Board of Trustees

Bixby & Associates, d.b.a. Bixby School, is a non-profit corporation, 501(c)(3), with legal and fiduciary management authority vested in a Board of Trustees and operational management authority vested in the Head of School. The Board of Trustees oversees the hiring, supervision, and evaluation of the Head of School and the planning for the fiscal and strategic stability and longevity of the school.

Stephanie Raessler

Board President

I grew up in Cleveland and attended the College of Wooster where I received a BA in International Relations/Economics.  After graduation, I worked in Washington D.C. until my husband and I decided to experience life “out west”.  We packed up and moved to Denver where I completed an MA in Global Finance at the University of Denver, and we loved Colorado so much that we decided to put down roots!  I’ve worked for MarkWest Energy Partners in Denver since 2007, managing the company’s credit department which is primarily responsible for evaluating financial risk.

Our two great kiddos both attended Bixby Preschool and are now in the K-5 school.

When I’m not working or playing with the kids, you can find me gardening, cooking, or knee deep in non-fiction.  

My favorite thing about Bixby is how it has supported our kids in becoming more independent, confident versions of themselves.  Long ago the Bixby founders realized that children are naturally curious, capable problem-solvers and that the role of education is to support this, not just to impart academic content.  We love that Bixby supports this in every aspect of our kids’ day, from honoring the role of play to how Bixby’s classroom spaces welcome movement and exploration, to the role mealtimes play in community building and how deep, reflective learning is given space to unfold naturally and sustainably, and how consistent care, both before and after the school day and throughout the year, helps all of us to thrive.  I love that when you walk into Bixby it’s unlike any school you’ve ever been in—and the kids will tell you why all of these differences matter.  Because of Bixby our kids love going to school, they are thinkers and questioners and their love of learning has remained strong and joyful.  My husband and I feel this is the best gift we can give them, and the best investment in their future that we can possibly make.

Trustee since: April, 2016

Why I joined the Board: This school has supported and nurtured our entire family—I want to make sure as many other families as possible have the same opportunity.

Carol Achatz

Board Vice President

I moved to Boulder in 1987 after completing coursework in geology and secondary education at Michigan State University. I have spent the bulk of my career involved in IT-related work at CU.

My husband, Tom Morris, and I have two sons, Nicholas and Benjamin, both Bixby alums (2006/2009).

When not at Bixby or engaged in other volunteer commitments, you will likely find me hiking or gardening (basically doing anything to be outdoors), or cooking in the kitchen, spending time with family and friends.

I originally participated on the board from 2001-2010. My years volunteering at Bixby as a parent were rewarding. Whether in the classroom, folding swim towels, setting up the annual bazaar or participating in board activities, I too was always learning and experiencing the community and school we know as 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 will thrive in this special place.

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

Board Treasurer

I am the parent of two Bixby alumni, one of who 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 firsthand 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.

Anne Pizzi
Connie Solowiej

My involvement with Bixby is long and filled with many wonderful times as the parent of a student, a volunteer, a reading teacher, and now, a member of the Board. Being on the Board provides me with the opportunity to promote many of the things that make Bixby special–development of the whole child in small, intimate classes, continued focus on critical thinking and personal responsibility, and a multifaceted assessment process that goes beyond skills analysis to include a unique learning style rubric and student portfolios.

As I shift from the classroom to the boardroom, I am excited to combine my former business experience in finance, management, and human resources in profit (IBM) and non-profit (The Nature Conservancy) environments with my varied history at Bixby, while supporting a progressive education model. It also provides the opportunity for continued connection to the vibrant Bixby community. I have deep affection and appreciation for Bixby’s founders, faculty, and families, and especially so for the students I have taught over the years.

When growing up a in small town in New York, I never quite pictured the road would lead me to this satisfying life in Colorado. And, that Bixby student in my own family is now a recent college graduate, whose love of writing and math started at Bixby. A Bixby education also led to his style of learning concepts deeply with the ability to apply them broadly and in unexpected ways. In thanks for the many ways that Bixby has given to me and my family, I look forward to giving back through working on Board.

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.