Get to know your Education Department teachers

Carrie Vogel, Dorian Romero, Julie Stone, and Michael Kirsch are four teachers who help tribal students from Kindergarten through 12thgrade succeed.

Each visits a school in the Ignacio School District and attends classes to help students with work, but is actually an employee of the tribe. These teachers also double down and help with tutoring as well as programs in the summer.


Carrie Vogel, Ignacio Elementary School


Carrie Vogel is from Midland, Texas, and has lived in Colorado for half her life. She has bachelor’s degrees in journalism, marketing and elementary education.

Since since meeting a group of kids at a local YMCA earlier in life, Vogel has wanted to pursue a job in education. That’s when she went back to school for elementary education studies.

Vogel initially applied for a position at the Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy but was unsuccessful. Later, she got a call about another position in the Education Department as a teacher.

Vogel was excited to work with Southern Ute students and learn about the culture. She enjoys working with the same kids every day and the opportunity to see them grow as students.

“Once families get to know you, they support you and trust you,” Vogel said.

Vogel incorporates Ute culture and activities in a hands-on approach to learning when working with tribal children.

“It has been a joy working these kids, and [I hope] to continue to work with them in the future,” she said.


Dorian Romero, Ignacio Intermediate School


Dorian Romero is from Albuquerque, N.M. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in elementary education.

Romero has always loved working with children. She has taught middle school, seventh-grade science and eighth-grade math classes.

After moving to the Durango area, Romero applied to teaching positions around Durango and heard about the teaching job in Education Department. She applied and is the newest addition to the teaching team.

Romero said working for the tribe has been different in a variety of ways, such as moving around to different classrooms and serving a small community with more interactions.

“Seeing the importance of tribal members at a young age as the face of the tribe in the future is … rewarding,” she said. “I absolutely love my job.”

Julie Stone, Ignacio Junior High School


Julie Stone is originally from Monterrey, Calif., and has lived in the Durango area for 12 years. She has a master’s degree in education with a K-12 special education endorsement.

Stone knew she wanted to pursue a job in education at the age of 12 through much babysitting and helping her younger siblings. After graduating high school, she worked at a childcare facility and became the director for 11 years.

Stone then went back to school and got a teaching credential. She moved with family to the Ignacio area and began looking for a teaching position. After a stint at Bayfield High School, she joined the Southern Ute Education Department.

Stone enjoys working with children in a smaller community and school district, with more opportunity to get involved in things. Smaller communities move much more slowly and there is not so much happening, which is beneficial to children, she said.

Stone encourages students to do fun and different things. She has three children and understands how family is important to an individual but also in a community.


Michael Kirsch, Ignacio High School


Michael Kirsch, originally from southern California, has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in curriculum management, and is an educational specialist in educational technology.

He decided to pursue teaching after he saw his children getting what he believed was not a proper education. Following a move to Colorado, he took a position at Education Department.

“I understand the up and down of having a childen in school,” he said.

Kirsch enjoys working with high school kids and the opportunity to learn from teachers and the kids themselves.

Kirsch helps with tutoring after school as part of the Mandatory After School Help program and approaches all students the same way, listening to what they have to say.

When not helping with tutoring, Kirsch helps chaperone many of the trips throughout the year.

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