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!
Director of Development & School Operations
Sonia Sisneros | contact: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
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 22 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.
Health Clerk/Office Assistant
Hilary Trautman | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hilary joined the team at SOAR in the fall of 2017. She is a Colorado native having grown up on the northeastern plains of Colorado and finding her way to the city in 2014. Hilary has been a business owner for 4 years here in Denver and previously owned her own personal training business with a background in alternative medicines from her hometown of Yuma, Colorado.
Hilary has had a student here in SOAR for 2 years and loves to be a part of the community. During Hilary’s free time you will find her trying to spend as much time with her 4 kids as she can. Her family loves hiking, running, bowling, watching movies and for her personal free time her hobbies include reading novels and writing short stories.
Lacei Martinez | contact: email@example.com
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.
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.
Math & Literacy Interventionist
Hope Provost | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Creative Arts Studio
Erinjean Patrick | contact: email@example.com
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.
Health & Wellness/Physical Education
Ashley Schindel | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Being from Washington, Ashley is a diehard sports fan for everything Seattle. Completing her Bachelor degree in Children’s Ministry at Northwest University, she continued to follow her passion for the outdoors and developing confident students as she worked at Outdoor Education camps in Washington, Wisconsin, and Colorado. Ashley continued her education completing her Master’s degree at Western State Colorado University, in Educational Leadership. She has two adorable golden doodles, Bentley and Rainier, who love hiking, traveling, and playing ball.
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.
Special Education Coordinator/Staffing Chair
Danielle Santoro | contact: firstname.lastname@example.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.
Special Education Teachers
Karen Wallis | contact: email@example.com
While Karen is originally from Mississippi where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Special Education at MSU, she has spent the past 5 years working on the Big Island of Hawaii for the Department of Education. She completed her MEd in Learning and Technology in 2015. During her off time, she enjoys painting, baking, and exploring Colorado with her husband, Charlie and their two dogs, Jack and Buffy.
Amy Scheffler | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy was born and raised in the mountains above Boulder. Amy earned her Bachelors degree in Behavioral Sciences. While obtaining her Bachelors she worked as a Special Education teacher assistant, 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. Amy loves being a special education teacher. When Amy is not working she is hanging out with her eight-year-old and her husband; traveling, ice skating, and any other sport her son can get his hands on.
School Social Worker
Lacey Jenkins | contact: email@example.com
Derek Begun | contact: firstname.lastname@example.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
Shakira Schoenfeld | contact: email@example.com
Hello, My name is Shakira (Ms. K). I have been a sitter since I was about 15. I also was a nanny for 3 years. I’m a very quick learner, very reliable, organized, motivated, and willing to do what it takes to get the job done! Working for Kids’ Adventures has been a great way to widen my experience with children. I enjoy teaching children about everything from reading to cause and effect. I love help with homework, reading time, crafts, team building, exercise, and nutrition. In my free time, I like to play with my pug (Princess Oinkers) and cat (Munchies) cooking, knitting, hiking, and camping.
Nadia Sharza | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Raised in Green Valley Ranch herself, Nadia is thrilled to be able to give back to her community. From a very young age, Nadia discovered her passion for education and helping others. Using this passion, she put herself through school where she recently graduated from the University of Northern Colorado. Graduating with an Elementary Education degree, Special Education Minor, and an ESL Concentration, Nadia is eager to begin working with students. Nadia loves exercise, hiking, trying new foods, and cheering on the Rockies!
Angela Dean | contact: email@example.com
I am a native of Colorado and grew up in the Montbello community, where I graduated from Montbello High School. I found my passion for teaching and helping others from my experience with coaching tennis as well as community events that I have been a part of. I am so ecstatic to help educate the students of my community!
Gabrielle Collins | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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. I was very big into the performing arts. I sing, play piano and the violin and I was also in all of the theatre productions. I also did some cheering, was captain of the hip-hop team, President of Choir and an Officer of DECA. I am currently pursuing my degree in Business Administration from Colorado Technical University and I will actually obtain my degree this June. After I do complete my degree, I will be pursuing my teaching degree and licensure. I have been babysitting since I was 12 and working with children for the last 7.5 years and I absolutely love it. I have worked in a private preschool as well as I have worked in the daycare setting as an aid, preschool teacher and school age teacher. I am beyond thrilled to have joined the team here at SOAR. I am so excited to be a part of such a diverse school and to help the students strive in any way that I can help.
Lakisha Wortham | contact: email@example.com
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.
Paola Reyes-Badillo | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Paola Reyes, I’m from Zacatecas, Mexico. I came to America when I was about 8 or 9 years old, since then I been living in Denver Colorado. I graduated from Montbello High School. While I was in high school I played tennis which I was the Co-Captain from the tennis team, I was in student council and became the Vice president of my class 2012. What I enjoyed when I was in high school it was helping my school, the community and the students out. I became passionate about helping and being around kids when I was doing a lot of volunteer programs for the school. It made me happy seeing kids enjoying and thanking me for what we were doing for them and the school. My future goal is to go back to school and become a Spanish teacher. Being bilingual has opened many doors for me. For this reason, I want as much students to learn a second language so they can have more opportunities as well.
“Bilingualism is an incredible gift to give a child. It goes beyond just learning another language. It broadens mental development, thoughts patterns and world perspective” –Bilingual mom in Oregon to Dear Abby
Camille Harakal | contact: email@example.com
Camille Harakal is a new resident of Denver. She recently moved from southwest Florida. In 2016, she graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Florida and in 2017, she graduated with her Master’s degree in Special Education. She is very excited to be joining the SOAR team! She is ready to bring her passion for literacy to kindergarten! When she’s not in her classroom, she loves hiking with her dog, Ben, trying new recipes in the kitchen, or curling up with a good book.
Jordyn Dudley | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Raised in Chicago, Illinois, and Appleton, Wisconsin Jordyn then attended Concordia University of Saint Paul Minnesota to obtain her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and Middle School Math. During her time in college, Jordyn played Division II basketball as a shooting guard on an NCAA elite eight team. Any chance she gets, Jordyn enjoys exploring new places and cultures, visiting 14 spectacular countries! Her favorite being Australia where she lived for some time and student taught kindergarten at an International School. In her first year of teaching, Jordyn taught 7th-grade math in Phoenix, Arizona. The middle schoolers had stolen her heart and made it an exciting first year! Jordyn also loves staying active with hiking, skiing, biking, and playing volleyball. Colorado will be sure to prove its excellence as a new home to Jordyn. She can’t wait to be part of the SOAR family!
Jamie Seidenberg | contact: email@example.com
As a kindergartener, Jamie recalls memories of vivaciously making books with Mr. Sketch markers to read to the other classes, and always offering to help the teacher. Jamie attended New York University and completed a double major in Early Childhood Education and Special Education, with a minor in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies and a concentration in psychology. Jamie attended Teachers College at Columbia University to pursue a Master’s degree in literacy. She has worked with students who have varying backgrounds, needs, passions, and interests. Jamie is dedicated to instilling the same love of learning she values in her students and classroom. She recently moved to Denver from New York City and is excited to take advantage of all Colorado has to offer!
Laura Brown | contact: firstname.lastname@example.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.
Eliza Spear | contact: email@example.com
Eliza is from Colorado and attended the University of Colorado at Boulder where she received a degree in speech language and hearing sciences. Following her graduation, she moved to San Diego and worked as a Speech Language Pathology Assistant in a school district. Although she loved this work, she came to realize her true passion as a teacher. After moving back to Colorado she completed a teaching licensure program and will be receiving a Masters in Education this December. She is thrilled to be a part of the SOAR community and is excited to get started with her 1st-grade class!
Amy Domokos | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy is a Colorado native. At a young age, she knew she wanted to be a teacher. She went to the University of Northern Colorado where she got her Bachelor’s in elementary education. She has her Master’s degree in English as a Second Language from the University of Colorado. She has been teaching for over 10 years, most recently teaching fourth grade. She has a son, Elijah who is in kindergarten. They enjoy watching football, playing outside, spending time with family, and shopping.
Annie Monaghan | contact: email@example.com
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 | contact: firstname.lastname@example.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.
Jaymie Kreiling | contact: email@example.com
Jaymie is a Colorado native who grew up in Parker, Colorado. She spends her free time skiing, hiking, traveling, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies from James Madison University. She completed the Student Teacher Residency program this past year through CU Denver and recently completed her Master’s degree in Education and Human Development. She is so excited to work at SOAR for the 2017-2018 school year as a second grade teacher.
Danny Thornton | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.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 the 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.
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 15 years ago and fell in love with the mountains and all that Colorado has to offer. Working as a classroom paraprofessional for nine years, most recently in third grade, Tracy discovered a passion for teaching. On a mission to have a classroom of her own she completed the Stanley British Primary Teacher Prep Program and will be receiving a Masters in Education in December. She is very excited to be joining the SOAR team! In her free time, Tracy enjoys reading, exploring the great outdoors with her family, and cheering on the Chicago Cubs.
Lauren Pope | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is Lauren’s fourth year at SOAR! She is originally from Kansas where she taught for 3 years. She graduated from the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk!) with a degree in Elementary Education. Lauren has a passion for education and helping children reach their full potential. She also enjoys reading, cooking, running and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Brandon have a 15 month old, Adelaide and two dog, Bella and Eli.
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. 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: firstname.lastname@example.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.
Shannon Fahsbender | contact: email@example.com
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.
Tracey Colburn | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tracey is a very proud Colorado native!! She grew up in Littleton and graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a major in Social Sciences, an emphasis in elementary education and a minor in multicultural anthropology. She has two children, Aracel and Kade and will soon add 4 step sons and a husband to the mix. Her family loves to go boating, hike, ride bikes and explore together.
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!
our board test
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.
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).
Archived Board Meeting Minutes
The Open Meetings Law requires charter school boards to keep minutes of their meetings and make those minutes available for public inspection. Board Meeting Minutes will be kept here for one school year at a time.
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/