Board of Directors

The Children’s Garden of Learning’s Board of Directors is comprised of parents and/or community members who meet monthly with the CGL director and Operations Manager. The Board members, with their individual expertise, support the director and the staff by assisting in the smooth operation of the school. The Board sets policies with the director and staff, receives parent input, and, at times, acts as liaisons for parents. All staff and parents are invited to attend any or all Board meetings.

Board members are voted on by a ballot. Each year, the existing Board of Directors and school directors announce the annual elections and solicit interested parents (and in some instances community members) to run for a two-year term on the Board.

Sierra Aldrich, Board President

Sierra is a former CGL parent, and a longtime educator. She currently works at Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy, and is a Colorado native. She graduated from Colorado College, and lives in Eagle-Vail with her husband and two kids, both of whom have attended CGL.

Rebecca McDonnell, Board Vice President and Secretary

Rebecca is currently Director of Product Sales & Services for Vail Resorts, with 18 years experience in hospitality services and sales. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from Miami University in Cincinnati, OH. She is a current CGL parent of a preschooler.

Josh Cloud, Board Treasurer

Josh works in finance at Vail Resorts, and comes to the CGL board with years of experience in finance and accounting. He holds a BA from Colorado State University in Boulder. He is the husband of a former CGL teacher, and a future CGL dad. Josh is a longtime local, committed to quality education in the Valley.

John Brendza

John is the current Stone Creek Charter Academy principal, and has been a presence in education in the Vail Valley for over 20 years. He holds a B.A. from University of Texas at El Paso, a MA from Adams State and a MA from University of Denver. He has been a consultant for many educational organizations, including Yale University and locally for the Youth Foundation.

Amy Ricci

Amy comes to the CGL board with years of experience as an educator of young children. She is a current kindergarten teacher at Red Sandstone Elementary. She graduated from Colorado State University and brings with her a unique perspective as a current CGL parent.

Kara Robinson

Kara is a current first grade teacher at Vail Mountain School and brings with her years of experience teaching elementary age students, including at Eagle County Charter Academy. She holds a B.A. in elementary education from Cardinal Stritch University. She lives in Eagle-Vail with her husband and two boys, both of whom attend CGL.

Jessica Schmier

Jess is a current kindergarten teacher at Vail Mountain School, and holds a B.S. in biology and environmental studies. She also has a MA in educational psychology from the University of Denver. As a kindergarten teacher she brings an informative perspective to the CGL board.

Pillars of CGL

Stemming from and inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy of early childhood education, Children's Garden of Learning approaches its curriculum planning based on three things:


It is through play that children explore boundaries, ability, arenas of and stages leading to physical, cognitive, social and emotional development.


The foundation of our curriculum, the environment we create is critical to the success of learning at CGL.


Children’s themes, not the adult’s that we use as the basis of our planning. The teacher’s plans are a thoughtful introduction of materials to stimulate the emergence of these themes.