Cascades Academy Independent School PK-12

Board of Trustees

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:

Liz Allore Shurmur - Trustee

As someone with a plethora of experience, Liz Allore Shurmur epitomizes reliability, creativity, and energy. Originally from Michigan, Liz worked for 12 years as a middle school educator in a private school. Having also become a certified Triathlon Race Director, Liz and her husband owned many triathlon and adventure race companies allowing them to spend their summers outdoors with athletes of all levels. Liz knows how to interact with others in a way that elevates and values them.

To friends and family, Liz is known for her ability to excel at a wide variety of projects. While serving as an educator, she also worked with numerous non-profits in the Midwest. During her time with these organizations, Liz achieved impressive results such as starting a 40 and under fundraising group for the Neutral Zone and hosting the first-ever fundraising gala for Girls on the Run Southeast Michigan.

Since moving to Bend, Liz has worked alongside local and national organizations and clientele to continue her own legacy of collective success. She is passionate about giving back to the community and supporting local youth and is excited to be a part of the Cascades Academy Board of Trustees.

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.

Chris attended the University of Puget Sound receiving a BA in International Business. Following graduation, he lived in Seattle and worked in the financial services and technology industries in a variety of roles. During that time, his goal was always to move back to Bend. In 2006, Chris and his wife, Anne, moved to Bend where Chris owns several restaurant franchises.

Chris is thrilled to expose his two daughters to a similar education that he experienced and share his passion for experiential learning and developing lifelong learners with a close connection to nature. Chris loves traveling, camping and enjoying all the outdoor pursuits that Central Oregon offers.

Sally Audette - Trustee

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 Parents 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.

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 Chair

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.

Chuck Johnson, Trustee

Chuck enjoyed a 35 year career with Procter and Gamble in the manufacturing portion of the business. He had experience in both the Packaged Soap and Paper Divisions with assignments in Kansas City, Baltimore, Mehoopany, PA and Green Bay. His last position was Director of Manufacturing for the paper mills in Green Bay. In addition to the technology, he has extensive experience in labor relations and organization transformation. He strongly believes in community involvement and served on the boards United Way, YMCA, Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation. He currently serves on the Board of Great Lakes Calcium and Adoption Choice, both located in Green Bay. He is a native of Denver, attended the University of Colorado, Boulder, and holds degrees in Civil Engineering and Business Administration.

He has two daughters and six grandchildren ranging in age from 12 to 25. He moved to Bend in 2016 to be closer to his family and thoroughly enjoys the lifestyle. Golf, hiking, and kayaking and "grandpa stuff" are his favorite activities.

He is thoroughly impressed with the learning philosophy of Cascades Academy as evidenced by the growth of his four grandkids and is excited to serve on the board.

Tory Junkin - Trustee

Born and raised in the Chicago area, Tory moved to Bend, sight unseen, in 2001 with her husband to open their first restaurant together, Parrilla grill. Having graduated from Denver University she knew she felt most at home near the mountains and clear blue skies.

Tory left her family's plastic manufacturing business behind in the midwest and opted for a more long distance role as Advisor on the Board she had created for her father, the owner. Thanks to this role she continued to travel extensively over the next ten years helping to oversee all forty international locations, while also supporting her husband's new endeavor as a restaurant owner and enjoying the unique Bend lifestyle.

After having two children, selling Parrilla to their manager and friend, and opening Jackson's Corner, Tory and her husband discovered Cascades Academy. The small class size, storyline, and outdoor learning was different than anything she had seen offered in Central Oregon. It took only one year at the school for Tory to feel deeply connected, enough to accept the offer to be on the Board of Trustees. She is especially thrilled to be an active member during this exciting time of growth for Cascades Academy.

Holly Wylam Klein - Chair

Cascades Academy was at the heart of the Klein family's move to Central Oregon from Seattle in the summer of 2015. Holly and Lo were attracted to the opportunity to be part of an educational community reflecting core values of social responsibility, independent thought and reverence for the natural world.

Holly left the legal team at Microsoft and now devotes her private practice to the investigation/resolution of sexual harassment and discrimination at Microsoft, Starbucks and the University of Washington. Holly has been engaged to conduct hundreds of investigations globally. Previously, she practiced at Davis Wright Tremaine and received her JD from Tulane in New Orleans. For fun, Holly loves to play outside, read, eat nachos, and spend time with her sons, Wylam and Wilder.

As a Trustee, Holly is grateful to serve the school community in ensuring that Cascades Academy continues to thrive.

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.

Dave Naftalin - Trustee

Cascades Academy was the biggest surprise in all of Central Oregon for the Naftalin family when they moved to Bend in the summer of 2012. Dave and his wife Leah were immediately attracted to the opportunity to be part of a community that mirrored their own beliefs regarding core values, trust, commitment, accountability, and experiential learning within the dynamic natural world we live in.

Dave served as the Director of the Global Supply Chain and Logistics team at Humm Kombucha. He was a core member of the company, playing a large role in creating, maintaining, and adapting the culture of Humm Kombucha through its fast paced global growth.

Dave received his BA from Dickinson College in Political Science and his MS from Frostburg University in Natural Resource Management. In their free time, Dave and Leah have a ranch in Tumalo with alpacas, llamas, sheep, and goats as well as a greenhouse for produce. They enjoy camping, skiing, and all water sports Central Oregon has to offer with their three children.

As a trustee, Dave is committed to being of service to the Cascades Academy community.

Suzy Peterson - Secretary

Suzy and her family made Central Oregon their home in 1992. After residing in the Pacific Northwest for twenty years, Suzy and her husband Mark made the move from Portland with the desire to raise their children close to the outdoors. Suzy has over thirty years of bookkeeping and office management experience. She and Mark founded Designer Woodworking cabinets and fine furniture in 1987 and co-founded More Green Restorations, sustainable remodeling in 2010 with partner Mark Hereford.

Suzy has volunteered in numerous positions; she served as registrar and treasurer for the Sisters soccer club for seven years, camp coordinator for U.K. Soccer Camp for six years and Office Manager for COSA soccer for two years. Suzy has been a long time part of the Cascades Academy family acting first as Parents Association class representative and more recently serving on the Board. In her free time Suzy enjoys down hill and cross‐country skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, cycling, boating, reading and spending time with her four children and two grandsons

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.

Kathleen Phillips - Trustee

After living in Las Vegas, Santa Monica, Denver and San Francisco, Kathleen and her husband Paul were looking for the perfect place to live. They visited, and fell in love with, Bend and have been here since 2007. Kathleen feels lucky to stay home with her daughters, and to live in this beautiful place where they can attend such a wonderful school.

Kathleen joined the board in 2011 and enjoys working on the development committee. Her favorite parts of Cascades Academy are all of the wonderful families and the shared sense of community.

Kathleen grew up in Northern California, then moved to San Diego to attend UCSD. After graduating, she worked on the business side of restaurants.

Kathleen loves traveling, practicing yoga, hiking, reading, cross country skiing, Halloween, playing Scrabble, healthy food and any type of theme party! She can usually be seen on campus wearing something orange and would love to say hello.

Shelley Schwencke - Trustee

As a young adult, Shelley landed in Bend - knowing no one - and promptly began her love affair with the town she would never leave. Throughout her time in Central Oregon, Shelley has been a student, working professional, wife, business owner, and mother of two.

Prior to embarking upon her professional real estate journey, Shelley co-founded Make It Green, a home energy auditing and residential retrofitting company, which specialized in energy efficiency, energy upgrades and encouraging healthy homes through education. Shelley has also worked in the young adult residential treatment industry and in college admissions, where she excelled in helping students across the nation rebuild their academic stories.

Shelley is thrilled to be part of the Cascades Academy Board of Trustees and the school community. She brings a depth of experience as a long-time resident of Bend along with knowledge of business, sustainability, and education.