Office & Support

Helen Butts – Principal

Helen believes that children need multiple adults in whom they can trust—so DCIS @ Fairmont is a place that adults and children feel welcome & know they have a voice.   Helen got her start teaching in Baltimore and Chicago in the 1990s before working with three innovation schools in Washington, D.C.  There she saw that teachers who combine clear goals with student agency see incredible levels of achievement and community empowerment.  She then spent two years living and working in Ecuador, a life highlight.  She believes that understanding and valuing other cultures is essential to educating 21st century children—and of particular importance today.

Room 102C | 47626 | 

Yuritzia Ojeda-Ayala – Assistant Principal

Yuritzia was born and lived most of her childhood in Guerrero, Mexico.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree at CU Denver and holds a Masters of Art Degree in Multicultural and Bilingual Education from CU Boulder.  She is a biliterate and bicultural educational leader and has a passion for working with diverse communities in Denver, where she has lived for the past 25 years.   Yuri has worked in different positions for about 10 years within DPS–including leadership work for the past four years.  Yuritzia believes and advocates for equal access to education no matter students’ socioeconomic status, language, or color.

Room 102C | 47622 | 

Christine Johnson – Nurse

Christine Johnson received her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Metropolitan State University in May 2012.  She worked at Lutheran Medical Center on a busy surgical/orthopedic floor for three years. She most recently received her asthma educator certification in July of 2017.  Her passion is working with children and became a school nurse with DPS in August of 2015.  She loves her new role working with students while promoting health and decreasing health barriers so children can be at school.  In her spare time, she loves mountain biking, sailing and spending time with her husband and daughter!

Room 101A | 47624 |

Dayana Rebollar – Secretary

Dayana Rebollar is a Colorado native, she graduated from West High School and has worked with Denver Public Schools since 2009.  She started working as a paraprofessional in a ECE classroom, then after 6 years transitioned to working in the office.

Dayana loves carne asada fries, adventures, traveling, her family, and horse back riding.

Room Office | 47623 |

Lizzette Sanchez – Secretary

Lizzette Sanchez is a Colorado native and has worked with Denver Public Schools since 2007. She started working as a paraprofessional in a Kindergarten ELA-S classroom, then transitioned to working in the office.

Lizzette has worked in the office as a secretary since 2008 at the former Fairmont Elementary School and is very excited to be part of the new DCIS at Fairmont team. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her family and friends.

Room Office | 47621 |

Sherri Slaymaker – Psychologist

Sherri is a 10-year veteran of the Denver Public Schools system, where she has worked on teams focused on Reading Assessment as well as Development Kindergarten/Early Childhood Special Education and serving charter schools. Before joining DPS, she taught first grade for two years at the Jakarta International School in Indonesia and kindergarten and first grade for five years in the Guam Public School system.

Sherri holds her educational specialist degree from Seattle University and is a nationally certified school psychologist. Additionally, she holds a Master of Arts degree in reading from the University of Guam and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Iowa in secondary social student education with certification in elementary education.

Room 105B | 47680 |

Meg Zimmerman –  ISC

Meg grew up right outside of San Francisco, California. She grew up with a love for music, sports, and the outdoors. In middle school Meg started playing water polo. She played water polo and was on the swim team all through high school, and got a scholarship to play Division 1 water polo at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California. Meg grew up wanting to be a teacher, and graduated with a degree in liberal studies with minors in urban education and sociology. After college Meg went to graduate school to get her teaching certification and masters in teaching at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. She joined Teach For America in Baltimore and taught 1st grade for 1 year and 5th grade for two years. In looking for a job closer to her family, Ms. Zimmerman found DCIS at Fairmont. She was a part of the founding staff as a third grade teacher. After 2 years in the classroom, Ms. Zimmerman took the position of International Studies Coordinator. She loves planning trips for students, attending overnights, and getting to know all of the kids at DCIS at Fairmont. On the weekends Ms. Zimmerman loves to travel, be outdoors, watch sports, read, and listen to music. She is an avid San Francisco Giants fan, Indianapolis Colts fan, and Oklahoma Sooners fan.

Room 102A | 47664 |

Amanda Brinton – Social Worker

Amanda is a proud Denver Public Schools (DPS) graduate from Smiley Middle School and Manual High. She will be working as our School Social Worker three days a week. Amanda worked as our Community Liaison for two years prior to this position. Amanda completed two years as an early Childhood Mental Health consultant with the Denver Great Kids HEAD Start program. She worked with staff, families, and students to prepare children to enter kindergarten confidently with the social, physical, emotional, and cognitive skills and competencies necessary for continued school success. Amanda brings an in depth knowledge of the family dynamic to DCIS with over 8 years of experience as an in-home family therapist working with adolescents and families involved in the juvenile justice system. She holds a Master of Social Work from Denver University and is a fluent Spanish speaker with 3 years of experience as a Youth Volunteer with the United States Peace Corps in Ecuador. Amanda is eager and enthusiastic to support all of our students and staff with the focus of social and emotional health.

Room 114B | 47686 |

jackie lewis photo

Jacqueline Lewis – School Technology Partner

Jackie is in her second year with the School Technology Partner Program and 6th year at DPS. She taught elementary school in Wyoming for several years before making the change to IT in the late 90s after a move to England. Since returning to the US in 2005, she has continued to support IT in education both at DPS and as Director of Technology at a private school in Denver.

She is married with three children – currently preparing to send her youngest off to college! In her spare time, she enjoys a variety of activities, though creating stained glass art is a particular favorite.

Library | 47667 |

DCIS at Fairmont

Jillian Campbell – Community Liasion

Jillian was born in Connecticut but moved to Colorado when she was five years old.  She has spent almost all of her life in Colorado and loves it!  She loves the mountains in the summertime, especially when she gets to go camping, hiking, or horseback riding with her family.  She has had the privilege to travel to Italy, England, Australia, Fiji, Costa Rica, and Bolivia and has lived in Spain and Mexico.  She is excited to take more trips with her kids now that they are old enough!

Jillian has spent most of her professional career as a language teacher.  She has taught both English and Spanish to a wide range of ages, both here in Denver and abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico.  After teaching English classes for parents here at DCIS for the past few years, she is excited to be a part of the team as the School Community Liaison.  She is passionate about helping families feel connected to the school and will work hard to ensure that everyone feels included, informed, and welcome here at DCIS at Fairmont.

Room 105B | 47680 |


Nellie Barrett – ECE 3-4

Nellie grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. She attended the University of St. Thomas master’s program in early childhood special education. For the past five years, Nellie has lived in Chicago teaching in an early childhood special education classroom. She is excited to become part of the DCIS at Fairmont community.

Room 147 | 47656 |

DCIS at Fairmont

Claudia Muñoz – ELA-S

!Hola!  I’m Claudia Muñoz and I’m the ELA-S kindergarten teacher here at DCIS at Fairmont.  I graduated from Regis University with a degree in elementary education and this is my first year teaching.  I was a paraprofessional for a few years while attending college. My first career was in finance but I felt compelled and called to follow a different path in life.  I was born in Chihuahua, Mexico and came to the United States at the age of five. I understand first-hand the struggles of not only learning a new language, but a new culture and in my everyday practice I try to insure that my students feel safe and welcomed. I’m married; my husband teaches at DCIS at Baker, where my daughter is a seventh grader.  When I’m not planning lessons or doing school related work I enjoy cheering my daughter on at her soccer games.  I also enjoy playing indoor soccer. My other hobbies are reading, writing, hiking, drawing, painting and Netflix.   I’m super excited for this year!

Room 131 | 47641 |

Caylee McCormick – ELA-E

This is Ms. Caylee’s third year at DCIS Fairmont. She has been teaching ECE for 5 years and spent time working with even younger children in the daycare setting before that. Ms. Caylee is from Cincinnati, Ohio. She loves being at DCIS because she has developed an appreciation for world studies through her own travels. In high school, she went on two separate mission trips to Nicaragua, where she found a love for the Spanish language. She attended college at Ohio University but spent 3 months traveling and studying abroad in Merida, Mexico. Now she lives in Evergreen and spends her time away from school fishing and floating on the river.

Room 150 | 47661 |

Karine Pitts – ELA-E

This is Karine Pitts 3rd year at DCIS Fairmont.  She has been teaching for DPS for over 25 years, mostly in the primary grades where her heart is held captive. She earned a degree in Elementary Education from Metropolitan State College and holds an Early Childhood Director credential from the State of Colorado. Teaching is Karine’s passion.

As a native to Colorado, Karine enjoys hiking, gardening and just being outdoors. She lives in Evergreen where she can take advantage of everything this beautiful state has to offer. Karine also enjoys exploring the world and spending time with family. She has been married for 27 years and has two adult children and 3 furry ones! Her daughter is a nurse and her son works in hospitality.

Karine loves animals and people of all kinds! Her home seems to be full of both most of the time. Karine helps stray animals find homes and has hosted many foreign exchange students over the years.

Room 149 | 47660 |


Veraliz at Red Rocks with her family!

Veraliz Fernandez de Barbano – ELA-S

Veraliz-also called Verita by her students- was born and raised in Colombia, South America.  She has been a teacher for more than 20 years with experience mostly in Kindergarten.  Verita loves to teach Kindergarten because she believes in children having fun as they learn about the world around them! She is married, and she has 24-yr old twin adult boys.
Verita moved from Bogota, Colombia to Denver last year and she has really treasured working for DPS and learning about the educational system in the USA.  She has also liked learning about Colorado, traveling to the mountains and appreciating the outdoors.  She loves living in Denver because she thinks Denver’s weather is the best… living four well-defined seasons is awesome!
Verita’s priority is her family, she likes reading children’s literature, watching baseball and absolutely adores cats!

Room 135 | 47640 |

Kaitlin Morris – ELA-E

Kaitlin Morris has lived in California, Australia, and Texas but considers Colorado to be home now. This is Kaitlin’s third year at DCIS teaching Kindergarten. Before teaching, she worked for non-profit organizations in the Denver area. Kaitlin enjoys kayaking, traveling, reading and spending time with her family.

Room 134 | 47683 |

Nayasha Williams' photo

Nyasha Firnhaber – ELA-E

Nyasha Williams has lived intermittently between Colorado and South Africa before college. She has just moved back to Colorado with her husband and is excited to call it home again. Nyasha’s has earned a Bachelor’s in Organizational Communication as well a minor in French from William Jewell College. She also has a diploma in Culinary Arts and Wine from Prue Leith Chefs Academy making her a qualified chef. Living in Baltimore for the past two years, she taught kindergarten and is excited to join the DCIS at Fairmont Team. Nyasha is passionate about good food & good company, exploring new places/cities, and fighting for social justice. The quote she aims to live her life by is, ‘‘The true meaning of life is planting trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.“-Nelson Henderson. 

Room 133 | 47642 |

1st Grade

DCIS at Fairmont

Leticia Arroyo – ELA-S

Leticia Arroyo was born and raised in Denver, CO.  She is a product of DPS and attended Valverde Elementary, Rishel Middle school and graduated from South High School in 2003.  She received her Bachelors Degree in Liberal Arts with an emphasis in Elementary Education from the University of Northern Colorado in 2008.  In 2012 she received a Masters Degree in Educational, Equity, and Cultural Diversity from the University of Colorado at Boulder.  She has worked for over 10 years with DPS as a paraprofessional, ECE/Kindergarten teacher, and a reading interventionist. She enjoys spending time with her husband Vicente and their two boys Arturo and Hector.  They enjoy going to the zoo, museums, and anything to get out of the house.  She is also part of a Mexican Folkloric Group Semblanzas de Mexico. She loves to travel with her family and spend time with friends. Leticia is excited to be a part of the DCIS at Fairmont team this year!

Room 141 | 47662 |

DCIS at Fairmont

Anai Cervantes – ELA-S

Anai was born in Denver, Colorado raised in El PasoTX, and Juaréz , Chihuahua. She moved back to Denver with her family and followed her mother’s footsteps in becoming a teacher. She studied at the University of Northern Colorado with an endorsement in teaching English as a Second Language. Anai is delighted to be a part of the DCIS at Fairmont team. She enjoys traveling and visiting her family in Mexico. When she is not teaching she loves spending time with her husband and three kids going to the theaters watching the latest super hero movies and having fun outside wasting energy.

Room 141 | 47662 |

Mollie Kritzer – ELA-E

Mollie is from Marysville, Ohio. She earned her Bachelors of Arts in both International Studies and Spanish from Miami University. She fell in love with investigating the world when she had the privilege to study abroad her junior year in Madrid, Spain. She moved out to the great state of Colorado to serve as an AmeriCorps volunteer with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, where she realized her passion for working with little ones. She earned her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Denver through the Denver Teacher Residency program. Mollie loves traveling, exploring the outdoors and spending time with family and friends.

Room 139 | 47654 |

Taylor Berridge – ELA-E

Room 140 | 47655 |

2nd Grade

DCIS at Fairmont

Noha El-Shall – ELA-E

Noha El-Shall grew up in Richmond, Virginia. She graduated from Virginia Tech in 2011. Go Hokies! Upon moving to Denver, Noha worked as a Math Fellow for a year and then went on to earn her master’s degree in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Denver. Noha is thrilled to now be a part of the DCIS community!

In her free time, Noha enjoys spending time with her friends and her fiancé and going to concerts. Noha’s family is scattered around the world. Whenever given the chance, she loves to travel both internationally and domestically.

Room 146 | 47659 |

Keri Switzer

Keri Switzer – ELA-E

Keri is originally from Louisville, Kentucky and has her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She moved to Denver 4 years ago to get her Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Denver through the Denver Teacher Residency program.  She has experience in kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade.  Through that experience she has fallen in love with early childhood education. Keri loves reading, crafting, spending time with family and friends, and traveling. She is so excited to be a part of the DCIS at Fairmont community!

Room 143 | 47657 |

DCIS at Fairmont

Karina Muro – ELA-S

Karina Muro grew up in NorthWest Denver and is a proud Denver Public Schools (DPS) graduate.  She studied at the University of Northern Colorado and has been teaching in DPS ever since. Karina is so excited to be a part of the DCIS Team!

When she is not at school, Karina loves spending time with her family camping and having picnics. She loves arts and crafts and has recently taken up photography and cross-stitching as hobbies.

Room 145 | 47658 |

3rd Grade

DCIS at Fairmont

Bette Roberts – ELA-E

This is my second year working at DCIS at Fairmont, and I couldn’t be happier to be part of this amazing community. It will be my fifth year in DPS, but my seventh year as a teacher. I am from a small farm-town in Illinois, but life has taken me to many places. I’ve lived in Florida, Spain, Arizona, and finally Denver, where I plan to stay. In between, I’ve traveled to over 20 countries and almost every state! I love learning about and experiencing different cultures, speaking new languages, and eating delicious foods around the world.

I went to Florida Gulf Coast University where I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish with a minor in Education. I spent my first year out of college teaching first grade English in a public school in Murcia, Spain. When I returned to the U.S.A., I strengthened my teaching skills and taught 8th grade Reading for a year in Phoenix, AZ. Afterwards, I moved to Denver, Colorado where I continued to pursue my passion for teaching English to second language learners.

As an educator, I am committed to keeping learning fun and interesting, to teach students to be inquisitive and explore the world around them, to embrace diversity, to reach their goals, follow their hearts, and to never give up, to help the community and the world we live in become a better place, and to make sure they feel safe and cared for every day.

When I’m not teaching, I enjoy reading, gardening, hiking, biking, yoga, running, climbing, camping, cooking, singing and playing my ukulele, spending time with family, playing with my rescued dog, Gustav, and traveling to distant lands!

Room 208 | 47677 |

Emily Hicks' Photo

Emily Hicks – ELA-E

Emily comes to DCIS all the way from Charlotte, North Carolina where she taught for two years at a dual language Spanish immersion school. During college Emily lived in Costa Rica with an incredible family. Her experiences coaching soccer, mentoring students after school, and being welcomed as a part of a new community were some inspiring memories from this time. Emily is passionate about culturally responsive, student-centered education. She feels that her role as an educator is to create a safe space where students feel valued for their identities and abilities. Emily enjoys seeing how her students grow and make the world a better place.

In her free time, Emily loves to go running outdoors, read, play all types of sports, eat ice cream, and explore new places.

Room 209 | 47678 |

DCIS at Fairmont

Germaine Padberg – ELA S

I was born and raised in South Texas, and am now happy to call Colorado home! When I’m not teaching, I enjoy going for a hike in the mountains with my fiancé and dog, running, catching a live music show, traveling, yoga, and visiting family.

I am so excited to be the 3rd grade ELA-S teacher at DCIS at Fairmont, and am eager to work at a school that strongly believes in global perspective and awareness. Last year I taught in Montbello, and before that, in Austin, TX for 3 years. I’ve also taught Kindergarten, 1st, and 4th grade.

I received my Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Bilingual Education from The University of Texas at Brownsville. I’m looking forward to an excellent year at DCIS!

Room 207 | 47676 |

4th Grade

Jody Hunt – ELA-E

I am from Highlands Ranch, Colorado. I attended the University of Colorado (go buffs!) where I received dual degrees in Finance and Elementary Education. I spent the last year teaching Kindergarten in Thailand. I loved getting to experience new cultures, people, and delicious food in a foreign country and I’m excited to be part of an International School which values global perspective. I firmly believe that everybody is a student and everybody is a teacher. This is a vision I strive to uphold in my classroom each day. I am so happy to be a part of the DCIS team and can’t wait to spend the year in 4th grade!

In my free time I enjoy hiking, reading, running, and spending time with friends and family. I love to travel whenever I have the opportunity, and hope to visit as many countries as possible in my lifetime!

Room 202 | 47632 |

Darrick Hyland – ELA-S

Darrick is a Stanely British Primary alum who received hi bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He has taught 3rd – 5th grade for six years and also taught ESL for six years in Guatemala, Spain, and Japan. Darrick earned his master’s in Educational Psychology form the University of Denver.

Room 212 | 47672 |

Emily McCann Photo

Emily Mccann – ELA-E

Emily is originally from Japan, but moved to the States as a kid and has lived in Georgia, Florida, and California prior to moving to Denver in the summer of 2017. During her time in California, Emily earned her Masters in Education from Stanford University. She spent her first year teaching in Montbello and will be joining DCIS at Fairmont for her second year of teaching. Emily has a great love for learning, and wants to instill the same love for learning in her students.  During her free time, Emily loves to spend time outside in nature, read novels, garden, and travel.

Room 201 | 47639 |

5th Grade

Mrs. Del Angel, a fifth grade teacher.

Zaira Del Angel – ELA-S

Zaira was born in Xalapa Veracruz Mexico. She lived in Mexico until she turned 12. After she finished elementary school in Mexico, her mom migrated to Colorado with her and her 2 brothers. Zaira attended DPS schools in middle and high school. She moved to Colorado without speaking any English other than saying “the window is red, and the apple is open”. She was a new student, in a new country and did not speak the language. Zaira knew she wanted to be a teacher from a very young age but as an English Language Learner herself, she became passionate about education and hopes to make a difference for the community that she serves. Zaira enjoys working with students and meeting their many different needs. She attended Metropolitan State University where she majored in Human development and minored in Elementary education. She later obtained her Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education through the University of Colorado at Denver. She believes in helping students realize their potential and open opportunities for their future. In her time off Zaira enjoys spending time with her family going on hikes.

Room 203 | 47631 |

Jeannine Espinoza photo

Jeannine Espinoza – ELA-E

Jeannine Espinoza was born in New York and raised in New Jersey where she received a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Stockton State College and began a career as a social worker. She worked with children, teenagers, and adults in various settings including residential treatment centers. After moving to Colorado in 1999, Jeannine continued to work with adults in a mental health setting in the San Luis Valley and then with adults with developmental disabilities in Denver. Through active involvement in her children’s education, Jeannine developed a passion for teaching, attended Regis University and earned a Master’s in Elementary Education.  Since graduating, Jeannine has taught at DPS for seven years in both the Clayton and Montebello neighborhoods. Now, she is excited to be part of the DCIS at Fairmont community!

When Jeannine is not teaching, she likes to spend time with her husband and two sons, traveling and exploring new places, snorkeling, swimming, hiking and reading


Room 204 | 47673 |

DCIS at Fairmont

Kate Simmons – ELA E

Kate hails from Fairfax, Virginia, a town just south of Washington D.C. She grew up in a large, loud, historically-sound family who encouraged her spirit of adventure and wanderlust. Before attending college, Kate took a gap year and moved to Melbourne, Australia and it was during this year that she learned teaching was the career path for her. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Inclusive Early Childhood Education and her Master of Arts in Teaching, both from James Madison University. (GO DUKES!) Over the course of her college years, Kate was able to have international teaching and internship experiences in Peru, Czech Republic, Mozambique, Uganda, and South Sudan. The mountains had always been calling her, so after graduation, she moved to Denver and taught 4th grade for three years in Denver Public Schools. This is her first year at DCIS at Fairmont and she is thrilled to join a community of such committed and globally focused individuals! Kate loves a good vanilla latte, slippers, travel writing, chocolate covered pretzels, snowshoeing, laughing, storytelling, camp fires, and the brilliant light bulb of a kid finally understanding a new learning!

Room 205 | 47674 |




Sarah Childers

Sarah Childers- MI-S

Sarah is an advocate for children with disabilities and their families.  She got her start founding a special education center classroom for students with autism and has since taught in a multi intensive center classroom and provided behavior support for a Denver elementary school.  Sarah has been fortunate to work with other special educators and related service providers who have taught her the importance of educating the whole child and being a resource for families.  Sarah hopes to break down barriers and teach toward independence for her students with disabilities, both in school and in their communities.


Room 110 | 47647 |


Brooke Reves – PE

Brooke Reves is a DPS graduate with a degree in education from the University of Kansas. After college, she played professional basketball in Europe for nine years. Brooke helped start a nonprofit girls basketball and leadership camp in northern Uganda called Gulu GO.

Brooke is passionate about connecting young people to their physical potentials, and incorporating fitness and health into fun activities. She loves to travel and teach others about the world we live in. She is excited about teaching physical education and being connected to the DCIS at Fairmont community.

Room 107 | 47666 |

Jessica Stellish – Art

I am practically a Colorado Native, as I was born in Minnesota but spent my teenage years and beyond here in the beautiful mountain air! I received my Bachelors of the Fine Arts from Colorado State University with my Certification to teach from Metropolitan State University of Denver. I have been an art educator in Denver Public Schools since 2010 and I love bringing joy, building confidence and spreading the creative spirit through the process of art-making.  In my own time, I enjoy dancing, crafting, painting, playing games and spending time with my husband, my son and our three dogs: Naes, Electra and Sassy.

Room 206 | 47675 |

DCIS at Fairmont

Kegan Warring – Music

My name is Kegan Warring and I am the new music teacher here at DCIS at Fairmont.  I studied Jazz Studies and Music Education at the Conservatory of Music and Dance in Kansas City. I’ve been having an absolute blast teaching here and I can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on.
A little about me, I grew up on a small vineyard in eastern Kansas and go back every summer to help my family. Last summer we built a barn! I spend most of time writing and performing music but when I’m not doing that I am usually drawing, rock climbing or skiing.

Room 111 | 47646 |

Parent Portal logo

– Spanish

Room 112 | 47670 |

Leeann Sain – Global Studies 3-5

My name is Leeann Sain and I am originally from Memphis, Tennessee. I moved to Colorado in 2012. Before I moved to Colorado I lived in the Dominican Republic for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I completed my master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Denver in 2013.

I love the outdoors, and I really enjoy traveling and experiencing different cultures. My favorite things to do outdoors are rock climbing and trail running. I have traveled to many different states in the U.S and many different countries in the world. My favorite states to travel to are Wyoming and Montana, and my favorite countries I have traveled to are Ghana and the Dominican Republic. I also love animals and spending time with my family.

Room 104 | 47633 |

Kori Leaman-Miller – Global Studies K-2/ Team Lead

Kori Leaman-Miller, born and raised in rural Ohio, always longed to see more of the world. She has been fortunate to have lived in Haiti, China, France and Greece. In the late 1980s, Kori also lived for four years in war-torn El Salvador, serving, along with her husband, as a volunteer with Mennonite Central Committee.

After the war, the Leaman-Millers moved in Denver to raise their two boys. When her youngest started second grade, Kori began teaching in DPS. Years later, Kori still delights in working with and learning from inquisitive kindergarten children and their families. Kori also enjoys traveling with her family, playing volleyball, falling asleep while reading, and trying to keep up with her husband of thirty years on her bike. (She can’t.)

Room 104 | 47633 |


DCIS at Fairmont

Liza Buddenhagen – Math Intervention/ Senior Team Lead


Hometown: Silver Spring MD – Washington, DC
Education:  BA Spanish, BA Education, MA Education: ESL. Earning a doctorate of education (EdD) in Leadership for Educational Equity – Latino Learners & Communities
Interests: Reading, socializing, gardening, spending time with family and pets
I became a teacher because I struggled in elementary school and I wanted to help children who had similar difficulties. I love working with culturally and linguistically diverse students and families. I am married to a fellow DPS teacher. Together we have three children in middle and high school. I am thrilled to be a new member of the DCIS at Fairmont team, teaching bilingual students and supporting ELA-S teachers!

Room 102B | 47637 |

Gina Livingston – Reading

Gina Livingston has been teaching early elementary school for nine years.  Gina has her Bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire and her Masters of Education from the University of Colorado. She joined Teach for America in 2008.  After her two year commitment, she decided to make a life long career out of teaching.  Gina currently is a reading interventionist here at DCIS at Fairmont. Gina loves inspiring young minds to be life-long readers and learners.  When not at school, Gina enjoys hiking, camping, and traveling!  She spends lots of time with her 9 year old soon and her dog, Wisco.  On Sundays you can definitely find Gina cheering on her Green Bay Packers!

Room 138| 47684 |

Tiffany Vail – Math Intervention/ Senior Team Lead

Tiffany Vail is a Colorado native and recently moved back to this wonderful state after a 10 year hiatus in Southern California.  She attended Colorado State University and spent a semester abroad in Costa Rica. It was then that she discovered a love for traveling and experiencing new cultures.  She has since spent time teaching English in Peru, traveling extensively throughout Central America, soaking up the unique culture of Cuba, and visiting countries in Europe.

Tiffany’s professional path started in Southern California where she taught various grades and then decided to make the move back to Denver and has been teaching in DPS ever since. She believes that the key to success for every student is a strong relationship between school and home. Every year she looks forward to getting to know every student and their family.

In her free time, you can find Tiffany skiing, running through the parks of Denver, attending any sporting event, traveling, or spending time with family and friends.

 Room 102C|  |

Stephanie Thielen – Gifted and Talented/Senior Team Lead

Stephanie Thielen is a Colorado native and has been in working education for over 10 years.  She played volleyball for Regis University where she earned her undergraduate degree in English and Psychology with minors in Elementary Education and Special Education.  She earned her masters degree from the University of Colorado at Denver in Math and Science Curriculum and Instruction. Her experience includes a variety of different teaching positions ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade.  She has a passion for finding enriching ways to bring learning to life for her students.  She loves building strong lasting relationships with students and their families.

In her free time she can be found outside exploring with her husband, daughter, and dog.  Her favorite activities include hiking, camping, skiing, volleyball, riding her bike, gardening, organizing and baking.

Basement | 47643 |

Stephanie Walker – Reading Intervention/Senior Team Lead

Stephanie Walker is originally from Maryland and has been teaching at DCIS at Fairmont for 9 years (4 years in reading intervention and the rest in ECE/kindergarten). She graduated from Wake Forest University with an undergraduate degree in Nonprofit Business Management, and earned an MA in South Asian Studies from the University of London and an MA in Teaching and Curriculum from the University of Colorado.
Her two children, Frank (age 3) and Joanie (age 4) attend ECE at DCIS at Fairmont. She and her husband have been in Denver for 9 years and previously lived in London, New Zealand, and Japan. Outside of school, she loves being outdoors, traveling and of course, reading. She loves being a part of the DCIS community and having the opportunity to work with our amazing students at all grade levels.

Basement | 47629 |


Betsy Chappell

“Ms. Betsy” is from the small southeast Kansas town of Coffeyville. She attended the University of Kansas (KU-the home of the Jayhawks!!) where she received her Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) with a minor degree in Audiology. She graduated in 1987. Ms. Betsy and her husband Jim and their family of six children (plus one adopted daughter) lived in Lawrence, Kansas until 2002 when they moved to Colorado. Ms. Betsy spent sixteen years as an at-home mom before returning to her practice as a Speech-Language Pathologist in the fall of 2009 when she joined DPS and was assigned as the SLP at Fairmont Dual Immersion Academy. As Fairmont has transitioned to become DCIS at Fairmont, Ms. Betsy is honored to be continuing in her ninth year there as an SLP working with students of all ages who need extra support with speech, language and communication skills.
Being part of an international community has always been important to Ms. Betsy. She was a college exchange student in Japan and she has hosted exchanged students from Germany and Korea throughout the years. She has also chaperoned high school students travelling throughout Italy.
Little known facts about Ms. Betsy:
*She has 5 grandkids.
*She loves baseball and basketball and is a serious University of Kansas Jayhawk college basketball fan!
*She lives in downtown Denver and works part-time during weekends for the Denver Convention and Visitor’s Bureau in the Tourist Information Center, advising visitors about things to see and do in Denver and the surrounding areas.
*Her favorite hobbies are cooking and exploring new recipes, reading good books, crafting and bargain hunting at garage sales and thrift stores.

Room 108B | 47665 |

Edward Harth

My name is Edward Harth and I just graduated from Metropolitian State University of Denver with a degree in Special Education in December! Before DCIS, I completed my student teaching at MSLA (Math and Science Leadership Academy) and worked part-time as a Youth Treatment Councelor at Denver Children’s Home.

I am a Colorado native: born in Denver and raised in Parker. I like to hike, climb, ski, bike, and spend time with friends and family.


Morgan Boncore's Photo

Morgan Boncore – Mild Moderate

Morgan is passionate about helping every child realize that they have intrinsic value, no matter their background or ability level. She loves helping students see that they have endless potential and can grow in academic, social, and emotional ways. She taught for 4 years in Florida before moving to Denver and is delighted to join the DCIS team. Morgan loves to travel—she has been to 43 of the 50 United States and 10 different countries. Her favorite country to visit is Peru and she hopes to become fluent in Spanish within the next year!

Room 136 | 47653 |

DCIS at Fairmont

Rebecca Stephan – Mild Moderate

Rebecca grew up in Littleton, Colorado and this is her first year at Denver Public Schools. She is a member of Teach for America Colorado. Rebecca enjoys studying languages, anthropology and history and is also learning how to sew, garden, read music, and speak Arabic and Spanish! Rebecca has traveled throughout northern and eastern Europe with her family, as well as Central America and Southeast Asia, and is so excited to be a part of an internationally-minded community like DCIS at Fairmont.

Room 142 | 47685 |


Herlinda Lipe – ECE

Room 150 | 47661 |

Yeni Garcia – MI-S

Room 110 | 47647 |

Kathy Givan – Library

Kathy is the librarian at Fairmont. She was previously a 5th grade teacher and a media specialist at Phillips Elementary in the Park Hill area. She was lucky enough to have Mark Davenport as one of her 5th grade students.
She was also a technology teacher at Slavens Elementary in the Southern Hills area.

Room 105 | 47667 |

Megan Honeywell – ECE 3-4

Room 147 | 47656 |

Johanna Honma – ECE 4

I’m Johanna Honma. I was born in Lima, Peru. My grandparents inmigrated from Japan to Peru during the WWII. I moved to Denver in 2007.  I love Colorado even though I miss the my friend and food.
I’ve been an ECE para since 2007.
In my free time i like to watch movies, I enjoy hiking and grilling with my family.
We are 5 in my family, my husband, my 2 sons and my dog.

Room 149 | 47660 |

Jordan Borenstein – MI-S

Room 110 | 47647 |

Tina Mendoza – ECE 4

I’m Tina L. Mendoza. I was born in Pueblo, CO.  I moved to Denver when I was 2. I have 2 brother and a sister. I came to Fairmont for Kinder and 3rd grade. I graduated from West high school and did my general studies at Metro state. I worked with at risk youth at Youth Passages  and then worked with pregnant teens at Florence Crittenton and then decided try 3-4 year olds. I love working with this age group.  I have 3 kids, Carlos my oldest is 19. Jacqueline is my middle child is 14 and my youngest is 11 and he’s Jorge.

Room 131 | 47641 |

Roxana Recendiz – 1st Grade

Room 139 | 47654 |

Elsa Pacheco – Kindergarten

Room 135 | 47640 |

Darlene Sandoval – MI-S

Room 110 | 47647 |

Valeriana Sloan – ECE 3-4

Room 147 | 47656 |

 – Kinder

Room 133 | 47640 |


Guadalupe DeHernandezCastillo – Facilities

Basement | 47628 |

Jeffery Leija – Facilities Manager

Basement | 47628 |

Lisa Sweigart – Facilities

Basement | 47628 |


Lilian Romero – Lunchroom Manager

Lunchroom | 47627 |

Discovery Link

Lupie Nunez – Coordinator

Room 121B | 47627 |