Learning Support Services
Diane Swann - Learning Specialist
Diane Swann is the Director of Learning Services at Ben Franklin Academy, providing academic support for the K-3 students as their Learning Specialist. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree with high honors in Elementary Education at Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond, (Oklahoma City area) Oklahoma. Her postgraduate work was completed at the University of Northern Colorado in Mild to Moderate Needs earning a 4.0 grade point average. She trained and marveled at the feet of some of education’s most venerated and esteemed professors and researchers such as Dr. Michael Opitz and the late Dr. Hugo McCord. Diane has been teaching since 1983 in a variety of settings including private schools, Denver Public Schools and Highlands Ranch Charter Schools. Diane most loves working within our community. She feels that supportive parents and children who want to succeed are such blessings. Diane truly loves her job! Perhaps it is more accurate to say, she is a “school junkie.” Bring her a box of brand new crayons and she’ll be your friend forever. Speaking of forever, her number one goal is to get to heaven and encourage others to do the same. She has been married to her one and only husband, Steve, since 1988. They have two grown daughters, Lindsey and Jordanna. Diane and Steve live just around the corner in Morrison and worship at the Bear Valley church of Christ.
Jackie Losasso - Tier III Paraprofessional
Jackie has worked as an ISS para for seven years in Douglas county. She received her college degree from University of Northern Colorado. She has worked with various special needs populations over the past 25 years. Jackie lives in Highland Ranch with her husband and her dog Sammy. She has two adult children, a son and a daughter. Jackie calls herself an energizer bunny; she enjoys yoga, weight lifting, and speed walking.
Esther Colas - Significant Needs Support
Esther’s teaching experience began when she was in high school, teaching neighborhood Bible clubs in the inner city of Washington, D.C. After graduating from Baptist Bible College of PA, she lived briefly in the Denver area, and then spent the next 22 years in Leavenworth, KS, where her husband pastored a small church. Her teaching continued in many aspects in her church, and also as she homeschooled 4 children until they went off to college. She then was a substitute teacher in the local school district, spending most of her time as a long-term sub in a school for children with severe emotional and behavior issues. When her family moved back to Denver in 2005, she began working as a Significant Support Needs educational assistant at Fox Creek Elementary in Highlands Ranch, supporting students with many needs, including Down syndrome and autism. She loves helping students with great challenges.
Her children are all post-college now – Kristi is a missionary in France, helping churches with music and discipleship. Karen and her husband recently graduated from medical school and are doing residencies in Syracuse, NY. Eric just finished his tour in the Army and lives with his family at Ft. Bragg, NC. Kelli lives in Littleton, works, and has a small piano studio. Esther and her husband Kevin, officially empty nesters, enjoy biking, snowshoeing, and hiking with friends and two extremely energetic Jack Russell terriers, Allie and Sherpa.
Stephanie Folkestad - Learning Specialist
Stephanie Folkestad is Ben Franklin Academy’s full time Learning Specialist, servicing students in upper elementary through middle school. She earned her B.A. in Elementary Education (K-9) at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas. Lindsborg is a small town about an hour north of Wichita. She earned her Master’s at the University of Northern Colorado. Stephanie has taught in a variety of settings working in Littleton Public Schools, Cherry Creek School District, and Douglas County School District. Stephanie loves working with students and gets excited when they master material. Working with parents is equally important to Stephanie. Stephanie also enjoys being an aunt to her two nephews Robert and Hunter.
Sarah Russell - Speech Language Pathologist
Sarah Russell is an accomplished Speech Language Pathologist who graduated with her Masters degree from the University of Colorado and Undergraduate degree from Miami University. She has always wanted to work with children and help them improve their communication skills. Sarah’s experience covers many settings including schools, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and Purdue University as an associate professor. After taking a few years off from her career to spend time with her three amazing young children and wonderful husband. Sarah is excited to be part of the BFA team!! As a fun fact, Sarah attended school in Michigan as a child, and for 8 years wore the same plaid as the students at BFA! What a coincidence!!