The Board of Directors voted to bring Cyndi on to support the school through the leadership transition and we are very excited to have her as part of the GVA family!
Cyndi started on Monday, January 7 and her work schedule will be Monday, Wednesday and Thursday each week. Please read below for a little bit more about the experience that Cyndi brings to our school.
Cyndi Bush-Luna was born in Denver, raised in the University Park area where she attended Slavens Elementary, 7th and 8th grade at the opening of Thomas Jefferson (the 7-12 experiment didn’t last long) and then went to high school in Ft Collins when her father got a job at CSU. She loved Poudre High School where she first experienced a more diverse community from wealthy, to low income and to a large percentage of Latino students.
After high school graduation she went to Ft. Lewis College in Durango, then transferred to Principia College where she earned her bachelors in Social Studies with high school teaching certification. She taught for one year in St Louis in a conventional high school but was eaten alive by her lack of experience and lack of a sense of authority. At this point she and her new husband moved back to Denver where she decided she needed some real world experience before going back to teaching. Cyndi worked for several years with a community organizing agency. During this time, Cyndi and her husband started a family.
When their second (and last) child was in kindergarten, she went back to school to earn her Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction. Upon completion of that program, Cyndi interviewed for several teaching positions at schools serving non-conventional students. (After her first year of teaching in St Louis she decided she had no interest in teaching privileged students, like herself, but wanted to work in a city school with students who had access to less support and resources.) Cyndi's first job after graduate school was at a private alternative school (charters had not yet been designed). Two months in and she was, self-admittedly, miserable! It was not a caring environment or giving students the skills they needed for their futures, instead it was a diploma factory!
The year was 1994, two other teachers, the Business Manager, and Cyndi left the abysmal school to start our own. Colorado High School opened in November with 35 students, 4 teachers, a Business Manager and donated space at Central Bank. The spaces and school grew each year until 1997 when we found a permanent space at 1175 Osage. In 2001 a group of staff, parents and community members applied for a DPS Charter. CHS made the transition and opened in August 2002 as Colorado High School Charter. For the first 3 years of CHS, she taught and Co-lead the school with the Business Manager. It was too much, so Cyndi begrudgingly left the classroom and focused on leading the school. When she retired in 2013, the school had grown to over 200 students per year with 16 staff. She used to say, CHSC is small but mighty, taking students who had previously struggled in school and then became first generation graduates with skills to build a good life in the community. CHSC continues to thrive and recently opened up a new campus in the Globeville Swansea neighborhood.
Since retiring from CHSC, Cyndi has enjoyed traveling with her husband, has done several education consultant projects and keeps busy with 2 grandchildren who live next door.