Who We Are
Who We Are
Founded in 2010, SOAR is built on the premise that we should “expect more” from our public schools. SOAR is a public charter school committed to providing exceptional educational opportunities to students in Far Northeast Denver.
Head of School
Laurie Godwin | contact: firstname.lastname@example.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!
Tiauna Barrett | contact:email@example.com
Tiauna Barrett is the Assistant Principal at SOAR Charter School. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and her master’s degrees in Curriculum & Instruction and Advanced Teaching & Leadership. Before her start at SOAR, Tiauna served as an assistant principal for three years and a teacher for eleven years in Las Vegas, Nevada. In addition to working alongside fellow educators and with students, she also enjoys being active outdoors and spending time with her family. Tiauna currently resides in Denver with her husband and four children.
Director of Development & School Operations
Sonia Sisneros | contact: firstname.lastname@example.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 intact 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 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.
Director of ELA & Assessment
Christi Goetz | contact: email@example.com
Christi has worked in education for over 14 years as a general education teacher, English Language Acquisition teacher leader and most recently assistant principal. Christi graduated with her B.A. from University of Nebraska and started her teaching career in Omaha before moving to Colorado in 2006. While teaching Christi continued her education to complete a Linguistically Diverse Endorsement at Concordia University and then Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, from the University of Colorado. Since moving to Colorado in 2006 Christi worked in Aurora as a teacher, coach and administrator. All of her educational experience has been at schools serving students from diverse backgrounds, passionate about ensuring an equitable education for all students. Christi is looking forward to getting back to coaching and working alongside teachers to develop their Language Acquisition understandings so that they can best support their Language Learners. She is very excited to be joining the SOAR community!
School Office/Operations Staff
Araceli Quezada-Rodriguez | contact: firstname.lastname@example.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 24 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 and 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 some time in the mountains.
Front Office Assistant/Health Clerk
Gabrielle Collins | contact: email@example.com
My name is Gabrielle but I go by Gabby. I am originally from Alabama (ROLL TIDE), but I have lived in Colorado since I was four years old. I grew up in Parker, Colorado and graduated from Chaparral High School in 2009. I recently obtained my Associates in Business Administration and am currently pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Growing up I was very into the performing arts. I play piano, violin and I sing as well as I participated in theatre and I played volleyball and basketball. I have been babysitting since I was 12 and working with children in a school setting for the last eight years. I am beyond thrilled to be joining the office team and get to see a different side of the work that goes on within our school. I love being a part of such a diverse school and the community that surrounds us.
Technology Support Coordinator
Christopher Landis | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kristin Hahn | contact: email@example.com
Beginning at a young age, Kristin knew she wanted to be a teacher just like her mom. Some of her favorite memories from childhood include helping in her classroom. Kristin grew up in Texas, Iowa, and Utah. She graduated college from Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction where she pursued her education degree. After graduation, she moved to Denver to begin her teaching career and has been here for the past eleven years. She has her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado Denver and completed her Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education Endorsement this summer. She has a passion for helping young students develop a love for literacy. Her husband and two kids keep her busy at the park, swimming, playing soccer, and of course reading lots of books! Kristin enjoys cooking, dancing, working out, trying new restaurants, and traveling.
Erinjean Patrick | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Erinjean Jewell Patrick began her career by following her passion for the performing arts and teaching theatre from a young age. She received her undergraduate degree from Arizona State University in Music Performance. After performing nationally, her love for teaching began to grow as she became a resident teaching artist in schools all over New York City. Ej then graduated from The City College of New York with a Masters in Educational Theatre. After moving to Denver in 2013, she joined Teach for America to obtain her license in Special Education. Ej has been a teacher at SOAR since 2013. Recently, she received her certification as a Arts Integration Specialist. She is excited to be continuing her journey at SOAR supporting students and teachers integrate the arts and bring joy to each students learning.
Hope Provost | contact: email@example.com
Hope is originally from a small rural town in Michigan. As the oldest of six children, teaching others was part of her life from an early age. When she was a young adult, she developed a passion for teaching students with unique needs while taking care of her younger brother with autism. Hope graduated from Eastern Michigan University where she majored in Special Education and minored in Elementary Education. She loves living in Colorado and enjoys spending time in the mountains. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, camping, cooking, reading, and taking walks with her dog Pepper.
Megan Marulli | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi all! My name is Megan Marulli and I am beyond excited to be the School Social Worker at SOAR! To tell you a little about myself, I was born in Rochester, New York where I lived with my mother, father and three siblings. After high school, I longed for independence (classic teenager) and attended the State University of New York (SUNY) at Plattsburgh for my bachelor’s degree and then down to the SUNY Albany where I earned my master’s degree in social work. After graduate school I relocated to Vermont, where I worked for two years as a school based Clinician for a trauma informed therapeutic program for students in kindergarten through six grade. On July 2nd, 2019, my partner and I relocated to Denver, Colorado for another great adventure! In case you were wondering, there is more traffic here than the country roads in Vermont! In my free time you can find me traveling to new states, national parks, and whipping up some food in the kitchen. I look forward to meeting the SOAR family, let the fun begin! Happy 2019-2020 school year!
Amanda Welch | contact: email@example.com
This is Amanda’s first year at SOAR! She is originally from Connecticut but has been living in Boston for the past few years. Amanda graduated this year with her Masters in Elementary Education and Special Education from Northeastern University. Last school year, Amanda was interning in a co-taught classroom in Boston. Amanda is excited to explore her new home here in Denver and to be apart of the SOAR family! In her spare time, Amanda enjoys traveling (her favorite place she has traveled to is Bhutan), cooking, hiking, skiing and cheering on the Bruins.
Music & Movement
Katie Swenson | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Katie Swenson is a Colorado native with a bachelors degree in performing arts from Colorado State University. She began working with SOAR in January 2018, teaching dance to 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade, by way of the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Educational Outreach Program. Dance has been an integral part of her life for 28 years, during which she trained and performed with Rennie Harris Grass Roots Project, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Moraporvida Contemporary Dance, and Impact Dance Company. Katie has always enjoyed utilizing dance and its methods as malleable tools used for holistic wellness, and in 2014 she co-produced and co-directed BlackListed, a project focused on transforming perceptions of personal deficits into growth-geared mentality. More recently, as a co-founder of In the House, she hosted workshops taught by prominent hip hop and house dance educators, contributing to the edification of the Denver dance community. Katie is very excited to continue teaching dance through her partnership with Cleo Parker Robinson Dance and SOAR.
Health & Wellness/Physical Education
Humberto Zelaya | contact: email@example.com
Humberto has a lifelong love of movement, learning, and sharing that joy of being physically active with others. He received his Bachelors of Science from the University Northern Colorado in Sports and Exercise Science with an Emphasis in Teaching Physical Education K-12. He loves the great outdoors, running, visual arts, dance, and music. He’s excited to be a part of creating a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program; which includes Physical Education, Physical Activity During School, Physical Activity Before and After School, Staff Involvement, and Family and Community Engagement. His life experiences and 8 years of teaching in private and public schools (DPS), and internationally in the United Arab Emirates provides SOAR with a unique perspective and contribution. He loves traditional sports including American football, fútbol(soccer), baseball, basketball, and hockey. Humberto especially enjoys sparking interest and teaching non-traditional, less popular sports and health related fitness. His family includes six children, 5 boys and a girl, ages 5 to 21. This year Humberto would like to connect more to his Nicaraguan and Mexican ancestry to improve his Spanish and looks forward to multilingual interactions with many of the SOAR students.
Jennifer Russo | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally from upstate New York, Jennifer has lived in the Denver area for the last several years. She knew at an early age that being an art educator was the career for her. She has taught in varied environments, including enrichment, traditional, parochial, and year-round. She has a master’s degree in Educational Psychology, which enhances her work with her students. She has two children of her own, both teenagers, and in her free time, she enjoys creating art, shopping and hiking. She is excited to continue her work at SOAR, providing students with a well-rounded and rich art education, encompassing varied media, art history, multiple applications and instilling a lifelong knowledge and appreciation of Art.
Shellie Sage | contact: email@example.com
Shellie has always had a love of animals. From a young age, she has frequently brought different creatures home to learn more about them. As she has gotten older she has wanted to share her love of animals with others, particularly children. Shellie has a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. She is so excited for the opportunity to not only share her love of animals but her passion for all sciences with the students here at SOAR! Shellie has two children, Elizabeth and Tyler. Elizabeth will be starting her journey at CSU, and Tyler will be starting high school.
Lakisha Wortham | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello, my name is Lakisha Wortham. I was born in Jackson, TN but move to Colorado 11 years ago with my family. My career in childcare has led me to work with children of all ages for 15 years. During my career I have worked as a lead teacher, assistant teacher and bus driver in a childcare setting. I enjoy doing photography, making hair bows, and DIY projects during my spare time. I’m excited to be working with the students in my community.
Shakira Schoenfeld | contact: email@example.com
Hello Everyone!! I’d love to tell you a little about myself. I’m originally from Ojo Caliente, NM. It’s a town of about 800 people. Being from a little town I always dreamed about the big city, so in 2007 I moved to Denver. I had always love working with kids, babysitting family and friend’s kids when I was in high school. Before working at SOAR Charter School I was a program director of a before and after school and summer program for 3 years. I’ve been with SOAR Charter School for almost 3 years. I’m currently working on getting my bachelors’ in business- IT management. When I’m not studying I like to hang out with friends, cook and play my 2 pugs (Princess Oinker and Pork Chop).
Hannah Woodson| contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is my first year at SOAR and will be an Instructional Assistant for the 2019-2020 school year. I have recently moved from Estes Park Colorado where I was working as a substitute teacher and an art instructor. Before moving to Estes Park, I attended school in Northwest Missouri where I earned my degree in Art Education. (K-12) After college I worked as a NFL photographer for the Kansas City Chiefs, when that was cut short I packed up my bags and moved to the mountains! I am looking forward to my time at SOAR!
Michelle Galindo | contact: email@example.com
Michelle was born in El Paso, TX but raised in Cd. Juarez, MX, she moved to Denver, CO, when she was a child. Michelle completed her studies at the Metropolitan State University of Denver majoring in Social Work. During her academic journey, she volunteered for CASA: Court-Appointed Special Advocate and worked for Samaritan House Homeless Shelter – Catholic Charities. During her last year of college, Michelle had the pleasure to be a social work intern at Adams 14- Dupont Elementary School. Michelle assisted with mental health concerns, behavioral concerns, positive behavioral supports, and provide individual and group therapy. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors going hiking, camping, and offroading.
Kendra Almeida | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kendra is new to SOAR this year. She earned her degree in Ft. Collins from Colorado State University; she has a BA in Sociology, with a emphasis in criminal justice. Kendra has worked with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, was a probation officer, and discovered her passion working with youth as a counselor at Xcelsior Youth Center. Her experience working with troubled teens was monumental in shifting her focus from restorative justice and how to help youth recover from trauma, to helping serve the needs of children from a preventative stance. Kendra is recently married to the love of her life and has one daughter in fourth grade that is the light of her life. She enjoys yoga, children’s yoga, mindfulness exercises, meditation, camping, and is an amateur astronomer in her free time.
Jessica Griffin | contact: email@example.com
My name is Jessica Griffin and I am a Colorado Native. I grew up right here in the Montbello/Green Valley Ranch area and attended the local schools graduating from Montbello High School. I have four children that go to school right here in our community. I attended cosmetology school and classes at Colorado Technical University. I have been working with children of all ages for 5 years. I have worked as a group leader at a daycare and a paraprofessional for a charter school. I enjoy doing hair, listening to music, spending time with my family and working with the youth in my community.
Charisse Dalrymple | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Charisse is a new Kindergarten teacher starting this year 2019. She is a native to Colorado and loves educating and encouraging children to believe in the love of learning. She has taught Kindergarten for 6 years at a private school and prior to that she was a Pre-k teacher for 4 years. She loves the opportunity to make a positive difference in children’s lives. She graduated from Metropolitan State University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and a license to teach Early Childhood Education through 3rd grade. Charisse creates a purposeful, loving and fun environment that helps children believe in themselves so they can make a positive impact on the world. She is very excited to work at SOAR and start the new year with her Kindergarten students.
Katherine Flannery | contact: email@example.com
This is Katherine’s first year at SOAR Charter School. She just moved here from Chicago where she was teaching Kindergarten for two years. She is excited to meet her students and their families!
Lindsey MacDonald | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is Lindsey’s first year at SOAR. She is from Boston, MA and taught previously in a First Grade classroom. She has had experience working in K-3 classrooms. Lindsey graduated with her masters in Early Childhood Education from Lesley University in 2018. She is passionate about working with children and is excited to foster a love of learning with each student. Lindsey is excited to join SOAR for the 2019-2020 school year.
Jill Kim | contact: email@example.com
This is Jill’s first year at SAOR, and her first year teaching first grade. Before working at SOAR, Jill helped open a charter school in Aurora Public Schools. At this school she taught third grade for five years. Before moving to Colorado, Jill went to school at the University of Wyoming where she earned an elementary education degree with minors in music and early childhood education. She later earned a Masters in reading. As an educator, Jill feels that striking the curiosity in children is what leads them to critical thinking.
Mariah Stotsky | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mariah is a Colorado native with a passion for working with young learners. Mariah Graduated from Colorado State University with a B.S. in Human Development in 2017. She then went on to complete her masters through the University Of Colorado- Denver’s Graduate Program in Urban Education. In her free time, you can find Mariah practicing yoga, running, painting, drawing, and hiking!
Jennifer Chacon | contact: email@example.com
Jen was born in Southern California. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and her teaching credential from California State University, Fullerton. Her first job was in the Bay Area where she spent the last seven years teaching grades Kindergarten to Third Grade. After teaching in the Bay Area Jen made the move to Colorado is extremely excited to be teaching 1st grade at SOAR!
Hannah Boone | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hannah was born and raised in a small town in Kentucky. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Western Kentucky University and moved to Denver, Colorado soon after! Her first job out of college involved working in a preschool. While working as an assistant in a classroom, Hannah discovered her true passion for teaching. She earned her license to teach through the Stanley Teacher Prep program and completed her Masters in Education this past December. Hannah is beyond excited to be teaching 2nd grade this year at SOAR! Outside of the classroom Hannah enjoys hiking, camping, cooking, and skiing!
Rachel Fang | contact: email@example.com
Rachel Fang grew up in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. She attended college at Illinois State University and graduated in 2017 with her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. During her first year out of college, Rachel worked with English language learners in the elementary school she grew up in. She decided to move to Colorado this summer and has been so appreciative for the opportunity to teach the amazing students of SOAR this year.
Jillian Sundman | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jillian is a Colorado native born and raised in the shadow of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs. She graduated from Montana State University with a degree in Elementary Education in 2018. During her time in Bozeman, she worked in many different classrooms working with children and following her passions. In her free time you can find her in the mountains camping or snowboarding with her one year old black lab, Maddie. She also has a passion for art and photography, and is very excited to have made the move back to Colorado to join the second grade team at SOAR!
Danny Thornton | contact: email@example.com
After spending six years in Minnesota, Danny Thornton is returning to his home state of Colorado to teach third grade at SOAR Elementary. Danny comes to us with three years of teaching experience, working as a math specialist in the Minneapolis Public School District and teaching fourth grade at a public charter school in the St. Paul Public School District. He graduated from Colorado State University in 2009 with a degree in history and continued his education by completing a teacher licensure program at Hamline University in St. Paul in 2014. Outside of the classroom, Danny enjoys taking walks with his wife and their dog Judge, playing soccer, and cheering for the Denver Broncos. Danny is a pizza enthusiast and is known for his colorful bow ties. A former student once said, “Mr. Thornton has the coolest voice – it’s deep and echoey and melodious – he’s going to be great!” Danny is excited to be a part of the SOAR family!
Jessica Metzler | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessica is a proud graduate of Denver Public Schools and is very excited to continue teaching at a great school like SOAR in her hometown. She attended the University of Colorado, Boulder where she earned a degree in Political Science and will be receiving her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction in August 2020. Before joining SOAR, she taught preschool and kindergarten at a school in southwest Denver. When she is not teaching, she can be found spending time with her family, playing outside with her son Charlie, and spending time with her dogs.
Tracy Coleman | contact: email@example.com
Tracy was born and raised in a suburb just north of Chicago and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from The University of Illinois. She moved to Denver 19 years ago and fell in love with the mountains and all that Colorado has to offer. After working as a paraprofessional for nine years and discovering a passion for teaching, Tracy went back to school to earn a teaching license and Masters in Education degree. In her free time, Tracy enjoys reading, exploring the great outdoors, and spending time with her husband, daughter, two dogs, and cat named Fred. This is Tracy’s third year teaching third grade at SOAR.
Amber Rose | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amber was born and raised in the state of Arizona. Desiring a change from the heat, she pursued her degree in Elementary Education from Mayville State University in Mayville, North Dakota. Upon graduation, she moved to Colorado to be near her then fiancé, Ben. After four years, she returned to Arizona with her husband to be near her family. She taught in the Washington Elementary School District for three years, before deciding to return to Colorado so her son could be near his Colorado family. Amber is excited to be at SOAR schools where she can help build the foundation for her students to pursue and achieve their dreams.
Kate Colson | contact: email@example.com
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. In 2015 the mountains were calling for Kate and she made the move to Denver, CO. Since living in Colorado she has worked at SOAR as a third grade teacher and for the past three years, as a fourth grade teacher. Kate’s desire to continue her own learning has led her to complete her Master’s Degree in Education and Human Development in 2018. This learning has continued to shape the daily interactions and relationships she builds with her students and families. In Kate’s free time she loves back country camping and hiking, going to concerts, cooking, and cheering on the Green Bay Packers!
Doug Brunner | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Doug Brunner has been with SOAR since 2015. Doug 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, as well as to return to school. In August of 2015 Doug graduated with his MA in educational psychology. Doug’s passion for teaching started in 1998 when he started teaching dance (breakin’) to students in Boulder. Doug continued to teach all over Colorado until 2005 and continued to compete and perform all over the country until 2018. Doug recently welcomed his daughter to the world in October of 2018. When not spending time with his wife and daughter, Doug loves to spend time outside swimming, hiking and rock climbing.
Emma Cardillo | contact: email@example.com
After attending a small boarding school in the Swiss Alps, Emma landed in Southern Vermont to attend Marlboro College where she earned a degree in Psychology and Creative Writing. There she discovered her passion for teaching and went on to Antioch University of New England for her Masters in Education. Emma started her teaching career in Vermont where she taught for 6 years before relocating to Denver in search of the sunshine and bigger mountains. Emma taught for Aurora Public Schools for 7 years. When she is not teaching Emma enjoys waking up early and exercising before her 2 children are up! She loves playing with her family, hiking, swimming and curling up with a good book and a cup of tea at the end of the day. Emma is really excited to be a part of the SOAR team and is looking forward to an exciting year ahead!
Kyle Helton | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kyle moved to Colorado in the first grade, but unfortunately wasn’t able to realize the incredible beauty of the state until he got glasses in his freshman year of high school. He now can’t imagine living anywhere else. He’s held many different jobs, including, but not limited to, goat farmer, yoga teacher, and as a fellow at a local non-profit, but was always drawn to education due to his love of learning and belief in the future of our children. This will be his first year at SOAR Charter School, following his completion of the Boettcher Teacher Residency. He is very excited for the coming year, and believes that it will be memorable, productive, and an adventure for everyone involved.
Sarah Glover | contact: email@example.com
Sarah was born and raised in Rhode Island where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Rhode Island and a master’s degree in Elementary Education from Rhode Island College. She began her teaching career in Rhode Island where she taught for four years. Sarah’s passion for education is rooted in building strong relationships with her students and their families. In July of 2018 Sarah relocated to Denver to enjoy all the outdoor activities Colorado has to offer. She loves hiking, skiing, and reading. Sarah is looking forward to another great year in 5th grade with the SOAR community!
Shannon Fahsbender | contact: firstname.lastname@example.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
Kyra Zaldivar | contact: email@example.com
Kyra was born and raised in Colorado. She left Colorado for the first time when she went to college at Kansas State University. While attending Kansas State, Kyra met her husband, Zach, who served in the United States Army for six years. Her and her husband then moved to San Diego where she student taught. Kyra then had her first teaching job in Minnesota where she taught 4th grade for two years. During her time in Minnesota, Kyra had her first child, Paisley Grace, on September 27th, 2018. Kyra is so excited to be back in Colorado and part of the SOAR community!
our board test
Ashley Clark - Board Secretary
Ashley is the Recruitment, Development and Partnership Director for the Public Education & Business Coalition’s (PEBC) Boettcher Teacher Residency. She has worked in nonprofit development with a focus on education for most of her career. Ashley’s current work highlights her relational skills by allowing her to seek and create strategic partnerships with local and national organizations to develop direct recruitment pipelines and resources that will support pre-service and in-service Colorado educators. Above all else, her work helps to minimize the Colorado teacher shortage.
From fundraising to business development, Ashley has experience in a variety of roles that create impactful partnerships between nonprofits and the communities they serve. She has worked in both rural and urban settings in Colorado, Illinois and Indiana.
Ashley hails from the Northwest suburbs of Chicago and has found her way to Denver twice. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in English from Hampton University, Ashley joined City Year Denver’s founding corps. Ashley served at Montbello High School in Northeast Denver. Following her year of service, Ashley obtained a Master of Arts in English from Loyola University Chicago. In 2015, Ashley received an opportunity to return to Denver and join PEBC.
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.
Janet Damon - Board Director
Janet is a librarian, SOAR mom, and founder of Afros and Books, a literacy outreach program that designs culturally responsive community engagement events and programming for families centered on the experiences of children of color. She earned her Master’s of Library and Information Science at the University of Denver and an Ed.S in School Leadership from the University of Colorado at Denver.
She is the Library Services Specialist for Denver Public Schools and supports teacher librarians and library paraprofessional staff across the district in order to provide 21st-century information literacy instruction, access to high-quality digital tools, and the integration of diverse children’s literature across the curriculum.
Janet serves on the Executive Board of the Healing Garden Health Initiative, Families Forward Resource Center, and SOAR Charter School. In her spare time, she dances with the Intergenerational Women’s African Drum and Dance Ensemble (IWADDE) alongside her daughters and writes a multicultural motherhood and festival blog at mixmomma.com.
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.
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.
Sarah Glover - Board Chair
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.
Tiffani Lennon - Board Director
Tiffani is driven by the opportunity to make a significant impact in the community. Her approach is to collaboratively define strategic priorities, identify opportunities to fuel continuous growth and improvement, and situate organizations to reach their goals. Tiffani served as chief strategy officer and vice president of development for a large Colorado non-profit before joining the Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation as the executive director. She is thrilled to help grow the foundation so that more Coloradans can benefit from the vision and mission of the organization.
Recently named a finalist for the Denver Business Journal Power Book’s Power List Award, Tiffani Lennon has shown leadership, program innovation, subject matter expertise, and an entrepreneurial spirit. During the past 15 years, Tiffani has engaged in roles focused in the areas of development, strategic planning, outreach and engagement, policy analysis, and continuous performance improvement. She received her juris doctor degree and an advanced law degree in international economic and finance law and development from the University of London. Her dissertation examined economic development for South African female heads of households on the Eastern Cape. Before returning to the non-profit sector, Tiffani was a constitutional rights attorney and professor.
board meeting information
SOAR Board of Directors meets the second Friday of the month; from 8:45 a.m. until 11:30 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).
September 6 (9:00-2:00 Board Retreat, Location: PEBC)
September 13, 2019
October 11, 2019
December 13, 2019
January 10 (9:00 – 2:00 Board work session, location TBD)
February 7, 2020
March 6, 2020
April 10, 2020
May 8, 2020
June 5 ( 9:00 – 2:00 Board work session, location TBD)
Archived Board Meeting Minutes
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 SOAR: Sonia Sisneros, Director of Operations, (303) 895-5305
Contact information for the Colorado Department of Education: https://www.cde.state.co.us/
Contact information for Financial Transparency for Colorado Schools: https://coloradok12financialtransparency.com/#/