In mid-January, the Seven Peaks Board of Directors reluctantly accepted the resignations of two members: Geoff Chackel, who is focusing on his law practice, and Michael Powderly, who is currently pursuing an MBA in Business Analytics at OSU. We thank them for their service to the Board and wish them the best in their endeavors!
Today, the Board is very proud to announce the addition of three new members, each of whom brings unique skills to the role of directorship and governance.
Amy Barber, Member
For most of the last decade, Amy has worked as an attorney and consultant providing advice in the areas of employment law and regulatory compliance. Her clients have included investment advisory firms registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or individual states, institutions of higher education, and other businesses. Amy also served as the Chief Compliance Officer for a Portland, Oregon-based pension consulting firm. In addition to her role as CCO, she consulted with retirement plan committees and boards on fiduciary duties, investments, plan design, and vendor searches.
Amy currently works in private practice and is also a part-time instructor at Oregon State University Cascades teaching Hospitality Law & Labor Relations. She graduated from the University of Oregon and earned her Juris Doctor and Federal Tax Law Certificate from Lewis and Clark Law School.
Amy lives in Bend with her husband Bill, daughter Brooke, and Hogan, their Jack Russell Terrier. Amy and Bill decided to move to Bend because they felt it would be an amazing place for their daughter Brooke (5th grade) to grow up. They enjoy the variety of outdoor activities (running, hiking, skiing, golfing, horseback riding, rafting…. the list goes on) and Brooke loves attending school at Seven Peaks. They feel very privileged to be a part of such a wonderful community.
Brent Truell, Member
Brent has worked as an engineer and technology leader in the software and cloud services industry for the last 15 years. Brent works in Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing group where he has lead engineering teams responsible for service reliability, customer experience, geo-expansion, and Azure’s 24×7 global operations. Brent has extensive experience in cloud security and crisis management. Brent is currently focused on development of Microsoft Azure’s customer and product strategy for emerging, disruptive technology.
Brent is a member of Microsoft’s Autism Hiring program, providing mentorship to new hires and supporting diversity and inclusion across the company. In addition to his work at Microsoft, Brent is a board member of Peterson Capital Management, a US-based value investment partnership.
Brent grew up in a small town in West Tennessee and moved to the Pacific Northwest to attend the University of Puget Sound where he graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science. Brent and his wife Kerry, a special education teacher, met at UPS and spent the majority of the last 15 years living in Seattle’s east side suburb of Issaquah, WA.
Brent and Kerry live in Sunriver with their two young children Campbell Jane (JK) and Russell (2nd), and their dog Joy. Moving to central Oregon fulfilled their long-held dream to raise their children in their favorite Pacific Northwest community with the sports and outdoor activities they love most: baseball, basketball, tennis, swimming, sledding, and now skiing, skating, hockey, & golf. Both Brent and Kerry are grateful to have their children at Seven Peaks where both are thriving thanks to our wonderful teachers, staff, and parent community.
Jeff Griswold, Treasurer
Jeff joins the board assuming the officer role of Treasurer, offering his financial expertise. Jeff is the CEO and Lead Wealth Advisor at Merit Wealth Management, LLC based in Bend and serving affluent families and business owners throughout the west coast. Jeff is Merit Wealth’s lead on all strategic matters – crafting the firm’s vision, establishing its exceptional standards, and managing key relationships.
Jeff holds bachelor’s of science in Business & Management from the University of Redlands and holds several financial credentials and designations including the prestigious Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA®) designation from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Jeff is a regular speaker at various business and medical/dental conferences throughout the country. He is also an active member of several professional and not-for-profit organizations. Locally, he has served on the Board of Directors of Opportunity Knocks and worked on several committees for Volunteers in Medicine.
Born in Los Angeles, Jeff enjoys golf, mountain biking and reading good biographies. Jeff and his wife Jennifer are the proud parents of Klare (7th grade) and Luca (2nd grade), and owners of Lucy, a small but loud Maltipoo. They’ve called Bend home for the last ten years, having moved to “paradise” from the Willamette Valley and to Oregon from Southern California previous to that.
To contact all members: email@example.com
Amy Barber, Member
Jeff Griswold, Treasurer
Jenny Smithers, Secretary
Carol Tobey, Vice President
Brent Truell, Member
Dietrich von Behren, President
SPS student groups go to regionals
Our 4th – 8th grade students recently had the opportunity to participate in this great annual event, Battle of the Books, which is organized by the Oregon Association of Librarians along with a small army of Seven Peaks parent volunteers. The Oregon Battle of the Books (OBOB) is a statewide voluntary reading motivation and comprehension program. Students in 3rd – 12th grade, regardless of ability, are exposed to quality literature representing a variety of literary styles and viewpoints. OBOB’s mission is to encourage and recognize students who enjoy reading, to broaden reading interests, to increase reading comprehension, promote academic excellence, and to promote cooperative learning and teamwork among students.
Seven Peaks student teams competed for points by correctly answering questions about this year’s assigned books. Seven Peaks will send the winning 5th grade team, “Punctuation Pandas” and the winning 6th grade team, “Nice Shirts”, to the Regional Battle of the Books competition in Sisters, OR on Saturday, March 10th.
Congratulations go out to the winning elementary team: Alicia Watson, Tenner Desmond, Finley Chapple, Madeline Hall and Emma Davidson (not photographed). And to the winning middle school team: Mikhal Hetherington, Will Livingston, Sam Massari, and Jaiden Smith. A special thank you to Seven Peaks School for supporting this event and to the following parent volunteers who helped make this experience a possibility: Kendra Massari, Hazel Chapple, Jeannie Livingston, Ann Nielsen, Laurie Hetherington, Wendi Laakman, Amy Barber, Jenny Smithers, Darcy Davidson, Rachel Preston, Jennifer Egeland, Lisa Kerns, Vigdis Burke, Giselle Beucus, Bridget Evans and Emily Henry.
We want to thank and acknowledge all of the parents who encouraged their children to read, read, read in preparation for the Battle!
Recognizing his years of service and contributions to the organization
The Seven Peaks Board of Directors is very proud to recognize Scott Lovejoy for his many years of service, personal dedication, and financial contributions to the school.
Last Tuesday, topping off the lineup of Re-Enrollment Night presentations, longtime Seven Peaks parent, supporter and former board chairman, Scott Lovejoy was invited onto the stage to receive the Chairman Emeritus Award.
Seven Peaks School co-founder and board member Carol Tobey made the announcement and presented the award.
“Scott is a dear friend, an incredible man with a great heart, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this special recognition,” said Tobey.
Humbled and soft-spoken in his manner, Lovejoy took to the podium and shared some of his heartfelt thoughts. “Thank you very much for this honor. I deeply appreciate receiving it from Seven Peaks, a school which our family dearly loves.”
Reflecting on his past work and experience with Seven Peaks: “I spent nine years on the Board with others who were as committed to this school as anyone in this room. I was honored to serve with them. Each Board member made major contributions to the success of our initiatives and projects, as well as balancing the budget and setting policy. Only the efforts of dedicated, committed parents can accomplish what we all seek for our school.”
Since Re-Enrollment Night is an opportunity for current parents to learn more about what makes Seven Peaks special, while reminded of why they are choosing this school over the other options available to them, Lovejoy explained what he believes makes the critical difference.
“I’m often asked, why do you love this school so much? As with most things one loves, there are many reasons,” noted Lovejoy. “For one thing, we recognize the immense value that comes from the academic rigor and individual attention given to our children. For another, the great community of like-minded parents who have joined together to support and benefit our most precious assets: our children.”
“The parents and families at Seven Peaks set a high standard, and that standard is supported by our entire community, which in turn benefits all our children.”
Lovejoy’s remarks received a standing ovation.
“We couldn’t agree more with Scott’s thoughtful assessment,” observes Tobey. “The Board is committed to continuing the history of excellence and I’m so glad we can still draw from Scott’s wisdom and experience to ensure the future for Seven Peaks.”
Seven Peaks is currently working on a milestone event: the search for the first Head of School to take the organization into the future. Lovejoy continues to be involved through his advisory role to the current Board of Directors.
Design Lab takes on 3D mapping
Maps are an integral part of our daily life and are often taken for granted in the world of Waze and Google Maps. Students in the lower school study geography and mapping in nearly every grade level, and a powerful new learning tool has entered the school: The Augmented Reality Sandbox. This system was pioneered by UC Davis, and we have implemented our version of it in the Design Lab. Augmented reality is groundbreaking technology that, as the name suggests, takes our everyday surroundings and enhances it using projected light or immersive screens. This system draws a constantly-updated physical map, in real time, onto the surface of sand. Fourth grade students were involved every step of the way, from designing to cutting to filling with sand.
The sandbox is simple in principal, yet complex in execution: A 3D sensor (an old XBox Kinect) determines the height of sand in a given square millimeter, and a computer program converts that data point into a square of color, based on the height of sand at that point. That color signal is sent to a projector, which illuminates the appropriate color onto each part of the surface of the sand. Low areas are filled with blue light (representing water), the highest areas are white (representing snow-capped mountains) with a colored gradient representing intermediate heights. Topographic lines are also drawn across the surface of the sand. All of this is done in real-time!
This learning tool has incredible “wow” factor, sucking in both adults and children alike. The display invites the user to engage with it’s sparkling, brightly colored sand. The experience is both relaxing and stimulating at the same time. Multiple observers have noted that a similar setup could be used as a form of kinesthetic therapy, in addition to the more obvious uses such as teaching the concepts of contour, erosion, and topography. Students in the 4th grade immediately came up with some ‘topographic challenges’, such as modeling the Hawaiian archipelago, or mapping the terrain of Oregon, or the area surrounding where NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on Mars. The possibilities here are endless.
Our new Design Lab project was made possible with the expertise and enthusiasm of Kent Chapple, SPS IT Manager. I appreciate his dedication as we designed, built and tested to arrive the final product. Also, I want to thank the Egeland and Bien families for their generous donations.
Ryan Lenz, SPS Design Teacher
Humanities with Mr. Conrad
Our students are engrossed in preparing for our mock trials on December 21st. Both 7th and 8th grades are currently working to go to trial on a case involving suspicions, uncertainties, possible lies, and the illegal use of anabolic steroids to improve the performance of a high school track student. Students have written opening statements, are currently writing questions for witnesses, and will compose closing arguments all in prep for the trial. These are all complex and challenging ideas that require teamwork and critical thinking.
In preparation, our students visited the Deschutes County Courthouse last Tuesday and Wednesday and were able to view video arraignments and speak to Deschutes County presiding judge, Alta Brady. This, in my humble yet correct opinion (yes, that’s supposed to make you laugh) was a fabulous extension of the real world into the classroom. Students were able to ask Judge Brady questions and learned that the process we are going through is very connected to actual criminal trials. It was also the opportunity to ask questions about possible careers in law and to see the complexities of court. I feel an impactful experience for our students was how many young people were in jail awaiting trial, many commented on how young the defendants were.
Speaking of defendants, our 7th grade student on trial is Jack Duettra and our 8th grade student on trial is Jaxon Giordano. Come watch the trials and consider volunteering to be on the jury to decide their fate. A reminder email and request for jurors will be sent next week, I hope many will be able to attend the trial.
Music with Mrs. Miller
Our Holiday Sing-A-Long is right around the corner! We are so excited to show our parents all the hard work we’ve done in preparing for this fun evening. Please have your student to the music classroom at 5:30pm on Thursday, December 21st in festive Christmas attire. Our show will begin promptly at 6:00pm and following the conclusion, we invite you to join us to walking or driving to our neighbors at TouchMark and blessing them with a few Christmas carols. We will sing 3 songs as a school community at the end of our show – and you’ll have the lyrics on your programs to take with you to TouchMark. The residents are very much looking forward to seeing us and we are excited to have this Community Partnership in giving to others. Thanks for all your support!
Helping to develop and drive new enrollment program and build community
Seven Peaks School is pleased to announce the return of Mimi Miller as full-time Admissions Director, focusing on the goal of increasing student enrollment, while also providing marketing support and community development.
Interim-Principal Kent Vallier helped attract Mrs. Miller back to SPS and explains why. “I’m delighted that Mimi is joining us again, bringing important skills to Seven Peaks. Not only does she understand what we offer and can form trusting relationships with new parents through the admissions process, but she also bolsters our school’s team with her enthusiasm and creative ideas,” says Vallier.
During their recent public meeting, the Seven Peaks Board of Directors addressed some of the goals and challenges facing the school, primarily around admissions. With a clear focus on the future, the board emphasized the importance of increasing student enrollment, especially in the Pre-K and early grades, which currently have openings. With local public schools overcrowded and not providing the same level of instruction, Seven Peaks is well positioned for families who want more.
“I’m returning to Seven Peaks because I believe it is an exceptional school. I’m excited to promote us as an independent school offering a well-rounded education within an engaging environment where each child is known,” says Mimi Miller. “Seven Peaks is full of outstanding educators and I want to help them succeed. I see great potential. And I look forward to welcoming new families to this community, building relationships and watching children thrive!”
As a familiar and welcome face for many on campus, Mrs. Miller worked at SPS from 2013-2016 and has remained connected with teachers and families. She understands what distinguishes Seven Peaks and knows how to communicate it.
“Seven Peaks prides itself on academic excellence, educating well-rounded students and providing a sense of belonging,” concludes Vallier. “Mimi has just the right way of highlighting each teacher’s skills and contributions. She’s supportive of our teachers’ efforts, includes them during the admissions process, has great attention to detail and is equally compassionate and supportive of children.”
About Mimi Miller.
Mimi’s professional background is in education, human resources development, training, team management, customer service and client relations.
She began as a fifth grade teacher at a private school for children with dyslexia in Atlanta, where she became a certified Orton-Gillingham instructor. She later became Director of Communication for eAttorney, Inc. where she managed a 15-person sales team. Thereafter, drawn back to education, Mimi was the founder and director of Timberlake Preschool in Redmond, Washington before moving to Bend in 2012. She managed all of the hiring, training, student admissions, marketing and business development at Timberlake and, under her leadership, the school reached its 4-year growth projection in 9 months.
Mimi earned her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of Georgia and attended graduate school in Seattle. She is passionate about continuing education, educational research, and communications. Above all, Mimi adores children and is excited to return to the Seven Peaks family. Mimi lives in Bend with her husband, Jim, and their two daughters, Alexis and Bridget.
Turkey Trot returns to SPS: Wednesday, Nov. 15th
This time last year Seven Peaks School students, with the help of family, friends and neighbors, raised a total of $4,890 which covered the cost of 200 complete Thanksgiving meals and a cash donation to a local food bank.
Tis the season of giving, sharing and embracing those who need of a little extra help in our community. We are happy to announce, in partnership with Whole Foods and The Giving Plate, that we are once again committed to providing complete Thanksgiving meals to local families. These special meal bags will include a fresh turkey complete with all the fixings which will be lovingly assembled by the grade level that raises the most money. Everyone is welcome to join the “trotting fun” on Wednesday, November 15 from 10:30am – 12:00pm at Skyliner Field, adjacent to Seven Peaks School. Once the bags are packed, the winners will also load them onto The Giving Plate truck which will then transport, store and disperse to families throughout our community.
Last year, our 4th graders raised the most money. Therefore, received the honor of assembling 200 meal bags and enjoyed an extended recess with hot chocolate. Our 6th graders ran the most laps during the Turkey Trot and they earned an extended recess with hot chocolate. But for the best turkey costume, Peyton Egeland received two movie passes.
“We are once again so blessed to receive this gift from Seven Peaks at such a critical time of the year. Thank you again for your support”. — Gary Kelso, Founder / Director at The Giving Plate
“We are glad Whole Foods was able to partner with Seven Peaks. We hope we can help again next year”. — Tyson Strople, Store Team Leader Bend OR
The Seven Peaks Board of Directors is pleased to announce the addition of Mike Goldstein as a special advisor to assist the school with important financial analysis and the formation of new strategies and systems designed to adhere with organizational best practices.
Mike Goldstein was formerly vice president of operations at Deschutes Brewery where he worked on complex finance and operational matters that helped move Deschutes into one of America’s premiere independent craft brewers.
“It’s my pleasure to be of service to Seven Peaks and a resource for the board,” says Goldstein. “As an outside advisor, I bring fresh eyes to the operations.”
According to Gary Fish, owner and president of Deschutes, Goldstein offers a wealth of “experience in engineering, employee management, quality control, expansion and efficiency measures.” Mr. Fish adds, “Mike’s work experience, personal ethics and drive to succeed” are valuable assets for any organization.
An accomplished executive, Goldstein holds degrees in Industrial Engineering and Business Finance from Oregon State University. He worked for McDonnell Douglas in Long Beach, CA, and then returned to Oregon to work for Tillamook for six years, ending up as plant manager, overseeing every aspect of Tillamook’s production. Goldstein also served as a consultant and interim CFO for Techsoft 3D.
“We are very fortunate to have Mike join our efforts by generously donating his time and expertise to helping the school during its restructuring,” says SPS cofounder & board member Carol Tobey. “Both the Fish and Goldstein families care deeply about the future of Seven Peaks.”
Mike Goldstein and his wife Kirsten have lived in Bend for over 20 years, and Kirsten is a fourth-generation Oregonian – her ancestors came to Oregon in the 1850s on the Oregon Trail. They have three children, Hannah, age 23; Riley, age 21; and Lauren, age 19. Goldstein also served on the boards of directors for the Central Oregon Family Resource Center and for the Jewish Community of Central Oregon, and is currently on the Advisory Board for the Entrepreneurial program at OSU, Corvallis.