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Kindergarten

    Debbie Brook

    Kindergarten

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    Debbie is excited for the school year and feels grateful to begin her fourth year teaching at Ben Franklin Academy. She is so happy to be a part of the kindergarten team.

    As a teacher, she feels that it is her obligation to encourage students to be successful, to give them every opportunity to excel, and to challenge them to their fullest potential. In addition, she believes that it is important to teach and model good character in a nurturing classroom environment.

    Originally from Ohio, Debbie’s undergraduate degree is from Ohio Dominican University in Columbus. She moved to Colorado 13 years ago and received her Colorado teaching license and Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Regis University. She loves children and enjoys helping them learn and grow.

    Living in Highlands Ranch, Debbie has three children. Her older two are adults: one is a missionary and the other is in seminary. Her youngest is a sophomore who attends high school in Douglas County. Debbie spends most of her free time with her family. In addition, she enjoys the outdoors, traveling to the beach and mountains, working out at the gym, attending church activities, and spending time with friends.

    Debbie is looking forward to a great school year with her kindergarteners and their families.

      Susan Klee

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      Susan will be beginning her 26th year of teaching and absolutely loves teaching Kindergarten!
      Susan feels very fortunate to be a part of the Ben Franklin Academy Kindergarten Team. Susan received her degree in Early Childhood Education from Iowa State University.

      Susan lives with her husband in Parker, and they have four wonderful children.  Her favorite thing to do is spend time with her family.  Susan’s interests include sports, camping, hiking, biking, crafts, going to the beach, and of course shopping!  She looks forward to another wonderful year of teaching at BFA.

          Kayla Murray

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          Kayla will be beginning her ninth year of teaching kindergarten this year. A Colorado native, she attended schools in the Douglas County School District. She graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in Elementary Education where she played for the women’s soccer team for four years on an athletic scholarship. She received her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix.

          She lives in Lakewood with her husband Jay, her son Joel, daughter Blair, and golden retriever dog Jax. Two toddlers keep her very busy at home, but she loves every minute of it. Kayla enjoys spending time with family, watching her son and daughter grow each day, traveling, playing soccer, watching movies, and camping. She has been teaching at Ben Franklin Academy since it has opened and she feels so fortunate to be apart of the BFA family. She is looking forward to another great year!

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              Brittany Parsons

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              Brittany is ecstatic to be back in Kindergarten having started her teaching career here!  Brittany graduated from Colorado State University with a concentration in Early Childhood Education and has a strong passion for teaching the younger grades. She has taught Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. Brittany started teaching at Ben Franklin Academy when it first opened; this will be her seventh year of teaching. 

              Having married the love of her life, Brittany and her husband currently live in Castle Rock. She loves the outdoorsy Colorado lifestyle. Her favorite things to do include hiking, camping, reading, and traveling the world. She is a self-proclaimed bookworm with a passion for reading which transfers over into her desire to inspire that love for reading in her students. 
               
              Brittany is looking forward to this school year and the privilege of getting to teach your kiddos!
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                  Emily Pitrone

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                    1st Grade

                      Julie DePasse

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                      Julie DePasse loves being a part of the BFA team! She began her career after graduating from Metropolitan State College of Denver with a degree in Elementary Education. She first taught in Littleton Public Schools for a few years, then later at Monument Academy Charter School where she was introduced to the Core Knowledge Sequence. She enjoys being at BFA where the curriculum is packed with exciting subjects to study, including lots of history and science! 

                      Julie grew up in Littleton, where she discovered her love of reading and learning. She believes that reading helps people see the world from a whole different window! She still loves to read today and hopes to share her love of reading and learning with her students. In addition to reading, she also likes watching movies, playing games (including Minecraft) with her grown-up boys, and traveling with her family. Her favorite trips have been to Europe and Japan. She also has a big, silly dog, Buster, who takes her for walks on the Highline Canal Trail…whenever he gets the chance. 

                      Mrs. DePasse is looking forward to working with you to create an electrifying year for our BFA kiddos. GO LIGHTNING BOLTS!

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                          Candace McGinty

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                          Candace has been teaching more than 10 years now. Candace received her Bachelor’s of Science in Education from Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. Candace taught third grade in Clyde, Texas and later moved to Aurora, Colorado to teach first, second, and third grades. In 1993, Candace had her first child and decided to be a stay-at-home mom.

                          Candace has been teaching first grade at Ben Franklin Academy for three years and has been substituting at Ben Franklin Academy for three years. She truly loves the students and families at BFA. She is  heavily invested in Core Knowledge curriculum, given that her own two children attended a Core Knowledge charter school. She is currently in the process of earning a Master’s of Education in Reading at Colorado College. She plans on specializing in teaching children with dyslexia how to read.

                          Candace lives in Highlands Ranch with her husband Scott of 28 years and a cute wiener dog named Wilson. She has a son, Preston, who graduated from Colorado State University and a daughter, Monica, who graduated from Pepperdine University in California.  She enjoys cooking, reading and crafting in her spare time.

                          Candace truly loves the BFA community and can’t wait to meet her new class of first graders!

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                              Theresa North

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                              Theresa is a native California girl who LOVES the beach.  She moved to Colorado 17 years ago and although she misses her family and the ocean, she loves all the hiking, bike paths and serenity Colorado has to offer. She feels extremely blessed to have been given the opportunity to raise her family here.

                              This will be Theresa’s fourth year here at Ben Franklin Academy. She received her BA in Liberal Arts at Dominguez Hills University in CA. She has been an educator for 21 years.

                              Theresa lives in Highlands Ranch with her husband and three children ages 20, 18 and 12. She loves to hang out with friends and family in her free times and is a big fan of the BRONCOS!! She is excited to be a part of the BFA family and is looking forward to another year of growing children and being apart of 26 new families.

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                                  Erin Triplett

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                                  As a first year teacher, Erin is very enthusiastic about beginning her teaching career at Ben Franklin Academy where she completed her student teaching assignment.  During that experience, she found the BFA community to be welcoming and encouraging to her.  Erin will be teaching 5th grade Math and Literature.

                                  Erin is a recent graduate of Western Governors University where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (K-6). After graduation, she also received her endorsement in gifted and talented education. Currently, she is working on her Master’s degree in Instructional Design with hopes to complete it by the end of the year.  Erin has always enjoyed enriching young minds starting with her own children.  For ten years, she not only homeschooled her own children in pre-school through 6th grade, but countless other children in her highly rated in home pre-school.  The children left with a love of school, a love of reading, and a love of learning.

                                  One of Erin’s passions is spending quality time with her family enjoying the beautiful Colorado outdoors.  Camping, kayaking and paddle boarding are just a few of the activities she does with her husband (Jake) and two children, Jeffrey (15) & Grace (11), as they camp across Colorado.  Erin also has made it a priority to travel to foreign countries to experience interesting cultures and customs, her favorite was Greece with their hospitality, gorgeous beaches, and delicious food.

                                  The new school year brings challenges, rewards and opportunities but Erin eagerly looks forward to meeting her new class of first graders.

                                    2nd Grade

                                      Nicole Harms

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                                      Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Nicole and her husband chose to relocate to Colorado in 2004.

                                      Nicole has been teaching elementary-age children for 16 years. She started in a public school in the Chicago area, and then taught at a Core Knowledge charter school in Littleton.

                                      Nicole graduated from Concordia Lutheran University with a bachelor’s in Elementary Education, specializing in English and Language Arts.

                                      Her eldest son is at CSU Fort Collins and her youngest is a seventh grader at BFA. In their spare time, Nicole’s family enjoys white water rafting, biking, fly-fishing, camping, skiing, and hiking.  Nicole loves to cook, do yoga, shop, and to swim. Most of all, Nicole loves to teach children. Nicole describes herself as a very open person and urges you to feel free to contact her.

                                      Nicole is there for the parents and the children:  “together we are a TEAM!”

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                                          Erica Hildebrand

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                                          Erica is excited to begin her fourth year teaching Second Grade at Ben Franklin Academy!!  She has worked as a classroom teacher for 11 years and as a Literacy Specialist for 5 years.  Erica graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a BA in English/Elementary Education.  She also earned a M.Ed in Reading/Curriculum and Instruction from Grand Canyon University.  In her spare time, Erica enjoys reading, hiking, skiing, mountain biking, cooking and spending time with her husband, three children and her dogs.

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                                              Erin Hinz

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                                              Erin Hinz is very excited to begin her third year of teaching at Ben Franklin Academy. Shortly after receiving her degree in Psychology with a Minor in Education from the University of Colorado, Boulder, she enrolled in the University of Northern Colorado to obtain a Master of Arts in Teaching. She was fortunate to complete her student teaching here, in second grade, at Ben Franklin Academy. She taught fourth grade her first year, and third grade last year. She is very excited to continue her educational journey in the second grade this year.

                                              In her free time, Erin enjoys hiking, cooking, yoga, Zumba, singing, spending time with her dog (Molly), and playing all types of sports. She is very passionate about working with children and families, and welcomes all to stop in at any time for a question, concern, or even a friendly hello. Erin is very eager for the new school year, and is excited to be a part of the BFA family.

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                                                  Kelly Whelan

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                                                  Kelly is extremely excited to be teaching at Ben Franklin Academy as she continues her teaching career. This will be her 6th year at BFA.  In 2011 she received her bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science with an Elementary Education license from Metropolitan State College of Denver. In 2014 she received her Masters in Special Education from Grand Canyon University.  Kelly was born and raised in Colorado and is following in her mother’s footsteps (a second grade teacher for many years).  In her free time, Kelly enjoys scrapbooking, snowboarding, hiking, shopping and water skiing. She is also a Zumba instructor 3 days a week on the side.

                                                    3rd Grade

                                                      Staci Erbaugh

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                                                      Staci Erbaugh is delighted to continue her teaching career at Ben Franklin Academy. Staci’s journey as a teacher started as a young child as she fondly remembers writing on the teacher’s chalkboard and playing school. Her passion of education and children led her to attend Colorado State University & The University of Colorado at Denver for her teaching licensure. She has taught kindergarten, first grade, and third grade.

                                                      In her free time, she loves spending time with her daughter, Jessica who is also in third grade. Staci enjoys reading, painting, yoga, photography, and playing tennis.

                                                      Staci feels grateful to join this community and the BFA family. She values the strong relationship between students, teachers, and parents. Staci’s goal is for students to become successful lifelong learners. An old Chinese proverb says, “Give a man a fish you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

                                                          Amy Lindgren

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                                                          Amy is thrilled to be starting her second year at Ben Franklin Academy in third grade. She remembers third grade to be one of the most influential years in her life. It was in this grade that she started to develop her life long passion to become a classroom teacher.

                                                          As a Colorado native, Amy attended Azusa Pacific University in Southern California for undergrad. After graduation she moved back to Colorado to continue her education. Amy attended MSU Denver where she received her teaching license and Masters in Education.

                                                          In her free time she loves to sew, paint, and spend time with friends. When she gets the chance she loves to travel to different cities all over the United States.

                                                          Amy is inspired by the way Ben Franklin uses Core Knowledge to produce life long learners and is excited to continue to be a part of this great school.

                                                              Beth Marchisio

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                                                              Beth was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA.  In December of 2002, she graduated from California University of PA with a degree in Elementary Education.
                                                               
                                                              Beth was a reading tutor and substitute teacher before she began full time teaching. Starting in 2005, she taught second grade at a Pittsburgh charter school for two years.
                                                               
                                                              In 2007, she moved to the Northern VA/DC area where she continued to teach second grade at a public school. In 2010, Beth earned her Master’s Degree in Education at George Mason University. After living in VA for five years, she and her dog, “Marcus” decided it was time for a change and relocated to Colorado! 
                                                               
                                                              This is Beth’s 13th year of teaching and she has taught in second and third grade. This is Beth’s fifth year at Ben Franklin Academy.   She is extremely impressed by the dedicated parents at BFA and the terrific students who put a smile on her face everyday! She looks forward to another year at BFA! 
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                                                                  Linda Wilson

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                                                                  Linda is overjoyed to return to the most exemplary school of students, parents, teachers, administrators, and school board she has ever been associated with to teach 3rd grade.  Her strong belief that “all children can succeed” in the right academic environment led her to Ben Franklin Academy to teach 5th grade during the school’s inaugural year in 2011.

                                                                  Linda has been married for 33 years to her husband Chuck and they are the proud parents of three adult boys. Her eldest son and his wife gave them the gift of her first grandchild, Sawyer James, who is currently 7 months old. During her time away from the classroom, she not only enjoyed spending time with him, but traveling.

                                                                  She is full of enthusiasm and energy to open her classroom to her new students. She feels strongly in working together with parents to create an environment where each child’s uniqueness is paramount and where they feel safe, secure, and cared about.

                                                                  Having met with her 3rd grade teammates over the summer, she is thrilled to welcome the students into the wonderful world of 3rd grade with these talented ladies.

                                                                    4th Grade

                                                                      Kelli Boyd

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                                                                      Kelli has been teaching for more than 13 years and has done all of it in 4th grade!  She has been at BFA for several years and absolutely loves teaching and guiding children.  Kelli has been teaching in Colorado for ten+ years and has done it all at Charter schools.  

                                                                      Kelli enjoys running, playing basketball, shopping, camping, riding bikes, and playing fun games.  She can be somewhat competitive, but it is all in a fun way.  On the weekends she enjoys sleeping in, and going on adventures with her daughter.  

                                                                      Kelli went to California State University, Bakersfield, finished her Multiple Subject Credential in California, and then received her Master’s from University of Phoenix.  School and learning is very important to her, as she is always trying to improve.

                                                                      Kelli loves working at BFA, because of the wonderful teacher support from parents and administration. BFA is the BEST!

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                                                                          Jennifer Lewicki

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                                                                          Mrs. Lewicki, her husband Mark and their three children moved to Colorado from Phoenix, Arizona in the fall of 2014. Two of her children attend Valor high school and her youngest, Jeremy is at  Ben Franklin. 

                                                                          Teaching is something that she has always enjoyed and she strives to use her creativity and resourcefulness to bring life to any subject. She considers herself a life long learner and a student at heart. She has her Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an endorsement in teaching ESL. For the past twenty years, she has spent her time tutoring ESL students, teaching science enrichment classes, homeschooling her own children and teaching  in the regular classroom. 

                                                                          She enjoys the dynamic of the classroom and feels fortunate to be back teaching full time in her favorite grade. She is looking forward to her second year of teaching 4th grade at BFA and meeting her new students!

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                                                                              Karen Wall

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                                                                              Karen is thrilled to be teaching another year of fourth grade at BFA. This will be Karen’s ninth year teaching fourth grade.  Karen earned her master’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix in 2009 and received a bachelor’s degree in Art with an emphasis in Graphic Design from Utah State University.

                                                                              Karen has two children of her own, and she gained five bonus children when she married Travis Wall two years ago. The two daughters who are still at home attend ThunderRidge High School. Karen grew up in Littleton and feels lucky to have a large extended family close by (including several family members who attend BFA).  Karen enjoys traveling, attending her children’s sporting events, and reading books by the pool.  She describes herself as the ultimate soccer mom, and some of her favorite things include Coke Zero, the beach, pedicures, flip-flops, chocolate, and spending time with her husband and kids.  Karen looks forward to meeting more of the wonderful BFA families and to an amazing school year.

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                                                                                  Angie Van Wyk

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                                                                                  Angie is very excited to be teaching fourth grade at Ben Franklin Academy. Angie went to CU Boulder (Go Buffs!) and has a Masters Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix. This will be her 12th year teaching.

                                                                                  Angie grew up in Littleton and is lucky to have a large extended family living in the Denver area. She has been married to her high school sweetheart, Trevor, for 20 years. They have three boys, one in fifth, seventh and a sophomore in high school.

                                                                                   With having three young boys any free time is usually on a baseball field or basketball court.  Angie loves spending time with her family and friends.  She also enjoys watching movies, playing tennis, reading a good book, and getting pedicures! Angie is excited to meet her class and share her enthusiasm for learning.  PLAY BALL.
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                                                                                    5th Grade

                                                                                      Lyndell Dunn

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                                                                                      2016-2017 is an exciting year for Mrs. Dunn, as it is her tenth year of teaching full-time.  She can’t wait to see what this year brings, as each year seems to be better than the year before.

                                                                                      Here are some tidbits about Mrs. Dunn:  She is a proud mother of four children; three of whom attend BFA, and one who attends Mountain Vista High School.  She met her husband in 1993 at Brigham Young University-Provo, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She taught sixth grade for two years before taking time to start a family.   After a ten year leave she returned to teach fifth grade, bumped to fourth for a couple of years, and has been back in fifth since 2015. Her family motto is “keep moving forward”, and she is committed to making sure that every student moves forward, irrespective of where they start when they begin with her.

                                                                                      Mrs. Dunn’s outside interests include choral performance & conducting, scouting “mom”, soccer mom, hiking, golf, volleyball, and reading children’s literature.  She is also working on her Master’s degree at DU in Curriculum and Instruction, with an emphasis in Math Education.

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                                                                                          Kevin Knudsen

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                                                                                          Kevin is excited to begin his fourth year of teaching.  He joined BFA as a second career teacher, having spent the past several years in business.  He looks forward to providing the education, leadership, and guidance to assist with each student’s present and future success. Kevin is also the boy’s soccer coach and the girl’s and boy’s basketball coach.

                                                                                          Kevin graduated from Colorado State University and later earned his master’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix.

                                                                                          Another Colorado native, Kevin lives with his wonderful wife, Sarah, and daughters, Chloe (age 5), Carly (age 4), and Charlotte (10 months)  in Parker.  Kevin looks forward to another great year at BFA.

                                                                                              Melinda Walter

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                                                                                              Melinda Walter is very excited to be teaching 5th grade this year.  This will be her second year and looks forward to see some familiar faces from when she taught 2nd grade.  She is really looking forward to focusing more on language arts curriculum this year.

                                                                                              Over the summer, Melinda enjoyed traveling to California to spend some time with her family.  She also had a great time going to Denver’s Comic Con and seeing how to use comic books to bring out reluctant readers and writers.

                                                                                              Melinda is also excited and a little sad about her son Mason, who will be starting 2nd grade this year at BFA.  It will be interesting to see him embarking on all the topics she taught when she was teaching 2nd grade.  Melinda spends most of her free time reading, shopping, and enjoying outings with her two men, Mr. Walter and Mason.

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                                                                                                  Katelyn Rooney

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                                                                                                  Ms. Katelyn Rooney is a new addition to Ben Franklin Academy and she is excited to begin educating and developing the incoming fifth grade students. This will be her eighth year teaching, but her first in fifth grade. Ms. Rooney has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of South Carolina (Cum Laude), teaching credentials from Texas, and most recently attained a Master of Education with a concentration in Literacy (Summa Cum Laude) in July of 2017. Ms. Rooney would consider herself to be a lifelong learner that enjoys spending time with her dog, family, and boyfriend. In her spare time she enjoys running, reading, sushi, and spending time outdoors. Fall is her favorite time of the year; she loves the color orange and pumpkins/foliage. To thrive as a teacher, you need three bones: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone!

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