Administrative Staff

Stapleton / Stanley Marketplace

Matthew

School Director

How did you become a director?
I embarked on my journey into Early Childhood Education in 2005 by completing the Teacher Education Program at the Boulder Journey School, a school that is influenced by the Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education. Inspired by my learning from the Boulder Journey School, I was inspired to implement a child centered, hands-on approach to learning in a Kindergarten classroom for three years in Westminster 50 School District. After my classroom days, I went on to become the Head Start and Colorado Preschool Coordinator for the Cherry Creek Early Childhood Program from October of 2012 through August 2014. While at Cherry Creek, I passed on this knowledge and passion for child-centered learning and the utilization of natural and recycled materials in the classroom to the teaching staff. My educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a Master of Arts Degree in Educational Psychology and another in Administration, Leadership, and Policy from the University of Colorado-Denver.

What have you learned in your career as an educator?
In my career as an educator, I have learned that the children should always come first. It is important as adults to make sure we provide meaningful experiences and environments where children’s natural curiosity is nurtured. Creating a learning community where we support each other is vital to the success of our children, families, and staff.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO WORK AT OPENair ACADEMY?
I heard about OPENair when researching Reggio options in the Denver Metro Area. I was excited for the opportunity to be a part of the planning and opening process of a new school. I look forward to building a strong community with the businesses and families in the neighborhood. I also feel that there is a wonderful, caring, and supportive environment for children and adults to develop, thrive and grow.

Dayna

Assistant Director

What education and experience do you have?
I received my Bachelors of Science in Human Development and Family Studies from Colorado State University in 2009. In 2014, I completed the Buell Early Childhood Leadership Program through the University of Colorado. In my nine years as an educator, I have taught children birth through second grade.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENT MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
“OPENair Academy facilitates meaningful learning and play that invites creativity and problem-solving.”
I believe children thrive socially and cognitively when they are allowed to be curious and explore the possibilities for learning their environment offers.

What do you love about teaching?
I love being a witness to a child’s “ah ha” moment. The moment where the child’s world makes a connection to the learning environment they are in. Whether it’s discovering new shapes or mastering drinking from a cup, every moment can be celebrated no matter how small.

Danielle

Pedagogical Support

What education and experience do you have?
I completed my M.A. in Educational Psychology at the University of Colorado Denver through the Boulder Journey School Teacher Education Program. Before that, I earned my B.A. in Human Development with an Early Childhood Education emphasis through MSU Denver. I have also been licensed by the Colorado Department of Education to teach Early Childhood Education, ages 0-8, and recently completed my Director’s qualifications. During my 7+ years in the field, I have worked in several different contexts: public, private, low-income, at-risk, high-performing, math-focused programs, biology-focused programs, youth fitness, and Montessori. I have now happily settled into the Reggio-inspired world!

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENT MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
The vision statement that I most resonate with describes our approach to collaboration: “OPENair Academy fosters thoughtful and constructive conversation for the purpose of sharing ideas and problem-solving.” I view connection as both the means and the ends to all learning, and I believe that connection between teachers and students is best found in meaningful dialogue. This vision statement embodies the type of dialogue I want to foster between all the teachers, students, and families at OPENair.

What do you love about teaching?
I love the reciprocity. The lessons I teach and learn in the classroom are intrinsically connected to the lessons I teach and learn in life; I get back what I give and so much more. The children are a daily inspiration to live my own life to the fullest.

Infant Staff

Stapleton / Stanley Marketplace

Katie

Infant Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I have my B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences with a concentration in Human Development and Family Sciences and I also have a minor in Disability Studies from the University of Wyoming. In Wyoming I was able to gain a lot of experience working in early childhood education. I worked at the University of Wyoming’s Early Care and Education Center for 2 years in the infant room. I also was able to intern at Laramie’s Head Start in one of their preschool rooms, where I gained a lot of experience with early childhood education and children with disabilities.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
“We believe that all children’s innate intelligence should be embraced and that every child has unlimited potential.” This statement means the most to me because every child learns differently, at their own pace, which is an amazing process to watch! Some kids will understand how to use an object right away while others will learn how to use this object after many times of exploration. It’s amazing to be able to watch young children problem solve, explore, create relationships, communicate, and even build literacy skills at such young ages. That is why I love working with infants because they are so smart and capable of so much more than many people give them credit for. The potential for their learning is truly unlimited when they are given the opportunities to embrace their intelligence.

What do you love about teaching?
I love teaching because I can help young children learn the skills and gain experience that will help them in the next steps of their lives. I especially love teaching infants because there are so many changes that happen with them daily. One day they may learn how to pull themselves up and the next day they are learning how to stand on their own. There is so much learning that goes on in the first year of a child’s life and being able to help teach these skills and meet these milestones is truly rewarding. I also love teaching because it allows me to learn from the experiences that the kids in my class are having. The infants challenge me in ways that can make me a more helpful teacher and, they make me a lifelong learner in early childhood education.

Danie

Infant Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I have a BA in creative writing and linguistics. I was also just accepted into a Master of Fine Arts program for fall of 2017. I am Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certified. I taught English in Thailand for one year and worked with infants for a little over a year.

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 that raising kids in a collaborative environment is an excellent way to broaden opportunity for child growth and bring people together from diverse backgrounds. I’m inspired by connecting with people that have the common goal of raising the next generation with compassion, kindness, and respect.

What do you love about teaching?
I love learning with my students. The opportunity to engage with the open hearts and minds of children is a great way for me to challenge my own ideas about what it means to be a constantly evolving, social creature with a lot of hard-wired emotions and needs.

Emily

Infant Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
Working with children has always been a huge part of my life, beginning with a three-year nannying position at the age of sixteen! The mother whom I nannied for worked at Miami University of Oxford, Ohio and suggested upon high school graduation to obtain a BIS from the university. That’s exactly what I did focusing on Organizational Leadership, Applied Kinesiology, and Child Development.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
The vision that we foster thoughtful and constructive conversations for the purpose of sharing ideas and problem solving is what brought me to OPENair! It is my favorite vision statement because it displays an explanation of the mindful approach Reggio teachings allow and expect. This statement helps me remember to be open minded and thoughtful while intentional about each interaction with students and staff!

What do you love about teaching?
My love for teaching roots from the rewards of teaching others and stems into the blessings of what they can teach me.

Magali

Infant Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I am currently attending Community College of Denver for my Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education. Then I plan to transfer to the University of Northern Colorado for my Bachelor degree. I have worked with children in Denver Public Schools for 3 years, ages ranging from 3-5 years old.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
The vision statement that means the most to me is, “OPENair Academy reflects upon, assesses and celebrates the growth and progress of individuals and as a community.” To me reflecting, assessing, and celebrating growth and progress are a vital part of supporting children to become the best human beings they can possibly be, along with creating wonderful communities with endless possibilities.

What do you love about teaching?
I love to have the privilege of watching children grow, seeing them transform and learn. My favorite part is watching kids become confident in their own abilities and discover the world around them.

Toddler Staff

Stapleton / Stanley Marketplace

Amanda

Toddler Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, and have been teaching Four-Year-Old Kindergarten for the past five years. I have worked with children in a variety of settings, both formal and informal, from Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, to Childcare Centers, to formal school settings.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
While I value all of OPENair Academy’s vision statements in their own way, the one that means the most to me is, “OPENair Academy facilitates meaningful learning and play that invites creativity and problem solving.” I truly believe that children learn best through play. Through play, they can explore, make their own discoveries, learn from their mistakes, and so much more! As an educator, it is exciting to observe children at play, and discover new things right along with them.

What have you learned in your career as an educator?
As cliché as it sounds, I love the “ah-ha” moments that happen every day. Observing, playing, and exploring with children all lead to moments of frustration for children in some form or another, but it is the “ah-ha” moments, when things finally “click” for the children, their frustration melts away, and they can move along with their activities!

Emily

Toddler Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I attended the College of Charleston and earned a BA in Communication and a minor in Studio Art. During college, I worked as a camp counselor and led early education summer camps revolving around farming and outdoor education. After graduation, I worked and lived aboard a schooner off the Channel Islands in California as a grant writer and educator for the American Tall Ship Institute, a non-profit that taught marine science educational modules and sail training. After moving back to Charleston, I worked as a Primary Associate Teacher at the Ashley Hall School with children ages 3 through 4.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
The mission statement with which I most connect is “OPENair Academy facilitates meaningful learning and play that invites creativity and problem solving.” Children need space and security, freedom to explore and intentional provocations and the space to be silly yet taken seriously. With each of their different personalities, each child utilizes play to understand the world around them and their classroom in a unique way. Their play is how they learn and how they form ideas about everything they see.

What do you love most about teaching?
I love watching each child approach the world in a different way. I love when they surprise me, each day, with their ingenuity and curiosity and as they tackle the different tasks. I love when they learn new words and when they create something I never imagined out of a provocation or out of materials in the classroom.

Katherine

Toddler Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Acting and a minor in Dance. I have taught for the Girl Scouts of Colorado, The Boys & Girls Club of Weld County, Aurora Fox Theatre, Play On! LLC, and the nation’s largest children’s’ theatre, The Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
I choose to work at OPENair Academy because I am very interested in the Reggio Emilia Approach to learning. I want to work in an environment that values creativity, self-expression, and student driven lessons and activities. OPENair Academy is a welcoming, community-based institution, and I’m excited to be a part of this team.

What do you love most about teaching?
I love teaching because I love learning. Each day brings new experiences and challenges to learn and grow from. I learn just as much from the students as they do from me. It makes me happy and fulfilled to see a student learn something new and blossom in a positive learning environment. My hope as a teacher is that I pass on a thirst for learning to each one of my students.

Loretta

Toddler Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
Since February of 2008, I have been a part of the early education of children from birth to five, and have had no greater experience in life. I possess a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies (for education) from Fort Lewis College and current elementary teaching license from the State of Colorado with a linguistically diverse education endorsement. I earned my M.S. in early childhood education in June 2015 from the Erikson Institute, and I am now more devoted than ever to valuing children’s strengths and building them through play opportunities that are satisfying, intentional, and problem-solving.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
The image of the child who is competent, who has interests and ideas considered worthy of in-depth investigation and reflection, and is honored as part of a community, is an image that OPENair Academy makes the greatest efforts to bring to fruition. OPENair Academy’s beliefs and practices allow for the fostering of intelligence in children unlike any program with a manufactured curriculum can. I also feel that OPENair Academy is the best work environment for me to be continually dedicated to my own improvement and remain curious about the best possible ways to support early learning and development.

What do you love most about teaching?
Seeing young children’s persistence in achieving self-determined goals, their ability to be undeterred and completely optimistic, and eagerness for new experiences continually inspires me. I love that teaching, when approached with inspiration from the children and families, leads to much more than memorization of content. It provides a context in which children learn to problem-solve, cooperate with one another, and aspire to continue learning more. I also love that with a consistent approach to education that includes positive interactions with every child, every day, there is certain to be growth.

Ricky

Toddler Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I am originally from Detroit, Mi and completed my undergraduate degree at Central Michigan University where I completed a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Development & Learning.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
I got into teaching originally to teacher middle level students (6th, 7th, and 8th grade) but was introduced to the early childhood field and fell in love with it. I love being able to see a child develop their basic skills that will help them later in life.

What do you love most about teaching?
I believe that all of the points in the OPENair Academy vision statement are important but the environment in which a child learns is the most important to me. I believe that a child has the right to a safe, caring, and engaging learning environment.

Andrea

Toddler Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I am originally from the Chicagoland. A northwest suburb called Barrington. I moved to Vail for a season and fell in love with the mountains! I stayed up there for the past two years where I worked as a toddler teacher at a Reggio inspired preschool called Children’s Garden of Learning. It was there when I fell in love the with the Reggio Emilia approach to learning.

I studied Early Childhood Education at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. I have been working with children in various settings over the past 10 years.

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 relate to this statement because I feel that each child should be viewed and accepted as unique individuals and given the opportunity to explore the world around them in their own ways.

What do you love most about teaching?
I love being a part of the learning experience of watching each child grow. To see them learning and growing before my eyes is such a gratifying feeling.

Preschool Staff

Stapleton / Stanley Marketplace

Doran

Preschool Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I have a Bachelor of Science in Journalism with emphasis in Advertising from CU Boulder; aTESOL/TEFL certificate from Oxford Seminars; a Masters of Education from the University of Hong Kong with an emphasis in bilingual education in ECE.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
The OAA vision statement that resonates with me most would be: OPENair academy creates a learning environment that provides the foundation and framework for exploration, experimentation and risk-taking. I feel that traditional schools are too structured, rigid and don’t allow for exploration of oneself or the environment in which we live.

What do you love most about teaching?
When I was teaching English to Chinese children in Hong Kong I was amazed at how much children can learn at an early age. Not just exploring things and the world around them, but also picking up a second language. I quickly caught the teaching bug and now I just feel that children crave open, honest and present adults who are there for them, especially in early childhood from which to learn and grow. The aspect I love most about teaching is observing children in their natural element of curiosity, intrigue, problem-solving and risk-taking, allowing them to draw upon their environments. Each day in the classroom is another opportunity for me to be in awe by the children’s development.

Shannon

Preschool Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I have a B.S. in Horticulture from Colorado State University, and a M.A. in Elementary Education from University of Phoenix. I have been working with kids for as long as I can remember. I remember the very moment that my love for teaching blossomed, and it just happened to be in a greenhouse 13 years ago, where I was teaching a group of 1st graders how to water a plant. Since that day, I have worked as a grower of culinary herbs, a second-grade teacher, and as an agricultural arts teacher for a Reggio inspired school in Colorado Springs.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
The statement that resonates most with me deals with the learning environment. OPENair Academy’s thoughtful intention to create a learning environment that provides the foundation and framework for exploration, experimentation and risk-taking is an intention that I want to support and be a part of.

What do you love most about teaching?
There are so many things that I love about teaching. There is the planning and preparation process that challenges me to be consistent and clear. There is the observation piece, that gives me the information I need to support each child’s learning, and finally, but most importantly, is the connection piece. Finding and nurturing a connection with each child is where I find teaching bliss. I feel like connection in all its forms is essential for learning. Sometimes the connection is deeply personal, and sometimes it is not, but it should always be genuine and it should always come from a place of loving intention. Knowing each child both as an individual and as a member of our greater community is fuel for my soul.

Bridget

Preschool Teacher

What education and experience do you have?
I received my degree from Central Michigan University in Early Childhood Development and Learning with a double minor in Leadership and Nutrition. While attending CMU, I had the exciting opportunity to travel to Reggio Emilia, Italy to extend my studies of the philosophy. During the duration of my trip I attended a conference and had the chance to visit authentic Reggio preschools, while also working closely with one of their teachers. I also worked for three years at a Reggio-inspired preschool at CMU. Additional experience ranges from years of working at a children’s science museum, to over a thousand hours of volunteer services.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
The vision statement that means the most to me is the learning environment. Part of that statement discusses risk taking, problem solving and experimentation. I believe in thoughtful rule making to ensure a child’s safety, while also allowing them to take risks and discover the outcomes of their decision making. Through ever-changing open ended materials, I hope to challenge the children to create and form a passion for learning. I strive to develop an environment that promotes risk-taking, imagination, and a deeper, more meaningful understanding of their world around them.

What do you love most about teaching?
My passion for working with children is created around their love for learning and interest in discovery. I believe that children are capable and innately curious. My goal as a teacher is to provide a positive relationship between myself and each individual child I work with. Working towards a trusting relationship allows children to feel free to explore their world around them comfortably. I love the child’s ability to create, trust, persist and achieve. Each day I look forward to what a child can teach me, and in turn what I can give back to them. The energy they create in a room is inspiring, and I hope to give them every tool they need to succeed.

Support Staff

Stapleton / Stanley Marketplace

Kate

Support Staff

What education and experience do you have?
While living in Vail, CO I wanted to find a part time job that would work with my existing massage therapy practice. I had the wonderful opportunity to find work as an assistant teacher at The Learning Tree, a Reggio school in Vail (later name changed to the Children’s Garden). I went on to take classes in Early Education at the Colorado Mountain College. Since moving to Denver and continuing my massage practice, I am delighted to find a Reggio school to work part-time as a support teacher at OPENair.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
I love the concept of meaningful learning and play that invites creativity and problem solving. Research is now showing the importance of life long play and learning in our lives. It’s great to be in this environment and helping our kids experience this early on.

What do you love most about teaching?
At school, there is the amazing experience of seeing a child observe something new, be it a toy, activity or action, and then figure out how to do it. Of course, their expressions are priceless and it’s exciting to watch their brain develop right in front of you.

Sara

Support Staff

What education and experience do you have?
I earned my bachelors degree in Family Studies and Human Services from Kansas State University. Since graduating I have worked with children and teens in camp settings, as well as formal classrooms teaching English. My most recent adventure was working for Disney Cruise Line in the youth department.

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 the most to me because I think having a sense of community is important, and we have a unique opportunity to foster community in our school. As a support teacher, I can see different classrooms and see how the vision is carried out.

What do you love most about teaching?
I love how children challenge me. They challenge me to be more patient, creative, understanding, and fearless. I cherish the everyday small victories that happen in a classroom and am happy to help celebrate them.

Stephanie

Support Staff

What education and experience do you have?
I graduated from the University of Denver and then went on to earn a Masters in Elementary Education at the University of Colorado at Denver. I have been teaching for nine years at an elementary school in Thornton. In addition to my second, third and fourth grade experience, I was a student teacher in Special Education and ECE through fifth grade. I have experience working with a diverse population, not only culturally but also learning styles and abilities. I have a background in International Baccalaureate, science, community service, sustainability, and service learning.

WHICH OF OPENair ACADEMY’S VISION STATEMENTS MEANS THE MOST TO YOU AND WHY?
I believe in teaching students to love learning and become lifelong learners. I have a great interest in, and passion for, teaching and the environment. I am a Stapleton resident so you might see me in the neighborhood riding my bike or walking my dog, Lucy! I am excited to be joining OPENair Academy at Stanley!

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