English Language Development Teacher
Response to Intervention Team Lead
Phone: 720-383-4519 ext. 3225
Sarah Harrell is a Colorado native and received her B.A. from the University of Colorado. After working with students of all ages for several years in a variety of settings including residential treatment facilities and charter schools, she decided that she most enjoyed working with struggling students. Sarah received her Literacy Intervention Specialist certificate from Colorado College in 2010. She then received her M. Ed in Special Education and ELD endorsement in 2014. This upcoming year will be her first year as a Learning Specialist, but she will continue her role as the 504 coordinator and ELD teacher.
In her free time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her family. She and her husband, David, have two boys, D.C. (freshman @ Utah State University) and Xavier (freshman at Arapahoe). They enjoy movies, snowboarding, traveling, and watching the boys play sports. Sarah also loves to read, hike, and spend time with her big extended family in Colorado.
Special Education Team Lead
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!!
Judy Shapiro is excited to start her second year of teaching at Ben Franklin Academy. She has been teaching special needs students for 23 years, starting in Michigan, spending 2.5 years in the Boston area, and moving to Colorado 2 years ago. She has taught mostly in public schools but has taught in a Charter School and at Religious Schools.
Judy went to college at Michigan State University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary and Special Education with a minor in music. She went onto earn her Masters of Sped Degree at Grand Valley State University in the area of Learning Disabilities, where she graduated with a 4.0 GPA.
Judy loves being in Colorado with her daughters, mom, sons in law, grandson and 2 granddaughters, and a dog that was rescued from the shelter. Spending time together and making memories is her favorite pastime. She also loves working with students of all ages and disciplines with the goal of growing in confidence, knowledge, and life skills to be the best we can all be!!
Gifted and Talented SpecialistEmail
Katie completed her sixteenth year of teaching this past year. She has worked with students in grades three through five for the majority of her career and taught fifth grade for thirteen years. This upcoming year will be her third year as the gifted and talented teacher at Ben Franklin Academy. Teaching is her passion, and she loves every minute she gets to spend with students helping them meet their academic potential.
Katie has a Bachelor’s degree in Painting from the University of Missouri Kansas City, a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Denver, a Master of Science in Special Education from Western Governor’s University, and her gifted and talented specialist certification from Regis University.
Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Katie moved to Colorado in 1999. She lives with her husband, Patrick, their three children, Lillia (8th grade), Aidan (5th grade) and Charlie (2nd grade), and their dog in Castle Pines. Katie spends most of her free time keeping up with her very active children. She also loves to spend time knee deep in a great book or running the beautiful trails throughout Colorado. Katie and her husband also enjoy gardening–she takes care of the flowers and he’s in charge of the vegetables. As a family, they enjoy being outdoors, family game and movie nights, trips to the mountains, and visiting her family in Wisconsin.
- Website: Link
Speech Language Pathology AideEmail
I am a recent graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver and I would eventually like to get my Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology! I have always had a passion for working with kids as I’ve been a nanny and babysat middle school through college. I have a one-year old Standard Poodle named Sterling and he is my adventure buddy; we like to hike, run, and play in the yard together. I love to travel, read, and try new things. This is my first year at Ben Franklin Academy as the Speech-Language Pathology Assistant and I am looking forward to this wonderful opportunity!Faculty Favorites
READ Act Coordinator
This past school year Ellen completed her tenth year working with elementary-aged students in the Douglas County Charter School system. Prior to her Charter School experience, Ellen began her career working for a major test-prep company, where she prepared students for college, grad school, and medical licensure. When not on the sidelines watching her kids play sports, Ellen can be found hiking, biking, snowboarding, or READing!Faculty Favorites
Life Skills and SPED AideEmail
Having been a part of Ben Franklin Academy since the first year, Janet has worn several hats for the school. As the Life Skills teacher, Janet enjoys teaching the sixth, seventh and eighth graders what is necessary for success above and beyond what is learned academically. This will be Janet’s seventh year as a part of the middle school, as she loves working with the young adults of the age group. Janet will be taking on a new role in the afternoons working with the Student Support Services team. This new role is something Janet is looking forward to. During the summers, Janet is also the co-director of the successful BFA Summer Camp program and during the school year is an active teacher for the BASE program. Janet enjoys the constant connection with a large number of students, and you can find her with several students around her as they communicate their day.
Janet has earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Phoenix and enjoys implementing the knowledge gained throughout her studies into the classroom. Janet is a single mom, of two. Her daughter works full-time in the management field and is out of the house, while her son is a Corporal with the United States Marine Corps. As an empty nester, Janet enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and her new additions, Harper and Tulo the cats. Janet has lived in Colorado since 2006, after many years in Texas. As Wyoming native, she enjoys the wide-open spaces and the mountains. She enjoys drawing, painting, and reading. She loves watching sports: baseball (the Colorado Rockies being her favorite), football, and basketball.Faculty Favorites
- Website: Link
Special Education ParaprofessionalEmail
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 in Highlands Ranch, supporting students with many needs, including Down syndrome and autism. She loves helping students with great challenges.
Esther and her husband of 38 years, Kevin, are enjoying grandchildren, two energetic Jack Russell Terriers, biking, hiking, and the new experience of car camping (which mostly has been a disaster).
Special Education ParaprofessionalEmail
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.Faculty Favorites