Faculty Bios


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Seedlings | ECE | Elementary School | Upper School | Special Subjects | Lively Arts Homeschool | Student Support |

Seedlings

Susan Skokan

Susan Skokan

Seedlings Classroom - Lead Teacher, Parent/Child

susan.skokan@jeffco.k12.co.us

Susan has been working with children in early childhood since January 2007. She has been immersed in Waldorf Education and involved in MPCS since the summer of 2011. She also ran a licensed child care and home preschool from summer 2012 to Summer 2014. She has been a lead teacher in summer camps at the Denver Waldorf School. She has two sons who attend MPCS.

ducation
LiveWays early childhood teacher certification – May 2014
Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy – May 2016
Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher certification- July 2019 through Sound Circle
Early Childhood Teacher certification – May 2008
MSU Art Degree – emphasis Photography, minor English Writing
WECAN Continuing Teacher Education with Nancy Blanning and others – countless hours 2011 - present

Loves: Children and their discoveries, their point of view. Art and creating art, being outside, water, music, poetry, nature, family, real conversations, thoughtfulness, yoga.

Why Auntie? Part of the LifeWays approach to children is that school is first an extension of home and family. Your children are warmly welcomed here.

Susan started teaching at MPCS in 2011. From 2016-2021 she taught home school kindergarten. She founded the Seedlings Program in 2016 and continues serving infants, toddlers and parents. Festivals and connections with families are the highlights of the years!

ECE

Robin Brough

Robin Brough

Buttercups Classroom - Lead Teacher, Preschool

robin.brough@jeffco.k12.co.us

Robin is the lead teacher in the Buttercups Pre-K class. She has been at MPCS since 2012. Robin loves the community, families and staff at Mountain Phoenix.

She graduated from Naropa University with a Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education and a focus on Visual Arts and Traditional Eastern Arts. Robin also has graduated from the Foundations program through the Center for Anthroposophy and has completed the Lifeways Training of North America. Robin has her Waldorf Teacher Certification from Sophia's Hearth in Keene New Hampshire. Her certification specialized in studying the child in from birth to age seven - the foundation of the early childhood teacher's work.

Robin truly loves working in the nursery and the best part of her job is spending time with all of the littles that are filled with wonder each day. She considers it to be a true gift to spend time with such young innocent souls who bring so much joy and laughter to her life! In her free time Robin loves to travel to visit with family and friends spread around the country, hike, and spend time in the sunshine at the beach whenever she can.

Ashley Bernier

Ashley Bernier

Buttercups Classroom - Co-Lead/Assistant, Preschool

ashley.bernier@jeffco.k12.co.us

Born and raised in South Texas, Ashley thought the retail world was the path for her until she did a complete turnaround and leaned towards child education. She felt the need to do something meaningful and rewarding; therefore, Ashley went back to school and changed her major.

Ashley first started working with infants to kinder age in a Montessori School in East Plano, TX. She became close with the Assistant Director who asked Ashley to work alongside her, in her own in-home daycare. There Ashley worked with the youngest ages of 6 weeks to 2 years. She learned the ways of an in-home daycare setting, building the experience and knowledge of early childhood. After 3yrs of working at the in-home daycare, a new home was calling in Colorado. In May of 2015, Ashley proudly graduated with her Associates in Early Childhood Education and holding a Director’s Certificate from Red Rocks Community College. She also holds a Waldorf Certificate in early Childhood from the Sound Circle II training program in Seattle, Washington. With time permitting, Ashley would love to open up her own Waldorf-Inspired, in-home daycare.

When not at work, Ashley enjoys spending her free time with her husband traveling, sightseeing, jamming to some good ol classic oldies, playing dominos, watching movies and exploring the beautiful Colorado scene. But what Ashley really misses and loves to be at, is the beach. Nothing beats those ocean waves.

As each school year begins, Ashley always looks forward to meeting new families and seeing many returning families, even the families she has worked with her first year at Mountain Phoenix. She is always happy and ready with her apron on, assisting in the Buttercups preschool classroom. She loves working with the little ones watching them grow and being able to be a part of the experience. Ashley also feels blessed for having the opportunity being a part of the Leadership Team as the “Head” for the ECE Program.

Joy Wegs

Joy Wegs

Sweet Peas Classroom - Lead Teacher, Preschool

joy.wegs@jeffco.k12.co.us

“Auntie Joy” is the Lead Teacher in the Sweet Peas classroom, and an integral part of MPCS's Early Childhood Leadership Team. Auntie Joy has been here since MPCS arrived on this campus. She brings her ALL to her classroom, her Administration role and various committees throughout our campus. She proudly calls MPCS her home away from home!

Aside from her teaching responsibilities, she is also a mother to two spirited boys (Aizik - at Lakewood High School and Ember who is in Upper School at Mountain Phoenix), a wife, and a yoga instructor. She holds a BA in Outdoor Recreation and Leadership, and a two-year degree in Early Childhood Education. Joy has completed the LifeWays of North America training, focusing on Stiener’s views of child development birth through age 7 and the Waldorf Foundations program. She also holds her Waldorf Early Childhood Teaching Certificate from Sound Circle.

Her history with Waldorf Education goes back quite a ways, but she knew the moment her first son was born that she needed to learn more! She used to live in Grand Junction where she partnered with other community members to start a small and thriving Waldorf Kindergarten, where she was both the President of the Board and also a Teacher (both at different times, of course)! Auntie Joy is living proof that Waldorf is an education for all, both young and old!

Tatyana Hope

Tatyana Hope

Sweet Peas Classroom - Assistant, Preschool

Bio coming soon.

Jennifer Wendland-Diaz

Jennifer Wendland-Diaz

Dandelions Classroom - Lead Teacher, Preschool

jennifer.wendland@jeffco.k12.co.us

Jennifer is a Nationally Board certified teacher and has a Master’s degree in Bilingual Education. She has been involved in the field of education for 13 years including teaching in a small community school in Mexico for three years that integrated festivals, nature experiences, and the arts within the curriculum. Jennifer has completed her Waldorf Teacher Training, and she also started another Waldorf Training, Nurturing the Roots. Jennifer has a passion for developmentally-appropriate and arts-integrated education and looks forward to bringing Waldorf Education to the charter school movement. She has two sons at Mountain Phoenix, one going into fourth grade and the other second grade.

Joan Scherry

Joan Scherry

Dandelions Classroom - Assistant, Preschool

Bio Coming Soon!

Elizabeth McCune

Elizabeth McCune

Bluebirds Classroom - Lead Teacher, Kindergarten

elizabeth.mccune@jeffco.k12.co.us

"In 2011, my 3rd grader, 1st grader, Kindergartner, Pre-schooler and I all started school together at Mountain Phoenix. It has carried each one of us on the journey of a lifetime. Coming from a background in Marriage and Family Therapy, I relish the opportunity to work in collaboration with families of every form as well as revel in the joy that comes from working everyday with young children who constantly bring me love, laughter, challenge and innate wisdom. I was fortunate to complete my Waldorf Teacher Certificate through Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California in 2015.

My husband, affectionately known as Farmer Chris (he often has a supporting role in the many farm tales I tell the children), and I run Roost Farms in Wheat Ridge. I love quiet mornings feeding the animals and long walks around the neighborhood. Supporting children and families and building community is a passion of mine. My colleagues and my experience as a parent and teacher at MPCS is an immense source of gratitude and joy in my life."

Shana Robertson

Shana Robertson

Bluebirds Classroom - Assistant, Kindergarten

Bio Coming Soon!

Jacqueline Votanek

Jacqueline Votanek

Sunflowers Classroom - Lead Teacher, Kindergarten

Bio Coming Soon!

Trisha Sejas

Trisha Sejas

Sunflowers Classroom - Assistant, Kindergarten

Bio Coming Soon!

Melissa Windram

Melissa Windram

Honey Bees Classrooms - Lead Teacher, Kindergarten

melissa.windram@jeffco.k12.co.us

Melissa could not be more thrilled to be the Lead Teacher of the Honey Bees Kindergarten, and truly feels this opportunity to be a lifelong dream fulfilled and her living destiny.

In addition to teaching the Honey Bees, Melissa is a mother of two children Liam (age 10) and Maya (age 8) whom are enrolled as third and fifth graders here at MPCS. When Melissa and her husband Billy found Mountain Phoenix, they found home; finally a school and community that support an education and core value system that is in-sync with the beating of their own hearts. Here, she found a place where childhood is honored and preserved and feels so blessed to be a part of fostering this magic.

Melissa has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities and Comparative Literature from the University of Colorado. Presently, she is on the path of obtaining her Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher Certification having completed the first year of Foundation Studies through the Center of Anthroposophy and is looking forward to continuing this journey of higher learning throughout this year. She began her teaching career in a nature-based preschool program on the Sunflower Farm where she found her passion for connecting children with nature. She now finds herself fully devoted to fostering the inherent wonder within each child by allowing them time and space to play freely among the trees, the puddles, fields and stones. And this is why when not at school, you may find her and her family (hubby, kids, dogs, and sometimes even Leo the cat) in places where mountains, mud, streams, trees and open sky reside. Having lived in Colorado now for 16 years, she could not be more grateful for this magnificent backyard the state offers. She also loves to trail run, cook, read, plant flowers, create, and spread joy!

Bettina Huber

Bettina Huber

Honey Bees Classroom - Co-Lead/Assistant, Kindergarten

Growing up in Germany Bettina graduated from the Ludwig-Maximillians-University in Munich/Germany with a doctorate degree in Veterinary Medicine in 2005. She met her husband Alastair who made his way down from Calgary to Denver during an internship with a veterinary clinic in 2004. To end the hardship of a long distance relationship the two of them decided to get married in 2006 and to settle down together in Denver. Since then Bettina has been at home, raising her two children (Ellen and Myles) and accumulating a bunch of animals. She has been deeply involved as a parent in our school since September 2011 when the Wheat Ridge campus opened and her daughter Ellen started preschool.

Bettina experienced Waldorf education during her own childhood and she feels very thankful that Mountain Phoenix offers a piece of home and German culture for her and her family. Bettina loves to be outside in nature and thinks that a big part of her love for Waldorf education is the ability to connect children with nature and the flow of the season over the year. She believes that following the rhythm of nature and it’s natural changes is a great source of grounding and slowing down to reflect in our daily life and in our today’s fast paced society.

In her free time Bettina likes to craft and create, she believes that the process of making art and being creative improves children’s (and adult’s) physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and is therefore essential in early childhood education.

She also likes gardening, spending time with her family, dogs and chickens and traveling especially when trips involve adventures, lots of nature, camping and hot springs.

Bettina started working as a kindergarten classroom assistant in 2016 and is very excited to continue the journey with the Honeybees this year!

Lindsey Morris

Lindsey Morris

Chickadees Classroom - Lead Teacher, Kindergarten

Lindseys love for the natural world started at a young age along the shores of Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She believes every life lesson can be learned metaphorically through Mother Earth and lives a lifestyle returning back to our primal, earth-centered ways.

Lindsey has always been drawn to young children, birth and supporting families. This led her to obtain her Early/Middle Childhood Education degree from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. When she was introduced to Waldorf Education it seamlessly aligned to her life and educational philosophies. She fell in love with the beauty, joy and magic of it, and will soon have her Gradalis Waldorf Teacher Certification completed.

Lindsey and her Fiancé Neil moved to Colorado to be closer to the mountains and a greater Waldorf community. She is grateful to be a part of this school! Outside of school, she loves to forage mushrooms and wild food, hike 14ers, ferment sauerkraut, visit farmers markets and play with her fluffy white Samoyed, Indie.

Elementary School

Alissa Minatta

Alissa Minatta

Classroom Teacher - Grade One

alissa.minatta@jeffco.k12.co.us

Alissa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Colorado, Boulder and an Elementary Teacher License. She values Waldorf education because it is a holistic approach to teaching while integrating arts throughout the curriculum. Instilling a life-long love of learning in students and building strong, meaningful relationships within the Mountain Phoenix community is essential to Alissa’s teaching philosophy. She is a native to Colorado who enjoys painting, hiking, traveling, playing tennis, and spending time with family. Alissa has completed her Waldorf Teacher Certification program and is eager to continue learning alongside the students each year.

Kate Grigsby

Kate Grigsby

Classroom Teacher - Grade One

kate.grigsby@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

Eliza Bethany

Eliza Bethany

Classroom Teacher - Grade Two

eliza.bethany@jeffco.k12.co.us

This will be my seventh year here, and year two with my current group of students. I have Waldorf Teacher Certification from Antioch University and a BFA from NMSU. Prior to teaching I worked mostly in the visual arts and very early on was a NOLS instructor. When the oldest of my two daughters was an infant, I joined a parent group that evolved into the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School in Connecticut, where I was a founding board member. The influence was life-long, though we moved away before the grades began. My children still managed to thrive going to public schools, with a very fortunate cast of teachers and administrators, spiced with a dash of head, heart and hand at home. I love that we combine both worlds here at Mountain Phoenix. My happiest moments are greeting each of the children in the morning, knowing the many joys and discoveries that lie ahead.

Maggie Forbes

Maggie Forbes

Classroom Teacher - Grade Two

maggie.forbes@jeffco.k12.co.us

Maggie holds a B.A in Elementary Education with a concentration in Early Childhood Development. She first encountered Waldorf education during her studies, and immediately fell in love with Waldorf 's methodology, specifically as it relates to the developmental needs of children. She values Waldorf's artistic approach to academics and its connection to life's natural rhythms and seasons. In 2017, she began her elementary teaching career in Hawaii working with grades 2 and 5 in the public school setting as well as in a Waldorf-nature-based community. Eager to continue learning about Waldorf education, she came across the Mountain Phoenix Community. She is so excited to join MPCS as a grades teacher and bring Waldorf education into the public school setting! In addition to learning every day alongside her students, Maggie continues to develop her understanding of Waldorf education at the West Coast Institute in Canada. When she is not in the classroom, Maggie enjoys writing, painting with watercolors, camping, practicing yoga and exploring the great outdoors with family and friends.

Kathryn Gigantiello

Kathryn Gigantiello

Classroom Teacher - Grade Three

kathryn.gigantiello@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

Cara Olivenza

Cara Olivenza

Classroom Teacher - Grade Three

cara.olivenza@jeffco.k12.co.us

Cara grew up with a love of learning and nature. She graduated from the University of Montana with a B.A. in Liberal Arts and Environmental Studies. She worked as a naturalist and outdoor science educator in many beautiful places, including Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Denali National Park, Teton Science School, and Keystone Science School. After she met her husband, she worked as a librarian and classroom paraprofessional in Fort Collins while earning her Masters in Elementary Education. She taught sixth grade Earth Science at a middle school in Thornton. After she had her daughter, she worked part-time as a special education reading interventionist in several Jeffco elementary schools. Cara then became the Program Specialist at Jeffco’s Windy Peak Outdoor Lab in Bailey, living with her family on the school campus. Cara loves the attentiveness to the development of the whole child, building community, and connection with the natural world in Waldorf education. She recently began her Waldorf teacher training.

Michele Ford-Kuntz

Michele Ford-Kuntz

Classroom Teacher - Grade Four

michele.kuntz@jeffco.k12.co.us

Michele Ford Kuntz: In 1999, Michele moved to Denver from Seattle, and after working in the corporate world for several years, and soon realized her true calling and passion in life to teach and inspire children. Michele holds an undergraduate degree in Theater from the University of Washington, as well as a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Pedagogy from the University of Colorado at Denver where she graduated top of her class and received the “Outstanding Graduate” award, as chosen by her professors.

In 2016, Michele completed Foundation Studies through the Center for Anthroposophy, then began working towards Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher certification through Sound Circle Center for Anthroposophy in June of 2017. After teaching various methods and grades from Pre-K through Third, in both public and private settings, Auntie Chele feels completely at home with the Waldorf Curriculum and the Early Childhood Program at MPCS and is inspired by the innovation behind offering Waldorf methods in a public setting. Michele is very excited to bring her passion for the arts to her teaching and is an active part of the Mountain Phoenix community.

In addition to being a teacher, Michele has two children who attend MPCS, and a loving husband. She also enjoys reading, visiting museums, handwork, camping, and travel.

Shannon McCormick

Shannon McCormick

Classroom Teacher - Grade Four

shannon.mccormick@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

Olivia Filion

Olivia Filion

Classroom Teacher - Grade Five

olivia.filion@jeffco.k12.co.us

Olivia moved to Colorado in 2017 to attend the University of Denver, and earned her Masters in Elementary Education the following year. Olivia began teaching 3rd grade in the Denver Public School system, but since she found the Mountain Phoenix Community School in 2019 she has fallen in love with the Waldorf curriculum. Here, Olivia has been able to integrate her interests in exploring the outdoors, cooking, knitting, and art into her classroom. She is excited to continue her journey with MPCS throughout the grades in the primary years.

Eric Ebert

Eric Ebert

Classroom Teacher - Grade Five

eric.ebert@jeffco.k12.co.us

Eric holds a B.A. degree from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, and an M.A. in Waldorf and Integrated Day education from Antioch New England Graduate School. His transformative experience at St. John’s convinced him of the value of a liberal arts education. He has worked to bring that sort of experience to children in a number of settings, including private and public Waldorf-methods schools. A strong believer in the lessons Nature has to teach, he is particularly happy to return to the mountain west.

Upper School

Ydi Alonso

Ydi Alonso

Classroom Teacher - Grade Six

ydi.alonso@jeffco.k12.co.us

Ydi brings over 16 years of experience in the field of education. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a minor in English as a Second Language as well as Master’s degree in Reading. She began her career as an Academic Advisor at the college level. She has over 12 years of teaching experience in grades 3-7. Her love for nature and exploration as well as the performing arts are a part of what she enjoys sharing with her students in the classroom. Ydi first learned about Waldorf Education during her undergraduate work where she focused her senior thesis on Rudolf Steiner, thus sparking her enthusiasm for bringing this approach to students in her classes. Ydi attended the Art of Teaching grade 7 at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, CA this summer to support her preparations for the upcoming school year & is planning to begin her formal Waldorf Education Certification in the summer of 2017.

Eowyn Ciccone

Eowyn Ciccone

Classroom Teacher - Grade Six

eowyn.ciccone@jeffco.k12.co.us

Eowyn has served as a middle school and high school teacher and educator for over 20 years. She holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Secondary English Education from SUNY New Paltz, National Board Certification, and has a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Supervision from UNC Charlotte.

Eowyn values a rich curriculum and guiding students toward self-knowledge. Her teaching practice cultivates a sense of beauty for life and helping students reach their greatest potential. Eowyn is passionate about bringing this practice forth through Waldorf Education within the charter school movement.

Eowyn enjoys yoga, cross country skiing, metaphysics, reading, writing, traveling, cooking, and spending time with her family, friends, and pets! Eowyn completed her first year of Waldorf Teacher Training, in May of 2018, and looks forward to continuing her education in this area.


Joshua Anander

Joshua Anander

Classroom Teacher - Grade Seven

joshua.anander@jeffco.k12.co.us

Josh grew up in Connecticut and spent several years in the Pacific Northwest before settling in Colorado. He graduated from the University of Washington with an emphasis in history and earned his teaching credentials through a partnership with Regis University. He has been teaching for over 10 years and has been at Mountain Phoenix since the Wheat Ridge campus opened. Josh loves the Waldorf approach, especially the integration of the arts into the everyday curriculum and the emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving. He has attended many wonderful Waldorf continuing education programs and has loved incorporating new methods into his classroom. He is excited to share Mountain Phoenix with his two children who are presently in elementary school here. When not teaching, Josh likes to spend time with his family enjoying the outdoors and taking in a baseball game.

Brian Williams

Brian Williams

Classroom Teacher - Grade Seven

brian.williams@jeffco.k12.co.us

Brian has his Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education Language Arts and has been a Middle School teacher and Language Arts Department Chair for several years. He also has enjoyed teaching and coaching cycling and soccer. He recently attended the Art of Teaching Grade 8 in Waldorf Education at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, CA.

Justine Bristol

Justine Bristol

Classroom Teacher - Grade Eight

justine.bristol@jeffco.k12.co.us

Justine is ecstatic to be a part of the Mountain Phoenix Community. She came to the school in the pandemic year of 2020 to teach year 7. In 2019, Justine's family made the move to Colorado, where she took a position as an all-subject 6th grade class teacher. Previously, she taught social emotional skills to both social workers and teenagers for three years through restorative trainings, art classes, and yoga at a grassroots non-profit organization in Florida.

Educationally, Justine earned a B.A. degree in Education through Florida Atlantic University and is currently finishing her MA in Critical Pedagogy. Critical Pedagogy is a deep analysis of curriculum and instruction to promote equity and justice across learning and to dismantle bias that may be present in educational philosophies. Justine is also excited to be attending professional development through "Sunbridge Summer Series: Approaching Grade 8", where she will be inspired to infuse this school year with a deeper understanding of the Waldorf approach.

In her free time, Justine enjoys her two sons (one of which is a Sweet Pea at MPCS), hiking, yoga, painting, and reading. She identifies as a life-long learner and has a deep calling to teach. Her and her family have a love of travel and spend the summers exploring the great outdoors all over the country.

Ada Thomas

Ada Thomas

Classroom Teacher - Grade Eight

ada.thomas@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

Rachel Riccio

Rachel Riccio

Upper School Math Teacher - Grade Seven and Eight

rachel.riccio@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

Aaryn Munson-Price

Aaryn Munson-Price

Upper School Math Teacher - Grade Six

aaryn.munson-price@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

Special Subjects

Cecilia Alban

Cecilia Alban

Spanish Teacher - Lower School

cecilia.alban@jeffco.k12.co.us

Cecilia was born in La Rioja, Argentina. She is a lawyer, and her first language is Spanish. She moved to Denver in 2009 when she married her husband. When she lived in Argentina, she worked in the Senate and taught International Law in the University. Cecilia has been teaching and working as a Spanish tutor for 5 years. This is her fifth year as a Spanish teacher at Mountain Phoenix. She always says that this is the most rewarding and enjoyable work that she has ever had. Working with children, she has the opportunity not only to teach Spanish but to share Latin American Culture through the use of storytelling, songs, plays, and even recipes that she used with her mom when she was a child.

Cecilia and her husband enjoy traveling to different countries and learning about other cultures, food, and people. She has visited 25 states in the US and 18 countries in Asia, Europe, South America, and Australia. She loves to cook, knit, bake, and read, but teaching Spanish is one of her favorites activities.

Cecilia believes Mountain Phoenix is a great school and feels that she is working with amazing people. She hopes she can continue to be part of MPCS for many years to come.

Daniel Fuentes

Daniel Fuentes

Spanish Teacher - Upper School

daniel.fuentes@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

Megan Aikman

Megan Aikman

Handwork Assistant - Lower School

maikman@jeffcoschools.us

Megan came to Colorado nearly 20 years ago when she and her husband heard the siren song from the east coast. She grew up in Maine, received her B.A. in Latin and Classical Studies from Brandeis University, and later earned her masters from CU Boulder in Greek and Roman Art and Archaeology. After working in museums for numerous years, her original plan to teach through exhibit programming took a different turn after the birth of her two children, both Mountain Phoenix students.

The love of fiber arts runs strong in Megan’s blood. Both grandmothers were craftswomen; one a Home Economics teacher in the 1950’s, and the other taught Ms.Aikman the nearly lost art of tatting when she was 2 years old. Megan taught herself to knit when she was 10 and hasn’t stopped since. She is adept at knitting, crochet, weaving, spinning, embroidery, and hand sewing.

Megan is thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the Homeschool Practical Arts program, as well as assist with the full-time grades students.

Michelle TheoHarris

Michelle TheoHarris

Handwork Teacher - Grades 4 - 8

michelle.theoharris@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

JoAnn Hammond

JoAnn Hammond

Handwork Teacher - Lower School

Joann.hammond@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

Eve Panning

Eve Panning

Orchestra Teacher

eve.panning@jeffco.k12.co.us

Eve Panning is an accomplished musician and educator with a passion for various styles of music. Eve began taking violin and piano lessons at the String Academy at Indiana University when she was just six years old. She was also exposed to a rich culture of traditional folk music that was an integral part of life in the small town she lived in with her family. Social gatherings revolved around music, from potluck get-togethers to the Tuesday night jam session in the Walmart produce department. These gatherings allowed Eve to experience the joy and community created by music, as well as develop a repertoire of fiddle tunes. This community of music provided a springboard for the Panning Family Band -also known as FiddleFire- that became a large part of Eve's life. Performances included the National Fiddle Contest in Weiser, ID, appearances as guest artists with the Grand Rapid's Symphony, and opening for Cris Cagle and Depue Brothers' concerts. The family also performed as the headline band at contradance weekends throughout the midwest.

Eve continued to be active in the classical world. During college, Eve studied classically with Mihai Craioveanu at Hope College in Holland, MI. During this time she had numerous performance opportunities, including solo performances with the Hope College orchestra, performing in showcase concerts, presenting recitals, and even performing at a TEDx event. She also performed as a section violinist with the Holland Symphony, where she was a featured soloist after winning their concerto competition. While in college, Eve studied music education as well as violin performance. As she observed, taught, and traveled with student groups, Eve developed a passion for helping young musicians interact with multiple genres.

Immediately upon graduating, Eve underwent an extensive audition process and was selected as a member of Barrage 8, a choreographed, high energy string troupe. With Barrage 8, Eve completed tours of Europe, the United States, and Canada, and recorded an album with the group at a live-in studio in London, Ontario. Along with opportunities for performing and recording, work with Barrage 8 continued to fuel Eve's passion for education. She served as a Courtesy Faculty Member and Artist in Residence at Florida Gulf Coast University, and led clinics in string programs across the United States. Most recently, Eve travelled to China with the Hollywood Film Music Orchestra to perform at a film festival in Nanjing.

In her spare time, Eve enjoys horseback riding, reading, hiking, and camping. She has spent multiple summers working on a guest ranch in Wyoming, where she developed and implemented a Kids' Program, provided musical entertainment in the evenings, and had as many adventures as possible. She is excited to explore Colorado and be a part of the Mountain Phoenix Community.

Melanie Vigil

Melanie Vigil

Band Teacher

melanie.vigil@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

Karen Smith

Karen Smith

Art Teacher

karen.eberle-smith@jeffco.k12.co.us

Karen came to Mountain Phoenix while in search of a school that was a good fit for her son Riley. She found that and more. She discovered a wonderful, loving community with a teaching philosophy that fit right in with her own pedagogy. Karen has more than 20 years of experience teaching art to children of all ages. Much of that time was working with students in non-profit organizations. Karen believes art helps students to become life-long lovers of learning.

Karen is a multimedia artist who periodically shows her art in the Denver metro area. As an artist, she is constantly learning new materials and styles for creating her art. Her undergraduate studies were in sculpture and modern dance. She graduated from SUNY Potsdam in New York State, and she spent a year studying at the Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston and a semester abroad in England. Karen recently completed her Masters of Arts in Arts Education at University of Northern Colorado. Her thesis explored what curriculum best creates questioning learners.

When she is not making art or sharing her love of art with others, Karen can be found spending time with her husband and two children. She also loves gardening and plans someday to learn to play the guitar.

Mattie Stemper

Mattie Stemper

Games Teacher - Grades 4 - 8

Mattie.Stemper@jeffco.k12.co.us

Mattie Stemper is excited to be in her second year leading the Games department and will be teaching grades 3-8 this year. She has been working with MPCS students for five years now, from early childhood through middle school. Her goals for Games class are to develop each student's inner strength/will forces, confidence, build comradery between students, and for them to find joy in movement...while having lots of FUN!

Currently, she is starting her fifth year of a five-year training in Spacial Dynamics with Jaimen McMillan. The training includes Spacial Dynamics exercises and philosophies, Boethmer gymnastics, Pentathlon training, circus arts, archery, games, and hands-on postural alignment techniques.

Mattie grew up with a deep love for dancing. In high school she majored in dance at a performing arts school in Memphis, TN and went on to receive her bachelor's degree in dance at Columbia College in Chicago. She then moved to Gunnison, CO and taught ballet, modern dance, jazz, tap, and conditioning for dancers for three years and started her own modern dance company.

Her son, Dylan, is in his fifth year at MPCS and is currently in seventh grade. In her spare time Mattie enjoys spending time with her family and two dogs, going to the mountains, hiking, soaking in hot springs, and practicing what she is learning in Spacial Dynamics.

If you have any questions, concerns, or expertise in any sport or movement activity that you would like to share with our students please contact her at extension #325 or by email at Mattie.Stemper@jeffco.k12.co.us.

Aaryn Munson-Price

Aaryn Munson-Price

Games Teacher - Grades 1 - 3

aaryn.munson-price@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

Lively Arts Homeschool

Lynn Pollitt

Lynn Pollitt

Homeschool Program Director

Lynn.Pollitt@jeffco.k12.co.us

From the moment Lynn came to MPCS in 2016, as a substitute teacher, she knew she was home. She feels that her nearly 50-year career of working with and for children and families has come full circle. The Waldorf philosophy and way of teaching is in alignment with everything she feels and believes about teaching.

Lynn is certified in early childhood education, has a Bachelor's degree in English and sociology from Peru State College and is certified in developmental movement through the Waldorf Movement for Childhood program. Lynn has also completed the Building Bridges Waldorf teacher program through the Center for Anthroposophy and Antioch University.

She has two grown children and three granddaughters. In her spare time she likes to travel, read, garden, and play with her two Schnauzers- Friskin and Button.

Erica Knox

Erica Knox

Homeschool Teacher - Kindergarten

erica.knox@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

Ann Dennehy

Ann Dennehy

Homeschool Teacher - Kindergarten

jennifer.dennehy@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

Erin Cathcart

Erin Cathcart

Homeschool Programs Coordinator

erin.cathcart@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

Solomon St. John

Solomon St. John

Homeschool Teacher - Grades 1 & 2

solomon.st.john@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

Lauren Infusino

Lauren Infusino

Homeschool Teacher - Grades 3 & 4

lauren.infusino@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

CJ Dalrymple

CJ Dalrymple

Assistant Director, Homeschool Teacher - Grades 5 & 6

cj.dalrymple@jeffco.k12.co.us

C.J. started her teaching adventure over 20 years ago when she stumbled randomly on a job working with 5th and 6th grade students at an outdoor science school in the mountains of California. That was it, she was hooked! She fell in love with teaching! After working in outdoor education for 4 years, she obtained her teaching credential in 2002 and has worked in education since. She stayed true to her outdoor education roots by starting an outdoor naturalist camp that she co-directed for 4 years.

Throughout her exploration of the Waldorf philosophy and her 6 years at Mountain Phoenix she has worn many hats. She brought a class from 5th grade through graduation in 8th grade which culminated in a community service project in Costa Rica, highlighting the importance of different perspectives throughout the world. For the last 2 years, she has worked both as the Middle School Curriculum and Instruction Coordinator for MPCS and as a Lead Classroom teacher in the Lively Arts Homeschool Program. She is also a member on several school committees that work towards the betterment of the school.

Besides her love of learning, she enjoys travel and brings her experiences back to the classroom when appropriate. Her first adventure was through a college course in which she studied wildlife management in Kenya, Africa. She also took a sabbatical from teaching to work for the United States Antarctica Program, and she spent two seasons at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. She loves to travel with her husband and MPCS 1st grader whenever they get the chance, whether it is local or far away. Some of C.J.’s favorite hobbies are art, building things, snowboarding, playing with family, making forts, playing billiards, whitewater rafting, hiking, and learning about history through travel.

Student Support

Jamie Pittock

Jamie Pittock

School Counselor

jamie.pittock@jeffco.k12.co.us

Jamie has worked supporting kids and families for more than ten years and has a degree in human development from the University of Kansas.

Jamie believes that no one needs to be stuck in a negative space or is ever past being able to change. She loves the energy and the atmosphere at Mountain Phoenix and is grateful for the opportunity to support our students and families.

Eileen Warthen

Eileen Warthen

School Social Worker

Bio Coming Soon!

Jena Roach

Jena Roach

Literacy Specialist

jena.roach@jeffco.k12.co.us

Jena started working in Jefferson County school district in December of 2002 as an elementary assistant. She wanted to learn more about being a teacher, specifically in the area of special education for reading, and began by taking classes at Red Rocks Community College as part of their para to educator program. Jena also started taking any training that was available through the district in reading/writing intervention. She eventually transferred into the Teacher Education program at Regis University. Her main goal in education has always been to learn to help her students to become better readers and writers.

I have taken multiple trainings through the school district and on my own in the remediation of reading difficulties, which includes the Wilson Reading System; Fundations; Text Savvy, a comprehension program; Remedial Reading and Linguist Remedies beginning through advanced dealing with specific reading and writing difficulties, such as dyslexia; Read Naturally, a research-based reading fluency and comprehension program; Teaching Reading and Writing K-6th grades; Developing Metacognitive Skills; DRA2 assessment; and DIBELs. I also took the Jefferson County training for Elementary Cognitive Coaching in 2009. A couple of years ago I was able to attend the training with Integrated Listening Systems (ILS), an auditory processing remediation tool, and was also trained in F.A.S.T., a systematic phonics-based program. I additionally trained in using Every Child a Writer, a K-12 writing program. This summer I received an additional training with Read Naturally.

I started working at Mountain Phoenix in August of 2012 as an Interventionist, the second year that the school was in Wheat Ridge. This starts my 18 year in Jefferson County and I feel very fortunate to have found such an interesting place to work.

Amy Garnsey

Amy Garnsey

Literacy Specialist - Lower School

amy.franzgarnsey@jeffco.k12.co.us

After earning her BS degree in elementary/early childhood education from Millersville University of Pennsylvania, Amy served in the Peace Corps in Haiti. She then spent 13 years in public schools in Florida, teaching pre-K, ESOL, first grade, and reading.

Becoming a mother rocked her world and she was overjoyed to find in Waldorf an education that fully meets and nurtures all parts of the precious beings we are entrusted to parent and teach. She worked for 10 years as a founding parent and then teacher at Sea Star Waldorf School, completing teacher training at Antioch New England in 2012.

Seeking a Waldorf high school for their daughter, Amy and her family moved to Colorado in 2016. She is thrilled to be experiencing the four seasons and the wonderful extremes of landscape and weather, and finds joy in family time, hiking, yoga, singing, and dances of Universal peace. She visited Mountain Phoenix wondering how her varied teaching experience might come together to serve children and was grateful to find such a warm and dedicated community here. Amy is looking forward to supporting children as an Interventionist, and to working in collaboration to bring this gift of Waldorf education to so many.

Kristin Mah

Kristin Mah

Literacy Specialist - Lower School

Kristin.Mah@jeffco.k12.co.us

Kristin has been at Mountain Phoenix since March 2021 and is thrilled to be a part of this joyous community. She graduated from Metro with her Elementary Teacher’s License, an undergrad in Behavioral Science, and many teaching experiences with Foundations and Step-up-to-Writing, searching for education that addresses the “whole child”. Fortunately, Kristin found her footing at a Montessori charter school, where she was a Primary assistant and Kindergarten co-teacher for three years. She then changed to a private Montessori school where she was able to complete her Montessori teacher training along with her Masters from the University of Colorado at Denver in Reading and Writing Instruction. Kristin taught Primary, including Kindergarten, for four years, then switched to supporting their children as the Literacy Interventionist. She supported the 1st-8th graders her last four years there, with any of their reading and writing needs. During this time, she also became certified in Orton-Gillingham and has taken many courses through the International Dyslexia Association.

Kristin recently found Mountain Phoenix, which is closer to her home, yet still allows her to support children holistically. Not only does she get to enjoy her passion for literacy with dynamic children every day, but the flexibility of intervention work also allows her to be the mom and person that she wants to be. She and her son enjoy many outdoor activities and strive to be active year-round. Not surprisingly, Kristin also enjoys reading fantasy and writing poetry.

Corrina Blake

Corrina Blake

Restorative Practices Liaison

corrina.blake@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

Wendy Ray

Wendy Ray

Math Specialist

wendy.ray@jeffco.k12.co.us

Wendy has been interested in Waldorf education since living on a farm in Pennsylvania with graduate students who were studying biodynamic farming. Later, as a parent to a Waldorf kindergartener, she continued learning about anthroposophy in a Steiner study group in the home of her daughter’s teacher, Lois Hartman. Wendy’s diverse background includes a Master’s degree in Applied Anthropology, six years working as a postpartum doula (specializing in multiples) and spiritual counseling. Most recently, Wendy worked as a first and second grade classroom assistant at Mountain Phoenix. She loved providing support to the teacher and the students, but particularly found that she loved working closely with individuals providing academic support.

Mary Taylor

Mary Taylor

SPED Learning Specialist - Kindergarten & Lower School

mary.taylor@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

Kathleen Elston

Kathleen Elston

SPED Learning Specialist - Upper School

kathleen.elston@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

Caroline Rose

Caroline Rose

Occupational Therapist

caroline.rose@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

Danielle Small

Danielle Small

Speech Language Pathologist

danielle.small@jeffco.k12.co.us

Danielle was drawn to Mountain Phoenix with an appreciation for the focus the school has on meeting students where they are and encouraging their personal growth within a supportive and collaborative community. This feeds into her passion for her work as a Speech Pathologist as she enjoys seeing a student progress and watching their confidence soar throughout the school year!

Danielle loves spending time with her family, whether it's hiking, fishing or swimming. She and her husband have been married for 13 years and share two children, ages 5 and 2.5, and two young dogs! With 4 little ones in the house, it is always noisy, but they wouldn't have it any other way!

Kaycie Kolk

Kaycie Kolk

Speech Language Pathologist Assistant

kaycie.kolk@jeffco.k12.co.us

Kaycie grew up going to Jeffco schools and found herself wanting to spend some time working as a Speech Language Pathologist Assistant close to home before heading off to grad school! With this goal, she found a great fit at Mountain Phoenix.

Her passion is working with kids and soaking up nature outdoors. To fulfill this love, Kaycie dedicated the last four summers working at a summer camp. She also studied at CU Boulder, graduating with a Bachelors in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, with a minor in Education. In her spare time, Kaycie also loves to dance, practice yoga, spend time with friends and family, and cheer on her favorite football teams (CU and the Broncos)!

Anna Leighton

Anna Leighton

Therapeutic Support Teacher

anna.leighton@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

Sam Perez

Sam Perez

Student Support Teacher - Upper School

sam.perez@jeffco.k12.co.us

Sam joins the Mountain Phoenix community from San Antonio, Texas. His undergraduate
degree is in multidisciplinary studies, concentrating on business, psychology, and
communication. He is applying for a master’s degree in literacy education from the University
of Colorado in Denver.

Prior to his teaching career, Sam held a variety of positions. These include; the manager of a
baseball complex, the lead counselor for a K-6 summer camp, the head of the after-school
department, and most recently, the manager of his family’s coffee shop back in Texas.
Sam first heard about MPCS from his uncle, also an employee at Mountain Phoenix. After a 3-
week stint in December 2020, Sam was invited to return for the 2021 spring semester as an In-
House Guest Teacher. He has since signed on as the Upper School Student Support Teacher for
Mathematics. Sam also manages the 8 th grade Team Sports elective, and 8 th grade after-school
math support.

In his free time, Sam enjoys playing softball and golf, reading, and white-water rafting. He also
enjoys playing video games online with his friends in other states.
Sam’s parents and youngest brother live in San Antonio. They visit Colorado frequently, since it
is now home to over half of the extended family. Sam’s second youngest brother is a senior at
the University of Denver.

For major inspiration, Sam looks to the mountains. For daily inspiration, he looks to his
colleagues. The Mountain Phoenix community has taught Sam all he knows about Waldorf
education, and he appreciates that. Since starting at MPCS, Sam has learned finger knitting,
remembered the joy of singing, and begun his own vegetable garden at home. He is grateful to
be a part of such a wonderful team.

Nicole Rohnke

Nicole Rohnke

504 Coordinator/GT Liason

nicole.rohnke@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

Liz Hartman

Liz Hartman

Lower School Curriculum Support Coordinator

elizabeth.harman@jeffco.k12.co.us

Bio Coming Soon!

CJ Dalrymple

CJ Dalrymple

Upper School Curriculum Support Coordinator

cj.dalrymple@jeffco.k12.co.us

C.J. started her teaching adventure over 20 years ago when she stumbled randomly on a job working with 5th and 6th grade students at an outdoor science school in the mountains of California. That was it, she was hooked! She fell in love with teaching! After working in outdoor education for 4 years, she obtained her teaching credential in 2002 and has worked in education since. She stayed true to her outdoor education roots by starting an outdoor naturalist camp that she co-directed for 4 years.

Throughout her exploration of the Waldorf philosophy and her 6 years at Mountain Phoenix she has worn many hats. She brought a class from 5th grade through graduation in 8th grade which culminated in a community service project in Costa Rica, highlighting the importance of different perspectives throughout the world. For the last 2 years, she has worked both as the Middle School Curriculum and Instruction Coordinator for MPCS and as a Lead Classroom teacher in the Lively Arts Homeschool Program. She is also a member on several school committees that work towards the betterment of the school.

Besides her love of learning, she enjoys travel and brings her experiences back to the classroom when appropriate. Her first adventure was through a college course in which she studied wildlife management in Kenya, Africa. She also took a sabbatical from teaching to work for the United States Antarctica Program, and she spent two seasons at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. She loves to travel with her husband and MPCS 1st grader whenever they get the chance, whether it is local or far away. Some of C.J.’s favorite hobbies are art, building things, snowboarding, playing with family, making forts, playing billiards, whitewater rafting, hiking, and learning about history through travel.