Our current Board includes:
John Abdelnour – Buena Vista, CO
Growing up in western Oregon and spending many summers at the A/U Ranches, mostly in the rafting program, gave me a great appreciation for outdoor activity. After working at A/U full time as a camp director and 100 Elk director, my wife Allison and I traveled around the world filming a land management promotional video for the Savory Institute. We visited many amazing places and decided that Buena Vista was where we wanted to settle. We started a multimedia company and planted ourselves in town.
I’m now the sales and marketing director for a new division of a software company that provides an online platform for organizations and schools to raise money through crowdfunding and e-commerce solutions.
I’ve enjoyed accompanying The Link School on rafting, kayaking, skiing and mountain biking excursions as well as teaching photography, video production, and cooking classes.
When I’m not working at the computer, I’m on my mountain bike, in my kayak, walking Lucy (the dog) around the frisbee golf course, or taking some turns at Copper Mountain.
Portia Benson – Ballwin, MO
I have worked in several different occupational fields throughout my career and have enjoyed them all! My teaching experience started as part of my undergraduate degree at Principia College. I student-taught Early Childhood Education at a vocational high school in Denver. I loved working with the students, and enjoyed seeing the students learn the skills of managing a preschool – and now I teach full time at Principia College in the Business Department.
After graduation, I spent many years as a technical trainer, which allowed me to travel the world teaching people how to use computer systems. I really got to understand the unique ways in which people of different cultures and backgrounds learned the best. I realized that the traditional classroom atmosphere was not always the most productive learning method.
I took additional courses to obtain my Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Certificate, and have worked with English Literacy programs tutoring Hispanic women in different regions of Colorado.
Learning is a lifelong goal for me. I recently obtained my Masters of Business Administration from West Texas A&M University. My ‘bucket list’ is full of new adventures. I regularly get to complete items on my list, however for each item that gets crossed off, I generally add two or three new goals!
John Caldwell – Lincoln, MA
I grew up on a farm in West Texas and made my escape to the Adventure Unlimited Ranches for nine heavenly summers. Like most campers at any of the Christian Science camps, I found outdoor adventure to be the perfect laboratory for practicing my religion. When our oldest daughter chose to attend The Link School for her senior year I was at least as excited as she was and couldn’t wait to get back to Buena Vista. Louisa’s senior year held everything she hoped it would – adventure, incredibly close friends, alternative education and an atmosphere where she made huge gains in her sense of maturity and responsibility.
Our family is now in eastern Massachusetts where we love everything about New England, including Camps Newfound and Owatonna in Maine, where I serve on the Board, my wife Julie teaches art and contributes architectural expertise and our daughter Katelin works on staff in the summer. A partner and I run a real estate investment company in Boston and I also serve on the Board of an umbrella organization that runs Head Start schools.
Kristin Jamerson – Mercer Island, WA
I am happy to live in the great Northwest, and take advantage of our lakes and mountains as much as possible! I am often on my bicycle, sporting about town or into the hills, and yes, I do ride in the rain. I am a “professional volunteer” with duties at church, in the high school that my daughter attends, and at the Seattle Art Museum Olympic Sculpture Park, where I talk with the public about modern art and environmental stewardship. With my two daughters, I have traveled abroad, gleaning global awareness and appreciation for other perspectives.
Kay LaMontagne – Evergreen, CO
I have been involved with education for most of my career. I received a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in English, and my M.A. from San Francisco State University in Education. Earlier in my career, I co-founded two high schools: Verdant Vales in 1974 and Meridian West in 1978. Following that, I taught at Evergreen Middle School, and then, from 1988-1993, I was a seminar presenter and speaker for U.S. West Education Foundation, focusing on parenting issues.
I also participated in bringing charter schools to Colorado, was the Chairman of the Governing Board of D’Evelyn High School from 2003 through 2007, was appointed to the Governor’s task force to review applications for distribution of grant money to Colorado Charter Schools from 2004 through 2006, and have been serving as a board member on the D’Evelyn High School Education Foundation since 2009. In addition, I own and run Mountain Home, a retail furniture store in Evergreen, Colorado.
Peter Swank – Boulder, CO
Much of my time growing up in Minnesota was spent outdoors playing with my three older sisters and younger brother. After moving to St. Louis in the middle of high school, I spent two weeks during the summer at A/U and fell in love with the outdoor activities, community support and practical application of Christian Science. The next four summers were spent at camp working the mountain biking and hiking programs. When I finished college, I moved to the Arkansas Valley and began working for The Link School during the school year and the National Outdoor Leadership School over the summers. This fueled my passion for the outdoors and allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of myself and the next steps in my life.
After two years in Buena Vista, I moved to Boulder, CO and began work on my graduate degree. I have since completed my MBA degree in Energy Management. This setting provided me with the perfect opportunity to focus on academics and work, while also staying close to my love of the outdoors. It has been wonderful to stay connected to Link though quick weekend visits because of my close proximity. I see all the wonderful work that is happening at Link and I am excited to continue to be apart of it.
James Orlet – Buena Vista, CO
For a complete biography on James, please click here.