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||Office Manager||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 Mollie Gichuru. This will be my second year at Southmoor and I’m very excited to work with your little ones! Prior to Southmoor, I taught kindergarten for eight years and first grade for three years. I graduated from Bennington College in Vermont and obtained a MAT in Elementary Education. Teaching early readers and mathematicians is truly my passion. I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia with my three sisters. When I’m not teaching, you can find me hanging out with my husband and two young sons. We love camping, hiking, biking, exploring nature and sports!||Mollie Gichuru||Kindergarten||Mollie_Gichuru@dpsk12.org
Ms. Hoover'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
|I am a Colorado Native, I grew up in Longmont, just about an hour north of Denver. 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. This will be my fifth year teaching at Southmoor. I have taught first grade for one year and kindergarten for six years. Aside from teaching, I also enjoy spending time with my family, hiking, running, and watching sports. I’m very excited to begin the school year and work with the students and families at Southmoor!||Nicole McCoy|
|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 Brigitte Bucher. I was born in France, but grew up in California. I did my undergraduate work in California. After college, I moved to Colorado because I grew up visiting my grandma in southwest Colorado. I received my Colorado Teacher’s License in 2007. I have taught all over the world. I have experiences teaching in Africa, Ecuador, the Idaho wilderness, and metro Denver.|
When I am not teaching, I like spending time with family and friends, reading for fun and for my bookclub, traveling, gardening, cooking, hiking, and camping.
This is my 8th year of teaching. I am super excited for my 1st year at Southmoor! I have heard so many good things about the staff, students, and families.
|Brigitte Anderson-Bucher||1st Grade||Brigitte_Anderson-Bucher@dpsk12.org
Ms. Bucher'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
|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 9 years. This is my second year at Southmoor (go 3rd grade!) and my third year in DPS. I graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder after studying elementary education and humanities. 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, mountain bike, 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
|I am so excited to join Southmoor this year. This is my 16th year teaching. I have taught preschool-5th grade. I was also a reading specialist/interventionist for 5 years and a teacher instructional coach for the past 4 years. |
I grew up in Michigan and went to Michigan State University. Then started my teaching career in Baltimore and got my MA in education from Johns Hopkins University. I moved to Colorado 10 years ago and never want to leave. My family loves spending time outdoors- hiking, biking and running. Anything that gives us an up-close view of the mountains is a family favorite of ours.
|Lisa Nguyen||3rd Grade||Lisa_Nguyen@dpsk12.org
3rd grade's Website
|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
|Yes, I am still here! I was born and raised in Englewood, Colorado. I attended UNC in Greeley, receiving a BA in Elementary Education. I later received my MA in Elementary Education from UNC at Lowry. This is my 12th year of teaching and my 8th year here at Southmoor. I have taught 3rd and 4th grade here at Southmoor. I really enjoy teaching science and math because both of these subjects have questions and answers. I enjoy snowboarding in the winter, riding my big yellow bike, jogging, spending time with my little kitty Apawlo and hanging out with my family! I love teaching at Southmoor because the community is amazing and allows us to put kids first!||Krissy Berry (Neumann)||4th Grade||Kristen_Neumann@dpsk12.org
4th Grade grade Website
|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
|I am a Denver native and product of Denver Public Schools, attending Steck Elementary, Hill Middle School, and East High School. I have worked in DPS for 8 years as a paraprofessional, substitute teacher, and classroom teacher. I am excited to begin my fourth year in the 5th grade at Southmoor. I graduated from Seattle University with a degree in Psychology- with a focus in Neurology. I completed my Teacher Licensure Program at Metropolitan State University. Outside of school I enjoy hiking, sewing, and reading. My dog, Dante, takes up much of my attention and has been a wonderful teaching assistant during remote learning. I love working at Southmoor and fostering a love for reading in my students.||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 Educationfirstname.lastname@example.org
Specials Services Website
|Jonell Pineda||Senior Team Lead||Jonell_Pineda@dpsk12.org|
|This is my 4th year at Southmoor Elementary School. I taught 3rd grade literacy my first two years and have been a Senior Team Lead for the last 2 years. I am originally from the Black Hills of South Dakota. I graduated in 1993 from Black Hills State University in South Dakota with my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary and Special Education and graduated in 2003 with my Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Marshall University in West Virginia. I have 26 years of experience in education that includes teaching Kindergarten, First Grade, Third grade, Fourth grade, Eighth Grade, High School, Special Education, and Adult Education. I have also coordinated Even Start preschool programs for the West Virginia Department of Education. I am married to a geologist and have 2 amazing dogs and 2 adorable cats. My education philosophy is student-centered and I believe in equitably providing students with rigorous and meaningful learning experiences. |
Outside of school I enjoy biking, hiking, walking, and hanging out with my husband and pets.
|Wanda Matt||Senior Team Lead||Wanda_Matt@dpsk12.org|
|I’m excited to introduce myself as the next Southmoor Physical Education teacher. This will be my 22nd year of teaching in DPS. I am a Denver native and graduate of Denver South HS. I attended Northwestern University where I studied Civil Engineering and played four years of NCAA soccer for the Wildcats. After returning to Denver and discovering my passion of working with kids, I received my teaching degree and later my master’s degree from the University of Colorado at Denver. I started my teaching career in the classroom as a 4th/5th grade ELA-S teacher at Mitchell Elementary School in NE Denver. After three years in the classroom, I transitioned into the gym and started my exciting journey of teaching physical education. I taught at Mitchell from 1999 - 2008. In 2008, Mitchell was closed by the District and I helped to open Cole Arts and Science Academy as a new K-8 school, right next door to Mitchell. It was an honor to get to teach PE at Cole from 2008 to 2019. In 2019-20 I taught PE and Dance at College View Elementary in SW Denver. My wife Sara, who is also a DPS teacher, and I have raised three wonderful kids in the beautiful city of Denver. Our oldest two children, Maria and Sammy, graduated from Denver East in ’18 and ’19 and are both enrolled at CU Denver. Our youngest son, TJ, will be a sophomore in 2020-21 at George Washington HS. I’m an avid marathon runner, I still enjoy playing recreational soccer, I’m a big sports fan, and I love music (I play the piano, the guitar, and the accordion). I’m very honored to follow in Mr. Bazz’s footsteps and I’m excited to get to know the Southmoor students and community!||Tyler Crippen||Physical Education||Stuart_Crippen@dpsk12.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|
|I grew up in Denver, then attended University of Oregon and The Art Institute of Seattle. After 15 years in the Northwest I moved back to start a family with my husband. We have 3 daughters all in DPS schools, also a dog Toby and 2 “quarantine” kittens. I have worked at Bromwell and Slavens as a paraprofessional, librarian and teacher resident. When not teaching I love gardening, hiking, reading and creating. I believe every child is an artist and that choice in the art room leads to engagement. I am very excited to be part of the Southmoor community!||Heather Witsoe||Art||Heather_Witsoe@dpsk12.org
|As a Colorado native, I enjoy many of the typical activities...as long as it’s summertime. You’ll find me huddled in front of the space heater during the winter. I stay busy with my three kids, serving in the Air National Guard, and running. Community is so important to me and the Southmoor community is one of a kind! I’m grateful to be here for another year collaborating with amazing peers, students & families.||Ashley Watson||ELD/Special Ed||Ashley_Watson@dpsk12.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|
|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|