Laura Munro has called Colorado home for almost 30 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 would only stay for a summer. Once she decided she wanted to work as an educator, 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 elementary and preschool levels. Throughout her career she has served in a variety of capacities across some of the state’s largest 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. When she’s not at Centennial Laura loves to mountain bike, cook, read and have adventures in the Colorado mountains with her husband, two daughters (Madigan and Anna) and her dog Ruby.
Emily Volkert has been rowing with Centennial’s CREW and community since 2016. Over the years, Emily served as an instructional coach and reading support teacher at Centennial. Emily’s education journey has also 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 bilingual students at Newlon Elementary in Denver Public Schools. Emily has also been a literacy specialist for DPS. She has a B.A. in International Affairs, Environmental Studies and Economics and a M.A. in Teaching, Learning and Leading and an M.A. in Instructional Leadership. She is passionate about fostering independence and a sense of wonder to enable kids and communities to succeed. Outside of Centennial, Emily enjoys cooking and hiking with her husband, learning to play the guitar and gardening.
Erin’s 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. Erin and her family moved to Denver from Charleston, S.C. in 2016. Since joining the crew she has taught second – fifth grade. Currently Erin teaches math intervention using hands-on resources, games, STEM, and even art to engage mathematicians. She also serves as the MTSS coordinator and New Teacher Ambassador. When not at school Erin enjoys spending time with her family traveling and exploring national parks!
Michelle 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 motto. When I’m not at school I enjoy spending time with my daughters and pets.
Veronica 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.
Chris (pictured center) is very excited to be part of the Crew! This is my 7th year teaching at Centennial and 9th year overall. My first 3 years were teaching 1st grade and the last 5 have been teaching a K/1 multiage. I spend a lot of time outdoors running, hiking, and backpacking. I also enjoy reading epic fantasy series and have been playing around with writing some children’s books.
My name is Amy DeFusco, I grew up in a small town in Connecticut, with my brother and our very large extended family. I lived there until I was 18 and decided to move to Colorado. I have been working in Early Childhood since 2011, and when I decided to become a special education teacher, I moved back for a short while to finish college and be with my family. When I earned my Early Childhood Special Education degree, my husband and I decided to move back to Colorado so I could continue teaching. We have been back in Denver since 2015. I live in Denver with my husband Mark. We have 2 dogs, Lucy and Moura and 1 cat, Neymar. I enjoy being outside & spending time with my friends and family.
Lauren 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.
Stacy 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 36 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.
Hi! I’m Nancy Gutierrez. My family is from Jerez, Zacatecas, a small town in Mexico. I graduated from the University of Northern Colorado where I earned my B.A in Elementary Education with an endorsement in ESL. I have had the pleasure of teaching at Centennial for 6 years. I student taught in 2nd grade then ended the year teaching kindergarten. I taught K/1 multiage for three years and taught a loop of 2nd and 3rd grade. I have also worked as an interventionist in kindergarten, fourth, and fifth grade. I love playing basketball, working out, reading a good book, traveling to Mexico, and spending time with my family and friends. My desire is to ignite a passion for learning into each kiddo I comes across and help their hearts grow.
Aside from trying any sport/lawn game/board game you can imagine, Andy will also gladly play Tetris with you.
He spent many years working in an academic research lab, hunting for crystals under a microscope and purifying proteins.
Andy has spent the last 4 years working as a classroom teacher, teaching ages K-5th grade.
These days he can typically be found climbing on the monkey bars, mountain biking, playing volleyball, cooking (but generally not baking), fiddling, investigating, questioning, attempting to skateboard, snuggling his cat, or playing with his own 2 children.
Andy believes in fostering relationships with and growing alongside his students.
Lisa 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 at Centennial A School For Expeditionary Learning for almost her whole teaching career! She is excited to make learning engaging and meaningful for her students. She loves how enthused the children get when they learn something new. Lisa loves teaching the younger students and enjoys teaching Kindergarten and looping to First. When Lisa is not teaching, she loves being around her friends, family, and animals!
Danny is new to the Centennial CREW after finishing his student teaching here to end last year. After 3.5 years of student teaching (much of which was during the pandemic), he could not be more enthusiastic about having his own CREW. He is from Saint Louis, Missouri, and moved out to Denver to be near the mountains. He is always up for adventures, and Colorado is a perfect place to seek those out. After graduating from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, Danny obtained his masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Denver. He loves being in the mountains, or being active in other ways such as sports. Danny hopes to create a welcoming and accepting classroom environment that helps learners achieve and succeed to the best of their abilities. His goal as a teacher is to try to create students who are lifelong learners that can one day teach themselves to do whatever it is they want to in this world.
Lauren was born in Boulder and grew up in the Boulder area. She went far from home and attended the University of Colorado at Boulder and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Elementary Education. She is a lifelong learner who feels blessed to have spent almost her entire career at Centennial. This is Lauren’s eighth year being part of Centennial’s CREW. Spending her days with fourth and fifth graders fills her heart. Lauren believes in building deep relationships with her students so they too enjoy learning and believe in themselves. During her free time, Lauren enjoys hiking, paddle boarding, playing with her dog, Bowie, and getting lost in a good book.
Mira is a Colorado native who has lived in Denver for over 20 years. After studying at Metropolitan State University of Denver and earning her BA in Communications with an emphasis and minor in Early Childhood Education and a Colorado teaching license in Early Childhood Education, she began her teaching career as a first/second grade and kindergarten teacher in Douglas County at an Expeditionary Learning school. When her first son was born, she began her own family childcare home and preschool in NW Denver, Great Heights Preschool. In her time as teacher, director and owner of Great Heights, she had a second son, earned her Reading Specialist MA from Regis University and developed lifelong relationships with children and families in the neighborhood. After running the program for seven years, she was ready to work again with colleagues and mentors who could push her thinking and help her grow professionally, so she joined Denver Public Schools as an Early Education Partner. In her partner role at Denver Public schools, she grew in her ability to coach and facilitate adult learners and got to see some of the inner workings of a large urban school district but missed connecting directly with children and families. Her two boys, Dylan and Sam are now age 11 and 10 and she spends her free time with them and her husband, visits with friends and family, enjoys time in nature in the mountains and time at home watching movies, and planning her next great adventure.
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.
Raychel was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. She attended Louisiana State University where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication. After graduating, she spent two years working with the homeless population in New Orleans to connect individuals to housing and health services. In 2013, she made the journey west to Denver and began working at the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. In seeing the effects of a lack of education and opportunities for homeless populations, she decided become a teacher in 2015. Raychel completed the Teach for America program and also earned her Master’s Degree from the University of Colorado Denver in Universal Design for Learning. She is so excited to continue her role as CREW leader at Centennial. She is passionate about classroom culture and believes that every child should have choice and opportunity in life to be successful and happy. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys spending time with her husband and friends, cuddling her cats, music, skating, cooking, traveling, and all things fun!
Sam has been a Centennial Crewmate since 2018 and previously worked as our school’s Educational Counselor/Restorative Practices Coordinator. Sam earned her Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Denver, specializing in Child and Youth Development and K-12 Education. Before joining the Centennial Crew, Sam worked in Jefferson County Schools and as the Children’s Services Specialist at a local transitional housing community for single-parent families exiting homelessness. Sam is passionate about supporting students as they discover their inner strengths and unique identities and empowering each to find success and happiness here at school. When she’s not at work, you can find Sam playing in the mountains, taking any chance she can get to see a concert at Red Rocks, and trying to keep up with her daughter.
Andy grew up in Minnesota and moved to Colorado for the first time in 2001 to serve as an Americorps VISTA member. He moved to Northern Ireland in 2004 to work with Habitat for Humanity and then returned to Colorado in 2007. Andy spent most of his pre-teaching career working with nonprofit organizations in the areas of health and human services and early childhood development. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin (Go Badgers!) and joined the staff after completing the Boettcher Teacher Residency in which he apprenticed with a master teacher right here at Centennial. Andy, his wife, and their two children live in the Centennial neighborhood and both kids are students at Centennial. In his free time, Andy loves to read, ride bikes (mountain and road), travel, and goof around with his kids. His teaching philosophy revolves around creating a classroom of lifelong learners. “The central task of education is to implant a will and facility for learning; it should produce not learned, but learning people. The truly human society is a learning society, where grandparents, parents, and children are students together.” -Eric Hoffer
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.
Katie 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.
Haley is so excited to be part of the Centennial Crew! Haley grew up in Glenwood Springs and earned her B.A. in Communications from the University of Colorado Boulder and her M.A. in Elementary Education from Regis University. Haley strives to empower learners by creating a compassionate and effective learning environment that fosters a sense of wonder and supports all learning styles. During her free time, Haley enjoys reading, traveling, hiking, practicing yoga, skiing and spending time with her family, friends, fiancé and their dog, Riley.
Shelby is excited to be a part of the Centennial Crew! She believes the many diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds that students bring to the classroom enrich our schools. Throughout the past 12 years in Denver Public Schools Shelby has supported students in various roles: K-5 reading intervention, instructional support partner and literacy specialist. Her and her husband are proud parents of a Centennial 1st grader (Lennon, 6) and they look forward to their youngest son (Coen, 3) to join the Crew next year! Outside of school you will find Shelby mountain biking, camping, reading, cooking and walking her dog, Abby.
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.
Josie 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.
Michelle 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. She then completed her student internship 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.
Claire is excited to be joining the Centennial CREW this year! Claire grew up in Buffalo, NY, and just moved out to Denver from Boston. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Mathematics with a minor in Special Education from Boston College in Massachusetts. After graduation, Claire worked as an Americorp member with City Year Boston and then as a resource teacher in the Boston Public School. Claire has a dog named Annie and she is her adventure buddy! Outside of school, Claire loves reading, dancing, skiing, hiking, camping, and hanging with friends and family.
Laura is excited to be part of 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. 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.
Nicole (Nic) Savinar is a Colorado native. She, her husband, her two sons and her black lab Chauncey call the Highlands home. 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 and then onto Regis to complete her Linguistically Diverse Education Master’s degree. She is a lifelong learner who jumps at opportunities to grow and evolve as a person and an educator. This is her eighth year being a part of Centennial’s CREW. 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.
Hi, my name is Elise and I am the school nurse. I am excited to be a part of the C.R.E.W. at Centennial! My favorite thing to do in Colorado is go camping. My family also spends a lot of time creating new things, whether it be games, recipes, or toys. This summer I plan to renovate our backyard. If your child has a chronic medical condition or a health concern and we have not spoken yet, please email or call me so that we can set up a time to discuss their needs. My goal is to team with you to ensure everyone’s health and safety while they are at school. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions!
Erica 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 including dance, theater and sports.
I’ve been a lover of books since birth; Mother Goose, the Nancy Drew Mysteries (I was sure I would make a good spy someday), Shel Silverstein (who know poetry could be so much fun), and of course, the great Judy Blume rocked my preteen world (I may have read each book at least five times. Or maybe seven. Ok 10.). So many series, so many wonderful stories in which I could immerse myself. I devoured anything that had pages that would allow me to temporarily slip into a different or magical world, and I love sharing this love of books with my students. I’m incredibly excited to be starting my 9th year at Centennial!
I’m a New England native who headed west after graduating from the University of New Hampshire. I taught kindergarten for 10 years, but then realized that I needed to have even more books in my life. I actually wanted to be in charge of all of the books. So, I earned my masters in Library Science from the University of Denver. I’m proud to say that I’ve been an educator for 25 years.
When I have free time, I enjoy reading (surprise!), hiking, gardening, knitting, and spending time with my adventurous husband, sometimes sassy but always sweet teenage daughters, and crazy canines.
Lastly, as Albert Einstein said, I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn. I must say that I agree, and I can’t wait to learn and grow with all of the Centennial students this year!
Jessica has been teaching in DPS since 2014. Jessica graduated from the Stanley British Teacher Preparation Program and has a Masters in Human Learning and Development with a concentration in Early Literacy at UCD. She also has a background in environmental education. Jessica loves teaching because she is able to help instill a love of learning, and sense of curiosity and wonder in children. Hands-on, expeditionary learning is her passion!! Jessica’s hobbies include exploring the outdoors with her family and finding time for yoga!
Nicole continues to enjoy being a part of the Centennial community! She has worked in the field of education in various capacities. She has working in the areas of school culture, community building, social/emotional learning and 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. Outside of work, Nicole enjoys spending time with her family and friends, especially in the outdoors!
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!