Administration & Support
Social Studies
Special Ed
World Language

Administration & Support

Stefanie Abrams

Stefanie Abrams is one of DCIS’s school counselors, responsible for students with last names A-L. She was born and raised in Colorado, and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado, Denver. After earning her Master’s of Science in School Counseling from the University of Phoenix, she worked as a counselor at East High School for six years. She is currently a DPS New Counselor Mentor and the high school vice president of the Colorado School Counselor Association. She is proud to be a first generation college graduate in her family, and she is grateful to have had the opportunity to play basketball at the collegiate level. She continues to enjoy athletics and spending time with her family. She spends much of her summers boating and camping, and is looking forward to traveling internationally.
▶ Email: stefanie_abrams@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9006

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.
▶ Email: geri_badler@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9071

Ted Brugman

Ted Brugman is our new counselor. He is responsible for the students with last names  M-Z. He is originally from Massachusetts.
▶ Email: ted_brugman@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9094

Marlene Garcia

Marlene Garcia is one of our secretaries; she manages DCIS’s attendance, among other responsibilities. She was born in Juarez, Mexico and moved to Denver when she was 12 years old. She graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in 2006, and from the Denver School of Massage Therapy in 2008. She’s provided office support in a number of different places, including private schools, mortgage companies, and local magazines; she’s been with DPS since 2008. She’s visited most of the United States, on road trips to South Dakota, California, Washington (state), Texas, and Florida (all the way to Key West). Traveling around the world remains one of her main goals in life. She speaks English and Spanish, and studied Italian for four years in high school. She’s grateful to have been raised in two different cultures; it has given her the opportunity to value and appreciate all the people around her— and to have the best of both worlds.
▶ Email: marlene_garcia@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9103

Mario Giardiello


Mario Giardiello is an Assistant Principal at DCIS.

▶ Email: mario_giardiello@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423 – 9102

Jane Lineman-Coffman

Jane Lineman-Coffman is the DCIS school psychologist. She is a Texas native but lived in South Florida prior to joining DPS in 2007. She earned her MS in Psychology and Specialist in School Psychology (SSP) from Barry University and her PhD in Child, Family and School Psychology from the University of Denver. Currently, she participates in the mentoring program for new school psychologists joining DPS and serves as a member on the District Crisis Team. She loves being a school psychologist and feels honored to be part of the DCIS community. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, kayaking, and traveling.
▶ Email: jane_lineman@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9077

Laurie Lopez-Nelson

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.
▶ Email: laurie_lopez-nelson@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9108

James Mayes

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.
▶ Email: james_mayes@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9065

Theresa Mccorquodale

Theresa Mccorquodale is DCIS’s principal. Most recently from Austin, Texas, she was born and raised in the New York/New Jersey area. She moved to Dallas, TX during her high school years, and remained in Texas, attending the University of Texas at Austin for both undergraduate and graduate school. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Plan II Honors program at UT (including a double major in English and Spanish), and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. She has 3 fantastic children and an awesome husband. Travel has been a life-long passion for Ms. McCorquodale who was an AFS exchange student to Paraguay while in high school. She spent a semester in Spain during her college years, where she attended the University of Seville. She has travelled extensively in South America, Central America and Europe as well as throughout Canada and the United States. She absolutely LOVES Colorado and is seriously wondering what took her so long to get here.
▶ Email: theresa_mccorquodale@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9100

Melisa Monteon


Melisa Monteon is one of the three School Counselors at DCIS. She is responsible for students with last names H-O. Melisa was born and raised in California. This is her third year as a School Counselor and first year in Colorado. She received her Master’s Degree in School Counseling from San Diego State. She is also the first in her family to graduate college. Some of her favorite things to do are spend time with her friends and family. Melisa hopes to one day visit all of the professional baseball parks in the United States.

▶ Email: melisa_monteon@dpsk12.org

▶ Phone: (720) 423-9105

Dorothy Norbie

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.
▶ Email: dorothy_norbie@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9107

Jennifer Portillo

Jennifer Portillo is the Administrative Assistant/Post-Secondary Advisor at DCIS. 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.

▶ Email: jennifer_portillo@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9082

Brian Powell

brian powell

Brian Powell is the new social worker at DCIS.  He just finished his Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver, and did both of his internships with Denver Public Schools while completing his masters.  Mr. Powell is originally from Cincinnati, OH, and moved to Denver two years ago with his wife Anna. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, hiking, playing with his dog, and seeing live music. Mr. Powell has traveled to Germany, Switzerland, and France, and is hoping to be traveling soon to the British Isles and Eastern Europe with his family.

▶ Email: brian_powell@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: Office – (720)423-9005, Personal – (513)787-8172

Dayana Quintana

Dayana Quintana is one of DCIS’s secretaries. She was born and raised in Chihuahua, Mexico, and moved to Denver, Colorado when she was 14 years old. She comes from a big, close family; she is the youngest of six siblings. She graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in 2002 and is currently a student at CCD. She is married with two children– one at DCIS middle school, and one at DCIS Fairmont. Her whole family speaks English and Spanish, and are taking Chinese classes to expand their language knowledge. She enjoys road trips, and will soon be able to say that she’s visited every one of the United States. She’s excited to expand her trip-going experience to other countries (beyond Mexico).
▶ Email: dayana_quintana@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9106

Melanie Schultz

Melanie Schultz is a Ritchie intern and administrative assistant at DCIS. She grew up on the east coast and taught high school math in New York City before sunny skies drew her out west. Here in DPS, Melanie has been coaching and evaluating teachers from central office.  Now she is so excited to be part of the DCIS team, managing assessments, working with teachers, and getting to know the amazing student population.

▶ Email: melanie_schultz@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone:(720)423-9088

John Tricarico

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 26 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 14 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, all currently in High 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.

▶ Email: john_tricarico@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9047

Miguel Urdiales

Miguel Urdiales is DCIS’s technology manager.

▶ Email: miguel_urdiales@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9018

Freeman Walker

Freeman Walker is the school security guard.

▶ Email: freeman_walker@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone:


S.A. Bennett

S.A. Bennett is DCIS’s art teacher. She was born in Discovery Bay, Jamaica, and grew up in Negril, Westmoreland, Jamaica. She went to MONA campus in Kingston for teacher training, completing her studies at the University of Colorado. She also received a Milton Avery Grant to attend D.U. based on some of her artwork. She began teaching for DPS in 1983 at Cole Middle School. In addition to Cole, she’s taught at Green Island Secondary in Green Island, Hanover, and Mannings in Savanna la Mar, Westmoreland (both in Jamaica); Lincoln High School in Port Arthur, Texas; as well as Gove, Skinner, Place and Smiley in DPS. She loves her DCIS students, and considers them some of the smartest, nicest students she’s ever taught.
▶ Email: s_bennett@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9070

Caroline Kerswill

Ms. Kerswill is the 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. Kerswill 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.
▶ Email: caroline_younts@dpsk12.org
▶ Website: drama; drama club
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9042


David Cohen

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.
▶ Email: david_cohen2@dpsk12.net
▶ Website: mistercohen.com
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9095

Sara Finnegan-Doyon

My name is Sara Finnegan-Doyon, and I am delighted to join the DCIS community this year as an American Lit and World Lit teacher. Teaching is my passion; there is nothing I love more than working with students to explore the magic of reading and writing while connecting it with the greater truths of the human experience.

I started my teaching career at Denver School of the Arts (DSA), where I co-chaired the Creative Writing Department. In 2011, I left DSA to teach 4th grade at an international school in Bali, Indonesia. The two years I spent there were magical and provided the opportunity for me to fall in love with SUP (both flat water and catching waves), mountain biking, cross-cultural communication, snorkeling and spending time on boats. In 2013 I moved to Durango, CO where I taught 10th Grade Humanities at a charter school. It is lovely to be back in my hometown. I look forward to a great year!
▶ Email: sara_finnegan-doyon@dpsk12.org
▶ Websites: American Literature and World Literature
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9038

Julia Houk

Julia Houk is new to DCIS, as of spring 2015. Prior to DCIS, she taught 9th and 10th grade English and creative writing at the Pinnacle Charter School. Julia holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Colorado Denver, where she also served as Fiction Editor for Copper Nickel, and an M.A. in Secondary English Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Colorado Denver. She was a participant of the Denver Writing Project Summer Institute in 2013, and she is an ongoing member of the Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop Poetry Book Project.
▶ Email: julia_houk@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone:(720) 423-9029

Sarah Lebovic

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.
▶ Email: sarah_lebovic@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9061

Susan Marion

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.
▶ Email: susan_marion@dpsk12.org
▶ Websites: AP Lang
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9007

Rachel Stenftennagel

Rachel Stenftennagel is an English teacher at DCIS.  She has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Women’s and Gender Studies from The College of New Jersey.  Her academic courses not only taught her the art of teaching, but also allowed her to study literature and history through a unique lens.  While in college, she had the opportunity to participate in a global student teaching program in Rome, Italy. This is where she fell in love with traveling. Since then, Rachel has traveled throughout Europe and the United States. For the past five years, she has taught middle school language arts and social studies.  She is extremely passionate about helping her students reach their greatest potential and discovering their talents. She loves to travel, cook, read, run, and explore Colorado in her free time.  Rachel is so excited to work with such dynamic and internationally-minded students, as well as the wonderful staff at DCIS!

▶ Email: rachel_stenftennagel@dpsk12.org

▶ Website: Edmodo

▶ Phone:(720) 423-9053


Rachel Binkley

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 advice 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.
▶ Email: rachel_binkley@dpsk12.org
▶ Website: Binkley’s Virtual Classroom and 6th Grade Math
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9068

Courtney Iversen

▶ Email: courtney_iversen@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone:

 Marty Lessmann

Marty Lessmann teaches geometry and AP statistics at DCIS. He was born outside of St. Louis, Missouri, and attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins (a BA in business with a minor in math) and Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis (MAs in both Secondary Administration and Arts and Teaching). He has taught high school both in Saint Louis and in Niwot, Colorado. He is married to his travel buddy, Annette, who is a nurse. They enjoy sailing, fishing, and exploring the world together. His other hobbies include playing sports, riding bikes, fly fishing, choral singing, scuba diving for lobsters, and playing bridge.
▶ Email: martin_lessmann@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9046

Adam Reiter

Adam Reiter teaches 8th grade math and advanced algebra at DCIS. He was born and raised in Parker, Colorado.
▶ Email: adam_reiter@dpsk12.org
▶ Websites: Advanced Algebra 2 and 6th Grade Math
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9067

Elena Petrova

Elena Petrova teaches 7th and 8th grade math and runs DCIS’s credit recovery program.
▶ Email: elena_petrova@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9085

Teri Stewart

Teri Stewart teaches statistics and 7th grade math.
▶ Email: teresa_stewart@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9051

Teriann Whitington

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.
▶ Email: teriann_whitington@dpsk12.org
▶ Website: Ms. Whitington’s Website
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9097

Marek Zielinski

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 15 years at Thomas Jefferson and West High Schools, and has been at DCIS since it opened in 2006. 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.
▶ Email: marek_zielinski@dpsk12.org
▶ Websites: AP Calc, Advanced Algebra 2 and 6th Grade Math
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9031


Jeffrey Brown

Jeff Brown is a science teacher at DCIS. Prior to coming to DCIS Jef taught nine years at Kunsmiller Middle School. Jeff 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 Jeff loves to cook, hike and spend time in the mountains no matter the season.
▶ Email: jeffrey_brown@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9033

Paul Mahon

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.
▶ Email: paul_mahon@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9048

Frank Pomponio

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, backpacking, 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!

▶ Email: frank_pomponio@dpsk12.org
▶ Websites: Biology and Physics
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9034

Steven Rounds


I am new to DCIS this year teaching 9th grade Biology, after spending the last ten years teaching science at John F. Kennedy. After graduating from the University of Iowa, I joined the Peace Corps to work with rural farmers in Paraguay. Moving to Denver to enjoy the mountains and outdoors, I met my wife and now have two children, ages 1 and 5.   I have always loved science and enjoy hiking, fishing, camping, mountain climbing and traveling as often as I can. I am excited to work with such a fantastic faculty and student body at DCIS.

▶ Email: steven_rounds@dpsk12.org

▶ Phone: (720) 423-9049

Connor Saller

Connor Saller teaches chemistry and biology. A native of Fort Collins, CO, and a graduate of UNC, he is passionate about the process and practice of science in the classroom that can allow students to explore natural phenomena in our universe.
▶ Email: connor_saller@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9041

Social Studies

Kevin Adams

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 and Sophia. 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.
▶ Email: kevin_adams@dpsk12.org
▶ Website: Mr. Kevberad
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9092

Jennifer Boyle

Jennifer is a proud Colorado native and graduate of East High School. She completed her undergraduate degree from Ithaca College with a major in History and minor in Speech Communication and received her teaching license via the University of Colorado, Denver.
▶ Email: jennifer_boyle@dpsk12.org
▶ Website: Boyleteach.com
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9072

Sonia Burns

Sonia Burns graduated from Metropolitan State College of Denver with BA in History, minor in Spanish, and certification to teach secondary social studies. She has traveled throughout Italy, Spain, and France. In the summer of 2014 she received a Cambridge CELTA certification in Spain to teach English as a foreign language. In addition to teaching, Sonia is also passionate about dance and how it connects to culture. This has led her to extensively study dances from the Middle East and North Africa, as well as dancing with Flamenco Underground in and around Denver. Sonia considers herself a life-long student before being a teacher, and is always looking for new experiences, ideas, and interesting people to learn from.
▶ Email: sonia_burns@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9011

Aaron Dobberstein

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.
▶ Email: aaron_dobberstein@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9062

Patrick Garvey

▶ Email: patrick_garvey@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9025

Kirsten Hansen

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.
▶ Email: kirsten_gates@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9059

Gerardo Muñoz

Gerardo Muñoz is entering his fourteenth 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 a senior 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.
▶ Email: gerardo_munoz@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9023

Darlene Rivera

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 1991 and 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.
▶ Email: darlene_rivera@dpsk12.org
▶ Website: DCIS Room 209
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9073

Kimberly Rodriquez

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.
▶ Email: kimberly_rodriquez@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9009

Carl Spetzler

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.
▶ Email: carl_spetzler@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9025

Dave Tabano

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.
▶ Email: david_tabano@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9004

Julio Trujillo

Mr. Trujillo is a Denver Center for International Studies alumni, who super-excited to be returning to DCIS to teach a new generation of students. Julio graduated from Knox College and received a master of journalism for the University of Texas-Austin. He has worked previously as a journalist and editor. Julio loves the outdoors including bicycling, swimming and hiking. Julio also enjoys traveling. But his biggest passion is probably trivia, where Julio has competed in local and national trivia competitions, including being a contestant on the TV show Jeopardy! He also enjoys wearing sweater vests.
▶ Email: Julio_Trujillo@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: 720-423-9027


Special Ed

Helen Chavez

Helen is the Gifted and Talented Resource Teacher for DCIS two days a week. She has a Bachelors Degree in English Creative Writing from Metropolitan State University. She is endorsed in Secondary English; Middle School Humanities; Special Education; Gifted Education and, is Highly Qualified in Elementary Education. She has worked with Gifted, Highly Gifted, and Twice-Exceptional students for over 30 years as a parent volunteer, para-professional, and teacher. Besides working at DCIS, she is also currently teaching gifted students at Knapp Elementary and Greenlee Elementary Schools. She has taught pre-school through middle school.

She’s lived in Nebraska, California, Texas, Washington (state), Montana, and numerous cities in Colorado. She has traveled to most of the U.S. states, as well as to Mexico, Canada, and Italy. She has two sons: one in Los Angeles and the other in Brooklyn. She visits with both of them in NYC at least once a year. She loves to be on or at least near water and loves to kayak.

▶ Email: helen_chavez@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9052

Theresa Harrold

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.
▶ Email: theresa_harrold@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9078

Justina Kwapy

Justina Kwapty leads DCIS’s multi-intensive severe (MIS) program. She was born and raised on the East Coast, in New Jersey. Along with four younger brothers, she spent her childhood at the Jersey shore and in New York City. She attended K-12 school in New Jersey, and graduated from Rider College, outside of Princeton, with her Bachelor’s degree. After moving to Colorado, she attended Regis University where she earned her Master’s Degree in Special Education. She later earned her PhD in education from Capella University, graduating in 2004. She enjoys traveling, conducting research in special education, and writing. She recently had a chapter published in the textbook Building Online Communities in Higher Education Institutions: Creating Collaborative Experience, and is currently doing research on an e-portfolio system (Taskstream). She has three children, ages 21, 20 and 16.

▶ Email: justina_kwapy@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9076

Barbara Martin

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.
▶ Email: barbara_martin@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9055

World Language

Sally Bishop

Sally Bishop is our Italian teacher. Growing up, her family hosted exchange students and visitors from all over the world. So when old enough, struck by a fascination with other cultures she had developed during her childhood, 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 paired her with a family there nonetheless. That year proved to be a life-changing experience. Italy’s people and culture immediately captured her imagination and heart, as well as the family with whom she lived and has remained close to for almost forty 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 a cultural exchanges with a high school in Italy.

Following Sally’s year abroad, she attended Colorado College and lived and studied in France, earning a B.A. in Romance Languages. An avid cyclist, following college, she worked in the bicycle industry and eventually lead and designed cycling tours in Italy, France and Switzerland. When she was struck by the desire to teach, she came to Denver and earned a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado at Denver. She now cycles to work most days and loves the staff and students at DCIS.

▶ Email: sarah_bishop@dpsk12.org
▶ Website: Edmodo
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9015

Kelly Dickens

Kelly Dickens it thrilled to be part of the DCIS community as the English Language Development (aka ELA/ESL) teacher. Born in Southern California, raised in Austin, Texas, Mrs. Dickens graduated with a BA from The University of Texas at Austin with double major in Spanish Linguistics and Latin American Studies, alongside a minor in education. She has worked in urban schools for nearly twelve years where she has taught Spanish to Heritage Speakers, English Language Development and Language Arts.

Mrs. Dickens was fortunate to have many international opportunities as a young child; her family hosted exchange students from Japan, Denmark, and Argentina, whereby these experiences eventually inspired Mrs. Dickens to later travel internationally. In high school, Mrs. Dickens traveled with Rotary’s high school club, Interact, to Reynosa, Mexico. Also as a teenager, Mrs. Dickens lived and worked as a volunteer in rural Costa Rica and Dominican Republic where she worked on hygiene and sanitation projects, community development, and youth sports programs with the program Amigos de las Americas. Her junior year of college, Mrs. Dickens lived in Vina del Mar, Chile, where she studied at the Universidad Catolica Valparaiso. Mrs. Dickens enjoys snowboarding, snowshoeing, hiking, camping, traveling and cooking. When she is not outside, Mrs. Dickens enjoys cooking and relaxing with her husband and 130 pound Great Pyrenees (named Julio).
▶ Email: kellene_packard@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9063

Li Mei Ge

Li mei 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.
▶ Email: li-mei_ge@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9020

Sara Hirsch

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.
▶ Email: sara_hirsch@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9022

Jian Lin

JLin's picture
Jian Lin, Ed. D., is an affiliate faculty member at Metro State University and currently teaches CHN 1010 at DCIS to Metro State Extended Campus students. Prior to this role, she was a Vice Principal at Denver Language School, developing curriculum, supervising instruction, and leading professional development. In 2004, Jian was recognized as an “Excellent Contributor in Education” by Denver Public Schools. Jian is the co-author of the Chinese learning and teaching books Easy Book for Chinese Language Beginners, Lanbridge Chinese for Young Learners, and Lanbridge Pinyin for Young Learners. She is multi-lingual in English, Mandarin Chinese, and Cantonese.

▶ Email: jian.lin7@yahoo.com

 Kimimila Locke

Kimimila Locke is DCIS’s Lakota teacher. She is Lakota from the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota and Ahtna Dine from Tazlina, Alaska. She has her MA in Teaching and has been in education for the past twelve years as a middle and high school English teacher. In addition to teaching in several states including New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Georgia, and Colorado, she also taught two years overseas in the United Arab Emirates.
▶ Email: kimimila_locke@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9016

Sara Malnati

Sara Malnati is our French teacher. Her enthusiasm for travel and world languages began at seventeen when she traveled to France for a three-week school trip. After graduating from high school, Sara did a gap year in Lyon, France where she lived with three host families and attended a lycée (high school). This experience was by far one of the most important learning experiences of her life. In college, Sara participated in a service learning program called INVST. In this program, she learned about various issues in social justice and engaged in numerous volunteer projects including; building homes and learning about the culture of the Navajo nation, working in soup kitchens and learning about homelessness in Denver, and serving a community in need and learning about border issues in Mexico.

Sara has been teaching French and ESL for the past fifteen years. She loves teaching; while the mornings are early, her students give her the energy she needs to do the best job she can. She hopes to inspire her students to travel the world, learn new languages, and serve their communities. She is thrilled to be teaching French here at DCIS!

▶ Email: sara_malnati@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720)423-9021

Takaaki Matsumoto

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.
▶ Email: takaaki_matsumoto@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: (720) 423-9014

Rose Young-Romero

▶ Email: Rose_Young-Romero@dpsk12.org
▶ Phone: 720-423-9012