Founders' Day and Hall of Fame Honorees 2013
On September 20, 2013, CSS will honor Todd Horn, Eleanor Walters, Anthony Dortch (‘96) and Vanessa Leeper-Jones (‘08) at the Founders’ Day celebration. Click here for a schedule of assemblies and weekend events.
Shaping his impressive academic career, Dr. Todd Horn received his Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth, a Master’s of Education from Harvard, an M.B.A. from University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and a doctorate in education from Northern Arizona State University. He began his career at The Colorado Springs School as a faculty member teaching in the sciences; he served as the science department chair and taught biology, chemistry, marine biology and medical ethics. He became the director of the Upper School at CSS in 1980, and served as director until 1990. While director at CSS, he designed and conducted new faculty workshops, developed faculty visitation and visiting artist programs and perhaps most importantly, met his wife Jane, a CSS former faculty member and dorm parent. A teaching colleague and CSS science teacher, Mr. Greg Johnson, asserts that Todd has always been multi-talented and incredibly bright, citing the achievement of Todd finishing his M.B.A. incredibly fast by stacking his schedule with 20 college credit hours in a single semester. During Todd’s tenure, the Mountain Caravan for the Upper School at Frontier Ranch was established, a tradition that the Upper School carries on to this day.
Dr. Todd Horn is an accomplished Head of School at the Kent Denver School, a co-ed day school in Denver, Colorado serving 675 students in grades 6-12, where he has implemented important sustainability efforts, created a professional learning community that has earned the school recognition as a top work place, and has focused on character, ethics and student diversity as Head of School. He also currently teaches business economics to seniors.
Mrs. Eleanor Walters has been working at CSS as the Children’s School Administrative Assistant for the past 36 years. Her colleagues have described her as very even-keeled, with not much under earth or heaven having the ability to ruffle her feathers. In her work, she has always been extremely professional, an excellent editor (“The Queen of Commas” as she is known by some) and proofreader of many school-wide communications. Dr. Patti Nelson has summed up her legacy simply and succinctly with the statement that with her long knowledge and connection to the institutional history of The Colorado Springs School, “Eleanor IS the Children’s School at CSS.” With a kind smile and word for everyone, and with an amazing ability to stay current with new technology and advances, she serves as a shining example of life-long learning.
The importance of family is a CSS value that Eleanor has mirrored in her own life: she was married to her late husband Bill Walters for nearly 50 years, and they have three children, two grandsons and two great-grandchildren. Her family are true-blue American patriots, and the flags hanging in the Louisa Performing Art Center on campus were donated by her family in memory of her husband, Bill. Of her time at CSS, Eleanor says that she has enjoyed watching the incredible growth of the school over the years, and that one of the greatest rewards of working here is witnessing the transformation of the children going from preschool and kindergarten to becoming young adults by the time that they graduate high school. In her free time, Eleanor enjoys reading biographies and periodicals, and maintaining her garden and flowerbeds.
As students often pridefully boast the achievement at graduation of being a lifer after spending 13-15 years at CSS, and several faculty/staff members have accumulated 20 plus years of service to CSS, Mrs. Walter’s 36 are quite a feat. We wish her the very best as she retires at the end of September.
Anthony Dortch of Dortch Designs graduated from the CSS Upper School in 1996, and is being inducted into the Arts Hall of Fame. He received his B.A. in Philosophy and Art Education from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and his Master’s degree in Graphic Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. He is currently a practicing visual artist living and working in Washington, D.C.
One of Anthony’s earliest artistic mentors was a CSS art faculty member, Judy Campbell. Under her influence, the beginnings of his personal voice and artistic project began to develop, creating a canvas titled NO ONE IS ORDINARY, which might be seen as an early template of his most recent body of work, “The Privileged Series,” which he describes as a body of work where, “Socialism and Capitalism clash…bring[ing] to form in words, paint, photo, and ink the unspoken challenge we’d rather not hear - in pictures we’d rather not see.”
We contacted Judy Campbell for some recollections of her former art student, and she said:
“It was obvious with the first project presented in my art class that Anthony was going to be an exceptional art student. His solutions to every project reflected not only skill but creativity and a desire to develop his work to the best of his ability. This attitude to strive for quality inspired the other students in class to do their best.
He had had an interest in cartooning from a very young age. When developing his portfolio for the Advanced Placement Review, he worked diligently with each requirement. For his Concentration Section he created a comic book. As part of his research for this he called Marvel Comic Books and talked with a famous cartoonist who gave him inspiration and guidance.
Anthony was a well-liked student on campus. Girls always flocked around him. He even took two or three girls to the prom. He was known for his wonderful smile, ever-changing hair-dos, and—of course—, his artwork. Everyone like him and called him ANT.
As his teacher I was always glad to see him come into class. I looked forward to seeing what and how he would take on new challenges. I am not surprised to see that his career as an artist has been so successful. Through the years we have corresponded about our various showings, and I have seen that he is still growing in his artistic endeavors. I project that he is not finished. I wish you the best, Anthony.”
As an art educator, Anthony has been brought in as an alumnus and visiting artist working with Mr. Hans Wolfe, CSS art teacher, and art students. Mr. Wolfe has said of Anthony that his positive and engaging manner, combined with his own artistic sensibility that favors very graphic, sequential art mediums immediately connects him to students, and that a hallmark of his teaching style is to give kids real techniques to that they can instantly use to achieve an artistic end.
His work has been shown all over the D.C. area, including at the Smithsonian Institute and the Touchstone Gallery. Recently, Dortch’s art has been exhibited in Massachusetts, Colorado, California, and New York. His latest artistic endeavor takes his early comic book project to a new level and was introduced at the Small Press Conference in September.
Vanessa (Leeper) Jones graduated from CSS in 2008, graduating with more school records and accolades than any other female athlete in CSS history. She was an All-State soccer goalie as well as being First Team All-State in basketball. She is being inducted into the CSS Athletic Hall of Fame. Some of the highlights of her athletic career include:
•All-State basketball guard 2 years at CSS
•2A Basketball Player of the Year by the Denver Post
•Played in the Pepsi Center during the High School All-Star basketball team
•Holds most career basketball points record along with several others
•Starter all 4 years at CSS
•Signed a Div. II scholarship to University of Nebraska-Kearney for basketball
•RMAC All-Conference Player at Nebraska-Kearney
•Academic All-American her senior season
CSS history teacher and Soccer Coach, Mr. Amos White says that she was a joy to coach, and Vanessa has said of her experience here and being coached by Coach White that, “I have been told many times that I’m a “hard worker,” and I believe I learned to work hard and push myself from playing soccer with Coach White since the 5th grade!” On the basketball court at CSS, she was an All-State guard noted not only for outstanding athletic ability (she reached 1000 points in her junior season alone), but was also an exceptional team leader that showed intensity, hard work, willingness to improve and friendliness to all her teammates.
Another coach and mentor to her, Ms. Vicki Vaughn, says of her:
“Her work ethic is remarkable and she honestly was one of the hardest working athletes I’ve coached in 25 years, which includes a mix of All-American collegiate players. Vanessa was a blessed athlete in her capabilities, as she moved on the both the soccer field and basketball court with a nice balance of power and grace. As many would say, she was a natural athlete. But as easily as it was for Vanessa to run the court, she put in many extra hours of training (many with no one else around) to enhance her skills. If Vanessa did have a weakness in her game, she would embrace it, put in extra time, and turn it into a strength.
Above all this, Vanessa was a team player who thrived to make others around her better. She was unselfish and it was typical to have her lead the team in assists every game. She was capable of taking over a game by herself, which she actually did several times against arch-rival Fountain Valley, once even with a taped up and swollen ankle.
As her coach, I often found myself watching in awe when she had the ball in her hands. Vanessa was capable of hitting the 3-footer, making the scoring pass, or driving through the lane with a strong finish under the basket. It truly was a joy to watch her play at CSS and four more years at Kearney, where they would often play along the front range in the RMAC.
Some people might not know this, but Vanessa is also a stellar kayaker and is a natural on the river where her father, Eric, taught her to kayak at an early age. Vanessa’s mother, Ximena, is from Chile and the family spends a lot of time there visiting relatives when they can. Vanessa escorted a group of CSS students there on an ECS one year, and several times she has returned to run basketball camps for the youth in Chile. She has been featured in some of the local newspapers and many people in her mom’s hometown know who Vanessa Leeper Jones is!”
Vanessa received a B.A. in Business Administration and a B.S. in Sports Administration from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where she also played collegiate basketball and distinguished herself as student athlete of the year in 2012. She is currently pursuing a Master’s of Science in Marketing at the University of Denver, with an anticipated graduation date of 2014.
Vanessa is married to Josh Jones. They met her junior year at Kearney and have been best friends ever since. They just returned from a motorcycle trip (both on bikes) to the Canadian Rockies and back. They never shy away from an adventure.