Our Board

Jessica Barnett is in her first year on the Ruth Washburn Board.  She first became involved in the school as a parent 2012, and Jessica has had a fond love for the school ever since.  Her two oldest daughters have spent a lovely four years at the school, and  her youngest daughter is  joining this fall.  Jessica is a Colorado Springs native, and in her life before children taught at a local elementary school.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction for Elementary Education. These days, Jessica enjoys teaching at a local elementary, helping in her children’s schools, playing outdoors, enjoying a great yoga class, cooking, reading, and spending time with her family.

Jessica Curtisis a mother of two young graduates of RWCNS. She is employed as a District Court Judge for the 4th Judicial District in the State of Colorado. Through her legal career, including juvenile and child welfare law, Jessica has experience and training in early childhood development and education. She serves on several collaborative boards and committees within the community regarding the legal system, educational systems, child welfare, and community improvement.  During her time as a parent at RWCNS, Jessica and her husband both worked outside the home on a full-time basis, thus she became quite familiar with and utilized the full-spectrum of RWCNS offerings from morning to afternoon. She chaired the Shopping Committee for three years and worked during Fork & Bottle on many occasions.  Jessica is honored to serve on the Board of Governors for RWCNS. She is a firm believer in the philosophy, mission, and vision of the school, and truly enjoys working collaboratively with others to further a shared vision of a thriving early childhood educational environment.

Suzanne Dillon has lived in Colorado Springs for nearly 20 years, interspersed with adventures living, working, and creating elsewhere. She and her family moved back to Colorado Springs when her son, Cohen, turned one. Cohen is in his third year at Ruth Washburn in the Young 5s classroom. This is Suzanne’s second year on the Board of Governors; she is serving as Vice President this year. Suzanne has a background in education, grant writing, and the arts. She’s a compulsive grammar corrector (sorry!), loves getting riled up about preserving art and history, and enjoys after dinner mosh pits with her husband, Dean, and their favorite punk rock collaborator, Cohen. Ruth Washburn stole Suzanne’s heart the moment she stepped foot on the playground. Her love for the school, the incredible staff, and the broader Ruth Washburn family continues to grow with every passing week. She hopes to contribute her fundraising experience, robust community connections, and creative problem solving skills to the Board of Governors and the school at large for years to come.

Alison Friedow relocated to Colorado Springs in 2017, and shortly thereafter discovered the Ruth Washburn community. As a parent, she is so thankful to have found this high-quality, play-based school that expertly supports not only children, but families. Her son, Henrik, is now in his second year at Ruth Washburn and Alison is grateful for the community connections fostered by participation in the co-op. Alison’s professional experience includes curriculum and organizational development in higher education, government and the private sector. She holds a Ph.D. and certifications in education and learning development, and is currently employed as a Learning Consultant for an independent company. This is Alison’s first year on the Board of Governors and she is honored to serve as Co-op Liaison. After many years of moving around, Alison and family are excited to put down roots in Colorado Springs and to give back to this dynamic school and community.

Kevin Gigiano relocated to Colorado Springs in 2010 with his wife Amanda and daughter Ava (9). Ava spent three wonderfully memorable years at RWCNS. Kevin and Amanda have 2 other children George (3) and Thea (¼).  George just started his Ruth Washburn adventure with the young threes and Thea will be attending RWCNS when she is old enough. Professionally, Kevin is a technology expert and spends his time during the day as a senior software engineer. When not at work or spending time with family, Kevin provides a full gamut of technical consulting services. Kevin also exercises his competitive nature bowling in a men’s league once a week.


Doug Loeper





Nathan Martin








Lara Nafziger is serving her first year on the Ruth Washburn board as the Secretary.  Her daughter is a graduate of Ruth Washburn and currently in kindergarten, and her son will be attending Ruth Washburn for his first year of preschool next year.  Lara was born in raised in Colorado, lived outside the state for about 12 years and returned to Colorado Springs in 2008.  She is a juvenile defender with the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office.  In her spare time, Lara enjoys spending time outside with her family, cooking, reading and traveling.  Lara is very excited to be able to stay involved in Ruth Washburn on the board as an alumnus this year while neither of her kids are attending the school.  She and her family love the community and friends they have made through the coop, and she is excited to be able to give back to it.”

Caitlin Novak is a parent of two Ruth Washburn graduates (Carys and Elliott) and one upcoming Wee Explorer (Miles).  A native of Washington state, Caitlin and her family lived on both the east and west coasts before finally settling in the middle when they moved to Colorado Springs in 2013. Professionally, Caitlin has worked with families and children for the past 10 years in the fields of education and healthcare, most recently as Director of Admissions at Atlas Preparatory School. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, gardening and being outdoors. She is honored to join the board this year and contribute to the incredible Ruth Washburn community in a new way.


Scott Rethi discovered RWCNS shortly after he and his family moved to Colorado Springs in 2015. He fell in love with the school, its philosophy and staff during his daughter’s first year.  Charlie is now enjoying her second year at Ruth Washburn and is hoping to be a part of the Outdoor Program.  Scott works for an independent investment advisory firm, where two of his colleagues are alumni families, and also runs a small market research business. He spends his free time riding carousels with his daughter, trying to get her to eat ANYTHING that doesn’t resemble a noodle, and helping his wife keep track of Charlie’s favorite green blanket.  Scott is thrilled to be serving  on the board in the Treasurer position.

Judy Van Valin is serving her second year on the Board. She and her husband Dana grew up in north western Indiana and moved to Colorado Springs in 1976. They are the proud parents of three children and have three grandchildren. Judy earned her BS in Elementary and Special Education from Indiana University, a Master of Arts Degree in Curriculum and Development from Lesley University, and a Professional Licensure for School Administrator from Denver University. She worked in public education for 32 years; the first 22 as a teacher and finished her career as an administrator in Special Education. As an administrator in Academy School District 20, she had the pleasure of being supervisor of the District’s preschool programs. Judy places great value on family and enjoys spending time with their children and grandchildren. She and Dana enjoy the out of doors and spend time hiking, horseback riding and kayaking. She recognizes what a wonderful early childhood setting Ruth Washburn is and appreciates the quality of services for children, the family involvement and the variety of choices for families it offers. Her grandson Rylan just finished his last year at Ruth Washburn and the family will miss the wonderful caring staff and the age appropriate learning environment and instruction.

Jim V. , Board President