Board Members

Home / About Us / Board of Directors / Board Members
Rider Jen photo

Jennifer Rider, Board President


Jennifer Rider is the Director of Teaching and Learning Services at Fort Lewis College.  She has been teaching for the past 15 years, and the beginning of her passion for working with kids started while she was in the Peace Corps in Honduras working with local schools on topics related to nutrition and the environment.  She has taught high school Spanish in Durango and Glenwood Springs as well as teacher education courses at Fort Lewis College. Her experience living among Latin American cultures is vast, including a Fulbright Teacher Exchange in Mexico and leading various student trips to South America.  Jen is passionate about multicultural and multilingual education as well as emerging educational technology. She holds a M.A. in Linguistically Diverse Education, a M.A. in Spanish Linguistics, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction with an emphasis in Educational Learning Technologies.

Jen loves playing in the mountains with her husband Warren and their daughter Willa (8), most of the time on a raft, skis, or bikes.  They also spend evenings in their vegetable garden or biking around town, enjoying the fun of living in Durango.


Mountain Middle School is fortunate to have a highly talented Board of Directors who are passionate about project-based learning.


Larissa Lopez, Board Vice President


Larissa Lopez, SHRM-CP

Larissa Lopez was born and raised in the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado and has called Durango home since 2007.  She is a Human Resources Consultant at Fort Lewis College and has been working for student organizations for the past 7 years both at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy and Fort Lewis College.  She is passionate about project-based learning and utilizing technology to support today’s education pedagogy and is grateful to be a part of the MMS community as a board member and parent.

Larissa graduated from Colorado State University with a BA in Communications and a BA in Spanish and has a SHRM-CP certification from the Society of Human Resource Management.

Larissa can often be found outside in the great outdoors with her husband and daughter, hiking, camping, skiing, on a lake, or playing music with family and friends.  She is thrilled that her daughter will be attending MMS.


bio photo

Nicole Perino, Board Secretary

07/1/19 – 07/1/21

Nicole moved to Durango with her family as a teenager. She quickly fell in love with the community and the bountiful recreation opportunities. After graduating from DHS, Nicole attended the University of Colorado, Boulder where she graduated with BA in International Affairs. She worked in retail management and in sales for a national builder in the Denver area until 2006 when she returned to Durango as a licensed Realtor. She’s been with The Wells Group Brokerage since then, leading her own team as a top producing broker. Nicole is passionate about helping empower humans to live their best lives by developing their why. She and her husband Jeff enjoy work together designing and building homes for clients and themselves. They have two young children, Vivienne and Hugo. Together they love to go on river trips and go camping with friends and family. Most of the time you can find them working and playing on their Florida river “mini-farm” along with their two cats and Eddie the dog.


Royce Tranum, Secretary

Royce Tranum, member

09/21/16 – 09/21/19

​​Royce was born and raised in the US Virgin Islands, but Durango has been her home since 2001. She has worked in community mental health and school social work for over 20 years. Currently she is head of the School Social Work department for the San Juan Board of Cooperative Education Services.

Royce is passionate about community partnership and building relationships. She has been involved with many non-profit organizations, community collaboration teams, panels and focus groups bringing people and organizations together to support children and families in the Four Corners.

Royce graduated from Emory University with a BA in Psychology and Elementary Education and also holds a Masters in Social Work (MSW) from the University of California, Berkeley.  You can often find Royce and her children, Grace (10) and Elliot (8) outside – running, skiing, hiking, camping, and traveling!



Jason Austin, Board Treasurer

Jason Austin SFO, MBA

Jason is an experienced school finance and operations specialist. He has worked in public and private sectors, with over eight years as an administrator in public schools.  Hailing from the great state of Wisconsin (GO PACKERS), Jason and his family moved to Durango in 2013 to fulfill the role as CFO for Durango School District 9-R. Currently he is the Senior Vice President of Operations for Bank of the San Juans.  

Jason is very passionate about education and providing the best opportunities for children in our community.  He volunteers for numerous organizations including, DEVO, Purgatory Ski Team, Durango Swim Club and Durango Early Learning Center.  He is proudly serving as the Board Treasurer of Durango Early Learning Center and United Way of Southwest Colorado Finance Committee member .  Jason also enjoys time with his family, listening to music, and playing in the great outdoors.

Jason holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Bachelor of Science in Finance, from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. In addition, he earned and maintains his School Business Administrator license in the State of Wisconsin and is a Certified Administrator of School Finance and Operations (SFO).