Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Developing Cultural Competence:
Our Mission & Vision

Aspen Academy is committed to creating and maintaining an environment that supports diversity, equity, and inclusion by promoting respect and understanding of diverse cultures, social groups, and individuals. Cultural competence is the ability to understand, communicate with and effectively interact with people across cultures.

Our one-of-a-kind curriculum for Leadership, Finance, and Entrepreneurship (LiFE), allows students to gain an understanding of cultural competency. Our work in cultural competence builds our students’ world view, so they may effectively understand their own cultural identity while remaining open to cultural differences of others. We work deeply on respectful discourse and teach students to understand fairness, equity, and work towards equality in opportunity.

We believe that an organization that prioritizes diversity, equity and inclusion creates an environment that respects and values individual difference along varying dimensions. In addition, inclusive organizations foster cultures that minimize bias and recognize and address systemic inequities, which, if unaddressed, can create disadvantages for community members. These efforts are reflected in our organizational mission, vision, and values; are incorporated into strategic plans; and inform all we do as a school.  

We as a school do not shy away from potentially difficult conversations, such as, but not limited to: differences, diversity, identity, privilege, bias, prejudice, race, and injustice. Instead, we take them on as moments to grow and create an even more inviting and inclusive environment- conducive for the learning for all people. 

Actions We Are Taking and Opportunities for Growth: Current Initiatives

All students, families, and staff members are valued for their unique experiences and perspectives they bring to our community. Everyone is encouraged to grow into their most authentic self and to be seen, valued, and heard in that process of growth.

At Aspen, we put feet to our mission, vision and values by using and applying this work in every classroom using the Social Justice Standard (from Teaching Tolerance) as a framework to guide connections to leadership in the areas of: Identity, Diversity, and Action.

We edify and inspire students and educators to grow, learn, and lead. (Aspen Academy's Mission) We do this through celebrating diversity and affirming all cultural dimensions and identities: 

  • Acknowledging & Evaluating Systems of Justice and Equity from Local to National to International Environments
  • Providing Safe Spaces for Courageous Conversations for Students, Parents and Faculty
  • Providing Affinity Spaces for Students, Parents and Faculty
  • Providing ongoing and current information and resources for Students, Parents and Faculty to remain engaged in their own life-long work and personal growth
  • Identifying the need for and fostering an environment in which increased work can be done in the areas of Self-Identity and Self-Awareness
  • Leveraging Aspen Academy’s own Future Holders Curriculum and Lessons in the areas of Social Emotional Learning, Character and Development, and Cultural Competence 
  • Engagement in ongoing curricular evaluation to ensure inclusive and cultural representation in instructional materials, lessons and textbooks.
  • Ongoing professional development providing best practices for teachers in the areas Social Justice Instruction and creating/maintaining Culturally Responsive Classrooms.


All humans have the right to thrive with dignity and freedom from racism and discrimination in all its forms.” 
- Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary General



Transforming Education

Since 2018, Aspen Academy has provided mentoring to public schools and public school administrators and supported 84 Moonshot edVentures Fellows who have impacted more than 15,000 students. Future Holders, founded at Aspen Academy launched an app for students worldwide in 2021 and hopes to reach 56 million students in the US alone.


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Dana Kohls & Jessie Skipwith

It is our continual commitment to be a community committed to being kind, doing good, and raising socially responsible global citizens together. Please review our guidelines for 2023 in this blog.

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In August of 2023, we will mark the 60 year anniversary of Dr. King’s sharing of his dream. How will we all honor his call in the upcoming days and weeks?

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Jessie Skipwith and Sequoia H. (Student Contributor)

On October 7, 2022, most students at Aspen Academy were sleeping in, enjoying a morning show at home, or perhaps were heading out for an extended weekend vacation with their families. However, Aspen Academy Student Inclusion Leadership Club (SILC) members chose to take advantage of this day off by attending this year’s STAMP Conference.

Read More about Students Learn, Grow, and Lead at Local Conference


Jessie Skipwith

Elevate Director, Licensed School Counselor
M.Ed., Counselor Education, University of New Orleans
B.A., Justice, American University

Cindy Hewatt

School Counselor, LMFT
B.S., Psychology, Colorado State University
M.A., Clinical Psychology, LMFT, Chapman University

Justin Wimbish

Middle School Director, Interim
B.S., Management Information Systems, University of Wyoming
Staff Sergeant (E-6), US Army Reserve (2003-2011)
M.S., Education and Human Development