I am delighted to be the Preschool Director and part of an incredible preschool team here at Ben Franklin Academy. I believe that early learning is a great way to build the foundation of a child’s future by providing opportunities for development and growth. I encourage positive interactions and relationships with both the parents and the children by providing all families with attention, acceptance, and affection.
“What did I want to be when I grew up?” The question we ask our little ones at the end of every school year at the age of 5! I can say for myself, I already knew as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a teacher. I followed my dream and completed a degree in Elementary Education with an Early Childhood emphasis. My first teaching job took me on an adventure to Nevada, and after getting married, I moved to California and taught for another 2 years. Wanting to move closer back to home brought us to Colorado. I began an in-home licensed childcare business, so I could be home with my own children and still be able to do what I love. After 23 years, I retired from childcare and had a huge desire to get back into the school setting. I was excited to step back into the classroom and begin teaching at Ben Franklin.
I was born and raised in North Dakota; I now consider Colorado my home as I have lived here for 26 years. I absolutely love it in Colorado as my husband, Adrian, and I have raised all three of our children here. My oldest daughter, Shelby, will finish Pharmacy school in the spring of 2022. Sheldon graduated from UNC in 2021 with a business degree. My youngest, Shantell, graduated from High School in 2021 and will be attending UNC to pursue a teaching degree. I want nothing more than to instill the love of education in the preschool children here at BFA as my own children love learning.
I am very much looking forward to a more “normal” year to hopefully put 2020 behind us all. This past year had its challenges, no doubt; because of our remarkable preschool team of teachers, they were able to overcome every obstacle and made it a successful year for every family that attended. Please know we here to make this the best experience for everyone in the preschool program. We indeed are in this all together, and this experience we had encountered has only made us better and stronger! I am so looking forward to being part of another great school year.
Preschool Teacher, afternoon 4’s and assistant teacher for Preschool 3’s
Melissa is so excited to be a part of the Ben Franklin Academy preschool team! She lives in Littleton, Colorado with her husband Steve, and their 3 children, Brittain (21), Christian (13), and Rowan (10) . She enjoys watching her kids play sports, traveling with her family for her son’s lacrosse tournaments, walking her dogs, hiking, skiing and spending time in the beautiful outdoors of Colorado with her family. She studied Elementary Education at the University of Kansas and has been in the education field off and on for over 20 years. She began her career working as a parent educator for the Parents as Teachers program in Summit County. She has been a preschool teacher, working in Head Start and Montessori classrooms. She has also worked in the kindergarten classroom as an instructional aide for several years, the last 4 years being at BFA. She has such a strong passion for working with young children and is so excited to be involved in helping children succeed in the preschool classroom!
Lead Preschool Teacher, Preschool 3’s and afternoon Pre-K 4’s
Christie McConnell is a Kansas native who has been living in Colorado for 13 ½ years. This will be her fifth-year teaching at BFA. She is excited to be a part of your child’s preschool, learning experience. Christie has been married for 16 ½ years to Anders, and has two sons, Jack 15 and Sam 13 ½. Christie has a master’s degree in Social Work, working primarily in geriatrics, and has over 10 years’ experience. She took a 10-year hiatus, staying at home with her children. During those 10 years she decided to pursue a preschool teaching certificate. She was an assistant at her son’s preschool and fell in love with the teaching experience. Christie’s teaching philosophy is learning comes through play and confidence comes through encouragement. When Christie is not at work, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, watching classic movies, taking walks with her dog, Mae, and hiking. She wants her families to know that she has an open-door policy, encouraging any questions that may occur in order to make the parent/teacher relationship a positive one.
Lead Preschool Teacher, Pre-Kindergarten 4’s
Shannon is excited to be teaching preschool for her 10th year at Ben Franklin Academy. Shannon went to the University of Northern Colorado and received a degree in Social Sciences with an emphasis in Elementary Education. Having taught Pre-K, First Grade, Fifth Grade and Sixth Grade throughout her 20 years of teaching Shannon has a great understanding of the fundamentals that kids need. Shannon has always had a passion for teaching and enjoys watching the growth that happens in a year.
In her free time Shannon loves spending time with her family. Shannon and her husband, Chris, a high school teacher and coach, have been married for 23 years. They have two wonderful kids, Kiernan, a 19-year-old college student at UNC, and Kellen, a 16-year-old lover of sports at D’Evelyn Senior High School.
Shannon looks forward to welcoming her new Preschool families and helping to build a foundation for BFA students.
- Website: Link
Preschool Aide and BASE Director
Leigh is honored to be part of the Ben Franklin Academy Preschool team. She loves working with young children because of their openness and willingness to learn. After operating a licensed home daycare for several years, Leigh went back to school to earn her Early Childhood Education Teaching Certificate. Leigh has been a member of the Pre-K program for nine years.
Leigh and her husband Frank have been married for 31 years and have lived many places thanks to the Military. They have three wonderful children, two sons ages 28, 22 and a daughter that is 17. They have lived in Highlands Ranch for the last 16 years.
In her free time, Leigh likes to spend time with her family, playing tennis and spending time a lot of time outdoors in the beautiful Colorado weather. Currently Leigh is a student at Arapahoe Community College furthering her passion in the Early Childhood Education. Leigh is the BASE Director and Co-Director of the Summer Camp program. Leigh is excited to begin the school year and make a positive impact in your children’s lives.Faculty Favorites
Jaimee is an Instructional Assistant for the preschool team. She is originally from Buffalo, New York and moved to Colorado in 2013. She graduated from Buffalo State College with a Degree in Art Education. Jaimee has been married to her husband Nathan for fourteen years and has one daughter, Talia, who also attends BFA. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading, watching movies, crafts and taking walks. She has a three-legged cat named Sophia who is a cancer survivor.