CREW

“We are Crew, not passengers.”

Centennial’s crew leaders support students’ social, emotional, and academic development while fostering their sense of wonder.

What is Crew?

ECE 3

Jessie Bio Photo Room 168 Jessie_Blakstad@dpsk12.org

  • Jessie Blakstad – earned her BA in Interdisciplinary Studies for Elementary Education with a concentration in Linguistically Diverse Education from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. Since graduating in 2007, Jessie has worked with young children including toddlers, preschoolers, and third graders in teaching positions and as a Program Coordinator. She is very excited to teach preschoolers in Centennial’s ECE-3 classroom. In 2014 she started a master’s degree program at the University of Denver in Early Childhood Special Education, which she will complete in May of 2017. Jessie’s career has taken her from Durango, to Glenwood Springs, and Denver. As a Colorado native she loves hiking in the beautiful Colorado mountains! In her free time, Jessie also enjoys traveling both domestically and internationally and exploring the city!

ECE 4

Kaitlin Coppola 2 Room 105 kaitlin_coppola@dpsk12.org

  • Kaitlin Coppolareceived both a BA in psychology and a Master’s in Teaching in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. In addition to diverse teaching experience in early childhood classrooms, Kaitlin has taught students in 2nd – 10th grade in a residential treatment program for children with social and emotional disorders. As a teacher, she is dedicated to meeting the individual needs of her students and seizes the opportunities to celebrate the success of each child. Kaitlin cannot wait to incorporate Expeditionary Learning into the ECE program. Outside of teaching, Kaitlin enjoys being with family and friends, spending time outdoors, and exploring the beautiful city of Denver.
Room 105 emily_gann@dpsk12.org

  • Emily Gann, ECE 4 and Kindergarten support teacher – Emily is very excited to be joining the Centennial Crew! Emily earned her BA in Communication Studies and her Master’s in Teaching from the University of San Francisco. Emily has taught kindergarten for five years, and is thrilled to be in ECE and Kindergarten at Centennial. She enjoys sharing her love of learning with her students. When not in the classroom, Emily loves hiking, running, spending time with her friends, and traveling.
Room 106 Hannah_Brainer@dpsk12.org

  • Hannah Brainer – Hi families! My name is Hannah and I’m a Massachusetts transplant with only a mild East coast accent. I started in education as an assistant in a Montessori school in New York and then made my way over to Indiana where I taught for two years: the culture shock was very real! I have been in Colorado for two years where I live with my husband, two dogs, and 105 indoor plants (all very green and well loved). My favorite thing about teaching is getting to know and appreciate all the different personalities and quirks that come with interacting with very young children, I don’t think anything makes me happier than playing alongside imaginations in action! I can’t wait to start learning and teaching at Centennial and look forward to meeting and knowing all the wonderful families.
michelle 4 Room 107 Michelle_Prestien@dpsk12.org

  • Michelle Prestien – was born and raised in Colorado, growing up in Boulder. She currently lives in southeast Denver with her daughter and doggie. She earned her bachelor of science degree from Colorado State University in Business Administration. After having such a wonderful experience with her daughter during elementary school, Michelle knew that her calling was to work with young children. She started her teaching career as an ECE Paraprofessional for DPS and completed her student internship last year and received her Teaching License in Early Childhood Education in May of 2014. As a life-long learner, her goal is to complete her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Her expeditionary learning philosophy is believing that children learn by doing and that she is to guide students along this life-long journey with care, compassion and respect for their diverse learning styles. Addressing individual differences increases the potential for learning and creativity in each student. In addition to working with children both during and after school, Michelle loves to hang out with her beautiful daughter and dog and enjoys swimming, reading, meditation and eating chocolate
Room 169 Laura_Rankin@dpsk12.org

  • Laura Rankin – Laura Rankin is excited to join the crew at Centennial. She is passionate about providing high quality authentic learning experiences for children and empowering them with the positive skills they need to succeed in school and in life. Laura grew up on a small farm in northeast Iowa and moved to Colorado shortly after graduating high school to become a nanny. She has over ten years of experience as a lead preschool teacher in the Denver metro area. This will be her third year with DPS. She received her BA in Early Childhood Education from Regis University in 2015. Laura lives in Wheat Ridge with her husband and their dog Roxie. They have have two children in college, both studying to be teachers. In her free time, Laura enjoys spending time with family and friends, hiking, swimming and sewing.

Kindergarten

Room 124 Kristina_Catt@dpsk12.org

  • Kristina Catt – Kristina recently moved to Colorado from Missouri. She graduated from Missouri State University and has taught kindergarten and pre-kindergarten for twelve years. She has two amazing daughters and a few scruff mc guff fur babies. When she’s not enjoying the company of her students, she enjoys hiking with her pups, gardening with her cats and visiting her family as much as possible! She loves to teach and is beyond words excited to be part of the Centennial Crew!
Sarah DeRungs Room 118 sarah_derungs@dpsk12.org

  • Sarah DeRungs – is a native of Colorado and loves our state. She attended Denver Public Schools during her own academic career and went on to University of Colorado Boulder, earning a BA in Humanities with a licensure in Elementary Education. She has been third grade classroom teacher, Gifted and Talented teacher, literacy interventionist, and most recently, has taught kindergarten. She is so excited to learn along with her kindergarteners while exploring, inquiring, thinking critically and investigating. When not at school, she loves barre classes, reading novels, playing with her two dogs, and synchronized swimming.

Crew Website

Room 125 Kate_Winslow@dpsk12.org

  • Kate Winslow – Kate was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. She began her education in DPS and always dreamed of becoming a DPS teacher herself. Kate attended Wheaton College (MA) and graduated from Boston University with a degree in Elementary Education. Kate loves to play basketball, go skiing, and spend time with her friends and family. She is so excited to be teaching Kindergarten and joining the Centennial Crew!

Kinder/First Grade

image001 Room 121 Christopher_weisschristoff@dpsk12.org

  • Chris Christoff – Chris is very excited to be part of the Crew! He grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana and received a degree in history from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY where he also ran on the varsity track and cross country teams. He is currently working on completing his masters in critical pedagogy at the University of Colorado Denver and is working to complete an Early Literacy Certificate via Guided Reading Plus classes. Chris loves working with students and sharing his love of learning. Outside of teaching, he enjoys reading and continues to run competitively.
11227607_902856756416166_2943981879297148698_n (1) Room 138 nancy_gutierrez@dpsk12.org

  • Nancy Gutierrez-Delgado – is excited to be part of the Centennial Crew! She has a passion for her job and is dedicated to each of her students. Nancy was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. She graduated from the University of Northern Colorado where she earned her B.A in Elementary Education with an endorsement in ESL. She has had the pleasure of teaching kindergarten for the past six months and has worked as a paraprofessional in kindergarten, fourth, and fifth grade. Nancy loves playing basketball, reading a good book, traveling to Mexico, and spending time with her family and friends. Her desire is to ignite a passion for learning into each child she comes across.

First grade

Jessica Childs Room 114 jessica_stimac@dpsk12.org

  • Jessica Stimac – Jessica graduated from the Stanley British Teacher Preparation Program in May 2015 and am working towards my Masters in Human Learning and Development with a concentration in Early Literacy at UCD. My undergraduate focus was in environmental science. I worked as an environmental educator for six years and continue to teach outdoors in the summer months. I love teaching because I am able to help instill a love of learning, and sense of curiosity and wonder in children. Hands-on, expeditionary learning is my passion!! My hobbies include exploring the outdoors with my fiancé and two dogs, backpacking, fishing, cooking, gardening, and yoga!

Crew Website

Room 112 lisa_vanderaa@dpsk12.org

  • Lisa VanDerAa – earned her undergraduate for education at Regis University and her Masters Degree in Linguistically Diverse Education at the University of Colorado Denver. Lisa has taught first grade for six years and is thrilled to be teaching first grade again at Centennial A School For Expeditionary Learning. She is excited to make learning engaging and meaningful for her students. She loves how enthused the children get when they learn something new. When Lisa is not teaching, she loves being around her friends, family, and animals!

Crew Website

First/Second Grade

Mo Ireland Room 140 Monica_Osborn@dpsk12.org

  • Monica Osborn-O’Dowd – is thrilled to be part of the Centennial Community and part of the Crew! Being with children and nourishing their sense of wonder and excitement to learn brings joy to her day. Monica has lived in the Denver area for the past three years. Before coming to colorful Colorado, She lived in California and grew up in New Mexico where she earned a B.S. and M.A. in Elementary Education and an Ed. S. in Educational Leadership. During her teaching career, Monica has taught primarily multi-age classes, in grades kindergarten through fourth. She has also had the pleasure of teaching Early Childhood Education students at California State University Channel Islands. Monica enjoys traveling, art, playing with her dog, and spending time with her husband and his four wonderful children.
Veronica Carrejo Room 140 Veronica_Carrejo@dpsk12.org

  • Veronica Carrejo – is from El Paso, Texas and moved to Denver in 1997. She earned her BA in Spanish with a licensure in elementary education from Metropolitan State College of Denver in 2003. She has been teaching for 12 years, most recently at Harrington Elementary in Denver, and has experience teaching first, fourth and fifth grade. During her free time Veronica enjoys being outdoors, cooking and hanging out with her loved ones.

Second Grade

Maddison Hamilton Room 136 Maddison_Hamilton@dpsk12.org

  • Maddison Hamiltonwas born in Southern California but has grown up in the beautiful state of Colorado since a young age. She earned her B.S. in Integrative Medicine from Metro State University in Denver and was headed down the nursing route until the love of teaching was presented to her while working at a Denver Pre-school. She recently completed her teaching certification through the Stanley British Primary Teacher Prep program and is excited to be teaching at Centennial. She is currently working on her Masters in Educational Psychology through the University of Colorado Denver and tries to get outside as much as possible and loves to explore. She has a heart for traveling and seeing the world and loves spending time with her family, dogs, and friends.
Room 129 Linda_Minkoff@dpsk12.org

  • Linda Minkoff – Linda Minkoff is a North Denver native that received her B.A. in Psychology from Metropolitan State University of Denver. Linda began her educational career in the fall of 2013 at Sabin Elementary as a Math Intervention Tutor. In the summer of 2014 she began CU Denver’s Urban Community Teacher Education program to pursue her Master’s in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education. At the same time she decided to apply to the rigorous and challenging Student Teacher Residency Program with DPS. Linda was accepted into the program and worked at McMeen Elementary in a 4th grade ELA-S classroom. At the end of her residency, Linda was invited by the Director of Partnerships at CU Denver to be included in a panel discussion about the future teacher preparation programs with a fellow DPS educator, Tom Boasberg the Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, and Arne Duncan the ninth U.S. Secretary of Education. The past two years she was a 3rd grade teacher at High Tech Elementary and is very excited to teach 2nd grade at Centennial! Linda and her husband have a wonderful golden retriever and they love to explore Colorado’s outdoor playground together. Hiking, biking, camping, skiing, snowshoeing – Linda and her small family do it all! She also enjoys baking, reading, traveling and has a passion for going to see live music.

Second/Third Grade

Room 127 Josie_Pack@dpsk12.org

  • Josie Pack – Josie Pack was born in Denver on Lowry Air Force Base. She grew up in Colorado Springs where she attended UCCS (CU-Colorado Springs) and earned her bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media Management. Josie spent ten years in marketing, working closely with curriculum, which inspired her to take the plunge into teaching. In 2015, Josie earned her Master’s degree in Education and Elementary Curriculum. She is so excited to be part of the Centennial Crew, teaching alongside some of the most committed educators and fascinating students Denver has to offer. When she’s not in the classroom, Josie spends time with her awesome husband Dave and their two hilarious kids, Conrad and Rosemary. The Pack family enjoys pizza nights, living room dance parties, and pretending to sleep in.

Third Grade

KateReid Room 133 katelyn_reid@dpsk12.org

  • Katelyn (Kate) Reid – Kate grew up in the SF Bay Area, where she completed her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and her master’s degree in Education from UC Berkeley. After finishing school, she lived in North Carolina for two years and spent many of her weekends exploring the mountains, beaches and lakes. She moved to Denver this summer and is thrilled to be part of such an upbeat, outdoorsy and progressive community. She is also very happy to be closer to her friends and family back home! Kate will begin her fourth year of teaching at Centennial and is excited to work alongside other teachers who practice Responsive Classroom. Outside of teaching Kate enjoys running, swimming, hiking, yoga, canoeing, going to concerts and traveling.
bio photo Room 128 Erica_Silva@dpsk12.org

  • Erica Silva – earned her BA in behavioral science, with a minor and licensure in elementary education, and an emphasis on linguistically diverse education from Metropolitan State University in 2013. She has experience teaching first, second, and third grade, and has been involved in Montessori and traditional education for over 18 years. As a mother of five children and one grandchild, Erica has an understanding of many perspectives. She is ecstatic about teaching second grade at Centennial since children are her greatest joy. During her free time, Erica enjoys hiking in the mountains with her family, and reading great books. She and her husband also get great pleasure from being a part of what their children love to do –dance, theater and sports.

Fourth Grade

IMG_0128 Room 144 erin_abner@dpsk12.org

  • Erin Abner – Erin came to Centennial from Charleston, S.C. where she has lived most of her life. Her passion for education has been a lifelong journey which began while volunteering at The Boys and Girls Club and also while teaching karate. Erin received a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the College of Charleston following which she began teaching in the Charleston County School District. She soon became intrigued with using hands-on instructional strategies in the classroom. This inspired Erin to return to the College of Charleston and obtain a Master’s degree in Science and Math. After completion of graduate school she transitioned out of the classroom into an instructional coach role. When Charleston County School District was awarded a Race to the Top Award to implement a competency-based personalized learning framework, she served as the demonstration coach and teacher for the district. Erin is excited to trade beaches for mountains as her family relocates to the Denver area.
David_Burchfield Room 154 david_burchfield@dpsk12.org

  • David Burchfield David is a graduate of the Stanley Teacher Preparation Program and holds a MS in Environmental Studies from the University of Colorado – Boulder. Prior to his studies in Colorado, David has worked in outdoor and environmental education, conservation, and community and youth development. David is passionate about sharing his love for scientific inquiry and exploration with children. Outside of his work as a teacher, David enjoys rock climbing and hiking with his wife and playing music with his Americana band.
Robyn Thompson Room 154robyn_thompson@dpsk12.org

  • Robyn Thompson – Robyn’s belief in Expeditionary Learning is reflected by the quote: “Students do work that is good for the mind, good for the soul, and good for the world.” Over the past eight years, Robyn has fallen in love with her role as an educator, teaching age groups ranging from first through fifth grade, with a most recent role as a first grade teacher at Centennial. After graduating Summa Cum Laude from Manchester College in her home state of Indiana, Robyn felt a pull towards Denver, where she served as an AmeriCorps volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters. She was inspired by the students she met and received her teaching license from the University of Northern Colorado and is earning a Master’s in Linguistically Diverse Education at University of Colorado at Denver. She believes the Expeditionary Learning model is how she would have wanted to learn as a child, and it nurtures a sense of wonder and exploration and enables children to contribute to their community in meaningful ways. Outside of school, Robyn loves cooking, swimming, reading, and spending time with her family, friends, and two dogs, Raleigh and Chico. Students hear many stories about her four-legged babies!

Fourth/Fifth Grade

Room 148 Josh_Smiles@dpsk12.org

  • Josh Smiles – Josh recently taught at the American School of Bahia in Salvador, Brazil. Before traveling to Brazil, he taught 5th and 6th grade at Renaissance Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound Magnet School in Castle Rock. Josh grew up in New York and earned a Master of Arts in Teaching at Lewis and Clark College in 2004. He recently moved to the Berkeley neighborhood with his wife, Larissa and they are expecting their first baby this autumn. When he is not teaching, Josh enjoys snowboarding, biking, traveling, photography and live music. He is excited to meet his students and to get to know the Centennial community. The best is yet to come.

Fifth Grade

David_Burchfield Room 152 david_burchfield@dpsk12.org

  • David BurchfieldDavid is a graduate of the Stanley Teacher Preparation Program and holds a MS in Environmental Studies from the University of Colorado – Boulder. Prior to his studies in Colorado, David has worked in outdoor and environmental education, conservation, and community and youth development. David is passionate about sharing his love for scientific inquiry and exploration with children. Outside of his work as a teacher, David enjoys rock climbing and hiking with his wife and playing music with his Americana band.
Hayley Hall Room 151 hayley_hall@dpsk12.org

  • Hayley Hall– Originally from Philadelphia, PA, Hayley cannot wait to make her official move to Denver and join the Centennial crew! Hayley completed her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Elementary Education at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, where she gained experience in diverse and urban communities, in the winter of 2014. She continued her growth as a teacher by substitute teaching outside of Philadelphia until she moved to Pittsburgh, PA where she continued to teach in a small school district for the last year. Hayley loves to learn and cannot wait to share her passion with her new class. Being a lover of traveling, Hayley has taken many trips across the country and has fallen in love with Denver. Once settled in her new home, Hayley will begin the process of getting her Master’s Degree in Special Education with a focus in Autistic Support. In her spare time, she loves to hike, explore the outdoors, travel, and watch live music with friends. Hayley cannot wait to move and start her journey with the wonderful Centennial crew and meet her awesome students!
NicSavinar Room 152 nicole_savinar@dpsk12.org

  • Nicole (Nic) Savinar – is a Colorado native. Her, her husband, and her puppy Chauncey live in the Highlands and absolutely love the neighborhood. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She then attended the University of Phoenix to complete her Master’s degree in Elementary Education. She is currently working on her Linguistically Diverse Education Master’s degree through Regis University. She is a lifelong learner who jumps at opportunities to grow and evolve as a person and an educator. This is her second year being a part of Centennial’s CREW and she couldn’t be more excited to be back! She is beginning her seventh year in teaching, having experience in first, third, fourth, and fifth grades. Nic’s favorite part about teaching is building relationships with her students, their families, and the community. She believes that she can make a difference in the lives of her students by fostering creativity, developing character, and having the mindset that all students can succeed. She is a diehard Broncos and Buffs fan! During her free time, Nic enjoys traveling, running, skiing, scrapbooking, and spending time with friends and family. She is currently training to run the NYC Marathon in November, a goal she’s been wanting to achieve since she began running races 5 years ago. “Teachers who love teaching, teach children to love learning.” -Robert John Meehan

Multi-Intensive Severe (MI-S)

CREW.Photo.Anamarie.Nall Room 107 anamarie_nall@dpsk12.org

  • Anamarie Nall – graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Special Education and working on her MA degree in Curriculum and Instruction in Urban Pedagogy from CU-Denver. She has been teaching in Denver for three years working with students with a wide range of disabilities. Her dedication and love for teaching helps foster a very welcoming classroom community. She believes in inclusion and is a huge advocate for her students. Anamarie’s commitment to meet each student’s individual needs helps each student become successful and grow exponentially throughout the school year. Outside of teaching, Anamarie enjoys snowboarding, hiking, exercising, traveling, hanging out with friends and shopping.

Enrichments

Room 143 lourdes_gonzalez@dpsk12.org

  • Lourdes Gonzalez Figueroa (Spanish) – Lourdes was born in Lima-Peru. She earned her Elementary Teacher degree, her master degree in Language Therapist and Learning delays, and a master degree in Family Education Counselor. After she finished her degree, when she was living in Peru, she got the idea from a friend to come to Colorado and be teacher, so she packed everything with her two kids and came to this adventure, that was 12 years ago. She lives in Lafayette with her two teenage kids. She worked for DPS 10 for years as Kindergarten Spanish Teacher, then worked at Boulder and Jeffco in a bilingual programs. She believes that when we are very engaged with our students and teach with a lot passion and motivation, our students can learn everything!
Shari Marcely Gym shari_marcely@dpsk12.org

  • Shari Marcely (PE) – I have been fortunate to live my dream and my passion for 15 years in the Denver Public School District as a Physical Education teacher. The athletic gifts that I have been given led to a full athletic scholarship in softball and allowed me to earn a teaching degree in K-12 Physical Education. A softball tournament led me to the love of my life and my husband of 17 years, Marty. Our mutual love for sports were passed on to our two sons (Shayne- 15 and Riley- 11) who couldn’t be loved more and continue to keep us busy with their own athletic pursuits including hockey, baseball, golf, basketball and lacrosse. When I am not spending time with the family on or off the field, you can find me at the rink enthusiastically pursuing my passion and trying to keep my balance on the slippery surface of the ice playing hockey.
Breanne Lawver bio pic Room 165 Breanne_Lawver@dpsk12.org

  • Breanne Mathias (Music) – – moved to Denver in 2013 after teaching general music middle school and high school vocal music in Columbus, Ohio. This is Breanne’s 8th year of teaching music, and she is glad to be teaching her favorite subject – elementary music! She received her B.M.E. from Otterbein University in Columbus, Ohio and is working toward obtaining her master’s in Music Education with Kodaly certification at Colorado State University. She enjoys singing, playing piano, guitar, and directing Centennial Singers. Besides music, she spends her free time running, skiing, and hiking in sunny Colorado, has a passion for traveling and baking, and is a big Ohio State Buckeye fan. Go Bucks!
Michelle Morton Room 153 michelle_morton@dpsk12.org

  • Michelle Morton (Science) – is excited to be a part of the Centennial Community! This is her second year teaching in Denver Public Schools after 12 years of teaching and traveling abroad. She grew up in Virginia and attended the University of Virginia, where she earned her BA in Psychology and Masters Degree in Teaching. Michelle started her teaching career at the bilingual John F. Kennedy School in Berlin, Germany. She taught Kindergarten and looped up to teach First Grade to a wonderful group of bilingual children. After two years living in and loving Berlin, Michelle relocated to Singapore, where she taught First Grade for five years at Singapore American School. The next adventure for Michelle was a year traveling with her husband, John. They spent the year exploring India, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Jordan, and re-connecting with friends and family in Berlin and the US. The next four years took Michelle back to Europe, teaching Second Grade at the International School of Prague. When she and her husband left Prague, they spent the summer biking in Europe, before relocating to Denver, where Michelle spent the 2015-2016 school year working as a substitute teacher in DPS. Michelle lives a full life, balancing her love for teaching with cooking, biking, reading, skiing, and volunteering with Denver Food Rescue.
Kate McGowan Room 131 katie_mcgowan@dpsk12.org

  • Katie McGowan (Art) – moved to Colorado in 2011 after teaching ECE- 12th grade art for five years in New York State. She earned her BFA from Alfred University and her Masters in Education from Walden University. Katie enjoys working with her students outside of her art room coaching the Girls on the Run Program, working with Centennials running club and facilitating multiple after school Art Clubs. When she is not at school, Katie enjoys coaching CrossFit and gymnastics, running, hiking, snowboarding, skiing, sewing, drawing and adventuring in the sunshine.
photo_Spruce Room 110/110B Cindy_Spruce@dpsk12.org

  • Cindy Spruce (Library/Digital Literacy) – After graduating from the University of New Hampshire, Cindy followed her sense of adventure and moved west. She taught Kindergarten in Cherry Creek for ten years 10 years and then went on to earned her Masters in Library Science from the University of Denver. Cindy was the librarian at Brown Elementary School in DPS for seven years. In addition to working at Brown, she has been working with Expeditionary Learning as a research librarian creating book lists and curriculum text to support the Common Core ELA curriculum. She is looking forward to working at Centennial and supporting Expeditionary Learning’s dynamic curriculum that fosters the growth of all students. In her free time she enjoys reading, running, knitting and spending time with her husband, daughters and crazy dogs.

Special Education

India Summer 2011 296 Room 141 amie_ha@dpsk12.org

  • Amie Ha (M/M) – earned her Master’s Degree in Instruction and Curriculum and Special Education at the University of Colorado Denver and her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado Boulder, where she also serves as an instructor. She is passionate about serving students from underrepresented communities, advocating for all of her students, and creating inclusive environments where all students are able to learn. She believes that students learn best when they are in community with each other, participating and engaging in critical dialogue. When she is not in school, Amie enjoys spending time with her family and friends, running, and hiking.
Room 149 grace_krause@dpsk12.org

  • Grace Krause – Grace grew up in Kansas City, earning her Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from the University of Kansas. After graduating, she moved to Denver to pursue a career in teaching as a Math Fellow at Centennial. Grace went on to earn her Master’s degree in Special Education from the University of Colorado Denver and is excited to be teaching at Centennial. Outside of school, Grace loves to spend time outside, running and climbing with friends and family.
Hope Mellinger Room 104 Hope_Mellinger@dpsk12.org

  • Hope Mellinger (Speech) –
HannahSimon Room 122 hannah_stevenson@dpsk12.org

  • Hannah Simon (M/M) – Hannah is trilled to be returning to Centennial for a fourth year. Born and raised in North Carolina, Hannah’s love for experiential education and adventure learning was instilled in her from a young age by both of her parents who were Outward Bound instructors in the 70s. In college, Hannah worked as a wilderness trip leader at summer camp. She has also developed a love for traveling and foreign languages, having had the opportunity to live and study abroad in both Costa Rica and Brazil. Hannah received her Bachelor’s degree in International Studies, Spanish, and Portuguese from Denison University. After graduation, Hannah moved to Denver as a Teach For America Corps Member to teach Special Education in Denver Public Schools. She earned her Master’s degree in Instruction and Curriculum in Urban Education and Linguistically Diverse Education at the University of Colorado at Denver. Hannah is passionate about facilitating the success of her students with diverse learning needs. In her time away from the classroom, Hannah enjoys reading, sewing, CrossFit, skiing, camping, and cooking.
Room 104 Kathleen_Michor@dpsk12.org

  • Kathleen Michor (Occupational Therapist) –

ESL

Room 115 elizabeth_eldridge@dpsk12.org

  • Beth Eldridge – Beth Eldridge grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, before moving to FL, then Colorado in 2001. From the time she was a girl, she was curious about racial and cultural differences, human similarities, and how to create a more equitable world. She studied abroad in Costa Rica, where she started to dream in Spanish. After college, she taught experiential, hands-on lessons with live animals at a science center. She later earned her PhD in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity from CU Boulder, and taught English as a Second Language for 4 years, before coming to Centennial in Fall 2016. She hopes to help students become lifelong learners, and to empower them as part of a wider community. She also wants to encourage students to build on their native language, their strengths as individuals, and as members of their families and communities. In her free time, Beth loves mindfulness, non-violent communication, music, baking, hiking, camping, and dancing.

GT/Enrichment

mfaulkner family pic Room MERYL_FAULKNER@dpsk12.org

  • Meryl Faulkner – This year is Meryl’s second as GT Teacher at Centennial (in addition to three other DPS schools). Before she was exclusively a GT teacher, she taught 4th, 5th, Kinder and preschool. She received her master’s in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Denver in 2014 and is currently working toward her Doctorate of Education. Although originally from Lubbock, Texas, she has lived in Colorado for over ten years and enjoys spending time in the mountains with her husband and four year old daughter. Meryl is an escape room enthusiast and bingo fanatic. She’s thrilled to contribute to the growth of Centennial’s students this year.

Math Supports

Room 132 rachel_rosenberg@dpsk12.org

  • Rachel Rosenberg, Math Intervention Teacher – Rachel is looking forward to being a part of the Centennial Crew. It is hard to believe, but this year will be her 23rd year teaching with Denver Public Schools. Appreciating each year is filled with new excitement, accomplishments and learning with her students. Her passion is watching them build their identity as mathematicians through the lense of inquiry and advocacy. She is a Denver native. She has a degree in Communications from the University of Colorado at Boulder and received her teaching certificate from Metropolitan State. She has her Masters in Elementary Ed from Regis University and acquired her Type D license from the University of Denver. She is an avid sports fan and participant. Her favorites to watch are football, “Go Broncos” and hockey. She loves to play volleyball, basketball and mountain bike. In the winter her son, Zayne and she are happiest skiing together.
Room 132 myrisa_garcia@dpsk12.org

  • Myrisa Garcia, Math Tutor – Myrisa Garcia is a Colorado native and very excited to be joining the Centennial Crew. She earned her BA in Music Performance at Colorado Christian University in 2016. She started working with the Denver Math Fellows last school year at Swansea Elementary and is excited to continue her work as a math tutor this year. During her free time Myrisa teaches voice lessons, enjoys taking her dogs to explore new hiking trails and hanging out with her family and friends.

Mental Health/Positive Behavior

Room 101DB

  • Lauren Forsythe (Psychologist) – originally hails from Iowa, and has recently happily settled in Denver after living in different corners of the country, most recently DC. After teaching at a private school in NYC for two years, Lauren moved to the San Francisco area, where she taught in a high school class for students with emotional and behavioral challenges. She earned a Masters in School Psychology at San Francisco State University and then a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in School Psychology at George Mason University in Virginia. Lauren worked as a psychologist in Fairfax County Public Schools for three years. She and her husband moved to Denver two years ago, and she spent last year working at Math and Science Leadership Academy, another public elementary school in DPS. Lauren enjoys working with diverse learners and helping families support their children’s social-emotional development. Lauren loves to travel to visit friends and family, as well as spend time exploring Denver and the surrounding area with her husband and energetic two year old son.
Room 111 JESSICA_BALOGA@dpsk12.org

  • Jessie Baloga, Restorative Justice Coordinator – Jessie is excited to be starting her second year in Denver! Last year she worked at Centennial as a Denver Math Fellow and she fell in love with the work being done in education. During the summers she works at Camp Miniwanca as a youth development professional which fuels her love of the outdoors and working with youth. This year she hopes to the bring mindfulness and intentional living she learns at camp to the restorative practices and mindfulness room at Centennial.
Room sarah_kreider@dpsk12.org

  • Sarah Kreider, Mindfulness Coach – Hello Centennial families! My name is Sarah Kreider, I’m a native of Denver and a product of the Denver Public Schools. I’ve spent twenty years teaching in different capacities in elementary school and I have seen students struggle with learning for various reasons. I am very passionate about helping students reach their full potential and as the mindfulness coach I hope to help bring lots of peace and well-being to their lives at school. I have a BA in psychology and sociology from Kalamazoo College, MI, and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction from UC Denver. I have two teenage sons and my husband is originally from El Salvador. We love spending time in the mountains as often as we can.
Room 101DA

  • Jamie Lauters (Social Worker) –
20150805_084423 Room 137 nicole_tembrock@dpsk12.org

  • Nicole Tembrock, Dean of Culture – is excited to be a part of the Centennial crew! She has worked in the field of education in various capacities. She has enjoyed working in the areas of school culture, community building, service learning, social/emotional learning and positive youth development.She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic. Ms. Tembrock earned a bachelor’s degree in speech communications and psychology from the University of Denver and a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Regis University, where she was also an affiliate faculty member. Nicole enjoys spending time with her family and friends, especially outdoors!

General Assignment Paraprofessionals

IMG_1911
  • Ramona Hernandez Room 107– has been an ECE and Kindergarten para at Centennial for 29 years. Her warm and caring personality, along with her great organizing skills, make her classrooms an enjoyable success. Outside of school she enjoys walking and jogging.
Michelle Cardon
  • Michelle Cardon Room 168- has been at Centennial since 2004 and enjoyed every bit of it. This is my second year with ece 3 and I truly love working with the little ones. “ A smile a day goes a long way”, is my moto. When not at school I enjoy spending time with my daughters and pets.
  • Jessica Taylor

School Health Clinic

Tiffany Stevenson Room 158 tiffany_stevenson@dpsk12.org

  • Tiffany Stevenson (School Nurse) – was born and raised in Laramie, Wyoming. She moved to Colorado to attend nursing school and earned her nursing degree at Front Range Community College. Tiffany then went on to work as a nurse in hospitals for many years. She had been a Nurse for 11 years with the last 6 being in Pediatrics. Tiffany then returned to school and earned her Bachelors of Nursing at Regis University in May of 2015. She is really excited to be the full time Nurse at Centennial this year. In her free time she enjoys exploring the outdoors with her two young children, husband, and dog. They spend a lot of time fishing, hiking, and riding bikes.

Instructional Dean

VolkertPic Room 101DC emily_volkert@dpsk12.org

  • Emily Volkert – is ecstatic to row with Centennial’s CREW and community! Emily’s education journey has included teaching children and adults to ride horses as a wrangler at a dude ranch, English to K – 8th graders in Patagonia, Chile, 5th graders in Nashville, Tennessee, and 3rd grade ELA-S students at Newlon Elementary in Denver Public Schools. Most recently, Emily was a literacy specialist for DPS and taught Intermediate Guided Reading Plus for 3rd – 5th grade teachers. She has a B.A. in International Affairs, Environmental Studies and Economics and a M.A. in Teaching, Learning and Leading. She is passionate about fostering independence and a sense of wonder to enable kids and communities to succeed. Emily enjoys cooking and hiking with her husband, learning to play the guitar and gardening.

Assistant Principal

Jayson Thomas Room 156 jayson_thomas@dpsk12.org

  • Jayson Thomas – has embraced Colorado as a home for nearly 25 years. Originally from Arizona, where he attended university, he wanted to escape the heat and was drawn to San Juan Range for nearly a decade. It wasn’t by chance that he’d chosen Colorado as his family had vacationed here all through his childhood and those childhood memories of high mountains, rich forests, and trout fishing along the banks of the Dolores River never faded. Jayson received a BA in Psychology and a minor in Spanish from Northern Arizona University. He began his teaching career as a Spanish Heritage Language and English Language Acquisition teacher at Summit Middle School, an International Baccalaureate Program, in Frisco, Colorado. Summit Middle School was Jayson’s first experience with Project-Based Learning and where he galvanized his passion in student learning. Wanting a return to the San Juan Mountains, Jayson began teaching at the Silverton Expeditionary Learning School. It was here that he experienced a significant shift in his philosophical approaches to learning. Since then, Jayson has worked in Turkey as a teacher and curriculum writer and at Denver Public Schools as an Instructional Partner. After five years, Jayson is eager to return to Expeditionary Learning and help continue authentic learning and original research with our young scholars of Centennial Elementary. In his off time, Jayson prefers to leave Denver and head back into the high country where he spends his winter months hiking and skiing or summer months cycling and mountain biking with many great friends he has accumulated all along the divide.

Principal

LauraMunro laura_munro@dpsk12.org

  • Laura Munro – has called Colorado home for over 20 years, but was born and raised in New Orleans. After attending high school and college on the East coast she packed her bags and headed for the mountains of Colorado thinking she’d only stay for the summer. Once she decided that working as an educator was her true passion she went back to school to get her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction and an Endorsement in Bilingual Education. Laura began her teaching career at the preschool and elementary levels. Through out her career she has served in a variety of capacities across some of the state’s leading school districts. In addition to being a classroom teacher, she’s been an Instructional Coach, ESL Director, and a Director of Student Achievement for Diverse Learners. Laura has an entrepreneurial spirit, drive, and focus to ensure the academic success for the children attending Centennial, A School for Expeditionary Learning. When she’s not at Centennial Laura loves mountain bike, cook, read and have adventures in the Colorado mountains with her husband and two young daughters.

Secretaries:

Jamie Castillo Main Office jamie_castillo@dpsk12.org

  • Jamie Castillo – was born and raised in Colorado. She has 2 girls and has been married for 24 years. When she’s done organizing Centennial’s staff and finances, and making sure the school is stocked up with supplies, she enjoys cooking and reading.
IMG_5390 Main Office stacy_garcia@dpsk12.org

  • Stacy Garcia – was raised in NW Denver and was a student at Centennial when it opened in 1976. She went on to Skinner, North, and received a degree in Architectural Drafting. Stacy has been married to her husband for 30 years, after meeting him when they were both students at Skinner Middle School. When Stacy isn’t assisting our families at Centennial, she is very active swimming, biking, running, and hiking and spending time with her adult children.

Discovery Link/ 21st Century

IMG_5410 Room 108 anne_heerdt@dpsk12.org

Facility Staff

102A carlos_medina@dpsk12.org

  • Carlos Medina – Facility Manager
  • Domoinique Abyeta – Assistant Facility Manager

Cafeteria Staff

IMG_1912
  • Elsa Porras – Food Services Manager – For 12 years Elsa has been running the Centennial cafeteria. Her favorite dish to cook for our kids- TACOS!!! Even at home Elsa continues to enjoy cooking.
  • Paola Sierra – Assistant Food Services Manager
  • Maria Madera
  • Eva Ramirez
  • Maria Fernandez