Apex Founding Team
The Apex Founding Team is comprised of parents, volunteers and community members actively involved in Douglas County. We are passionate about our community, and committed to creating an educational program which provides opportunities for teachers, students and community members to be engaged and active in the learning process.
Adam Musson, Board Chair
After falling in love with the community culture and small-town feel of Castle Rock, Adam relocated his family of five from Lawrence, Kansas to Castle Rock. As a deeply connected member of the community himself, he values the idea of an inclusive school that will enable his children to grow academically and culturally. He joined the founding group because he wants to be part of his children's’ education and learning experiences.
Adam has a Bachelors in History and Masters in Finance from the University of Kansas, and is currently working on a BS in Management Information Systems at Colorado State University. He is a tenured IT Project Manager in the fields of healthcare IT and finance. Adam is the founder of Jayhawk Consulting, a consulting firm focused on helping small businesses with their operational and business strategies.
Adam is married with three children - all of whom will be attending Apex Community School in August 2019. He volunteers with Junior Achievement USA, JA Finance Park programs and the American Cancer Society’s “Relay for Life” event. He enjoys all forms of Colorado outdoor sports such as mountain biking, fly fishing, skiing and he is a former amateur baseball all-star outfielder.
Mark Welle, Board Vice Chair
A fourth-generation Denver native, Mark spent summers working on his Uncle’s ranch in southeastern Douglas County, an experience that led him to adopt Castle Rock, Colorado as his hometown.
Mark began his 30 year career with Xerox Corporation. He quickly rose through the ranks, passing through California on his was to Washington DC where he assumed the role of Senior Vice President. He retired from Xerox in 1996 and returned to Castle Rock to take over the family business, WESCO Laser Machining Company, as its CEO. He resides here today with his wife Barbara and children Mark Jr., and Andrea.
Mark is a member of several charitable boards including the Castle Oaks Covenant Church, Rocky Mountain Tool and Machining Association, Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, Colorado Association of Manufacturing Alliance, and CORE Leadership for Men. However, it was his role as Chairman of the United Cerebral Palsy Charity that led him to become involved in education, first with a Charter School in the Lowery area of Denver, and now Apex Community School.
Christie McGovern, Board Secretary
Born and raised in southern California, Christie traded the ocean for the mountains in 2004. Having worked in dozens of schools and observed a wide range of instruction methods she wanted to be part of a school that seeks to build character and community while pushing all students to achieve beyond what they thought possible.
Christie is a licensed Speech Language Pathologist working with special education students throughout the Denver metro area. Upon her arrival in Colorado she joined the Core Knowledge charter school in Denver where she spent three years as the Student Services Coordinator. She then spent several years in the Aurora Public School District as a special education consultant, guiding the specialized instruction and special education compliance process at nine of the district’s elementary schools, including a K-8 Core Knowledge charter. Christie received a BA from Baylor University, and her Master’s Degree with a focus in Speech and Hearing Disorders from Indiana University in 2013. She also has a Colorado Principal License from Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver.
Lori Parker, Board Member
As the mother of a special needs student, Lori has long sought a school that would accommodate and integrate children from all walks of life and ability levels. She firmly believes in Apex Community School’s vision to support the entire spectrum of student abilities, and the dual focus on academics and community involvement.
Lori, a licensed Clinical Social Worker, earned undergraduate degrees in social work and psychology from the University of Wyoming, and then continued on to obtain her master’s degree in social work from the University of Texas at Artlington. She currently works as a Child and Family Therapist for the Aurora Mental Health Center, specializing in high-risk families comprised of children with emotional, behavioral, intellectual or developmental difficulties. Throughout her career she has offered mental health treatment to children and families. As a Child Welfare Trainer with the Butler Institute for Families at DU, she provided training in the areas of risk assessment, working with difficult families, child development, grief and loss, child welfare, cultural outreach, special education (IDEA and IEP’s) and intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her long history as a Parent Advisor for the THRIVE Center provides her with a rich sense of community and special education resources for families with children with special needs.
As a parent and professional Lori is well-connected in the disability community. She served for many years on the Advisory Board of Parent to Parent and offers Person Centered Planning for individuals with disabilities. She was honored with the Volunteer of the Year Award in 2011 for her coordination of successful school events, and Advocate of the Year Award in 2014 for local disability advocacy.
Kai Szoka, Board Member
As a teacher and curriculum expert Kai has seen many schools with well-meaning people teach in a way that doesn’t serve all the students, which can end up leaving some behind. Apex is the right kind of teaching with the right kind of curriculum, giving all students the opportunities they deserve.
A graduate of Adams State with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, Kai also earned a Masters Degree in School Leadership from the University of Colorado, Denver. He is an accomplished data analyst, curriculum researcher and licensed administrator in the state of Colorado, with classroom and leadership experience in both charter and district settings. As a founding teacher for an urban charter school in Denver he helped close the achievement gap in both minority and English language learner populations, earning (what recognition) for his work in a turnaround school.
Kai’s curricular expertise has been shared with schools across the Denver metro area, helping them develop, implement and oversee writing curriculum that leads to consistent and meaningful gains on state assessments. Despite the positive results he has helped multiple schools realize he continues to collect achievement data from Colorado Schoolview and empirical, peer-reviewed sources in academia, to further his research and recommendations for relevant curricula.
Julie Fairley, Advisory Board Member
Julie possesses a B.S. in Mass Media and an M.S. in Educational Administration. She began her career in public education as a teacher at the middle, high and adult alternative levels in both inner-city and suburban schools. She went on to serve as a college instructor, Assistant Principal, High School Principal and Director of Secondary Education, and was awarded the Phi Delta Kappa Educator of the Year Award for Colorado.
Currently Julie serves as a consultant, counting school districts, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Arizona State University and the State of Washington among her clients. She has served on school review teams for five years, authored three published books on the topic of leadership, and has attended C.D.E. training in the U.I.P. evaluation process. As an educator and grandparent Julie has broad-based experience working with children of all ability levels, and is dedicated to providing an honest, collaborative review process with the ultimate goal of improving student achievement.
Meghan Klassen, Advisory Board Member
A Denver native, Meghan earned her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Marketing from Creighton University, but it was her work as the Lead Teacher of a Mothers’ Day Out program for low-income families of children with special needs that led her to pursue a career in education. She earned her Master’s of Early Childhood Education from the University of Texas-Austin in 2005, and began her classroom work in a bilingual first grade before completing her practicum at The Rise School of Austin.
After three years with The Rise School of Austin Meghan began a family, then returned to Colorado in 2011 and took a position at The Rise School of Denver. She briefly taught Pre-K prior to becoming the Executive Director in 2012. Outside the classroom Meghan enjoys spending time with her family, running, cooking, reading, doing yoga and traveling.