Compass Academy Staff
Marcia has worked in education for 24 years as teacher, instructional coach, director of curriculum and instruction, and as the Principal of a K-8 Charter school in Denver. She sees the power of a collaborative learning environment as being critical for both student and adult learning. In this environment, students are taught how to learn – not just what to learn. As a former Principal, and now as the Executive Director of Compass Academy, she would describe herself as one who leads with her heart and with her mind. Marcia believes that teaching and learning is a human endeavor. In her own words, “it is when we know and trust each other that relationships are formed and learning can happen. It is through intentional decisions about how we experience learning that we engage and become inspired to be all that we can be”.
Prior to becoming the Middle School Director at Compass Academy, Denise Thorne worked as a Spanish teacher in Denver, and as a Middle School Dean of students and School Director in Irving, Texas. Born and raised in Colorado, Denise could not be more excited to be back home working with students in Southwest Denver. She feels honored to continue her journey in education with a team of educators who work tirelessly to support the students at Compass Academy each day.
Prior to becoming the Senior Dean of Instruction at Compass Academy, Brandon was the principal of Downtown College Prep in San Jose, California. Before becoming principal He was a founding Humanities teacher for Downtown College Prep. He also spent six years as an eighth grade English teacher at Cesar Chavez Academy in East Palo Alto, California. Brandon got his start in education in Denver where he was a reading specialist for two years at Edgewater Elementary School. He has also played the role of athletic director and summer school program coordinator. He is extremely excited to continue with the Compass Academy team and is looking forward to learning from the great people working at Compass.
Cathy received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Wyoming. Cathy has taught at Compass for two years and is now entering her second year as Dean of Students. Cathy feels as though she was meant to be a part of Compass Academy. Her goal at Compass is to strengthen relationships with students that allow them to take risks, take their learning seriously and to the next level. She wants to make their learning experiences and their overall school experience fun and something they look forward to daily. Cathy grew up in Wyoming and loves the outdoors, playing golf in beautiful places and spending time with family and friends.
After graduating from Utah State University with a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science, Andrew spent eight years living, teaching, and studying in Taiwan. During his time there, his roles included teacher, curriculum designer, researcher, food sampler, and student. In 2012, he received a Master of Arts degree from National Tsing Hua University in the field of Language Cognition and Teaching. Since arriving in Denver, he has had the privilege of serving native, immigrant, refugee, and international student populations in both youth and adult language programs. He enjoys trying to define and better understand culturally diverse views on personal, professional, and educational values to better support learning and teaching. He strongly believes that education represents a life-long expedition, in which bold travelers seize upon to attain the necessary skills, knowledge, and inspiration to lead and define a purposeful and rewarding life. Andrew is elated to join Compass Academy and looks forward to working with its students, faculty, and staff to create positive academic and social success.
After graduating from the University of Denver in 2018 with a Bachelors of Arts in International Studies, Billy joined City Year Denver and was on the inaugural team at Compass Academy. He fell in love with the students and the vision of the school and returned as a Team Leader during Compass’ second year. After his two years of service, Billy joined City Year as a staff member and served as the Learner and Leader Engagement Coordinator at Compass where he supported athletics, extracurricular activities, and 8th grade transition. Billy has just signed on to be the Director of Operations and is excited to help Compass teachers and staff continue to impact the lives of our students. When not at school, Billy enjoys camping, biking, snowboarding, and completing projects on his new home.
Lilibeth Sanchez comes from Colombia, South America where she studied Social Communications with a major in Journalism at the Autónoma University in Barranquilla, Colombia. She has been working in DPS for over 10 years. She started as a Paraprofessional before becoming a Principal Secretary, Bookkeeper, Executive Assistant for the Chief of Family and Community Engagement, and Family and Community Engagement Liaison for a Middle School. She really enjoys working for our families and for the community! Most of her experience is working in the Southwest Denver area. Lili believes that the best present we can give to a child is a strong education, everything else comes and goes... but education will remain and grow.
6th Grade Team
Sarah was born and raised a Southern Belle from Atlanta, Georgia, although she doesn’t have an accent. She packed up my car and moved to Denver after graduating with an undergrad in 2015 from University of North Georgia and has been in Denver for three years now. She has taught 6th grade Language Arts for two and a half years. In my spare time, Sarah likes hiking and enjoying nature, reading classical fiction, and snapping pictures with her camera. She is currently attending the University of Colorado - Denver for her Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction for Reading and Writing. She believes in a safe, welcoming, and fun environment for kids to come into everyday. School is a home away from home, so she wants to make sure every person who enters her classroom feels comfortable and confident. As a Language Arts teacher, it is her goal to help her students discover a love of books, and expose them to a variety of experiences through literature.
Kerri grew up in New Hampshire and graduated from Plymouth State University with a degree in psychology. During a road trip in 2011, the Rocky Mountains stole Kerri’s heart. Shortly after graduating, she packed up her car and traveled across the country visiting six National Parks with her adventurous cat Luna. After arriving in Denver, Kerri started her first job as a Teacher’s assistant in a special needs classroom. As a graduate student at MSU Denver, Kerri worked at the Odyssey School of Denver in the 5th grade math classroom. Upon graduating, Kerri was hired at Odyssey as the long-term substitute in the 6th grade math classroom. Kerri is the youngest of five siblings and one of the youngest of over 60 cousins. Being raised in a large family taught Kerri to enjoy the little things, maintain a sense of humor and value differences in people. Kerri hopes to inspire joy and learning through mathematics while creating a classroom culture that values differences, welcomes change, encourages uniqueness and gives all voices a chance to be heard.
Mary Kate discovered her passion for teaching after serving with City Year New York in 2015. The following year, Mary Kate moved to Denver and received her teaching license through Rocky Mountain Prep's fellowship program. During her fellowship year, she took classes while teaching social studies and reading to a diverse group of fourth graders. Mary Kate also has experience teaching 2-5th grade science, English, and math, and taught at an expeditionary learning school that prioritized student-led projects and fieldwork. Prior to City Year, Mary Kate graduated from the State University of New York at New Paltz in 2014 with a dual degree in Spanish and Latin American/Caribbean Studies. She developed her Spanish fluency while living and volunteering at a hospital in Cusco, Peru. As an educator, Mary Kate's goal is to stimulate passion and help students develop an appreciation for diversity by incorporating their own histories and unique personalities into social studies learning. In her free time, you can find Mary Kate kayaking on the water, skiing on the mountains, or cooking up a good meal at home.
Before joining the Compass Academy team, Alexandra taught 6th grade Science in Florida. She earned her degree in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences from the University of Florida. She has multiple years experience teaching art and engineering summer camp courses to elementary students. Her goal is to foster a creative and positive learning environment for the students of Compass Academy. She is eager to bring her passion for science into the classroom.
7th Grade Team
Louise is excited for her second year teaching and coaching at Compass Academy! After graduating from Villanova University with a B.A. in Criminal Justice, Psychology, and Sociology, Louise joined Teach for America – Las Vegas Valley. During her time with Teach for America, Louise taught kindergarten, second grade, and fifth grade in Las Vegas, Nevada. There, she earned a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nevada – Las Vegas. After her two years with Teach for America, Louise chose to remain in Las Vegas for another two years, teaching the fifth grade ALM (Accelerated Learning Model) class while also running the after-school Project-Based Learning Club. Last year, after moving to Denver and becoming a Compass Academy team member, Louise taught ELD to all grade levels and was the girl’s basketball coach. Louise deeply believes that learning should extend past the classroom and that all students can be leaders when they are encouraged to use their voice. In her free time, Louise can be found on the many trails Colorado has to offer training for upcoming trail running races or triathlon events.
Sjoukje was born in France and came to Baltimore, Maryland when she was seven years old, and lived there until moving to Colorado. In May 2005, she graduated from Washington College in Maryland with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Education, with certifications in elementary and secondary mathematics education. During her 4 years at WC, she was on the rowing and rugby teams. Sjoukje has been teaching in Westside Baltimore City for the last twelve years, all at the same school. For the last eight years, she has been the only math teacher for the entire middle school. It’ll be a breath of fresh air to have one content to prep for in the fall. This past year, her dog was certified as a therapy animal so he's been enjoying his days at school with the students. She is looking forward to the drive out west this summer and exploring all that Colorado has to offer. She can’t wait to spend the year learning and growing with everyone, it’s going to be an amazing year!
Prior to joining the Compass Academy team, Katiria was the Head of Languages and Academic Coordinator for Actividades Formativas in Valencia, Spain. She has a B.A. in Spanish and Education from New Jersey City University (2008) and a Master of Arts in Creative Translation from the Universidad de Valencia (2010). Her passion for teaching, traveling, and learning about different cultures took her to South Korea in 2008 where she lived and taught EFL to primary school students and afterwards to Spain, which was her home for eight years. Her prior educational career experiences span 10 years and range from primary, middle, and high school English and Spanish instruction, to EFL curriculum development, teacher training, western civilizations adjunct instructor, and educational research. She was born and raised in Jersey City, NJ. She loves to garden, read, travel, listen to music and spend time with her husband, son, and dogs.
Bio coming soon.
Celeste Rodriguez was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas and went to school at Texas A&M University. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in English and minored in Performance Studies. This year, she served as an Americorps member at Cheltenham Elementary with City Year Denver where she near peer mentored and tutored 3rd graders and coordinated the After-School Program. She enjoys pizza, sweets, basketball, books, and the latest Netflix craze. She has a German Shepherd named Lucy who is one year old. A goal of Celeste’s as a resident at Compass Academy is to connect and formulate meaningful relationships with the students in order to help foster a helpful learning environment. Long term, her goal is to leave the world a better place than she found it by remaining kind in unkind situations, speaking up for those voices who have been silent, and pushing for the next generation to do the same.
8th Grade Team
Jessica Cook is a native Texan and grew up in Dallas before moving to Fort Worth to complete her degree in Theatre with a minor in Arts Administration. Following her graduation at TCU, Jessica joined Teach for America and taught 6th Grade World History at Uplift Infinity Middle School. While at Infinity, Jessica taught World History, US History, Algebra I, Algebra II, and some Theatre. In 2015, Jessica stepped out of the classroom and served Infinity’s campus as the Dean of Scholars for two years and has just finished serving as the MYP Dean of Academics for the past year. In her last year as dean, Jessica stepped back into the classroom to teach 8th grade US History and remembered how much she loved teaching, so she is so excited to go back to the classroom and join the Compass family! In her spare time, you can find Jessica with a book in her hand or hanging out with her family and The Monsters (as she calls her cats), but she fully expects to be going on adventures in Colorado!
Rafael worked as a bilingual educator in Washington DC Public Schools for five years. He received his B.A. in Sociology/ Anthropology from Middlebury College in Vermont, and his M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Maryland: College Park. He is originally from Atlanta, GA, and he and his wife have a one-year-old girl (who was delivered at home in the middle of a freak snowstorm on Pi Day last year). In his free time, he enjoys being outdoors, board games, Star Wars, and learning new languages.
Audrey earned her Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the University of Colorado, after college she traveled to Europe and the Middle East and then received her Masters of Arts in Education and Human Development from the University of Colorado, Denver. Audrey is very excited to be joining Compass Academy and contributing to the school’s vision as she focuses on including socio-emotional development into her social studies curriculum. Audrey’s goal is to work collaboratively with the educators at Compass Academy to meet the academic needs of all students. When not planning for upcoming lessons Audrey can often be found exploring the Rocky Mountains with her dog Penny.
Kyle is a founding teacher at Compass Academy and has taught 6th and 8th grade science during his three years at Compass. Before joining the team, Kyle taught 5th grade Math and Science and finished the Associate Teacher Program at Brooke Charter Schools, one of the highest performing schools in Massachusetts. During that year he learned how effective teacher collaboration can truly transform the classroom. Kyle grew up just outside Philadelphia and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. After college, Kyle served two years with City Year Boston; first as a City Year-AmeriCorps Member and then as a Team Leader. Through this volunteer work, he fell in love with urban education and became inspired to dedicate his time and energy to his students.
Nate is originally from East Aurora, New York, a small town right outside of Buffalo, where he stayed until 2013 when he moved to Ithaca, New York to complete a degree in History and a minor in Educational Studies. While at Ithaca College he had the opportunity to work with refugee and English Language Learners from all over the world as well as serve in an ELA and Social Studies Academic Interventionist role at Ithaca High School and at New Roots Charter School. After graduating from Ithaca College he moved to Denver to serve at Compass as a City Year-Americorps Member in a 7th grade ELA classroom from 2017-2018. He is super excited to continue his career in Education as a teacher resident at Compass Academy! In his free time Nate enjoys playing and coaching Rugby, hiking and cycling. Fun facts: Nate was a child model and is also an identical twin.
Hailing from the northern suburbs of Chicago IL, Laura fell in love with everything sports related. This sports connection drew Laura to attend Denison University as a member of their Women’s Lacrosse team for her four years. While at Denison, Laura majored in educational studies and traveled to Durban, South Africa to study and teach for a summer. Upon Graduating from Denison, Laura Joined City Year - Dallas as a Corps Member and stayed for an additional year as a Service Leader, where she worked in an 8th grade math classroom. Laura also took to the field to coach both a local club and private school lacrosse teams. These opportunities to work with students from varying backgrounds allowed her to stay connected to and positively impact multiple communities. Laura is excited to continue working in the same grade level and content in Colorado. In her free time you can catch Laura watching sports and being as active as possible.
Sarah is a graduate of Regis University having received her undergraduate degree in Spanish Language & Literature and Secondary Education and her masters degree in Development Practice. She has a passion for sharing experiences and culture, and uses these opportunities to create growth, for both her and her students. Sarah is a native of Colorado and is looking forward to the opportunity to share her love of the state, the community, and the culture with her colleagues, students, and community. In her free time, you can find Sarah hanging out with her dogs, watching sports, or traveling with her husband.
Ruby is a proud wife, mother of two sons and family of a pup named Lui. Ruby earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Spanish and a Master's in Education from the University of Denver. Before joining Compass Academy Ruby taught at Skinner Middle School and is thrilled to teach in the same community where she grew up! Ruby is proud of her Mexican heritage – her parents are from Durango, Mexico. She graduated from Lincoln High School in 2009 as a Gates Millennium Scholar and received a full tuition scholarship for college. She is inspired by Compass Academy’s approach to learning and commitment to the Southwest Denver area. Her biggest goal is to live out the Compass Academy philosophy in and out of the classroom, including promoting deeper learning and social-emotional growth for all students. She is here to let her students know that EVERYTHING they set their hearts on is possible!
Paula Chaparro was born in Durango Mexico, and received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the Universidad Juárez del Estado de Durango in Mexico. Her family consists of her husband, her son and herself.
Paula has been working in DPS for 10 years as a para-professional, interventionist, and as a 3rd grade and Kindergarten teacher. She is also an independent facilitator in the Love and Logic program and has had the opportunity to work with families in Denver and Lafayette, Colorado for more than 4 years.
Sarah is a passionate believer in education as an agent of social change. Her mission is to ensure students know their own power and self-efficacy as people, inside and outside of the classroom. She joins Compass Academy as a Boettcher Teacher Resident after serving with City Year in Seattle. Originally from Los Angeles, she earned her B.A. in English Literature from the University of Vermont in 2015. Outside of school, she loves bicycle touring, reading, writing, cooking, and good conversations with family and friends. She is thrilled to be working with Compass this year and get to know her amazing students!
English Language Development Team
Alicia has taught in the Southwest Community of Denver for seven years and is now going into her tenth year of teaching. Alicia went to the University of Oregon and majored in International Studies and Spanish. While there, she lived abroad in Chile. Following her time in Oregon, she moved to Phoenix, Arizona where she earned a Master’s in Education and taught for two years with Teach For America. Her goal at Compass Academy is to empower our students to be avid, independent readers and writers who are able to look at the world with a critical eye. In addition, she wants her students to speak confidently and advocate for themselves, their family, and their community. She is a Colorado native and loves to read, ski, bike, and spend time in the mountains with her family.
Daylan was born and raised in Denver, Colorado; this is his second year teaching English Language Development at Compass Academy. He received his undergraduate degree in history and secondary education with an emphasis on english language development from Regis University (2016). Prior to joining the Compass Academy, Daylan worked on creating programs in the Adams 50 district that fostered growth in literacy for his ELL students. Daylan strongly believes in the Compass philosophy and uses it in and out of the classroom. His ultimate goal is to give students the opportunity to explore language and culture, to create different perspectives, and become critical thinkers in the real world. Outside of school, Daylan enjoys reading, drawing, listening to music, and spending quality time with friends and family.
Math & ELA Support Team
Jon is very excited to return to Compass Academy as an eighth-grade teacher of English Language Arts. Jon believes passionately in whole child and constructivist philosophies that encourage students to think reflectively, collaboratively, and critically. Building on more than 15 years of experience in educational publishing, assessment development, and performing arts, Jon believes in culturally responsive curricula that reflect students' passions and experiences. An avid hiker and back-to-nature believer, Jon is a proud father of two young adventurers. He is thrilled to raise his family in beautiful Colorado and to join Compass Academy's students on their uniquely individual and inspiring educational journeys.
Martin earned his Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin. He has the spent the last two years working at Compass Academy as a Corps Member and a teacher. Prior to serving at Compass, he spent two years working in community centers around the Madison area. By the end of the year, Martin hopes all his students will be excited about learning real-life math application. He believes that everyone has the ability to succeed in math and knows they all will. In his spare time, he enjoys soccer, hiking, and the outdoors in general.
Eric joins the Compass team with a wealth of experience working with young people in multiple contexts, from Maine to South Africa. He holds a Colorado state endorsement in English Language Arts (Grades 7-12) as well as a Master’s in Social Justice Education from University of Massachusetts-Amherst. A student-athlete at Colby College in Maine, he graduated in 2012 with a degree in English and education. After graduating, Eric he spent a year working in Cape Town, South Africa for Grassroot Soccer, which uses soccer to educate and mobilize communities to stop the spread of HIV. On his return to the United States, he taught seventh grade English Language Arts in Falmouth, ME and has coached both soccer and ski racing at the middle school, high school, and college level. Eric is also the founder and facilitator of “Man Up” and Open Up, a program that engages middle school, high school, and college students in conversations about gender, masculinity, and sexual violence prevention. Passionate about creating classroom spaces where education becomes a “practice of freedom” (in the words of educational thinker bell hooks), Eric strives to support students in building literacy skills that they can apply to how they read their world and to how they actively write their personal narratives into that world. Outside of the classroom, he loves soccer, mountain adventures, spoken word, and traveling to new places.
Special Education Team
Before joining Compass Academy Jolene worked with the remarkable exceptional students at César Chávez Academy as the head of the Special Education Department where she received the DPS award for fun. Jolene grew up in Missouri and attended Colorado Christian University where she completed a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management. Jolene then continued her education and completed a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction in Urban Pedagogy. She is ecstatic about the opportunity to work with the students at Compass Academy because she enjoys shaping all aspects of each unique child. Her goals at Compass are to teach her students how to be global leaders and to find the path for success no matter the obstacles.
Theresa Casados is a doctoral student of school psychology at the University of Colorado, Denver. She received her master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Colorado, Boulder and was an elementary school teacher for six years at John Amesse and Harrington Elementary School. Theresa’s experience includes school psychology work at Aurora Central High School and The Mariposa Center, where she provided play and creative art therapy to children, as well as family support and education. Theresa has a passion for empowering adolescents with a strengths-based approach that includes honesty, humor and positivity. She is excited to become a member of the Compass Academy community!
Jennifer comes to Compass Academy with over 20 years experience working in Education, primarily as a School Psychologist. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from SUNY at Buffalo and her Master's and Educational Specialist Degrees in School Psychology at Alfred University, in Alfred, New York. She holds National Certification as a School Psychologist from NASP. Outside of her experience as a School Psych she has held positions as a Lead Psychologist, Special Education & Transition Coordinator, RtI/MTSS Specialist, PBIS Coach and also worked for the Arizona Department of Education as the State Wide Positive Behavior Support Specialist. Jennifer enjoys working with diverse student populations and varied needs and believes that all students can learn. She is committed to advocating for and respecting individual differences and is invested in promoting a positive learning environment for all. Jennifer utilizes a solution-oriented or problem-solving approach and embraces family-school partnerships. She was born and raised in a suburb of Buffalo, NY and IS a die-hard Buffalo Bills fan. After completing Grad School she moved to Phoenix, AZ, where she met her spouse Brian, who is also an educator. She fell in love with CO on vacation in her teen years, it is her husband’s home state, so they settled here in 2008. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her 3 dogs, connecting with family and friends, traveling, reading, coloring and crafting and practicing mindfullness.
Bio coming soon.
Carra is a Denver native who graduated from Denver North High School and studied Special Education at Adams State College in Alamosa, CO. She has worked in DPS for over 10 years with 7 years in Special Ed in mild, moderate, and severe profound classrooms and 3 years as an elementary school secretary. This is her first time working in a middle school. She has a 12 year old daughter who is in her 2nd year here at Compass Academy. In her free time she enjoys cooking, baking, reading, and spending time with her family. She is also a professional Ballet Folklorico Dancer and has toured Europe, Mexico, and many states in the US on multiple dance tours. She is excited to start this new journey with the Diverse Learners and be a Compass Lobo!
Lee joined Compass Academy after spending 9 years in the human service field. He spent most of that time as a case manager for adults with intellectual disabilities. In 2016 he looked to get into the teaching profession, he started at Manual High School as a Physical Education teacher at the high school and as a after school sports program coordinator at elementary and middle schools in the Five Points area of Denver. This will be Lee’s second year as the PE teacher here at Compass. He has his bachelor’s degree in Human Services, minor in Psychology and is in his second year at Metro State for his Physical Education certification. Lee enjoys all aspects of sports and has coached basketball at the high school and middle school level. He cares deeply about building meaningful relationships with the students at Compass Academy in hopes to build a lifetime love of being active. He uses his background in coaching and case management to build a class where his students both feel safe and valued while learning about respect and competition both on and off the field of life.
Bas was born and raised in The Netherlands and completed his Bachelors Degree in French, German and Marketing at the University of Salford in Manchester in the U.K. In 2004 he moved to Denver with his American wife. Bas worked in software and marketing management for almost 15 years, before deciding to follow his heart and be an artist. Prior to being an art teacher, he was a professional airbrush artist and graphic designer for 6 years, specializing in painting ice hockey goalie masks. In his spare time Bas is a cub scout pack leader. He plays hockey as a goalie and bowls in a non-competitive league once a week. Bas has two kids and a lot of animals at home. He’s very excited to be part of the Compass Academy team and to start sharing his passion and art experience with the students to help develop their creative minds.
Henrietta is the mother of three daughters who are all married and have blessed her with five grandchildren. While raising her daughters she lived in Germany and traveled through Europe for six years. As her children grew up she decided to go back to school and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services and a Master’s degree in School Counseling. Henrietta is excited to continue her career at Compass Academy and focus on supporting students in many ways. She looks forward to offering a school counseling program that will provide students, parents, teachers, and staff a safe and accepting environment. Henrietta loves to give hugs and refers to all students as “hitas, hitos, mijos, and mijas”. Her goal at Compass is to get to know each student!
Janice returned to the DPS last year, in her most recent role as Float Social Worker, she provided short-term coverage in schools throughout the district. As Assistant Director, New Hanover County Social Services, Ms. Cannon was responsible for the Economic Services Division where she successfully improved the division's timeliness and quality performance ratings. As a prevention manager for Denver Human Services Child, Ms. Cannon was responsible for implementation and development of a management team to direct and supervise federal and state-funded projects. She was responsible for leading prevention programming and services for the Child Welfare Division in Denver, as well as acquiring partnerships with community-based organizations and service providers. She has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Denver and is currently an advanced doctoral student at Colorado State University. Mrs. Cannon has more than twenty years of professional experience. She has researched and administered services that impact families and children. Janice is skilled in the areas of advocacy, service delivery, community outreach, and activities. Mrs. Cannon also has experience delivering process improvement methodologies such as Sigma Six and Lean within the Human Service System. Her ability to engage her peers in projects that improve the continuity of care and collaboration for families has been instrumental in her success.
City Year School Design Division
Ryan grew up in rural Ohio and moved to Denver after living for several years in New Orleans. Ryan studied History and Economics in college, and then went on to pursue a Master’s in Educational Research and a Law degree from George Washington University in Washington, DC. Ryan has worked in the fields of child policy, civic education, and legal advocacy. He has had roles as special education teacher, program designer, and coach, most recently launching and leading the Diverse Learners Initiative at Teach For America. Ryan joined the Compass team because he believes that all children should be known as people and learners and should have access to an education that values their voice and all they have to offer the world. In his free time, Ryan enjoys hiking the Colorado mountains and traveling the world with friends and family.
Before joining Compass Academy Nate worked as the head of diverse learner and special education support for Teach For America Bay Area. He grew up in Massachusetts and attended Colorado College where he majored in Sociology and minored in Film Studies. Nate then continued his journey west and moved to the Bay Area in California to work in schools as a City Year-AmeriCorps Member, a High School Special Education Teacher, and a Teacher Coach. Nate is thrilled to be at Compass Academy because of the school’s focus on making sure every single student feels supported, proud of what makes them unique and able to hit their own learning goals. His personal goals at the school are to help all Compass teachers hit their own goals for personal growth, get to know each student and what makes them unique, and learn conversational Spanish. Nate and his wife Danika (also a middle school teacher) went backpacking and camping every month of last year and are excited to spend time outdoors in Colorado.
Before joining Compass Academy, Alexis worked as an operations manager at a mid-sized law firm in Columbus, Ohio. She managed several departments and focused on improving processes, finding solutions to tough problems, and ensured successful outcomes for her team. She studied Political Science and Spanish as an undergraduate, and later went on to pursue a Master’s degree in Business Administration at INCAE Business School in Alajuela, Costa Rica. Alexis is ecstatic about transitioning to the education sector and effecting positive change with the amazing team at Compass Academy.
Jessica grew up in Denver and earned her Bachelor’s degree in English from Colorado State University and her Master’s degree in Middle East Studies from American University of Paris. Before joining Compass, Jessica taught 3rd-grade ELA-S in Southwest Denver, high-school Spanish, and English as a Second Language abroad in Spain and Saudi Arabia. Jessica is very excited to be a part of Compass Academy because she full-heartedly believes in the vision and mission of the school that all students can succeed and become leaders in the community and beyond. She also believes that the tools Compass provides students will help them succeed as such leaders, with the focus on elevating biliteracy, use of restorative justice practices, and instruction that is academically rigorous while simultaneously prioritizing the socio-emotional well-being of its students. Jessica believes that the students of Southwest Denver have incredible gifts to offer the world, and is honored to be working in the community
Chelsea is excited for her fourth school year working with young people at Compass Academy! Born and raised in the midwest, Chelsea earned her undergraduate degrees from the University of Missouri where she studied Journalism, Political Science and Sociology. Upon graduation, Chelsea moved to North Carolina to teach American Literature and Speech & Debate at Garinger High School while earning her teaching certificate in secondary English education at the University of North Carolina -- Charlotte. Fate and an incredible bike trip across the country brought her to Colorado, where she started working at Compass Academy as the manager of our City Year team from 2016-2018. This year, she started a new position with the School Design Division leading our new Americorps Teacher Residency Program. She loves working with kids and young adults to build their confidence, connection and sense of identity, and she’s excited to support a team of new teachers so they can better support kids. When she’s not at school, you can find Chelsea climbing rocks, playing Ultimate Frisbee or planning her next trip.
Born and raised in Parker, Colorado, Emily earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Colorado State University. After graduating in 2015, Emily and her twin sister Katy moved to Florida to serve as Corps Members with City Year Jacksonville. At the end of her first year she became a Team Leader and later moved to Boston to be part of Team Care Force, which leads corporate community service events across the US. After her Senior Corps Year Emily had the opportunity to be on the 2017 Summer Academy Team. After serving at Summer Academy, Emily returned to Denver to be near her boyfriend, also a City Year alum. In her free time Emily enjoys reading, watching crime dramas, or playing Legos with her 5 year old nephew. Emily is excited to join the SDD and be part of the City Year family again!
Paulina is a proud mother to her son and daughter. She was born in Chihuahua, Mexico and moved with her family to Denver when she was 9 years old. Paulina graduated from Alameda High School in 2006. Before joining Compass, Paulina worked as a proactive and reliable student-focused office manager for a charter high school in Denver. She is skilled in working with a diverse group of people and has four years of experience keeping school offices running smoothly. Paulina strongly believes in Compass Academy’s vision and mission and is very excited to take on this role. She believes that building and maintaining strong relationships and partnerships in our Southwest Denver community is key to gaining trust in our community.
CITY YEAR AMERICORPS TEAM
At Compass Academy, a team of 12 City Year-AmeriCorps Members serve every day and all school year as mentors and tutors providing both targeted and school-wide interventions to serve the holistic needs of our students.
Our 2018-2019 City Year-AmeriCorps Team: