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!
Jonell Pineda | contact: email@example.com
Jonell has been serving in the educational profession for over 20 years which spans from Early Childhood to Secondary Education. He started his first eight years of his career in the Philippines as a teacher, instructional specialist, educational consultant and school leader where he started a school. In 2005, he migrated to the US to serve in the Native American community as an elementary teacher in the Fort Apache reservation in Whiteriver Arizona. In 2009, he began his journey in Denver Public Schools and within his 9 years in DPS, he has served as a teacher, instructional leader, capacity partner and a school leader. Jonell obtained his education degree in the Philippines with specialization in Early Childhood Care and Development and Secondary Education major in English. He finished his Masters of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction with specialization in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education at University of Colorado in Denver. He was selected and participated the Ritchie School Leadership program through the partnership of DPS and University of Denver, in which he obtained his certification in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. To further his leadership growth and development, he also participated the National Principal Academy Fellowship through Relay Graduate School of Education. Jonell believes that every child is a person of worth and dignity. He values equitable access to learning, character formation of every student, culturally responsive pedagogy and global competency in his leadership. He is excited to join the SOAR community and contribute to the success of each and every child.
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 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/Administrative Assistant
Hilary Trautman | contact: email@example.com
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.
Front Office Assistant
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.
Technology Support Coordinator
Christopher Landis | contact: email@example.com
Kristin Hahn | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: 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.
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.
Lacey Jenkins | contact: email@example.com
Lacey was born and raised in Texas. Lacey has a Bachelor’s of Social Work from Texas Christian University. She then moved to Colorado, where she received her Master’s degree of Social Work from the University of Denver. Lacey has experience working with children and families in foster care, child welfare and in the school system. Outside of school, Lacey enjoys hiking, skiing and watching college football. Lacey is excited to serve the students and families at SOAR!
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
Ashley Schindel | contact: email@example.com
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.
Jennifer Russo | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer is originally from rural upstate New York, and has lived in the Denver area for 12 years. She has been an art teacher for 17 years, knowing at an early age that this 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 children. She has two children of her own, and in her free time, she enjoys creating art, shopping and hiking. She is excited to begin her work at SOAR, where she plans to provide students with a well-rounded and rich art education, encompassing varied media, art history, multiple applications and a lifelong art knowledge and appreciation .
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.
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
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!
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.
Paola Reyes-Badillo | contact: email@example.com
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
Jamiko Verner | contact:
Michelle Fernandez | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Michelle is a Denver native, married for over 15 years with 4 wonderful children. She is currently set to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education in May of 2019 from the University of Northern Colorado. She is very excited to finish school as her degree will provide her with the credentials to teach grades K-3. Michelle is looking forward to having her own classroom. Her background has mostly been working with students in early education programs as she has spent many years as a center director at various childcare centers. She is confident that her experience will allow her to make many connections with students here at SOAR. Here’s to a great school year!
Nikesha Holliday | contact: email@example.com
Nikesha Holliday is a native of Denver graduating from Montbello High School. In 2001, she decided to pursue a post secondary degree earning her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. She has worked with numerous youth programs including those that focus on connecting young adults to meaningful career pathways. Her passion and strength is being a positive influence for youth of color specifically in the northeast Denver area, advocating for quality education and resources for students.
Jamie Seidenberg | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
Lindsay Mazzeo | contact: email@example.com
Lindsay grew up in Milford, Connecticut. She spent her teenage years baby sitting and working at Carvel Ice Cream Shop. Lindsay played softball and was the captain of her swim team in high school. She studied Elementary Education at Central Connecticut State University. During her summers in college, Lindsay worked at an early childhood learning center. Lindsay helped learners in toddler, preschool and kindergarten prep classrooms explore the world around them though sensory exploration and movement. After graduating with her Bachelors from CCSU, Lindsay went on to teach second and third grade in Bridgeport, Connecticut. After her second year of teaching, Lindsay decided to make a life-changing move to Denver Colorado. Lindsay’s love for nature, hiking, mountains, and skiing drew her to Colorado. Lindsay is so excited to teach kindergarten at SOAR!
Whitney Marte | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Whitney moved to Colorado this year from New Jersey. She graduated Rutgers University in 2015 where she majored in Psychology and minored in Education. During her studies, she worked in different schools that served students with severe disabilities. Her love for teaching started in the 3rd grade; where her teacher at the time created a learning environment where all her students felt loved, important, and capable. Whitney strives to have the same environment now in her own classroom. She started teaching Kindergarten at a charter school in New York City where her passion for working with elementary students grew. While teaching, she completed my Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education and Teaching Students with Disabilities. After 3 years of working in the city, she decided to move to Colorado to live in a completely different setting but continue to work in primary grades. Whitney is looking forward to being a part of SOAR’s mission and getting to know Colorado!
Laura Brown | contact: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
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.
Jaymie Kreiling | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Hannah Boone | contact: email@example.com
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!
Michael Champion | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael is excited to be a new face here at SOAR. Michael is from Atlantic City, New Jersey, and started his teaching career in Philadelphia. He graduated from Temple University in 2012 and went on to teach the 3rd grade. After a few years there, he moved to Peru to assist with the health of his wife’s parents and experience another culture. While in Peru he taught the 1st grade for four years and was the Maths Coordinator at a PYP International School. Michael has worked with children at a grass-roots level for over ten years, facilitating neighborhood-based children’s classes with a focus on virtues, art, play, and community empowerment. He is also a father and a husband, with two children attending SOAR this year! Mike is an avid gardener and enjoys being in nature, reading, and creating art. He is in love with the people and vistas of Colorado, and looks forward to working hard to give our students an excellent educational experience.
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 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.
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
Emma Cardillo | contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 is looking forward to climbing her first 14er and getting out on the ski slopes in the winter. Sarah is so excited to be part of the SOAR community!
our board test
Ashley Clark - Board Director
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.
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.
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).
August 10th Board Work Session:
No public Meeting
January 11th Board Work Session:
No public meeting
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 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/#/