Administration & Support Staff
|I am a Colorado native and the mother of three students. I have been in DPS for 18 years. I spent five years as a 3rd and 4th grade teacher. This is my 7th year as a principal and my first year at Southmoor. I graduated from Colorado College with a degree in Art History and have a MAT in Elementary Ed and an EdS degree in administration from the University of Colorado, Denver. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my family. I love to read and have recently begun making furniture. I am truly excited to be at Southmoor and to be a part of the Southmoor family.||Pam Kirk||Principal||Pamela_Kirk@dpsk12.org|
|If you have any questions regarding Registration, school records, or the School of Choice process please feel free to contact Mrs. Nava Hernandez by e-mail||Gaby Nava-Hernandez||Secretary||Gaby_NavaHernandez@dpsk12.org|
|Junius Bey||Lunchroom Manager||Junius_Bey@dpsk12.org|
|Monica Renteria||Lunchroom Assistant|
|Jose Martinez||Facility Manager||Jose_Martinez2@dpsk12.org|
|Mother of a seventeen year old son and a thirteen year old daughter. Born in north Denver. This is my 5th year teaching ECE at Southmoor. Both of my children attended Southmoor for Elementary School and I couldn’t have imagined them anywhere else. Southmoor truly feels like home thanks to the staff and the community. In my free time I enjoy cooking and spending time with family and friends. ||Kristin Henninger||ECEemail@example.com
Ms. Henninger's Website
|My name is Eloise Johnson and I am so excited to join the Southmoor community this year! I grew up in Denver, and love everything about Colorado. I have a bachelor’s degree in human development with a minor in early childhood education, and a master’s in Elementary Education. I have spent the past 3 years teaching kindergarten at a Denver charter school. I absolutely love teaching our youngest learners, and watching them grow in their friendships and learning throughout the year. When I’m not teaching, I can be found hiking, skiing, spending time outside and with friends and family.||Eloise Johnson||Kindergarten||Eloise_Johnson@dpsk12.org
|My name is Nicole Lopez and I am very excited to join the Southmoor staff! I am a Colorado native and grew up just north of Denver in Longmont. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Colorado State University, and obtained a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Northern Colorado. Over the past three years I have taught Kindergarten for the St. Vrain Valley School District in Longmont. My passion for teaching continues to grow and I feel fortunate to work with such creative and unique individuals. Every year I look forward to building relationships with my students, watching them progress, and creating a love for learning. Aside from teaching, I also enjoy spending time with my family, hiking, running, doing arts and crafts, and watching football. I’m very excited to begin the school year and meet the students and families at Southmoor!||Nicole Lopez||Kindergartenfirstname.lastname@example.org
|Hi! My name is Britney Horton. I was born and raised in South Carolina. I obtained my undergraduate degree from Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina. During my time at PC I received my Bachelor of Science degree. I majored in Early Childhood Education and minored in Psychology. While in college I played Division I soccer for PC. Go Blue Hose! |
Upon graduating college I moved to Denver, Colorado as part of the AmeriCorps Service Program. I worked for a non-profit organization geared toward long-term drop-out prevention. I also coached soccer at Riverside Soccer Club and worked as teacher at a local Head Start Program. At the end of my AmeriCorps Service I moved back to South Carolina to begin my public school teaching career. I taught second grade for three years in South Carolina before deciding I missed Colorado too much.
When I am not teaching I really enjoy doing Crossfit, playing soccer, basketball, hiking, snowboarding, photography and most of all playing with my dog Beckham.
I am very excited about joining the Southmoor community and look forward to fantastic year!
|Britney Horton||1st Grade||Britney_Horton@dpsk12.org
Ms. Horton's Website
|My name is Jody Waters and I am very excited to be joining the Southmoor family. I have been in education for the past 12 years. I taught first grade for nine years, seven in Jeffco and two in Idaho. The past three years I was the lead reading interventionist in Sheridan. As an interventionist I worked with struggling readers as well as their teachers to align literacy instruction throughout the building. I have a BA in Elementary Education and a MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages(TESOL). When I’m not teaching, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, taking my dogs hiking and camping. I look forward to having a wonderful year at Southmoor.||Jody Waters||1st Grade||Jody_Waters@dpsk12.org
Ms. Water's Website
|Aloha! My name is Leigh Ann Gardner. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to join the Southmoor team as a first-grade teacher this year. I have lived in this community since 1994 and I am excited that I have the chance to serve the families of my community. I have 12 years of preschool teaching experience in Littleton Public Schools. As a result of my time in that position, I decided to go back to school and get my teaching degree in early education. I was encouraged by my former principal to think outside the box when I looked for my next job. Lucky for me, this principal believed in helping her staff develop the courage to take on new challenges and she inspired me to be vulnerable and take that risk. Consequently, I am thankful for all my yoga and mindfulness classes. Equally important to me is my family. I am married and have three young adult children who for the most part are “out of the house.” I appreciate the Denver climate and I love to go for hikes, walks, jogging, and biking. When I am indoors, I love to read, bake and cook. ||Leigh Ann Gardner||1st Grade||Leigh_Gardner@dpsk12.org
|My Name is Mrs. Nicole Brady! I am thrilled to be your child’s Second Grade teacher this year! This will be my 9th year teaching in DPS and my 5th year at Southmoor. Over the years, I taught kindergarten for 6 years and this will be my third year in second grade. My classroom is a place where children are empowered to create student driven goals, learner profiles, and work to solve real world problems. My teaching philosophy is rooted in the belief that children learn most effectively when empowered by learning, and the joy that comes with both embracing and encouraging a child’s innate sense of wonder, enthusiasm for discovery, and creativity. I love teaching second grade because second graders have some of the best traits a student can have: curiosity, humor, enthusiasm and they still believe in the magic of learning! I am an 8th cohort Buell Early Childhood Leadership Alumni and have a certificate in Early Childhood Leadership from CU Denver. I have my Master’s in Early Childhood Special Education with endorsement. I attended MSCD, where I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development with a minor in Early Childhood Education. I am currently working on obtaining my EdD in Educational Leadership & Equity, completing a dual concentration in Early Childhood Education and Principal Licensure. When not in the classroom, you can find me playing in the snow, skiing or cheering on my favorite baseball teams. This June I had my first baby boy and am so excited to start this new adventure with him, my husband and our two dogs. ||Nicole Brady||2nd Grade||nicole_Brady@dpsk12.org
Mrs. Brady's Website
|My name is Elise Hoover. I am originally from Indiana, but one day realized I wanted to live next to the mountains. Although I do miss home, I love it here! I went to Indiana University, where I majored in Elementary Education and received an endorsement in mathematics. I have one very special puppy named Charlie. Together we like hiking, camping, swimming, and basically anything else outdoors! I have attempted snowboarding, but will definitely need more practice this winter. My previous teaching experience has included working in an ESL department at a high school, a fourth grade position, and substituting for multiple school districts. I have a passion for teaching to say the least! I absolutely love watching curious minds grow. I can’t wait to build relationships with my students and watch progression to being life-long learners! I’m anticipating a fantastic year.||Elise Hoover||2nd Grade||Elise_Hoover@dpsk12.org
Ms. Hoover's Website
|Hello Southmoor Families! I am very excited to be joining the Southmoor staff to teach 2nd grade. Throughout my career in Denver Public Schools, I have been a classroom teacher, interventionist, ESL teacher and humanities facilitator. Prior to working at Southmoor I taught for a number of years at Bromwell, Munroe and Knapp. This will be my first year at Southmoor but certainly not my first year teaching. |
I received my Bachelor's Degree from University of Kansas a bit ago and then later decided to obtain my Master’s in Education from University of Colorado with an emphasis in second language learning. In addition, I have an endorsement in Gifted and Talented Education.
As a classroom teacher, I work to create a supportive, engaging and enriching classroom environment. I differentiate lessons to ensure that all students are being challenged.
Outside of the classroom, I enjoy spending time with my two adorable daughters and my sweet husband.
|Kate Hutson||2nd Grade||Kathleen_Hutson@dpsk12.org
Mrs. Hutson's Website
|My name is Catherine Hunt and I am super excited to be a part of the Southmoor team as the 2nd/3rd HGT Teacher! I am a Denver transplant from Texas and absolutely love it here. It's a dream come true to live so close to the mountains and to have the opportunity to hike and snowboard on a regular basis! I graduated from Texas State University-San Marcos with a Bachelors of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. I obtained a teaching certification in Elementary Education with an ESL endorsement and, later, obtained the Gifted and Talented endorsement in the state of Texas. My experience includes three years spent as a Title I elementary classroom teacher and three years spent as the Gifted and Talented Coordinator of my elementary campus. I am more than pleased to continue my teaching career working with Gifted and Talented students and cannot wait to get to know all of the wonderful families at Southmoor!||CatherineHunt||2/3 HGT||Catherine_hunt@dpsk12.org
|Hello all, my name is Madison Stockton. I am beyond thrilled to be joining the amazing Southmoor team. Understanding and interacting with children has been a passion of mine for a huge chunk of my life. All children are natural learners who are so genuinely curious about the world that surrounds them. As a teacher, I firmly feel that my mission is to facilitate that curiosity and to continue to inspire that beautiful sense of wonder. Every child has an expanse of authentic potential within them, and I want to be an active part of showing them what they are truly capable of. I am a lifelong learner who always tries to improve her art and practice along with overall quality of life. |
I am a Colorado native who enjoys writing, running, spending quality time with friends and family, travelling, reading, and lots of ice cream. I love being a source of validation and support for everyone around me, and I’m more than excited to enter the world of teaching, especially in this wonderful community. I recently graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a minor in writing. I view education as a system that should encourage a mindset of flexibility, improvement, perseverance, and joy. I plan on creating a safe, fun, and rigorous learning environment where all learners, including myself, are respectful, tenacious, kind, responsible, collaborative, and confident. Students need to feel liberated and motivated to achieve their academic and life goals, and it is my job to make sure that each of them feels valued and capable.
|Madison Stockton||3rd Grade||Madison_Stockton@dpsk12.org
4th Grade grade Website
|I am originally from Arizona but have lived in Colorado for over 8 years. Before joining Southmoor, I was a 6th grade social studies teacher. I graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder after studying elementary education and humanities. While attending CU, I volunteered in many elementary classrooms and did my student teaching in a 3rd grade grade classroom at Park Hill Elementary. When I am not teaching, you can find me on the track where I play and coach competitive roller derby. I also love to read, snowboard, and hike with my crazy puppy. Getting to be a part of the Southmoor family is a dream come true and I am so excited to support our students in becoming critical thinkers as they problem solve and explore their curiosities.||Rachel Thornes||3rd Grade||Rachel_thornes@dpsk12.org
|A native Nebraskan, Kim Esbenshade graduated from the University of Nebraska with a BS in Elementary Education/Deaf Education. She has taught since 1995, in California and Colorado, and enjoys the intermediate grades. Kim believes in lifelong learning and has continued to focus her career in the area of literacy. She feels all students deserve the opportunity to reach their highest potential and uses teaching to empower children. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, cooking, gardening and spending time with her two boys.||Kim Esbenshade||4th Grade||Kimberly_Esbenshade@dpsk12.org
|Krissy was born and raised in Englewood, Colorado. She attended UNC in Greeley, receiving a BA in Elementary Ed., Social Science and then later she received her MA in Elementary Ed. through UNC as well. This will be her seventh year in DPS. This will be her 4th year at Southmoor. Krissy taught 3rd grade here at Southmoor her first two years and looped up with her last class last year and taught 4th grade and loved it! Since Krissy is a native, she enjoys snowboarding, exercising at Wash Park and riding her big yellow bike.||Krissy Berry (Neumann)||4th Grade||Kristen_Neumann@dpsk12.org
4th Grade grade Website
|Hello! My name is Christina Johnson and I’m thrilled to be a fourth grade HGT teacher at Southmoor. Teaching has been my lifelong passion. My father tells stories of me as young as four years old playing teacher with my sisters. I loved coming home from school and teaching them whatever I had learned. I even dressed as a teacher for Halloween when I was a third grader.|
In high school, I worked at Chuck-E-Cheese and tutored because I loved working with kids. After graduating, I worked as a paraprofessional while obtaining my BA in Liberal Studies. Then, while completing my teaching credential program, I was as a substitute teacher. I’ve taught first through fifth grade. I’m certified in GT instruction in both California and Colorado and received a MA in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Educational Technology.
Asides from my love of education, I enjoy the outdoors, traveling, and time with my family. My two daughters are my pride and joy. Some fun facts about me are that I’m a dual-citizen, I have two pet pigs, and I have been sky-diving.
I’m looking forward to an exciting year of inspiration and collaborative learning!
|Christina Johnson||4th Grade HGT||Christina_Johnson@dpsk12.org
|Hi!! My name is Steven Coursey. This is my 6th year at Southmoor. I have seventeen years of teaching experience and twelve years of counseling experience. I have worked with students ages six to eighteen. In my free time, I like traveling with my family and building Legos with my son who also attended Southmoor.||Steve Coursey||5th Grade||Steven_Coursey@dpsk12.org
Mr. Coursey's Website
|Hello! My name is Katie Riley and I am thrilled to be your child's teacher this year! while this is my first year teaching, I have worked in education for the past five years. I have been a paraprofessional and guest teacher in Denver Public Schools and also taught math at Metro State University. After finishing my Teacher Preparation Program in May, I was fortunate enough to intern at Prior Weston Academy in London, England.|
I have degrees in Psychology (from Seattle University) and Neurology (from University of Colorado Denver). Prior to working in education, I did research on the psychological effects of HIV medication, as well as learning and memory pathways.
I am a Denver native and a product of Denver Public Schools, graduating from East High School. Outside of school, I enjoy exploring the mountain trails with my dog, Dante. I am an avid reader and crocheter.
I look forward to an exciting school year and am thrilled to be apart of the Southmoor community!
|Katie Riley||5th Grade||Kathleen_Riley@dpsk12.org
Katie Riley's 5th Grade Website
|A Rutgers and SMU graduate, I am originally from New Jersey. After living in Oregon, Iowa and Texas, we settled in Colorado and I don't think I will ever leave! I have been teaching for 20+ years and this is my 3rd year at Southmoor Elementary. (11 years as a parent!) Prior to coming to Southmoor, I taught in the History Department at Metropolitan State University of Denver and at The Pingry School in New Jersey where I taught 7-12th grades. As an empath myself, I understand the social-emotional needs of gifted students across the board, as well as what makes them tick academically. I think compassion, patience and understanding are the key to helping students succeed. I believe students learn best through experience, hands-on activities, and through interactions with their peers. |
When I am not busy teaching, I enjoy raising my three lovely daughters alongside my husband Scott. I also enjoy traveling, hiking, theater, cooking, reading, and music. I play the piano and the harp, and I play percussion in an all-women rock band!
|Alice Bauer||5rd Grade HGT||Alice_Bauer@dpsk12.org
3rd grade Website
Student Support and Specials Teachers
|Jackie Person was born and raised in Queens, New York, where she completed her Masters Degree in School Psychology at the City University of New York, Queens College. She has worked as a school psychologist for 20 years, including 15 years in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the last 5 years in Denver Public Schools. This will be her sixth year serving as the school psychologist at Southmoor. Jackie is passionate about making sure all students feel valued, successful and supported in school, and in helping families and teachers ensure that all students meet their potential. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her husband, Kevin, and their three children. Jackie welcomes students and parents to contact her at any time or even stop by the office to see her if there are any concerns with which she can assist them.||Jackie Pearson||Psychologist||Jacqueline_Person@dpsk12.org
|My name is Nellie Fridman and I will be your new Special Education/Math Intervention teacher next year. My educational background includes a Master of Arts degree Education from Colorado University and a Masters of Arts degree in Speech Pathology, Special Education and Psychology from Moscow Pedagogical University in Russia. I am certified in both elementary education and special education. |
As you probably have guessed, I am passionate about education both as a student and as a teacher. There are endless amounts of opportunities within the field of education and I plan on exploring as many of them as possible. I love to share my passion for learning with my students and have found that it helps them become engaged and excited participants in their own learning. I am determined to help students recognize their full potential and allow them to become engaged in the learning process. I like to guide my instruction by using different approaches and strategies that best fit the individual needs of my students. Integrating technology into my instructions is one of the tools that probably have engendered the most excitement.
On my time away from school, I enjoy traveling overseas and explore architecture; stare at the walls in art galleries and museums. I consider myself a “fashionista” and am crazy about shopping. I love hockey and basketball, ice-skating and dance.
I have a daughter, Victoriya, she’ll be graduating next year from Denver University with a double major in Accounting and Information Systems. We like spending time together just hanging out, sharing our secrets, going shopping or taking trips. We have long conversations about life and short discussions about her boyfriend.
I’m so thrilled to become a member of the Southmoor family. Please, in my family you don’t need an invitation to visit. Just stop by and say hi.
|Nellie Fridman||Special Educationemail@example.com
Specials Services Website
|Joseph was born and raised in Colorado to a hardworking Italian family (La Bella Vita) and graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a B.S. in Kinesiology and a M.S. in Education (Go Buffs!). His educational philosophy mimics the quote that "Health is the thing that makes you feel that now is the best time of the year" by Franklin P. Adams. He wants his students to understand and desire the benefits of "seeking out" wellness opportunities. In his spare time he likes to be with family, play golf, exercise and read.||Joseph Bazzanella||Physical Educationfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Mrs. Roy earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Audio Engineering and Music Performance from CU at Denver. She is a multi-instrumentalist and has performed virtually every genre of music from jazz to classical to reggae. She is an alumna of the prestigious Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corp, the CU Jazz Combo, The Rock-O-Fellas', and Scarlet, to name a few. Before teaching elementary music, Mrs. Roy was the Arts Infusion Music Specialist for DPS Middle Schools. She enjoys sports, fishing, and her children.||Leslie Draper-Roy||Musicemail@example.com|
|Lisa graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Art Education. Before teaching at Southmoor Elementary, she taught in both Douglas County and Adams Co. Lisa has brought many new projects to our school including the sculpture project done with lids that was featured in the newspaper! Look around the school grounds for the impressive art our students produce. She is the proud mother of 3 beautiful children. During her spare time, Lisa enjoys time with her family, running, reading and scrapbooking.||Lisa Freedberg||Artfirstname.lastname@example.org
|Darlene Larson-Mom of two amazing daughters, Nonni of 3 magnificent grandchildren. Wife to a supportive, rockstar husband. I also admire and adore my parents! I love spending time with my loving family and friends traveling, hiking, also, attending theatre performances, pro and college sporting events, country and latin music concerts, and laughing (it soothes tension and melts away stress)! I enjoy humans with the aptitude to create or perceive humor, so, I LOVE teaching! Being a part of our students’ learning and growth is rewarding. I graduated from CU Denver, with a Master’s in Linguistically Diverse Education & Curriculum and Instruction. I hold a B.S. in Business. I have taught for 10 years, most of those years, here at Southmoor! ||Darlene Larson||ELD||Darlene_Larson@dpsk12.org|
|My name is Jamie Hencmann. I have been teaching for 16 years. I have been at Southmoor for 4 years. This year I am the primary Literacy Specialist. I coach and provide feedback in Superkids for teachers in the primary grades. During the rest of my day, I pull groups of students during their power 30 time to help support literacy standards in grades kindergarten through 5th grade. I love Southmoor and the community. It is a wonderful and positive place to work that is focus on the whole child. Thank you for the opportunity to work here every day.||Jamie Hencmann||Literacy Interventionist||Jamie_Hencmann@dpsk12.org|
|Hello Southmoor! I'm thrilled to be part of this stellar school and to work with the Southmoor community this year. My background as a gifted educator spans 19 years and 3 states, public and private schools in grades K-college. I have a Master's in Education, a Graduate Certificate in Gifted Education, am a certified yoga instructor, and have been in DPS as a Gifted Education Specialist for 6 years. I am at Southmoor half-time this year, and also half-time as a Science Teacher at a different school. My Southmoor schedule is Mondays and Tuesdays, with alternating 6 week cycles of Fridays, and you can always reach me via email. In my free time, I like to hike, read, and spend time with my elderly cattledog sidekick, Sir Scruffikins. Scruffy and I have fostered other homeless Australian Cattle Dogs for over a decade, and have saved over 70 lives this way. Our life motto is that of Gandhi - "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Change on!||Alison kapsalis||GT Itinerant||Alison_Kapsalis@dpsk12.org|
|I am so excited to be back as Southmoor’s Speech Language Pathologist! This will be my second year at Southmoor, my tenth year in Denver Public Schools (10 years in the Sheridan School District before this), and my twentieth year as an SLP! I am originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - and of course love to cheer on all of the black and gold teams from there. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Disorders from Boston University in 1997 and then went on to receive my Masters Degree in Speech Language Pathology from THE Ohio State University in 1999. I originally thought that I would pursue the medical aspect of speech language pathology, however, once I got to experience working with children in the school setting, I have never looked back. I am also the SLP internship coordinator for our Speech Department here in DPS. I love to take on student SLP interns and show them what a truly special field speech and language pathology is - and how language is the foundation behind a student’s learning success. When I am not at one of my schools working with my students, I get to hang out with my Green Bay Packer loving husband (always an interesting dynamic when the Packers play the Steelers), our two kids (ages 10 and 13) and our two dogs (standard poodle and a labradoodle). I love to travel, attend concerts, cook, read, and have even taken up gardening!||Robin Palay||Speech||Robin_Palay@dpsk12.org|