History of ARPS

In 2008, the Aspen Ridge founding committee was formed.  The committee consisted of 30 parents, educators and community members. Their effort led to the writing of a charter application that was submitted to the St. Vrain Valley School District in August 2009. The St. Vrain Valley School District Board of Education unanimously approved the Aspen Ridge charter in November 2009.

2010-2011 was a planning year for Aspen Ridge. The school contracted for the construction of a new building, hired staff, purchased equipment and curriculum, and held public information meetings. The school moved into its new building on July 1, 2011.

Aspen Ridge Preparatory School opened its doors to 175 students in grades K-5 for the 2011-2012 school year. At the end of its first year, the school was awarded Accreditation with Distinction for its outstanding academic performance.

During 2013-2014, student enrollment increased to 203 and Aspen Ridge was honored to be awarded Accreditation with Distinction for a second year in a row. Aspen Ridge continues as a top performing school within the St. Vrain Valley School District and the state of Colorado.

Aspen Ridge was unanimously granted a 10 year charter renewal by the St. Vrain Valley School District in January 2014 and continues to provide a quality education choice to families, staying true to its mission, vision, and small class sizes the Founders envisioned.

Meet the Founders:

Allison Schnell, M.Ed.

Allison Schnell earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Regis University. She also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Speech Communication from the University of Northern Colorado. Upon graduation, Ms. Schnell taught at Liza Jackson Preparatory School, a high performing Success For All  charter school.  Ms. Schnell has worked with charter schools for many years researching and approving curricula as well as developing sound educational programs for schools.

In addition to her personal commitment to Aspen Ridge and the students of the Erie community, Ms. Schnell brought her experience as a classroom teacher to the team. She provided expertise in the implementation of curricula and instructional practices at the classroom level.

Allison Schnell served as the President of the Aspen Ridge Preparatory School Board of Directors for three years. She and the founding committee wrote the charter and grant applications, hired school administrators, faculty, and staff, and worked closely with the St. Vrain Valley School District,  the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado League of Charter Schools to establish Aspen Ridge.

Ms. Schnell continues to work in the field of education and is proud to watch Aspen Ridge continue to flourish for years to come, not only for her nephew who was among the first class of Kindergarteners to attend ARPS, but for the Erie community as a whole.

Sherrie Reed

Sherrie Reed holds a Master’s Degree in Special Education and a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education from University of Northern Colorado. She has worked as a special education teacher and an administrator in alternative education for fourteen (14) years. Ms. Reed has been actively involved in teacher development programs, through numerous workshops and seminars, authoring several curricula and designing the Behavior Blueprint ™ Classroom Management Model. She has worked as Field Supervisor and Faculty Member for City University of Seattle and National University. Ms. Reed brought a passion for working with students with special needs, designing an inclusive environment, and developing school culture.

Ms. Reed served on the founding committee and served as Vice President of the Aspen Ridge Preparatory School Board of Directors for three years.

Jacinda Herrera

Jacinda (Cindi) Herrera received her Master’s Degree in Special Education from Florida State University following Bachelor’s degrees in both Geography and Mass Communications from Northern Michigan University. Since 1996, Ms. Herrera has been involved in the development and operations of several charter schools and has actively supported them in many areas of administration. Through this participation, she gained extensive experience in all aspects of charter school operations, including the ancillary programs necessary for a charter school to function successfully, and understands the many demands of operating such a unique program. Her areas of expertise include charter school application and renewal processes, grant writing, internal audits, and food service programs.  In addition to her experience in charter school operations, Ms. Herrera brought a passion for experiential learning to Aspen Ridge.

Ms. Herrera was a part of the founding committee and served as Secretary/Treasurer for the Aspen Ridge Preparatory School Board of Directors for two years.

Jeff Smith

Jeff received his Master of Architecture from CU-Denver in 2001 and undergraduate degree from CU-Boulder in 1995 in Biochemistry. Jeff Smith has been an Architect with Tryba Architects working on a number of civic and institutional  design projects including the Denver Botanic Gardens and the History Colorado Center.  Between 1999 and 2006, he was an architect with three smaller firms in Denver and Lexington, KY.  During this time his work was focused on single and multi-family residential projects, along with some light commercial buildings.

Mr. Smith joined the Aspen Ridge founding committee in 2008, with his young children in mind. He worked closely with the builder of the Aspen Ridge Preparatory School facility, Irwin Companies, in the initial planning stages of planning and construction. He served as a parent representative on the Aspen Ridge Preparatory School Board of Directors during the initial planning stages.

Traci Silva

Traci Silva received her Bachelor’s degree in Education with a minor in Early Childhood Education and English as a Second Language (ESL) at Wichita State University. Ms. Silva also received a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Wichita State University.  She was a Core Knowledge History Teacher, a lead teacher, and charter school Principal.

With her experience in Success for All, Core Knowledge, FOSS science and her love of education, Ms. Silva was an integral part of the founding committee of Aspen Ridge. Having two children of her own, she had a passion for Aspen Ridge. Ms. Silva served on the Aspen Ridge Preparatory School Board of Directors as a parent board member during the initial planning stages.   She served as the school office Secretary and Vice Principal when the school opened. She was then hired as the Vice Principal of Aspen Ridge and served during the inaugural year until her family relocated to Kansas.