Heather Stewart is a proud Denver native. She has been a teacher, Instructional Coach, Assistant Principal & Principal at both the middle and elementary school level. She has a B.A. in English with an emphasis in Reading; M.A. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies and she is currently working on her Ed.D from the University of Colorado at Denver. Heather has a 7 year old daughter named Sophia and a dog named Cindy Loo Who! She loves to travel, listen to music, read, and spend time with her family.
Hannah LeCount recently joined the Montview Team as the Assistant Principal. She taught 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade and also served as an IB Coordinator and an Instructional Coach in Englewood. She has her M.Ed. from Boston University and a B.A. in Economics & Spanish from Bucknell University. She most recently attended University of Denver for work in Educational Leadership. What has always inspired Hannah to teach and lead in education is supporting and growing students so that they can achieve whatever it is they put their mind to. Students surpassing their goals and going beyond what they thought possible is a magical moment that makes this work inspiring and fulfilling.
C.J. Cain joins our team as the Admin-TOSA. C.J. was a teacher for nine years prior to becoming a school leader. He has 5 years of experience in school leadership having served as an Instructional Coach, Dean, and Assistant Principal. C.J. earned his Master's Degree in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies from the University of Denver and Bachelors in Applied Science from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He lives in Littleton with his wife and 4 children and enjoys reading, music, and sports.
Front Office Support
Susan has been with APS for 16 years. Susan enjoys anything outside. Riding bikes, gardening, fishing etc. Susan enjoys working with the students and Parents by helping them any way she can.
Jenny was born in Los Alamitos California, moved to Colorado in 2001, and graduated from Smoky Hill High School in 2012. She has been at Montview for 4 years and enjoys helping staff, families and students. Outside of school, she loves spending time with her family and friends.
Edna was born in Scituate, MA. I moved to Aurora in 1989. I am married and have two sons and a daughter in law. I have been working for APS for 12 1/2 years with ten of those here at Montview. I really enjoy helping keep the students healthy and safe. Outside school I enjoy camping, sewing, arts and crafts and taking care of my flower bed and garden. My biggest enjoyment right now is a new puppy named Lady.
Danielle Cason QiQi Sloan
I have 11 years of experience in education. I have worked as a paraprofessional in Los Angeles and as a substitute paraprofessional and substitute teacher in Aurora. I am currently studying for my Master's degree in Counseling for Clinical Mental health. I enjoy writing, reading, music, movies and sports. Looking forward to working with your children and having a great school year.
Melissa Beach was born in Wisconsin, but grew up in Connecticut. I moved to Colorado in middle school and have been here ever since. I attended and graduated from Aurora Public Schools. Go Central Trojans! I have been teaching for 20 plus years, most of the time in kindergarten. This is my 11th year at Montview. I am married and have 2 children, Kenna and Kade. I love to spend time with my family and am a busy soccer mom (never saw that one coming!). I love to hike, read, and run with my dog, Bear. On the weekends, I usually am cheering on my kids as they play school and club soccer. I love my job and think kindergarteners are the best!
Jasmine Cruz was born in California and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a first-generation student. She was the first to graduate from high school and college in her family. She recently graduated from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs in May with a Bachelor’s degree in Inclusive Elementary Education, and an endorsement in Culturally Linguistic Diverse Education. This is her first year at Montview and is very excited to start off the school year with her Kindergarten class. Jasmine enjoys spending time with family and friends, go on hikes, and bake desserts.
Christina Payan was born and raised in the Montbello neighborhood in Denver. This is her third-year teaching and her third year in Kindergarten. Before she was a licensed teacher, she was a preschool teaching assistant. After she graduated high school, she joined the U.S. Air Force (Colorado Air National Guard) while simultaneously pursuing a degree in social work. After she had her second daughter, her family decided she would stay home with her and her husband’s four daughters. They inspired her to become a teacher when she spent much of her time volunteering in their classrooms. She learned how much she loved watching students’ excitement and the joy in their eyes when they learn something new. She was motivated to pursue her Master’s in Education and did so in 2017. She has loved every moment of her journey thus far and cannot wait to experience the unforgettable moments of teaching this year!
Katie is a Colorado native and an Aurora Public Schools graduate. She was born and raised in Aurora. She went on to attend the University of Northern Colorado to study Elementary Education. She returned to Aurora Public Schools where she completed her student teaching in her own kindergarten classroom. Then she graduated in 2009 and began teaching preschool. In 2012 she was hired as a kindergarten teacher at Montview. She taught kindergarten for five years, and is in her fourth year of teaching first grade. She loves the students, families and staff here at Montview! Outside of teaching, she is a proud mommy and wife!
Dawn Medina has lived in Colorado her whole life and always wanted to be a teacher. She started playing ‘school’ when she was about seven years old and never stopped! She has been teaching for 31 years. After teaching at a private school for 20 years, she is excited to be starting her 11th year here at Montview. She loves to curl up in bed and read a good book as well as play with her three dogs. She has three children of her own and recently became a step grandparent to two fabulous children when her daughter got married this summer. Her children range in age from 20 to 26. She believes each child has their own unique gifts and talents and looks forward each day to bringing out the best in each child.
Catie Santos de la Rosa
Hey all! Soy Catie Santos de la Rosa. I am so excited to be joining the Montview community as a 1st Grade Teacher! Auror/Denver is home to me. I grew up in Aurora and graduated from Smoky Hill High High School before heading out to Indiana (what was I thinking?!) for my Undergraduate and Master's from the University of Notre Dame.
I lived, taught, and left a little part of my heart in Los Angeles before coming back home to Denver. Since being back home, I have taught Kinder, been a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) Coordinator, and most recently taught middle school. I love Weekly Sunday Dinner with my family, hiking, cooking, traveling, reading, and being near water. I aspire to someday write a bilingual children's book! #growthmindset
Tiffany Vandre-Lothe is so excited to join the Montview community this year! She started her career in Minneapolis where she taught 1 st and 2 nd grade with Minneapolis Public Schools for 7 years. She finished her Master of Education in Elementary Education at the University of Minnesota in 2017. This is also where she got her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in 2011 (go Gophers!). Tiffany, her husband, and their very spoiled Irish Terrier relocated to Denver in 2019. She loves spending time with her friends and family, exploring beautiful Colorado, cooking, seeing live music, camping, and traveling.
Robin Wiley has worked at Montview for her entire career. She started as a student teacher in 2004, and has taught Kindergarten, first grade and second grade over the years. She recently earned her Masters degree in Linguistically Diverse Education. She loves working with students and getting them excited about learning. Robin has two children of her own. They enjoy painting, dancing and being outdoors together. She also enjoys hanging out with her zoo of pets at home.
Celin Childs is originally from Milwaukee, WI, but has resided in Colorado for most of her life. She attended two HBCU's and graduated with her B.A. in Behavioral Sciences and has an elementary education certification. She has taught grades 3-5 over the past decade. Celin is also a certified EMT, apprentice with Denver Fire, and business owner. She is the mother of four amazing kids and enjoys every minute of it.
Tessa Bechtel is a new addition to the Montview team this year! She is originally from Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Ohio University. She then moved to Houston, Texas to pursue a Masters degree in Elementary Education from the Relay Graduate School of Education. She taught for four years there including 1 year in Kindergarten, 2 years in first grade and 1 year in third grade. Last year she moved to Denver with her fiancé, Paul and their dog, Bagby and cat, Loki. This past school year she taught third grade math at a KIPP charter school in Denver. She enjoys cooking, traveling, and enjoying the wonderful weather that Denver has to offer. She even tried skiing for the first time ever this year and loves it! Tessa is so excited to join Montview and become a Mustang!
Karlee Nasalroad grew up in Grand Junction, CO and is a Colorado native. Previously, she has been teaching informally in different nature and science centers all over the state, including the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. She received her Bachelor's degree in Biology from the University of Northern Colorado in 2017. Shortly after, she started exploring her passions for teaching, learning and the outdoors. She is a new graduate of the University of Colorado Denver with her Master's degree in Teaching and elementary education endorsement. Karlee's favorite part about teaching is helping students explore their interests and opening doors for learning opportunities. She has two reptiles and has a passion for plants/gardening is unrivaled. Her favorite hobbies include traveling, drawing, and games of all types!
Hello, I am so happy to be working with you and your students this school year! I was born in New York and raised in Arizona. I grew up in the desert of Phoenix until I went off to attend Northern Arizona University where I received my Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education. Being a teacher is something I have wanted to do since I was little so earning that degree was a dream come true. I stayed in the small mountain town to student teach in a multiage classroom as well as, taught 3rd grade on the Navajo reservation. A year ago, I moved here to Colorado where I fell in love with the climate and culture and found my passion teaching 4th grade! I love education seeing that I believe it opens up doors and possibilities for all students no matter where they are. I find joy in watching students grow and be excited for their learning! On the weekends, I love hiking, cooking, and spending time with my dog!
Julie Johnson grew up in Aurora, Colorado attending Cherry Creek Public Schools. She graduated from DePauw University in Indiana with a Bachelor of Music Education. Soon after college, she decided her real passion was teaching elementary general education and went on to earn her endorsement in elementary education from the University of Colorado at Denver. Recently, she earned a Master’s degree in teaching the culturally and linguistically diverse from Regis University. Julie has been teaching at Montview since 2007. She has loved forming relationships with students and their families over the years and is always thrilled when students come back to visit. In her free time, Julie loves to hike, fish, ski, bake cookies, and play the French horn.
Emily Kouba is from Wheaton, IL. She taught seven years in Chicago. She then moved to Colorado. She has taught 19 years at Montview. She has a 19 year old son who attended Montview as a student. She has a dog, Yanni. She loves to hike, read and spend time with her dog. She thinks fifth grade is the best grade to teach.
Saladin Thomas was born and raised in Los Angeles and moved to Denver in 2008. He holds a BA in Creative Writing and a Master of Arts in Elementary Education, both from the University of Colorado Denver (go, Lynx!) He previously worked in Denver Public Schools as a Denver Math Fellow, then as an Early Childhood Education paraprofessional; he credits that position for pushing him into a life of classroom teaching. He credits Colorado for introducing him to the most recent loves of his life: overly complex board games, drumming in a rock band (To Be Astronauts), and playing air guitar. He is nationally ranked in that last one, at least as of 2018. Outside of teaching, he...does all the stuff in that list plus improv. He has a girlfriend, no pets, and a humorous lack of self-awareness.
It is an honor to be a part of the Montview Community. This year, I have the pleasure of supporting in two ways. One as a .5 Fifth Grade teacher and another as a .5 CLDE Teacher Leader. This is certainly a wonderful place to be and grow with colleagues, students, and families. I have taught/led in various capacities within Denver Public Schools and the Cherry Creek School District prior to coming here to APS five years ago! I am passionate about providing the best learning opportunities for all students and teachers through a culturally responsive lens. When I am not working, you might find me hiking, reading, or enjoying precious time with my hubby of 30 years, Gabriel; our beautiful children; and their growing families! We currently have three adorable grandchildren. I
Eddie Portoghese has been teaching physical education at Montview for twenty years. He enjoys creating and trying out new physical activities for the students of Montview. He is creative and active in the film community in Denver. Eddie’s hobbies include hiking, skateboarding, hockey, music, reading, writing and fitness. He recently started a pop culture club at Montview. His wife is also a teacher. She teaches sixth grade science at North Middle school. They enjoy traveling together both in state and out of the country. Eddie grew up in New York and graduated from Cortland State University where he played second base for the Red Dragons baseball team. He is a Rockies fan and football fan.
Sarah Butler grew up in the Chicago suburbs, but moved to Colorado in 2014 to find better teaching opportunities and to fulfill her dream of living near the mountains. She has a Bachelor of Music Education from Illinois Wesleyan University and just recently completed a Master of Music degree in Music Education (with a Kodály Emphasis). Her primary instruments are the flute and voice. She has been teaching elementary music for 8 years, and all but two have been at Montview. It has been an honor for her to be a part of this community and she looks forward to many more rewarding years here! When she’s not busy making music or teaching, Sarah enjoys doing outdoor activities with her husband, such as hiking and rock climbing, as well as reading, knitting, and doing puzzles.
Jon olson was born and raised in minneapolis, minnesota. He arrived in colorado in 2001 and has been teaching at montview for 19 years. Jon graduated with high honors in art from Augsburg college in Minneapolis and then earned a masters in education from the university of Minnesota. Jon is a ski maker, a printmaker, a gardener, a guitarist, an ameteur architect and the father of Ruthie 14 and Gabe 12. Jon collects plaid shirts mainly from orvis, brooks brothers and pendleton that he purchases from ebay, the minneapolis ragstock store and the stapleton goodwill. Some of mr olson's favorite things are to buy groceries and take them home on his bike, to attract colorado green toads for bug control in the garden and to listen/watch the Twins and the Vikings.
the olson family motto is: rain is good.......snow is better
Jan Leonhardt is from Scottsbluff, Nebraska. She has taught in Aurora Public Schools for 25 years as a special education teacher. Jan has taught at West Middle School, Fulton Elementary, Boston Elementary, Wheeling Elementary, Quest Academy, and currently Montview Math and Health Sciences. Jan loves her cats, Beau, Thomas and Riley. The best part of being a special education teacher is getting to work with some students for more than one year and seeing student growth.
Beth Faulkner is a native of Colorado, born and raised in Pueblo. I come from a family of teachers and actually never intended to be an educator. I always wanted to be a children’s book author. However, I discovered in order to write for children I would have to know about them and that led me into teaching. It has been 19 years and I’m still teaching and writing on the side. I have a dual licensure in Primary Education K-6 and Special Education K-12 with a Master’s in Special Education. I have taught in various schools but my heart belongs to the Aurora Public School System. I love the population, families and community. Here, I have taught in high school, middle, and elementary school. This is my second year at Montview. I work with grades K-3. In my personal life, I have been married for 19 years to my husband, Philip and have two daughters Annie, 14 and Claire, 12.
Laurie Boticke - I have enjoyed being a speech pathologist in APS for 21 years with about 7 years in an outside district ,and working in rehab centers. I received my Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology from California State University in 1992. Originally from Ohio, my husband and I met as teenagers and we have been happily married for 36 years. We have 2 daughters, Brittany and Nicole, and our grandson Julian. I enjoy spending time with my family, going to Julian’s soccer games, going up to the mountains, swimming at the rec center, and walking our fluffy white dog, Ziggy. I have truly enjoyed working with students of all ages here in APS and watching them grow.
Support Staff and Mental Health
Rachel grew up in southwest Virginia right in the heart of the Appalachian mountains where she fell in love with nature and the outdoors. She attended Virginia Tech where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and her Masters of Arts in Education in Curriculum & Instruction (Go Hokies!). Rachel taught English as a Second Language in Virginia before visiting Colorado on a road trip and immediately falling in love with the Rocky Mountains. Since moving to Colorado, she has worked as a classroom teacher, CLDE teacher leader, and teaching partner. In her spare time, she enjoys skiing, hiking, camping, and relaxing with her cat, Pocahontas. Rachel is thrilled to be joining the Montview community!
Suzanne Betts graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She also received a master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati. Suzanne began her career in Tennessee as a First Grade Teacher, and then moved to Colorado in 1999. She came to Montview 15 years ago, after teaching First Grade and Kindergarten in other Colorado schools. Suzanne continued as a Kindergarten and First Grade teacher, and also as a Reading Interventionist. She is currently working with Third Graders. How exciting! She loves helping students feel empowered with their learning! In her free time, Suzanne enjoys the outdoors with her wonderful dog and friends. She also loves relaxing with a good book!
Brenda Bowman was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. Her love for teaching began when she started teaching tap dance to her dolls in the backyard. She is on her 17th year of teaching and this is her 14th year as part of the Montview team. Montview students, families and staff make it feel like home. She has taught kindergarten, first, second and currently is the CLDE teacher leader. Brenda earned her B.A. in Early Childhood Education, M.A. in Instruction and Curriculum in Literacy and an M.A. in Instruction and Curriculum in English as a Second Language. Brenda loves to travel, especially road trips! In her spare time, you can find her cheering on the Broncos, Rockies and Avalanche.
Janie Weiner grew up in Denver but has traveled and worked abroad extensively during her adult life. Her love of teaching came at an early age when she “taught” school to her stuffed animals lined up on her bed. These days, she delights in seeing her students take on new learning every day and especially appreciates when students she has previously taught return to Montview to visit. Truly feeling like part of the fabric of this community, Janie deeply appreciates all who comprise the Montview community. She came to Montview 14 years ago and has primarily taught 3rd grade and currently provides instruction as a reading interventionist.
Prior to teaching, Janie received her Bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University in Business with a Minor in Spanish. Years later, she also completed a Master’s degree in Business at the University of Denver. After nearly 20 years in the business world, Janie changed careers and completed her elementary teaching certification from the University of Colorado Denver in 2006. When not lesson planning, you can find her in the great outdoors.
Sofia Kent - Social Worker
Sofia obtained her MSW from the University of Denver Graduate School of Social work and is also a Licensed Social Worker and Psychotherapist. She obtained her BA from Goucher College in Psychology and Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies. Sofia loves working with children and she is so excited to join the APS team and serve as the School Social Worker for Montview Elementary!
Fun facts about Sofia: She is adopted from China and has two sisters, also adopted from China. She has her own private psychotherapy practice, Sofia Kent Therapy. Sofia has two cats, Luna and Nova, and enjoys serenading them and her husband on long car rides!
Caitlin is a recent graduate from the University of Denver's Graduate School of Social Work. Caitlin is originally from Maine, and a very proud aunt to 6. The various professional experiences she brings with her to Montview include alternative medicine, hospice and bereavement care, and experiential, outdoor-based youth mentorship. As a social worker, she's driven by the value in positive relationship building between children and adults in their community, and is so excited to work and learn within the elementary school setting!
I am originally from Brooklyn, New York and moved to Colorado in 1993, and in 1996 I moved to Aurora for the diversity and culture this great city has to offer!
My wife Debra and I live with our two cats, Scout and Sadie and our two sons, Peter and Jack have branched out with their own homes; Peter is in NYC, Jack is in Lone Tree, Colorado.
Luckily, Debra and I share many of the same interests and hobbies including Music, Landscaping and Gardening, Science Fiction and Science Facts! We both enjoy the sciences and have great conversations discussing different topics on different days!
My professional background includes Marketing, Design and Print Production, Copy Writing, Photography and Illustration. My hobbies include SciFi Model Dioramas, Landscaping and Sharing what I know...!
I am so glad to be here at Montview and look forward to assisting the Staff in any way I can and watch every student grow to become their best!
Dina was born and raised in Lakewood, Colorado and moved to Aurora 15 years ago. Dina started working at Montview for 14 years ago as a para. Dina has a 20 year old amazing step son attending UNC in Greeley Co. She also enjoys spending time in the mountains, reading and learning history. Long term dream is to own an animal sanctuary.
APS Schools that I have worked at since 1997:
North Middle School, Vaughn Elementary, Park Lane, Dalton, Kenton,
Montview Elementary School (2017 & 2019-2020)
Award Winning Drill Team Director for these schools and Parks & Recs. centers, churches, and businesses.
North Middle School, South, East, Dalton, Parklane, Vaughn, Peaceful Rest Babtist Church & Moorhead Rec Center
Mother of 3: Romail, Cynnomon, Dominique. Grandmother of 5, Great Aunt to 1. Godmother of over 10 wonderful people. Mother-in-Law of 1: Doris Gordon.
Stephanie joins us as a paraeducator this year, but has a plethora of experience working in education. She has taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th, high school math and science, been a paraeducator in Wisconsin and also a day-to-day substitute teacher and a long-term sub. Her husband and she have a blended family consisting of twelve children and eight grandchildren (and counting!). She enjoys baking, cross-stiting, reading, gardening, walking for exercise, and collecting greeting cards. Go Pack Go!
Ariane is a Colorado Native who grew up in Northern Colorado but currently lives in Aurora. Ariane recently graduated from the University of Colorado Denver with her Master's in Teaching where she completed her student teaching at Montview Elementary. She is happy to be at Montview now as a para, assisting staff by helping create a purposeful learning environment. She also enjoys working with students by helping them learn and grow to be the best they can be. When she is not working she enjoys spending time with her husband, family, and little dog Ryder. Ariane loves to bake, listen to OneRepublic, craft, and explore the Colorado great outdoors.
Senika (SJ) O'Connor
Senika (SJ) O'Connor grew up in many different places throughout the country. In 2016, she moved back to Colorado to attend the University of Colorado-Denver where she received her Bachelor's degree in Communications with a minor in Ethnic Studies. During that time, she worked as a paraprofessional and substitute teacher in School District 27J. After graduating, she realized she missed working with kids and returned to the University of Colorado-Denver to pursue a Master's degree in Elementary Education. She is honored to have the opportunity to join the Montview community and is looking forward to the experiences that she will take with her when she becomes a teacher!
Amanda has worked for APS for 20 years in various schools as the Head Custodian. Amanda enjoys making flower arrangments and going to church on Sunday in her finest dresses. Amanda has 7 grandchildren. Amanda also loves her garden and likes getting out working in it.