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 several 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 30 years. Jackie lives in Highland Ranch with her husband and her dog Layla. She has two adult children, a son and a daughter. Jackie calls herself an energizer bunny; she enjoys yoga, weight lifting, and speed walking. She has a unique passion for serving individuals with disabilities.
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.
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!!
Liz Dennison - Occupational Therapist
Liz Dennison, occupational therapist, is excited to be part of the team at Ben Franklin Academy. She received her Masters degree from Colorado State University and her Undergraduate degree from Colorado Mesa University. A passion for working with children and healthy living led Liz to occupational therapy, a field that is dedicated to helping individuals across the lifespan do what they need and want to do everyday and which upholds the motto ‘live life to its fullest.’
Liz’s experience ranges from working in various clinical settings including hospitals, outpatient hand therapy, Early Intervention and multiple pediatric facilities including working with children with Autism. Discovering that nutrition and lifestyle changes across all settings supported greater progress towards client goals, Liz obtained a certification in health coaching and in her spare time she enjoys teaching clients how to accomplish their health goals through making simple and effective nutrition & lifestyle upgrades. In addition to developing new recipes, Liz enjoys the outdoors and spending time with her family.
Joyce Lewis - Learning Specialist
Joyce Lewis is excited to join Ben Franklin Academy as a Learning Specialist for grades 4-8. She has taught in Denver Public Schools for 7 years, primarily at the Middle School level. Prior to that, she worked with kids with special needs and youth at risk in a variety of settings. She loves working with kids and helping them find success! Teaching is Joyce’s favorite job, so far.
Joyce has teaching credentials in Special Education, Elementary Education, Secondary Language Arts and Linguistically Diverse Education. In addition she holds a BA in Psychology from Grand Valley State University in Michigan and an MA in Counseling Psychology from University of Colorado.
Originally from Michigan, Joyce lived in Grand Canyon Village, AZ, and the Florida Keys before moving to Denver. She currently lives with two cute dogs, a lovely cat and far too many books. In her free time she enjoys hiking, traveling and reading.
Sally McCance - Learning Specialist
Sally McCance is so excited to be joining the Ben Franklin Academy team as a Learning Specialist. She has been working in the field of special education since 2004. Sally is a licensed Special Education Generalist teacher in the state of Colorado, and has her Master’s Degree in Special Education.
Sally is a dedicated and passionate special education teacher and advocate with ten years’ experience working with children and adolescents in community, residential and inclusion/public school settings. She received her Master’s in Special Education in 2011 from Simmons College, and her BA from Connecticut College, summa cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, in May 2008.
Her professional interests include curriculum development for acquisition of life skills, functional academics, strategy development for school and community inclusion and independence, executive functioning and social skills development, applied behavior analysis and assistive technology.
Sally is originally from the Boston area, and moved to Colorado in August of 2011. Sally lives with her husband and their rescue dog Chloe in Castle Rock. Her hobbies include trail running, skiing, reading, cooking, and spending time at her family home on Squirrel Island, Maine. Sally also enjoys volunteer teaching in the toddler classroom on Sunday at Cherry Hills Community Church, where she and her husband are members. Her favorite Denver Broncos player is Wes Welker.