Gabe Aguirre
Elementary Physical Education Instructor, Parker
I was born in Reedley California ( in Fresno county) , but spent the majority of my life in Pueblo Colorado where I attended college . I graduated from Colorado State University –Pueblo with a four year degree in Exercise Science and a minor in Education. While teaching in districts such as Denver Public Schools and Cherry Creek Schools I also gained many years’ experience as a personal trainer . While personal training at Lifetime Fitness I gained my national certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine . In addition to those two professions I have also been a wrestling coach for over four years. Outside of the workplace I am an avid Church goer, compete in bodybuilding competitions, enjoy weightlifting , and watching UFC and football.
Kara Allen
Middle School English, Castle Pines
I am a Colorado native and have proudly spent most of my life here. I obtained my English education degree from Colorado State University. I have taught both middle school and high school, but my passion is working with middle school students. I enjoy reading and outdoor sports such as hiking, snowboarding, and camping. However, more recently, I have been enjoying motherhood with my young son.
Kassy Anderson
Second Grade Instructor, Parker
I was born and raised in a small town in Minnesota. I graduated from Winona State University in Winona, MN, with my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education as well as Early Childhood Education. I enjoy going to all types of sporting events, and my husband and I try to plan at least one sporting vacation a year! I have lived with my husband in Parker since 2010 and I definitely love the community of which I am a part.
Sarah Anderson
Fourth Grade Instructor, Castle Pines
I have lived in Colorado since I was 6 years old, and I love the seasons and mountains. I can't imagine that I will ever leave! I attended Metro State College of Denver and got my teaching license in 2007 as well as a degree in Behavioral Science. I enjoy spending time with my two daughters, playing outside and watching movies. Some of my favorite activities are going hiking, cooking, eating what I cook, and watching Rockies games at Coors Field.
Amber Anema
Assistant to Principals, Castle Pines
Lisa Anthenien
Third Grade Instructor, Castle Pines
I am originally from Indiana; however, I have lived in Colorado since 2009. I graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern Indiana with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. In my free time, I love traveling, running, hiking (especially 14ers), yoga, and reading.
Erin April
Kindergarten Instructor (Full-Day), Parker
I am originally from Texas but grew up in Wyoming. I returned to Texas for college where I obtained my B.A. in Psychology followed by a teaching license in early childhood through fourth grade. After teaching kindergarten through fifth grade English abroad, I returned to Texas only to move to the wonderful state of Colorado eight months later. I love it here and am absolutely passionate about waking up every morning to spend my day fostering a love of learning in my students. In my free time I enjoy walking my dogs, reading fantasy novels, and watching football!
Andrea Bambury
Ability Group Instructor (Grades 2&3), Parker
Sommer Bannan
Middle School English Instructor, Parker
"The secret of education lies in representing the pupil" (Ralph Waldo Emerson). I am passionate about educating students and collaborating with colleagues, parents, and the community. I earned my Master's degree in English Literature. I have experience in teaching English Language Arts (grades 7-11), Creative Writing, and AVID with classes ranging from Honor's, At-Risk, and ELL. Outside of the classroom, I have been involved with community organizations such as the Denver Rescue Mission, the Colorado Children's Hospital, and nonprofit foundations nationwide. I am excited about opportunities to educate, motivate, support and inspire our youth in their path to success.
Erica Bartlett
Lead Learning Specialist, Parker
I am from Kansas City, KS, and attended the University of Kansas. I have my undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and my master’s degree (also from the University of Kansas) in Adaptive Special Education. My hobbies and interests include skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and great food! I love spending time traveling with family and friends!
Karen Billings
Ability Grouping Instructor, Castle Pines
I am originally from Connecticut and moved to Colorado shortly after graduating from Connecticut State University. I have a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Colorado-Boulder. In my free time, I love to read! My other interests include yoga, music, and hiking with my family.
Benji Billman
Middle School Assistant Principal, Castle Pines and Parker
I am originally from Ohio. My degrees are in Mathematics from the University of Toledo, as well as my Bachelor’s degree in education. At AA, I have had the pleasure of being involved in the school’s theater. In my spare time, I love to travel, hike and play ultimate Frisbee.
Cara Black
IT Support Assistant, Castle Pines and Parker
John Blea
Facility Assistant, Castle Pines and Parker
Bob Bostick
Middle School History Instructor, Parker
I am originally from Llano, TX, and served in the army for 21 years. During my military career I spent my time in special operations command and light infantry airborne units. I graduated from Troy University in Alabama. I enjoy pushing myself in physical fitness activities, watching college football, and most of all watching my boys compete in sporting events. I have an amazing wife and two tremendous sons. I enjoy educating and mentoring students to reach their full potential in both character and education.
Tami Bostick
Elementary Principal, Castle Pines
My teaching experience began 19 years ago as a Kindergarten and 1st grade teacher in my home state of Texas. Later I was a Kindergarten teacher in the states of Georgia and Alaska as well. When my family was transferred here by the military 8 years ago, I was fortunate enough to spend 3 years subbing at American Academy in all the K-8 grades, before settling into a full time teaching position as the AA Fourth Grade Team Lead. As a life-long learner, I currently hold degrees in Elementary Education, Psychology, and Counseling. While I’ve had wonderful experiences in many different schools, including ones with a Core Knowledge focus, my true home is here at American Academy. Not only do I have a passion for implementing the philosophy and curriculum with fidelity, but I love the positive relationships I’ve developed with the amazing students, parents, and staff here at AA!
Carly Bowdach
Kindergarten Instructor (Half-Day AM and PM), Castle Pines
I graduated from Colorado State University with a B.A. in Human Development Family studies with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education. I have been working as an Early Childhood Educator since graduation and love working with our youngest learners. I am a native to Colorado and grew up in Centennial. When I am not teaching, I love to spend time outdoors with family and friends, as well as traveling and finding great new places to dine. I am a huge sports fan! I enjoy watching and playing just about every sport but the Broncos and Rockies are my favorites. It’s not uncommon to find me at the field with my family on game days.
Ana Brekke
Health Assistant/Office Assistant, Parker
Gretchen Brogan
KindiePrep Director, Parker
Gretchen is the Director of the AA KindiePrep program, which is offered at our Parker Campus. Gretchen grew up in the Buffalo, NY, area where she obtained a Bachelor degree in Sociology and Elementary Education from the State University of New York at Brockport. Before moving to Colorado, Gretchen worked with children in grades K-6 in the North Syracuse New York school system. Since moving to Colorado, Gretchen has found that preschoolers are her passion. For the past 20 years, she has worked in the early childhood field as a preschool teacher and a supervisor of a large preschool facility. Gretchen enjoys helping children become excited about learning at the preschool level and building a strong social and academic foundation.
Rebekah Brooks
Payroll Administrator, Castle Pines and Parker
Natalie Brubaker
Second Grade Instructor, Castle Pines
I have lived in the beautiful state of Colorado for over 25 years. I graduated from the University of Colorado (Boulder), with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a Minor in Business. I worked in sales management for five years, but my passion for working with kids drove me to go back to school to get my Master’s in Education. I have two sweet boys, Noah and Brady, who keep me on my toes at all times. On the weekends, our family enjoys hiking, swimming, and camping, though that slows down once the Broncos season starts. I love to run, so I always try to squeeze that in as well.
Susan Brust
Instructional Assistant, Castle Pines
Sooni Burton
Ability Grouping Instructor (First and Third Grade), Parker
I am originally from a small farming town in Northern California, but I have lived in many states during my husband’s Army career. Now that we are no longer a military family, I consider Colorado my “home.” I have a Master’s in Elementary Education, and I love being a teacher - it is so rewarding to see children grow and become proud of their accomplishments. I truly believe that every child has the ability to learn and I strive to bring out the best in each of my students! I also love being outdoors and spending time with my family.
Teri Lynn Byler
Instructional Assistant, Parker
Sarah Byrne
KindiePrep Instructor, Parker
I received my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Colorado State University and my Master of Arts in Special Education from the University of Northern Colorado. Later I received my Elementary Education certificate from Arizona State University. I have been fortunate to live in Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico with Colorado being my home state. I have two grown boys who are the light of my life along with my wonderful husband, Bernie. I love to garden and have a passion for designing floral and vegetable beds. I have enjoyed many years of teaching and I am thrilled to be a part of the KindiePrep team at American Academy.
Christi Cage
Instructional Assistant, Parker
Tannille Campbell
KindiePrep Teacher Assistant, Parker
I was born and raised in Oklahoma. I am currently attending Colorado Christian University for my bachelors in Early Childhood Theory. I have been married for sixteen years and have three children, two boys and one girl. In my free time I like spending time with my family.
Heidi Carlson
ESL Coordinator/Interventionist, Parker
Jill Carrier
Instructional Assistant, Castle Pines
Christine Chardon
AM/PM Kindergarten Instructor, Parker
I was born in Southern California and lived there until High School when my family and I moved to Washington. I then went to Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa for college and graduated with a B.A. in Elementary Education with endorsements in Special Education and Math. After college, my husband and I moved here to Colorado and we absolutely love it. I am so excited to be part of the American Academy family and love the fact that I get to teach young minds daily. I love everything to do with Disney and Harry Potter. In my free time I love to cook, workout, eat sushi, watch sports, and spend time outside with my husband and golden retriever, Snitch.
Josh Collier
Middle School Technology Instructor
David Condry
Visual Arts Instructor, Parker
It all started with a helicopter. While my peers were happy to scribble, a young David J. Condry was found rendering a recognizable chopper in crayon on construction paper. Since, then, my media of choice has changed. But my dedication to and passion for visual art has never wavered. In 2008, I received a BFA in Illustration from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Since then, I have have developed a variety of creative portfolios (parents and students can view some of my own illustration work here) and have taught art to all ages in very diverse contexts. Since my creativity really blossomed throughout my childhood, my deepest-seated passion is to see the new generation nurtured in their visual creativity as well! In my class, "we make art that you can SEE" (hence, student's call me Mr. "See").
Brandi Cramsey
Instructional Assistant, Parker
Rebekah Cranor
Instructional Assistant, Parker
I am a Colorado native, Bronco loving fanatic, born and raised in the middle of the mountains for majority of my life. My family took a move to SE MN in 2002, which lead me to finish out high school there. But for me I might have been taken away from the mountains but the mountains could not be taken from me! So as the mountains continued to call my name, I found myself with an opportunity right after high school to move back to my home state in 2013! I am currently working towards my BA in accounting through the University of Phoenix. In my free time I absolutely love traveling, it is something that fills and energizes my heart. So I take every opportunity I come across to travel! I also love anything adventurous, hiking, camping, snowmobiling you name it!
Beth Culberson
Lead Speech Language Pathologist, Castle Pines
Born and raised in Grand Junction, I’m a Colorado native and live in Highlands Ranch with my husband and two great kids. I love the fall because that means football (Go Broncos and Fighting Irish!), and enjoy mountain biking, duathlons, running, and camping. I am incredibly enthusiastic about speech-language pathology and empowering children to effectively communicate in their world. I am proud to be part of American Academy and the Student Support Services team!
Trish Cummings
Communications Manager, Castle Pines and Parker
Trish is the Communications Manager for AA and helps ensure consistent and effective communication with our families and the communities in which our schools are located. She was born and raised in Wisconsin, got her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Indiana University - Bloomington, and moved to Colorado in 1994. She's been a professional graphic designer and writer for more than 20 years. As one of the the original Founding Families of American Academy, Trish volunteered her design and writing skills to the school for many years prior to joining the staff in 2009. She and her husband have two children and three dogs, and in her spare time, she enjoys movies, reading, yoga, traveling and spending time with her family, friends and dogs in the mountains.
Steve Cunningham
Facility Director, Castle Pines and Parker
Melanie Curl
First Grade Instructor, Castle Pines
I am originally from Southern Illinois and graduated from Eastern Illinois University with my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. My husband and I moved to Colorado in 2002. I have two boys that currently attend American Academy. In my spare time I love to crochet and be outdoors hiking, skiing, fishing, and camping with my family and our dog Maggie.
Tammy Dale
Occupational Therapist, Castle Pines and Parker
Michelle Daley
Middle School Principal, Castle Pines
I am a native Coloradoan and attended Regis College, earning my Bachelors of Arts in an Interdivisional Major which consists of Education, Psychology, Sociology and Religious Studies. I began my teaching career and continued to work several years in a school/residential facility for multi-age children who had severe learning disabilities and who also suffer from emotional/physical abuse. This opportunity taught me to value every child and to teach to each individual’s strengths and abilities. In addition to my Colorado Teaching License, I have a secondary English endorsement.
Shannon Day
First Grade Instructor, Parker
I taught first grade for thirteen years in my home town of Tulsa, Oklahoma, after I completed my Early Childhood Education degree at Northeastern State University (OK). My husband, Adam, and I have four children: Spencer, Tristen, Ollie, and Kate. I love to read, watch movies, listen to music, travel, hike, swim, and spend time with my family, friends, and pets though I am also currently working on my master’s degree in special education on-line through the University of Kansas. My philosophy as an educator is simple yet comprehensive: nurture individual potential. It’s at the heart of everything I do. I am looking forward to meeting friendly new faces and to a wonderful school year!
Tanya Diederich
Second Grade Instructor, Parker
I grew up in the Parker, CO, area and went to CU Boulder where I majored in English and received my teaching certificate. I enjoy knitting, crochet, embroidery, and reading. I love going hiking and biking with my family. My guilty pleasure is watching NASCAR. My husband is a Field Artillery officer and we have 2 daughters. We have 2 cats we call Merry and Pippin (after the hobbits in Lord of the Rings; yes, we are geeky that way).
Kristi Doke
STEM Program Associate, Castle Pines and Parker
Shannon Donohoe
Middle School English Instructor, Castle Pines
I was born in North Carolina but was raised in Littleton, CO, where I went to Chatfield Senior High. I studied English at Metropolitan State College of Denver and received a degree in English with a Secondary Licensure. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, running, dancing, hiking, and spending time with my closest friends. I’m an avid Broncos fan and love watching almost all sports. I’m constantly laughing and try my best to enjoy life. Teaching has provided me with a simple joy that is irreplaceable, and there is nothing I would rather do for a living.
Katherine Drake
Middle School Physical Education Instructor, Castle Pines and Parker
I am a proud Colorado native (graduate of Douglas County High School) and the youngest of 5 kids. I recently graduated from Black Hills State University in South Dakota with a Bachelor’s degree in Physical and Special Education and a minor in coaching. I also was a two-sport athlete at BHSU where I played basketball and softball. Some of my hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, playing sports, and watching movies. I am a very energetic and dedicated educator who wants all of my students to be successful. I will do everything in my power to help all of my students learn to the best of their abilities and beyond!
Katie Dutton
Acting STEM Director, Castle Pines and Parker
As a kid growing up in Denver, Katie’s favorite two words were "why" and "how." This naturally led to a love of math and natural sciences, which I pursued at Colorado School of Mines and Metropolitan State University, where I earned degrees in Physics and Chemistry. I love to learn, so I've gone on to earn a Master of Science in Education, an MBA in Project Management, and I'm currently working on my Computer Science degree through Oregon State University. I love sports (especially hockey – GO AVS!), math, science, programming, gadgets, music, reading, movies, and the great outdoors.
Brooke Ekstrom
Health Room/Office Assistant, Castle Pines
Nancy Emerson
KindiePrep Instructor, Parker
Originally from Nebraska, I attended the University of Nebraska (Kearney) until 1990 when I moved to Denver. I have worked as both a preschool director and teacher for many years and feel passionate about working with our youngest learners. Outside of teaching, I enjoy spending time with my three very active daughters, kickboxing and traveling. I am excited to be a part of the American Academy team!
Barbara Eulenstein
Middle School English Instructor, Parker
I’m thrilled to be a part of the middle school team at American Academy in Parker! I grew up in a small town south of Rochester, NY, earned my BA in History at The College of Wooster in Ohio, and MBA from Lake Erie College in Ohio. My husband and I moved to Colorado saying, “Let’s give it five years”. We have lived here 30 years now! After careers in retail and banking, I began substitute teaching and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I enrolled in the University of Phoenix and earned my Masters in Education with certification. This is my third year teaching middle school students and I find it so rewarding! My goal is for students to be articulate in their speaking and their writing, and to love to read (if not now, then in the future)!
Melissa Fenton
Library Assistant, Parker
As a Colorado Native, I have a passion for the outdoors and adventure. I graduated from Metro State College of Denver with a Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science and Elementary Education. I adore and collect children’s books - some of my fondest memories from childhood are of adults reading aloud to me with different voices and inflections! My hopes are to excite young readers to explore the never-ending adventures found in all types of books.
Adrienne Ferradino
Human Resources, Castle Pines and Parker
April Finney
Middle School English Instructor, Castle Pines
Originally from New England, I was born and raised in Connecticut and graduated from Eastern Connecticut University in 1999 with a B.A. in English and a B.S. in Education. My family and I moved to Colorado in 2008, where I have spent the past years teaching in Centennial and Denver. I have taught many grades during my years in education, and I also worked as a Director of Education for Sylvan Learning. My passion has always been for literacy and I am very excited to be a part of the American Academy Middle School English Department. In my spare time (which there isn’t much of), I enjoy reading and tearing apart my Aurora home with a variety of DIY home improvement projects. My husband and I are active in our son’s Boy Scout troop and also enjoy camping with him. We love being in Colorado and our only regret is that we didn’t come sooner!
Amy Fiscus
Speech Language Pathologist
Madison Flatt
Middle School English Instructor, Castle Pines
I am thrilled to be back in good ol’ Colorado! I’m a Colorado native, but I went to college in St. Paul, Minnesota. Let’s just say I love being in a state where the winter doesn’t include -15 degree weather. I am so pumped to be teaching at American Academy! I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a teacher, and I am so excited to live my dream every day. I love to read and write in my spare time, and I never say no to a discussion about books!
Jeanni Fliegel
Literacy Ability Grouping Instructor (Second and Third Grade), Parker
One of the highlights of teaching children is seeing the lights turn on as they discover a new concept. I am privileged to be teaching at such an excellent school. Although a native of California, I have lived in Colorado most of my life. After receiving my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Management from Biola University, I earned my teaching credential from the University of California in Irvine. I love spending time with my children. Our favorite activities include biking, watching sunsets, and going to parks and beaches.
Kristen Foery
Fifth Grade Instructor, Parker
As a fourth generation Colorado native, I'm proud to call this beautiful state my home. I attended the University of Northern Colorado where I received my B.S. in Health Education. My first career was in the field of ophthalmology where I worked in both pediatric and corneal specialties as a surgical and office technician. After starting my family, I realized my true passions were challenging children with rich curricula, fostering independent thought and inciting creativity. In 2009, I received my master’s degree in Elementary Education. I've been the parent of American Academy students from the very first year, and have taught nearly every grade level since then. I'm thrilled to be with fifth graders! I have three, wonderful daughters. When free time presents itself, I'm usually found transporting my kids, experimenting in the kitchen, helping my husband with our two large salt water aquariums, babying the newest member of our family, a yellow-sided-green-cheeked conure named, "Mango", or looking for gorgeous Colorado sunsets to photograph.
Kaity Fortney
Ability Group Lead and Interventionist, Castle Pines and Parker
I was born and raised mostly in sunny Colorado. I spent 15 years in Alaska being adventurous, but recently moved back “home” to be closer to my family. I received my BA in Elementary Education from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2009, and love being in the classroom! My husband and two children have acclimated quite well to Colorado, and enjoy all of the sporting events available to us. We enjoy hockey, swimming, riding our bikes, and enjoying all that Colorado has to offer. I love being able to share my passion of reading with children.
Reandra Friesen
First Grade Instructor, Parker
I am a Colorado native and grew up in the Littleton area. I attended Colorado State University earning my BS in Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in early childhood education and a minor in business. I love watching the growth students make in those early years! In my spare time I love to hike, run, play bocce, and bake.
Denese Gardner
Data Specialist, Castle Pines and Parker
Denese assisted with the effort to establish American Academy in 2005, and served on the Board of Directors until the summer of 2015 at which point she was hired as the Data Specialist for both campuses. She primarily supports the administration and teaching staff by managing various internal and external data systems which warehouse student information, assessment data and more. Denese is a proud Colorado native with a degree in Accounting and has worked in the fields of accounting and finance prior to joining American Academy. Denese and her husband have three boys and have lived in Castle Pines for more than a decade. In her spare time, Denese enjoys reading, hiking, biking and spending time in the gorgeous Colorado sunshine with family and friends.
Jennifer Gay
Fifth Grade Instructor, Castle Pines
After graduating from the University of Colorado, I began my career in Jefferson County School District teaching 8th grade English. After staying home with my children I resumed my career in Douglas County where I worked with Special Needs children, had multiple long-term sub jobs, then returned to my own classroom teaching 6th grade Math and Language Arts. I am the mother of three awesome kids and two dogs. My husband and I live in Parker. I love reading, sewing, and watching anything with zombies.
Amanda Germaine
Elementary Technology Instructor, Parker
I am originally from Mississippi, and received my B.S. in Business Education from Blue Mountain College and my Master’s in Technology and Education from Mississippi State University. I have taught business/technology classes of all levels from Elementary, High School, and College. However, over the last 10 years, I have been a stay at home mom with three wonderful children. After moving to Colorado five years ago, I have had the privilege of substitute teaching for Douglas County and our awesome American Academy. In addition, last year was my first full-time teaching at AA as the Technology Elementary teacher. I can definitely say that I have a love for teaching! In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband and children!
Nikki Gibson
Second Grade Instructor, Castle Pines
I was born and raised in Northern California, but moved to Colorado to attend the University of Denver a few years ago. Since then I have received a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies, Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. I continue to be a bookworm in my free time, though I also love spending my weekends hiking and skiing with family and friends. I absolutely love being a part of the American Academy community, and spending each day watching my wonderful students grow!
Kylee Ginn
First Grade Instructor, Castle Pines
I was born in Nebraska, but have lived in Parker, Colorado, for most of my life. I received my bachelor’s degree in Human Development and a minor in Elementary Education from Metropolitan State University. In my free time, I love working out, cooking, traveling, and spending time with my precious yellow lab.
Liz Glick
KindiePrep Instructor, Parker
Originally from Wisconsin, I moved to Colorado 10 years ago and decided to call it home. I attended the University of Wisconsin (Marshfield), and was majoring in English when I decided to get into the medical field. I pursued the path of medicine for a while, but then three years ago decided to make my final moved to education. I have taught for the last three years and enjoy it very much. I have an amazing husband and two beautiful girls.
Amanda Gray
Middle School Math Instructor, Castle Pines
Nicole Grubb
Fourth Grade Instructor, Parker
I am a Colorado native and grew up in the farming, ranching, mining country of the Western Slope! I received a degree in Elementary Education from Colorado Christian University and Masters of Arts in Human Services/Counseling from Capella University in Minnesota. Teaching is my passion… I love it today as much as I did when I started 15 plus years ago. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading a good book, and camping in the beautiful Colorado outdoors.
Nichole Guthrie
School Psychologist, Castle Pines and Parker
I’m originally from Kansas and graduated from Fort Hays State University in 2002. I spent nine years in Wichita, KS, working for a special education cooperative where I worked with students ranging from preschool to age 21. My daughters and I moved to Parker in 2012 and we are in love with Colorado!
Maggie Hagemann
First Grade Instructor, Parker
I believe children learn best when they are able to ask questions and discover solutions on their own. As a teacher, I enjoy being a facilitator, and I love to witness each of my students become more confident in themselves as a learner. Originally from Wyoming, I moved to Fort Collins, CO, when I was in high school. I graduated from Montana State University with a BA in Horticulture Science. I then received my Master's degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Colorado. I met my husband, KC, while attending Montana State. I sing in a choir and am an avid reader and movie buff. On the weekends, you can either find me in the library or at the movies! I also enjoy riding my bike, dancing, camping, and gardening.
Tammie Hall
Assistant to Principal, Parker
Jory Hamblen
Facility Assistant, Castle Pines and Parker
Suzanne Hanks
Office Manager, Castle Pines
Suzanne manages the front office at our Castle Pines campus, overseeing Castle Pines’ visitor reception, instructional assistants (IA’s), and health room services. Suzanne attended CSU in Fort Collins, Colorado and received a degree in Merchandising. Throughout her career, Suzanne has worked in the customer service area and has been serving our AA families, students and staff since 2006. Suzanne is a Colorado native and lives in Castle Rock with her husband, two children and three dogs. When Suzanne is not working she enjoys entertaining, cooking, hiking, skiing and watching her children play sports.
Jistine Harrison
Student Support Services Director, Castle Pines and Parker
Jistine is the Student Support Services Director for both the Castle Pines and Parker campuses. Her 15+ years of teaching includes experience in sixth grade, K-5 early intervention, and K-8 special education. She holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Iowa, an M.A. in Administrative Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Colorado at Denver, and a Masters of Educational Technology from Boise State University. Although she is originally from San Diego, Colorado is the state she loves to call home. She lives in Castle Rock with her husband, two sons, and the family dog, Kenosha. Outside of teaching, she enjoys running, cycling, swimming, riding her motorcycle around our beautiful country, and spending time with the family enjoying all the wonderful outdoor activities Colorado has to offer.
Heidi Hassett
Educational Assistant, Castle Pines
I am originally from Roseville, MN, but grew up in Parker, CO. I received my Bachelor’s Degree, in Business Marketing, from Colorado State University (Go Rams!). My husband and I have three children. Two of them attend American Academy and the oldest attends Rock Canyon High School. I enjoy attending my children’s basketball and lacrosse games, reading, running, shopping, and getting together with my girlfriends.
Morgan Hengsteler
KindiePrep Teacher Assistant, Parker
Katie Herman
KindiePrep Instructor, Parker
I graduated from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO, with a BA degree in Elementary Education, with an English as a Second Language endorsement. After I graduated, I taught at a private school in Korea for a year in an English immersion program for preschoolers. Although my degree is in Elementary Education, I have largely worked with preschool students in my career and have found a happy home for my skills in KindiePrep. A Colorado native from Highlands Ranch, I can’t get enough of our beautiful state. I have a 3 ½ year old son and 4 month old daughter whom I absolutely adore. I love spending time with my family and the Broncos!
Lynda Hernandez
Fifth Grade History Instructor, Castle Pines
I am originally from San Diego, California, but lived in the Bay Area for ten years prior to moving to Denver in 1995. My husband and I have two grown sons who have both graduated from college. I am entering my twenty-eighth year of teaching and feel fortunate to be able to teach a subject that I am passionate about...History!! I take pleasure in being with my family, traveling, being by the ocean, painting, and cooking.
Kristin Hicks
KindiePrep Teacher Assistant, Parker
I graduated from Metro State in Denver with a B.A. in Human Performance and Sport. I have been working with children both on the soccer field and in the classroom for over 22 years. In my spare time I love cooking, photography and reading. I love spending time with my friends and family and I love spoiling all my nieces and nephews. I’m thrilled to be a part of KindiePrep here at American Academy!
Elizabeth Hinz
School Nurse, Castle Pines and Parker
Katie Hoehn
Fourth Grade Instructor, Castle Pines
I was born and raised in Colorado, and received my Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Colorado (Colorado Springs) and my Master’s degree in teaching from the University of Northern Colorado. I love going to the mountains, spending time with family and friends, traveling, watching Rockies baseball, and playing with my dog, Tally.
Ann Hriso
Instructional Assistant, Parker
Erika Humbert
Instructional Assistant, Parker
Robyn Hunt
Fourth Grade Instructor, Castle Pines
I am from Michigan and received my bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University. I received my teaching certification from Metro State University. I am an avid outdoorswoman, love horses, scuba diving, hiking, fishing, and working out. My favorite thing to do is to watch my boys play sports! I have an incredible husband who supports and loves me through it all. We have two incredible boys and a small zoo at home. Our boys are highly active in basketball, baseball, soccer, and golf. Our zoo consists of three dogs, one guinea pig, 2 birds, and 2 tortoises.
Megan Isberg
Literacy Ability Grouping Instructor (First Grade) and Interventionist, Parker
Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, I moved to beautiful Colorado 16 years ago. I have undergraduate degrees in psychology and sociology, a Master’s degree in Special Education from the University of Northern Colorado, and endorsements in Elementary Education, Special Education Specialist and Special Education Generalist. I have been teaching for more than 12 years but in my free time, I love to be outdoors with my family hiking, swimming, being active and spending time with friends.
Crystal Jacob
Third Grade Instructor, Parker
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn” (Benjamin Franklin). I am extremely passionate about seeing children, no matter what age, get involved and excited about discovering and exploring the world around them; this is where they grow a love for lifelong learning. I am originally from Wyoming, but have made Colorado my home for more than 20 years. I received my Bachelors in Education from the University of Northern Colorado. I taught music for 11 years, and ran an elementary children’s ministry program for 9 years. In my spare time, I love to make memories with my husband and 2 children.
Joanna Jasmin
Chief Financial Officer (Consultant), Castle Pines and Parker
Shannen Johnson
Fifth Grade Science Instructor, Castle Pines
I was born in Kirkaldy, Scotland, before moving to Golden, Colorado, where I was raised until I decided to attend the University of Denver for my undergraduate degree. Upon completion I chose to stay at DU and complete my M.A. in curriculum and instruction so I could pursue the career of teaching! Outside of the classroom, I love to watch and play any sport, particularly soccer, and partake in anything outdoorsy such as hiking, fishing and boating. When winter hits, I become an avid snowboarder and can always be found on the mountain.
Melissa Jones
Second Grade Instructor, Castle Pines
I am originally from Wisconsin and moved to Colorado many years ago to become a teacher. I live in Parker with my husband and three children. We enjoy family time visiting the beautiful Colorado mountains and watching the many sports my children participate in. My favorite place to be is on a beach listening to the waves. I enjoy teaching at American Academy in second grade. It is so rewarding to watch the students in my class become lifelong learners.
Amanda Karcz
Middle School Science Instructor, Parker
I spent the first 23 years of my life in West Michigan and in 2004, I received my bachelor’s degree in Biology and Secondary Education from Western Michigan University. After graduation, I made a spontaneous move to Scottsdale, Arizona. During my ten years there, I taught 3 years of middle school science, six years of high school biology, got married, had two kiddos, and learned what “dry heat” means. We chose to move to Colorado to be closer to family and raise our children in a climate with four seasons. When I am not wearing my teacher hat, I enjoy being with my family and friends, working out, watching T.V, and learning new things.
Syndel Kinney
Speech Language Pathologist, Parker
I was born and raised in Ann Arbor Michigan (GO BLUE). I graduated with a dual master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology and Elementary Education from Eastern Michigan University. After being introduced to Colorado during my husband’s time in the military we knew that we had found home. I am so grateful to be a part of American Academy and I feel very fortunate to have a career that I am passionate about. My hobbies include working out, boating, swimming, skiing, being with family and friends, and eating delicious food!
Jamie Knowles
Educational Assistant, Parker
I was born and raised in Nebraska (GO HUSKERS), lived in Arizona for 13 years and have called Castle Rock my home since 2007. My education and previous work history was primarily in Franchising and have enjoyed working at American Academy since 2013. I love spending time with my husband, 3 amazing kids and Siberian Husky. The majority of my free time is cheering for my kids at academic and sporting events, but also love to bake, ski, read and work out (because I love to bake).
Kristen Krieger
Third Grade Instructor, Castle Pines
Growing up as one of the oldest in a family of six, I began “teaching” my younger siblings about many of the best known lessons in life (everything from how to make mom think you brushed your teeth to riding a bicycle). I knew I was destined for a career working with children. I received my master’s degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Colorado at Denver. Before American Academy, I worked at Graland Country Day School and in Cherry Creek School District. My husband and I have two boys and one girl who continue to teach us life lessons on a daily basis.
Erin Lagreca
Middle School Science Instrcutor, Parker
I grew up in a small town near Syracuse, New York and was recruited to swim for the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. In 2011, I graduated from UMBC with a B.S. in psychology and a minor in biology. Following this, I immediately entered a master’s program in secondary education at Loyola University Maryland. After teaching science in Maryland for three years, my husband and I were ready for a change of scenery and made our big move to Colorado! Outside the classroom, I am a member of a local triathlon club and also enjoy hiking, mountain biking, cooking, and relaxing with my husband and dog!
Sarah Lambert
Fourth Grade Instructor, Parker
I have always had a passion for working with children and knew I wanted to be a teacher early on in life. I graduated from Corban University in Salem, OR, with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. After graduation, I married my wonderful husband, Michael. Shortly after that, we moved out to Colorado and haven’t looked back! We absolutely love the sunshine and active lifestyle we have become accustomed to here in Colorado. I love going hiking, running, biking, and camping. I also enjoy more crafty activities such as sewing, knitting, and crocheting.
Amanda Lane-Cline
Acting Executive Director of Schools, Castle Pines and Parker
Amanda is the author and director of our unique STEM Discovery Week program, and manages our math program and our science curriculum to ensure they support the STEM-related aspects of the school’s mission. Before moving to Colorado, Amanda was the Coordinator of Curriculum Design for the Public Education and Risk Communication Division of the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute in New Jersey. There, she directed programs for multimedia curriculum development. She received her Masters of Public Health degree in Health Education and Behavioral Science from the Rutgers/The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and her Bachelors degree in Natural Science/Microbiology from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Amanda takes K-8 STEM education to a whole new level at American Academy.
Sarah Lang
Elementary Physical Education Instructor, Castle Pines
I graduated from Bemidji State University in Northern Minnesota in 2014 with majors in Health Education and Physical Education, minors in Developmental Adapted Physical Education, Health Promotion and Education, and Human Performance, and a Coaching Specialist. I grew up in central Minnesota, spending many hours outdoors, hunting and fishing. I am very passionate about what I do, and I dream of guiding future health advocates in the right direction. I believe there is a silver lining for every occasion, and finding the positive side of things makes life more enjoyable. Thank you for the opportunity to be your Elementary Physical Education Instructor!
Deedra Lankford
Third Grade Instructor, Castle Pines
My hometown is Kansas City, where I graduated from the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!) in Education. Castle Rock has been home for 11 years and is where we are raising our five children (all American Academy graduates and students). If I’m not in a classroom, chances are I’m camping out on a football, soccer, or baseball field. I love kids and the enthusiasm they bring to the classroom. It’s going to be a great year!
Brittany Larson
Middle School History Instructor, Castle Pines
Although I moved here when I was two, I consider myself a Colorado native. I was raised in Lakewood and graduated from Green Mountain High School. I then went to the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, where I graduated with a degree in education and history. My first year of teaching was spent in Rangely, CO, where I taught high school Social Studies and Spanish. I then spent 6 months teaching at a secure youth facility for girls. I am excited to be teaching here at American Academy and cannot wait to share my love of history with my students!
Mark Leadbetter
Middle School History Instructor, Castle Pines
"Impossible is nothing." This old ad motto for Adidas is truly a motto to live by. In teaching both mathematics and history this year, I truly believe that nothing is impossible. I graduated from Miami University in Ohio with a degree in Middle Childhood Education with certifications in both mathematics and social studies. My wife, Kelly, and I are fortunate enough to call Colorado home now, but we will never forget our roots in Ohio. I enjoy Reds baseball, Bengals football, and though it may be hard to believe, the Michigan Wolverines. I can often be found reading, playing some sort of sport or trying to solve the latest mind teaser. A comedian at heart, and a lifelong learner in my head, I am excited to share those traits with young minds for years to come!
Abbey LeDoux
Second Grade Instructor, Parker
I received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and later completed a Master of Arts in Elementary Education at the University of Phoenix. Colorado is my home and I currently live in Parker with my husband, Ryan, and our dog, Bruiser. I enjoy hiking, photography, playing the piano, traveling, gardening, reading a good book, and spending time with family and friends. For me, the excitement of helping a student learn a new concept and witnessing the “aha” moment is one the thrilling joys of teaching!
Laura Leven
Educational Assistant, Parker
Growing up I lived in Wyoming, California, Utah, Virginia and Washington. Colorado has been my home since 1997 and is my favorite. I have a Bachelor of Science in Communications from the University of Wyoming. I have two daughters and a silver lab named Lucy. In my spare time I enjoy attending my daughters swim meets, and activities, book club, and cheering on the Seattle Seahawks.
Laurie Liddick
Gifted and Talented Coordinator, Castle Pines and Parker
Laurie is the architect of the Gifted and Talented program at American Academy. She has a degree in Biology, a Masters in Educational Psychology, and is currently working toward her Doctorate in School Psychology at the University of Colorado. She also holds a Colorado State secondary teaching license with an endorsement in Science and Gifted Education. Laurie is beginning her sixth year at American Academy and has had over 15 years of experience in education, serving as a member of a charter school board, teaching in a gifted pull-out program, instructing Kindergarten through eighth grade STEM and teaching secondary science. She enjoys collaborating with other educators and parents in order to provide the most conducive environment for students.
Brie Lindstrom
STEM Instructor, Castle Pines and Parker
I grew up in St. Louis, MO, but made my home Colorado in 1996. After finishing my B.S. at Colorado State University, I worked with at-risk teens for five years. My career evolved into teaching and I received my Masters in Education - Professional Leadership, at Regis University in 2011. In my free time I love to be outdoors running, biking, doing yoga, or just relaxing and reading. My husband, Troy, and his kids provide me with plenty of entertainment along with my dog, Maddie, and cat, Mo. I am frequently struck by the wonderful opportunities I have to learn, love, and laugh everyday!
Karen Liotta
Middle School Math Instructor, Parker
I was born and raised in Colorado and I have lived here all of my life. I enjoy boating, camping, and four-wheeling with my husband and my three kids. I have a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and a master’s degree in School Counseling. In the past I have taught math and been a school counselor at the high school level. In 2014 I joined the American Academy family and I couldn’t be happier!
Joanne Lofvenborg
Business Services Coordinator, Castle Pines and Parker
Donna Loy
Educational Assistant/Speech Language Pathology Assistant, Castle Pines
I was born in Anchorage, Alaska. My father was in the military so we moved quite a bit. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and my Speech Language Pathology Assistant certification from the University of Colorado. My husband and I have one child. She attended American Academy from first through eighth grade and now attends Regis Jesuit High School. I love to travel!
Jill Lundberg
Middle School Math Instructor, Parker
I was born and raised in California, and lived there until 2007. I went to San Jose State University, minored in Child Development, and majored in Mathematics. I love Math! My mom was a Math teacher so it runs in the family. I am married and have two kids (Middle School), 5 cats, 2 dogs, 1 hamster, and 1/2 a horse (we have a half lease). We definitely love animals. I'm super excited to be part of the American Academy family and look forward to teaching your children!
Erica Macon
Fifth Grade Instrcutor, Parker
Born and raised in Wichita, KS, I attended Wichita State for a year before moving to Florida where I graduated from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. I’m married, with two wonderful children and have a spunky Bichon named Chloe. In my spare time I enjoy reading, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.
Christine Manning
Literacy Ability Grouping Instructor (Second and Fourth Grade), Parker
I am a Colorado native and am a proud Colorado Buffalo. I graduated with my bachelor's degree in Political Science and French from the CU, Boulder, and earned my Masters in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Early Literacy from the CU, Denver. I earned my Elementary Education license through the Stanley British Primary School Teacher Preparation program. In my spare time, you can find me cooking, teaching or practicing yoga, and spending time in the great outdoors with my husband and two dogs.
Emily Marsh
Third Grade Instructor, Parker
I received my bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at the University of Oklahoma. I am originally from Dallas, TX, and I’ve been living here in Denver since 2010. I live with my husband and our two wonderful dogs, Burton and Boomer. We love to be outside, go hiking, skiing, and just enjoying nature. I also love to read and hang out with my fabulous friends and family.
Linda Martinez
STEM Instructor, Castle Pines and Parker
I received my bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University and my Masters from the University of Phoenix. I have been a part of American Academy since 2006 and love teaching here! I’ve lived in Denver since 2004 and love being here. My husband and I have two dogs, Roxie and Rex, and a cat, Sophie. I enjoy reading, running, camping, hiking, and hanging out with my family and friends in my spare time.
Hailey Mathieson
In-House Substitute/Instructional Assistant
Sharon Mazzitelli
Fifth Grade Instructor, Parker
I began my teaching career by graduating from San Jose State University with a Cross-cultural, Language and Academic Development Emphasis, Multiple Subject Teaching Credential (Whew, that is actually printed on my credential). I also have a supplementary authorization in science because my major study was in natural science. Science has always been my favorite subject. In fact, I recently finished my masters in Science in Education with Lesley University. It has been a great learning experience. I first taught 6th grade in the San Francisco bay area for four years at a middle school that was very diverse and extremely competitive academically. Then I moved to Vail, Colorado and taught a Gifted and Talented program for grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th and then moved on to Castle Rock where I taught 5th and 6th grade at a school of science and inquiry. By and far, 5th grade is my favorite grade. I’ve been fascinated with the world around me since I was a little girl. You will often find me crouched down checking out flowers, insects, or leaves and admiring the clouds along many of Colorado’s trails. My favorite experiences have been climbing the 14ers, snowshoeing the high mountains, and tubing down lazy rivers. I also love sitting around, losing myself in a good book.
Jessica Mazzoni
Literacy Ability Grouping Instructor (Kindergarten), Castle Pines
This will be my 6th year teaching at American Academy. I have taught 1st-4th grade in some capacity over the past 5 years. I am thrilled to be teaching math and literacy in Kindergarten this year! I have been married for 13 years and together my husband and I have three children. Jade (7th) and Liam (Pre-K) will be attending Shepherd of The Hills Christian School; and Cody (4th) will begin another wonderful year here at AA! I enjoy spending time with my family going to movies or dinner or simply having a family game night whenever we can. I am positive this is going to be the best year yet!!
Stephanie McCoy
KindiePrep Instructor, Parker
I am a Colorado native and grew up in Aurora. My family and I moved to parker in 1994 when it was still a relatively small town. After working in the dental field for a few years, I decided to follow my passion and begun working with children. I have over 16 years’ experience working primarily with pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students. Children are impressionable, so being a part of their guidance, accomplishments, growth and success offers me great joy. I am happily married to my husband Jeff of 23 years and have two great children, Mike and Briana. I enjoy outdoor activities, camping, hiking, and spending time with my family.
Victoria McDaniel
Middle School Science Instructor, Castle Pines
A Texan, born and raised, I am a huge Cowboys and Aggies fan! As a teen, I enjoyed scuba diving which inspired my love of science. I received a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from Texas A&M at Galveston, and a Master of Education degree with a minor in Biology from the University of North Texas. After graduation, my husband and I arrived in the gorgeous state of Colorado where I began my science teaching career. We have three amazing and brilliant daughters and the best big poodle ever. Along with sharing the awesomeness of science with students, I enjoy spending time with my family taking road trips, reading, watching movies and football.
Kasey McHugh
Kindergarten Instructor (Full-Day), Parker
Though I am originally from Tucson, Arizona, I moved to Denver to attend the University of Denver where I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. I am so glad I moved to Colorado! I have enjoyed the seasons and all the amazing things snow has to offer! I love to go skiing in the winter. However, I do still miss the delicious Mexican food from my toasty home state. In my free time I love to bake, do yoga and play board games (Sorry! is one of my favorites). Teaching Kindergarten is my passion. I am so grateful to be able to teach our early learners!
Melissa McKitterick
Second Grade Instructor, Castle Pines
I have called Colorado my home since moving here with my family when I was 6 years old, and I am still amazed by the beautiful mountain views! I ventured out-of-state for college and received my dual degree from Vanderbilt University in Elementary Education and Child Studies. I am passionate about helping children grow and learn and become curious, life-long learners. In addition to teaching, I love reading, baking, crafting, and spending time with my family and friends. I am also an avid sports fan and enjoy cheering on my alma mater, the Rockies, the Avs, and the Broncos.
Tara McMahon
Educational Assistant, Castle Pines
Morgan Meiborg
Second Grade Instructor, Parker
I am grew up in a small farming community in Illinois. I graduated from Northern Illinois University with my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. I just recently moved to the beautiful state of Colorado with my husband. We are loving getting to know our new home and all it has to offer. I enjoy hiking, reading, and crafting in my spare time.
Kim Meigs
Instructional Assistant, Castle Pines
Jean Mercy
Fourth Grade Instructor, Parker
A native of Colorado (and loyal Bronco fan), I attended the University of Northern Colorado to earn my Bachelor's Degree in English, earned my Elementary Teaching License from the Metropolitan State College of Denver and then completed my Master's Degree in teaching at Grand Canyon University. I have been teaching for the past sixteen years and I love that children bring an excitement that makes each day unique. In my spare time, I would love to be on a beach, but am just as happy going to the movies, reading, knitting, or walking my dog, Oliver.
Mark Middlebrooks
Specials Department Director, Castle Pines and Parker
I grew up in Lakeview, Oregon, a very small rural community. I moved to Southern California after graduation, to attend Walt Disney’s California Institute of the Arts, then took some time to tour abroad with the Continental Singers and Orchestra. Upon return, I found Colorado and finished my education in Music at Colorado Christian University. I love to sing, and act! I love to read and watch Netflix. I have a daughter who now lives in Los Angeles, and works for a subsidiary of Dreamworks, writing a segment called “The Daily Report for “Awesomeness TV”.
Sarah Miller
Third Grade Instructor, Parker
I am a Colorado native and went to the Metropolitan State University where I earned my bachelors in Behavior Science and Elementary Education. I also have my Masters in Administration and Leadership and have 11 years teaching experience. When I am not teaching I LOVE being with my wonderful husband and 4 incredible children, being outdoors, reading a good book, or trying new recipes. I am so excited to be a part of the American Academy family.
Lori Miller
Kindergarten Instructor (Full-day), Castle Pines
I am originally from Indiana and graduated from Butler University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with a Kindergarten endorsement. My husband Grant and I moved to wonderful Colorado in 2004. I have twins Cole and Grace that attend Regis Jesuit High School. In my spare time I love to read, cook, exercise, and spend time with my family and our Labrador retriever Indy.
Candyce Miller
Learning Specialist, Castle Pines
I grew up in rural Indiana and was an extra in the movie Hoosiers. I went to college for my Bachelor and Master degrees at Wright State University in Ohio. Then returned to school just a few years ago to earn my Ed. S. at the University of Northern Colorado. I have been married almost 25 years and have two wonderful adult children, Blake and Jordan, and two adorable Chihuahuas, Sweet Pea and Cash. I enjoy reading and taking Sunday drives in the mountains with my husband, Greg and our little doggies. This will be my first of what I hope will be many exciting years working here at AA and its fabulous staff, students and families.
Audrey Miller
School Counselor, Castle Pines
Whitney Millikin
Middle School English Instructor, Parker
I grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and attended Virginia Commonwealth University for my undergraduate degree. After graduating from VCU, I decided to join AmeriCorps, which placed me in Denver Public Schools doing dropout prevention work with high school students. After this experience, I decided to get my teaching license and master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from CU-Boulder. I then taught ninth grade for one year in DPS before joining the AA team, and I couldn't be happier to be teaching sixth grade English! In my spare time, I love working out, doing yoga, going to concerts and movies, and relaxing at home with my two kitties, Scout and Jem.
Trisha Mills
Literacy Ability Grouping Instructor (Second and Third Grade), Castle Pines
I am a Colorado native and can’t imagine living anywhere else! I grew up north of Denver and now live in Parker with my husband and two sons. I have a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Colorado State University, and a teaching degree with a Masters of Literacy from the University of Colorado at Denver. I have taught second grade for twelve years in the Adams County 14 and Douglas County School Districts. When I’m not teaching, I love spending time with my family hiking and being outdoors whenever possible. I also enjoy playing tennis, being crafty, completing DIY projects around the house, and listening to music (anything that keeps me busy).I feel fortunate to be at American Academy working with students in a smaller group setting in order to help them achieve their academic goals!
Karen Mitchell
Long-term Substitute Instructor, Middle School Media & Technology
Michael Monte
Middle School Math Instructor, Castle Pines
I grew up in Southern California and then moved to Colorado eight years ago. My wife and I are celebrating 25 years together and we are blessed to be the parents of three incredible children. This will be my 3rd year teaching students here at American Academy. I was a mechanical engineer for 16 years before pursuing my passion to educate and mentor the next generation of young adults. My interests include spending time with family and friends, watching sports, playing drums, and enjoying outdoor activities and travelling.
Shianne Montgomery
Long-term Substitute, First Grade, Castle Pines
Josh Morman
Instructional Assistant, Parker
Matt Murphy
Elementary Technology Instructor, Castle Pines
I am a Colorado native and the youngest of eight kids. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Northern Colorado and my Masters in Secondary Education from Phoenix University. I am also highly qualified to teach at the elementary level. I enjoy spending time with my wife and two daughters. Some of my hobbies include; reading, watching films, going to the theater and spending time in the great outdoors.
Laurie Neil
Middle School Principal, Parker
Laurie has been with American Academy since it opened its doors in 2005. She started as a 3rd grade teacher for the first few years, then moved to middle school, where she taught 6th/7th grade history. Laurie moved into her current position as Principal when the Parker Middle School opened in 2014. Laurie’s interest in education came from working in the schools as a police officer in Texas. In 1998, she moved to Colorado and earned a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education, along with her Colorado teaching license. She later added her endorsement in History. Outside of work, Laurie enjoys bike riding, hiking, skiing, and anything related to the arts.
Ginger Norton
Elementary Principal, Parker
Ginger is the principal for grades K-6 at our Parker campus, managing the education and discipline of the PKR elementary students while overseeing Art and Music education at both campuses. Ginger manages the AA K-6 Leadership Awards Program and the K-6 Technology Scope & Sequence Curriculum at Parker. Prior to her role as principal, Ginger was the Curriculum Specialist at American Academy. Ginger grew up in Connecticut and lived in Illinois and Tennessee before settling in Colorado. Ginger graduated from Wheaton College in 1997 with her Elementary Education degree. In her nine years of teaching, Ginger taught the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. Ginger has been with American Academy since its beginning and has always enjoyed assisting teachers in implementing the curriculum and analyzing data to affect student achievement.
Ally O'Mara
Literacy Ability Grouping Instructor (Second and Third Grade), Castle Pines
My love for this school began four years ago when my children were welcomed into American Academy. I am thrilled to be teaching second and third grade this year! I received my bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Colorado State University (GO RAMS!). My own love of learning continues while I pursue my Master’s degree. As a Colorado native I have always enjoyed the outdoors, skiing, camping and of course the Broncos!
Xiomara Orue
Music Instructor, Parker
I am originally from New York and received my B.A. in Music at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, City University of New York. My areas of focus included Music Education with specialized focus in Orchestra, Band, Choir and General Music. I have implemented orchestras and bands in several schools. I also directed a church choir and symphonic church orchestra for over five years in New York. My love of music stems from being raised in a very musical family, where I first learned to play the piano with my mother, attending yearly piano auditions held at Carnegie Hall with the National Guild of Piano Teachers through high school. I enjoy playing tennis, skiing and video gaming with my husband in my very limited free time.
Ashley Padilla
Elementary Assistant Principal, Castle Pines
I am a true-blue Colorado native! I grew up in Colorado Springs and earned a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. After arriving in the Denver-metro area, I completed post-graduate work at the University of Colorado at Denver in their Urban Teacher Education program. When I am not diving into my absolute love for teaching, I can usually be found taking advantage of our amazing Colorado weather. Hiking, skiing, and dining al fresco are a few of my favorite activities…as well as keeping the peace between my energetic dog and lethargic cat!
Karen Paez
KindiePrep Instructor, Parker
I have had the privilege of living all over the United States, and have been able to call Colorado home for twelve years now. I graduated from the University of Nebraska with a degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Special Education. I have been teaching for more than fifteen years and am loving it! Teaching is my passion and coming to work every day puts a smile on my face. When I am not in the classroom I love to listen to music, watch movies, take walks, spend quality time with my husband and two children, and watch the Red Sox and the Broncos! Life is good.
Sara Pammant
Middle School Science Instructor, Parker
I was raised in Littleton, CO, where I graduated from Heritage High School. I received my Bachelor's in Biology and my teaching license in Secondary Science Education at Metropolitan State College of Denver. Before graduating, I worked as a part-time STEM Instructional Assistant at American Academy. I am very passionate about STEM education and strive to foster critical thinking and scientific inquiry in my classroom. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, running, hiking, traveling, and spending time with my fiancé and closest friends.
Fran Patrick
Instructional Assistant, Castle Pines
Shawn Paumen
Middle School Technology Instructor, Castle Pines and Parker
I am returning to Colorado after spending the previous 5 years in Arizona. I received my B.A from Adams State College. Most recently, I received my M.Ed. in Secondary Education from the University of Arizona as a fellow in the Transition to Teaching program which provides much needed STEM teachers to the borderland schools of southern Arizona. Before pursuing my long-time dream of becoming a teacher, I worked as a claims representative, paralegal, owned my own insurance agency – I was even a horse show photographer! None of these positions provided the fulfillment and joy I receive from watching my students succeed and grow as teacher.
Amanda Pearo
Music Instructor, Castle Pines and Parker
I hail from a rural area of Long Island, NY, where my family raised horses and bred Chihuahuas. I earned both my Bachelor and Masters degrees in Music Education from the State University of New York at Fredonia, where I also continued to cultivate my theatrical experience through opera, musicals, and dramatic plays. I have directed and participated in many assortments of music ensembles and I received thirteen years of dance training whilst competing both regionally and nationally. My dance experience includes tap, ballet, jazz, modern, hip-hop, lyrical, and pointe. Some of my favorite activities are running and hiking with my Pomeranian, Ella, pottery, home-vinting, learning new instruments, yoga, reading sci-fi novels, and gardening.
Catrina Phillips
Business Services Assistant, Parker
Jorie Pumphrey
First Grade Instructor, Parker
I am originally from Columbus, IN, and came to Colorado to marry my husband who is a Colorado native. When I first came, I was a professional ballet/modern/jazz dancer. I taught dance classes to students ranging from pre-school to adults in local studios, elementary schools and high schools as well as at Colorado Christian University. I graduated from Butler University in Indianapolis (Go Bulldogs!) with a BA and MA in dance. I obtained my Elementary Education license at Metropolitan University of Denver. I have one son who attends CU. On weekends I love to read, paint with watercolors, knit, hike, bike and camp. I strive to inspire and encourage students to find their unique strengths and abilities here at American Academy.
Michele Quintana
Assistant to Executive Director of Schools, Castle Pines and Parker
Chad Riggs
Visual Arts Instructor, Castle Pines and Parker
I am a highly-motivated, enthusiastic and dedicated educator who wants all students to be successful. A self-directed, action-oriented professional with over ten year's experience in education. I received my undergraduate degree from Texas State University in Advertising Design/Art History and have since completed my Masters in Education from Jones International University, in Denver, Colorado.
Daniel Rinkoski
Middle School Math Instructor, Castle Pines
Born and raised in Michigan, I’ve always enjoyed spending time outdoors and exploring new places and concepts. I found myself excited to learn new information and wanting to share and teach others. This lead to my attendance of Eastern Michigan University, where I completed my studies in Science and Mathematics in the education field. For the past couple years, I have been teaching advanced mathematics, and grade level math in south west Kansas. I am very excited to be in the mountains and teaching math this year!
Mallory Rios
In-house Substitute/Instructional Assistant, Parker
Patti Rodriguez
Office Manager, Parker
Lisa Rustad
KindiePrep Instructor, Motsenbocker
Amanda Rusten
Music Instructor, Castle Pines
I’m a proud Colorado native. I received my Bachelor's degree in music performance at the University of Denver and, following further studies at the Queensland Conservatory in Australia, continued studies at DU to receive my Masters in Education. My hobbies include running, hiking, yoga, drawing and traveling the world. I perform professionally with a variety of music groups all over Denver including my wind quintet, Gossamer Winds. I strive to provide a music classroom in which students are given the tools to tap into their own musical abilities and experience joy and success in expressing the music that lies within them. I love to spend time with my husband and two Italian greyhounds.
Carrie Sale
Receptionist, Parker
Anna Sampson
Fourth Grade Instructor, Castle Pines
I attended the University of Northern Colorado where I earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education. I have taught at both the elementary and sixth grade levels. I enjoy reading, hiking, horseback riding, playing with my dog, Paisley, and traveling, but my main passion is teaching. My favorite part of teaching is determining each child’s needs and working to meet those needs. I love helping children reach their full potential, creating a positive classroom experience, and building confident learners!
Kristen Santilli
Instructional Assistant, Parker
Debbie Schroeder
Instructional Assistant, Castle Pines
Carol Schwieterman
Instructional Assistant, Parker
Sarah Scott
KindiePrep Assistant Director, Parker
Sarah is the Assistant Director of the AA KindiePrep program at the Parker Campus. Born and raised in rural Missouri, she attended Southeast Missouri State University to obtain her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. In St. Louis, MO, she taught pre-Kindergarten for fie years until 2005, when she relocated with her family to Colorado (where her husband grew up). Prior to her position with American Academy KindiePrep, Sarah taught both preschool and Kindergarten at a Douglas County private school and completed her Master’s degree in Teacher Leadership.
Donna Seekamp
Middle School History Instructor, Parker
Originally from Ohio, Donna graduated from Bowling Green State University with a B.S. in Education and a major in American Studies. Her licensure is in secondary history and English language arts. She has written and presented many Core Knowledge units nationally and worked on the committee to align the Core Knowledge curriculum with the Common Core standards. Donna’s goal is to inspire young adults to have a passion for learning about the past.
Melissa Seltzer
Receptionist, Castle Pines
Brittany Shilhan
Kindergarten Instructor (Full-Day), Castle Pines
I love teaching Kindergarten at American Academy! I moved to Colorado when I was seven years old, and lived in Castle Rock until I left for college. I received my bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from John Brown University in Arkansas, and returned to Colorado after graduating. I then taught in Aurora Public Schools for three years, and in Caracas, Venezuela, for two years at an international school. I love traveling, cooking, being outdoors, and spending time with friends and family.
Jamie Shull
School Counselor, Parker
While I grew up in Washington, D.C., I lived in Colorado previously and I’m thrilled to be back. After several years as a teacher, coach, and mentor both stateside and overseas, I decided to pursue school counseling as a career. My eclectic approach to school counseling blends respect, creativity, humor, and strong relationships. I am committed to empower and support students in becoming their best, unique selves and am grateful for the opportunity to do this at American Academy. I also love to hike, read, rock climb, and travel with my husband. We love a good adventure together!
Anna Singleton
First Grade Instructor, Castle Pines
I have grown up in Colorado for most of my life. I attended Regis Jesuit High School and headed off to Omaha, Nebraska for college at Creighton University where I majored in Elementary Education. I taught first grade for two years in Omaha before heading back to Colorado to teach here at AA. Excited to begin my third year at AA.
Melissa Sitzmann
STEM Instructor, Castle Pines
After obtaining my B.S. in Biology from Truman State University in Missouri, I had the opportunity to work and live in five states and two countries. While oversees we traveled all across Europe and especially loved skiing in the Alps (Rockies are still my favorite, though). My husband, our twins, who are students at the Castle Pines campus, and I finally settled down happily in Colorado. We love living in Colorado and frequent the ski slopes in the winter and the hiking trails the rest of the year! After settling back in the US, I earned my teaching degree in Secondary Science from the University of West Florida. Prior to American Academy, I taught 8th Grade Science in Highlands Ranch. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work in the STEM department at American Academy and look forward to a fantastic year!
Tonia Smallwood
Business Services Assistant, Castle Pines
Erika Smith
Middle School Math Instructor, Parker
I am joining the American Academy family after many years of teaching high school mathematics and bringing full circle an adventurous life which started in Dillon, Colorado. Growing up in the mountains of Colorado gave me a deep appreciation of the outdoors but also a desire to get away from the snow for a while. I earned a degree in Mathematics before moving to Hawaii and completing a Master’s degree in Secondary Mathematics Education. I’ve lived and taught in Colorado, Hawaii, Washington DC, and San Diego. Given the funding and the opportunity, international travel would take up all of my vacations but until that time I enjoy spending time with my husband, playing with my three dogs, riding a motorcycle, gardening, and learning the art of glassblowing. This life is going to be a kick!
Becki Srofe
Third Grade Instructor, Castle Pines
I am very excited to be working at American Academy. Prior to working here I have taught 1st-3rd grade in public and charter schools in Aurora. Before becoming a teacher, I was a Military Police officer in the Army. I was born and raised in a little town in Michigan, but I have lived in Colorado for over a decade. I received my Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Michigan, got my teaching license from Mesa State, and earned a Masters in Reading Curriculum and Assessment from Grand Canyon University. In my spare time I enjoy competing in judo, traveling, and having fun outdoors hiking and snowboarding with with husband and dogs.
Sandy Stanley
Third Grade Instructor
I am a second generation Colorado Native. I graduate from Adams State with a degree in Elementary Education with an Emphasis in Literacy. I completed my master’s degree in 2010, in Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction. I am married with two daughters and I enjoy running, biking, swimming, snowshoeing, and reading. I am also a history buff and love to continue learning about a large variety of subjects.
Diane Stavaski
IT Support Specialist, Castle Pines and Parker
Kelsea Suarez
Visual Arts Instructor, Castle Pines
I am a Colorado native who recently graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a Bachelor of Arts in Art and Design with a teaching emphasis K-12. Throughout the years I have enjoyed volunteering within the community and created multiple works of art for the town of Castle Rock. I also packed my bags and went to Italy for a study abroad program to observe beautiful, historic artwork and Italian culture. From a young age, I have dedicated my life to becoming a primary art teacher and I am very excited for the new school year to come. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to positively impact students through the arts and inspire creativity within American Academy.
Brittany Sundgren
Kindergarten Instructor (Full-Day), Castle Pines
I graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a B.A. in Early Childhood Education and have been working in the early childhood field for several years. I especially love working with Kindergarten! I am a 4th generation native to Colorado (grew up in Highlands Ranch) and I love spending time with my husband and wonderful baby boy Justin. I am a big animal lover so I have a yellow lab named Cash and an Eclectus parrot named Keko. In my free time I enjoy going to the movies, concerts. On Sundays you can find me with the family watching the Broncos. My family has been season ticket holders for the last 30 years!
Krystal Taylor
Fifth Grade Language Arts Instructor, Castle Pines
I grew up in Tempe, AZ, where I attended Arizona State University to obtain both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in education. I have been in the classroom for many years and have worked with all ages ranging from preschool to seventh grade. I greatly enjoy working with children and helping them to reach their goals in learning. In my free time, my husband, Jesse, and I enjoy biking, hiking, and taking our Chihuahua, Maxwell, on walks. I cannot wait to continue to learn and grow as a person alongside my students.
Cori Teeple
Middle School English Instructor, Parker
I first began teaching at the tender age of six when I lined up my stuffed animals and drilled them with spelling tests. My love of language and literature grew over the years and I obtained my Bachelors of Arts, English from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. After graduating college, I followed the pioneer trail and moved west to California and then north to Oregon. For ten years I capitalized on my writing and communication skills both in the music and logistics industries. Although I enjoyed working with many wonderful people and developing my craft, I continued to dream of becoming a teacher. Finally, in 2008 I obtained my Masters of Education and relocated with my husband to Colorado.
Ree Kae Telesz
Instructional Assistant, Castle Pines
Chris Todd
STEM Instructor, Castle Pines and Parker
Originally from Indiana, I moved to Denver in 1994 and love everything about it. I love the typical activities our wonderful state has to offer but also enjoy exploring elsewhere. I have been part of the American Academy team since the school opened in 2005. My background is Elementary education and before joining the STEM department, I taught first grade for 12 years. I received my Bachelor's Degree from Metropolitan State College of Denver and my Master's degree from Colorado Christian University in Curriculum and Instruction.
Courtney Townley
Performing Arts Administrative Assistant, Castle Pines and Parker
Kelly Trainor
IT Support Specialist, Castle Pines and Parker
Jen Tucker
Operations Director, Castle Pines and Parker
Nicole Valentine
First Grade Instructor, Castle Pines
I received my bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science and a minor in Elementary Education from Metropolitan State College of Denver in 2008. I am a native to Colorado and love everything this beautiful state has to offer. Outside of teaching, I love spending time with my family, camping, and traveling.
Kristine Valkner
Intervention Specialist/Learning Specialist, Parker
I am originally from Chicago, IL, and received my bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders from Northern Illinois University and a graduate degree in Special Education from Northeastern Illinois University. My husband, son, daughter and I moved to Colorado in 2008. I enjoy spending time with my family, hiking, skiing, yoga and reading.
Maria Wagner
Assistant to SSS Director, Castle Pines and Parker
I have worked in education for over ten years and I believe learning should be fun! If kids are having fun, they are learning. My husband and I have been married for twenty-five years and we are both Colorado natives. I have two children and three dogs, so that keeps me pretty busy! When I am not at school, I enjoy spending time with my family. We like to swim, paddle board, camp, and hike. I also enjoy reading, cooking, and the arts - especially ballet! I am looking forward to another fantastic year at American Academy.
Jenifer Warda
KindiePrep Instructor, Parker
I graduated from the University of New Mexico with a major in Elementary Education and a minor in English as a Second Language. I grew up in Parker, CO, and am so proud of our state. I love to play tennis during my spare time. Most of my family lives in Colorado and we enjoy camping and hiking up the beautiful Rocky Mountains all season long! I'm a huge Denver Broncos fan and cheer them on at every game. I love to travel all over and have been blessed to see so much.
Julie Weiss
STEM Instructor, Castle Pines and Parker
Prior to teaching elementary school, I taught the teeny-tiny little ones in pre-school for three years. I received my teaching degree from the University of Iowa: Go Hawkeye’s!! I am originally from the Chicago area. My husband, Jim, and I lived in Canada for three years where our daughter was born. We have a son who was born in Chicago. We also share our home with our golden retriever, Larry, and our two rats. Our family loves the outdoors and this is the reason that we moved to Colorado many years ago. We spend almost every weekend up in the mountains. I love to hike, camp, bike, run, and, most of all, swim. I collect children’s books and love them more than most women love shoes.
Michelle Werden
Substitute Coordinator, Castle Pines and Parker
Joanie Wherry
Registrar, Castle Pines and Parker
Brian Wherry
IT Director, Castle Pines and Parker
Brian manages American Academy’s Information Technology department which includes overseeing the local and wide area network along with all technology related support for staff and students. Brian is a Colorado native with an Exercise Sports Science degree in teaching from the University of Arizona. Brian has been working in the IT field for over 10 years including recently running his own computer/IT consulting company.
Brandon Whittaker
Middle School Science Instructor, Castle Pines
My story begins in Idaho where I developed a curiosity of why things happen. My childhood continued in Arizona where I became interested/obsessed with science, science fiction and running. Later at age 18 my family moved to Colorado and we have lived here ever since. In 2000 I earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Earth Science with emphasis in Secondary Education from the University of Northern Colorado and in 2007 I graduated with a Master’s of Science (M.S.) in Environmental Science from the University of Colorado Denver. I met my wonderful wife Nancy in Aruba and we have two great kids Shayla and Skylar. We love to travel together locally and on occasion to other countries. My hobbies include Tae Kwon Do, running, reading and spending time with my family.
Jennifer Whittaker
Fourth Grade Instructor, Parker
I am a Colorado native and have been teaching for over 15 years! I love being a teacher and have never thought of my teaching career as just a "job." Teaching is my passion. I graduated from Western State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and went on to get my Master of Arts in Education at the University of Phoenix. I am married to my best friend, Sean, and we have three very active and entertaining children, all girls! When I’m not teaching, you can usually find me at my girls' volleyball or soccer practices and games. I also enjoy spending time with my family, going camping, four wheeling in our Jeep and reading a good book!
Angela Williams
Ability Group Instructor (Grades 1&5), Castle Pines
I am originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, but have spent the last 7 years calling the beautiful state of Colorado home! Before moving to Colorado, I spent 10 years teaching grades 2,3,6,7, and 8. I completed my undergraduate degree from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, and my postgraduate degree in Education from Plymouth University in Devon, England. I am currently working on my Masters in Literacy Intervention from Colorado College in Colorado Springs. I have three wonderful children; Abigail, Dean, and Blake. My husband, children and I love all that Colorado has to offer, especially skiing during the winter months! I have a passion for running and have enjoyed different races within Colorado. I have also used running to start discovering more of the USA!
April Winder
Fifth Grade History Instructor, Parker
I am a Colorado native and cannot imagine permanently living anywhere else. I completed my undergraduate work at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA, where I played NCAA Ice Hockey. Upon graduating I quickly returned to Colorado and received my teaching licensure in Elementary Education through the University of Northern Colorado. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my husband, family, and friends, playing hockey, and exploring the beauty of Colorado.
Michelle Wisler
Instructional Assistant, Castle Pines
Autumn Woodfield
In-House Substitute/Instructional Assistant, Castle Pines
Mikki Woods
KindiePrep Instructor, Parker
I am a Colorado native and grew up in Castle Rock. I moved away for a brief time to go to Colorado State University where I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication. After working various jobs, I decided to pursue what I had always known I wanted to do. I received my Master of Arts in Elementary Education and have been teaching since then. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my husband of eight years, my family, and my friends. Cooking, reading, doing crafts, travelling and watching football are just a few of my favorite things to do. Summer is my favorite season and you can find me swimming, camping, hiking, and enjoying the outdoors!
Jennifer Wray
Middle School Science Instructor, Castle Pines
I grew up in West Texas and went to college at Trinity University in San Antonio staying for a fifth year to obtain my Masters of Arts in Teaching. After spending 22 years in Texas, I was ready for a change and ready for mountains! I moved to Denver in 2009 and couldn’t be happier about it. In my free time, I love all things outdoors. You can find me backpacking, biking, climbing, or skiing in the mountains. I am so happy to be a part of the American Academy family and I am really looking forward to teaching Earth Science again. I love learning about the Earth and I can’t wait to explore it with the 6th graders!
Katie York
Learning Specialist and Interventionist, Castle Pines
Some of you may already know me from last year as the second and third grade literacy ability group teacher at American Academy. For those of you who don’t, I grew up in Connecticut and went to school in upstate NY. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree at Hobart & William Smith Colleges where I had the amazing opportunity to teach abroad in New Zealand. I am a certificated Elementary and Special Education Teacher. I absolutely love Colorado and all the outdoor activities that this state has to offer!
Angela Yu
Library Assistant, Castle Pines
Katherine Zimmer
Kindergarten Instructor (Full-Day), Parker
I am a Colorado native and attended The University of Denver for my undergraduate degree, my masters and teaching license. I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. I enjoy anything outdoors from skiing to hiking with family and friends.