ELLEN FREEDMAN, President, a native of New York City, began her career in Boston and moved to the Roaring Fork Valley in 1994 as the program coordinator for the Advocate Safehouse Project, an organization aiding victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Glenwood Springs. Ellen was part of the Aspen Community Foundation team beginning in 1997 and served as executive director from 2001 to 2005. Ellen has served on the boards of English in Action and the Schuss Charitable Trust. After a break to spend more time with her two small children, Freedman served as executive director of The Manaus Fund from 2012 to 2014. Ellen is a member of the Basalt Elementary School’s Accountability Committee and chairs Basalt’s “Our Children Our Schools” parent engagement group. A graduate of Bowdoin College, Ellen lives in Basalt, CO, with her husband, Auden Schendler, and their children.
ELAINE GANTZ BERMAN, Vice President, also serves as a Trustee of Metro State University of Denver. Elaine’s life and work has been strongly influenced by her Cuban-born mother and her extensive experiences in Latin America including a two-year stint in Cali, Colombia with her husband, Steve, where they both worked in community health centers. A longtime advocate of education reform, she served for eight years on the Denver Board of Education, including four years as president prior to serving on the Colorado State Board of Education from 2008–2015 representing Colorado Congressional District 1. Prior to serving in elected office Elaine worked for 18 years as a program officer at the Denver-based Piton Foundation. She has served on numerous not-for-profit boards and commissions and helped to found the Colorado Children’s Campaign, the Adoption Exchange, the Colorado Education Initiative and the Colorado Non Profit Development Center. She currently lives in Denver, CO and works with DeBoskey Group, a philanthropic advisory group as Senior Strategist and continues to serve on numerous state and national education boards and commissions. She is fluent in Spanish and holds a MSPH from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
ROBERT C. PEW III, Secretary/Treasurer, is Chairman of the board of directors at Steelcase Inc., the global leader in the office furniture industry. Now a private investor, Rob served as president of Steelcase North America from May 1990 to March 1994. Rob is also an owner and director of Trew Gear, manufacturer of outerwear for mountain riders. Rob is a former trustee of Grand Valley State University and is currently board chair of the IIT Institute of Design. His varied activities in the not-for-profit sector include Buncombe County United Way, Chair of the Community Planning and Allocation Process and campaign chair of United Way of Western Michigan and president of Junior Achievement of Western North Carolina. Rob served as chair of the Asheville Downtown Commission and campaign chair for the Pack Place Arts and Science Center. Rob lives in Ashville, NC and Woody Creek, CO with his wife, Susan Taylor.
RICHARD GONZALES is General Counsel for Colorado Mountain College. He also serves as a board member of Mountain Family Health Centers. Previously, Richard was a Denver attorney with a practice specializing in public finance, nonprofit/government matters and business/real estate transactions. He previously served as general counsel for Stapleton Development Corporation and the University of Denver, and held partner status with the law firms of Sherman & Howard, LLC, Lindquist & Vennum, PLLC, and GCR LLLP. Dedicated to community service, Richard has worked on the governing boards of numerous community organizations, including Mi Casa Resource Center (board president), KUVO/Rocky Mountain Public Broadcast System (board executive committee), and Craig Hospital. He also received mayoral appointments to the Metro Wastewater Reclamation District, Lowry Redevelopment Authority and St. Anthony’s Central Hospital Community Advisory Task Force. Richard holds a law degree from Stanford Law School and a bachelor’s degree from University of Colorado in Boulder. Richard lives in New Castle, CO with his wife Lisa Gonzales.
JAMIE HELZBERG is a community volunteer and mother of five children. Her previous business career was in marketing and business development at publishing and Internet companies. She is a trained guidance counselor and is passionate about education and opportunities for children. Jamie currently serves as the chair of community engagement for Aspen Country Day School. She also serves as Spouse/Partner Officer for the Aspen chapter of Young Presidents’ Organization. Jamie previously served on the boards of the Kansas City Symphony and Rose Brooks Center, a domestic violence shelter. She also served on the board of University Academy, a K–12 college preparatory charter public school in Kansas City, MO. Jamie’s educational background includes a B.A. in psychology from the University of Kansas and an M.A. in Counseling from New York University. Jamie lives in Aspen, CO with her husband and children.
PAULA NICKELL joined the Valley Settlement board of directors after having volunteered her time in Valley Settlement’s Learning with Love program for families with infants and toddlers. Paula has volunteered in the communities she’s lived in both in the US and Colombia, including her family’s Foundation in Cali, Colombia. Paula earned an engineering degree from the Colorado School of Mines. She then returned to Bogota, Colombia to start her engineering career. Paula left the workforce once she became a parent and returned to the US with her husband while he earned an MBA. Prior to that she attended a bilingual high school in Bogota, Colombia. Paula and her husband Jonathan moved with their three children to Aspen in 2013 as their oldest daughter wanted to attend High School in the US.
RABBI DAVID SEGAL serves as the Rabbi at the Aspen Jewish Congregation. He also serves on the boards of the Aspen Homeless Shelter and the Pitkin County Senior Services Council. He writes a Torah commentary for the Union of Reform Judaism’s Ten Minutes of Torah and a monthly column for the Aspen Times, blogs occasionally, and dabbles in stand-up comedy. Previously, he worked at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, DC. He was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. During rabbinic school, David interned as a hospital chaplain in Seattle, WA and as a community organizer with the URJ’s Just Congregations in Boston, MA. David graduated from Princeton University with a BA in Classics and Jewish Studies, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. David was born and raised in Houston, TX, yet is no stranger to the Roaring Fork Valley, having spent summers here for the first twenty years of his life. He lives in Basalt, CO along with his wife and co-clergy Cantor Rollin Simmons, and their two children.
PATTI STRANAHAN joins the Valley Settlement board after years of close engagement with the organization. She also serves on the board and is chair of the board development committee at the Needmor Fund. Patti also serves on the board of the Thrift Shop of Aspen and the Forest Conservancy. Previously she served on a number of boards including the Aspen Community School, the Aspen Historical Society & the Aspen Youth Center. Patti has lived in the Roaring Fork Valley for over forty years, where she co-founded and -ran the iconic Woody Creek Tavern with her husband, George Stranahan, the visionary founder of The Manaus Fund, parent of Valley Settlement. Patti volunteers at the Thrift Shop of Aspen, one of the region’s quiet yet powerful philanthropies, and for the Forest Conservancy as a Wilderness Ranger. Patti lives in Carbondale, CO with her husband George, two cats and one dog—their six children having left the nest & nine grandchildren who circle back periodically.
ROB STEIN is Superintendent of the Roaring Fork School District. He also serves as President of the board of Mountain Family Health Centers. He has worked on the front lines of education reform for over 30 years, as a teacher, administrator, university professor and educational consultant. Rob led one of the nation’s most high-profile turnaround efforts at Manual High School, and also served as Head of School at Graland Country Day School and Executive Director at Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado and has also taught at Denver University and Harvard Graduate School of Education. Rob has published, presented and consulted locally and nationally on organizational development, school leadership, research-based practice and school change. He holds a BA from Middlebury College, an MA from Stanford University and an EdD from Harvard University. Stein is also fluent in Spanish, which helps given the majority of the school district’s students are Latinos. Rob lives in Carbondale, CO with his wife Mariah Dickson & son who’s in high school, while his daughter is attending college.