At each program (Southwest and Rocky Mountain), our field staff and daily operations are guided by a leadership team. Associate Program Directors oversee logistics, staffing, safety and course quality: all the components and resources needed to run courses. Each program has a Program Director who steers the ship, making sure everything comes together and planning for the future. Program Managers work directly with Supervisors, Course Directors and Instructors to handle the day to day coordination of courses in the field.
Associate Program Director - Logistics - Leadville
Associate Program Director - Logistics
I was born and raised in Mississippi, but Colorado is where I belong. I began my career in the outdoor industry with REI a decade ago after hiking the AT with my dog, and these last ten years have been the best of my life. Thru-hiking and mountain biking hold the keys to my heart, but if I'm wearing sunscreen, I'm happy. I'm so stoked to be joining the COBS team in Leadville! I spent six years with outdoor programming as a mountain biking, paddling, and backpacking instructor. I loved every single minute of it, and I've wanted to make outdoor education my full-time gig for a few years now. I'm so excited that I've found that opportunity with Outward Bound.
Program Manager - Southwest Program
(he/his) began working for the Colorado Outward Bound School (COBS) as an Assistant Instructor in 2017. Since then he has enjoyed serving as a Course Director and Program Manager. Noah works at COBS because he loves helping students meet their potential. COBS’ focus on compassion, experiential learning, and DEIJ has kept Noah coming back each year. Despite having worked in college settings, including Semester at Sea, and for other youth programs, Noah has observed the most transformative growth occurring in our students at the Colorado Outward Bound School.
Program Manager - Leadville
MacKenzie Mitchell started working for the Rocky Mountain Program in 2018 as the On-Call Coordinator. Since then she has been a field Instructor, Course Director, and Program Manager; she loves getting to support both our staff and students through these various roles. MacKenzie holds a Master of Public Health degree with a focus in Epidemiology from Boston University, so naturally she has a fascination with all infectious diseases. MacKenzie grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, and always loved getting to explore the beautiful mountain and desert landscapes nearby. In her free time you can find MacKenzie rock climbing, skiing, trail running, frolicking through the canyons of Southeastern Utah or just sitting in the sunshine drinking coffee and making jewelry.
Southwest Program Director - Moab
Southwest Program Director
Lance Plank has worked for the school since 2011. Starting by spending time as an instructor, he grew to love the outdoors of southeastern Utah. Over the years, he continued developing his instructional experience, and eventually transitioned into program management. Lance has held several instructional and administrative roles for the school and is currently the Southwest Program Director. This time has only increased his passion for the COBS mission and how important it is for our students to have Outward Bound experiences.
Lance completed a Masters of Science in Sport and Recreation Administration in 2013 at Eastern Washington University. He has been working in outdoor education for over a decade and in his personal time continues to seek out opportunities to play outside. Some of these activities include rafting, paddle boarding, rock climbing, and canyoneering.
Associate Program Director - Training and Development - Leadville
Associate Program Director - Training and Development
Nick Rushford started working for the Rocky Mountain Program in 2015 as an Assistant Instructor. Since then, he has served as a Lead Instructor, Course Director, Program Manager, and Associate Program Director and has worked with students and staff in many amazing course areas including Colorado, Utah, Alaska, California, Oregon, and Ecuador. Nick holds a Masters of Science degree from the University of Utah in Experiential Education and loves working at the intersection of research and practice. He teaches avalanche education courses in the winter for AIARE and is an avid backcountry skier. He is passionate about coffee, pizza, and good cheese from his homeland of Vermont.
Gabriel Schafer Suárez
Associate Program Director - Safety and Course Quality - Leadville
Gabriel Schafer Suárez
Associate Program Director - Safety and Course Quality
Gabriel Schafer Suárez is excited to be joining the Colorado Outward Bound team this year! Gabriel’s responsibilities include coordinating program curriculum and safety, and ensuring high-quality course delivery and operations for family, students, and staff.
Previous to his work at COBS, Gabriel was a public educator in Texas and he has his BA in Education from the University of Oklahoma. The Outward Bound educational framework resonated with Gabriel and he is stoked to continue to foster meaningful relationships with his team and their students. Gabriel strives to create a space where everyone is comfortable being vulnerable and can challenge themselves safely.
Gabriel grew up backpacking and later fell in love with climbing in the Wichita Mountains during college. He is stoked to be in a place where his love of the outdoors meets his passion for education.
Gabriel invites ALL to come learn and grow with him and looks forward to the adventure ahead!
Rocky Mountain Program Logistics Manager - Leadville
Rocky Mountain Program Logistics Manager
Andrew Scott started working for the Rocky Mountain Program in 2018 as an intern. Since then, they have served as a Logistics Coordinator and Warehouse Manager. Currently they are the Logistics Manager. During their time at COBS they have worked in Colorado, Moab, and Joshua Tree. Andrew loves to educate the students and clients of COBS about the wonders of nature and the outdoors! Andrew holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from the University of Northern Colorado.
Andrew is from the Colorado Front Range and grew up playing in the Rocky Mountains. Growing up their family often went hiking, camping and skiing which they still continue to love to do. Andrew is a passionate climber, boater, fly fisherman and photographer as well. Often on his days off you can find them doing any one of these great outdoor activities!
Rocky Mountain Program Director - Leadville
Rocky Mountain Program Director
Serving as the Rocky Mountain Program Director since February 2020, Leslie oversees the daily operations of the Leadville Mountain Center, as well as programming throughout the Rockies and beyond. Leslie comes to the COBS with an MS in Experiential Education and more than ten years living and working overseas coordinating and directing service and experiential learning opportunities for students. She is passionate about serving students and staff through quality, safe, and meaningful experiences and work.
As an adventurer and world traveler, Leslie has climbed and guided on several Andean mountains of Ecuador, Puncak Jaya in Papua, volcanoes of Indonesia, grain silos of Saskatchewan, and explored the Eastern Himalaya in the Kingdom of Bhutan. As an educator, Leslie has worked with youth and teachers from remote villages in Indonesia, China and Ecuador, developing conflict resolution, communication, teamwork, problem-solving and leadership skills and curriculum. As a mom and partner in crime, Leslie and her husband believe that lasting change and development come through education and immersion.
This California native is a sucker for sunshine and tacos, making Colorado a perfect place to call home! She looks forward to continuing her career and learning journey in adventure-based education while raising her two kids in the mountains of Leadville.
Leslie invites ALL to come explore and discover their potential with us by immersing in a COBS course!
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