Megan Strauss, Executive Director

MeganMegan Strauss is the Executive Director and founder of Alpine Achievers Initiative. Megan received her Master’s Degree in Social Work with a concentration in non-profit leadership and development and has been working in the non-profit world since 2006. Her passions are bringing inspiration to underserved youth and creating meaningful experiences for service-oriented individuals. Megan served two terms with AmeriCorps which changed the course of her life and is now proud to support AmeriCorps programs serving youth in the San Luis Valley.

 Ryan Johns, Program Director

As the program director for Alpine Achievers Ryan is proud to assist our members in serving the San Luis Valley area schools. Ryan is a lifetime Colorado native and most recently was a high school science teacher for a local San Luis Valley school. As a resident of the San Luis Valley and a father of three young children, Ryan has a personal investment in improving the services offered to the students in this community. Ryan holds a bachelor’s degree in Adolescent Development from Colorado State University as well as certifications in informal education and outdoor programming. Ryan spent a year with his wife volunteering in Thailand where he found an appreciation for true service and is passionate about making that experience a reality for our members.


Cari Caudill, AmeriCorps VISTA member

Melissa Goforth, Financial Manager

Melissa is the Fiscal Manager for Alpine Achievers.  She is a Colorado Certified Public Accountant and received her BA degree in Accounting from Adams State College (now University.)  She and her husband Bruce have lived and worked in several Colorado communities, beginning in the southern San Luis Valley in the 1970’s.  Her professional career has focused in the business world, although she has volunteered for several non-profits over the years.   After her retirement from Monarch Mountain as Chief Financial Officer, she was looking for an opportunity to support a worthwhile organization and found the perfect match in Alpine Achievers which works with underserved children and youth in academics, personal growth, nutrition, and outdoor activities. “I have come full circle, beginning my career in the Southern San Luis Valley, pursuing it in several Colorado communities, and ending it here in the northern San Luis Valley.”  Melissa loves to hike and camp, visit our national parks, practice yoga, and is pursuing lifelong goals of learning piano and researching her family genealogy.

Hope Rheingans, Office Manager and Backyard to Backcountry Program Coordinator

Hope Rheingans started her Alpine Achievers Initiative journey in 2014 as an apprentice supporting after school rock climbing programs both indoors and outdoors through the Adams State Adventure Program. She moved to Salida after receiving her degree in Physical Geography and minors in Adventure Leadership, Environmental Science, and Human Performance and Physical Education. Three years later a casual coffee shop conversation with Megan turned into a job offer for AAI, now holding a nonprofit status! Hope jumped at another opportunity to be supporting positive youth development in the San Luis Valley where she herself grew up. She is stoked to turn many of our students into environmental stewards (in the process) while teaching them about the mountains and other outdoor resources that are right in their backyards. Hope strongly believes her work in and out of the office support personal growth and awareness in SLV youth.