Contact Us

West Campus
P: 303.691.2384
F: 303.226.5529

East Campus
P: 303.338.4110
F: 303.338.4129


West Campus
801 Yosemite St.
Denver, CO 80230

East Campus
17101 East Ohio Dr.
Aurora, CO 80017

Executive Director

Executive Director

Jay Cerny


I have taken over the position of Executive Director for the Vanguard Classical Schools—East and West Campus. I came out of retirement to accept this position at Vanguard. I retired as the Principal and Chief Executive Officer of Cherry Creek Academy (CCA), a K-8 Core Knowledge charter school in Englewood, CO, which also focuses on academic achievement, inclusion, and character development.

I began my professional career as a petroleum geologist, receiving my undergraduate degree (Geology) from Colgate University and my MS (Geology) from Southern Methodist University, where I met my wife Laura. I began my "first career" working for EXXON in Midland, Texas. For nine years, I prospected and drilled 88 oil wells in Texas, New Mexico, N Dakota, S Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, and Montana. During my last few years with EXXON, I prospected and drilled directional and horizontal wells. As exciting and challenging as that was, it was not enough. After seeing the impact that my mother and father-in-law made as career teachers, I decided I wanted to make more of a tangible impact and was ready for a change. In 1994, I left EXXON, moved to Fort Collins, CO, and enrolled in the Colorado State University Department of Education/Teacher Licensure. I spent the 1994-95 school year earning an additional degree in Education with a Secondary Science endorsement.

After student teaching at an alternative public school (CHOICE) in Boulder and interviewing during the 1994 infancy of the Colorado charter school initiative, I came to realize that the principles of the charter school movement aligned very closely with my own. I began my career as an educator in 1995 at the newly-formed Eagle County Charter Academy (ECCA) as their initial 7/8 science teacher. I taught Science and Character Education for six years and was asked to become the ECCA Principal in 2001. I received my second graduate-level endorsement in Education with an emphasis in Principal Licensure/Leadership from the University of Colorado, Denver, in 2002. For ten years, I helped lead ECCA through many stages of development including being co-writer of a B.E.S.T. grant that led to the construction of an $11M state-of-the-art facility upgrade. 

In April 2011, I accepted the Principal/Chief Executive Officer position at Cherry Creek Academy (CCA), where I led that school through numerous academic and operational phases. During my time there, CCA was consistently ranked as a top 1% school in the state of Colorado, including one year as the #1 Elementary/Middle school in Colorado. I also oversaw the development and construction of a $5.5 gymnasium and classroom demolition/reconstruction project, which was finalized in May of 2018.  

In May 2013, I received my Ed.S. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Colorado, Denver. My wife Laura and I recently celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary. Laura is self-employed as a commercial interior designer, a career she has practiced since 1983. We are the parents of three adult children that are all charter school graduates from Eagle County Charter Academy. Austin received both his BS (Aerospace Engineering) and MS (Computer Science) degrees from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Madison received her BS (Psychology) from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. Garret also graduated from Dickinson College where he received his BS (Biology) just this past May.

Outside of my school leadership responsibilities, I continue to serve on the Board of Directors for the Colorado League of Charter Schools (CLCS) including four years as the CLCS board chair and one year as the vice-chair. During my time on the CLCS board, I worked with CLCS directors, policy advisors, and Colorado legislators to push for fair and equal funding for all charter school students, culminating with the successful passage of CO Senate Bill 1375 in May of 2017 which assures that Mill Levy funding is shared equally by school districts with all 230 Colorado charter schools. 

I am actively licensed as both a Colorado Principal and a Secondary Science Teacher. As a retired principal, I look forward to helping charter school leadership teams when the need arises. As such, I consider myself an advocate for all charter school students, teachers, and parents.  My role at Vanguard Classical School East is my first since my retirement.

My hobbies include reading, skiing, soccer, hockey, guitar, music, and rare book collecting. As a scientist, I also have a strong passion for anything to do with NASA and the space race. My immediate and extended families enjoy vacationing in southwest Florida – particularly on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. I am still in search of the ultimate seashell discovery - the rare spotted “Junonia.”