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.

Ashley

Assistant Director

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 have you learned in your career as an educator?
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.

Erica

Pedagogical Support

WHY DO YOU TEACH?
Many people change their idea of what they want to be when they grow up several times throughout their lives, but I knew from a young age that I wanted to teach. I love watching children learn and achieve! I have learned to respect the processes involved in learning and when I see a prideful child I am truly happy. I am extremely lucky to foster these experiences.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE OPENair?
I knew the moment I walked through the building that this was the place, teaching under a philosophy that respected children. Because it is so hard to find schools that truly respect children, I knew I wanted to be a part of this team and make a difference in early childhood education.

WHAT EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE?
I graduated with honors in 2007 with a Bachelors of the Arts in French from CU. I have taken Early Childhood Education classes through Red Rocks and have been teaching since 2008.

Infant Staff

RiNo

Meghan

Infant Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I have a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from Colorado State University (CSU). I interned as an undergrad in a Reggio Emilia inspired Early Childhood Center affiliated with CSU. It was here, working with 3-4 year olds that I fell in love with early childhood education. I spent much of my undergrad exploring how elements of the Reggio Emilia teaching philosophy could be applied to different developmental age groups, namely; adolescents. After working for Chick-fil-A for 10 years and wearing many hats within the company, I decided it was time for a change. I applied for many classroom teacher positions at Early Childhood Centers and was lucky enough to land a career at OPENair Academy in March of 2016. I am attending Boulder Journey School in partnership with UC Denver for my Master’s Degree in Education and Human Development; to be completed August 2017.

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.”

This vision statement means the most to me because as an educator, I am proud to work at a place that supports and trusts teachers to be the creators of the environment in which children of multiple ages, needs and walks of life can learn and grow. I believe that as adults and responsible members of society, it is our job to foster safe, loving and inviting spaces for the youngest members of our community to learn how to find their identity through both social experiences and academia.

What do you love most about teaching?
I love that every day is different and I’m consistently challenged with new ways of thinking, and different ways to solve problems. Teaching forces me to draw inwards and rely on a culmination of my positive and negative experiences and also my education to guide young children through life. I love that I constantly learn new things about myself and continue to grow both personally and professionally. It’s my goal to have a positive impact on those that I teach and those that I teach alongside with.

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!

Toddler Staff

RiNo

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.

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 do you love most about teaching?
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.

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.

Rebecca

Toddler Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration along with a paralegal certificate, but I fell in love with children as a nanny for infants through 6-year-olds for ten years. I’ve been working as an Early Childhood Teacher for two years with toddlers through preschoolers. I also worked with under-privileged children in a summer camp setting through University of Denver’s Department of Education. I volunteered at Family Tree to assist supervised parental visits. I’ve completed early childhood coursework at Red Rocks Community College to achieve my Early Childhood Teacher certification 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.”

This is so important in early childhood to ensure that children are provided opportunities, materials, and tools that encourage engagement and build individual interest. Creating an appropriate environment for children builds their confidence to try new things and challenge themselves, which are useful skills throughout their lives.

What do you love most about teaching?
My favorite part of teaching is the opportunity to build relationships with the children as individuals. I cherish the one-on-one time when I can share a smile or hear new words being used every day. I enjoy celebrating the “small” achievements, including putting on a sock or shoe, or hanging up a coat without help. Watching the children become more confident and independent is absolutely wonderful.

Preschool Staff

Kate

Preschool Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
At the end of December 2011 I graduated from Metropolitan State College of Denver with a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and a minor in Early Childhood Education. In my seven years as an Early Childhood Educator I have had the opportunity to teach students in all age group, infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Before joining OPENair in May of 2011 I taught at Foothills Academy, an Experiential Learning school, as an assistant teacher in the preschool classroom and a teacher for the summer camp program.

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.”

This vision statement means a lot to me because I believe it is important for the whole community to communicate and be supportive of one another. When we do this we learn from one another, we care for one another, and we grow together. We don’t feel like strangers belonging to a school, we are a family who cares about each child, and family at our school.

What do you love most about teaching?
OPENair Academy is a welcoming community that nurtures togetherness throughout the school.
This vision statement means a lot to me because I believe it is important for the whole community to communicate and be supportive of one another. When we do this we learn from one another, we care for one another, and we grow together. We don’t feel like strangers belonging to a school, we are a family who cares about each child, and family at our school.

Amanda

Preschool Teacher

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.

Ashley

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.

Taylor

Preschool Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I obtained my Masters degree in Human Learning and Education with a focus on Human Development while interning at OPENair Academy. Prior to working at OPENair I completed my BA in Elementary Education with an minor in Early Childhood Education. Throughout both my undergraduate and graduate career I have been employed at a Reggio inspired schools as both a co-lead teacher and a teacher’s assistant in mixed age preschool classrooms. As part of my grad school program I had the privilege of visiting preschools and infant centers in Reggio Emilia, Italy and attended a conference with other Reggio inspired teachers at the Loris Malaguzzi Center.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
The OPENair vision statement that speaks most to me is, “OPENair works to nurture a sense of togetherness throughout the school. I am a firm believer that all of life is dependent on relationships.” The relationships between classrooms really build a sense of community at OPENair that you can feel from the infant rooms up through the preschools room.

What do you love most about teaching?
It is impossible for me to choose my favorite part of teaching, because I truly enjoy all of it. One of the most amazing parts of teaching, specifically teaching young children, is being immersed in wonder and awe each and every day. Children are easily able to find the good and the beauty in all people, places, things, and situations. I consider it an honor to work with tiny humans who offer unique perspectives on the world around us.

Ben

Preschool Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I attended the ECE program at The Community College of Denver, starting in 2010. I have been working on ECE since late 2010, beginning at a small center in Aurora, since then I have taught at Morningstar Preschool and Highlands Academy before joining OPENair in the summer of 2016.

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

The most important aspect of teaching, to me, is the opportunity and ability to work closely with fellow teachers, administration, and families. It is so important to have an outside perspective when making plans and decisions in a classroom, and collaborating across the school holds such an important place.

What do you love most about teaching?
As an educator, I have learned a lot of things. A Lot. However, the one that sticks with me is to stay flexible, and don’t be afraid to improvise.

Chelsea

Preschool Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
In December 2015 I graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a B.S. in Early Childhood/Childhood Education with a concentration in Urban Studies. I’ve worked with a variety of ages and diverse students. One of my student-teaching placements was in a Reggio Emilia-inspired school located in the National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY. I started working at OPENair Academy in May 2016 and am thrilled to be back in a Reggio-inspired environment.

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.”

Viewing the environment as the “third-teacher” it’s important to constantly be changing it to meet the needs and interests of the children. When the environment is set in place then I feel as though I can begin to achieve my goals as a teacher.

What do you love most about teaching?
Every day introduces new interests, challenges and discoveries. Children have a natural curiosity of the world and it’s an honor to guide them through their initial explorations of this crazy world in which we live. Every day I observe developing problem-solving skills, blossoming friendships, respect and cooperation. I love being a teacher because my students are reminders of the beautiful life and future ahead.

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.

Support Staff

RiNo

Allison

Support Staff

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.

Heather

Support Staff

WHY DID YOU BECOME A TEACHER?
I became a teacher because I wanted to help children fuel their natural curiosity to learn and grow. I love helping to facilitate their growth and help them learn and discover new things.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT TEACHING?
The thing I love about teaching is watching the children when they figure out something new or master a skill. It’s very fulfilling to see them discover their immense possibilities and have pride in themselves.

WHAT EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE?
I have taught in early childhood centers for many years and have had the opportunity to work with children from birth through five years of age in several different capacities. I earned my Early Childhood Teacher Certificate through Red Rocks Community College.

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.

Charlotte

Support Staff

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 possible 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.

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