The SMCS Board

Aurora Cutler (Director)

Aurora has Master’s degrees from the American University in Washington, D.C. in Environmental Policy and Foreign Policy.  She currently teleworks from her home in Howard as a Sustainability Information Specialist for the United States Forest Service out of Washington, D.C., working on natural resource issues effecting the nation such as drought, carbon disturbance, and sustainability.  Aurora strives to generate excitement that leads to behavior change through effective communications.  She uses every opportunity to demonstrate links between the issues that matter to people and emphasizing ideas and innovations that excite others about the future. Through effective communication practices, it is Aurora’s goal to show what roles others can play in making immediate and possible changes to improve our environment.


Leslie Kemp (Chair)

Leslie has an MBA from the University of Kansas.  As a Product Manager for Hallmark Cards and Eastman Kodak, she was responsible for managing budgets ranging from 20-50 million dollars.  Leslie has also worked as a Grant Administrator for the Park County School District and as a Quickbook administrator for a few schools and small businesses.

In her current role as Communications Director for Pinto Barn Inc., Leslie is responsible for marketing and public relations for our company and its two divisions.  She leads internal and external resources in the development of strategies and implementation of tactics relating to messaging, content, advertising, website, social media, media relations, packaging, in-store, collateral, events, sponsorships, direct and partner marketing and internal communications.



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Courtney Landry (Director)

Courtney graduated from Southern Methodist University with degrees in Psychology and TV/Radio.  Courtney earned a Master's Degree in Psychology, with a specialization in Early Childhood from Antioch University.  She worked as a therapist with children and families.  Courtney moved to Salida, Colorado in 2007.  Courtney has spent much of her free time volunteering and fundraising for her children's schools. She was a member of the SMCS Steering Committee, and a current Board Member for SMCS. Courtney is Co-Chair of the SMCS SAC committee and works for SMCS as the Registrar and Office Administrator.


Sunny Murphy (Treasurer)

Sunny has been volunteering in her children's schools for the past twelve years. She volunteered for six years in various leadership positions at a public Montessori school in Colorado Springs. While living overseas, she was able to accompany her children on many of their field trips as a chaperone and organized large events for the PTA. After four years abroad, she moved to a farm outside of Salida. She has a BA from Colorado State University and is pursuing a Master's Degree in Arts and Culture.

Erin Oliver (Director)

Erin is the owner of Erin’s Geothermal Greenhouse, a commercial greenhouse producing vegetables year round.  She also owns and operates Antero Hot Spring Cabins, a vacation rental.  She has experience with business planning, budgeting and employee management. Erin was a co-founder of Guidestone, a local nonprofit committed to growing a vibrant agricultural future through education, community building, and partnerships were she served for many years.


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Margaret Rush (Director)

Margaret Rush, RN, WHNP, BSN, MA. In her early adulthood, Margaret worked as a labor and delivery nurse, and then returned to school to become a Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner. She helped start a co-operative Women’s HealthCare Clinic in Denver where she became a jack-of-all-trades as clinic supervisor/administrator/ practitioner. In retirement she and her husband traveled extensively—particularly falling in love with Latin America. Cherishing education and learning, she returned to school as an adult learner and received a Master’s Degree in Transpersonal Psychology.  Always a lover of children, after raising their own family, ten years ago Margaret and her husband adopted a beautiful, Guatemalan baby boy, whom, Margaret says, has become her best life-teacher.  First a member of the steering committee which conceived of, and did the leg work to establish, the current Montessori Charter School, she is now a member of the Board.


Bill Smith (Vice Chair)

Bill is a lawyer in Salida, Co.  He is an active member of the community and always works hard to contribute in meaningful ways.  Bill was a Steering Committee member that helped to write the SMCS Charter.  He considers himself to be an average guy and in one area he says he is above average:  Bill claims to be one of the luckiest people alive for he has a lab, a grey cat, two children and a very, very tolerant wife, whom he adores.  (He also has a healthy sense of humor.)


Chuck Tomkiewicz (Secretary)

In 2010, after nearly 20-years working as the Trails Construction and Maintenance Supervisor at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska,  Chuck and his family moved to Colorado when he accepted a position as Chief of Facilities Management at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve just south of Salida.  There he supervises a staff of 14 employees and manages an annual operating budget of $750,000.  With focus' on energy efficiency, sustainability, and serving park visitors, he has developed, secured grant funding for, and managed, construction projects totaling nearly 20-million dollars for the NPS.  

As a steering committee member Chuck helped develop the founding charter for SMCS.  He now serves on the SMCS Board of Directors as Secretary, as well as on the Facilities Committee.

Chuck loves life in Salida with his wife Karen and their two daughters, who both love going to school at SMCS.  They all enjoy rafting, camping, backpacking, gardening and caring for an ever expanding flock of animals around the homestead.