Nina Lopez

Nina Lopez
Board President

We have lived in Boulder for almost 20 years; we moved here to be closer to the mountains and be part of a small community. I was born in New York City and grew up in New York and Puerto Rico. I graduated from a class of 16 students in Puerto Rico and so in many ways the small feel of Bixby is one that feels familiar to my own school experience. I am self-employed as an independent consultant. I work with public school districts and foundations in Colorado and other states, helping them to create and execute strategies designed to improve educational opportunities and experiences for students. Many of the things I love about Bixby are also the same things that I see innovative and brave public education leaders making possible for students in public schools.

We have a fourth grader currently at Bixby and one alumni who is currently in 7th grade.

A favorite thing about Bixby: Personalized schedule; the RUBRIC!; personal relationships between faculty and students.

How long have you been on the board: This is my fifth year.

Why joined the board: I hoped to be a part of the Bixby community and contribute to its future.

Clo Butcher

 

Clo Butcher
Board Vice President

I grew up in Boulder- and went to Bixby for preschool. I am a stay at home mom at the moment but before that I got a degree in Geophysics and worked in various labs. I also ran the tutoring center at Boulder High for 3 years- I love to see kids learn! I hope to go back to school one of these days as my youngest moves into school. I can only hope that I am lucky enough to find professors half as inspiring and dedicated as the Bixby faculty. I am lucky to be married to a truly wonderful person, Mike Hannigan, and to have 3 beautiful, thoughtful, loving boys- Galileo, Calder, and Darwin.

My passions (when I am not focusing on my kiddos) are for sailing, horses, hiking, writing, and quilting.

My husband, Mike, and I have two kids at Bixby- Leo (4th) and Calder (1st). Darwin (2 years old) looks forward to when he will be at Bixby too!

A favorite thing about Bixby: My children are known and appreciated by 30+ adults. My children are truly SEEN- how can you ask for more than that? Some of our favorite days of the year are when we have the rubric conferences.

How long on the board: This is my second year on the board.

Why joined the board: I joined the board because I am extremely passionate about the education that Bixby provides and want to do my part to ensure Bixby’s future.

Nicole Speer

Nicole Speer
Board Secretary

I am originally from Portland, Oregon, and went to college outside of Los Angeles and then to graduate school in St. Louis before landing in Boulder for post-doctoral training at the University of Colorado. My husband and I only planned to stay in Colorado for two years, but like many people we had a hard time leaving Boulder once we had arrived. Eleven years later, we are still here and can’t imagine being anywhere else. We love being so close to nature and all of the outdoor activities we have easy access to. I work at the University of Colorado Boulder where I manage a brain imaging research center that supports dozens of federally and privately funded research projects. One of my favorite aspects of my job is finding ways to let the community know about all the exciting findings that are coming out of our center, particularly around brain development and brain health. There is so much we can do to help our brains thrive at all ages! One of the things that drew us to Bixby is that everything Bixby integrates into their curriculum is in line with current research on how to promote optimal learning and lifelong success in young children. As neuroscientists with elementary-aged kids, my husband and I couldn’t help but send our kids to a school that works with us to instill in our kids the skills we know are essential for academic and life success. I am very excited to join the Board and give back to this wonderful school that gives so much to our children every day!
Ron McClain

Ron McClain
Board Treasurer

I am the parent of two Bixby alumni, one of whom graduated in 2005 and one in 2011. Both of our children attended the school from kindergarten through 5th grade, and when they left Bixby, I felt like they were very well prepared to handle the academic and social challenges of middle school, high school, and beyond. For most of my working life, I’ve been involved in financial management, strategic planning, and mergers and acquisitions in the healthcare industry.

How long on board: I’ve been on the board since 2001 and have served as Treasurer for several years.

Why joined board: I joined the board because I believe in the unique educational philosophy embodied in Bixby’s Mission and Core Beliefs and wanted to help ensure the continuing success of the school. Having seen first-hand the benefits of a Bixby education for our own children, I think it’s important that future generations of students in Boulder also have such an opportunity.

Carol Achatz

 

Carol Achatz

In addition to other rewarding Bixby volunteer activities, I was originally a member of the board from 2001-2010 when my children, Nicholas (2006) and Benjamin (2009) attended Bixby. I am motivated to contribute to the board as an alumni parent because I recognize the benefits of a Bixby education over time and appreciate the opportunities my children had to develop as intrinsic learners and well-rounded people in the rich, caring Bixby environment. Looking forward, I have interest in contributing to the future of Bixby because there will always be children who thrive in this special place. My educational background includes a BS in geology and secondary education certification from Michigan State University. I am a retiree of University of Colorado where I spent my career in all things Information Technology.

Bill Pizzi

 

William Pizzi (Bill)

I am a retired CU faculty member, having taught in the criminal law area at the CU Law for 35 years. My research was comparative in nature and I was able to travel to many foreign countries to see how they handle criminal investigations and criminal trials.

My daughters, Anne and Elise, both went to Bixby and I give Bixby a lot of credit for building a strong foundation of learning in both of them. They have done well academically in the years after Bixby, but I am also proud of their values and the way they relate to others. I think Bixby helped developed that side of them as well.

I am “returning” to Bixby after twenty years away because my granddaughter, Rosemary Westhoff, is in preschool. When my daughter, Anne and her spouse, Ryan, accepted jobs in the Denver area, the first thing Anne asked was that I enroll Rosie at Bixby for when she would turn 2 ½. There is another granddaughter on the way to Bixby, so I was glad to get the call from Lexie to serve on the board as I will be involved with Bixby for some time to come.

How long on board: New this year.

Stephanie Raessler

Stephanie Raessler

 
 
 

I received her BA in International Relations from The College of Wooster and went on to receive her MA in Global Finance, Trade, and Economic Integration from the Korbel School at the University of Denver. I Have worked in both the public and private sphere, as a contractor for the State Department’s Office of Visa Control and most recently for MarkWest Energy Partners where she currently works as the company’s Director of Credit.

About Bixby: One of the most frequent comments I hear from other parents is ‘why wasn’t my school like this? I would have liked school so much more’. Bixby is a rare gem in Boulder, giving kids and working parents a place where the whole family can thrive. It’s important to me to help make this experience continually available to as many families as possible, which is why I find serving on the Board of Trustees so important and rewarding.

Connie Solowiej

Connie Solowiej

My history with Bixby is long and filled with wonderful times in varied roles–as the parent of a student, a volunteer, a long-time reading teacher, and most recently, a member of the Board. Being on the Board provides me with an exciting opportunity to combine my business experience in finance, management, and human resources in profit and non-profit environments (at IBM and The Nature Conservancy) with my encore career in education. I believe in Bixby’s progressive educational model and have a deep affection and appreciation for Bixby’s founders, faculty, families, and students. I am committed to continuing and enhancing many of the things that make Bixby special–development of the whole child in small, intimate classes, a focus on critical thinking and personal responsibility, and a multifaceted assessment process that goes beyond skills analysis to include a learning style rubric and student portfolios. In thanks for the many ways that Bixby has given to my family and me, I look forward to serving Bixby through working on Board.

Holly Sprenkle

Holly Sprenkle

CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer – 10 years, Alumni interviewer for Tufts University – 14 years, Adult Literacy tutor for Boulder Reads – 2 years My undergraduate degree was in Child Study and I was certified in elementary education. I worked for a year as a child advocate in Boston, after law school I was a public defender in Los Angeles for 10 years (including working on hiring and recruitment), worked in litigation for several Denver firms and have worked on a project basis for an e-discovery company for the last 10 years. When I was a parent at Bixby I was head of solicitations for Auction, Auction Chair, and an occasional substitute teacher. My daughter, Julia – a Bixby alum- is a senior this year. How long on the board: New this year. Why on the board: I am interested in education and giving back to organizations like Bixby that I believe in. My daughter will be going away to college next year, and I only work part time on a project basis, so I have time to dedicate to the Board. I am interested in education and I am also very grateful for the education my daughter received at Bixby.

Lee A. Strickler

Lee A. Strickler

I am a managing partner at Stevens, Littman, Biddison, Tharp & Weinberg, LLC, a full service law firm in Boulder. I have been with the firm for nearly 15 years and a “partner” for 13, practicing primarily family law. My husband is Travis Sagrillo. When not working, I spend time with my husband, daughter, and dog, sail, ski, golf, and cook. Not necessarily in that order. Our daughter (technically my stepdaughter), Giavanna (“Gia”) Sagrillo is in 2nd grade and loves Bixby. How long on board: New this year. Why joined board: I joined the board because I love Bixby, what it stands for, and what it offers; primarily, however, because Gia’s education is the most singularly important thing to me, and I joined to make sure that her education and Bixby experience is the best it can be.

Beth Heller Suitor

Head of School

Beth was born into a family of educators, growing up in a small town where three of her aunts were teachers, her cousin was the school principal, and grandfather and mother served on the school board. (Needless to say, she got away with nothing!) With a profound belief that education is the best means of creating a better future for humanity, Beth feels honored to work with children, families, and teachers each day.

Most recently, Beth has been the owner and CEO of Heller Consulting, working with schools in the areas of: executive coaching, board development, strategic planning, fundraising, culture, and sustainability. Prior to that, Beth was Head of School at Montessori School of Evergreen from 2007-2015, having been Assistant Head of School from 2005-2007 and taking over from a founding head who had been at MSE for 30 years. In Beth’s time at MSE, the school gained dual accreditation from Association of Colorado Independent Schools (ACIS) and American Montessori Society (AMS), transitioned to a non-profit, started a thriving culture of philanthropy, added a toddler program, and created innovative advances in entrepreneurship, teacher compensation, and high school placement. In addition to her experience as a school administrator, Beth has worked as a researcher at Erickson Institute in Chicago, as the Site Director of the Boys and Girls Club, as well as an early childhood teacher.

Beth earned a bachelor of arts degree in History (magna cum laude and awarded History Student of the Year) from the University of Colorado, a master of arts degree in Social Science from the University of Chicago, and her AMS Primary Teaching Credential at the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies. She has served on the ACIS Board of Directors where she chaired the Membership Committee, and also on the Governance Board of the Stuart Women’s Club.

Always considering herself first and foremost a teacher, Beth loves empowering children and adults in their growth. Beth is married to John Suitor, II, and has a clever 10-year old daughter named Eva. Experiencing wonder through Eva’s eyes, traveling, trying new things, reading, running, cooking, hiking, and spending time in nature complete Beth’s life.