Head of School – Adriana Murphy
Adriana has worked in independent schools for 18 years, teaching both middle and lower school children. Adriana's most recent work was as the head of middle school at Friends Community School in College Park, Maryland, a Quaker K–8 independent school, a role she excelled in for eight years. Under her leadership the middle school increased enrollment by 50%. She was also a major part of the high school placement process there, as well as teaching 8th grade seminars and overseeing faculty training, developing advisory and orientation programs, and creating block scheduling. Adriana has Master’s degrees in Private School Leadership from the Klingenstein Center at Columbia University in New York City, and in Peace and Development Studies from Universitat Jaume I, Castellón, Spain. She has a BA from Bishop’s University, Pr. of Quebec, Canada. She is a native Spanish speaker, and proud of her Nicaraguan heritage. Raised Catholic, educated at an Anglican university, and later taught at a Quaker school, Adriana embraces the importance of spiritual development for students. She shares with us the strong commitment to equity, diversity, integrity and inclusion. Previously, Adriana also served in Americorps as a wildland firefighter and can hold her own on the basketball court.
Principal K-5 and 2nd Grade Lead Teacher – Kim Frantz
Kim has years of successful classroom teaching. She was nominated for Colorado State Teacher of the Year by the Littleton School District, was selected by her district to teach in-service classes to fellow teachers, was selected as a master teacher to supervise student teachers and served in many other impressive leadership roles. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, as principal, Kim oversees the coordination of the curriculum and the academic progress of the students in grades K-5.
Middle School Dean; Gr. 6 and 8 Language Arts – Kari Nichols
Kari has spent her entire 12+ year career teaching and leading middle school students. She graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.S. in Middle Level Education, with additional concentrations in English and History. Kari spent the first portion of her career teaching middle school English at a distinguished Cherry Creek charter school, recognized as Colorado's best middle school during this time. Kari has now been at St. Elizabeth's School for over 6 years. She began her time here as our founding 6th grade teacher and has expanded her responsibilities and our middle school program each year since. She now coordinates the myriad of middle school activities for students, faculty and staff. She also teaches 6th and 8th grade language arts, a place where she is grateful to keep her connection with students, the root of her passion for education. During her time at St. Elizabeth's, Kari and her husband, Chad have also welcomed two sons (and future St. E's kiddos) to the world, Foster (4 yrs.) and Carter (9 mos.). She enjoys sharing her love for education with her two boys throughout the adventures in parenthood.
Administrative Assistant & Extended Day Program Director – Loree Lindsey
Loree Lindsey graduated from Indiana University at South Bend with a B.S. in General Studies with a concentration in Behavioral and Social Studies and a Minor in Women's Studies. She will manage the Front Office and EDP. Loree spent 9 plus years working at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, IN as a Ward Clerk/Unit Secretary and Nursing Assistant. Loree moved to Denver in 1999. She has been an SES parent for 8 plus years; her son, Quinn Pack, is a St. E’s alum and her daughter, Peyten Pack, is a St. E’s middle schooler.
Development Director – Susan Bross
Susan has over 20 years of experience working with social entrepreneurial, non-profit and educational organizations. Her experience includes strategic and operational planning, fundraising strategy and execution, board development, external affairs, and strategic partnership development. From 2002-2011, Susan was the Development Director (2002-04) and then the Executive Director (2004-11) for College Summit Colorado, part of a national non-profit organization focused on increasing college access among students from under-resourced settings. Before joining St. Elizabeth’s School in 2014, Susan was an independent consultant working with various non-profit and educational organizations including KIPP Colorado and The Achievement Network. Susan holds a B.A. from Baylor University. She and her husband, Lance, have 3 daughters—all graduates of St. Elizabeth's School!
Director of Admissions – Diane Grove
Diane Grove spent her elementary and middle school years in a private Episcopal school in Houston, Texas. She graduated with Honors from Texas A&M University with a BA in History and Geography. After graduating, she worked in marketing for the telecommunications and medical industries. She is a published illustrator of children’s literature, and author of a number of essays on parenting stepchildren. Diane is an experienced event coordinator, group leader, and fund-raiser in the area of education. As the mother of four, she has had many years of experience in navigating the admissions and education process for her own children. She also has just short of a decade of experience assisting families with this process.
Director of Equity and Belonging – Dena Harry Saleh
Mx. Dena Harry Saleh graduated from The New School in 2008 with a degree in both Fiction and Nonfiction writing. Originally from Denver, their nine years in New York City were formative, especially under the tutelage of the late Sekou Sundiata, with whom they began their work in issues surrounding racial, gender, and wealth equity in America. They now hold a Masters Degree in Human Learning and Development, with a focus on Multiculturally Responsive Classroom practices. Equity and liberation from oppression is their passion, and they are thrilled at the opportunity to teach young children the language of Social Justice at such an amazing school.
Business Manager – Kim Johnson
Kim has extensive business and financial experience as a commercial property manager for a variety of firms in California. She has worked tirelessly as a volunteer parent leader in her children’s schools and brings her passionate value of education to our business office. Continuing community volunteer work, she serves on the Board of Trustees for Jefferson County Public Library. Kim received a cooperative BA degree in Political Science/Law and Society from the University of California at Riverside. Kim is also our Title IX Coordinator and Section 504 Coordinator and can be reached at 303-322-4209 x17 or [email protected]
Kindergarten Lead Teacher – Jessica Krueger
Jessica graduated cum laude from Metropolitan State University of Denver. She holds a BA in psychology, specializing in Early Childhood Education. She plans to pursue a Masters of Education degree. Jessica discovered her passion for teaching children through her experiences with her own children. She has two daughters: both graduates of St. Elizabeth's School. In her free time, which is rare, she enjoys reading and spending time outdoors. Jessica is fully committed to the St. Elizabeth's mission from many perspectives.
Kindergarten Assistant Teacher – Missi Erskine
Missi received her BA in Elementary Education from Calvin College in Michigan and was a lead teacher in Preschool for four years. She also served as the Preschool Director at Children’s Day Preschool in Wheatridge. Missi’s great talents with children will only be enhanced by her total commitment to our mission. (And for the record, both of her children, Josie and Guthrie, are thrilled to have her working here!)
First Grade Lead Teacher – Ashley McCollum
Ashley holds a Master of Education in Reading from Regis University, as well as a BA in Psychology from California State University, Long Beach. She homeschooled her children during their elementary years. Her daughter, Amelia, is now entering her junior year of high school and her son, Casey, is entering his freshman year of college! Ashley has worked with children for over twenty years, including teaching 1st and 2nd grades in both California and Colorado, K-2 Gifted and Talented, and enrichment classes for homeschoolers (she especially liked teaching kids to sew). Some of her favorite things are gardens, streams, big trees, twinkle lights, gnomes, flower fairies, and patchwork quilts. In her free time, she enjoys cross stitch and crime podcasts (frequently together), watching Survivor, and doing yoga. Her favorite thing is hanging out with first graders because they are the kindest, most hilarious and inspiring kind of people and they make every day interesting!
Second Grade Lead Teacher – Kim Frantz (see above)
Second Grade Teacher Assistant – Rebecca Marx
Rebecca Marx joins Kim Frantz in the 2nd-grade classroom as Co-Teacher in the morning and lead teacher in the afternoons when Kim takes over as our LS principal. She graduated from Scripps College in California with a BA in International Relations and Politics. She taught at Ashley Elementary School in their lower school, and she has been active in theater and Project C.U.R.E.
Third Grade Lead Teacher – Laurie Nakauchi
Laurie has over twenty years of experience teaching in grades K through 4, in both public and private schools. Laurie graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a BA in Mathematics, Emphasis in Elementary Education, and she has been actively engaged in mentoring teachers at her previous school. Laurie has completed the Leadville 100 running race 12 times, played ice hockey, and is very involved in volunteer trail and stewardship work at Jefferson County Open Space. In 2019 Laurie completed the Moab 240 mile foot race.
Third Grade Assistant Teacher – Sue Swanson
Before returning to the classroom at St. Elizabeth’s, Sue was in the corporate world where she was a manager, VP, or President of various insurance companies. She received her BA in K-12 Education from Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota and taught health and physical education for four years prior to moving to Colorado and obtaining her MBA. Sue is thrilled to be back in the school world (particularly drawn to St. Elizabeth's because of the diversity, culture and values) and says it is one of the best decisions of her life. Sue has been in 5th grade the last two years and excited to move to 3rd grade! She loves being active, traveling, her dogs, Frankie and Gabby, spending time with family and the kids at St. Elizabeth's.
Fourth Grade Lead Teacher – Kristin Davis
Kristin graduated from Kansas State University with a Bachelor’s of Elementary Education with an English emphasis. She graduated from the University of Colorado Denver with her Master’s of Literacy Education and Reading Endorsement in May of 2020. She has been working in and out of schools for the majority of her teen/adult life and has worked with a very wide range of age, ability and cognitive levels. Most recently, she was working in the Cherry Creek School district as a Special Education Paraprofessional before moving on to The Rise School of Denver to teach Early Childhood Special Education for a few years. She came to SES as a substitute teacher, fell in love, became the third grade co-teacher and continued to stay on as a 4th grade lead teacher! She has a passion for reading, writing, learning and incorporating all of that into de-stigmatizing the negative connotations surrounding mental health. In her free time, she loves spending it traveling, reading, crafting, being with family and friends and doing all of the outdoor things with her dog, Maverick.
Fourth Grade Assistant Teacher – Rebecca Knowlton
Becky graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati and has been teaching for 15 years. Most of that time she taught math and science to middle schoolers, but she’s also taught reading, language arts, history, health, and even sign language. Becky has experience with 4th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. She’s also taught in a variety of schools, public, charter, private, and on a reservation. Her teaching experience includes time at a private Episcopal school in Cincinnati, where she was also a student a long time ago for 3rd and 4th grade. Being a co-teacher is a great way for her to still teach and have extra time to spend with her 4-year old son, Warren.
Fifth Grade Lead Teacher – Jenn Thomas
Jenn grew up in Northern California before earning a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from CSU Long Beach. She served as an AmeriCorps VISTA in North Charleston, SC before moving to Colorado and earning her teaching license in Secondary English Language Arts from MSU Denver. Colorado being the first land locked state she's inhabited, Jenn is still happiest when the sun is out, or at a beach, or at least when there's no snow on the ground. She is delighted to come back to the SES community!
Sixth and Eighth Grade Language Arts – Kari Nichols (see above)
Seventh Grade Language Arts & Middle School English Enrichment – Gail Weller
Gail has over 30 years of teaching middle school and high school English. She has also taught drama and film studies. Gail began her career in Massachusetts and graduated cum laude with a BA in English and a minor in Philosophy. She has lived in the NE, NW, SE and Belgium. Gail has three grown daughters and has embraced her new CO life.
Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grade Math – Ike Harvey
Ike Harvey graduated from George Washington HS and Metro State University. He worked in the corporate world for a couple of years and joined the formal teaching ranks working through Americorps in DPS. He has also worked for many years with Open Door Fellowship and Young Life, and he has coached middle school sports at Dora Moore. Ike is happiest when he is able to ride his bike to school!
Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grade Science and Sixth Grade Social Studies – Taras Wynar
Taras has taught science, social studies, religion, and math to middle schoolers for the past nine years, both in parochial schools and most recently in the Jeffco Public Schools. He is a graduate of Regis University, with a BA in history and fine arts, and he has two Masters degrees, in Education and History. Taras has two young children, and he loves volleyball and ice hockey!
Seventh Grade Social Studies Teacher – Dena Harry Saleh (see above)
Music and Choir Director – Jackolyn Ives
Jackie joined us as a music teacher and choir director in August of 2011. She taught for ten years in Adams County elementary schools and has been the Director/Teacher of the Early Childhood Music Program at Trinity United Methodist Church for the past seventeen years. After serving for five years as the Director of the Primary Joyful Voices choir at Trinity, she has taken the coming year off, as that program goes through a revisioning process. Jackie has a BA in Human Development and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin and has done two years of graduate work at the University of Colorado, Denver leading to her teaching credentials. Additionally, she has completed her Level 1 Kodaly coursework in the graduate school of the music department at Colorado State University, as well as the first level of training in World Music Drumming at their summer institute in Oconomowoc, WI.
Art – Karen Kelly
Karen is a gifted artist and teacher and is ideally suited to foster our mission and focus on the arts. She has extensive experience teaching art to students ages three to adult. She has established highly successful art programs for over twenty public and private schools in the metro Denver area. Karen has created and implemented art curricula and age-appropriate art projects centered around famous past and present artists, cultural studies, architecture, landscapes, animals, still life, and many other subjects. For seventeen years, Karen was the owner/director/instructor of a fine arts school in Littleton, which she sold in 2007. She has an undergraduate degree from Colorado State College and a graduate degree from the University of Northern Colorado and has studied ancient architecture and sculpture in India.
Physical Education/Health – Niko Viglione
Mr. V. holds a BA in Physical Education from SUNY Cortland, and a MAT in Physical Education: Curriculum Design from Manhattanville College. After teaching both Math and Physical Education in New York for 5 years, he decided to move westward to better pursue the outdoor activities that he loves so dearly. After spending a year with AmeriCorps Public Allies at the Eagle Rock School in Estes Park, Colorado, he decided to make the move down to Denver to return to his roots as a primary school teacher. During the fleeting moments of freedom he can find, he passionately pursues mountain sports of all kinds as well as his love of vegan cooking and photography.
Lower School Spanish Teacher – Bella Stabler
Bella graduated from Kenyon College in Ohio with a BA in International Studies, and from Marylhurst University in Oregon with an MS in Food Systems and Society. Through her MS program she conducted research on the efficacy of food justice initiatives across the US and their intersection with the work of peacebuilding. Prior to teaching, Bella also worked in the public health sector advocating for interventions to support youth in rural New Hampshire. Bella moved to Denver last summer after completing a K-12 Spanish Teacher Certification Program through Upper Valley Educators Institute in NH. She sees her role as a global language educator to provide learning opportunities that help students become thoughtful and effective communicators and encourage their curiosity and open-mindedness about the world beyond the classroom. Bella has loved teaching Spanish to K-8 students and is deeply committed to the mission of St. Elizabeth's.
Middle School Spanish Teacher – Luis de la Torre Lopez
Luis graduated from the University of Guadalajara in Mexico. He has two years of experience teaching Spanish as a second or foreign language. He has taken professionalization courses and is in constant training. He worked as a private teacher at The Art Of Spanish Institute and currently teaches online as a private teacher. He loves being with his family, he is married and has a stepson.
Lower School Chaplain / Faith Studies – Paul Garrett
Paul has been in ordained ministry for 31 years. He grew up attending Denver Public Schools and is a “Cradle Episcopalian.” He received his Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Social Sciences from Colorado State University. As a Social Worker he was employed by Larico Youth Homes Inc., Fort Collins. He later attended The Episcopal Divinity School, in Cambridge, Massachusetts earning his M. Div. Throughout his life and career he has worked with children and young people in many settings including 8 years in camping and the 5 parishes he has served. Helping children and youth explore the deep questions of spirituality in the contexts of Christian, Interfaith, and human diversity has long been a great joy and passion. Paul has flown a kite on the eastern and western most shores of the United States!
Middle School Chaplain / Faith Studies – Tory Doerksen
Tory holds a BA in Religion/Bible/Youth Ministry from Bethel College, KS and a Masters of Divinity from George Fox. He has worked with children and youth ministry for 15 years in Kansas, Oregon and Denver, and is currently the part-time Director of Children and Youth Ministry for Park Hill United Methodist Church (a diverse and social justice oriented church in Denver). Tory is a close neighbor to SES, and thoroughly enjoys the conversations and journey of MS students during chapel.
Fourth - Eighth Grades Social Justice Studies Teacher – Dena Harry Saleh (see above)
Mindfulness & Drama Teacher – Susan Aplin (Pogue)
Susan has had the fortune to work in instructional design and development in many fields since graduating University of Colorado, Boulder with her Bachelors in English Literature. She spent over twenty years in corporate retail and finance, then moved into the self-development arena. Her teaching has always focused on leadership and skills development, which fits her personal passion of helping people be their best selves.
Library – Stephanie Paolucci
Stephanie has worked in the SES library since 2014, starting as a regular parent volunteer, and took on the formal leadership of the library program in 2018. She is a passionate advocate of reading as a means to explore the world around us and to cultivate empathy for others. She has an amazing love for and knowledge of great children’s literature. Her three sons have been at SES since 2013; her oldest, Joey, graduated with the Class of 2018. She received her BA in Political Science & Economics from the University of Colorado.
Lower School Learning Support Specialist – Julie Dani
Julie has held a longtime dream of joining the St.E's community. Julie received her undergraduate degree in K-8 general and special education from the University of Texas and a Master's degree in special education from the University of Kansas. Beyond specializing in a wide array of complex learning profiles, Julie has also pursued extensive graduate level work and training in school leadership, progressive education, social/racial justice and equity in education. Julie is a certified Orton Gilligham therapist with advanced training. Julie has served as an educator, learning specialist and in leadership roles at preK-postsecondary public, private, and non-profit settings for over 20 years. Julie is passionate about partnering with students, families and teachers to find an effective path to learning that empowers every student to thrive. One of Julie's most important jobs is as a mom raising two strong girls. She loves being in nature and spending time with family. Julie is also a dedicated volunteer with Colorado Feeding Kids, Soul2Soul Sisters, and the Denver Public Libraries-Plaza Program for immigrant and refugee families.
Lower School Counselor – Alex Valencia
Amber attended Loyola Marymount University and received her BA in Theater. She has numerous graduate degrees from Regis University and New York University, in curriculum, assessment, drama therapy, child and adolescent counseling, and EMDR therapy. She has been at Centus Counseling Consulting and Education for the past few years. Amber also has an office out of New Hope Baptist Church, where she works with young people and families.
Extended Day Program Director – Loree Lindsey (see above)
Art Assistant – Rachel McKee
Rachel received her BA from the University of Denver and completed the Post Baccalaureate Elementary Education Program at Metro State. She has worked as an assistant and paraprofessional in local charter and public schools and has worked as a Youth Program Coach for the Special Olympics. Rachel has two young children.
Alphabetical List of Faculty & Staff
Susan Aplin (Pogue)
Mindfulness & Drama Teacher
Director of Development
Lower School Learning Support Specialist
4th Grade Lead Teacher
Luis de la Torre Lopez
MS Spanish Teacher
Middle School Chaplain & Faith Studies
Lower School Principal
2nd Grade Lead Teacher
Lower School Chaplain & Faith Studies
Director of Admissions
Middle School Math Teacher
Title IX & Section 504 Coordinator
4th Grade Co-Teacher
Kindergarten Lead Teacher
1st Grade Co-Teacher
Extended Day Program Director
2nd Grade Co-Teacher
1st Grade Lead Teacher
Head of School
3rd Grade Lead Teacher
Middle School Dean & 6th/8th Grade ELA
Middle School Counselor
Lower School Spanish Teacher
3rd Grade Co-Teacher
5th Grade Lead Teacher
Lower School Counselor
7th Grade ELA & Middle School Learning Support
MS Science & 6th Grade Social Studies