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 directors. The Board members, with their individual expertise, support the directors 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 children, Walker and Bailey, both attend CGL.

Patrick Davis

Patrick works in residential wealth management mortgage banking with U.S. Bank in the Vail Valley. He comes to the CGL board with 20 years of sales and marketing experience and leadership in the mortgage banking and hospitality industries. He earned a BS in Hospitality Management from Colorado State University. Patrick and his wife Colleen have lived in the Valley since 2015. He has two children at CGL

Paul Graf

Paul Graf currently works in Venture Capital and has many years of experience in start-up and business management. In 2019 Paul opened the Vail Valley Mind Center. He holds a BS in Business Economics from Lehigh University. His children are alumni of CGL, and 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 current 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 is an owner of the Squash Blossom in Vail.  He holds a BS degree from The University of Texas.  Kevin and his family finally moved to the Vail Valley in 2015., and his youngest child attends CGL.

Rebecca McDonnell

Rebecca is currently Director of Product Sales & Services for Vail Resorts, with 18 years of 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.

Jess Szmyd

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

Paul Wisor

Paul is an attorney at Garfield & Hecht where he focuses on municipal law, real estate and public finance.  Paul received his BA from Lehigh University and his JD from the University of Colorado School of Law.  Paul and his wife Sarah, an attorney, have lived in the Valley since 2018.  Both their son and daughter attend CGL.

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.