Dev loves adventure and the kind of learning that changes who we are and how we see the world. Dev earned a Ph.D. in ecology and later discovered that while chasing butterflies made him happy, education made him passionate. He’s been sharing adventures with young people ever since. In the late 90’s he became an advocate for students and families learning outside of the classroom, and started The Vision Program, which utilizes public funds to support over 600 students in learning however and wherever they want while still earning a diploma. Dev has worked for Sterling College, with inner city youth as a VISTA Volunteer, as a counselor at Not Back to School Camp, and as a river guide. He is most fulfilled when working outside of traditional classrooms, mentoring students to figure out how to lead a life full of meaningful, wonderful moments.
Marian has worked in alternative education in Paonia for eight years. Some of her adventures include running a produce company, living in a tipi for several years, installing a photovoltaic system in India, and apprenticing as a home birth midwife. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Colorado College and enjoys growing greens, making pesto, skiing with her dad, and mountain biking with Dev. She loves that her work at the High Desert Center brings together her passions for sustainability, food, outdoor adventure, travel, and community.
Jenna is a dancer, clown, gardener, and maker. She lives at the Lookout Arts Quarry in the Pacific Northwest, cultivating gardens, exploring the forest, organizing festivals, making hats, and diving into clown and partner dance. Jenna is interested in exploring communication, consent and relationship through partner dance and clown. Past programs: Gap Year 2016
Chris brings enthusiasm especially in the kitchen, on the dance floor, and for all our building projects. He is a union carpenter and has managed several professional kitchens. Past programs: Gap Year Participant 2015-16.
Cori grew up homeschooling in midcoast Maine. At age 14 she left home and family to spend a year abroad in Costa Rica, where her passion for adventure and the Spanish language and culture flowered. Since then she has independently explored France, Italy, Nicaragua, Belgium, Mexico, and most recently, Spain, where she spent three months solo-hiking the Camino de Santiago, backpacking around the country, and volunteering on organic farms. When not galavanting around the world, she loves frisbee, dogs, art, singing, dancing, and playing her guitar. Past programs: Gap Year Participant 2015-16.
Rae brings her experience in managing kitchens, building, and her passion for group facilitation and community living. She has travelled the country dancing and has worked aboard a sail boat. Things that are important to her are being honest, making real connections, laughing really hard, getting lost in making art, existing in the woods around trees and mountains, taking a look at the stars when they’re out, and remembering that we’re all only human. Past programs: Gap Year Participant 2013-14.
Lainey started unschooling at the age of 10, diving into music and quickly becoming a multi-instrumentalist. Her love of music enables her to connect deeply with the world around her and foster community through shared creativity. Music plus connection made partner dance intriguing and since 2016 she has traveled the USA and abroad to hone her latest passion. Lainey also enjoys all things food, especially those using sustainably sourced organic ingredients. She’s happiest when crafting delicious local meals, working with young people, doing yoga, eating cheese, and discussing LGBTQA topics.: Gap Year Participant 2016-17.
Milla’s love of jazz and blues music started young and has only grown since her discovery of blues dancing four years ago. It was love at first dance, and since she has traveled all over the country to master and teach her greatest passion. Milla is a advocate of alternative education, LGBTQ+ rights, and anti-ageism. She is most fulfilled when co-creating intentional spaces for community, passions, and personal growth to flourish.
Huck brings enthusiasm and style to all things High Desert Center related. He’s climbed mountains and is currently working on both his Spanish and English speaking skills.