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BOD Profiles

General Board email:

Ann Laffaye

Ann-Laffaye Email


Ann holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in marketing with a minor in computer science from St. Bonaventure University. She started her career as in a consultant role, doing benchmarking (comparative analysis) in the IT space for Fortune 1000 and Global 500 companies. Ann has been with Gartner, Inc., an information technology research and advisory company, for over 25 years. She founded Gartner’s business intelligence function from the ground up, focusing on sourcing critical data, building meaning metrics and using balanced scorecards for the executive team and business unit leaders. She has also driven strategy programs that look to transform key elements of the organization. Ann and her husband Pat have two boys who both attend Durango’s charter middle school, Mountain Middle School. Ann is passionate about her family, her job, the outdoors and film.

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” -Wiliam Butler Yeats

Linda Fitts-Liberman



Linda has worked on a cruise ship, at a ski resort, at Lake Powell, at a magazine and filming a cigarette commercial (she’d never do that now!). Before she became a full-time mom, her career was in non-profit organizations, working in Public Relations, Marketing and Development. Linda has been a stay-home mom for the last 17 years and has relished that time with her children; throughout that time she has kept very busy doing contract work in her field and volunteering on committees and boards. She has over 20 years experience working with various boards of directors and nonprofit committees in both professional and volunteer leadership capacities, including Del Alma, Durango Adult Education Center, Durango Discovery Museum, Children’s Museum of Durango, School District 9R, Congregation Har Shalom (where she currently serves as secretary of the board) and Animas High School (where she served on the School Excellence Committee for the last 3 years and chaired the Parent Advisory Committee last school year). Linda has a BA in Business Administration and Marketing from Mesa College and a MA in Journalism from the University of Colorado. She brings excellent written and verbal communications skills to the board and will help the board with marketing, outreach and communications. Linda has two children at AHS, her son is an incoming freshman and her daughter is graduating in May 2016. Linda is married to David Liberman, a local attorney. Linda enjoys hiking, rafting, paddle boarding, seeing live music and tennis.

“Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.” -Christopher Hitchens

Mary Polino


School Excellence Committee Co-Chair

Mary has been a nationally certified Montessori teacher for over 20 years. She, along with a few Durango families, founded Durango Montessori Elementary School in 2005. Mary currently functions as the Director of Curriculum and Staff Development at DMS. She is accustomed to the demands of a growing school, is familiar with day-to-day staff and school needs, and understands the importance of the mission and duties set forth by a Board of Directors.  She is happy to now be involved with Animas in a way that will use her knowledge and specific talents. She is excited to be a part of the growth and maturity that will be written as the next few chapters of Animas High School’s story.

When Mary isn’t working, she is usually traipsing all over state and country supporting her daughter, son and husband in their mountain bike racing aspirations. When she is not cooking an extremely healthy, vitamin, mineral, protein-packed, carb-loaded, and perfectly balanced meal for her athletes, she is biking, hiking, running and talking in a funny voice to Lefty, the family Chihuahua.

Colleen Dunning


Board Governance Committee Co-Chair

Colleen Dunning was a founding teacher at Animas High School beginning in 2009 and helping to get the school off the ground. Her work at Animas began with freshman physics and math, she then moved on to sophomore Biology. Colleen quickly took on leadership roles; serving on the Building Leadership Team, Credit Remediation & Promotion Committee, and liaison to the Board of Directors. In 2015, Colleen made the decision to leave Animas High School to pursue other interests, but she remains involved by serving on the Board of Directors. Colleen hopes to provide an educator’s voice on the board. Her six years as an Animas High School teacher and community member means Colleen has a wealth of institutional knowledge and an intricate understanding of the organization.

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” -Aristotle

Jeff King


Board Member, Facilities Committee CO-Chair

Jeff comes to AHS with experiences as varied as R&D chemistry and construction.  With a BS in Chemical Oceanography from Florida Institute of Technology, an MBA from the University of San Diego and experience at major pharmaceuticals companies, he met his match as a stay at home parent and really went out on a limb by homeschooling his two sons for a year.  Since 2013 he has been focused on construction and remodeling projects for Axis Health System in Southwest Colorado.

The core value of not just what you learn but how you learn it is what makes Animas High so attractive to many parents which is what the King family weighed heavily when evaluating high school options.  Key pieces of the Animas philosophy around advocating for yourself and working on teams that allow for divergent thinking with the need to converge for a finished result will serve Animas High School students beyond the educational environment.

Christina Knoell


Board Member

She is a Michigan native who moved to Southwest Colorado in October 1998.   Before that, she served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines (1996-98), working as an alternative livelihood specialist and community organizer in a coastal village on the island of Guimaras.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University in Organizational Communications and Environmental Studies.   In 2012, she received a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Colorado – Denver campus.   She has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 20 years—and works as the the Executive Director for the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging, a local nonprofit that helps older adults stay independent.   She is passionate about helping people of all ages.  

Christina’s daughter Olivia attends Animas High School.  She has another daughter, Lilivina who resides in Pagosa Springs with her father.  She hopes that Lilivina will attend AHS someday.   Christina thinks it would be fun to lead a travel group of AHS students to the Philippines, where they can experience the magic of southeast Asia.

Favorite quote: “The only thing that is constant is change“    – Heraclitus (Greek philosopher)