Hanna is passionate about progressive education and loves getting to work in the intersection of education and social change, cultivating learning environments that all students can see themselves reflected in. Hanna has a deep love of people, travel, culture and history and has had invaluable experiences both in and out of school, from her graduate study in International Affairs in NYC, to living and teaching in rural Nepal, to leading a group of middle schoolers to Uganda for a cultural exchange program. Hanna understands the power that education can have in shaping our future. She has worked in a variety of educational and non-profit settings, and has spent the past several years building and leading a middle school in Nashville, TN . She loves living and working at Eagle Rock with her husband, Michael, three children, Esme, Didi and Arlo and two dogs!
Michael is the Mathematics Instructional Specialist at Eagle Rock. He was the mathematics fellow at Eagle Rock from 2007-08, and has been driving to engage youth in their own lives and education ever since. In the years since his fellowship, Michael has worked in NYC, Denver, and Nashville as a math and science teacher, and was also the COO of a startup. He believes that everyone is a mathematician and that everyone can love and understand math. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Business and Economics from Asbury University and his Master’s degree in Education from Framingham State University. Michael has 3 inspiring kids and 2 goofy dogs with his partner, Hanna.
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.
Courthney Russell, Jr. is our residential life program coordinator. Courthney is responsible for fostering a safe and secure environment within the Eagle Rock community. He is a key member of the student services team and coordinates activities for students with staff and houseparents. Courthney was born in Fort Knox, lived in the US Virgin Islands for a time, and eventually moved to East Atlanta, an underserved community devoid of options. His neighborhood taught him survival skills, but his family wanted more for him and made education a priority. Unfortunately, Courthney didn’t always share this priority. By the time he graduated from high school, his tendency toward stereotypical behavior had him on a collision course with incarceration or death. In a last-ditch effort, he applied to medical school and was surprised to be accepted. There he found a passion that was unquenchable and made the choice to dedicate his life to humanity. The road wasn’t easy. He experienced homelessness which meant juggling the responsibilities of being a student and the realities of living on the street. As a result, he shifted his perspective and set his life in a new direction. He graduated in 2011 with a medical degree and a new mission: to leverage his knowledge in a non-traditional way to become an authentic, determined, humble leader by example. Because of his past, Courthney is uniquely qualified to serve the Eagle Rock community.
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.
Fox Stoddard (they/them/theirs) is a part of the Eagle Rock Outdoor Education Department. They support the facilitation of Eagle Rock's three week long backpacking trip as part of the new student orientation; as well as offer year-round support with various outdoor, and adventure, education opportunities for the Eagle Rock Community. They have been working in experimental and outdoor education for over a decade, ranging from Montessori classrooms to month long trips in the backcountry with the National Outdoor Leadership School. Fox has been fortunate enough to instruct wilderness based trips in Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada, Washington, and Alaska. They are looking forward to having a more consistent home base in Estes Park and plug in with the staff and students. Through the years, Fox has combined their passion for adventure with their passion for social/emotional coaching. They firmly believe in, and work towards, developing young leaders who are competent, empathic, and resilient in the face of adversity. In addition to teaching the technical and leadership skills needed in the backcountry, Fox has become a passionate advocate for gender equality and safety for the LGBTQIA2S+ community, not only in the outdoors, but all areas of life. They are absolutely stoked to be joining the Eagle Rock community, to share their knowledge, and learn alongside both staff and students as they start their journey at Eagle Rock!
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.”
Zahria (Zee) Thomas
Zahria Thomas is a dedicated and empathetic community builder with a fervent commitment to empowering and guiding adolescents on their journeys to self-discovery and growth. Currently pursuing a Master of Social Work at Smith College School for Social Work, Zahria's academic background includes a Bachelor of Arts from Hampshire College, where she focused on critical issues such as Reproductive Justice, Critical Race Theories, and Black Feminist Thought. Her academic insights seamlessly translate to practical expertise, evident in her hands-on experience as a Social Work Intern at Jewish Family Services Celebration Company. There, Zahria skillfully aided adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) to gain vocational skills by facilitating transformative group sessions. These experiences have honed her ability to create a safe and nurturing environment for adolescents navigating the challenges of their formative years. Zahria's passion for working with teens shines through her role as a Community Facilitator at Hampshire College Residential Life, where she provided vital academic and emotional support to fellow students. Her dedication to fostering inclusivity and empowerment aligns seamlessly with her involvement in projects such as "Surviving Hampshire," a senior capstone endeavor that delves into the unique experiences of BIPOC individuals in predominantly white educational settings. Zahria's adept communication skills, coupled with her ability to approach problems with empathy and analytical thinking, make her an ideal health and wellness fellow focused on guiding and mentoring teenagers. Her engagement with student groups, including co-leading peer sex education groups and BIPOC affinity spaces, underscores her commitment to addressing relevant issues faced by today's youth. Zahria Thomas's dynamic skills and genuine dedication position her as a remarkable advocate for the growth and well-being of Eagle Rock Scholars.
Justin Torres Martinez
Justin J. Torres Martinez, Chef Instructor at Eagle Rock School, was born in Connecticut. He was raised in Caguas, Puerto Rico. After high school, he joined the Puerto Rico State Guard Air Force where he started his interest in cooking. He currently lives in Estes Park, Colorado with his wife Ana and their two daughters. Justin has been professionally cooking for six years. He first started as a Banquet Chef at The Stanley Hotel cooking for weddings and big events. After three years as a Banquet Chef there he decided to join a local restaurant as Sous Chef at Seasoned-An American Bistro with his mentor and Chef-owner Rob Corey. Justin joined Eagle Rock where he is able to cook and share his flavors, experience, and culture through his delicious meals.
Jesse has a masters degree in clinical psychology from Geneva University in Switzerland and has successfully participated in multiple trainings regarding therapy with couples, families and teenagers. He has extensive experience working with teenagers and families in different mental health institutions. Jesse also has been involved in diverse programs relating to violence prevention, community and leadership in multicultural’s settings in different countries. Previous to Eagle Rock School he was directing a training center in Palo Alto, Calif., dedicated to providing professional development to a large variety of professionals working in the mental health and medical fields. Here at Eagle Rock, Jesse provides individual and group counseling, coordinates student mental health services outside the school, coordinates student psychotropic treatments with appropriate providers and provides support to teachers and house parents on campus.
Karla Vargas-Ochs, RN, BSN
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.
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.
Eliza Kate Wicks-Arshack, L.S.W., is our Health & Wellness Counselor. As a member of the Health & Wellness Team, Eliza supports students in finding success at Eagle Rock in relation to their wellbeing both for the whole student body and with more targeted interventions and support when needed. Specifically, Eliza supports students in navigating their mental health and wellbeing through psychoeducation, individual counseling, group spaces, family conferences, and other individualized support offerings. She helps coordinate student mental health care through both internal and external resources and serves as an advocate for students in their journey. Eliza helps facilitate the personal growth rite of passage process throughout students’ time at Eagle Rock—supporting students in honing their social emotional learning capacities starting with the wilderness orientation course and continuing through to graduation. She also supports ERS staff through professional development and group spaces. As part of the Health and Wellness team, Eliza collaborates with our School Nurse, Health and Wellness Fellows, Director of Health and Wellness, and interdisciplinary teams in effort to provide holistic support for ERS students. Eliza is a DORA Licensed Social Worker as well as a DOE licensed School Social Worker. In addition, Eliza serves as a House Team member in Aspen House and as an advisor for students in that house.
While she grew up on Lenape land in New York City, Eliza has called the Ute, Arapahoe, and Cheyenne land of Colorado home for the past fifteen years (with stints in Alaska, Oregon, and California). She earned her bachelor’s degree from Colorado College where she studied Sociology, her masters degree in Social Work from Columbia University, and is a licensed social worker in the state of Colorado. Eliza first joined the Eagle Rock team in January of 2012 as a wilderness instructor and subsequently served as the Public Allies Fellow in Outdoor Education at ER in 2012-2013. She then worked for several wilderness therapy programs facilitating therapeutic extended expeditions. She came back to ERS in 2016 and was our Outdoor Education Program Manager 2017-2022. She is a dog mama, a proud sister and daughter, an avid outdoors-woman, a cook, an artist, and a crafter.