My Name is Kevin Adams I am thrilled to be at DCIS this year. I am teaching 8th and 10th grade US history. I come to DCIS from Morey Middle School where I taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Social Studies. Over the summer I completed and attained a Master’s degree in Education, Leadership and Emerging Technologies. I was born in Atlanta, Georgia but I have been fortunate enough to call Colorado home for the last twenty-three years. I currently live in Park Hill with my wife Birdalone, and my son and daughter Tacari (5) and Sophia (6). I love music, playing my guitar, the Denver Broncos and Nuggets. I also enjoy working in my garden and traveling. Over the summer I had the opportunity to travel to the country of Ghana in West Africa, which was a life changing experience. One of my favorite sayings is, “Nobody knows everything and everybody knows something.” I can be found in room 201B. Drop by when you have a chance; I love meeting new people.
Geri Zabitz Badler
Geri is Director of the Travel Center and Community Partnerships. She has B.S. in Special Education from Syracuse University and has had a varied career spanning education, publishing and the nonprofit sector. A native New Yorker, she’s lived in New York, Kentucky, Chicago, Philadelphia and Lausanne, Switzerland. Shortly after moving to Denver in 2006, Geri became involved with DCIS while running the DPS Foundation’s School Partners Program. Her mission at DCIS is to help students find appropriate travel and study abroad opportunities to enrich and change their lives.
Rachel Binkley is a mathematics teacher at DCIS. After originally receiving her B.S. in mathematics and teaching certificate, she decided that she needed more life experience and travel before committing herself to the classroom. She remembered her favorite teachers being able to not only offer her education about the curriculum, but also inspiration and advise about the world. After spending time applying math in many business situations, and living abroad, she returned to Colorado and to teaching. During her free time Ms. Binkley continues to seek out new experiences which she can share with her students. Ms. Binkley taught math in Costa Rica in 2011-2012.
Sally Bishop is our Italian teacher. Growing up, her family hosted exchange students and visitors from all over the world. So when she was old enough, struck by a fascination with other cultures she had developed during this time, she applied and was accepted to the American Field Service exchange program. At the time, it was only possible to select a hemisphere, not a country, and though she had disliked Italy during a visit there the summer before, AFS “sent” her there nonetheless. That year proved to be a life-changing experience. Italy’s people and culture captured her imagination and heart, as well as the family with whom she lived and has remained close to for more than thirty years. This experience cemented in her a belief in the power of cultural exchanges and has now led her to fulfill a life-long dream of establishing an exchange with high school in Italy. Following her year abroad, she attended Colorado College, lived and studied in France, earning a B.A. in Romance Languages. An avid cyclist, she worked in the bicycle industry and eventually lead and designed cycling tours in Italy, France and Switzerland. When the desire to teach struck, she came to Denver and earned a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado at Denver.
Jennifer Boyle is a social studies teacher at DCIS. She is a proud Denver native and graduate of East High School. Jennifer completed her undergraduate degree from Ithaca College with a major in History and minor in Speech Communication. She has a background in non-profit management, education, and summer camp administration. This year, she plans to start working towards her masters in curriculum and instruction with a focus in linguistically diverse education at the University of Colorado Denver.
Jennifer was recently elected board President of the Young Philanthropist Project (YPP) for the 2011 – 2012 fiscal year. YPP is an organization that raises awareness regarding child abuse and neglect in alliance with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for Children in the 18th judicial district.
Outside of the classroom, she enjoys going to the mountains as much as possible and spending time with friends and family
Jennifer Boyle is out on Maternity leave through mid-April.
Jef Brown is a science teacher at DCIS. Prior to coming to DCIS Jef taught nine years at Kunsmiller Middle School. Jef received his B.A. in Science from Otterbein College in Ohio, as well as, a B.S. in Nursing from Regis University. He enjoys travel both in the U.S. and in Europe, and has led student trips to England, Ireland, and Wales; Italy and France; and Washington DC and Williamsburg, VA. In the spring of 2014, he will be leading a trip to Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. He hopes to inspire his students with his love of travel, science, and life long learning. In his spare time Jef loves to cook, hike and spend time in the mountains no matter the season.
Phone: (720) 423-9033
David Cohen is one of DCIS’s English teachers. He has a B.A. in English from Middlebury College and an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Montana. For five years, he ran a small tutoring company in Chicago, helping high school students prepare for college.
Misa Contreras-Williams has been with Denver Public Schools since 2002. She is one of DCIS’s math teachers. Misa has taught Algebra, Geometry, and second year Algebra previously at West High School for three years. She also worked at Grant Middle School for a year. Before working for Denver Public Schools she worked in the Information Technology field for over ten years. Misa has a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from University of Colorado Boulder, an M.S. in Information Systems and an M.B.A. from the University of Colorado Denver. She received her teaching license from Metropolitan State College of Denver. Misa is fluent in English and Spanish.
Phone: (720) 423-9047
Aaron Dobberstein is a social studies teacher at DCIS and recently received his teaching certification from the University of Colorado Denver in May 2013. He previously worked as an intellectual property paralegal for 11 years at Microsoft in Seattle and London, and more recently at Dish Network in Denver. Aaron earned his B.A. at Western Washington University with a focus on International Business and German in 1998, and he received a MSc in the History of International Relations from the London School of Economics in 2006. Aaron has spent time studying in Heidelberg, Germany and also lived in London for a few years. He loves to travel and has visited 30 countries around the world. In his spare time, he enjoys skiing, biking, snowboarding, playing sports, and spending time with his family. Aaron is very excited to be teaching Civics, Economics, Comparative Government, and Cross-Cultural Communications in his first year at DCIS.
Phone: (720) 423-
Frank Doyle is a mathematics teacher at DCIS. Frank taught at Skinner Middle School for ten years. He was honored to serve as a Math Facilitator at Skinner for two years before deciding to return to the classroom to work more directly with the students. Frank was born and raised in Denver, but enjoys traveling to anywhere on the planet. His travels have taken him to Central America, particularly Costa Rica, where a college friend lives and whose wife helped Frank to become fluent in Spanish. Other travels have taken Frank through Scandinavia after attending a wedding in Sweden, and most recently, his ‘motherland’, Ireland. Frank has led students on many winter sports trips & fishing trips, which he hopes to not only continue, but expand here at DCIS.
Brady Efting is a Social Studies Teacher at DCIS. Brady has lived the majority of his life in the ski towns of Colorado. He received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Northern Colorado and is currently enrolled at C.U. Denver to finish his Masters degree. This is Brady’s first year as a teacher at DCIS. Prior to teaching, Brady worked as a Paralegal with dreams of going to law school. While working as a Paralegal Brady soon realized that the law was not for him and decided that he needed to find a career which better suited him. This led Brady to teaching and ultimately to DCIS. When not working, Brady enjoys spending his free time outdoors. A few of his hobbies are snowboarding, hiking, camping and of course traveling.
Karen has a B.A. in Dance from California State University, Long Beach, 1979. She also has a M.A. in Secondary English Instruction from the University of Colorado, 1985. Karen is a National Board for Professional Teacher Standards in Adolescent Literacy, 2003. She earned a Ph.D. in Education from Capella University in 2007. Karen has 23 years teaching experience in a variety of alternative, charter, and conventional schools in Denver and Jefferson Counties including High School Redirection, East High School, The Community Involved Charter School, and Manual High School.
Li Mei Ge
Limei Ge is DCIS’s Chinese teacher. She was born in China and is a native Chinese speaker. She came to the US in 1987 as a visiting scholar at the University of Colorado at Denver. She is a certified Chinese language teacher and has taught Chinese Language and Literature at both the University of Colorado at Denver and the University of Denver. Limei came to DCIS as a Chinese language teacher and Chinese program coordinator in 1992 and designed all the levels in Chinese language classes and a Chinese History & Culture course. During the past ten years, she has coordinated and organized several exchange programs between China and the US – these included hosting a Chinese professor from the Beijing Language Institute, organizing teaching material exchanges between Shanghai Shi Bei Secondary School and DCIS, and leading the DCIS student and teacher exchange program with the Kunming Foreign Language School and APSA program. Through the CIS Chinese program many students and teachers have visited China over the past years and the Chinese program has been highly evaluated by both the US Department of Education and the Chinese government.
Phone: (720) 423-9020
Janet Glovinsky is one of DCIS’s guidance counselors. She was the counselor at West High School for five years and has had the pleasure of helping many students win scholarships and get admitted into their first choice colleges. She recieved her B.A. from Syracuse University in English and her M.A. from the University of Colorado, Denver in counseling. Janet has had many years experience as a counselor, teacher and chess coach in public schools. She is a tournament chess player who has been consistently listed among the top 100 female players in the U.S. and has been the top rated female player in Colorado for several years. Janet has published two collections of poetry; the first was a limited edition book by Bacculite Press in 1981, and her second manuscript was recently published as a special edition of Madblood Magazine. She has read poetry around Colorado and has also appeared on public television. She recently had her premier solo exhibition as a painter at BlueJack Gallery and is scheduled for a second show this summer. As a child, Janet initially resisted learning another language when her mother tried to drag her to Hebrew school. She continued to resist learning world languages while studying in Germany, Costa Rica and Mexico. That said, she enjoys working with faculty and students more gifted than herself and hopes that some of their language abilities may transfer to her.
Amy Gonzalez is one of DCIS’s guidance counselors. Amy Gonzalez graduated from Colorado State University in 1993 and received both her Masters in Counseling from the University of Phoenix and an Administrative License from the University of Denver. She has worked in DPS for 14 years, twelve at West High School as bilingual social studies teacher and counselor. She spent two years at Skinner Middle School and now is excited to be part of the DCIS team. She has two children who attend DPS schools. She has traveled throughout Mexico and currently takes her children to visit their father’s family who live in Cuernavaca, Morelos.
Phone: (720) 423-9094
Kirsten Hansen has been with DCIS since 2001. Prior to joining DCIS, she taught for three years at Balarat, Denver Public Schools’ Outdoor Education Center. Before moving to Denver from Michigan, Kirsten served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lesotho training rural village teachers. While there, she traveled extensively in southern and east Africa. Ms. Hansen has an M.A. in Global Studies from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and a B.A. in Social Sciences with an emphasis in Psychology. Ms. Hansen has traveled through western Europe, worked rebuilding homes in Honduras after Hurricane Mitch, visited Turkey, received a PEBC Fund for Teachers Grant to study Spanish in Oaxaca, and accompanied nine DCIS students on a summer community service trip to Costa Rica. Most recently, she participated in a Gilder Lehrman Institute for teachers on the Global Cold War at Clare College, Cambridge University.
Theresa Harrold is the Intervention Specialist and Case Manager for DCIS Middle School students. She has worked in Denver Public Schools for 12 years at the middle and high school level. She has a BA in English from Fort Lewis College with minor in History, and a MA in Special Education from the University of Colorado at Denver. Theresa lived and taught in South America for a year, and has taken students on trips to Mongolia and Europe.
Phone: (720) 423-9078
I have been teaching twenty-five years, twenty-three in DPS as a physical education teacher. I attended University of Northern Colorado on an athletic scholarship–football–and majored in P.E with a minor in psychology. I grew up in Queens, NY. I have two grown children and an eight year old grandson. I enjoy golfing, coaching, and bike riding in my free time.
Phone: (720) 423-9062
Sara Hirsch is our Spanish teacher. She began learning Spanish as a seventh grader. In high school she travelled to San Luís Potosí, Mexico with the Indiana University Honors program in foreign language. On this trip, she lived with a family, took outside trips, took classes, and was only allowed to speak in Spanish. This program is where she fell in love with, not only the language, but also the culture and people. She continued studying Spanish through college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she again chose to study in Mexico (Guanajuato). She graduated college with a Bachelors of Science in Spanish. She then moved to Denver and began teaching elementary school in an ELA-S classroom. After a few years, she began and then completed a Master’s Degree in Spanish from the University of Northern Colorado. During that time, she moved to teaching Spanish in secondary, continued her passion of dance, and travelled to Salamanca, Spain for a summer. After a few years of moving around schools, she has found her home at DCIS, where is starting her eleventh year of teaching.
Phone: (720) 423-9022
Phone: (720) 423-9057
Monica Johnston is the DCIS school nurse. She received a BSN from University of Central Missouri, as well as a BA from Columbia College. Originally from Missouri, she moved to Denver in 2011 to start working for Denver Public Schools. Before moving here she worked as a surgical nurse at a Veterans Hospital for three years. She is a veteran of the Army Reserves where she spent two years deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In her free time she likes to bike, hike with her dog, Ranger, travel, and Crossfit.
Phone: (720) 423-9104
Ian Kearns is one of DCIS’s science teachers. Ian brings with him three years of teaching experience. For two of those years he taught science in a rural village of Namibia with the Peace Corps. Ian decided to teach in Africa because he thought it would be the best way that he could affect the epidemic of AIDS that is paralyzing southern Africa. While working with this goal in mind Ian just happened to fall in love with teaching. Upon returning to the states he pursued his teaching certificate in his home town of Dayton Ohio. Although Ian grew up in the midwest he has always had an inclination towards the mountains. Ian’s hobbies include cycling, rock climbing, fishing, and hiking. Mr. Kearns is on sabbatical for the 2013-2014 school year. Mr. Kearns is out on leave for the 2013-2014 school year.
Sarah Lebovic joined the DCIS faculty in 2010. Upon completing her English B.A. at the University of North Florida in 2007, she spent a year in the Balkans developing English language curriculum for summer camp programs. Afterwards, she completed her teaching license and M.A. in Secondary English Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Colorado Denver. In summer 2012, she taught American Literature in China and has been awarded a Fulbright Seminar opportunity in Turkey during summer 2013. For professional communities, she continues to be involved with The Denver Writing Project and Colorado Language Arts Society.
Phone: (720) 423-9061
Jane Lineman-Coffman is the DCIS school psychologist. She is a Texas native and has been with DPS since 2007. Before moving to Denver, she worked as a math teacher and peer mediation facilitator. Jane earned her BS, MS, and SSP from Barry University and received her PhD from the University of Denver. She enjoys spending time with family and traveling. She has traveled all around the US, Mexico, Canada, and the islands of the Caribbean.
Phone: (720) 423-9077
Laurie Lopez-Nelson is DCIS’s bookkeeper. She is a graduate of the Denver Public Schools, and has worked for them since 1990. She has one daughter, one cat, one granddaughter, and one granddog. She loves kids, and is committed to making their school experience memorable and happy.
Phone: (720) 423-9108
Dr. Dan Lutz is currently directing the development of a new DPS school based on the DCIS model and scheduled to open in the far northeast area of Denver in August, 2011. Dr. Lutz is a graduate of DPS’s South High School and received a B.A. in English from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He began his education career in a unique program that combined the Teacher Corps in New York with the Peace Corps in Afghanistan. This experience gave him his start as a high school teacher, a Masters degree in Cross-Cultural Education and a passion for international education. After working as a trainer for new Peace Corps Volunteers in Iran, he returned to the U.S. to teach in the Denver Public Schools. He became the Director of the CIS Magnet Program at Denver West High School in 1985, and has enjoyed the creativity of international and cross-cultural program development for high school students. In 1992 he completed his Ph.D. in Curriculum Leadership from the University of Denver. He has taught graduate classes in global education for the University of Denver and the University of Colorado at Denver. One of the founders of the Korean Heritage Camp for families with adopted children from that country, he later served on the Board of Directors for Colorado Heritage Camps, an organization that expanded the concept of the original camp to six others. He is the founder and former principal of DCIS and is completing a novel.
Phone: (720) 423-9079
Paul Mahon is one of DCIS’s science teachers. He is a California transplant. While in California he earned a B.S. in Geology and a Teaching Credential from California State University at Fresno. Yes, Paul was a Bulldog. In 1988 he and his wife joined the Peace Corps and lived in the Dominican Republic for the next two and a half years. There he learned a new culture and a second language. Paul loves to ski, so Colorado was his choice when he returned from the Peace Corps. In Denver, Mr. Mahon continued his education by receiving a Master’s degree in education from the University of Phoenix. He has fifteen years of experience teaching science in Denver Public Schools. For six of those years he was a physics and earth science teacher. During the last eight years he has been a chemistry and astronomy teacher. In those fifteen years, he has taught a mix of AP Chemistry, AP Physics, algebra and biology. In the last year Mr. Mahon has dived into the world of middle school science. It has been a learning experience. The 7th grade science curriculum is Science and Life Issues. Mr. Mahon thinks highly of the course.
Phone: (720) 423-9048
Susan Marion is one of the English Language Arts teachers at DCIS. She is a total geek about learning and language—teaching, achievement motivation, educational theory, practice, assessment–and a B.F.A. (NYU), two M.Ed.s (U.Mass, Harvard) and an Ed.D. (Harvard) “just because I can’t stop.” She has taught every level from preschool to grad school, almost all of it in large urban public school districts. She has also worked in central administration as a curriculum coordinator, specializing in high school English reform. She is thrilled to be among the other teacher-geeks at DCIS, helping to internationalize the English Language Arts curriculum and work on curriculum integration, differentiation, assessment of and for learning, arts infusion and differentiation techniques for our fabulous students. Her latest international research in English language and culture was in the UK and she is especially excited about putting together a series of cultural learning excursions to English-speaking countries around the world for our potential English Language Arts geeks (that’s everyone) at DCIS.
Barb Martin joined DCIS in 2010 as the Disability Access Teacher and continues to be an integral part of the special education department. She teams with various teachers to assist students in classrooms, and provides guidance for the 9-12 graders on her caseload. After completing a Sociology/Anthropology BA from New Mexico Highlands University, she worked on a Master’s Degree in Theatre and switched gears to pursue a teaching license in Social Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder. In addition to working for the past 10 years in public schools, Barb’s experience includes teaching in residential treatment facilities, juvenile detention centers, and charter schools. Barb lives with her husband and two daughters, on a ranch on the Eastern Plains, just outside of Denver, where she and her family raise animals and participate in 4-H activities. She has traveled to Europe, Mexico, Canada, and the Bahamas, and would like to venture to South America, Africa, and New Zealand. Barb says that DCIS is one of the most wonderful schools she has ever taught in, and appreciates working within such a diverse and cultural atmosphere.
Phone: (720) 423-9055
Takaaki Matsumoto is DCIS’s Japanese teacher. With an extensive background in teaching both here and in Japan, Mr. Matsumoto thoroughly enjoys working with students. He has taught Japanese, Physical Education, and Health Sciences. In addition to teaching in the classroom, he is extremely active in coaching and sharing his enthusiasm for sports. At DCIS, Mr. Matsumoto has developed the Japanese curriculum and regularly enhances the program with several cultural activities and guest speakers. Every year several of his students go to Japan.
Phone: (720) 423-9014
James Mayes has been with the Denver Public Schools for 17 years; since 2005, he has served as the facility manager at DCIS. Before coming to DCIS, he worked at West High School, Hamilton Middle School, and Knight Fundamental Academy. James was born in Denver, grew up in Morrison, and attended Bear Creek High School. He enjoys classic muscle cars and traveling.
Phone: (720) 423-9065
Gerardo Muñoz is entering his twelfth year as a social studies teacher in Denver Public Schools. This is his fourth year at DCIS, where he teaches Introduction to Cultural Studies, Cross-Cultural Communication, Economics, and Connections. He will serve as an eigthth grade advisor this year, as well as coach the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams, and the DCIS Debate Team. He recently completed his Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and has degrees in History and Latin American Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and has served as adjunct professor of education at the University of Colorado at Denver and the Teacher’s Institute at La Academia. An alumnus of Denver Public Schools, he graduated from Manual High in 1994. He has taught numerous DPS Social Studies courses. He has traveled in Latin America and Western Europe. He is married, and has a daughter. Most recently, his reading of the work of Dr. Jeffrey Duncan-Andrade has given him new ways to reflect on classroom communities and high expectations in school. He welcomes full community participation in his classroom. His hobbies include reading and sports.
Phone: (720) 423-9023
Dorothy Norbie is DCIS’s Teacher/Librarian. B.A. in English, Univ. of Colorado/Denver; Masters in Library Science, Univ. of Denver, Secondary Teacher Cert., English/L.A., Regis Univ. Work experience: law librarian, corporate librarian, researcher, and public librarian; real estate rennovator and city government worker. As a parent of DPS students her experience includes: PTSA, CDM, organizing fund raisers and parents, classroom support, and leading field trips. Travels include: Puerto Rico, Indonesia, Mexico, Canada, and Guatemala.
Phone: (720) 423-9107
Stephen Parce is the Principal at DCIS. He is a Colorado native and the fourth generation in his family to teach in D.P.S. Mr. Parce received his first degree at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN with a triple major in Business Administration, German and Psychology. He earned his second degree and teaching license at the Metropolitan State College of Denver with a major in History and a minor in Sociology. Mr. Parce earned his principal’s license and his Master’s degree in Administration, Supervision and Policy Studies at the University of Colorado. He began his studies for a PhD in Administration, Supervision & Policy Studies at the University of Denver in 2009. Prior to coming to D.C.I.S. Mr. Parce was an assistant principal at the Contemporary Learning Academy, DPS Night School and the GED Program for five years. Mr. Parce taught Computers & Technology classes at Morey Middle School to both students and teachers. Mr. Parce also taught a variety of subjects at Skinner Middle School that included; Social Studies, English as a Second Language, World Languages, and Computers and Technology. Mr. Parce has studied French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Esperanto, and a little Chinese. Mr. Parce has had the opportunities to travel to over 30 countries in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. He is working towards the goal and experience of continuing his travels and studies around the world as a life long student.
Phone: (720) 423-9100
Lorie Peña-Helm is a Colorado native. She was born in a small farming community, Ordway, CO, many, many years ago. Lorie is the social worker for DCIS; she has been part of DPS for over thirty years, primarily as a school social worker. Lorie took time off from her social work duties to earn a teaching certificate in Early Childhood Education and taught for three years, prior to returning to social work with DPS. Lorie earned her BA from Southern Colorado State College and her MSW from the University of Denver. Lorie enjoys traveling; over the years she has traveled to Europe, Spain, England, Germany, and Mexico several times and more recently to Guatemala and Costa Rica.
Phone: (720) 423-9082
As a Colorado native and graduate from North High School, I have been part of the DPS culture for the majority of my life. After receiving my BS from the University of Northern Colorado, I taught 1 year of science at Lake Middle school, 3 years at Smiley Middle school, and the past 19 years at West. During this time I have taught most all the science courses our department offered but consistently taught physics.
My passions embrace the Colorado outdoors and the many activities it offers. When not working, my wife, three sons and I can usually be found dirt biking, back packing, fly fishing, bike riding or traveling.
Because the Center For International Studies was a magnet school at West for the majority of the years I taught at West, I have many fond memories and continued relationships with both past students and faculty members of DCIS. This next step in my professional life is truly exciting!
Phone: (720) 423-9049
Jennifer Portillo is the Administrative Assistant/Post-Secondary Advisor at DCIS. She works half time supporting the counseling office and half time assisting the DCIS administrative team. She started her career in DPS at the Center for International Studies at West High school under the guidance of Limei Ge working as an assistant to Ms. Ge in Chinese. She worked both at CIS and subsequently at DCIS, as a Social Studies and a Chinese teacher. In 2011 she was part of the team that helped open DCIS at Montbello and worked there as a Social Studies and Chinese teacher before becoming the ISSN/Gates Grant administrator and the Post-Secondary Advisor. Jennifer grew up in Denver and is a proud East/Manual High Complex alumna. Jerry McCracken inspired her to become a teacher and included her in a student group that traveled to China from Manual in 1980. Jennifer graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in World History, received a certificate for Chinese language study at Beijing Normal University, and received her M.A. in East Asian Languages and Cultures from U.C.L.A. She is currently a graduate student in the UCD Counseling Program and is also working on her M.A. in Administrative Leadership.
Phone: (720) 423-9006
Darlene Rivera is one of DCIS’s social studies teachers. Darlene Rivera joined the DCIS social studies department in 2007. Darlene has been part of the Denver community and schools since 1991and her children both attended DPS schools. Teaching is a passion that Darlene discovered late in life, and her first career was in the field of business software and database development. In 2002, she decided to go back to college and earn a B.A. in Behavioral Sciences with a minor in Secondary Education. Darlene graduated from Metropolitan State College, summa cum laude, in 2005. Her passions include traveling and studying international relations. While Darlene has not had the opportunity to live in a country outside of the United States, her appreciation of world cultures has been manifested through traveling over the years to islands in the Caribbean, coastal and interior places in Mexico and Canada. Additionally, through association with the Deliberating in Democracy group, Darlene has had the opportunity to travel to Estonia.
Kimberly Rodriquez is one of the social studies teachers at DCIS. She received her BA in history at Metropolitan State College of Denver and is currently working towards a Masters in Political Science with a focus on International Relations. Kim also works with Denver Public Schools designing and piloting social studies curriculum as well as providing training to other teachers to implement the district curriculum. She is a proud Denver native and excited to a part of DCIS.
Phone: (720) 423-9009
Julie has been teaching for Denver Public Schools since 2001 and is the CTE (Career & Technology Education) and FBLA Adviser (Future Business Leaders of America) for DCIS. She attended Eastern Michigan University and received her BBA with emphasis in finance. She received her teaching certificate from Metro State. Julie has held many positions in her career including, but not limited to, a stockbroker, training coordinator, mortgage broker, mortgage underwriter, receptionist, child-care, tutor, dog-sitter, short-order cook, server, event organizer, banquet server and now her favorite, a teacher.
Julie enjoys traveling, hanging out with her dog, cooking, tennis, hiking and Zumba. Some of her most recent travel playgrounds include Costa Rica, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Cuba.
As a former Future Business Leader of America State Board member and current adviser; she is excited for the business opportunities of leadership, travel and networking FBLA has to offer our high school students!
Carl Spetzler was inspired to become a Social Studies teacher in order to share his love of Cultural Geography and Experiential Education. International travel has fueled these interests beginning with bicycling through Europe at the age of fourteen and later circumnavigating the globe by ship while studying with Semester at Sea. Over the years, he has explored twenty-four countries on five continents. Most recently, his adventures have taken him to the top of Kilimanjaro in Africa, into the Andes and rain forests of South America, and helicopter-assisted snowboarding in the Canadian Rockies. As a student, Mr. Spetzler has earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Geography and Psychology and a Master of Arts Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Denver. He recently completed his Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at University of Colorado at Denver. His twenty year teaching career began in Crested Butte where he taught multiple subjects and grade levels from pre-school to post-secondary. It was during this time that he was enthused by the Colorado Writing Project to teach Language Arts. Since then he has taught Secondary English in Fort Collins and worked as a Teacher on Special Assignment in Denver Public Schools. He is a mediator and facilitator of Restorative Justice as well as a consultant in the field of Decision Education. In 2010, Mr. Spetzler accompanied DCIS students to Mongolia and the Navajo Reservation as part of the Luby-Jenkins School Pairing Program, a Denver Sister Cities International sponsored student exchange. For the future, he has set his sights on Antarctic exploration as a co-sponsor of the DCIS Expedition Club. Through the efforts of students in the DCIS Passages program, Mr. Spetzler chaperoned a documentary film-making expedition to Cuba in 2012.
Phone: (720) 423-9035
After more than 20 years of teaching in DPS, Dave Tabano is proud to be joining the DCIS Team as a member of the Social Studies Dept. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y.C, Dave earned his Bachelors degree in Secondary Ed.: Social Studies and in International Relations from Florida International University in Miami. He also taught U.S. Government and Math at Miami Central High before moving to Denver where he began teaching Science at Annunciation and Algebra at St. Mary’s Academy. He is married and has three sons who graduated from East High and are currently attending UCD. Dave’s travels include Jamaica and Vancouver, Canada but in 2002 and 2004 he was fortunate to have been chosen to study in China and Japan. He received a Certificate for Advanced Studies of Chinese Language and Culture from Beijing University.
Phone: (720) 423-9007
John Tricarico is an assistant principal at DCIS. He is a native of Denver and a graduate of North High School. He holds a B.A. in mathematics and an M.A. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Colorado at Denver. He has worked in the Denver Public Schools for over 25 years and joined the DCIS staff in 2013. Mr. Tricarico taught mathematics and other subjects and at Kepner Middle School for six years and all levels of mathematics at West High School for seven years. For the past 13 years, he has been an assistant principal at North High School, Henry World School and Abraham Lincoln High School.
Mr. Tricarico is married and has three teenage children, two in high school and one in middle school. He enjoys spending as much time as possible with his family. On his free time, he enjoys being outdoors either road or mountain biking, as well as competing in triathlons.
Mr. Tricarico previously worked with the Center for International Studies while at West High, and he is excited to be able to work with the students and staff at DCIS.
Natalie van Zyl
Natalie van Zyl is one of the secretaries at the Denver Center for International Studies. She was born in Texas, and was moved around the United States and Europe until her family settled in Denver, Colorado. Natalie has been with the Denver Public Schools since fourth grade, starting her career months after graduating from South High School. Natalie has traveled to many different states across the United States, and spends a great deal of time once a year in South Africa where her husband’s family resides. Natalie joined the Denver Center for International Studies community in October of 2010. She has been attempting to learn both Afrikaans and Spanish, but is not fluent in either. She and her husband try and travel as much as possible, and are willing to go anywhere. She really would like to spend time in Europe and South America.
Phone: (720) 423-9106
Culum Walsh holds a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Colorado. Following his U.S. Peace Corps service in the Dominican Republic, he taught Spanish at Kent Denver School for seven years. After earning his M.A. in Foreign Languages from the University of Northern Colorado, he taught English Language Acquisition, Spanish, and Introduction to Literature at Manual High School for six years. Currently, he teaches middle and high school language arts. He is fully bilingual in Spanish and English. His international experiences include a junior year abroad in Seville, Spain; organizing cultural immersion and service learning trips for students in México and the Dominican Republic; graduate work in Madrid, Spain; and an International Learning Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Phone: (720) 423-9029
Teriann is a math and science teacher at DCIS. She has been teaching for 7 years, and lives southeast of Denver on a hobby farm where she raises her two children along with dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits, geese, goats, an alpaca and a horse. Teriann began her professional life working as a biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service in Galveston, TX. She then worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on various ships conducting scientific research in Pacific waters between Alaska to Mexico. She began her teaching career after doing graduate work in Pensacola, FL, and taught high school math and science in Florida and then Arizona. She moved from Arizona to Maryland to work as an Aerospace Education Specialist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, where she was responsible for conducting teacher training workshops and giving student assembly presentations at schools in a 13 state region between Maine and Virginia. 6 years ago Teriann moved from Maryland to Colorado. Colorado is the 13th US state she has lived in, and she has visited every other one except for Montana. She has traveled internationally to Korea, Japan, Mexico, and Canada.
Michelle Wright is the Assistant Principal at DCIS. She is a graduate of Denver East High School, received her B.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and her M.A. in International Administration from the University of Denver. She received her teaching license at Metropolitan State College and her principal’s license at the University of Colorado.
Prior to coming to DCIS, Ms. Wright was an Assistant Principal at Godsman Elementary School for three years, was the Dean of Students at Rachel B. Noel Middle School, and a teacher at Skinner Middle School where she taught English and Social Studies. She also taught English at a local language institute in Denver, at a language school in Mérida, Venezuela, and in Cuernavaca, México. Her love for international studies and language began as a child when her family served as a host for visitors from both Switzerland and Uganda. She has traveled to Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Costa Rica, studied abroad in Venezuela, and had the privilege to serve as a student ambassador to China during her junior year in high school. In the near future, she hopes to expand her international travel to the Philippines, Brazil, Australia, and Europe. She is fluent in Spanish and has also studied French and Portuguese. She has one daughter in elementary school, who is currently becoming bilingual in Spanish as well.
Phone: (720) 423-9102
Ms. Younts is the new drama teacher at DCIS. A Chicago native, she received her BA in Theater Arts and Art History at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus and studied Performance Art abroad at Queen Mary University of London. Ms. Younts was placed in Denver through Teach for America in 2009 and began her career as a special education teacher in Denver Public Schools, and then taught drama in the K-8 setting as well as for the Museo de las Americas in Denver, for the Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis and for Denver CAMP. She is currently working on her MA in Theater Education at the University of Northern Colorado and can’t get enough of living near the mountains and creating theater with youth. She is very excited to start this new adventure at DCIS.
Marek Zielinski is one of DCIS’s mathematics teachers. He was born in Poland, where he completed his primary education. His post-secondary education was interrupted by his emigration, first to Austria and then to the United States. In the United States, he attended the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg while working to support his family. After six long years, he graduated with a B.A. in Mathematics Education. Shortly after that, he moved to Colorado in search of four seasons. He taught for over a decade at West High School and has been at Thomas Jefferson High for the past three years. Along the way, he earned an M.A. in Educational Counseling. Mr. Zielinski’s three children are of legal drinking age and have their own lives. He considers himself rather a private person.
Phone: (720) 423-9031