World Class Leadership


Seth Ahlborn
Interim Head of School
Mr. Ahlborn was a Prefect at Kent School as a schoolboy and graduated from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill with dual majors: Anthropology and Physical Education. He is published in Respiration Physiology with his mentor teacher.  Continuing his studies in Exercise Physiology and Cardiac Rehabilitation, he earned his Masters degree through the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, publishing his thesis on the traits of successful rowers.  Mr. Ahlborn managed a large fitness facility in Minneapolis - St. Paul and led the Minneapolis Rowing Club for six years before accepting the Athletic Director position at a boarding school in New Hampshire.  As a triple threat couple, Mr. and Mrs. Ahlborn ran a dormitory while Seth taught Environmental Science and coached track & field and Carrie was Director of Development. The father of four grown daughters, Mr. Ahlborn developed the rowing program at Brewster Academy while teaching math and computer science, overseeing the sophomore teaching team and studying at the University of New Hampshire in the Science of Teaching Mathematics.  He became Dean of Residential Life leading 19 dorms and 280 residential students before accepting the Headship of two different schools in Virginia. Now in his 18th year as Head, Mr. Ahlborn is the Headmaster of our sister school, Henderson International School in Nevada and he has been asked by York Education Group to support and guide the very capable Rancho Solano leadership team until a permanent replacement can be installed.  Mr. Ahlborn is looking forward to meeting everyone in the Mustang community!

Gordon Brown
Upper School Principal
Mr. Brown has been teaching for the last 26 years including public, private, and community college schools. Mr. Brown holds a BA in Biological Sciences as well as Physical Education and earned his Master’s Degree from Northern Arizona University in Exercise Physiology. Mr. Brown joined RS in the fall of 2010 from Glendale Community College.  Prior to becoming the Upper School Principal, he taught IB Biology and Anatomy Physiology. 

Erika Goethe
Middle School Principal
Mrs. Goethe joined Rancho Solano in 2015 with 25 years of experience in Middle School education and holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in Education.  It is her passion and absolute joy to work with middle school-aged children. Mrs. Goethe has successfully built schools based upon best practices in education, which are founded in adolescent development.

Laurie Clark
Lower School Principal
Mrs. Clark has taught and administered all elementary grade levels for the past 20 years. Joining Rancho Solano in 2016, she previously served as Head of Primary at Cedar International School in the British Virgin Islands, where she had previously been a 5th Grade teacher. Mrs. Clark holds a Bachelors of Arts in Humanities from Fort Lewis College and a Masters of Education from Adams State College. She also holds an International Baccalaureate (IB) Certification and is authorized to lead IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) workshops and evaluate schools seeking IB authorization. 

Juli Jeffers
Mrs. Jeffers joined Rancho Solano in March of 2018 with over ten years of accounting and finance experience. She holds a Master of Accountancy from Arizona State University and is a Certified Public Accountant.  During her master’s program, she was a Teacher’s Assistant for an Introduction to Financial Accounting class and was asked by the Professor to teach the summer school program on behalf of the Professor. Teaching has always been one of her passions. After that endeavor, Juli accepted a position at Heinfeld & Meech, Inc. performing Audits and Consulting work for school districts and non-profit organizations.  She leveraged the knowledge she obtained in this job to jump into the corporate world at Republic Services, a waste company with over $10B in annual revenue.  She worked up the ranks within the organization by obtaining experience in the field and at the corporate finance level.  She helped to build the company’s quarterly and annual financial statements, and managed the largest liability of the company- their landfills.  Near the end of her term with Republic, she managed all the accounting and finance aspects of an $80M/year in revenue division of the business.  Mrs. Jeffers is very excited to be a part of the Rancho Solano community!

Scott Salk
Director of Admissions
Mr. Salk joined Rancho Solano during the 2015-2016 school year with 14 years of private school administrative experience. While specializing in the areas of admissions and marketing, he also has school experience in operations, finance, facilities management, and development. Mr. Salk has a BS in Marketing from the University of Arizona and earned his MBA from the University of Phoenix.

Katie Mitchell
Director of College Counseling
Ms. Mitchell joined Rancho Solano in August of 2013 after 9 years working in the College Admission arena. Prior to joining Rancho Solano, she worked domestically and internationally, at the college level, helping students navigate the college admission process from both university and high school perspectives. Ms. Mitchell holds a Bachelor of University Studies from North Dakota State University and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from The University of Northern Colorado.

Aaron Trigg
Director of Athletics
Coach Trigg joined Rancho Solano in 2013 as Athletic Director and Head Boys' Basketball Coach.  He most recently worked for The University of Central Florida Men’s Basketball Program while  receiving his MBA and Masters in Sport Business Management at UCF. He received his Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Finance from Gordon (MA) College, where he was a student-athlete and an Academic All-American. Coach Trigg is passionate about the role athletics plays in whole-student education and developing student-athletes of high character.

Dallin Payne
Associate Athletic Director
Mr. Payne holds a Master’s degree in Education and has been with Rancho Solano since 2005. Serving the school in a number of positions, he is currently the Associate Athletic Director.

Linda Head
Director of Operations
Mrs. Head has been a part of the Rancho Solano family since 2002. Serving in many capacities throughout her time with the school, she is currently the Director of Operations.


Department Heads

Dr. Dane Spencer
Dr. Spencer holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Tulsa where he was recognized with the University of Tulsa Distinguished Ph.D. Teaching Award and Bellwether Fellowship.  He has taught at the college level for four years and has been with Rancho Solano since 2015.

Chris Kotila
Mr. Kotila holds a Master of Elementary Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications with nine years teaching experience. He joined Rancho Solano in 2015 and teaches Middle School Science.

Philip Minneci
Mr. Minneci holds a Master of Science in Educational Leadership and has been a teacher and administrator for over 30 years. He joined Rancho Solano in 2014 and teaches Middle School History. 

Ryan McLeod
Mr. McLeod has exensive IB Math experience and holds a Bachelor of Science in Education. Teaching for over 10 years, he joined Rancho Solano in 2014 and teaches Upper School Mathematics.

Marie-Anne Valente
World Language
Ms. Valente holds a Master of Arts in French with a specialty in Comparative Literature in Spanish and French, a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education, and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Literature. With over 20 years of international teaching experience, she joined Rancho Solano in 2013. 

Brandon Zale
Fine Arts
Mr. Zale joined Rancho Solano in 2015, having worked as a performing arts educator for fifteen years.  A native Chicagoan, he holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Millikin University.  He has taught General Music, Choir, and Theatre classes to grades PK-12, as well as instructing private lessons and directing numerous music and theatre performances.  Brandon is also a professional actor, musician, and freelance visual artist.  

Katy Poole
PE and Health
Mrs. Poole joined Rancho Solano in 2013 and has taught Physical Education, Health Education, and Adapted Physical Education at a variety of schools across the country for the last 10 years.  She holds a B.S in Kinesiology with a concentration in Physical Education, Health Education, and Adapted Physical Education from the University of Rhode Island as well as a M.S. in Exercise Science from Slippery Rock University.  She is a nationally certified APENS teacher and has coached all ages through high school in a variety of sports. 

Richard Stilliard
IB Coordinator
Joining Rancho Solano in 2015, Mr. Stilliard earned a Bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Leeds and received his Master’s in Multi-Disciplinary Studies from Buffalo State/SUNY.  He teaches IB History and American Studies, a History examiner for the IB, and has been involved in pilot studies for the Programme as well. 

Christine Wells
Teacher Leader - 4th and 5th Grade
Ms. Wells holds a Master of Education, majoring in Educational Technology. She has been with Rancho Solano for six years and has been teaching for ten years. 

Tami Ramsey
Teacher Leader - K through 3rd Grade
Ms. Ramsey has been a part of the Rancho Solano family for the past 21 years. She holds a Master of Science in Elementary Math and has been teaching for the past 22 years. 

Nicole Weideman
Teacher Leader - PreK
Ms. Weideman holds a Master of Science in Education and has been with Rancho Solano for two years.

Contact Us

  • Phone
  • Lower School Office:
  • Middle/Upper School Office:
  • Preschool – 5th Grades
  • 5656 E Greenway
  • Scottsdale, AZ 85254
  • USA
  • 6th-12th Grades
  • 9180 E Via de Ventura
  • Scottsdale, AZ 85258
  • USA

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