(970) 403-0946  (970) 247-8333  info@southwestcoloradoeschool.org

SWCeS Staff

Mike Freeburn – Principal
Mike Profile Photo
Mike moved to Durango in 1985 to attend Fort Lewis College and paddle kayaks on the Animas River.  While in school working on a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology degree, and for a time after graduating, he competed internationally as a member of the US National Wildwater Kayak Team.  Beginning in the fall of 1993, Mike taught Biology and Chemistry at Durango High School for nine years, and also coached Cross Country and Track for twelve seasons.   He helped DHS secure five state championships in Cross Country and coached numerous individual state champions in Cross and Track.  He earned a Master of Arts in Administration from Adams State University and served as Dean of Students for two years, followed by eleven years as an Assistant Principal, all at Durango High School.  At DHS, Mike also provided administrative oversight in several areas:  The DAVINCI Small Learning Community, Alternative Crediting (including the SWC eSchool), Shared School, Concurrent Enrollment, Individualized Crediting Program, and the English Language Learners program.  He also worked closely with the Mathematics, Science and Fine Arts departments.  Mike is an enthusiastic advocate of online learning and the educational options provided by the eSchool.  He has a keen, clear understanding that the right combination of educational options provided through the eSchool can make all the difference for students.  On a personal note, Mike enjoys outdoor activities immensely, including whitewater kayaking, mountain biking, trail running, hiking, backpacking, bicycle touring, Nordic and backcountry skiing, and others.  He has been married to the same great gal, Jana, for over 28 years and they have 2 children.  Mike can be reached at mfreeburnsouthwestcoloradoeschool.org and (970) 903-0684.

Kelly Powell – Durango Center Coordinator and Instructor
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Having grown up in Durango, Kelly Powell is excited to be working in her community as the Student Services Coordinator of eSchool.  This will be Kelly’s 20th year working in a Colorado high school.  She began her career as a Spanish teacher and student adviser in Elizabeth Colorado.  After earning her masters’ degree in Counseling Psychology and Counselor Education she began working as a high school counselor in Jefferson County.  In 2004 she was offered a counseling position at Durango High School and happily moved back to the area.  Kelly is passionate about helping adolescents reach their full potential and knows Southwest Colorado eSchool is the perfect place to obtain this goal. She lives with her husband and 2 children who attend Durango public schools.  She also has a dog and enjoys participating in many local activities, especially skiing and biking. kpowell@southwestcoloradoeschool.org | Mobile (970) 946-2070

Cindy Houston – Dolores Center Coordinator and Student Services 
Cindy Houston Photo
Cindy comes to Colorado from West Virginia where she graduated with a BFA in Graphic Design. She headed west in pursuit of outdoor adventure and discovered her passion for supporting and working with youth. Through her three years of service with the Regional Substance Abuse Prevention Partners’(RSAPP) Americorps program, Cindy served the School Community Youth Collaborative (SCYC) as the Program Coordinator facilitating leadership skill building and youth civic engagement programs. She was promoted to a paid position with SCYC as Program Manager and still enjoys engaging with youth and supporting their efforts to be leaders of positive change in their communities. Cindy is enthusiastic in supporting youth to have successful experiences with learning and was guided to the eSchool when looking for another way to plug into this passion. She resides in the small village of Lewis with her husband of 20+ years, 17-year-old daughter, two amazing Cha-Beaner dogs, chickens and llamas, where she is able to take advantage of the easy access to the mountain and desert playgrounds that surround her. Cindy can be reached via email; chouston@southwestcoloradoeschool.org or 970-946-3512.

Jessica Robbins – English Specialist, Social Studies and French support 

Jessica Robbins studied communications at Emerson College in Boston and started her career in radio. She moved to Telluride in the late eighties to work for KOTO and ski for a season. Like most people working in a ski town, she managed to hold down three jobs and started teaching a new winter sport at the time: snowboarding. She transitioned to teaching High School English and became licensed in Gifted Education. She is interested in cognitive coaching, loves to teach writing, and is pursuing a master’s degree in administration. She spends her free time playing in the mountains with her family.

Shaun Burke – Mathematics Specialist, Spanish support 

Shaun may have been raised in Chicago, but the mountains have always called his name since he first laid eyes upon them at the age of 16. Durango is the first place Shaun has ever considered home. Shaun, as well as 95% of the population, believes math is scary, BUT he promises you with a little patience and time, math is no more difficult than any other subject. Shaun relies on connecting math to everyday applications in YOUR life. If Shaun isn’t helping students in math, you can find him (or maybe you can’t find him because he is lost himself!) running in the mountains.