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Vanessa Fitz-Kesler, Executive Director

Vanessa Fitz-Kesler, Executive Director

Hello, I’m Vanessa Fitz-Kesler, the Executive Director at Mountain School.  Mountain School has been a part of my life in Flagstaff since 1999, when I began as the 5th/6th grade teacher and the school was renting space from other organizations and enrolled less than 70 students. Purchasing land and establishing a building in 2001-2002 was a huge step for a small charter school, but Mountain School quickly grew and became an integral part of the Ponderosa Trails neighborhood.  

For a number of years I was fortunate enough to primarily stay at home with my children, first with a daughter and then a son, who have attended both charter schools and FUSD schools in Flagstaff.  For four years I worked at NAU in the Center for Science Teaching and Learning in evaluation and professional development, and also supported the school board as a recorder and eventually became a board member. In 2018 I had the honor to step into the role of Executive Director, with initial mentorship from Mountain School’s founder and fearless leader, Ms.Renee Fauset. In 2022 I completed a Master’s degree program in Educational Leadership from NAU.

As the charter representative, one of my primary responsibilities is to maintain compliance with the Arizona Department of Education and The Arizona State Charter Board. Additionally I oversee the finances, maintenance and operations, and work closely with the Mountain School Governing Board. Our administrative team, comprised of the Executive Director, the Principal and the Business Manager, work closely together on school-wide initiatives, decisions, communications and staff support.  

My educational and professional background is in both science and education, with a passion for experiential learning and sustainability. Some of my previous experiences were at the Houston Zoo, Manomet Bird Observatory, Yellowstone National Park, The Arboretum at Flagstaff and Bonnie Brennan Elementary in Winslow. Some of my interests include photography, hiking, camping, yoga, birding, reading, writing, and beachcombing.   Beyond my immediate family in Flagstaff, the rest of my family lives in southeastern Pennsylvania, where I mostly grew up and attended college. In 1994 I moved to Flagstaff and have been enjoying the people and the town, raising a family, and exploring the west ever since.

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311 W Cattle Drive Trail
Flagstaff, AZ 86005

Phone: 928-779-2392
Fax: 928-779-3246
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