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High School

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Our extraordinarily caring, dedicated, and involved faculty and teachers are committed to public Waldorf educational values and ongoing training.

John Chalmers (High School Dean of Students)

John came to us from Thailand where he has been for the last seven years establishing a Waldorf high school outside of Bangkok. He is originally from California where he attended the University of California and California State University. He spent seven years in Los Angeles in the 1990’s the Director of Operations and eventually Vice President of a trendy Chinese herbal company and retail stores called the Tea Garden Herbal Emporiums but came back to Waldorf Education to teach at the Honolulu Waldorf School in 2002. He has been teaching high school humanities ever since that time. He loves to swim, surf, hike and power walk – ideally in nature – and is open to any invitations of enthusiastic and experienced guides. He is here with his daughter Samantha Jean, who is in 1st grade this year.

Coming SoonJen Reed (High School Administrative Assistant)

Jennifer was born and raised in Eastern Colorado.  She moved to the Western Slope 12 years ago with her husband and now 3 kids, ages 11, 10 & 7.

She loves spending her free time doing photography, camping & riding the trails of the beautiful Rocky Mountains with my family.



Coming SoonBriana Board (Science)
Briana Board is pleased to be part of the JRCS 9th and 10th grade team for Science!  Originally from Oakridge, Oregon, Briana received her B.S. in Secondary Science Education from Montana State.  She has enjoyed teaching science in outdoor education programs both in Montana and right here in the Grand Valley at Colorado National Monument where she was a ranger.  When not at JRCS, she can be found ski patrolling at Powderhorn, helping at Rapid Creek Cycles in Palisade and having adventures with her family and hound dog, Otis.

DAWN COOPER (World Language – Spanish)

A very dynamic and student-centered educator, Dawn Cooper has dedicated her professional life to creating authentic learning experiences. She loves sharing this enthusiasm with her students and the community at Juniper Ridge Community School.

Dawn brings an extensive and diverse instructional background- in the back country and in the classroom. She has 10 years of classroom teaching experience in traditional and non-traditional school settings. She has developed and run wilderness academic summer programs and place-based after-school programs for youth. Dawn’s love of learning has led her to live, travel, and study around the world.

When not teaching, Dawn can be found sharing her passion for mountain biking and local adventures through her business, Boneshaker Adventures, or welcoming travelers from around the world to the guesthouse she runs out of her home.

Dawn loves being outside, cooking, traveling, dancing, and exploring in her VW Westfalia with her two dogs.


Maile Simpson (Math)

Maile is married with three sons. She moved here from Georgia and feels like she has found our true home. The snow is her favorite part since she didn’t have that down in the South.

Maile has been teaching for 18 years and has taught 7th through 12th grade. She received her Masters degree from Georgia State University and is also National Board Certified in Math.

She loves reading, hiking and playing board games with her boys

Anna Goetz (English)

Anna Goetz has been an educator since 1987, teaching both middle and high school and serving as a teacher coach, assistant principal and principal for Mesa County school district.   Anna obtained her National Board Professional Teacher License for Adolescent Literacy in 2000 and finished her career with District 51 as the principal of R-5 High School.  She has spent the last three years building her co-owned business, Essentials in Learning, and working for various school districts to provide professional development and coaching for their educators.

At the request of MCVSD 51, Anna returned in December, 2016 to serve as the principal of Wingate Elementary and officially retired in June, 2017.  She has experience teaching grades 6-adult students of all abilities and working with K-12 students in the area of literacy, executive skills, leadership and social-emotional issues.  She loves working with students and helping them discover their strengths and a renewed confidence in learning.  Anna is excited to teach her own class for the first time in years and to join the Juniper Ridge community.


Coming SoonRichelle Mechem (Humanities)

Richelle Mechem is the new humanities teacher at Juniper Ridge High School, teaching history, literacy and art. She began her education career in Kansas at the Lawrence Arts Center Preschool back in 2011. She moved to Grand Junction in 2016, where she worked at Orchard Mesa Middle School. She loves working with children of all ages. However, Richelle is particularly excited and passionate about teaching the humanities to high school aged students. Richelle believes that students learn with higher success when they are allowed to explore, discover and create through guided, interdisciplinary and interactive instruction. Outside of class, Richelle is usually found in a library, a museum, painting in her studio, or hiking in the beauty landscape of the Western Slope.