Middle School Staff


Liz Wolfson Director - GALS National

Liz Wolfson created the vision for the Girls Athletic Leadership Schools eight years ago, raised over half a million dollars in angel funding, developed the strategic plan and moved to Colorado to open the flagship schools here in Denver. Currently GALS has grown to 350 students in grades 6-11, with its first graduating class in 2018.

Liz Wolfson created the vision for the Girls Athletic Leadership Schools eight years ago, raised over half a million dollars in angel funding, developed the strategic plan and moved to Colorado to open the flagship schools here in Denver. Currently GALS has grown to 350 students in grades 6-11, with its first graduating class in 2018.  Liz Wolfson is also leading the charge to open a Denver boys middle school in 2017. Due to Liz's leadership, GALS is the first Colorado home-grown educational network to expand beyond the state's border, as GALS Los Angeles is set to open this fall of 2016. Liz believes her passion for comprehensive health in schools stems from her upbringing in the world of competitive athletics where she competed in Division I Field Hockey.

Liz has spent the bulk of her career working for CEO’s and Philanthropists in manifesting their visions and starting up corporate and philanthropic projects locally, nationally and internationally. Former non-profit clients include the Institute for International Sport, The American Montessori Society, The Rose Institute (for homeless youth) and a former Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Former corporate work includes creating the first global communications division for Comverse, a world leader in voice activated systems,  and raising seed-funding for TaskMail, the first Jordanian/Israeli high tech start-up company.

Liz received her undergraduate degree from Brown University and earned her Masters Degree at the Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles.  Liz considers herself a force in organizational behavior and strives to model leadership based on relationships, not compliance. Liz is married and has two daughters aged 5 and 9.

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Nina Safane Co-Founder, Head of School 6-8

Nina, the co-founder of the Girls Athletic Leadership School, has worked as the RTI Coordinator, Director of Special Education, Director of Health & Wellness, and Director of Student Life at GALS.

Nina, the co-founder of the Girls Athletic Leadership School, has worked as the RTI Coordinator, Director of Special Education, Director of Health & Wellness, and Director of Student Life at GALS. This year, Nina is excited to lead the Middle School! Nina graduated with a BA in Education from Brown University and an MA in Education from Columbia University. Prior to the opening of GALS, Nina worked as the Chief of Staff for State Senator Mike Johnston. A former Division 1 rugby player, Nina enjoys running, Crossfit, coffee, and ice cream.

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Carol Bowar Executive Director

Carol is thrilled to be at Girls Athletic Leadership Schools and The Boys School of Denver as Executive Director for GALS Denver (Colorado), after serving as a member of the founding board of GALS and a previous board member.

Carol is thrilled to be at Girls Athletic Leadership Schools and The Boys School of Denver as Executive Director for GALS Denver (Colorado), after serving as a member of the founding board of GALS and a previous board member. Most recently Carol served as the COO of KIPP Colorado Schools, was the Director of Curriculum and Career Services at GlobaLinks Learning Abroad, and a consultant for the National Center for Women and Information Technology. Prior to living overseas with her family (Australia, 2012) she was President & CEO of Girls Inc. of Metro Denver. Additional past positions include Vice President, Program Services at Girls Inc. of Metro Denver, Director of Training, Education and Community Service Programs at Up with People, Policy Assistant for the Governor’s Office (Roy Romer, CO), Field Director at KaBoom!, and Program Officer for the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation.

Carol received her Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and her Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She loves the quote, “What you do today is important, because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.” She is an avid hiker and runner, and spends her free time with family - Ted, Ellie - 12, Tate - 10, and Joey - 8.

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Jen Derosby Dean of Students

Jen is so proud to be in her 16th year of teaching and learning. She spent her first ten years at an urban charter school here in Denver and this is her sixth year at GALS.

Jen is so proud to be in her 16th year of teaching and learning. She spent her first ten years at an urban charter school here in Denver and this is her sixth year at GALS. She received her teaching license from Metropolitan College of Denver in Secondary Social Studies and received her BA in liberal arts from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. This marks her third year as a full time administrator in her role as Dean of Culture. She will be working hard to keep the culture of GALS a positive and supportive one for our girls and their families. She has a passion for teaching about issues of social justice and believes that creating a space where girls can be the leaders and exceptional learners they naturally are is so very important. She is a 2008-09 United States National Holocaust Memorial Museum teacher fellow, a member of the Facing History and Ourselves teacher advisory board and 2006 Denver Mile High Teacher.

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Betsy Barrow Director of Enrollment

Betsy has been with GALS since 2011, and is currently the Director of Enrollment for both GALS and The Boys School of Denver. She grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and attended Davidson College in North Carolina.
Betsy has been with GALS since 2011, and is currently the Director of Enrollment for both GALS and The Boys School of Denver.  She grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and attended Davidson College in North Carolina. She served as the Program Director for Breakthrough Houston, an educational enrichment non-profit in Houston, TX and then taught Biology and Environmental Science before moving to Denver in 2011. She loves hiking, yoga, vegetable gardening, and hanging out with her husband, daughter, and three pets.
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Dolores Schaack Director of Operations

Dolores was born and raised in Liberia, West Africa. She moved to the United States for college and studied General and Religious Education at Southern Methodist College in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Dolores moved to Denver and attended the University of Denver where she majored in Business Administration.
Dolores was born and raised in Liberia, West Africa. She moved to the United States for college and studied General and Religious Education at Southern Methodist College in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Dolores moved to Denver and attended the University of Denver where she majored in Business Administration. Prior to joining the GALS team, she worked as a Business Manager for another Denver Charter School, and a Sr. Administrative Coordinator for a laboratory products distributor, also in Denver.  Dolores has a 6 year old son with whom she enjoys relaxing and hanging out in her free time.
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Elissa Soden Director of Strategic Partnerships

Elissa grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and attended the University of Colorado at Boulder where she competed on the women's tennis team.
Elissa grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and attended the University of Colorado at Boulder where she competed on the women's tennis team. Prior to her work at GALS, Elissa worked in development and community outreach roles for Teach For America, Stanley British Primary School Children's Hospital Colorado, the Atlanta Falcons, and Kroenke Sports Enterprises. She loves swimming, yoga, hiking, traveling, and spending time with her husband and two children. 
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Felicia Soifer Director of Academics

Originally from Los Angeles, Felicia graduated from University of Colorado, Boulder with a degree in Sociology.
Originally from Los Angeles, Felicia graduated from University of Colorado, Boulder with a degree in Sociology. After college, she moved to New York City, where she taught for nine years and received her Master's degree in Elementary Education and Curriculum from City College, City University New York. Felicia came to GALS after working for various educational non-profits as a freelance writer. She taught 6th grade language arts for two years at GALS before becoming the Director of Academics. When not working, Felicia spends all her time playing in beautiful Colorado with her amazing family, husband Josiah, their two boys Jackson and Spencer, and the family dog, Harlem.
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Jennifer Benningfield Athletic Director

Jenni is a native of Louisville, Kentucky. She played collegiate basketball at Vanderbilt University and went on to play professionally in the WNBA and internationally.
Jenni is a native of Louisville, Kentucky. She played collegiate basketball at Vanderbilt University and went on to play professionally in the WNBA and internationally. Upon retiring, she returned to the classroom where she received her master's degree in education with a focus on sport psychology. JB has served many roles in an academic setting as a director of operations, coach, and sport psychology consultant.  She is ecstatic to share her passion for athletics and her love for teaching here at GALS!
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Jessica Dauchy Director of Finance & Strategy

A former high-school math teacher and administrator, Jess left the classroom after 9 years of teaching to earn an MBA from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

A former high-school math teacher and administrator, Jess left the classroom after 9 years of teaching to earn an MBA from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She’s been part of GALS since she graduated in 2011. Her background in both academics and organizational strategy/operations has served her well in her GALS roles including Director of Operations, Director of Academics, and currently, Director of Finance and Strategy. Jessica is also a former Education Pioneer fellow in urban education reform as well as a former Get Smart Schools fellow. When not at school, Jess is often hiking with her dog Ada, skiing, or climbing. She also loves pop music and often sings and dances through the GALS hallways during passing period bell music.  Jess also teaches AP Calculus in the GALS HS.

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Ana Rangel Office Administrator & After School Art Coordinator

Ana grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana and moved to Denver after graduating from Indiana University in 2013. She has a BA in Spanish and Social Work and hopes to soon get her Masters in Social Work.

Ana grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana and moved to Denver after graduating from Indiana University in 2013. She has a BA in Spanish and Social Work and hopes to soon get her Masters in Social Work. Ana has been a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters and hopes to continue that work out here. She enjoys anything outdoors, cooking, music, volunteering with youth organizations, and spending time with friends and family.

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Amber Brydon Psychologist

Amber is the school psychologist at Girls Athletic Leadership School. She is thrilled to be part of the Inclusion Team, working together to support our students’ growth.
Amber is the school psychologist at Girls Athletic Leadership School. She is thrilled to be part of the Inclusion Team, working together to support our students’ growth. Prior to coming to GALS, Amber worked as a school psychologist and MTSS Coordinator near Chicago. Amber graduated with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Coaching from Miami University. She earned her Ed.S. from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Amber enjoys running, hiking, biking, and spending time with her family, especially her young son. 
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Julie Dolin MA, LPC, BC-DMT Director of Counseling

Originally from New York City, Julie has been living and working in Boulder for the past 25 years. She holds a BA in English from Vassar College, an MA in Dance/Movement Therapy from Naropa University and is a Licensed Professional Counselor.
Originally from New York City, Julie has been living and working in Boulder for the past 25 years. She holds a BA in English from Vassar College, an MA in Dance/Movement Therapy from Naropa University and is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She has a private psychotherapy practice working with individuals and groups, adults, teens and parents. She has also been Adjunct Faculty in Naropa University’s Somatic Counseling Psychology program, focusing primarily on group work, Authentic Movement, and mentoring students in their internships and in writing the Master’s Thesis. She has been fielding the question “why movement in psychotherapy?" for so long, she cannot believe her good fortune to be at GALS where the power of movement is a given, and playful, creative and strenuous activity happens daily. She is also the mother of two sons, ages 17 and 11.
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Yolanda Dandridge Lead Counselor

Yolanda Dandridge, is a registered psychotherapist and researcher who has committed her career towards integrating Psychology and the Arts as an approach to emotional health stability. Yolanda, has a master’s degree in Somatic Counseling Psychology, specializing in body and movement therapy. She has facilitated therapeutic and empowerment groups for over 10 years, addressing areas related to body paralyzation and phobias associated with: attachment styles, life transformations, women’s health, traumas, illness and community health. In, particular Yolanda’s master paper “Unveiling the Embodied Riddle - The Role of Dance/ Movement Therapy in the Black Body’s Developmental Experience” has started the conversation addressing the black body, and intergenerational trauma and how dance/movement therapy application can support the awakening, healing and re-educating the black body from the state of paralyzation to mobilization through the lens of developmental psychology. She also was a professional dancer for over 15 years, trained extensively in West African Dance, under the direction of Melvin Deal, African Heritage Dancers and Drummers. Yolanda’s philosophy “movement and body awareness are major components to healthy psychosocial development which support unity between the body, mind and spirit, as one.”
Yolanda M. Dandridge, MA, is a registered psychotherapist, who has focused her career in the areas of Psychology and the Arts.  Yolanda, graduated from Naropa University with a master’s degree in Somatic Counseling Psychology concentration in Body and Dance/Movement Therapy.  Naïve of Washington, DC, a teen mother of two and grandmother. 

She has facilitated therapeutic and empowerment groups for over 6 years, which includes individual therapeutic work, specifically in the areas of women groups addressing relationship building (attachment), traumas (including historical influences and intergenerational), teen moms support, women groups, moderate to chronic illnesses to community health.  

Yolanda, was a professional dancer for over 15 years under the direction of Melvin Deal and Director of African Heritage Dancers and Drummers, in Washington, DC.  Studied and trained in African Dance, Modern, Ballet and Tap; owner, director and choreographer of Nayakata Youth Dance Company in Washington, D.C.; choreographer for several stage productions and the television series “Dynamotion”, which addressed healthy nutrition and total well-being.  Yolanda, worked closely with youths/adolescents who are identified as behavioral, learning and/or physically challenged. Yolanda’s passion is in developing and applying movement to employ motivation for mobilization, to influence programs and curriculums and the use of movement as a form of advocacy.  

Yolanda’s master paper “Unveiling the Embodied Riddle - The Role of Dance/ Movement Therapy in the Black Body’s Developmental Experience” has started the conversation addressing the black body, and intergenerational trauma and how dance/movement therapy application can support the awakening, healing and re-educating the black body from the state of paralyzation to mobilization through the lens of somatic and developmental psychology. Currently, Yolanda is the lead counselor at Girls Athletic Leadership School, and sit as a sub-committee member for New Legacy Teen Parent Charter School in Aurora as well as the Founder of The Movement Institute-Mind and Body Total Expressions where she offers many community health groups which includes the Women Empowerment Seminar “BODYFULLNESS” and a weekly Awakening Community Movement Group!

AFRICAN DANCE PROGRAM- My Body, My Voice, My Expression
A creative arts exploration towards discovering, developing, and navigating our personal inner power through the use of African movement. This program goal is to integrate social/emotional skills with movement from African traditional initiation dances, to help develop, empower and nurture students to be individually aware and community conscious! 
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Laura Fajardo-Arbelaez Counseling Intern

Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Laura is currently pursuing a MA in Counseling with a concentration on Mindfulness-based Transpersonal Counseling from Naropa University in Boulder, CO.
Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Laura is currently pursuing a MA in Counseling with a concentration on Mindfulness-based Transpersonal Counseling from Naropa University in Boulder, CO. After graduating from Regis University in Denver with a BA in Sociology, Laura moved to Kansas City and worked in a Child Advocacy Center as the bilingual education specialist. She has experience creating and implementing personal safety educational programs in schools to students and staff. She is very excited to be part of the GALS community!
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Leanne Stull Counseling Intern

Originally from Chicago, Illinois Leanne is currently pursuing a MA in Clinical Mental Heath Counseling with a concentration in Transpersonal Art Therapy from Naropa University in Boulder, CO.
Originally from Chicago, Illinois Leanne is currently pursuing a MA in Clinical Mental Heath Counseling with a concentration in Transpersonal Art Therapy from Naropa University in Boulder, CO. After graduating from Augustana University in Illinois with a BA in Elementary Education and Art, Leanne moved to Chile to teach English to middle schoolers. Her experiences abroad reignited her passion for art and inspired her to begin her journey of becoming an art therapist. Leanne is thrilled to share her skills and continue learning with the GALS community this year!
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LeEllen Condry Counseling Intern

LeEllen was born and raised in Seattle, lived in Los Angeles and Boston before moving to Denver. She has a BA in European Studies Spanish and Theatre.
LeEllen was born and raised in Seattle, lived in Los Angeles and Boston before moving to Denver. She has a BA in European Studies Spanish and Theatre. Currently in her last year of graduate school at Denver Seminary, LeEllen will receive a MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
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Melanie Warning Counseling Intern

Middle & High School Staff
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Ilana Fishman SPED

Ilana comes to Colorado from the best city in the world, Philadelphia! She lives in Denver with her husband (a local) and their 2 daughters.
Ilana comes to Colorado from the best city in the world, Philadelphia! She lives in Denver with her husband (a local) and their 2 daughters. Ilana has taught for over 17 years, and has taught every age from pre-school through Adult Education, and has enjoyed each age group immensely.  When not teaching, or dragging her children to the mountains or bike trails  Ilana loves to relax with a good book and espresso.
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Karen Davidson SPED

Karen is thrilled to join GALS’ dynamic community of thinkers, athletes, and leaders as a special education teacher. She obtained her Journalism degree from the University of Denver and her master’s degree in Special Education from Metropolitan State University.
Karen is thrilled to join GALS’ dynamic community of thinkers, athletes, and leaders as a special education teacher. She obtained her Journalism degree from the University of Denver and her master’s degree in Special Education from Metropolitan State University. Karen has taught at many metro area schools, worked for Children’s Hospital Colorado, and freelanced for magazines. Although Karen is a Colorado native, she spent much of her childhood visiting her father abroad. Karen loves to travel, read, write, hike, bike, and spend time with her husband, two children, Kyla (14) and Evan (11), and dog Dublin. Oh—Karen also has a cat named Charlotte who is extremely snarky, having earned her rightful spot at the end of the bio!
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Michelle Shea SPED

Michelle is excited to begin her first year at GALS! Michelle grew up in Connecticut and has been living in Colorado for seven years. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies and Government from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA and an MA in Special Education from the University of Colorado Denver.
Michelle is excited to begin her first year at GALS! Michelle grew up in Connecticut and has been living in Colorado for seven years. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies and Government from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA and an MA in Special Education from the University of Colorado Denver. Prior to GALS Michelle completed two years of AmeriCorps at Mile High Youth Corps, where she built trails, used a chainsaw and provided the Denver Metro area with environmental education. She then went on to become a Denver Math Fellow at DCIS Montbello teaching 6th grade math in a unique small group setting. When outside of the classroom, Michelle can be found exploring the city and mountains she has grown to love so much!
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Sydney Johnston SPED

Sydney is a Colorado native, growing up in Winter Park. She holds a BA in Sociology from University of Colorado-Denver, and is currently earning her Masters of Education in Special Education from Metro State University.

Sydney is a Colorado native, growing up in Winter Park. She holds a BA in Sociology from University of Colorado-Denver, and is currently earning her Masters of Education in Special Education from Metro State University. She has over 8 years of experience working with youth at Excelsior Youth Center and Tennyson Center for Children. 

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Lori Riley Paraprofessional

Originally from Los Angeles, Lori found her way to Colorado via Texas and Florida. She attended Florida Southern College where she received a BS in Business Management.
Originally from Los Angeles, Lori found her way to Colorado via Texas and Florida. She attended Florida Southern College where she received a BS in Business Management. Lori has worked for Denver Public Schools for the past 5 years in the role as a paraprofessional and a Restorative Intervention Coordinator. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, cooking, working out, yoga, and is especially passionate about hanging out with her two daughters. 
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Jenn Green GALS Series Teacher

Jenn grew up in Denver and has a BA from Stanford University (Anthropology/Theater) and an MA in Education (University of Colorado/Denver). Her game plan for life is: find something you like to do and get paid doing it!
Jenn grew up in Denver and has a BA from Stanford University (Anthropology/Theater) and an MA in Education (University of Colorado/Denver). Her game plan for life is: find something you like to do and get paid doing it! To that end, she has worked for the Navajo Tribe in Arizona, joined a circus, performed on stage in New York City, Mexico and Europe, raised and trained horses, and managed community gardening programs at the Trinidad History Museum in southern Colorado. All these experiences inform her teaching, and after 20+ years in the education business, she is honored to be a part of the GALS family.  This year (her 5th at GALS!) she will be splitting her time between teaching (GALS Series, grade 7) and working with the Leadership team (instructional coaching, curriculum development,  GALS/Guatemala.)
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Lynnsey Molinaro Gwaltney GALS Series Teacher

Lynnsey has a Bachelor of Arts in Middle Eastern Studies and Anthropology and a Master of Arts in Teaching with a focus of Secondary Social Studies, both from the University of Arkansas.
Lynnsey has a Bachelor of Arts in Middle Eastern Studies and Anthropology and a Master of Arts in Teaching with a focus of Secondary Social Studies, both from the University of Arkansas. After graduating with her Masters degree in 2012, Lynnsey joined Teach for America in Chicago, IL where she completed an additional graduate program in Elementary Education at Dominican University. Lynnsey has taught at the University of Arkansas, Stagg School of Excellence in Chicago, IL, and Vantage Point in Fayetteville, AR. Out of the classroom, Lynnsey enjoys hiking, skiing, and playing Frisbee with her Border Collie, Edwin.
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Maggie Dickman GALS Series Teacher

Maggie Dickman is so incredibly excited to be in her second year at GALS as the 6th grade GALS Series teacher. Having attended a women's college, Maggie is thrilled at the opportunity to work to empower the young women of the Denver community.

Maggie Dickman is so incredibly excited to be in her second year at GALS as the 6th grade GALS Series teacher. Having attended a women's college, Maggie is thrilled at the opportunity to work to empower the young women of the Denver community. Maggie graduated from Scripps College with a B.A. in Hispanic Studies and then went on to the University of Colorado Denver for a Masters degree in Curriculum and Pedagogy. Before coming to GALS, Maggie taught 2nd and 3rd grade at AXL Academy in Aurora, CO. Born and raised in Colorado, Maggie is grateful to be able to work in this community. Outside of school, Maggie loves to travel, camp, hike, snowboard, play in the water and generally be in the great outdoors. Ideally with a dog, of course!

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Carissa Solomon 8th Grade Social Studies

Carissa grew up in Pennsylvania and Maine, where she spent lots of time hiking in the Appalachian Mountains with her family.

Carissa grew up in Pennsylvania and Maine, where she spent lots of time hiking in the Appalachian Mountains with her family. After earning her BA in Philosophy & History from George Washington University and an MA in Political Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania, she decided it was time to conquer new challenges in life. In 2009, she moved out to Colorado to begin her teaching career and try her hand hiking in the Rockies. She is also a certified yoga instructor who enjoys sharing her love of yoga with the students at GALS.

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Courtney Dauwalter 8th Grade Science

Courtney has a BS in Biological Sciences from the University of Denver and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Mississippi. This is her sixth year at GALS.
Courtney has a BS in Biological Sciences from the University of Denver and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Mississippi. This is her sixth year at GALS. She enjoys running, biking, hiking and being outdoors as much as possible!
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Courtney Jensen 8th Grade Language Arts

Courtney has a BS in Youth Studies from the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities. After graduating in 2013, Courtney joined Teach For America in Houston, TX where she taught 8th grade Language Arts.
Courtney has a BS in Youth Studies from the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities. After graduating in 2013, Courtney joined Teach For America in Houston, TX where she taught 8th grade Language Arts. During this time she also completed HISD's Effective Teacher Fellowship. As a Language Arts teacher, Courtney is passionate about spreading the joy of reading and writing to all students in the hopes they become confident and life long learners. Outside of the classroom, Courtney can be found reading, hiking, and spending time with her husband and two dogs. 
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Eric Messerli 8th Grade Math

Eric has a BA in Mathematics from the University of Vermont and an MA in Administrative Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Colorado.
Eric has a BA in Mathematics from the University of Vermont and an MA in Administrative Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Colorado. With 20+ years in education, Eric has worked educating youth in neighborhood and charter schools, a private school, and an outdoor education center. He has had many roles during this time, including teaching and administrative positions. He is married and has two girls (Ellie & Cady) and one very large dog (Moose). He spends fall and spring weekdays and weekends helping coach his girls' soccer teams. He says Thursday is the best day of the week, as that is the day he plays ice hockey!
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Lynne Spear 8th Grade Geometry (PT)

Proud to be a part of the GALS community as both a parent and part-time math teacher, Lynne is in the midst of a career change from stay-at-home mom to public-school math teacher.
Proud to be a part of the GALS community as both a parent and part-time math teacher, Lynne is in the midst of a career change from stay-at-home mom to public-school math teacher, in which she hopes to narrow the opportunity gap and inspire her students with the art of crafting elegant explanations for mathematical phenomena. She is from an eclectic education including a Master's in English Literature from CU Boulder, undergraduate studies in classics and visual arts, and some amazing adventures like visiting the California Grey Whales' Nursery in Baja and touring the perimeter of the US by bicycle. She is a fan of the United Nations, classical music (especially when played by her oldest daughter), toe socks, cats, and superheroes. 
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Amanda Nichols 7th Grade Language Arts

Amanda moved to Denver from Pittsburgh, PA. She dual-majored in Creative Writing and Urban Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.
Amanda moved to Denver from Pittsburgh, PA. She dual-majored in Creative Writing and Urban Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. After graduating, Amanda joined Teach for America Denver and taught three years at a traditional public school in Denver Public Schools. Amanda is excited to be working at GALS for the second year, and loves being a part of such a beautiful and supporting community.  
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Jake Bury 7th Grade Social Studies

Jake hails from the bustling prairie metropolis of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He earned his BA from Augustana University in History and Secondary Education.
Jake hails from the bustling prairie metropolis of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He earned his BA from Augustana University in History and Secondary Education and then spent two years teaching, first in Eagle River, Alaska working with high school students and then in Windsbach, Germany, where he lived and worked with eighteen energetic 7th graders in an all-boys boarding school. From there, he spent two years at Utah State University in Logan, Utah where he obtained his MA in religious history. He is now living in downtown Denver and is incredibly excited for his first year at GALS!
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John Stanley 7th Grade Math

After graduating from Clarkson University with a BS in Engineering, John started his career working in the automotive industry. While working for General Motors, he earned his MBA from University of Michigan.
After graduating from Clarkson University with a BS in Engineering, John started his career working in the automotive industry. While working for General Motors, he earned his MBA from University of Michigan. John’s career progressed through of series of positions that included running manufacturing operations around the world. Throughout his career, John spent part of his free time volunteering to youth organizations through the United Way and the CHOICES Education Group. He also spent time tutoring students in subjects from introductory algebra to college level calculus and chemistry. Five years ago, John made the decision to pursue his passion for developing the academic and leadership skills of young people full time. He enrolled in the Boettcher’s Teacher Residency program where he was a teacher resident in sixth grade math. When he is not teaching, John enjoys pursuing an active, outdoor life by hiking, skiing, mountain biking, and camping.
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Neelah Ali 7th Grade Science

Neelah Ali is a native to Denver. She graduated from South High School and than attended University of Colorado - Boulder where she received a bachelor in Evolutionary and Ecology Biology and Ethnic Studies.

Neelah Ali is a native to Denver. She graduated from South High School and than attended University of Colorado - Boulder where she received a bachelor in Evolutionary and Ecology Biology and Ethnic Studies. Neelah is in her 3rd year of teaching and is a Teach for America Alum. 

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Ben Slivnick 6th Grade Language Arts

Ben Slivnick has a BA in Journalism from the University of Maryland and an MA in Data-Driven Education from Johns Hopkins University. He is passionate about reading, as an avid reader himself and as a teacher of reading.
Ben Slivnick has a BA in Journalism from the University of Maryland and an MA in Data-Driven Education from Johns Hopkins University. He is passionate about reading, as an avid reader himself and as a teacher of reading. His favorite moments in teaching come when students discover new things while reading, and when reading pushes kids to see the world in different ways. Before moving to Denver, he lived in Chicago and Baltimore. His favorite sports team is the Chicago Bulls!
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Ginneh Lewis 6th Grade Science

Ginneh Lewis grew up in Buffalo, NY (home of the chicken wing) and is so happy to be at GALS for her third year. Her career started out with a BA in Biology and a minor in Environmental Science and Policy at Hartwick College in NY.
Ginneh Lewis grew up in Buffalo, NY (home of the chicken wing) and is so happy to be at GALS for her third year. Her career started out with a BA in Biology and a minor in Environmental Science and Policy at Hartwick College in NY. Before she began teaching in the classroom, she taught science outdoors in NY State and Big Bear Lake, CA. She lived along the Hudson River Estuary (outside of NYC) and worked for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Her first years at GALS were in 2011-2013. Before GALS, she taught 3 years of high school Earth Science, Biology and Chemistry.  She also taught gardening and middle school science in the Los Angeles area for the past 3 years and just relocated back to Denver!  She is passionate about sharing her love of science and the environment with others  (she teaches 6th grade science here at GALS). When Ginneh is not teaching, she dances (hip hop, African, Caribbean, Cuban Salsa!), rides her bike and takes lots of pictures. And she has a lizard named Maxine.
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Hannah Miller 6th Grade Math

Hannah loves teaching math at GALS! She graduated from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with a BA in Elementary Education and an endorsement in Middle School Science.
Hannah loves teaching math at GALS! She graduated from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with a BA in Elementary Education and an endorsement in Middle School Science. Hannah was born and raised in Minnesota, but now calls Colorado home. She is currently working on her MA in Educational Leadership from Regis University. During her undergraduate career she was selected as a Nobel Peace Prize Scholar and spent a summer in Oslo, Norway and later participated in Teachers Ready for Peace, a 6-week graduate course in India. Before moving to Colorado, Hannah spent time teaching abroad in Slovakia and Tanzania as well as 4th grade in Sioux Falls. Outside of the classroom, Hannah can be found enjoying this beautiful state. She spends her free time hiking, biking, getting lost, skiing, gardening and adventuring with her family and friends. Teaching is her passion and she hopes to ignite curiosity in all of her students. 
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Vanesha McGee 6th Grade Social Studies

Vanesha grew up in New Jersey and has spent nearly all of her life living on the east coast. She graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice then went on to earn her Master’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Pennsylvania’s Teacher Education Program.
Vanesha grew up in New Jersey and has spent nearly all of her life living on the east coast. She graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice then went on to earn her Master’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Pennsylvania’s Teacher Education Program.
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