Administrative Staff

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Virginia

School Director

What education and experience do you have?
I’ve worked with kids in many different capacities since my teenage years – as a babysitter, soccer coach, referee, nanny, cooking class instructor, preschool teacher. When I started teaching preschool in 2012, I truly realized my passion for children and was hungry to learn more. I completed my associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education in 2015 and plan to continue toward my bachelor’s degree.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
“OPENair Academy is a welcoming community that nurtures togetherness throughout the school.” To me, this vision is truly represented and felt by others when entering the school. I believe that school should always feel like an extension of the child’s family. By valuing families and bringing the community together, this school is able to truly connect children with the world beyond their classroom.

What have you learned in your career as an educator?
In my experience working with children in an educational setting, I’ve learned that we need to stop looking at early childhood education through the adult lens, and rather see it from the perspective of the child. By providing the opportunity for children to freely explore their world, we are able to facilitate their growth by supporting their individual interests and passions. With such a great focus on test scores and academic readiness, it is so important that we create confident, inquisitive, passionate students that will never stop asking and exploring.

Kaley

Assistant Director

What education and experience do you have?
I have been in the field of Early Childhood since 2004 and I am Director Qualified in the state of Colorado, since 2007.  I have worked both in the classroom as well as in Assistant Director roles.  I have worked with children 6 weeks up to 12, but my heart is with Early Childhood.  Most of my experience has been with children two and a half to four years and I have been in Assistant Director roles since 2008. 

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
The Learning Environment means the most to me, both as an educator and a mom.  Not only do I love the Reggio Emilia philosophy as an educator, I love it even more for my two daughters, who attend OPENair as well.  I believe in the value of play for children, of all ages, but especially Early Childhood. There’s so much pressure on tests and scores later in a child’s education, if we can give them time to explore, investigate and discover their own interests, it will better equip them for their future.  I feel that children learn best through play, in an environment that allows and encourages exploration, experimentation, and risk-taking. I love that OPENair takes children outside, even infants and toddlers.  Lots of outdoor time, where children can explore the nature around them-bugs, plants, climb, and play in the dirt, as well as get messy with sensory play and art, are all things that I feel are very important to children’s growth and learning. When children are given ample time to play and get messy, they are able to learn so much about the world around them. Allowing children to explore and learn at their own pace, and guide their own learning, based on their individual interests, sets the foundation for the rest of their education and learning.  I also love that OPENair encourages problem-solving skills. Giving children the tools to solve problems on their own, whether it be asking for something they need, talking about their feelings, or working out a problem with a friend, are all very important skills to have.  Lastly, I love that OPENair trusts children in their abilities and views each child as a capable, talented individual.

What have you learned in your career as an educator?
feel that children are unique and they all learn and develop at different times.  When we allow children to explore, in a safe environment, they learn to problem solve and that it’s ok to take risks, even if they fail. There’s so much pressure and emphasis on testing, later in their education career, so it important we let them be little now. I feel that if we can give them a strong foundation of creativity, a sense that they belong and have wonderful things to offer, know that they can problem solve on their own, and trust themselves, they will be more successful later in life.
“Childhood is a journey, not a race.”

Infant Staff

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Chelsey

Infant Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I hold an Associates of Arts from Red Rocks Community College with a Group Leader Qualification in Early Childhood Education. I recently acquired my Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology minoring in Psychology focusing on youth and families from MSU Denver.

Before teaching at OPENair I spent roughly two years in Montessori environments as a Art and Toddler teacher.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
“OPENair reflects upon, assesses, and celebrates the growth and progress of individuals and as a community.”

I love this vision statement because it truly recognizes that each child’s growth is individual which leads to community growth. I feel that it is so important to remember that no child learns the same way and there is no possible way to set a singular learning standard and expect every child to meet that standard in the same way. Some children are auditory learners some are visual but no matter how they learn they are still successfully growing and learning as an individual. I feel that OPENair and the Reggio philosophy really empowers the unique qualities that each child has.

What do you love about teaching?
I love witnessing the imagination and curiosity that comes from a child exploring their environment. I am a big believer in education through art and I love seeing the different ideas that arise when a child is truly free to learn and grow at their own pace using their own ideas. I love being able to encourage that growth by being supportive and always excited to see what a child has learned.

Tran

Infant Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I have a Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Louisville in Kentucky. I’ve been working in the education field since 2007, but I fell in love with teaching preschool six years ago. I am a certified Early Childhood Teacher with the state of Colorado.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
“OPENair Academy creates a learning environment that provides the foundation and framework for exploration, experimentation and risk-taking.”
I connect with this vision statement because it supports the way in which I interact with, and observe the infants in my classroom every day. Because they cannot yet verbally communicate to express their needs and wishes, it becomes even more important to provide them with an appropriate and stimulating learning environment.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED IN YOUR CAREER AS AN EDUCATOR?
As an educator, I’ve learned that even though working with young children can be mentally and emotionally exhausting, it is the most fulfilling and fun work I’ve ever done!

Alejandra

Infant Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I attended Smith College for my Bachelor of Arts in Government and Study of Women and Gender. During my senior year, I started working at the child care center on campus, called Sunnyside. I fell in love with the early childhood age group and got a job as an infant/toddler teacher. From there, I moved to another child care center, working as a toddler teacher. Most recently, I worked as a part-time nanny for two families, each with 2 children. I am nearing completion of my Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education with Cambridge University. My wife and I just moved to Denver and I’m so excited to be working the classroom again!

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
OPENair Academy facilitates meaningful learning and play that invites creativity and problem-solving.” This statement means the most to me because learning is so much more than memorizing facts. Creativity gives the brain a chance to make sense of the world independently.

 

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED IN YOUR CAREER AS AN EDUCATOR?
I’ve learned that things don’t usually go the way we plan, but we make the most of it and it all works out in the end!

Toddler Staff

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Angie

Toddler Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I received my AA degree in Iowa City, Iowa. I studied Early Childhood multicultural education at the University of New Mexico with the T.E.A.C.H scholarship. I worked at a wonderful preschool in Albuquerque and that’s were I discovered my love for Early Education.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
I love that OPENair Academy facilities meaningful learning and play that invites creativity and problem-solving.” Watching the toddlers grow and become independent is an amazing transformation.

What have you learned in your career as an educator?
I’ve become a better listener over the years. I realized that Reggio is my style of teaching while staying home with my daughter for the first year and a half. When I would follow her lead at the park we discovered and discussed her many interests and curiosities. My skills of listening to the needs and interests of young children continues to improve.

Abby

Toddler Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I moved to Colorado in 2009 to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder, and quickly fell in love with this state! While in school I began my first job in early child care at the CU Children’s Center at a Student Assistant, where I would work for the next six years. After graduation, with a degree in Psychology and Sociology, I stayed on at the Children’s Center as a Teacher’s Assistant. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else! After two years, I moved to Denver for a change of scenery and found a home at OPENair Academy. Working at this school has been an inspiring experience; I have learned so much from my fellow teachers and the families that attend this school. In learning more about the Reggio Emilia philosophy I made the decision to continue my own learning and will be attending the CU Denver graduate school this fall, in the hopes of earning a degree in Early Childhood Educational Psychology. I am very excited to learn alongside the wonderful children at this center!

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
The OPENair vision statement that means the most to me is “OPENair Academy facilitates meaningful learning and play that invites creativity and problem solving.” As a toddler teacher, this is so crucial to understand the work the children are doing in the classroom. The children are learning so much through everything they are doing, and I view it as my job as their teacher to observe and document their learning, and use the information I gather to challenge and expand their natural curiosity.

What have you learned in your career as an educator?
I have learned many things in my years teaching, but I think the most important is to be flexible. This is something I learned from the children! Their willingness to try new things, forgive, and see something from a new perspective can be a challenge, and they make it look easy. I try to emulate this in my work as a teacher, and take into account the children’s opinions and feelings. In doing so I hope to create a learning environment that is not just designed by me, but created through a partnership between the members of the class and myself.

Haile

Toddler Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I have a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in Early Childhood Education, from Colorado State University. The past two years I have worked in early childhood centers, most recently at the Reggio inspired lab school that is associated with CSU.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
The part of the vision statement that means the most to me is that “we believe that children learn best when allowed to co-create meaningful experiences in a collaborative, cooperative and respectful environment.” This is important to me because I feel that children learn best when the are interested and engaged in what they are learning. It is incredible to see their success when the are exploring their creativity and being encouraged in a safe and nurturing setting.

What do you love most about teaching?
In being a teacher, the aspects I love most are watching the child grow and change every day and being able to be a part of that incredible experience. Knowing that I have showed them something new or made them smile as well as feel acknowledged and loved is the most rewarding part of being a teacher.

Charlotte

Toddler Teacher’s Aide

What education and experience do you have?
I Graduated from Arvada High School with a GBA of 3.7 and acquired a Diploma through Graduation. I want to continue my Education by taking classes to certify me in the proper areas. My prior experience comes from being Home Schooled with eight of my older and younger siblings and assisting/teaching them various classes. So “un-formally” you could say I’ve been teaching for 18+ years and am very comfortable with all age groups.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
The statement that really got my attention was “OPENair Academy creates a learning environment that provides the foundation and framework for exploration, experimentation and risk-taking.” I believe in this philosophy most because it not only provokes us as teachers to “see what’s next” but I also believe without risks we limit ourselves to really explore through the eyes of a child…What would I want to experience, and how can we as teachers make that more memorable, I believe change is a constant need for children to grow and explore the world around them, and without taking risks, how else could we possibly learn about our world.

What have you learned in your career as an educator?
As an educator, I have learned that if you put in the time and effort based on each individual you are able to create a bond that cannot only be broken, but help the child to continue to grow and thrive and flourish as young individuals who become confident. This has taught me that through simple observation we are able to create proactive environments that are always changing but also thought-provoking for the children.

Preschool Staff

Ashley L

Preschool Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I have a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies from CSU. While attending CSU I interned in a 3 year old room at their lab school; here, I was introduced to the Reggio-Emilia approach. After graduation I taught preschool at OPENair for 2 years, took a break from early childhood education, returned to the field as a co-teacher at Head Start, and now I’m back home at OPENair!

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
“OPENair Academy fosters thoughtful and constructive conversation for the purpose of sharing ideas and problem-solving.” This vision statement resonates with me because it is something that occurs so naturally at OPENair. Whether it’s teachers collaborating and reflecting on their days with each other, or children discussing and interacting with one another. I have had some of the most insightful conversations with the teachers and children at this school.

What do you love most about teaching?
1) Always keep extra clothes in your car; you never know what the day may bring!
2) If you ever really want an honest opinion about something, ask a 3-year-old.
3) This is what I’m meant to do.

Ashley D

Preschool Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a Bachelor of Arts in Theater and a Psychology minor. I have enjoyed teaching elementary school children about creativity and expression in after-school camps, and have nannied for several families over the years. Shortly, I will be enrolling in other Early Childhood Education courses to continue to become a better teacher and a better person for these children to look up to.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
“OPENair Academy creates a learning environment that provides a foundation and framework for exploration, experimentation, and risk-taking.”

I believe that education is about offering a space and direction for self-guided, natural learning. We each have the desire to expand our wealth of knowledge and to practice all of the art forms that it takes to live in our world – communication, service to others, etc. At OPENair, I think providing the framework and offering the vision is the most important piece. Children have a natural ability to connect with their environment and others around them. When they are free to take risks in their own learning, the possibilities for how they will see and interact with their world in the future are endless.

What do you love most about teaching?
I love to watch kids become confident in their abilities, and to see them realize that it’s okay to work at something when they aren’t. I love that I can be someone who encourages them to love the beauty and adventure in everyday things. And I love to see them find connections to each other and to their world that they hadn’t known before; seeing them enrich their lives moment by moment is wonderful.
I just love working with kids – it’s the best thing I get to do.

Absinthe

Preschool Intern Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I have a Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Kansas, an M.Ed in International Teaching from Framingham State University, and 4 years’ experience teaching preschool in Bangkok, Thailand. I’m currently working through the Teacher Education program at the Boulder Journey School and UC Denver.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
“Open air academy faculty collaborates intentionally within and across classrooms.”

I like this because I believe it is important for teachers to access the rich and varied resources available to children across age groups and spaces. The dynamic environments in the toddler room offer a fresh perspective to the children in Pre-K; the wisdom of the Preschool children can help the skills of the infants. By collaborating within and across classrooms, we are offering a more enriching environment to our kids.

What do you love most about teaching?
I love seeing the progress that comes with each day. Each child has something to offer to this world and being there to facilitate and learn with the students is fulfilling and fun. We make a difference in children’s lives by being present, warm, and doing everything we can to help a child along their educational journey, and it all starts with the little things we do, day by day.

Randall

Preschool Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I graduated summa cum laude from Westminster College in Salt Lake City my Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education with a Special Education endorsement. In China, I had the opportunity to teach English at a preschool, along with working 1-on-1 with college students as an English tutor. When I was teaching at a school for children with special needs, I received the Teacher of the Year Award for my work with kindergarteners through fifth graders. Lastly, I worked with elementary school students as a lead art teacher.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
The OPENair Academy vision statement that means the most to me is the statement about learning environment supporting children in the process of inquiry through intentional teaching and inspiring materials. I connect with this vision because exploration, experimentation, and the willingness to take risks are essential parts of the learning environment. I truly agree that problem solving and creativity are a must and having facilities that have meaningful learning and play make it possible.

What do you love most about teaching?
– The ability to help students achieve knowledge and understanding
– Inspiring students to be creative in their learning and explore different ways to solve problems
– Working with other teachers to learn and collaborate
– Planning and teaching new lessons surrounding the students’ interests.
– Observing the learning styles of students.

Jamie

Preschool Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I am from Brooklyn, NY and received my BFA in Theater from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University in 2010. I spent the past three years as a teacher at Studio Creative Play and Roberts Field School. These sister schools have a holistic approach to education with a focus on mindfulness, the arts, nature and imaginative play. Before that, I taught drama and storytelling at various public schools and community centers locally and internationally in Brooklyn, Alabama, Rhinebeck, Queens and Madagascar. Some of the organizations that led me to these communities were Zara Aina, Coalition for Hispanic Family Services (Arts & Literacy Program) and Brooklyn Acting Lab.

I am also a certified yoga teacher through Laughing Lotus NY and teach yoga and meditation to adults and children.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
“OPENair Academy fosters thoughtful and constructive conversation for the purpose of sharing ideas and problem-solving.”

I believe that it is through thoughtful conversations between students and teachers where not only are the students deeply encouraged to wonder and ask questions but the teachers are simultaneously wondering and asking questions that true learning begins.  In this exchange of inquiry, genuine and exciting discovery can occur as a community of confident learners! 

What do you love most about teaching?
I love being surrounded by the beautiful, wild imaginations of my students. I love to learn from their innate creativity and their consistent wonder of the world around them. I hope that through encouraging, listening and supporting these young minds, I can be a part of their journey of growing into wonderful, compassionate human beings.

Katie

Preschool Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse with a Bachelor of Science in Education. I began my teaching experience in elementary and middle school but found my passion for early education while teaching 4-5 year old kindergarten in Middleton, Wisconsin. I have worked with all ages from infants to teens, and enjoy what each group has taught me. I also received my TEFL certification from the International TEFL Academy in 2017.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
“OPENair Academy is a welcoming community that nurtures togetherness throughout the school.” I believe this vision statement to be especially important in an early education environment. Before learning can take place, children need to be in a place they feel safe, welcomed, and wanted. Through the community that OPENair has created, children are able to come to school every day to play, learn, and interact with their class and environment.

What do you love most about teaching?
I have learned that each child is a truly unique individual with different needs, interests, and abilities. It is important to form meaningful relationships to understand how you can best teach each child.

Support Staff

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Amanda

Community Outreach Coordinator

What education and experience do you have?
I received my Masters in Education and Human Development from the University of Colorado Denver in the Spring 2016 after obtaining my Bachelors Degree in Psychology from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2012.

I have been teaching in Reggio Inspired schools since moving to Denver in 2012 and have been a part of OPENair Academy since 2013. During afternoons and weekends I work with an organization for children on the Autism Spectrum as a behavioral therapist for individuals from preschool through adulthood.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
“OPENair Academy is committed to the process of a deep and shared understanding of our philosophy and to practicing it.”

This encompasses more of my beliefs about children and their learning than any of the others. The Reggio philosophy treats children with respect and offers them boundless opportunities. Sharing this with their families creates a community- a community that supports a child wholly as an individual whose ideas, values, and opinions are meaningful.

What do you love most about teaching?
Is everything an acceptable answer? Each day at OPENair is a new chance to explore, discover, take risks, practice, fail, create, and reflect. Each child and parent who walks through the door are a part of our family whose lives we invest in as much as our own. Each day I am so grateful to learn with these children and experience those moments that will impact the people they will grow into.

Aaron

Classroom Support Teacher

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED IN YOUR CAREER AS AN EDUCATOR?
I took a teacher cadet course in high school to learn and work around kids in a school environment and I loved it. I then started off working with kids at a drop in center in Broomfield and absolutely loved it. I’ve worked with kids aged from 18 months to 13 years of age and I also grew up in a very large family. Now I am taking an EQIT class to become group leader qualified and learn more about the development of infants and toddlers.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
“OPENair fosters thoughtful and constructive conversation for purpose of sharing ideas and problem solving.”

This vision statement means the most to me because it’s really important for the kids to learn to speak to one another to create relationships. It also teaches them the importance of talking, whether it be to fix a problem or to make sure a friend is okay.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT WORKING IN A SCHOOL?
What I love about teaching is that you never quite know what the child is going to be. You’re helping them shape into the person they are meant to become. As a teacher you have an impact on kids’ live. Growing up I admired my teachers and I am so thankful for them for what they have taught me. I believe now it is my turn to give back to the community and teach these kids.

Katie

Classroom Support Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I’ve taken many courses at University of Massachusetts – Boston, many of which were in Early Childhood, but I’m still deciding what my final path will be! I’ve worked with infants through preschoolers at a child care center in Massachusetts, where I was a support teacher for all the classrooms.

Why did you choose OPENair Academy?
OPENair Academy’s belief in building on the unlimited potential and innate abilities is something that resonates with me personally. I believe in letting kids be kids! They should be allowed to explore freely and have fun. By letting kids be themselves, and explore all channels of opportunity, we can greatly support their personal growth on an individual level.

What do you love about teaching?
My favorite thing about teaching is the ability to connect with others, especially the children. Making connections while being able to teach life lessons is an amazing opportunity.

Mary

Support Staff

What education and experience do you have?
I began my teaching career as a teenager when I worked as a life guard and swim instructor. I enjoyed teaching young children and especially liked teaching the “Mom and Tot” classes.

I have taught the last eight years in several centers in the Denver Metro area in preschool, pre-k and kindergarten-readiness classrooms. Last year I lived in Hawaii and taught preschool for the head start program. I appreciated the opportunity to work in a program that served the entire family unit and gave me the chance to work more closely with parents. I have a Bachelors of Science in Human Services from Metro State and a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Early Childhood Education from Ellis University and earned my CDA in 2011.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE OPENair?
I am excited about teaching here at OPENair Academy because of the value placed on parents as the child’s “first teacher” and the fact that parents are encouraged to be involved in the classroom.

Kellan

Teacher’s Aide

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