Board Members

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


Erin Birt, President


Erin Birt has lived in Durango for 18 years and is rejoining our board for a third term as President. An Australian citizen, Erin comes to us with a background in international business experience and a passion for travel. Erin retired from corporate employment four years ago to follow a dream to own her own business and today runs a boutique bookkeeping and financial consulting agency in Durango. Erin has been a leader in charter school advocacy for a decade not only in her leadership of the Board at Mountain but as a speaker, trainer and consultant for the Charter School Institute and Colorado League of Charter Schools. Having worked with our school since it’s first year, and after leading historic initiatives such as the 2016 Mill Levy passage, acquisition of our campus property, a $2M capital expansion, charter renewal and expansion, and as a parent to two former Mountain students, Erin is excited to see Mountain through the next critical stages of our strategic development and into the future of expansion and replication of our school.

Contact: Erin Birt

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Ellen Golden, Secretary


Ellen has been a proud member of the community since adopting Durango as her hometown in 1995.  Her daughter was part of the inaugural Mountain Middle School 4th grade class and has thrived in the environment that Mountain provides. Ellen volunteered at Mountain in the past and is honored to be serving as Secretary of the Board. She is excited about the challenges and opportunities that are on the horizon and will work together with the board and staff to create a school legacy that will serve future students and families. Ellen works as a real estate broker associate with the Wells Group of Durango. In her free time, she loves to explore and enjoys the Four Corners area with her family and their humane society shelter rescue dog Eva. Ellen also supports other local community organizations including KSUT, La Plata County Humane Society, Volunteers of America, Durango Adult Education Center, Know Your Dough, and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

​Contact: Ellen Golden

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Nicole Perino, Member


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 a 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.   She’s been a Realtor 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.

​Contact: Nicole Perino


Ben Thompson, Member

5/20/2020 – 5/20/2023

Ben has called Durango home for the past 8 years, where he co-founded and led marketing for the software company GitPrime. Having three children of elementary school age and a desire to further contribute locally, Ben joined the MMS board in 2020 with expertise in technology, business, and communications. Ben is proud to be part of the ongoing success story at MMS and excited to serve through its next stage of growth. If you don’t see Ben’s mint-green Xtracycle cargo bike parked somewhere around town, he’s probably doing something fun in the mountains or the desert.

Contact: Ben Thompson


Jason Silva, Member

11/19/2020 – 11/19/2023

Contact: Jason Silva

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Kevin Collins, Treasurer

12/17/2020 – 12/17/2023

Kevin has lived in Colorado for 20 years, currently residing in Colorado Springs, and is joining our board serving in his first term.  Kevin comes to us with a background from a 30 year career in the U.S. Air Force with a final assignment as the 10th Air Base Wing Vice Commander, leading and managing the installation infrastructure at the U. S. Air Force Academy.  Starting in 2003, Kevin served 12 years as the Chief Operating Officer and/or Deputy Executive Director at one of Colorado’s largest and leading Charter Schools, The Classical Academy (TCA) in Colorado Springs.  Kevin received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Puget Sound and a Master of Arts degree in Public Administration & Management from Webster University.  More recently, he attended a “Charting a Course For The Next Decade”, a Charter School Institute Program from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University.  Kevin and his wife Barbara are retired, have two grown sons—Patrick and Sean living in the area—and they enjoy spending time with their four grandchildren, leading, supporting, and joining in Faith/Church activities, and traveling out into the wilderness of Colorado.  Kevin is honored to be on the board and is excited about contributing to and advancing Mountain Middle School in it’s expansion and growth to serve current and future students.

Contact: Kevin Collins