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 is passionate about early childhood education and development. Larisa and her family moved to the Valley in 2017.

Kellie McKenzie

Kellie was a Special Education Teacher at Red Sandstone Elementary School for the past 9 years. She is currently focusing on her photography business. She attended the University of Arizona for her undergrad and has a Communications degree along with a dual Masters in Education and Special Education from Arizona State University. Kellie has lived in the Valley for 10 years,  Kellie and her husband Rob currently live in Avon with their two children.

Krista Miller

Krista has a bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management and works as the Town of Vail’s Human Resources and Risk Management Director.  After raising her children here in the mountains, she has been a long-time supporter and volunteer for early childhood education programs in the Vail Valley.  Krista serves on the board on behalf of the Town of Vail, which provides capital and in-kind support for CGL in recognition of the importance of ECE for the Vail community.

Betsy Otis

Betsy is a kindergarten teacher at Red Sandstone Elementary School and has taught primary grades for the past ten years. She attended the University of Mississippi for undergrad and graduate school and holds a Master of Literacy. Betsy and her husband Patrick reside in Avon with their two boys, both CGL students.

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 Master’s from CU Denver and lives in Edwards with her husband and two children.

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 attended 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.