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’s. The Board members, with their individual expertise, support the director’s and the staff by assisting in the smooth operation of the school. The Board is responsible for the overall school governance, and at times acts as liaisons for parents. All staff and parents are invited to attend any or all Board meetings.

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.

Patrick Barrett

Patrick works in residential real estate with Sotheby’s Realty in Vail Village. He has a BS in International Business from Marquette University.  Patrick and his wife Meredith, a former teacher at CGL, have lived in the Valley since 2006. Their son, Walker, is a proud member of preschool room “C” at CGL, and daughter Bailey is a future attendee.

Maren Cerimele

Maren is currently the Director of Membership at Vail Valley Partnership with 14 years of experience in event production, development, and community engagement. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of Pittsburgh. Maren moved to the Vail Valley in 2007 and has been very active in the community since making Minturn, CO her home.

Paul Graf

Paul Graf currently works in Venture Capital and has many years of experience in start-up and business management. He holds a BS in Business Economics from Lehigh University. He is also a current parent of a CGL pre-schooler. He and his family have lived here in the valley for 12 years.

Larisa Haytmanek

Larisa joins the board with past work experience in HR and Finance.  She earned her BA degree in Sociology from Wake Forest University and MBA from Villanova University.  She is a past and future parent of CGL and passionate about early childhood education and development. Larisa and her family moved to the Valley in 2017.

Kevin Magner

Kevin comes to the CGL board with fifteen years of experience in strategic planning, accounting, inventory management, and staff management. He holds a BS degree from The University of Texas.  Kevin and his family finally moved to the Vail Valley in 2015. He has two children at CGL.

Rebecca McDonnell

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.

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.

Jess Szmyd

Jess is a kindergarten teacher at Vail Mountain School and has been teaching K-2 for the past seven years.  She has a Masters from CU Denver and lives in Edwards with her husband and daughter.

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.