Skip to main content

Administrative Staff

Scott Thomson - Co-Founder and Executive Director

Scott Thomson uses his background in business management and education in his job as the Executive Director of North Idaho STEM Charter Academy in Rathdrum, Idaho.  He was Vice-President of Operations for MGB Enterprises from 1985 to 1995 where he used his expertise in finance and economics.  He holds a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership and a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Idaho in Elementary Education. He has been in education since 1999 spending 13 of those years in the classroom. He has experience with coaching, curriculum adoptions, long-term strategic planning, committee work, working with parents and community members and budgeting. Scott has 20 years of experience with project-based learning. Scott has successfully developed and implemented budgets for over $ 1.5 million in competitive grants to be used for curriculum, technology, and equipment.  He develops, implements, and oversees multi-million dollar budgets and construction projects for the school. Scott was selected to be the North Idaho Ambassador for the Idaho Charter School Network.  Additionally, Scott was voted in by the State Board of Education as the rural schools representative for the Data Management Council. Scott is active in furthering better educational opportunities for students statewide including authoring the legislation for the STEM Diploma.  He is a strong advocate of school choice, high standards and individual accountability.  Scott, along with his wife Colleen, was an original founder and is overseeing the growth of both the program and ever expanding facilities at North Idaho STEM Charter Academy.

Colleen Thomson - Co-Founder and Director of Instruction

Colleen Thomson holds a Bachelor's Degree from Gonzaga University in Elementary Education and a Master's Degree from the University of Idaho in Educational Leadership. She became a National Board Certified Teacher-Middle Childhood Generalist in 2000. She has been in education since 1991 including 20 years in the classroom.  Colleen has experience with curriculum adoptions, committee work including Strategic and Long-Term Planning, professional development and high stakes testing. She also has experience with project-based learning through the Idaho Space Consortium Mars Rover project for the past 14 years. Colleen has successfully written and been awarded over $1.5 million in competitive grants including the ID21 Award for creative and innovative schools from the J.A. & Kathryn Albertson Foundation.  Colleen was an original founder and currently serves as the Director of Instruction for North Idaho STEM Charter Academy in Rathdrum, Idaho.

Travis Swick - Principal

Travis Swick uses his work experiences from education, healthcare, and risk management in his duties as Principal at North Idaho STEM Charter Academy in Rathdrum, Idaho.  He has been teaching and managing within public, private education and healthcare organizations since 1996.  He holds a Master’s Degree in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of New Mexico, an administrative certificate from Lamar University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Eastern Illinois University.  During his career he has worked with youth and adults in a myriad of educational settings that included teaching, coaching, mentoring, team leading, action planning, budgeting, program restoration/start-up, and general management.  In addition Travis worked on a contract basis from 2003-2013 with Entertainment and Sports Programming Network Inc, and Red Bull North America Inc as a medical advisor and risk manager for national and international events.  He is an advocate for school choice and all programming that allows resources to best equip students for real-world needs and opportunities. 

Cynthia Cook - Vice-Principal

After earning her undergraduate degree in Business Administration, Cyndi pursued a career in politics where she advocated on behalf of small business.  These experiences gave her the opportunity to take leadership roles within the community.  During her time working at both State and Federal levels, she worked on health care and international trade legislation.  She also served as the Director of International Trade at the World Trade Center creating business development opportunities for West Coast companies.

After relocating her family to Northern Idaho, she had the fortunate opportunity to discover her true passion in teaching.  Starting out as a STEM parent volunteer led her to an opening to substitute teach and then she was hooked from there.  After completing her teaching certification, she pursued a Masters Degree in Educational Administration.  Cyndi has loved every minute of being a classroom teacher and now looks forward to serving STEM in an administrative role. 

Deb Pence - Secondary Program Director

Deb began her career teaching grades 4-8 and has been working in school administration and program development since 2007. Her specific areas of expertise lie in academic program design and implementation, post-secondary transition, online learning, and grant writing. Deb graduated from Louisiana State University with a BA in Elementary Education, and earned her M.Ed in Foundations of Education and School Leadership Certificate from Eastern Washington University.  She has also participated in additional training through the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, Jobs for the Future Early College Initiative, Stanford University’s Design School/IDEO, Framework for Teaching, and the JA & Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation’s Go On Idaho and PTECH programs. She has successfully written grants for education and regional programs totaling over $1.25 million dollars. At STEM, Deb serves as a resource for the development of the high school program, coordinates the Advanced Opportunities program, and provides high school and post-secondary advising support to students.

Cathy Richardson - Office Manager/IT Director

Cathy Richardson holds a BS in Accounting with a background in auditing. She was a systems and financial analyst for Itron, Inc.  Cathy has been an active supporter of our local school district financially by purchasing various supplemental science and reading programs over the years.


Allison Bishop - Registrar/Office Supervisor

Heidi Eastman- Administrative Assistant

Kristin Stafford - Office/IT Support

Dawn Daley - Receptionist

Patrick Carlson - IT Manager