Clear Spring’s director of development excited to be in Eureka Springs

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Felipe Echeverri found Clear Spring

School by chance, and now he works there

as the director of development and the coordinator

of the math program.

Echeverri remembered camping in the

Buffalo National Forest for a year, saying

he traveled to Eureka Springs when

he needed a taste of Ozarks culture. He

started visiting the town more frequently,

Echeverri said, before deciding to make

his move. Within two weeks, he said, he

found two jobs in town and a place to live.

“I’m really excited to be here,” Echeverri

said. “The name Eureka Springs is

perfect for it … you have a ‘Eureka’ moment

and you know whether you want to

move here or not.”

He heard about Clear Spring School

for about a year before moving to town,

Echeverri said, after talking to locals at the

farmers market.

“The day I decided to go out and find

a job, I saw the school and I was like, ‘I

bet you that’s the school my friends at the

farmers market were telling me about,’”

Echeverri said, “and lo and behold, it was.

It was just really exciting

to actually see this place.”

His interview went

well, Echeverri said, and

that was when he knew

he was meant to work at

the school.

“In a job interview,

usually I’m nervous. I

get quiet, just kind of that

awkward feeling,” Echeverri

said. “I didn’t have

that here at all. I felt like

I fit in and that made me

feel exceptional, because

I don’t usually feel that

way. So far, everyone has been so loving

and kind. This is an amazing faculty and

staff.”

His main mission at the school, Echeverri

said, is to raise money through grants

and donations, recruit students and retain

the existing faculty. It’s important to him

to do his best for the students, Echeverri

said, because they have made him feel at

home already in his first semester.

One student calls out

to him every morning, he

said.

“I hear this girl yell, ‘Felipe!’

and it just gives me that

energy I need,” Echeverri

said. “It’s like my first sip of

coffee in the morning, and

she’s representative of that

kind of feeling you get from

the students here.”

Echeverri recalled his

first day on the job, saying

he played a game with the

students outside. That experience

highlights the school’s mission,

he said, which is based on hands-on and

hearts-engaged learning.

“The teachers seem to foster that in the

students, because I see it within them,”

Echeverri said. “They’re engaged. They

finished their work on their own.”

He said that relates to the other part of

the school’s mission, to develop a lifelong

love of learning in all students.

“They have that instilled within them,”

Echeverri said.

The people at Clear Spring embody his

favorite thing about Eureka Springs, Echeverri

said.

“You’ve got a mix of folks that have

been in the Ozarks generationally for a

long time and all these other folks that

come from different places,” Echeverri

said. “It’s very open and progressive in a

typically conservative area. You’ve got a

lot of diversity on a philosophical level,

and I appreciate that.”

He continued, “It seems that it ends up

attracting people that have traveled. On

our staff, we have folks who have taught

in Israel, folks who have taught in France,

folks who have taught in different regions

of the country, and they’re all here. There’s

definitely something magical about it.”

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