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.

our team

our team

School Administration


Kate Bergles | contact: Kbergles@soardenver.org

Kate Bergles is excited to join the SOAR team as principal. Prior to SOAR, Kate worked as a principal in a K-8 charter school, in a middle school and as an assistant principal in the high school setting. She has served in leadership roles in education for the past 25 years all across the metro Denver area. Kate graduated from Colorado State University with a Masters degree in German Language and Literature. She also graduated from the University of Phoenix with a Masters degree in Education Administration and Leadership. She earned a Director of Special Education certification from the University of Northern Colorado. Kate believes all learners deserve a guaranteed curriculum, effective teaching and a positive school culture that will give them a foundation in literacy, math, science, and critical thinking to prepare them for successful futures. Kate invites you to join the SOAR team on the education journey with your children. Please come in, sit down and talk with us. Attend our events, volunteer, participate and communicate with the team at your school. SOAR belongs to all of us -my door is always open. 

Assistant Principal

Shane Turpen  | contact: smturpen@soardenver.org

Shane is from north central Illinois, and has been living in Denver for the last 7 years. He attended Illinois State University (Go Redbirds!), where he received both his bachelor’s and masters degrees. Shane taught PE, and has been a leader in DPS—most recently as the Assistant Principal of Culture at ECE-5 charter school in Denver. He was drawn to SOAR because he is passionate about working in urban school districts, and specifically at schools with a culturally diverse population. He believes strongly in building impactful relationships, partnering with the community, and working tirelessly to provide a joyful and equitable school experience for ALL kids. In his spare time, he loves to ski, play golf, and go to concerts. Shane is so excited to join the SOAR family!

Senior Director of Development & School Operations

Sonia Sisneros | contact: ssisneros@soardenver.org

Sonia has been a part of the SOAR team since it was founded in 2010, starting as a community partner during the school’s planning year. Sonia has supported and led SOAR’s evolution from a small start-up to one of the highest performing community based elementary schools in far northeast Denver. Her work at SOAR has varied from supporting classroom teachers to managing the school’s budget, human resources and leadership in legal services. Sonia’s interest in education is based in child advocacy and comprehensive school operations. Sonia attended Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver earning her certification in Business Ethics and Financial Analytics. In 2015, Sonia earned her law degree from the University of Denver in Social Sciences, and later that year she was sworn in as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children (CASA).  Sonia went on to finish her Principal Residency Program with Catapult School Leadership (CSL Colorado) in 2016. Sonia has an incredible family! Her son is an architect, CU Boulder graduate and her daughter is a vibrant artist, currently a high school senior with plans to attend CU Denver in the fall. Go Buffs! Sonia and her husband enjoy their time together as empty nesters, exploring the city’s art district, taking in the outdoors and traveling whenever possible.

Director of ELA & Assessment

Christi Goetz | contact: cgoetz@soardenver.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

Office Manager

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

Araceli has worked with SOAR since 2012, initially as the Office Manager at SOAR@Oakland. 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 25 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.

Administrative Assistant/Health Clerk

Derek Begun | contact: dbegun@soardenver.org

Mr. Derek is back! Derek is a Colorado native who started with SOAR in 2013 as the director of the before and after school daycare and quickly was hired on to work at SOAR directly.  He has had many different positions at SOAR, Recess Coach, Cheer Coach, Paraprofessional and even was the Theatre teacher for half a year. In 2017 Derek moved with his husband to Utah to be near family, but just after 2 years they were ready to move back.  He is so excited to be back and in a new position as the Health Aide to our student community. In his down time, you will see Derek playing competitive Nintendo, camping, and is also a freelance makeup artist.

Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today ~ Malcom X


Technology Support Coordinator

Christopher Landis | contact: clandis@soardenver.org

Instructional Support

Kristin Hahn | contact: khahn@soardenver.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: epatrick@soardenver.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.


Student Support

Hope Provost | contact: hprovost@soardenver.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.

Megan Marulli | School Social Worker | contact: mmarulli@soardenver.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: awelch@soardenver.org

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.




Specials Teachers

Music & Movement

Katie Swenson | contact: kswenson@soardenver.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: hzelaya@soardenver.org

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.

Visual Arts

Jennifer Russo | contact: jrusso@soardenver.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.


Science/Social Studies

Shellie Sage | contact: ssage@soardenver.org

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: lwortham@soardenver.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: sschoenfeld@soardenver.org

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).

Angela Vallejos | contact: avallejos@soardenver.org

My name is Angela and I am elated to be coming back to SOAR this school year! I’ve been working with children for about five years and it is absolutely my passion to help the children in my community to expand their knowledge. I graduated from Montbello high school in 2012, and have lived in Colorado all my adult life. I am so excited to work with not only my students but all of you in the community. In my spare time I enjoy hanging out with my family, friends and my two kitties (Koda and Nani). I can’t wait to begin the year with you all!

Paola Reyes-Badillo| contact: preyes@soardenver.org

Hola! My name is Paola. I was born in Mexico but raised in Denver, Colorado. I graduated from Montbello High School. My passion for working with kids started about 4 years ago when I was working at a school at their afterschool program. I love working with children of my community. In my free time I like to eat, spend time with my family, try new restaurants, being outdoors, and enjoy life.

Kiara Griffin | contact: kgriffin@soardenver.org

My name is Kiara Griffin. I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. I am currently a junior at MSU Denver working to get my bachelor’s degree in biology. This is my first year working in education, and I am excited to learn how to be a great teacher and improve my skills as a paraprofessional. Working in an environment with children has always been something I knew I would like to do, and since I am finally here I promise to  work as hard as possible to help your child receive the best education.

Keiasha Wilson | contact: kwilson@soardenver.org

Hello Everyone, my name is Keiasha Wilson but I go by KiKi. I am from Roseville, CA and been living in Colorado for 17 years now. My passion for working with kids, started at a young as I have had to grow up taking care of my siblings. After taking care of my siblings my passion grew has I watched family and friends kiddos in middle school and high school. My career in childcare has led me to work with kids, from infants to middle school for 12 years now! During my career I have worked as a Site Director for Before and After school programs for 6 years. I love working with kids and it’s a joy working along a side a wonderful team, who enjoy doing what I do. In my free time I love to sing, write poetry, spend time with family, and be a fur Mom. I am very excited to be working with the students and staff this school years!

Kendy Macias | contact: kmacias@soardenver.org

Hello, my name is Kendy Macias. I have earned an Early Childhood certificate! I am CPR/ First Aid Certified and I am bilingual. I love animals , love singing , and most definitely love dancing!! I love working with children from infants to elementary children. Just seeing how they learn more and more daily! It’s amazing! I’ve always said it! I consider myself a very polite, neat, clean, responsible, fun, and respectful person! As children grow they learn more and more each day! I will always make sure they get everything they need!

Dannia Herrera | contact: dherrera@soardenver.org

Hi everyone, my name is Dannia Herrera. You may know me as Ms. D from the before and after school program. I worked in the B&A care field for 6 years. My Goal is to be an Elementary Teacher in the next two years! I enjoy spending time in the mountains, there are so many beautiful places to visit. I love spending time with my family and friends. My favorite animals are horses, they are intelligent and self-spirited. This is my first year with SOAR as a Paraprofessional, and I am excited to be part of the team!

Tabitha Conner | contact: tconner@soardenver.org

Hello, my name is Tabitha Conner. I was born in Kentucky, but raised in Virginia. I have a BA in musical theatre and dance, but have been working with children for 13 years. This will be my first year in a school environment and I am so excited to join the SOAR family. Working with children has been a passion my entire life and I promise to give my best to yours everyday.”

Brooke Ware | contact: bware@soardenver.org

Hello, my name is Brooke Ware. I am a Colorado native. My son just turned 1 years old in January, so my life is pretty busy! I am currently attending GCU getting my BS in Sociology. It’s been my dream to become a School Social Worker but things have changed. After working in education for 6 years both public and residential, I’ve come to the conclusion that I want to work towards my teaching license. I am excited to expand my experience with working one on one with a student but also getting to know all the students. This is my first year working in DPS, can’t wait to see the culture and education it provides for the families and community.”


Avital Kaplan: akaplan@soardenver.org

Hello, my name is Avital Kaplan and I am very excited to join the SOAR community.  My family and I moved to Denver three years ago from New York City. I loved teaching at charter schools in NYC and am looking forward to being part of a charter in Denver.  Most recently, I have been a para-educator in an autism center at Denver Green Northfield. I am excited to be a classroom teacher once again and to meet all of you.

Katie Grosskopf | contact:  kgrosskopf@soardenver.org

Katie is new to SOAR this year. Katie and her family recently moved back to Denver after spending 5 years in Los Angeles, California. While in California, Katie fell in love with teaching and completed her Masters Degree with Credential from Pepperdine University. Katie is a native to Denver and holds a Bachelors Degree from the University of Denver in violin performance. Before teaching at SOAR, Katie taught Reading Intervention to Kindergarten, First and Second grade students. Above all else, Katie loves seeing the joy for discovery grow in her students. When she’s not at school, Katie lives in Aurora with her husband and 2 daughters (1 and 5). She and her husband are foster parents and are passionate about supporting the reunification of families. They are also enjoying the Colorado sunshine and being back in Bronco Country!

Carly Bowdach | contact: cbowdach@soardenver.org

Carly is a Colorado Native with a degree in Human Development Family Studies from Colorado State University.  This will be Carly’s 11th year of teaching. She is so excited to join the SOAR family as a Kindergarten Teacher.  When Carly is not teaching you can find her spending time with family and friends trying out new restaurants, being outdoors, live music or anything new and fun that Colorado  has to offer! I’m also a huge football fan! GO BRONCOS!! 

1st Grade

Mariah Stotsky | contact: mstotsky@soardenver.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: jchacon@soardenver.org

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!

Renee Gillette | contact: rgillette@soardenver.org

Renee was born and raised in Wisconsin. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education and Special Education from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She has been teaching for the past five years, spending three years in third grade and the last two years in first grade. Renee recently moved to Denver and is excited to explore all that Colorado has to offer. She is looking forward to joining the SOAR team!

2nd Grade

Hannah Boone | contact: hboone@soardenver.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: rfang@soardenver.org

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: jsundman@soardenver.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!

3rd Grade

Danny Thornton | contact: dthornton@soardenver.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: jmetzler@soardenver.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: tcoleman@soardenver.org

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.




4th Grade

Alaska Santelices | contact: asantelices@soardenver.org

Alaska is new to SOAR this year and is extremely excited to be a part of the SOAR community! After spending the past 10 years in NYC, she moved to Denver to be close to nature and enjoy the great outdoors. Alaska was born and raised in Adelaide, Australia in a bilingual Spanish-English household (her family hails from Chile). Alaska holds a degree in Childhood Education from Hunter College and has been working in Education for the past 8 years. Most recently, she taught 3rd Grade at a NYC Department of Education school. When she is not teaching she enjoys outdoor activities, (hiking, climbing, exploring new places) and getting lost in a good book!

Kate Colson | contact: kcolson@soardenver.org

Kate was born and raised in Wisconsin where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Post graduation she has taught Southeast Asian refugee children at a Milwaukee Public Charter School for three years. Her experience working with ELL (English Language Learners) has been extremely rewarding. 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: dbrunner@soardenver.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.

Martin Rodriguez | contact: mrodriguez@soardenver.org

Martin Rodriguez is a native of Colorado. He attended Denver Public Schools and graduated from West High School. After graduating high school, Martin attended Metropolitan State University with a degree with Modern languages. Martin also attended the University of Phoenix for his Master’s in  Business Management.  Martin has 15 years working for non-profit agencies, public schools, and governmental agencies serving inner city youth.  Martin has five years of experience as an elementary teacher.  In his spare time, Martin likes to snowboard, read, and take his dogs out for walks. 


5th Grade

Emma Cardillo | contact: ecardillo@soardenver.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!

Sophi Schwartzbauer  | contact: sschwartzbauer@soardenver.org

Sophi spent her first few years of life in the snowy land of lakes, Minnesota. At five years old, her family uprooted and moved to a small town in South Carolina. After graduating from high school, a big adventure was calling her name! She traded in her beach attire for snow boots and ventured out West. While studying journalism at The University of Colorado Boulder, Sophi worked for a television show that allowed her to meet with many influential political figures and thought leaders- including former CO governor, John Hickenlooper. She was also lucky to have lived in Perugia, Italy for half a year, where she developed a passion for traveling and learning new languages. After randomly stumbling into an education class in college, she decided that she had to change her career plans! As soon as she graduated from college, she enrolled in the PEBC Teacher Residency Program, where she honed her teaching skills and delved into Culturally Responsive Teaching pedagogy. When she’s not in the classroom, Sophi can be found reading, spending time with her loved ones (including her cat), running, and doing yoga! This is Sophi’s second year teaching at SOAR, and she couldn’t be more excited for the learning (and laughter) to begin!

Shannon Fahsbender | contact: sfahsbender@soardenver.org

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

Kyra Zaldivar | contact: kzaldivar@soardenver.org

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 family handbook

our family handbook

SOAR encourages parents and students to consult the SOAR Family Handbook for guidance regarding school policies, procedures, and expectations. Parents and students should keep in mind, however, that the school is a constantly changing entity, evolving as circumstances require. The school may modify its procedures and expectations from time to time. 

Click here for our current school handbook in English.

Presione aqui para ver nuestro actual Manual de las Familias en Español.

our board test

our board

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.

Jessamyn Lockhart - Board Member

In her role as Senior Director of Residency, Jessamyn oversees the PEBC Teacher Residency across the state. This includes working with all of the brilliant urban and rural staff to ensure programmatic excellence and sustainability. Jessamyn holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Tufts University, a Master of Arts degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Colorado, Denver and is presently a doctoral student in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Denver. Prior to joining PEBC, Jessamyn taught first and second grade at Mountain Phoenix Community School in Jefferson County Public Schools. When she is not working, Jessamyn enjoys running, backpacking, and spending time in the mountains with her husband, son, and dog.

Marisela Toscano - Board Member

Marisela Toscano, came to the United States at the age of 4 from Chihuahua, Mexico. She first moved to Phoenix, Arizona, and a year after that she moved to Denver, Colorado.

Marisela is happily married. She has 3 kids, an 8th grader, 5th and 1st grader. She also has 2 Sphynx cats named Puma and Chloe. She loves spending time with her family, and always making sure she lets them know that she will always support and cheer for them in every step of the way.

She is a former Early Childhood Educator, and has been an active parent volunteer for the past 10 years in 3 different schools in DPS. Her passion has always been working with children and families in the community. Marisela is looking to pursue a B.A. in Special Education, which will give her an opportunity to be able to work closely with children and families and to be able to impact those children’s lives at an early age.

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.

board meeting information

The SOAR Board of Directors meets as scheduled below. Meetings are held at the school, Building 4 on the Evie Dennis Campus, and via Zoom Conference Call. Please check specific meeting date for details.

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 emailing the SOAR Board of Directors at soar.board.of.directors@gmail.com by noon the previous day, giving their name and indicating the topic.

1st Trimester

Thursday, August 13th from 4:00 PM to 6:15 PM; This meeting will be held virtually via Zoom Conference Call

Friday, September 11th from 8:45 AM to 11:00 AM; This meeting will be held at the school, SOAR Conference Room

Thursday October 8th from 4:00 PM to 6:15 PM; This meeting will be held virtually via Zoom Conference Call

2nd Trimester

Friday November 13th from 8:45 AM to 11:00 AM; This meeting will be held at the school, SOAR Conference Room

Wednesday, December 9th from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM; This meeting will be held virtually via Zoom Conference Call

Friday, January 8th, No Board Meeting (Board Work Session)

Thursday, February 11th from 4:00 PM to 6:15 PM; This meeting will be held virtually via Zoom Conference Call

3rd Trimester

Friday, March 12th 8:45 AM to 11:00 AM; This meeting will be held at the school, SOAR Conference Room

Thursday, May 20th from 4:00 PM to 6:15 PM; This meeting will be held at the school, with the Board of Directors attending the 5th Grade Continuation Tentatively scheduled for May 20th.

Friday June 11th, No Board Meeting (Board Work Session)

Archived Board Meeting Minutes

financial transparency

financial transparency

Financial Transparency icons-2bSOAR 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/#/