Debbie is excited for the school year and feels grateful to begin her seventh 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 16 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.
Debbie lives in Highlands Ranch with her husband who also works at Ben Franklin Academy and their home is often a revolving door with family coming and going. She has three adult children: her youngest son is a freshman at Colorado State University, her middle son is a senior at the University of Nebraska, and her daughter and son-in-law are missionaries at the University of Northern Colorado with a one-year-old daughter (Debbie’s granddaughter). In addition, she has three adult bonus children and four bonus grandchildren. Debbie is happiest when she is with her family. During the rest of her free time, 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.
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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!Faculty Favorites
Kayla will be beginning her tenth 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!
Brittany loves being a kindergarten teacher, it has been her dream job since the sixth grade! Brittany pursued this ambition through studying at Colorado State University with a concentration in Early Childhood Education. She has gathered experience by teaching kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. Brittany began teaching at Ben Franklin Academy when it first opened and cherishes working in this wonderful school environment; this will be her 8th year of teaching.
Candace has been teaching more than 12 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.
Recently Candace earned an endorsement in Literacy and plans to use it to help students with reading disabilities. Candace has been teaching first grade at Ben Franklin Academy for 4 years and had 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.
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!Faculty Favorites
Theresa is a native California girl who LOVES the beach. She moved to Colorado 18 years ago and although she misses her family (she is the youngest of 9!) 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 fifth 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 22 years.
Theresa lives in Highlands Ranch with her husband and three children Matthew, 21 (currently attending Regis University), Sarah, 19 (currently attending CU Boulder), and Jenna, 13. She loves to hang out with friends and family in her free time 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.Faculty Favorites
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.
Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Nicole and her husband chose to relocate to Colorado in 2004.
Nicole has been teaching elementary-age children for 18 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 eighth 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!”Faculty Favorites
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.Faculty Favorites
Erin Hinz is very excited to begin her fourth 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, third grade her second year, and is now very excited to continue her educational journey in the second grade. This is her second year teaching second grade.
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 happy to be a part of the BFA family.Faculty Favorites
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.
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 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.
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.
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!Faculty Favorites
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!Faculty Favorites
Karen is thrilled to be teaching another year of fourth grade at BFA. This will be Karen’s tenth 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 a few 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.Faculty Favorites
Angie Van WykEmail
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 13th 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 21 years. They have three boys, one in 6th, 8th and a junior in high school.
When it comes to teaching, Mrs. Dunn resonates thoroughly with Henry David Thoreau, who said, “Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.”
Mrs. Dunn loves teaching. Coming from a large family, she knew well before entering college that children were central to her future. When she went off to college at the age of 17, she enrolled as an Elementary Education major, finishing the five year program in four years, and doing so cum laude (BYU-Provo 1997).
Since then, she has gnawed this bone (teaching for two years, while earning an endorsement in ESL/multicultural education in California), buried it (taking ten years’ leave to raise four fantastic children to school-age), unearthed it (re-certifying and working toward literacy endorsement in Utah, and re-entering the workforce as a 5th grade teacher in 2009,) and gnaws at it still (moving to Colorado and BFA in 2015, with additional graduate work in Curriculum and Instruction- gifted/talented at the University of Denver and completion of a master’s degree in Math Education K-6 through Western Governor’s University.)
Mrs. Dunn’s outside interests mostly revolve around her children and family, who are rapidly growing up, and beginning to move out. She cherishes every moment with them, whether at sporting events, on road trips, at the HRCA recreation centers, or the family favorite- snuggling together for a movie or a book. The one thing she enjoys all to herself is choral singing and classical music. In this respect, she resonates with Hans Christian Anderson, who simply said, “Where words fail, music speaks.”Faculty Favorites
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.Faculty Favorites
Mrs. Mashburn (née Rooney) is in her second year at Ben Franklin Academy and she is pumped to begin educating and developing the incoming fifth grade students. This will be her ninth year teaching, but her second in fifth grade. Mrs. Mashburn 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. Mrs. Mashburn would consider herself to be a lifelong learner that enjoys spending time with her dog, family, and almost husband (10.20.2018). 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. Why did the teacher go cross-eyed? A. She couldn’t control her pupils!Faculty Favorites
Melinda Walter is very excited to be teaching 5th grade this year. This will be her fourth year teaching 5th grade. She is really looking forward to seeing new faces and getting to know a new bunch of students.
Over the summer, Melinda enjoyed traveling to California to spend some time with her family. She also had a great time going to Steamboat Springs Lake to kayak and camp with her family.
Melinda is also excited and a little sad about her son Mason, who will be starting 4th grade this year at BFA. It will be interesting to see him embarking on becoming a upper elementary student. Melinda spends most of her free time reading, shopping, and enjoying outings with her two men, Mr. Walter and Mason.Faculty Favorites