Community Representative - Vice President - Augenblick, Palaich & Associates (APA)
Amanda Brown recently joined the Odyssey School Board in July 2020 as a Community Representative. Amanda is Vice President and an owner at Augenblick, Palaich and Associates (APA), a Denver-based consulting firm. Over the past fifteen years she has worked nationally to develop equitable and adequate school finance systems and address education policy issues, including working in Colorado and with metro area districts. She previously served as a board member at PS1 Charter School in DPS between 2009 and 2011. Amanda holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Colorado, Denver, and Bachelor’s degrees in Advertising and Sociology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Amanda and her husband live in Park Hill with their four-year-old daughter. They love living in the city and taking advantage of all Denver has to offer.
Community Representative - CEO - Urban Peak
Christina is the CEO at Urban Peak. Before joining Urban Peak, Christina served as the Vice President of Development at The Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Prior to that, she worked as the Director of Development at DSST Public Schools and the Executive Director of the Family & Intercultural Resource Center in Summit County, Colorado. Christina’s professional background includes teaching, child protection case work, and fundraising. She has served on numerous non-profit boards and is currently the Chair of The Civic Canopy. She is passionate about education and creating inclusive equitable learning environments for all children. Christina was named Newsmaker of the Year in 2005 by the Summit Daily for her work surrounding immigrant integration. She holds a B.A. in Art History from Willamette University and an M.S.W. from The University of Denver. Christina spends her free time with her family which includes her children John and Samson.
I moved to Denver in 1998 to pursue my Master’s and teaching credential, after working in corporate positions in San Francisco for several years. Soon after beginning my studies at University of Colorado, Boulder I began my student teaching at the Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning (RMSEL), where I first learned about the power of teaching academics and character in student-centered and meaningful ways. I was hired a few months later as a Middle School Humanities Teacher and spent the next seven years teaching and planning expeditions, fieldwork, and service learning for middle and high school students, while obtaining my national board certification in Early Adolescent English Language Arts.
After leaving RMSEL, I went on to teach and lead in Denver Public Schools for seven years, where I taught in a turnaround school, served as an Assessment Specialist for the district, and worked as an Assistant Principal at Westerly Creek Elementary. In 2013, I returned to EL as a School Designer, and I supported Colorado schools with implementing EL’s core practices. After a brief stint with the Colorado Department of Education, I served as a Turnaround Support Manager where I coached leaders in struggling schools and districts. In 2016, I became Executive Director at Odyssey, where my son is a student. I am committed to increasing clarity of our mission and vision of our remarkable school, setting measurable and shared goals with staff, board members and parents, and holding ourselves accountable for meeting these student-centered goals.
Community Representative - School Retool Director
Travis Haley, Treasurer
Travis Haley joined the board as an independent community representative in early 2018 after becoming interested in Odyssey’s mission through a friend, a parent of an Odyssey student. Travis works for the Colorado Department of Revenue managing investments and transactions for the marijuana industry. Travis’ prior experience includes Main Street Capital as a Managing Director and Ernst & Young. He has served in various board capacities for non-profits, including educational institutions with non-traditional curricula, and he is highly supportive of EL. Travis has a Masters in Accounting and a Bachelors in Business from Trinity University. Travis resides nearby to Odyssey with his two children and two dogs, Cooper and Kimmy Gibbler.
Jonathan Helfgott, Secretary
Community Representative - Asst. Attorney General Consumer Protection
Director of Culture & Adventure
“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.” I grew up on the east coast in Massachusetts. When I was 16 I had a life-changing experience rafting the deep canyons of the west and I was inspired to discover the world outside my front door. At 18 I moved to the western United States and I graduated from Colorado State University achieving a degree in Wildlife Biology with minors in Fisheries and Rangeland Ecology, which led to my passion for teaching in an outdoor environment through recreation and stewardship. I lived in Western United States for 5 years until seeking experience internationally working and living in Australia for 3 years. I have been an active outdoor professional for the last 13 years. I began guiding rafting trips on the Arkansas River, which led to more intense wilderness-based expeditions with Outward Bound, Collegiate Universities, and Commercial Guiding Outfitters throughout the United States. I have worked and traveled throughout the world to broaden my knowledge and experience to construct high quality adventure-based programs for groups of all ages. I am a new resident to Denver and I own two active dogs. I have been a Volunteer Ski Patroller and a teacher of CPR. I also teach wilderness medicine for the Longleaf Wilderness Medicine Company because I believe in the positive impact that it can have on a person’s life by empowering people to respond in both front and back country settings. I am incredibly excited to be working within the Odyssey community as the new Director of Adventure Programming. It will be an amazing opportunity to work with students and their families to help support and accomplish the mission of the Odyssey School of Denver.
Parent Representative - Project Manager
David joined the Odyssey Board as a Parent Representative in 2020. He lives close to Odyssey with his wife and three children (who have been attending Odyssey since Kindergarten). David works as a Project Manager Consultant guiding organizations through important strategic and tactical changes. He is known for successfully managing highly complex technology and process transformation projects with multiple stakeholders. He has consulted for dozens of companies in the financial services, public utilities, healthcare, government, consumer electronics, and public education sectors. David has a B.S. in Decision Sciences from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, but growing up I spent my summers on a sandbar in Lake Erie and my winters on a snowboard in Keystone. When I was 9 my family moved to Warsaw, Poland, for 3 years, and the international community left a lasting impact on my love for new experiences and appreciation for perspectives different from my own.
After receiving my Masters in Early Childhood Education and teaching both 1st and 2nd grade in St. Louis for 4 years, I stumbled upon some books about EL Education. When I first learned about this approach I was overwhelmed with how well it aligned with my own goals and values as an educator, and knew it was the direction in which I wanted to take my teaching career. I joined the Odyssey community during the 2016–17 school year as the K–2 math specialist, and am so grateful to now be learning and playing alongside Odyssey's youngest learners as a K/1 lead teacher.
Parent Representative - Professor
I grew up in Kansas and obtained a B.A. in Microbiology from Kansas State University before heading off to Seattle to complete a Ph.D. in Immunology then to Berkeley for postdoctoral studies. I moved to Denver for a faculty position in 2004 and was promoted to the rank of full Professor at University of Colorado School of Medicine in 2015. My day job primarily involves training professional and graduate students and running an externally-funded research lab focused on defining how inflammatory and immune responses are regulated in the context of infections and other diseases.
Outside of work, I enjoy camping, hiking, biking, and pretty much anything else done outdoors or in the company of my wife, Carrie, and our three children. Our family has been a part of the Odyssey community since 2014. The expeditionary learning model and focus on fostering a love of learning and growth of the whole child initially brought us to Odyssey. Our participation in the adventure program and other activities here has enabled us to witness firsthand the empowering of our children and their crew-mates. It has also been inspiring to see the commitment of Odyssey's families and staff towards sustaining this wonderful community and school. As a parent representative on the Board of Directors I have the opportunity to work with other members of the community to help ensure that Odyssey School of Denver continues to excel as an EL institution that educates and grows children to their fullest potential.
Community Representative - Child & Adolescent Psychotherapist
I am excited to be joining the Odyssey board this year as a community member. I have spent the last seven years as the Director of Counseling at Annunciation Catholic School, which is also an EL school. I have always admired Odyssey as an inspiration for EL schools around the country. I am eager to support the school's passion for adventure, inclusivity, and character building. I currently have a private psychotherapy practice located in the Stanley Marketplace. I live in Stapleton with my husband and two kids (5 and 3). We are in the process of training our children to be avid skiers and climbers. I have a BA in economics from Colorado College and a MA in counseling psychology from the University of Denver.
Community Member - Sr. Investment Associate
Community Representative - Creative Strategist
Justin Silverstein, Past-Chair
Community Representative - Co-CEO - Augenblick, Palaich & Assc.
Justin joined the Board in the Spring of 2010 as a community member. He is co-CEO of Augenblick, Palaich and Associates, a Denver based education policy consulting firm. Justin focuses on school finance issues and helps policy makers at both the state and district level evaluate and solve funding issues. He lives in Stapleton with his wife Jenn and their two kids, Cooper and Chloe. Justin enjoys skiing, tennis, running, and avoiding injury while playing lacrosse. He is active in his church where he and his family help run the Family Promise initiative which houses homeless families three times a year in the church. Justin is a Colorado native who attended Heritage High School in Littleton and then went on to study accounting at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Meredith Wenskoski, Chair
Parent Representative - President at Livable Cities Studio, Inc.
Meredith joined the Board as a Parent Representative in 2018. She is the President of Livable Cities Studio, Inc., a Denver based urban design and landscape architecture firm. Meredith’s work focuses on urban redevelopment, parks and public space design and significant public outreach processes with an emphasis on developing responsible and innovative designs that respond to the needs of the place and community. She is distinguished for her leadership, design and project management of large-scale complex efforts. Meredith’s work highlights the role of public space as a way to stimulate redevelopment and creates socially active spaces that provide long-term benefits for cities. She is passionate about creating diverse and inclusive communities for everyone. Meredith lives in Congress Park with her husband and children.