology. During his daily drive up from Montrose, he’ll be mentally preparing for the range of students, from sixth to tenth grade, who will pass through his classes. Tim has a love for roasted chilies, European soccer, flyfishing, and telemark turns.
Lysa Riggs, 9th and 10th-Grade English
In addition to teaching English, Lysa will also be the new advisor for the school’s newspaper, Demon Press. Riggs and her husband recently moved from Tarpin Springs, Florida. They have settled into a home they bought four years ago in Ridgway. Riggs worked as marketing manager in Fla.; she is now embarking on her second career, this one in teaching. She has always been a writer and minored in creative writing in college. Riggs is passionate about improving education for kids.
Ridgway Elementary School
Robyn Cascade, Third Grade
Robyn is passionate about teaching and learning, and she looks forward to working with Ridgway's third graders. She holds two master’s degrees in education, one in curriculum and assessment, the other in multicultural and bilingual foundations of education.
Prior to teaching in the public school setting, Robyn worked as an outdoor educator. In her leisure time, she enjoys outdoor adventures and exploration of the natural world.
Kelly Charrier, Spanish
Kelly was born and raised in Louisiana. She moved to Colorado 12 years ago and started working at the Buen Tiempo Restaurant in Ouray. It was there that she developed her passion for the Hispanic culture and her understanding of the Spanish language. She moved back to Louisiana to obtain a bachelor's degree in Spanish at Southeastern Louisiana University; she spent a semester in Costa Rica as part of her education.
Last year Kelly taught Exploratory Spanish to grades 6-8 in Ridgway. This summer she taught La Aventura de Espanol through the Weehawken Creative Arts Center.
MonkE Hazen, Preschool
Rebecca ‘MonkE’ Hazen has worked with children teaching preschool over the past 14 years. When not working, MonkE is often out playing in our beautiful backyard, hiking, climbing and skiing. MonkE is also an artist; making and creating with her hands is a passion. She loves teaching preschool as well. Her mission in teaching is to provide a child-centered environment that encourages development through stimulating, interesting materials that are age appropriate and organized in a inviting manner. Her philosophy is to respect children as unique individuals and to provide whatever support they need as they explore their environment.
Mandy Einspahr, Second Grade
Amanda Einspahr was born and raised in Fleming, a small town in northeastern Colorado. However, she has lived in Montrose for a little over a year and has fallen in love with western Colorado. Mandy enjoys hiking, backpacking, and camping, and she has most recently taken up fly fishing. She also enjoys relaxing with a good book or movie.
Mandy has been teaching since she was 6 years old. Her first job was a classroom of her siblings, cousins, and a few assorted teddy bears. More recently she completed her student teaching at Cottonwood Elementary in Montrose and was a substitute teacher in the Montrose County School District. Mandy said she is very excited to be a part of the Ridgway School District, and looks forward to being involved with such a wonderful community.
Ridgway School District
Melinda Fink, BSN, School Nurse
Melinda is originally from Northern New Jersey. For 25 years she lived in Fort Myers, Fla., where she raised three boys. Her oldest son and his wife both have PhDs in Biomedical Engineering. Her middle son is married with two children. Her youngest son will be a sophomore at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology this fall.
While in Florida, Melinda pursued a career as a nurse including 10 years with the Department of Public Health in Fort Myers and 11 years with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. She retired in 2005 after 10 years as District Supervisor of the Dept. of Elder Affairs.
Melinda and her husband relocated to Colorado a year ago.
Keith McCurdy, Athletic Director, Girls’ Basketball Coach
Keith McCurdy comes to the Ridgway Schools with many years of experience in sports administration and coaching; he said he is looking forward to working with the Ridgway community’s student athletes, parents, and coaches. He appreciates the close-knit atmosphere and enthusiasm he has seen here in Ridgway and looks forward to building a successful and respected sports and activities program that everyone can be proud of.
As Head Girls Basketball coach this fall, Keith will work hard with the young ladies to rebuild the proud tradition of Ridgway basketball. Keith is married with two sons. One is a freshman at Arizona State and the other is a senior at Montrose high school. Keith looks forward to getting to know the community through coaches’ meetings, back-to-school events and upcoming games.
OURAY Ouray Coaches
Jim Blennis, High School Boys’ Basketball
Jim lives in Montrose and teaches sixth grade social studies at Olathe High School. Blennis brings 19 years of coaching and teaching experience with him to Ouray. He grew up in Syracuse, NY.
Pam Scott, Middle School Girls’ Volleyball
Scott is a Ouray native who has recently returned home from living in Pierce, Colo. She loves to play volleyball and looks forward to teaching the basics and fundamentals to her new team.
Christy Cossairt, Middle School Cross Country
Christy Cossairt has taught for ten years. She has been living and teaching physical education in Ouray. She loves cross-country running and ran competitively in both high school and college. Christy enjoys living in Ouray and looks forward to a good year.
John Ferguson, Assistant Coach, Middle and High School Cross-Country
John Ferguson is a retired teacher who spent 31 years as a middle and high school math teacher in Austin, Texas. He and his wife recently moved into their home in Ouray that they’ve owned since 1993. John is an avid runner who has competed in 58 marathons across the world. He has run a marathon in every state and on every continent but two. He will run the Athens marathon this November and a marathon in Antarctica in March. He’s very excited about this coming season. He said that the runners on the cross-country team are strong and have great potential.
Steve Martinez, Middle School Girls’ Basketball
Steve Martinez was born and raised in Ouray; he owned a restaurant, Dos Es Es De Ouray, with his brother Phil, and has also worked pouring concrete. For the past six years, Martinez worked in food service at the Ouray schools. Steve still gets together with friends for pick-up basketball games every Sunday. He took last year off from coaching Ouray middle school boys’ basketball and running the American Amateur Union program to watch his son, Jude Martinez, play basketball.