P1010109   AmeriCorps_20Years

Steamboat & Hayden High Schools

BenBen 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 as 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 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 in Routt County. In his free  time, Tom enjoys mountain biking, fishing, hunting, cooking, skiing or anything  that involves getting outdoors.

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!

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.  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

KatieKatie Gustin: Katie is a Colorado-born native, hailing from 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 over the years. 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!