Administration and Support

Ed Porritt
Head of School
Co-editor at the

Ed has been a middle- and high-school educator in Boulder County for 20 years, in communities from Broomfield to the Continental Divide. Ed has an M.A. in Educational Leadership from the University of Colorado in Boulder and a State of Colorado Principal License. In 1998, Ed was the administrator and first teacher of Chinook Alternatives, a highly successful program he developed for the Boulder Valley School District to prevent and retrieve drop-outs.  The program was closed in 2004 due to district budgetary issues. From 2004 to 2007 Ed served as the Dean of Students at Nederland Middle Senior High School, where he continued to coordinate the Chinook West high school program at Teens Inc., Youth and Family Center. In August, 2007, Ed opened Catalyst High School as a nonprofit private school. Ed continues to expand the potential of his contract-based, short block educational model, working successfully with an increasingly diverse population of students who, for a wide variety of reasons, are not thriving in other school settings. Ed has been the Program Chairman and a Board Member for Attention Homes Youth Shelter and served on the Board of Directors of Compass House.

Dick Weeks
School Counselor

Dick brings 45 years of educational experience with teens to Catalyst High School.  His career spans from teaching to school administration positions. Dick created and directed the K-12 counseling program for Colorado Academy in 1979. From 1981-1989 Dick served as Director of College Placement and then Dean of Students at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. In 1989, he became the Dean of Students and later Assistant Head of School at Alexander Dawson School. In 1995, Dick founded the George L. Bridge School, which he named for his grandfather.  For 16 years, Dick served as Head of Bridge School until retiring from that position and joining Catalyst High School.

Meredith Preston
Outreach Director
Phone (303) 604-6512

Meredith is a marketing communications professional with over two decades of experience. Before founding her own agency, Preston P|R, in 1991, Meredith served as Vice President of Corporate Communications for Hill and Knowlton, Inc., an international public relations agency. Over the years, her clients have included Fortune 50, non-profits, small businesses and professional practices. Also active in political affairs, she served as assistant press secretary to a U.S. Representative and legislative aide to a U.S. Senator in Washington D.C. before beginning her career in marketing communications. Meredith is an author and free-lance journalist, most frequently published in the Los Angeles Times. Her first book was published in 1997 and named a regional bestseller. She has been honored for her work producing radio and television commercials by the Public Relations Society of America and the Los Angeles Press Club. A cum laude graduate of the University of the South, she holds a B.A. degree in English Literature.

Mary Hickling
Administrative Assistant, Registrar

Mary received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Conservation from the University of Colorado, Boulder. As Registrar and Office Manager, Mary maintains transcripts, report cards, and other school records, as well as working to keep things running in the Catalyst office – both figuratively and physically! She brings years of valuable experience working with personal fitness, office management and, most importantly, teens. Mary is drawn to issues that face teens today, and addresses them by integrating humor and role modeling and promoting a healthy lifestyle. Her hobbies include gardening, home staging and reading good books. Mary is married and has two teenage daughters (one a Catalyst graduate), and two very fluffy cats!

Brenda Von Star, FNPC

Brenda is a Family Nurse Practitioner who started her career as a Navy Hospital Corpsman during the Vietnam War. After discharge from the Navy, Brenda attended and graduated from nursing school in Oregon. She moved to beautiful Colorado in 1973 and worked at several Denver metro area hospitals over the next six years. She earned her Family Nurse Practitioner certificate from CU Denver Health Sciences Center in 1979. She is trained to see all age groups and is authorized to prescribe medications, see acute problems (i.e. colds, fevers, sprains/strains, simple lacerations), do preventive exams (physicals) and manage chronic problems.

Leslie Levinson
Financial Accounting

Leslie has a M.P.A in Public Administration from Drake University and a B. S. in Social Work from the University of Iowa. As Financial Manager she rules the back offices, assuring the smooth flow of funds into and out of Catalyst. Her special areas of interest include resource development and business operations of non-profit programs that address critical issues in the community. Prior to assuming her responsibilities with first fund raising and then financial management here, Leslie was the Operations Director for Emergency Family Assistance Association. She has over 25 years of experience working in human services non-profit management, program management, and community and resource development.