Board of Trustees
School Governance: Visionary Leadership and Strategic Planning
Cascades Academy is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and is governed by a voluntary Board of Trustees. The board is made up of parents, educators, and professionals whose time and talents greatly contribute to our school.
The board's major responsibilities include:
- Determine the school’s mission and policies
- Hire, support and evaluate the Head of School
- Set strategic direction of the school
- Ensure fiduciary health of the school
We invite you to learn more about our board members below.
- Julie Amberg - Head of School
- Chris Arathoon - Treasurer
- Sally Audette - Board Chair
- Matt Capozzi - Trustee
- Jennifer Delahunty - Secretary
- Kim Garner - Trustee
- Sarah Goracke - Trustee
- Jenny Green - Honorary Trustee
- Blair Jenkins - Vice Treasurer
- Holly Wylam Klein - Vice Chair
- Craig Ladkin - Honorary Trustee
- Andrew Mahlstedt - Trustee
- Jeff Phelps - Trustee
- Bob Komin - Trustee
Julie Amberg - Head of School
Julie graduated Magna Cum Laude from the College of William & Mary with a degree in Business Administration and Marketing. While at William and Mary, she played Division 1 volleyball. Her early career had many paths including sports marketing, event coordinating, and teaching internationally. She also spent several years working for Backroads, an active travel company specializing in hiking and cycling vacations worldwide where she lead trips throughout Europe and South America and eventually managed operations for nearly 30 itineraries and 50 staff members in nine different European countries.
Julie and her husband moved Bend in 2005 so that they could begin a life together living on the same continent. Here she once again pursued her passion for education and discovered Cascades Academy, a place whose mission - weaving exceptional academics and meaningful and engaging hands-on experiences - embodies both her personal and professional values.
She began as the school's Associate Head of School in 2006. At that time, Cascades Academy served about 85 students and was located in a leased commercial office space in midtown Bend. With just two full-time administrators, Julie wore many hats and oversaw most of the school's operations including admissions, development, marketing, technology support, and plenty of "other duties as assigned." Julie took over as the Head of School in 2015, and she currently serves on the Northwest Association of Independent Schools (NWAIS) Board of Governors.
Like many Central Oregonians, Julie loves to do anything outdoors including backcountry skiing, mountain biking, hiking, yoga, and cycling. Now, more than anything, she loves to share these experiences with her two children.
You can read more about Julie here in an article published in the "Bend Nest."
Chris Arathoon - Treasurer
Chris was born in Guatemala and moved to Bend when he was 10. He attended Sunriver Preparatory School from 4th grade through graduation. Through his education at SPS, he understands and appreciates the value of experiential education coupled with a true community of learners.
Sally Audette - Board Chair
After graduating from the University of Delaware with a degree focused on internet marketing (before Google existed), Sally took an adventurous pilgrimage across the United States that ended in Central Oregon. Once in the small hamlet of Bend, she miraculously applied her college degree at an innovative local company and eventually met her true love and hero, Adam. Together they are on the exciting journey of raising their two daughters, Lilly and Allison. (And their dog, Henry. Can’t forget him.)
When it was time for Lilly to start school, they sought out Cascades Academy for its small class size. Once a part of the community, they discovered there was much more to the school than small classes. Through the years, Adam and Sally have become more connected to the supportive community of CACO.
For several years, Sally played an active role in the Family Association. It was an honor for Sally to be recognized for this effort and asked to join the board. Through working on the board, Sally hopes to help foster an environment that continues the growth and success of the fantastic school community for many years to come.
Matt Capozzi - Trustee
Matt and his wife Leigh have had a connection to Cascades Academy since their move to Bend in 2016. Moving from Portland, their two daughters had grown up in Waldorf schools. Matt and Leigh were attracted to the experiential education and community of Cascades Academy and it made their move to Bend so much smoother.
Matt is a brand and product designer with decades of experience working with outdoor and tech companies from Burton Snowboards and Smith Optics to Microsoft and Apple. After leading product and brand strategy at Cinco Design in Portland, OR for 10 years Matt now runs his own brand North Drinkware which he successfully funded on Kickstarter in 2015. Matt is thrilled to bring his passion for strategic thinking, his love for community and the outdoors to the Cascades team.
Jennifer Delahunty - Secretary
Jennifer Delahunty was raised in Minnesota and has lived in all U.S. time zones. She loved serving on the Cascades Academy board from 2015-2018. After stints as a Resident Fellow at a university in France and as interim Vice President of Admissions and Financial Aid at Lewis & Clark College, she rejoined the board in 2020. Jennifer has worked in higher education since 1982 as both an admissions dean and as a teacher of writing. She lived in Tumalo from 1997-2003 and left Central Oregon to take the position as the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Kenyon College in Ohio. She is grateful to have boomeranged back to Central Oregon in 2014.
In her admissions career, Jennifer played a leading role in the movement to restore humane values to the college choice process. She edited an anthology of essays, "I'm Going to College, Not You: Surviving the College Search with Your Child." Her op-eds and articles have appeared in The New York Times and other publications.
Jennifer lives in Sisters where she enjoys hiking, gardening, writing and reading. She has two adult daughters and one granddaughter, all of whom live in Portland.
Kim Garner - Trustee
Prior to the move to Bend, Kim and her husband, Wes, lived in Green Bay Wisconsin. After adopting three of their four children, Kim took over a local adoption agency where she served as President for over 12 years. Kim also was involved with a start-up International Baccalaureate school in Wisconsin, in charge of a Love of Learning committee.
In her free time, Kim loves to travel, in particular internationally. Her other passion is running, having participated in multiple Ultramarathons, where she raised money to help build a school and support medical needs in Ethiopia. Kim continues to advocate for adoption, diversity, and education.
Sarah Goracke - Trustee
A native Oregonian with a life-long love of the arts, Sarah grew up in Southern Oregon before leaving home to attend Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, and later Boston University as a theater major. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Simmons College in Boston with a degree in History. Her professional career included working as a book publicist at Ten Speed Press in Berkeley, California and as a volunteer coordinator at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. She also worked as an adventure travel guide for the active travel company Backroads for five years, leading biking, hiking, and multisport trips throughout Italy, Switzerland, the United States, and Canada.
After living in Portland for 10 years, Sarah and her husband Ken sought a new school and community that would inspire their two young children with a deep love of learning and an appreciation of the great outdoors.
Sarah most recently served on the Board of Directors at Urban Gleaners, a Portland-based non-profit which rescues food that would otherwise go to waste and redistributes it to children and families in need. She currently also serves on the board of the Vibrant Village Foundation, which works to alleviate poverty through international development in more than 40 countries worldwide.
Sarah is delighted to join the Cascades Academy board.
Jenny Green - Honorary Trustee
Jenny traveled across the country from her native California to Burlington, Vermont to earn her BA in Art History from the University of Vermont. She continued her travels east to London earning a post graduate degree from Sotheby's in the Fine and Decorative Arts. She returned west and continued graduate work at the University of Wyoming before settling with her husband in Bend in 1994.
Jenny is no stranger to the educational community of Bend. She worked at a private school when she first arrived in Oregon and taught Art History at Central Oregon Community College before shifting gears in 2003 to become one of the founding board members of Cascades Academy.
Blair Jenkins - Vice Treasurer
Blair Jenkins served Cascades Academy as Head of School from 2009-2015, and then as Co-Head of School until 2016. Previously, she served as Head of School at the Dana Hall School in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and has over 35 years experience as teacher, Dean of Students, and Middle & Upper School Director at independent schools in Colorado, New York, and Connecticut. Blair has served as President of the Association of Independent Schools of New England (AISNE) and as Commissioner of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) accrediting agency. Blair earned her B.A. in history/government from Wells College and her M.S. in Educational Administration from Vanderbilt University.
Holly Wylam Klein - Vice Chair
Craig Ladkin - Honorary Trustee
Craig Ladkin, a FOCUS Managing Director, has twenty-five years of experience managing complex financial transactions between private, public, and non-profit sectors in a variety of industries and international jurisdictions. He has advised on transactions from the very large - for clients such as the World Bank, IFC, the Treasury Departments of more than a dozen OECD nations, along with their state-owned and power and utility companies, down to the very small - angel level investments, small city urban renewal projects, and private school campus development.
Mr. Ladkin holds an MBA in International Finance and Marketing from the London Business School in London, England and a B.Sc. in Geotechnical and Petroleum Engineering from the University of British Columbia.
Andrew Mahlstedt - Trustee
Since graduating college Andrew has worked across a diversity of fields, always anchored by education. He started his career supporting international exchange students, and then found his way more directly into international education as an English literature teacher at the Mahindra United World College (UWC) of India. While completing his Ph.D. in English, he taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Middlebury College, and afterward he returned to the UWCs to be the Deputy Head and teacher of English and History at the UWC in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 2016 he moved to Colombia to lead the project to found a new UWC, and along the way learned a bit about fundraising. Since 2018, he has been a senior consultant to UWC International, focused on developing fundraising operations in over 60 countries.
After visiting two of his closest friends from college in Bend many times over the years, he moved to the community with his son in the summer of 2020. As a lifelong educator, he has been constantly impressed with the education these two friends’ children are receiving at Cascades Academy, and he is honored to join the Board in 2021.
Andrew holds a B.A. (American Studies) and M.A. (English) from Middlebury College, an M.A. from Stanford in International Comparative Education, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Jeff Phelps - Trustee
Jeff founded Partners Equity to capitalize on his experience investing in real estate related opportunities. He spends countless hours creatively structuring, sourcing and investing in a multitude of complex real estate and real estate related investments, concentrating on illiquid markets. Mr. Phelps was previously responsible for GMAC’s strategy to invest in a variety distressed debt opportunities. As Portfolio Manager responsible for all investment decisions, Mr. Phelps was instrumental in creating unique structured finance products and is proud of the stellar performance of his debt offerings. He has contributed his time and expertise to founding a number of startup firms that continue to thrive today.
Mr. Phelps received a BA with honors in Economics from Claremont McKenna College and was an All-American water polo player. Jeff and his wife Anna have a third grade son who has attended Cascades Academy since PK. Our commitment to providing an experiential, independent education for our son began in Virginia and has only gotten stronger with our involvement at CACO.
Bob Komin - Trustee
Bob has spent the last 20 years working with entrepreneurs building innovative new ideas into leading companies in software, technology, and renewable energy as a CFO and operating executive in Silicon Valley. Most recently, he was CFO at Sunrun, taking the company public in 2015 and over the next six years as a member of the leadership team, growing the business to become the #1 residential solar, storage, and distributed energy generation company in the United States.
Bob and his wife Charlie decided a couple of years ago it was the right time to come home to Oregon (just not to the wet side of the Cascades where they grew up) to be closer to family and to be able to contribute even more to their interests in education, arts, environment, and the community. Bob is excited to spend more time at UO as the University of Oregon Foundation Board of Trustees Chair Elect, Vice Chair, Investment Committee Chair and member of its Executive and Audit Committees. He is also on the Board of Directors of electric micro-mobility company Bird Global as Lead Independent Director and Audit Committee Chair and is an HOA Board Member of The Highlands in Bend. Charlie, Bob and their partners from the Atticus Hotel have begun a project to bring the historic Mack Theater and Hotel back to life after decades of being empty on the middle of the main street in McMinnville and realize this long time wish Charlie has had for her home town.
CACO’s values, mission and the quality of teaching and staff was exactly what they were looking for their daughter Stella, like the school their two college age sons had attended with a similar focus. Bob is excited to join the Board, and this community, to work together to provide the best private school experience for children in Central Oregon.
We deliver meaningful, challenging, and experiential education to inspire lifelong learners who are socially responsible individuals ready for a diverse and changing world.
Learn By Doing
To foster lives of understanding, purpose, and meaning.
To deepen connection, appreciation, and collaboration.
To be a force of positive impact in the world.