About Us

 

Meet the Staff

 

The staff of Durango Mountain Camp are hand-picked professionals dedicated to the academic success and personal achievements of each student.

“I can’t find enough words of praise for your program – truly life altering for our daughter. You will forever be near and dear to our family. Your camp has given our daughter a peace about her academic abilities that I didn’t think we would find.
We will continue to monitor her progress and have Durango camp in the back of our minds for the future if needed!”
Blessings to you all,
Korrine and Aubrey Winstead

 

 

Directors

 

 

 

 

 

M.J. Bilgrav, Executive Director
B.A., B.S. Certified: AOGPE, Certified IDA Language Therapist, Durango, CO

 

M.J. Bilgrav is a co-founder and co-director of Durango Mountain Camp, and she is certified by the Orton-Gillingham Academy as a certified language therapist. Before moving to Durango in 1996, she was the co-founder and co-director of Pacific Quest Outdoor Adventures which specialized in group outdoor adventure education programs in Hawaii and the Pacific. M.J. has been teaching dyslexic students for the past 25 years. Until recently, she taught English and math at a small private high school that boasted a 60% dyslexic population. She is currently head of the OG tutoring department at The Liberty School in Durango where she also tutors. She has been tutoring at DMC since the beginning.

 

 

 

 

Christine Tschinkel, Camp Nurse/Assistant Director

 

Christine Tschinkel received her Nursing degree from Indian River State College in June of 1985. She worked on a PCU unit for seven years. Christine moved to Telluride with her husband and 2-year-old son. In that year, she started working at the Telluride Medical Center; family practice and Emergency room. It was there that she gain experience in the emergent care of adults and pediatrics.  After working there for eight years, she was ready for a change. In 2002, she was hired by the Telluride School District as their School Nurse and as remained there. In addition to all her above work, she is the Camp Nurse and office person for the past seven summers at the Durango Mountain camp. Her youngest son attended the camp for 8 years.  While Christine’s passion is nursing, on her days off she enjoys running, skiing and paddle boarding with her family.

 

 

 

Tutors

 

 

 

 

Mollie McDonagh, B.A., Childhood Education

 

Mollie McDonagh is originally from upstate New York. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Childhood Education and has 10 years of teaching experience with all ages and levels. While volunteering in intercity Boston schools with AmeriCorps, Mollie became passionate about instruction that caters to students’ individual strengths and needs. She then pursued a Masters of Science Degree in Literacy and Special Education. She recently returned to the United States after teaching in England, New Zealand, and South Korea. Mollie and her husband, Brian, moved to Durango in 2016. Currently, Mollie is a classroom teacher at a local public elementary school. When she’s not teaching, Mollie can be found adventuring in the mountains. 

 

 

 

 

Jen Rowland, M.Ed., CALT-QI, Colorado Springs, CO

 

Dedicated to the remediation of written language skills, Jen Rowland anticipates a climate of change on the horizon for Colorado’s struggling readers.  Currently the president of the Academic Language Therapy Association, Rocky Mountain Branch, literacy is at the center of Jen’s life.   She provides academic support in a local public elementary school, administers literacy skills evaluations at the Colorado Literacy and Learning Center, and provides continuing education training to teachers in foundational literacy skills.  When not working with students, Jen can be found playing in the mountains on a pair of skis or in hiking boots with her kids, husband, and Labrador retriever, Miley.

 

 

 

 

 

Claudia White, Academic Tutor/Study Hall Monitor, Durango, Colorado

 

Claudia White is tutoring at DMC for her second summer. She is also a proctor in Study Hall. Her own dyslexic ADD son attended DMC 14 years ago and she pleased to pay it forward!  Claudia is also a second year tutor and study hall proctor at The Liberty School in Durango.

 

 

 

 

Jennie “Nuriya” Akers, B. A., M.Ed., Academic Tutor, Durango, Colorado

 

This is Nuriya’s second year tutoring at Durango Mountain Camp and she just completed her first year working for The Liberty School. Nuriya has served as a private family tutor assisting students with math, writing, reading comprehension, test-taking strategies, and study skills for the past nine years.  She earned her Masters of Education in Special Education from Utah State University and has worked as an educator in California, Utah, Alaska, and Colorado. Learning the Orton-Gillingham Method and working with students in the dyslexic population is a rewarding and welcome expansion in her teaching! Nuriya is also a massage therapist and works for Hospice of Montezuma in Cortez, Colorado and Trimble Hot Springs.

 

 

 

 

 

Lauren Hope Geraghty, B.F.A, Shared School Teacher/O-G Tutor, Durango, Colorado

 

Lauren graduated from the University of Arizona in 1986 thinking she would be teaching art in the public school setting.  That only lasted one year.  In the years following she served as Drug Education Coordinator in Jackson, Wyoming, and then taught 5th and 6th grade students in all academic disciplines.  She and her husband Gerry moved to Durango in 2001 where she embarked on teaching kindergarten.  That is when she discovered teaching the Orton-Gillingham way.  Since then Lauren and Gerry have birthed two dyslexic boys, who are now 12 and 10, while she pursued a part-time career as an O-G tutor. In addition to tutoring DMC campers, Lauren tutors privately and at The Liberty School.  She also teaches small groups of students at Columbine Christian School using the O-G approach.  When not working, Lauren enjoys biking, hiking, camping, and skiing with family and friends, but always seems to be cultivating her individualized O-G lesson plans no matter what activity she in doing.

 

 

 

 

 

Tracy Brothers, B.S., Language Therapist, Durango, CO

 

Mrs. Tracy Brothers is an academic tutor at DMC. She has several dyslexic children and has experience in teaching/relating to their needs. This year is Tracy’s seventh year with DMC, and she has a passion to see students grow in all aspects of their learning. She currently teaches at the Liberty School in Durango.

 

 

 

 

 

Pam Savage, B.A, M.A., A.B.D; Teacher, Language Therapist – Durango, Colorado

 

Mrs. Pam Savage is an academic tutor with DMC. She’s been with DMC for seven years and is always looking forward to applying and advancing her tutoring skills. Pam currently teaches at The Liberty School in Durango, Colorado working with gifted, dyslexic, and twice exceptional students where she is the gifted program coordinator. She loves to work with children of all ages and find creative ways to meet their needs.

 

 

 

 

 

Judith Grimes, B.F.A, Waldorf Teaching Certificate

 

Judith is an academic tutor at DMC. This is her fifth year in attendance. She is a dyslexia therapist and is currently working at the Liberty School in Durango, Co. In addition, Judith works with the dyslexic population, child through adult, in private practice in the Durango area. She is currently enrolled in graduate studies to obtain her Certified Academic Language Therapist License. She enjoys hiking, running and skiing in the beautiful San Juan Mountains with her husband Bill.

 

 

 

 

 

Jenni Ernewein, Learning Specialist, M.A., Special Education
Jenni is currently a Learning Specialist at St. Anne’s Episcopal School in Denver, Colorado. This is her second year as a tutor at DMC. Jenni earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Missouri and a Master of Arts in Special Education from the University of Colorado. Since 2000, she has taught students with dyslexia. She is passionate about early literacy intervention and loves finding ways to make reading more fun for all learners.

 

 

 

Wendy Kurtz
Wendy is a Language Tutor at Greenwood. She is an Associate Member of The Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. Wendy is currently pursuing Certified Level Membership. She has a Masters Degree in Education with a specialization in Special Education. Her love is teaching dyslexic students. She also enjoys living in beautiful Vermont where she runs, bikes, kayaks, snowboards, and hikes with her beloved husband and dog Shavano.

 

 

 

Tutor Barton Marks

 

Barton Marks
Barton Marks has taught Orton-Gillingham for twenty years in a variety of settings: private and public schools, summer camps for children with dyslexia, community organizations and non-profits, private tutoring lessons, and as a guest lecturer at Texas State University. He has taught students of all ages, ranging from early elementary school to adults. Barton began his training in Orton-Gillingham as an intern at Durango Mountain Camp in Summer of 2000. He will attend Texas State University in Fall 2018 in pursuit of a Masters of Special Education. When he is not teaching, Barton can be found competitive swimming, mountain bike riding, spending time with family and friends, or cooking something new and exotic!

 

 

 

Tutor Patrice Dixon
 

Patrice Dixon, BA Elemenary Education K-6 with Special Education endorsement, MS Reading & Literacy, CALT, Grand Junction, Co

 
Patrice Dixon is a life-long learner, passionate about comprehensive literacy intervention and empowering students to be the best they can be. While attending Bethel College, she played soccer for four years and graduated with her teaching degree in 2010. In 2013 she earned her Certification as an Academic Language Therapist (CALT). She received her masters from Capella University in 2016.  She has spent her career teaching elementary special education in Derby, KS and Grand Junction, CO for the public school system. When not working with students, Patrice spends her time playing in a local soccer league, trail running and hiking with her dog Kylee, and outdoor adventures.  

 

 

Counselors

 

 

Zane Bilgrav

 

Zane Bilgrav, Durango, Colorado

 

My name is Zane Bilgrav. I have been involved with Durango Mountain Camp since I was five years old.  I recently graduated from Fort Lewis College in Durango with BS in Adventure Education and a Business minor.  Being dyslexic myself, I have a passion for working with other dyslexic children in helping them reach their full potential just as DMC has done for me. In 2017 I began working on my Orton-Gilllingham certification and tutored at The Liberty School in Durango. I choose to spend my summers at DMC because I can’t think of a better, more worthwhile summer job. My passions are sking, climbing and surfing.

 

 

 

Counselor Justin Tschinkel
Justin Tschinkel
Justin Tschinkel received his Environmental Studies degree with a minor in Outdoor Leadership at Westminster College in Salt Lake City in 2014. Shortly after graduating, he moved to Missoula, Montana. He worked as a ski technician and coach for a youth ski race team. Justin is presently in the process of opening his own ski shop in Missoula. He has worked at the Durango Mountain since 2013 as a counselor and head of the climbing program. He has received his advanced certificates in climbing and his Wilderness First Responder certificate.   Justin has a passion for climbing and skiing and enjoys teaching and sharing it with others. He believes amazing things can happen when young people engage in climbing. Learning to become a good belayer and climber allows the student to access increasingly greater challenges and rewards. The responsibility of holding the lifeline of another person is an amazing boost to self -esteem that can lead to tremendous gains in a person’s confidence in all aspects of their life. Rock Climbing Builds Character, Confidence, and Self-Esteem. 

 

 

 

Counselor Logan Tschinkel
Logan Tschinkel
Logan Tschinkel was a camper at Durango Mountain for seven years. He has been a counselor for the last three years.  Logan is currently working towards a BA in Aviation at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, and he received his private pilot license during his freshman year. He is on the path to becoming a commercial pilot. Logan believes DMC helped him become the person he is today. He enjoys working with other dyslexic youth, and he feels through his experiences as a camper, he understands what it takes to be an effective and fun counselor. Logan enjoys skiing, rock climbing and flying!

Visit our associated sites: Wolf Creek Camp and Rocky Mountain Camp

Durango Mountain Camp
44000 Hwy 550 N., Durango, CO 81301
Phone: 970-385-1778,  email: mj@durangomountaincamp.com

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