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Board Members and Committees

Board of Trustees

President: Martha Sullivan


Vice President: Dr. Kristan Morrison
I am an associate professor of education at Radford University. I teach courses on the history, philosophies and economics of education, as well as a summer online course on alternative forms of education. My research interests lie in the area of school restructuring – to make them more democratic/self-directed, and focused on the whole child (mind, body, and spirit). My research on unconventional schools includes studies of the Albany Free School, the Blue Mountain School, the DSIL (unconventional school in Thailand), Montessori schools, Quaker schools, homeschooling/unschooling. I have blogged in the past for the Institute for Democratic Education in America as well as Cooperative Catalyst. The key reason I am serving on this board is because I would very much like to be on the “front line” of work to bring my visions for education to concrete reality. What I offer the board is dedication to the cause, in-depth knowledge of how other such schools are structured, curriculum-development knowledge, and my skills of organization and detail orientation.

Secretary & Treasurer: Luke Staengl
Luke is a visionary pioneer in many fields of human endeavor – from learning to understand the human psyche, sociology, as well as practical solutions to some of the worlds pressing problems of resource conservation and environmental preservation. Because of his interest in a different approach to education he co-founded Blue Mountain School in the early 80s, and is a strong supporter, both morally and financially. He is keenly interested in seeing the school grow and blossom, and wants to see more diverse curricula, more classes for the older kids, and eventually an alternative high school with affiliations to the colleges and universities in the area, as well as apprenticeships with local farmers and industries. He founded an Intentional Community in the Blue Ridge Mountains (Anahata Bio-Community) and a revolutionary education center (Anahata Education Center) which focus on personal growth, interpersonal relationship, new ways of accessing and processing our unconscious contents, and understanding human behavior and motivation. Luke has been the driving force behind several high technology environmental companies since 1979, including PESCO, PESCO-BEAM, and VENDCO LLC. He also serves as Board Member and Vice President of Sustain Floyd Organization, which focuses on creating a sustainable resilient Floyd Community, through the development of local industries which will provide markets for local crops, and creating value added industries for local raw materials, resources and talent.

Rick Parrish
Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Rick Parrish is a graduate of J.Sargeant Reynolds Community College and Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Horticulture and completed graduate-level studies in Landscape Architecture. Prior to university, he served in the United States Coast Guard and has worked in various construction, mechanical, industrial and landscaping positions. Rick has served on several nonprofit boards, including Luther Memorial Church, Blacksburg, Lutheran Student Ministry at Virginia Tech, Chrisitansburg Downtown Development Partnership, The Voluntary Action Center (President), Habitat for Humanity of The New River Valley (President), Floyd County Chamber of Commerce (President) and The Rotary Club of Floyd County (Secretary). Rick and his wife Nancy have lived in the New River Valley since 1987 and have resided in Floyd since 2008. Currently living in the Town of Floyd with Nancy, his daughter Jessi and grandchildren Tiamon and Norah, Rick is a Realtor with McCraw Real Estate & Auction Company and co-owner of Fancies & Follies Consignment Home Furnishings. Rick’s interests include gardening, music and spiritual development.

Hope Sharp

Teacher Representative
Stefi Schafer (non-voting)
Shelly Emmett (non-voting)


Governance Committee: Responsible for ensuring optimal board operations by reviewing and proposing changes in policies and procedures, planning for leadership succession, arranging financial audits, creating and maintaining evaluation policies, and evaluating the Board, the Trustees, and the Director.

Finance Committee: Responsible for financial oversight, setting tuition rates and staff salaries, reviewing scholarship applications, developing the annual budget, creating and maintaining financial policies, financial planning, and taxes.

Development Committee: Responsible for creating and maintaining development planning and policy, marketing and advertising the school, fundraising, grant development, and creating an endowment.

Facilities Committee: Responsible for oversight of current facility maintenance and planning for future facilities.

Community Committee: Responsible for increasing Blue Mountain School's web of influence, through marketing, public relations, and relationship building.

Curriculum and Accreditation Committee: Responsible for accreditation, curriculum development, oversight of programs, including special programs such as summer camp and Friday enrichment, evaluating staffing needs, providing relevant information to other committees as necessary, and reviewing teacher and staff evaluations.

Personnel Committee: Responsible for hiring and dismissing Directors, generating contracts, reviewing hiring and dismissal decisions made by the Directors, conducting Director evaluations and reviewing staff evaluations, and assisting with resources and planning for teacher development.

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