A community of learners

A community of leaders

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news items

  • SOAR 2017 – 2018 Registration

    SOAR registration is mandatory for all SOAR families. During registration, parents will be able to pay school fees, purchase uniforms, […]
    Posted on May 22, 2017

  • SOAR Closed for Summer

    The office at SOAR will be closed June 5, 2017 through July 23, 2017. Messages left on the school voicemail […]
    Posted on May 22, 2017

  • SOAR 5th Grade Continuation

    It is with great excitement that we celebrate the completion of our 5th-grade student’s elementary school experience. We invite families, […]
    Posted on May 12, 2017

  • SOAR After School Enrichment & Summer Opportunities

    SOAR is partnering with the Far Northeast Family Collective to discover what after-school and summer enrichment opportunities meet your family’s […]
    Posted on May 3, 2017

  • More news...

coming events

No School: Memorial Day
May 29 all-day
Field Day | Kindergarten & 1st Grade @ SOAR
May 30 @ 8:30 am – 10:30 am
Field Day | 2nd & 3rd Grade @ SOAR
May 30 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Field Day | 4th & 5th Grade @ SOAR
May 30 @ 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
5th Grade Continuation
Jun 1 @ 5:45 pm – 7:00 pm

It is with great excitement that we celebrate the completion of our 5th-grade student’s elementary school experience. We invite families, community members, and others to celebrate with us! The continuation will be held on Thursday, June 1st. The continuation ceremony will take place in the gym, located in Building 1. Doors will open around 5:20 PM. Immediately following the ceremony we will be serving cake, coffee, and other refreshments. Thursday, June 1st, is a regular school day. Students will be dismissed at 4:00 PM. Friday, June 2nd, is the last day of school for all students. Students will be dismissed at 1:00 PM. This is a very important day for all students to finish the school year with their classmates and say goodbye.

our vision and mission

our vision

SOAR students create full and meaningful lives, enrich our democracy, and create a more just society.

habits of a SOAR learner


our history

our history

Founded in 2010, SOAR is built on the premise that we should “expect more” from our public schools

SOAR is a public elementary charter school committed to providing exceptional educational opportunities to students in Far Northeast Denver. SOAR offers an innovative, holistic approach to education that includes an extended school day, an academically engaging curriculum, a focus on the development of social and emotional competencies, and a deep commitment to the arts.

In the 2016-2017 school year SOAR enters its seventh year serving the Far Northeast Denver community and its second year at full capacity, serving approximately 470 kindergarten through 5th grade students

core elements

core elements

engaging academics commitment to the arts social & emotional learninglearn more

our team

our team

School Administration

Head of School

Laurie Godwin | contact: lgodwin@soardenver.org

Laurie has 30 years of experience in public education in Colorado. She began her educational journey teaching in grades 2 thru 5 in Northwest Aurora.  After her teaching experience, she moved to a math coach position, assistant principal, and then she was the principal at Tollgate Elementary in Aurora for 18 years.  Her work in education is focused on supporting teachers and leaders, students, and communities to ensure that children see learning as meaningful, joyful, and relevant to the world we live in now and for the future.  She has spent her entire career in diverse schools to ensure that all students receive an excellent education.  Laurie earned her B.A. in elementary education from Metropolitan State College and her Master’s Degree in Administration, Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado.  Laurie is actively involved in the educational community in Colorado focused on educational reform, equity, and teacher development.  She was the lead design team member of the Joe Shoemaker School in DPS.  Laurie has one daughter who is headed off to college this Fall.  She enjoys traveling, photography, arts and sports and spending time with her family.  She is thrilled to be joining the SOAR community!


Director of Development & School Operations

Sonia Sisneros | contact: ssisneros@soardenver.org

Sonia has been with SOAR since it was founded in 2010, starting as a community partner during the school’s planning year. She has contributed to the school’s philosophy, mission, and values. As such, she has brought community engagement to the forefront of the school’s work in far northeast Denver. Prior to SOAR Sonia worked in the Denver nonprofit community for close to 15 years. Her nonprofit work was based in family advocacy, child protective services and family crisis. In 2015, Sonia was sworn in by Denver District Court as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children (CASA). Sonia’s efforts are focused on keeping families in tact by identifying their needs and connecting them to professional services and resources. Much of Sonia’s research on a therapeutic response to family violence has been used in early intervention campaigns for the University of Denver. For her work in education, she is driven to create a more sustainable social environment with new ways of thinking about education and best practices in schools. She attended Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver and in 2015 she earned her law degree in social sciences. In addition, she has completed DU’s Leadership and Organizations program in Philanthropic/Nonprofit Management. To better understand what she will need to lead in education she is a member of the Catapult Leader Fellowship Cohort. This is a two-year program for which she will earn her Principal’s License.


Assistant Principal

Melanie Moreno | contact: mmoreno@soardenver.org

Melanie has been involved in education for over 17 years as a general education teacher, special education teacher, assistant principal, principal and as an assistant director of curriculum.  Melanie also has experience as a professional photographer and graphic designer and has worked in the world of non-profit benefiting education in developing countries.  To better understand what it means and how to lead innovative schools and turnaround schools, Melanie participated in a year-long leadership development program, including executive coaching through the Catapult Leadership Fellowship program. Melanie loves developing teacher through coaching and feedback and supporting teachers in their continuous development and growth.  Melanie has a growth mindset as it pertains to teacher growth and students and believes that all students will reach their maximum potential if we hold high expectations of all students.


School Social Worker

Gina Aguglia | contact: aguglia@soardenver.org

Gina moved to Denver in July 2016 from Madison, Wisconsin where she was a School Social Worker for 5 years at the elementary, middle, and district support level. She also worked in a crisis unit providing mental health support to children and families in immediate need. Gina is working towards her clinical social work license and is passionate about supporting student’s mental health as well as their positive behavior and social development. Gina is not totally new to Denver as she received her Master’s in Social Work at the University of Denver in 2011 with concentration in at-risk youth, clinical practice, and animal assisted therapy. Gina is a certified Animal Assisted Social Worker who utilizes her therapy dog in her work with students to enhance their social and emotional wellbeing. Kirby, Gina’s professional therapy dog, supports her work with individual and groups of students at SOAR by providing emotional stability, promoting self-regulation, and teaching empathy. Gina (and Kirby) are excited to be part of SOAR and eager to help create a school environment filled with positive experiences and academic growth.

Math Coach

Olga Pagan | contact: opagan@soardenver.org

After earning her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Yale University, Olga taught English in Venezuela for a year, then returned to the states to earn her Master’s in Elementary Bilingual Education from Stanford. She is thrilled enter her 3rd year here at SOAR with an exciting new group of 5th graders. Outside the classroom, Olga coaches gymnastics and basketball, and loves to sing and dance!

School Office Staff

Office Coordinator

Araceli Quezada-Rodriguez | contact: aquezada@soardenver.org

Araceli has worked with SOAR since 2012, initially as the Office Manager at SOAR@Oakalnd. Araceli moved to SOAR@GVR in 2014 and immediately enjoyed her work with families, teachers and students. Araceli truly enjoys working at the front desk because it allows for her to support everyone and that is what is most important to her.  Before working with SOAR, She worked in the Oakland Elementary School office and prior to that she was at the Montebello High School office. Living and working in our community has enabled her to get to know a lot of the families in our area. Araceli enjoy seeing students and their families when she is out with her own family.

Araceli is from Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. While visiting Colorado 20 years ago she fell in love with the Mile High City and decided to make it her home. Araceli and her husband have two children. Their daughter attended DPS schools and their son is attending DSST@GVR.  They are very proud to call the Far Northeast area home.

When Araceli is not at work you can find her going to the movies, taking road trips and once in while enjoying sometime in the mountains.

Araceli loves the work she has done at SOAR and she can’t wait for the new school year to start!

Operations Coordinator

Lacei Martinez | contact: lmartinez@soardenver.org

Lacei joined SOAR in 2013 and comes to us with a blended background in employee records management, customer service and day to day business operations. She grew up in Los Angeles and moved to Denver in 2010. When she’s not at SOAR, she spends time with her husband & their two Boston Terriers; taking road trips, exploring Colorado & spending time with family.

Health Technician & Front Desk Support

Dena Samuels | contact: dsamuels@soardenver.org

Technology Support Coordinator

Christopher Landis | contact: clandis@soardenver.org

SOAR Gifted and Talented

Amy Dougherty | contact: adougherty@soardenver.org

Amy Dougherty has taught at SOAR@Oakland for three years and is happy to now be part of the GVR community! Amy joined SOAR after spending 4 years teaching third and fourth grade in Aurora. She graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Language, Literacy, and Cultures and earned her teaching license at the University of Colorado at Denver. Amy loves the Rocky Mountains and spends as much time hiking, camping, and four-wheeling as she can. She and her husband Shane live in Thornton with their beautiful baby, their dog Jada, and their two cats.

Substitute Teachers

Alison Brandl | contact: abrandl@soardenver.org

Alie is lucky to have been born and raised in colorful Colorado. She graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in May 2014 with her degree in Elementary Education and her elementary teaching license. She loves painting her nails, playing with her pet snake, reading, and going to the gym.

Lucile Detwiler | contact: ldetwiler@soardenver.org

Lucile has a BFA in Art Education from CSU Pueblo and a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction: Children’s Literature from Penn State. She has taught Art for 5 years K-12 and has worked with children most of her life. She has lived in many states as well as on Okinawa Japan where she got married to her husband, who was also a Marine. She settled in Colorado 20 years ago with her husband and 2 sons. When not teaching, she loves art, kayaking, reading and being with her family.


Shokoh Ghobadi | contact: sghobadi@soardenver.org

Sasha is originally from Texas, where she lived for the past 33 years. She recently moved to Denver and started working at Soar in December of 2016 as a flex teacher. She graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelors in Corporate Communication and a Masters in Education. She taught 1st grade for 10 years and has been involved in education for a total of 13 years. She is excited about her move to Denver and ready for all the adventures that it has to offer. She loves the mountains, hiking, trying out all the new restaurants and exploring the city.


Arts Program Teachers

Visual Arts

Krystal Werges| contact: kwerges@soardenver.org

As a young girl, Krystal was extremely shy and found art as a form of personal expression.  Her love and passion for  art has continued to grow throughout her life.  Krystal graduated from the University of Arizona where she majored in Studio Art and  minored in Art History.  She continued her education at the University of Denver studying Curriculum and Instruction.  Krystal has two children, Lily and Connor who are both students at SOAR.  Her family loves playing soccer, bike riding, and hiking

Performing Arts: Theatre

Erinjean Patrick | Theatre Teacher | contact: epatrick@soardenver.org

Erinjean Jewell Patrick is originally from Pittsburgh, PA and a proud supporter of the Pittsburgh Steelers! Ej went to college at Arizona State University and earned a degree in Musical Theatre Performance. After performing nationally, Ej went back to school to receive her Masters in Educational Theatre at The City College of New York and begin working as a Teaching Artist in New York City. Realizing her love for arts integration, Erinjean joined Teach for America to obtain her license in Special Education here in Denver. She loves exploring Denver, meeting new people, traveling and supporting the Theatre community in Denver.

Derek Begun | Co-Teacher | contact: dbegun@soardenver.org

This is Derek’s first year as an official staff member at SOAR and second year as the Director of the SOAR before and after school program for Kids Adventures on the Evie Dennis Campus. As a Denver native Derek has been working with students for the last 15 years from Toddler Sunday School to Overnight Camp, Derek has experienced it all. As his core philosophy, Derek strives to create a safe space for all kids to explore their passions, to enrich their personal strengths, and celebrate each their individuality.

“I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.”  ~Lily Tomlin

Along with Underwater Basket Weaving, Micro Biological Sky Diving, and translating cat noises, Derek also is very involved with his charity in Africa called Pedicures for Elephants.





Science/Social Studies

Kindergarten, 1st & 2nd Grade

Erika Lopez | contact: elopez@soardenver.org

Erika was born and raised in southern California and it was there where she completed her B.A. in International Studies from the University of California, San Diego. She moved to Denver, Colorado in the fall of 2009 and to pursue her Master’s in Urban Education from the University of Denver through the Colorado Boettcher Teacher Residency. She taught 3rd grade in the Mapleton School District in Thornton, Colorado before joining the SOAR team! She loves sports, kickboxing, hanging out with her family and traveling whenever possible.

2nd & 3rd Grade

Rebecca Williams (Becky)  | contact: rwilliams@soardenver.org

Becky Williams is a fourth generation Colorado native. She is a college graduate of The University of Northern Colorado. She majored in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis of Early Childhood Education and Licensure. Becky has worked in various school settings as well as different age groups ranging from infant to third grade. She is now entering her sixth year of teaching and is excited to be apart of the SOAR team. In her free time she likes to enjoy the outdoors as well as play with her two year old dog.


4th & 5th Grade

Lauren Pope | contact: lpope@soardenver.org

This is Lauren’s second year at SOAR! Previously Lauren taught 4th grade for 1 year and reading for 1 year in Kansas City, where she just moved from. She graduated from the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk!) with a degree in Elementary Education. Lauren loves reading, cooking, running and spending as much time outside and in the mountains and she can. She and her husband, Brandon live downtown with their two dogs, Bella and Eli.


Classroom Teachers

Jennifer Casagranda| contact: jcasagranda@soardenver.org

Jennifer is originally from Colorado and moved to Montana to attend Montana State University where she earned a degree in Elementary Education with an endorsement in Early Childhood Education. She is currently finishing up her master’s degree in Urban Education and Early Childhood Literacy. This is her third year at SOAR and she is excited for the opportunity to teach 1st grade this year! Outside of teaching she enjoys spending time with her dog Ellie and her family, traveling, spinning, skiing and relaxing in the sun.


Amanda Davis | contact: adavis@soardenver.org

Amanda graduated from Metropolitan State University with a degree in Special Education; earning a dual license in Special Education and Elementary Education. Amanda’s one of the Kindergarten teachers at SOAR. She is very excited for her 4th year teaching! Amanda is a native Coloradan and she loves everything Colorado has to offer. If she isn’t in the classroom teaching you can find her in the great outdoors with her husband hiking, golfing and skiing.

Rachel Schreier | contact: rschreier@soardenver.org

Rachel grew up in North Carolina and earned a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. After graduating from college, she moved to Japan, becoming the Director of Curriculum and Instruction at a children’s international school. Rachel returned to the U.S. in 2010 to pursue her Master’s degree in Education from the University of Colorado at Boulder. This is her sixth year of teaching and her 4th year at SOAR.



Kathryn Thompson | contact: kthompson@soardenver.org

Kathryn Thompson is a retired college professor, grandmother of two SOAR students, and aspiring jewelry designer. She is a Denver native and a Green Valley Ranch resident. Kathryn holds an MBA from Regis University with an emphasis in Health Policy. Since retiring, Kathryn has had a strong desire to share her experience in a positive way and believes she can partner with the team at SOAR to help our children be the best they can be.



Linda Cohan | contact: lcohan@soardenver.org

Linda Cohan is originally from Houston, Texas, but grew up in The Hague, Holland. After graduating from the American International School of The Hague, she returned to Texas to pursue her degree in elementary education. She is a graduate of the University of Houston. In 1989, Linda moved with her family from Houston to Cortez, Colorado, then later on to Denver. In 1993, she received her master’s degree in Special Education, Severe Communication Needs. Linda has worked in Denver as a special education, and literacy teacher for many years. She continues to live in Denver with her husband and three children, all of whom live nearby. They all enjoy the wonders of living here, including hiking, climbing the fourteeners, and especially, distance running.

1st Grade

Classroom Teachers

Emily Caquelin | contact: ecaquelin@soardenver.org

Emily graduated from Colorado State University in 2010 with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies. She then obtained her teaching license from Metropolitan State College of Denver where she joined the Center for Urban Education. Prior to joining SOAR she lived in Livorno, Italy to and taught English at the British School. During her free time, Emily enjoys hiking with her dog, Zeus. Emily also enjoys reading, traveling, and baking. She loves being around her family and friends and appreciates exploring the beautiful state of Colorado!

Laura Osterman | contact: losterman@soardenver.org

Originally from upstate New York, Laura spent the past two years working as a Primary Teacher Trainer at a rural school in The Gambia, West Africa with the Peace Corps. Prior to her time abroad, she was a founding educator at Growing Up Green Charter School (GUGCS) in Long Island City, NY, where she taught Kindergarten. Laura’s qualifications include more than 10 years of experience working in education, a Masters of Arts in Early Childhood General and Special Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She thrilled to be living in Colorado and is looking forward to exploring her new home.

Lindsey Hilbun | contact: lhilbun@soardenver.org

Lyndsey is a Colorado native from Highlands Ranch, Colorado. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development and Family Sciences. Upon graduation, she taught first grade in an inner-city school in Durham, NC, and soon returned to Colorado to teach at SOAR. She enjoys spending time with her dog, Cooper and taking in everything Colorado has to offer from the city to the mountains.


ErinJean Jewell-Patrick | contact: epatrick@soardenver.org

Erinjean Jewell Patrick is originally from Pittsburgh, PA and a proud supporter of the Pittsburgh Steelers! Ej went to college at Arizona State University and earned a degree in Musical Theatre Performance. After performing nationally, Ej went back to school to receive her Masters in Educational Theatre at The City College of New York and begin working as a Teaching Artist in New York City. Realizing her love for arts integration, Erinjean joined Teach for America to obtain her license in Special Education here in Denver. She loves exploring Denver, meeting new people, traveling and supporting the Theatre community in Denver.

2nd Grade

Classroom Teachers

Emily Achilles (eachiles@soardenver.org)

Emily is from New England and is very excited to be working at SOAR in Denver. After working at SOAR@Oakland for the past two years, she is eager and ready to work with the students in Green Valley Ranch.In her spare time, she loves hiking, reading, watching sports and relaxing in the beautiful outdoors.

Annie Monaghan (amonaghan@soardenver.org)

Annie is a Colorado transplant from Portland, Maine who spends her free time skiing, hiking, traveling, cooking, and spending time her my friends, family, and her dog Scout.

She received her  Bachelor of Arts degree in Digital Media, Communication Studies and English at The University of Denver. She completed the Stanley British Primary Teacher Preparation Program this past year, and  she is  currently working on her  Master’s degree in Human Development and Educational Psychology from the University of Colorado at Denver. she is so excited to continue her work at SOAR for the 2016-2017 school year as a second grade teacher.



Ryan Nielsen (rnielsen@soardenver.org)

Ryan graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA in 2006 with a Bachelor degree in Philosophy/Theology, a minor in Music, and a multiple-subject teaching credential. He moved to Tegucigalpa, Honduras to teach middle school math before returning to California to teach 2nd grade in the San Diego area. Before joining SOAR Ryan taught two years in South Korea alongside his wife, Katie. After three years teaching for SOAR in K, 1st and 2nd grades, he is excited to teach 2nd grade again! In his free time Ryan enjoys playing guitar, adventuring with his wife and son, playing any sport, traveling, and cheering for the San Francisco 49ers.


Paige Buckley (pbuckey@soardenver.org)

Paige was born in Warren County, New Jersey and graduated from Misericordia University in Dallas, PA. After college, she moved to Colorado and has been here for four years. Paige has been teaching for three years. She has two dogs and lives with her husband in Lakewood.

3rd Grade

Classroom Teachers

Molly Perelman | contact:mperelman@soardenver.org

Molly is originally from Chicago, IL and she moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Youth and Community Studies. Molly is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Education and Human Development from the University of Colorado at Denver. This is Molly’s second year working at SOAR, and she is very excited to be a part of the kindergarten team! Outside of teaching, Molly has a love for travel, the outdoors, and dogs.

Jessica Metzler | contact: jmetzler@soardenver.org

Jessica is a proud graduate of Denver Public Schools and is very excited to be working for such a great school like SOAR in her hometown. She attended the University of Colorado, Boulder where she earned a degree in Political Science. Before joining SOAR she taught preschool and kindergarten at a school in southwest Denver. When she is not teaching, she can be found exploring the mountains, learning to fish and spending time with her two dogs Molly and Chica.

Kahea Seitz | contact: kseitz@soardenver.org

Kahealani (Kahea) Seitz is from Aiea, Hawaii on the island of Oahu. She received her undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Communication with a minor in Anthropology from University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Her passion for education also brought her to Teach for America and SOAR. Kahea is currently finishing her Master’s degree from UC Denver in Urban Education. Kahea can be found in nearby movie theaters because watching movies is one of her favorite pastimes, along with reading.


Amy Scheffler | contact: ascheffler@soardenver.org

Amy was born and raised in the mountains above Boulder, upon graduating from Boulder High school she traveled and worked at many different national parks, and ski areas. At age 21 she went to college earning her Bachelors degree in Behavioral Sciences. While obtaining her Bachelors she worked as a teacher assistant  for a Denver school, known for having developmentally disabled  students. Amy loved working with Special Education students and she quickly was promoted to Teacher.   In 2009  she earned her Masters Degree in Education from Regis University.  Due to a family emergency Amy took a break from teaching and started working with adults with developmental disabilities. Amy worked with adults for many years she was a case manager, an adult foster parent and for the last few years she was the Director of Independent Living. As the Director she managed her department and the lives of 30+ disabled clients, and their staff.    Amy is excited to be teaching again though she loved working with adults she missed working with children.  Amy hopes that her behavioral and case management  background prove to be an asset to  SOAR.  When Amy is not working she is hanging out with her seven year old and her husband; traveling, ice skating, and any other sport her son can get his hands on.

Jessica Kellem | contact: jkellem@soardenver.org

Jessica was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She then went on to earn her Special Education degree at The Ohio State University. Throughout college, Jessica served in two rounds of AmeriCorps preparing her to work for a variety of cultures. Upon graduation, Jessica moved to Colorado to begin her career teaching in various of Special Education settings. In her free time Jessica enjoys skiing, hiking and being with her puppy. She is excited to be joining the SOAR family as a floating Interventionist.

4th Grade

Classroom Teachers

Erin Radigan | contact: eradigan@soardenver.org

Erin was born and raised in Columbus, OH, before moving to California to attend Stanford University, where she received a degree in Human Biology with a concentration in Child Development. She then enrolled in the Stanford Teacher Education Program where she earned her Master’s degree in Education. Erin moved to Colorado in 2013, and is in her second year teaching at SOAR for the 2014-15 school year. Outside of school, Erin enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, running, baking, painting nails, and exploring all of the awesome outdoor adventures Colorado has to offer!

Kate Colson | contact: kcolson@soardenver.org

Kate was born and raised in Wisconsin where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Post graduation she has taught Southeast Asian refugee children at a Milwaukee Public Charter School for three years. Her experience working with ELL (English Language Learners) has been extremely rewarding. Kate is looking forward to exploring her new home in Denver, Colorado. In her free time she loves backcountry camping and hiking, going to concerts, cooking, and cheering on the Green Bay Packers!

Doug Brunner | contact: dbrunner@soardenver.org

Doug Brunner is a rare Colorado native, born and raised in Boulder. He attended CSU and graduated in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Following school, Doug moved to San Diego, CA where he worked with mentally ill, homeless, adults. In 2014, Doug moved back to Colorado with his wife to help with his family. In August of 2014 Doug entered a graduate program through UC Denver, as part of which, he has spent the past year working at Boulder Journey School, a private, Reggio inspired preschool in Boulder. Doug graduated with his MA in educational psychology in August of 2015 and is excited to start working at SOAR. Doug’s passion for teaching started in 1998 when he started teaching breakin classes to students in Boulder. Doug continued to teach all over Colorado until 2005 as well as compete and perform all over the country. Doug continues to volunteer his time at a local dance studio in Denver as well as perform and compete in Colorado.

Fun fact, Doug has been dancing, performing and competing with Mikey Mestas since the early


Danielle Santoro | contact: dsantoro@soardenver.org

Danielle is a New York native who has been invested in the Colorado community for the past few years. She is a certified Teacher of English as a Foreign Language and also earned her BA from the State University of New York College at Geneseo. After teaching abroad in India as well as tutoring right here in Aurora, she joined Teach for America to pursue her passion for special education. Danielle is thrilled to be part of SOAR as an Interventionist and looks forward to helping all students realize their potential. Outside of school you can find her hiking, drinking tea or traveling.

5th Grade

Classroom Teachers

Lily Wool | contact: lwool@soardenver.org

Lily is originally from Tucson, AZ and attend the University of Arizona, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Family Studies and Human Development. Lily completed the Stanley British Primary Teacher Preparation Program this past year, and is currently working on her Master’s degree in Human Development and Educational Psychology from the University of Colorado at Denver. This is Lily’s first year working at SOAR, and she is very excited to be part of the 5th grade team! When Lily is not in the classroom she spends her time with her dog Stanley and enjoying the outdoors in beautiful Colorado.

Cecilia Coats | contact: ccoats@soardenver.org

Cecilia grew up in the Seattle area but later moved to Texas where she really missed the water. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, studying Cultural Anthropology and American Studies (Race, Gender, and Ethnicity). After teaching in Spain, she got her Masters from the University of the Pacific in Intercultural Relations and Multicultural Curriculum Development. Her passion is diversity and inclusion education and works annually with high school students on diversity issues in schools. Cecilia has been lucky enough to teach for 18 years in private, public and charter schools. She loves spending time with her 3 kids, gardening, baking/cooking, dancing (West African dance), and traveling. She is so excited to be at SOAR!

Shannon Fahsbender | contact: sfahsbender@soardenver.org

Shannon was born and raised in Tampa, Florida and moved to Denver, Colorado in the summer of 2013. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Central Florida, Go Knights! Since graduating, she has taught third grade at a Title 1 school in central Florida for 6 years. She is enjoying her time in Colorado (even the snow) and loves everything the state has to offer. If she isn’t in the classroom teaching you can find her in the great outdoors with her husband Ryan and dog Bailey. She enjoys water skiing, cycling, hiking, drawing, dancing and going to concerts.


Laura Resetarits | contact: lresetarits@soardenver.org

Laura Resetarits is the youngest of five children and was raised in Arvada, Colorado. Laura loves spending time with her family and friends. She also enjoys swimming, running, biking, watching movies, and eating good food!  She graduated from Regis University, College of Professional Studies, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education, K-12. Upon graduation, she volunteered to do an accelerated reading program over the summer with soon-to-be first graders. The 2014-2015 school year will be Laura’s second year at SOAR. She is excited to learn and grow with every teacher and student!

our board

our board

Sue Sava - Board Chair

Ms. Sava earned her B.A. in American History from Princeton University and holds a M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado Denver. She has worked at Stanley BPS for 20 years as an educator and a teacher trainer. Since 2004, she has been the Director of the Stanley Teacher Preparation Program, a clinically-based residency program that prepares teacher interns in 15 schools in the Denver metro area. In that time, the program has grown 85 percent, and intern graduates currently impact over 13,000 students each year, nationwide. In her role as Director, Ms. Sava collaborates with the Colorado Department of Education to recommend interns for their Initial Colorado Teacher’s License and the University of Colorado Denver to grant master’s degrees in Educational Psychology. She also teaches intern candidates both licensure and master’s coursework in the theory and practice of educating early childhood and elementary students. Ms. Sava also serves on the Standards Alignment Workgroup for the CDE.

Claudia Gutierrez - Board Director

Claudia moved to Colorado when she was 4 years old from Texas. She is a bilingual Loan Officer with Spanish being her native language.  With over 20 years of experience in the mortgage industry, she has done it all.

She is a true family person in every sense, and loves to help out at her church and also in her community. Her true passions are children, their wellbeing and education. She also has a passion for her clients that come to her for financial assistance.

She loves to spend time with her family, support her daughters with their numerous extracurricular activities and she loves to travel.

Rona Wilensky - Board Vice President

Rona was principal and founder of New Vista High School in Boulder, Colorado from 1992-2009. Previously, she worked as an education policy analyst for the Governor of Colorado, the Education Commission of the States, and various education reform initiatives in Colorado. During the 2009-10 academic year, Rona was a Resident Fellow at the Spencer Foundation in Chicago. She is currently Director of Mindfulness Programs at Passageworks Institutes which include SMART in Education, The Mindful Teacher course, and the Educators with Contemplative Practices network. Other recent projects have included work with the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education offering workshops on Contemplative Pedagogy and with the Language, Literacy and Culture Division of the Colorado Department of Education supporting staff working with Native American and Migrant Education issues. She has also collaborated with Peter Senge to bring systems thinking strategies to educators and policy makers in Colorado. A contributor to state and national conversations on high school reform, her essays have appeared in Education Week, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Phi Delta Kappan and Education News Colorado. Rona holds a B.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University and taught that subject at Williams College and the University of Denver in the early 1980’s.

Liane Morrison - Treasurer

Liane Morrison is a nonprofit entrepreneur, economist and advocacy expert. She co-founded the grassroots nonprofit organization – Great Education Colorado (greateducation.org) 11 years ago, to harness the power of grassroots activism to advocate for permanent change in how our state invests in its schools and children.  She left the Executive Director role in 2015 and now works on a new initiative at Mile High United Way called United Neighborhoods, currently focused on the Globeville, Elyria-Swansea communities of north Denver.

Liane is a graduate of Colorado College and has a Master’s Degree in economics from George Washington University.  Her focus on the public sector has included developing new international markets for environmental technology, serving as an international economist at the U.S. Department of Treasury, and working as a bank analyst for the Federal Reserve.  Liane’s concerns about Colorado public education and its impact on the economy and local communities resulted in her co-founding Great Education Colorado.  She lives in central Denver and enjoys Colorado’s outdoor treasures on a bicycle or skies.

William H. Weintraub - Board Director

William H. Weintraub is on the faculty of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He is Executive-in-Residence at the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business. He also serves as Executive Mentor for M.B.A. students at the University of Denver. After growing up on Chicago’s South Side, Bill majored in advertising at the University of Illinois in Urbana. He earned a B.S. in Communications and an M.B.A. in Marketing before pursuing a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps. Bill then went to work in brand management for Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati. After fifteen years, Bill was recruited to Kellogg Company in Battle Creek, Michigan, where he was appointed Chief Marketing Officer. Under his nine years of leadership, virtually every Kellogg brand was turned around, enabling the company to achieve a dominant 44% share of market. In 1991, he moved to Florida to become Chief Marketing Officer for Tropicana. But, within two years, the then-new COO of Coors recruited Bill to become Chief Marketing Officer at the Golden, Colorado brewer.

Jerry Osei-Tutu - Board Director
Sarah Glover - Board Secretary

Sarah Glover is currently an Associate Director of Stanley Teacher Prep at the Public Education and Business Coalition (PEBC). Sarah works closely with the leadership, site coordinators, mentors and interns in Stanley Teacher Prep’s network of public and private schools.  Sarah’s work at PEBC also includes working with Boettcher Teacher Residency staff on aligning the Stanley Teacher Prep and Boettcher Teacher Residency programs, and supporting the coaching work of the field staff.

Prior to joining PEBC, Sarah worked in Denver Public Schools for 14 years as an elementary teacher, instructional coach, and English Language Acquisition instructor.  She also mentored intern teachers, advised mentor teachers, and facilitated professional learning for interns, mentors and site coordinators as part of the Stanley Teacher Prep staff.

In 2009, Sarah earned a National Board Certification as an Early Childhood (ages 3-8) generalist.  She holds a BA from Denison University in Environmental Studies and English, and an MA in Educational Psychology from the University of Colorado Denver.

Sarah has served on the Board of SOAR Charter School in Green Valley Ranch since June 2016.

board meeting information

board meeting information

SOAR Board of Directors meets the second Friday of the month as indicated ot the right; from 8:45 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Meetings are held in the school, Building 4 on the Evie Dennis Campus at 4800 Telluride Street, Denver 80249.

Meetings are open to the public and agendas are posted at SOAR in the vestibule of the entrance. Members of the public wishing to address the Board may do so by signing-up with SOAR office staff by 12 PM the day prior to a board meeting, giving their name and indicating the topic and position (if applicable).

Below is a complete list of meeting dates for the 2016-2017 school year:

1st Trimester

  • August 12th
  • September 9th
  • November 11th


2nd Trimester

  • December 9th
  • January 13th
  • February 10th


3rd Trimester

  • April 14th
  • May 12th
  • June 9th

archived board meeting minutes »

financial transparency

financial transparency

SOAR is a Kindergarten through 5th grade elementary school in far northeast Denver, serving students from the Green Valley Ranch and Montbello subdivisions in addition to Aurora . The school has one school building, and anticipates an enrollment of 454 students each year. SOAR currently rents 41,990 square feet of building space from Denver Public Schools. The school employs close to 50 staff as well as provides community resources for the families that we serve.

Contact information for the Colorado Department of Education is https://www.cde.state.co.us/


Other District-Specific Financial Information