Maureen Muller - Office Manager
Jill Pidcock – Director of Development & Community Relations
Jill is a parent of a son with autism, an ordained minister, and an autism advocate. She is a PEAK Parent mentor, serves on the Colorado Autism Commission, and works for the Roaring Fork School District. Jill brings a wealth of insight into the autism and larger communities, enabling ESC to find the resources needed for sustainability and growth.
Jessie Poquérusse – Winter Program Manager
Jessie was born and raised in France and graduated with a degree in Neuroscience, during which she conducted research in neurodevelopment at the Montreal Neurological Institute. She has since developed a passion for working with populations with neurological disabilities, from volunteering at a center in Peru to working as the Outtrip Program Director at a specialized camp in British Columbia. She honed her outdoor leadership skills working for the Appalachian Mountain Club and the McGill Outdoors Club, as well as ESC’s summer 2012 rock climbing instructor. Jessie will start medical school with a focus in developmental neurology or wilderness medicine in the summer of 2013 — and she's thrilled to spend the year prior with Team ESC!
Candice Lomaka – Program Manager
Candice grew up in Michigan, where water and outdoor activities are a prevalent part of life, and naturally spent her formative years kneeboarding and tubing, swimming, canoeing, hiking, camping, and snow skiing. She graduated from Central Michigan University, where she studied Therapeutic Recreation and Aquatic Therapy. She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. Candice began volunteering in Special Education classrooms and Adaptive P.E. classes when she was in high school and found a passion for working with people with disabilities. While in college, she volunteered with Special Olympics, Best Buddies, and Michigan Adaptive Sports, and she attended several Adaptive sports clinics, where she gained experience in adaptive kayaking, skiing, biking and climbing. After college, she became experienced in Aquatic Therapy and community re-integration programs for people with spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain Injuries. She moved to Aspen in 2008 and since then has shared her love for the sport, by teaching skiing to kids. Candice is a certified ski instructor and children's specialist through PSIA. She began teaching skiing with our winter program last year and began working full time in the office in the spring. She's very excited for another winter on slopes with ESC!
Carly Knauf – Winter Intern
Carly was born in Michigan and learned how to ski and snowboard at a young age from her older brother and sister. She has loved spending time on the snow-covered mountains ever since! Carly is receiving her Master's in Rehabilitation Counseling from Michigan State University, where she has specialized and focused her work on youth and adults who have been diagnosed with ASD. Carly has over 10 years of experience working with individuals who are on the spectrum in various settings and was a member of the ESC summer program. Excited to start another season with the ESC family, Carly can not wait to hit the slopes with all the awesome campers this season!
Kevin Hartman – Multi-Media Specialist
Kevin was born in and raised in the Aspen area and because of that has a passion for everything that the outdoors has to offer. He has an associate of arts degree from Colorado Mountain College and is trained in numerous computer programs. Currently he is working towards a Computers Information System degree from Regis University. Kevin has a background in automated surveying and creating construction documents. This winter will be Kevin’s first year working with ESC and is excited to see all of the campers.
Winter Program Staff
Chase Bowlby – Ski and Snowboard Instructor
Chase started with ESC in the summer of 2006 and has been an integral part of the team, serving as a lead instructor for each of the adventure sports we offer. Being born and raised in the Roaring Fork Valley could only mean one thing…. Chase would master Alpine Skiing, Snowboarding, Rafting, Water Skiing, Wake boarding, Skateboarding and the many other sports that this great valley has to offer. Chase is certified in White Water Rescue, a certified lifeguard and is a certified PSIA ski and snowboard instructor. He has taught swimming at the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool & Club, served as as a raft guide with Blazing Adventures and has been an adaptive ski and snowboard instructor for Challenge Aspen. Chase has worked with individuals with autism for eight years.
Mathew McCabe – Ski Instructor
Matt started with ESC in the winter of 2010-11 and continued as a river specialist, counselor and program developer. He is now one of our ski instructors and river specialists. Matt also works as a private aide for a local resident. Sharing his passions with children on the spectrum has become his main focus. Matt has a degree in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration from Western Illinois University with a minor in Outdoor Leadership and Business Administration. Alpine skiing and whitewater sports are his favorite outdoor pursuits, but he actively participates in many other adventurous activities. Matt proudly admits that his greatest passion is sharing these experiences with other people, and that is exactly why he has chosen a career in adaptive/therapeutic recreation. Matt is an adaptive ski instructor, is PSIA-certified, a Wilderness First Responder, Swift Water Rescue Technician, and all-around humanitarian. Matt has worked for Challenge Aspen, Aspen Whitewater Rafting, Smoky Mountain Outdoors, and various other outdoor recreation providers.
Ron Rash – Ski Instructor
Ron moved to Aspen from Steamboat in 1985. He started teaching telemark and downhill skiing at Aspen Highlands in 1986 and guiding in the backcountry. Ron has now been guiding in the Aspen area for over 20 years with over 150 ascents of the Bells and Pyramid Peaks. Ron was a past board member and training officer with Mountain Rescue Aspen. Ron is still a current full member of Mountain Rescue Association. He is also a professional member of the American Avalanche Association and has been teaching avalanche courses for 20 years. When not guiding for Aspen Alpine Guides, Ron is a senior instructor with the National Outdoor Leadership School; teaching new instructor courses along with winter, rock climbing, and educator courses.
Blake Snyder – Ski Instructor
Denny Ives – Ski Instructor
Denny is a Certified Professional Ski Instructor and PSIA Accredited Children’s Specialist. He started skiing at age two and has progressed within the sport ever since. He raced during high school and into college at The University of Denver. Denny started teaching skiing at Boston Mills Brandywine Resort in Ohio, coaching Special Olympians and teaching children of all ages. Denny joined the staff of the Ski and Snowboard Schools of Aspen/Snowmass in 2008, working with children and their families. Denny is patient and imaginative. “When you unlock a child’s imagination, anything is possible”. When not teaching skiing, he can be found working for the United States Forest Service and playing in the mountains of Colorado.
Mats Cooper – Ski and Snowboard Instructor
Mats is an adaptive ski instructor and freestyle and children's specialist who has taught skiing and snowboarding with the autism population at Snowmass since 2007. This half-Swede grew up part-time in Snowmass,playing all the local sports including skiing, mountain biking, disc golf, baseball, swimming and hiking the 14ers. Mats earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Harvey Mudd College, then went on to earn his Master of Science at Stanford University and completed all but thesis in the PhD program at MIT, working as a Teaching Assistant through grad school. In addition to teaching on the slopes, Mats has worked with K-12 special needs in the downvalley school districts. A diehard snowboarder with Avalanche Certification, Mats has shredded the Alps, Scandinavia, and travelled to the Andes mountains of Argentina, while teaching at the Las Lenas resort there. Mats has worked in China, Korea and the Netherlands as an engineer, and is always thinking of new teaching techniques and ski equipment to invent. Mats is honored to serve the ESC athletes and bring the joy of extreme sports to everybody.
Rob Leavitt – Ski Instructor
Rob was born in Western Massachusetts and graduated from Harvard College in 1986. He started teaching skiing in 1989 and is currently based at Aspen Highlands and is PSIA certified in Alpine, Telemark and Adaptive skiing. He is also a licensed General Contractor, president of Aspen Valley United Jewish Appeal and serves on the Basalt Town council.
Rob is married to Erika and they have two beautiful daughters: Eden Tess, 9 and Jordan Bee, 7. In his free time, he enjoys fishing, biking and hiking, and cooking.
Scott Schlichter – Ski Instructor
Scott is from Austin, Texas. He began skiing at the age of 5, and made the move to Colorado 11 years ago. 2 years later, he came to Aspen, and has lived here ever since. He takes advantage of everything the Valley has to offer, including hiking, camping, climbing fourteeners, rafting, skiing, snowboarding, volleyball, soccer and disc golf. Scott studied Psychology at Texas State University. He's worked at San Marcos Treatment Center from 1997-2001, and Tangram, a treatment home for individuals with head injuries from 2001-2002. Scott has volunteered/worked with ESC for 4 years as a ski buddy, and also works at the Ritz-Carlton and Brexi Brasserie, in Aspen. He is now one of our ski instructors and he's very excited to be a part of another season, with Extreme Sports Camp!
Patty Kohler-Overstreet – Ski Instructor
Patty comes to ESC this winter as a PSIA-certified Alpine Ski Instructor with Alpine Freestyle 1 and Children's Specialist 1 certificates. Upon graduating from Missouri State University with a BS in Outdoor Education/Recreation, Patty worked as the Assistant Director tof the Bradford Woods Outdoor Education Program. She took a break to explore the mountains and teach skiing for just one season, fell in love with the mountain lifestyle, and never left. She and her husband have made the Roaring Fork Valley their home since 1983 and have had the pleasure of raising two children here. When not on the slopes, Patty is in the classroom as a substitute teacher for the Roaring Fork School District.
Justin Engels – Winter Camp Buddy
Justin grew up in Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2010 with degrees in Political Science and Sociology of Law, Criminology and Deviance. He enjoys all types of outdoor activity and is an avid sports fan. He first began working with kids as a basketball coach and tutor for inner city youth in Minneapolis. Justin joined the ESC team in the summer of 2011 and proved to be a natural at facilitating sports and activities for people with autism. He has received extensive autism training as part of a home team, covering ABA techniques and developmental/relationship strategies. His calm demeanor and patience have made Justin a great addition to our staff!
Adam Lorang – Winter Camp Buddy
Born and raised in the "Badger State," Adam recently graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a degree in Elementary Education and a Science minor. While attending UWO, he volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club and the Christine Ann Center and was involved in other school organizations and activities. Whether the sports are very "extreme" or not, he enjoys everything from snowboarding to Scrabble. Although his passion for the outdoors was sparked at a young age by tramping through the woods and camping all over Wisconsin, it was only when he began to travel out of state that it gained a whole new significance. After a great year in the Aspen area, he is looking forward to continuing his work with the ESC family!
Michelle Berkowitz – Adult Program Manager, AVSC Buddy
Michelle Berkowitz grew up in the Chicago area and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology/Spanish from the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. After teaching Environmental Education in Connecticut, she moved to St. Louis, MO where she worked for three years as a Paraprofessional in the public schools, while achieving her Master of Arts degree in Special Education. It was during her first year teaching in a classroom of students with Autism that she discovered her love for this population. She began to devote more and more time to helping students with Autism as a home therapist before moving out of the state.
For the past five years, Michelle has been working as a Special Education Teacher at the Aspen Middle School in Aspen, Colorado. Her experience at the school district has involved teaching a variety of different disabilities and age groups in classroom and vocational settings as well as on outdoor education trips. She also works with a family of a young adult with Autsim after school hours to develop his programming. Both positions allow her to not only work hands-on with the students, but train others about best practices when working with students of different disabilities.
Michelle has been volunteering with Extreme Sports Camp for the past two summers as a counselor and consultant. She has enjoyed the experience so much that she decided to make it a full-time job this summer as the Adult Program Manager of the new Adult Work Program. Michelle continues to work on the Adult Program with plans to expand it. She will be working as a buddy for the local kids in the AVSC ski program this winter. She is currently working on a Board Certified Behavior Analyst program through the University of Colorado-Denver, to expand her knowledge and career with the autism population.
Miranda Townsend – AVSC Buddy
Miranda was born and raised in South Dakota right along the Missouri River. She attended the University of South Dakota and received her Bachelor’s in Special Education and Elementary Education in 2009. After working with students on the spectrum, Miranda’s desire to continue this work influenced her decision to go back to school to get her Masters in Special Education with an emphasis in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Behavioral Disorders. After teaching for a year in South Dakota and graduating with her masters in 2011, she moved to Washington state to live and work as a Special Education teacher in a migrant community.
The greatest pleasure in Miranda’s life is teaching students with different, specialized needs, so she is beyond excited to continue sharing and experiencing outdoor activities with students on the autism spectrum! She loves outdoor activities such as hiking, snow and water skiing, swimming, boating, biking, camping, and- her new favorite thing to do- ROCK CLIMBING!
Miranda began working with ESC this summer as the adult team supervisor and loved the valley so much, she got a job working as a special education teacher here! This winter, Miranda will be working as a buddy for our local kids participating the AVSC ski program.
Fred Stover – AVSC Buddy
His name is Fred, but everyone calls him Derf (Fred backwards). As a boy scout, he was introduced to hiking, camping, kayaking/canoeing, and whitewater rafting. It is because of these experiences that he fell in love with the great outdoors and decided to major in Parks and Resource Management at Slippery Rock University. In addition to his studies at Slippery Rock, Fred worked with at-risk males at a youth detention center. Fred was a counselor for ESC this summer and now works at the Basalt High School as a para-professional for the adult transitional program for students with disabilities. This winter, Fred will be a buddy for our local kids participating in the AVSC ski program.
Keenan Sturm – AVSC Buddy
An Illinois native, Keenan recently moved to the Roaring Fork Valley to work for ESC and has taken to the community and his role as a counselor with natural ease. A graduate of Western Illinois University with a Bachelor's degree in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Administration with an emphasis in Outdoor Recreation and Education, he has pursued his passion for nature education and recreation as a sea kayak guide in Norway, as a wilderness education teacher during a 126 day expedition from Canada to Mexico, and a cabin leader at an outdoor education program in California. Keenan worked as a counselor for both our winter and summer programs, and now works full time as a para professional for special education classes in valley. He will be working as a buddy to our local kids participating in the AVSC ski program this winter.
Jake Goldner – AVSC Buddy
Jake Goldner spent three years teaching in Chicago Public Schools and has experience working with children with special needs. Though he is several years removed from teaching, he actively substitutes in the Aspen School District and has been very helpful within the Special Education Department. He moved to the Roaring Fork Valley a year ago and has have several jobs, most of which in the service industry. He is passionate about helping all children experience the joys of skiing and is very excited to have the oprtunity to be as AVSC Extreme Sports Camp Ski Buddy this season.
Mike Kubasiewicz – AVSC Buddy
Alexa Maes – Apres Ski Buddy
Born and raised in the Roaring Fork Valley, Alexa has recently discovered her passion for special needs children. With countless hours of volunteering for therapeutic riding centers and Special Olympics, she has had a lot of experience in working with disabled children, but only hopes to gain more. She is a Junior at Roaring Fork High School with dreams of becoming a special education teacher. Alexa is looking forward to sharing her love and passion with ESC and gaining knowledge on what it takes to improve the lives of others through interaction and friendship.
Diane Osaki, OT – Consultant to Extreme Sports Camp
Deeply involved in the shaping and development of our programs, Diane has played an integral role in our success. Year to year, she has helped to continually improve our program quality which makes the experience and benefits for the kids who attend the Extreme Sports Camp the best they can be. Diane is personally involved in our training each season and provides valuable on-site direction and guidance for our entire staff. She attends periodically during the summer and winter programs to provide guidance and training throughout our programs.
Diane Osaki is the Early Start Denver Model Director of Firefly Autism. She was the founder and executive director of the center – originally known as the Aspen Center for Autism – in 2003, and served on the board from 2007 to 2010. She is a pediatric occupational therapist and has been working with people with developmental disabilities for nearly 20 years, specializing in treatment for children with autism and their families. Prior to opening what was then the Aspen Center for Autism, Diane was with JFK Partners at the University of Colorado Health Services. Diane is a member of the Association for Behavior Analysis, the Autism Society of America, and the American Occupational Therapy Association. She was also on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Chapter of the Autism Society of America. Diane provides educational and behavior consultation to families and schools in Colorado and around the world. Her intervention focuses on building positive relationships and the science of instruction to improve learning in all areas of development.
Sallie Bernard – President
Deb Sullivan Gravelle – Executive Director
Deb comes to us with more than 20 years of outdoor recreation and sports program experience. A Boulder native, skiing is her first sport, but over the past 25 years she’s competed in the sport of sailing, which included a few years racing on the US SAILING team. With a great passion for the outdoors and recreation, she feels it’s important to share her passion to be outside and active – her primary goal is to make sure everyone has an activity to take them outside for wellness and for LIFE. Deb holds an undergraduate degree in Physical Education and taught middle school PE for 10 years. She also has her master’s degree in Sports Administration and has spent the last 10 years running and directing sailing and skiing programs both in the US and abroad. During her time with US SAILING, she certified and trained sailing instructors and coaches and is a member of the National Faculty, where she spends time developing and editing training manuals. Deb and her husband Bill are excited to be in the beautiful Roaring Fork Valley and working with Extreme Sports Camp.