Steamboat & Hayden High Schools
Ben Potter: Ben is excited to join the 2015-2016 class of School-Based Mentors. In addition to obtaining a B.A. in psychology from the University of Northern Iowa, Ben owned and operated his own exterior painting franchise and collected data for the center for social and behavioral research in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He was a mentor at the Boys & Girls Club in Waterloo, Iowa and was a counselor at Camp Wapsie in Coggon, Iowa. Most recently Ben served in an AmeriCorps KEYS program, which stands for Knowledge to Empower Youth to Success in Pittsburgh, PA where he taught computer science at an after school program.
Steamboat & Soroco High Schools
Jared Varley: Jared is excited to step aboard the 2015-2016 School-Based Mentoring team. Jared received his Bachelors of Science in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy and Religious Studies from Truman State University in the Spring of 2015. Throughout his collegiate experience he worked as an after-school counselor, a world history and government practicum student, a youth development specialist at the Boys & Girls Club, and as a substitute for the Head Start Program. He is passionate about the intentional relationships that can be established between adults and youth within at-risk circumstances. Jared is looking forward to working with and getting to know the youth of Routt County.
Soroco Middle School
Tom Welle: Tom is originally from Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and German. He is currently interested in pursuing a career in government or business after serving with Partners in Routt County. Tom is excited to return for his second year as a School- Based Mentor and to continue working with the youth at South Routt Middle School. In his free time, Tom enjoys mountain biking, fishing, hunting, cooking, skiing or anything that involves getting outdoors.
Claire Ewing: Claire is originally from a small town in southwest New Hampshire and graduated from the University of Michigan in 2012 with a degree in English. Since graduating, Claire has gone from working in public relations in New York City to teaching ESL in Costa Rica and is so excited to now to be mentoring youth in beautiful Routt County. She has a passion for education, reading, writing, travel and the arts and can’t wait to bring her joy and enthusiasm to the students at South Routt this year!
Steamboat Springs Middle School
Alexa Maestranzi: Alexa completed her bachelor’s degree in Family Studies and Human Development from the University of Arizona. She then went on to earn her Master’s in Counseling with a specialization in Forensic Psychology. After graduating, Alexa worked for a children’s behavioral health agency in Tucson as a care coordinator for kids and families that were in need of additional support systems. She places value on being flexible and adaptable across various situations and hopes to continue to maintain a balance in the many aspects of her life. Alexa is originally from Chicago, but has always said her heart was in Colorado. She is thrilled to pursue a beautiful life in the place that has always been a part of her dreams and is excited for the journey!
Annmarie Blogett: Annmarie is very excited to be back in Colorado, back to the AmeriCorps family, and to join the Partners team as a School-Based Mentor. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Health Policy and Management from Providence College, Annmarie moved to Greeley, CO to serve as a VISTA with both a school-based health center and community health center. After VISTA, Annmarie switched gears and headed to the woods with Southwest Conservation Corps. She served two seasons on a trail crew building and maintaining recreational trails in southern Colorado and New Mexico. This past year, Annmarie worked with Girl Scouts of Maine co-leading after school programs with girls ages five to twelve. She was also a tutor in a summer reading program for students who thrive out of a mainstream setting. Outside of work Annmarie can usually be found playing in the outdoors, cooking and baking, reading, or playing board games! She is thrilled to be working with the students at the Steamboat Springs Middle School and is eager to see what experiences and adventures this year has to bring!
Hayden Middle School
Rachel Jackson: Born and raised in Michigan, Rachel visited Colorado many times growing up and always longed to call the state her home, and now she’s thrilled to live in Steamboat Springs and be part of the Partners family! She graduated from Michigan State University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, and during college she attended service trips to urban middle schools and helped organize high school journalism workshops. Rachel is a voracious reader and writer in her free time and loves hiking and exploring Steamboat! She is excited to get to know the youth of Routt County and make some meaningful connections!
James Hix: From the gentle mountains of northern New Jersey, James is staying for his sophomoric AmeriCorps term with Partners in Routt County. His experience in working with youth has been informed by many years as a summer camp counselor, assistant summer camp director, youth director and after-school enrichment provider. James is committed to working with youth to foster their own sense of happiness and goal- based achievement and to expand their horizons. In 2012, James graduated from Eastern University with a bachelor’s degree in Youth Ministry. In the future, James will become an English teacher to fan the flames of eager young imaginations. For fun, James is an avid player of Ultimate Frisbee, reading and writing, and exploring the world around him. James has also expanded upon his popcorn-popping techniques that he discovered in his first year as an AmeriCorps mentor.
Soda Creek Elementary & North Routt Community Charter School:
Dan Lazarus: Dan is originally from Stamford Connecticut and went to the University of Vermont to pursue a degree in Environmental Studies and Sociology. Dan became amazed with the natural world and is looking forward to exploring the beautiful state of Colorado. He has experience working with youth in a variety of different settings, from leading camping trips in the Accursed Mountain range in south eastern Europe to working at after school programs in Vermont. Dan hopes to pursue a career in outdoor and environmental education where he can continue to grow and share his experiences. He is excited for his adventure to continue, and cannot wait to connect with the community here in Steamboat. YEEHAWWW!
Strawberry Park & Hayden Valley Elementary
Katie Gustin: Katie was born and raised in Littleton, Colorado. Katie received her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Fort Lewis College in Durango. Her past work experiences have given her a wide range of skill sets. In high school she worked at Peabody Elementary School in Centennial, CO supervising their after school program. In college, Katie managed the Information Desk which was the hub of direction and information for her campus. After she graduated, she was a full time nanny and is now excited to accept this AmeriCorps position as a School-Based Mentor. In her free time she love to trail run, hike, ski, and read outside. She is ready to start a new job and adventure in this beautiful town and can’t wait to meet students and bring another positive, smiling face to the community!