James Bench – 8th grade math
I am extremely excited to be a part of McAuliffe Manual Middle School. Born in Denver, I grew up in the metro area and went on to play collegiate baseball in Arizona and Iowa before returning home to Denver. I love doing anything related to math, science, and sports. I also have my real estate license. I have been in education for two and a half years now and I’m here to stay. . . I love it! I love working with kids and developing problem solvers for life. I live with my beautiful wife, Laura, my cat, Ruby, and my soon-to-be (late September) baby boy! A favorite quote of mine is…
Ego = 1 / Knowledge. More the knowledge, lesser the ego. Lesser the knowledge, more the ego. –Albert Einstein
Debbie Burgio – social worker
Samantha Cohen – MI para
I am very excited to join the McAuliffe Manual Middle School team! I recently moved from Chicago where I received my degree in Hospitality and Tourism management from Roosevelt University. When I am not in the classroom, I enjoy playing sports, trivia and exploring the outdoors with my dog Rae.
Zach Couchman – 8th grade physical ed/Athletic Director
I am overjoyed to be joining the McAuliffe Manual team this year. I grew up in New York where I worked as hard as I could to become a ‘triple threat’ in dancing, acting, and singing. I earned my BA in Music Education and Theatre at West Chester University in Pennsylvania and my Masters of Music in Secondary Music Education at George Mason University in Virginia. I have spent the last 4 years teaching middle school chorus and directing the drama program in Warrenton, Virginia and am so pleased to be continuing my career in a similar role. Singing and performing have been a personal passion of mine since childhood and I truly enjoy bringing that passion to students every day. I moved to Denver with my husband and two cats in the fall of 2017 and we can’t imagine living anywhere else. My hobbies include: traveling, cooking & eating out, playing ukulele, knitting, and practicing yoga.
Leonard Donadio – 7th grade math
Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be. –Karen Ravn
Jeff Elliott – 6th grade social studies
Hello My name is Jeff Elliott. This is my second year teaching 6th grade social studies at McAuliffe Manual Middle School. I received my undergraduate degree in history from the University of Denver. I also received my Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Denver as well. Before I came to McAuliffe Manual I was teaching 9th grade. In fact I student-taught 9th graders in Manual High School. I enjoy all things outdoors and history related. I am so excited for an amazing year of learning and growth for all of our students.
Anthony Fierstos – Spanish
It’s a personal and professional thrill to join the team here at McAuliffe Manual Middle School. I received my undergraduate degrees in Communications and International Studies from Georgia Southern University and I earned my Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Central Missouri. I also studied for a year at the University of Veracruz in Xalapa, Mexico. Spanish language became a passion when I experienced it in action. My first teaching job with the Peace Corps in Paraguay, was an incredible adventure. I loved working with kids so much that my wife and I earned TEFL certifications and taught in Korea for 4 years. I have been teaching language for more than 8 years and spent the last few years teaching at Cole Camp High School. My personal interests are baseball, camping, hiking, banjo playing, bluegrass music and food (especially chicken wings). ¡Nos vemos pronto!
Joseph Florez – literacy fellow
Kailey Garland – nurse
Originally from Charlottesville, Virginia, I earned my BA from the University of Virginia. In my free time, I love reading and hiking on the trails around Denver. I’m excited to be starting my first year at McAuliffe Manual Middle School!
Stephanie Graves – MI Special Ed
I am very excited to be working at our MI (Multi Intensive) center-based program at McAuliffe Manual. I have been teaching for 17 years, both in physical education and special education. Most of my teaching experience has been in the special education field, with the last several years teaching in an autism classroom for DPS. I earned my undergraduate degree in Physical Education (emphasis Kinesiology) from the University of Northern Colorado, and my master’s degree in Special Education from Regis University. I live in Castle Rock with my two fur babies, Ryder and Sadie, my partner Brandon, my daughter Mariah, and my stepchildren, Michael and Shannon. We are a very active family and love being outdoors whenever possible. You can always find us at the swimming pool, ball park, or skiing on the mountain.
I am thrilled to be part of the McAuliffe Manual community and have the opportunity to be in partnership with young students and collaborative professionals. Originally from California, I dreamed to live in Colorado, where I eventually attended college and received a BA in Communications Studies at Colorado State University. As a college student-athlete, I loved the competitive environment of sports and academics. I am passionate about creating an environment for students to thrive and explore their own interests and passions. Outside of the classroom, I love to be outdoors in the fresh mountain air, enjoying yoga, and spending time with people I love.
Sarah Hagevik – 6th grade special education
Jose Hernandez – Spanish 2b and SLA 1 & 2
Michael Anne Higgins – visual arts
I am very excited to be a part of the McAuliffe Manual Middle School team! I’m originally from Ohio and graduated from Miami University with a degree in Art Education. When I’m not in the classroom, you can find me camping, hiking, skiing, or doing something outdoors! I look forward to bringing my love of nature back into the classroom this year.
Jennifer Hoyle – 6th grade engineering
Amanda Hynson – 8th grade social studies
John Jonas – orchestra/band
I am a dad, husband, musician and teacher of musical arts. I started my music career in 1982 as a musician in the US Marine Corps. Since then, I studied music education at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and the University of Northern Colorado. I’ve taught band, orchestra and vocal music in Montrose, Weld, Westminster and Denver counties. I also taught in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, for 5 years. My main instrument is trombone and I’ve played and directed in many bands, orchestras and various groups over the years. My current performance outlet is the Gora Gora Orkestar brass band. I have two sons and my wife is a very talented cellist and music teacher. I am SO EXCITED to be living 11 blocks from the school after years of long distance commuting. I am a big Rockies fan and love to take in games at Coors Field. The only thing I enjoy as much as teaching music is performing. Two of my favorite quotes are…
Anybody can play. The note is 20 percent. The attitude of the (musician) who plays it is 80 percent. —Miles Davis
When nothing is owed or deserved or expected, And your life doesn’t change by the man that’s elected. If you’re loved by someone, you’re never rejected. Decide what to be and go be it.—The Avett Brothers
Samantha Knipp – 7th grade science
I am very excited to be joining the McAuliffe Manual team and cannot wait to see what is in store for this upcoming school year! I graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder and earned my BA in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. I am super passionate about kids and the potential that each of them has. I am originally from Cincinnati, OH but moved out to Colorado for school, and now I don’t think I’m ever leaving. In my free time, I love being outdoors (hiking, biking, skiing), going to concerts and listening to music, attending sporting events, trying out new restaurants, and being around dogs! A favorite quote of mine….
Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. —Mother Teresa
Julie Malek – Innovation Lab Coordinator
I am thrilled to be working with the inquiring minds here on the Manual Campus. The Innovation Lab is a place for students to find great books and much, much more. Having been a middle and high school social studies teacher for 13 years, I love helping students connect to and explore their community and the world. I am passionate about reading and helping students find books that they can’t put down. My favorite book is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and I have lost track of how times I’ve read it! My husband and I have two mostly grown daughters who are beginning careers of their own, which leaves us lots of time to travel, hike, bike and be in the mountains. My favorite sport is soccer; in fact I played soccer here when I was student at Manual High School a few years ago!
Kimberly Martin – 7th grade social studies
I am very excited to be joining the MMMS team this year! This is my 2rd year in DPS: I worked at South High School and I interned and guest taught at DCIS-Baker. I graduated this past year from CU Denver where I earned my MA, and prior to that, I received my BA from CU Denver in History. I am originally from Las Cruces, NM and have lived in Colorado since I was six years old. I have an amazing P. I. C. (Partner in Crime), Mitchell (he’s a DPS football defensive coordinator at TJ High School), and we have 3 wonderful sons: Marius, Montae and Mavarro. They are involved in athletics all year long…football, basketball and track. I am a SUPER big sports fan; I LOVE football and basketball and I’m very competitive. I love to read, research and find projects/recipes to try on Pinterest! A favorite quote of mine is…
Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. —Tim Notke
Amber McCullough – 7th and 8th grade engineering
Cindy Moneyhon – 6th grade math
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. —Henry David Thoreau
Mallory Mowery – 6th grade language arts
qui docet discit…he who teaches, learns. —George Bernard Shaw
I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the McAuliffe Manual team for a wonderful new year of learning and discover! I have spent the past two years teaching fourth and fifth grade English Language Arts and Social Studies in Cincinnati Public Schools. Prior to that, I did my student teaching in an international middle school in the same district, and I cannot wait to return to the joy that is middle school! I completed my undergraduate degree in Middle Childhood Education at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH, although I am originally from Cleveland. I am currently working on my Master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language (TESOL) through the University of Cincinnati. Like any good Language Arts teacher, I LOVE to read and write, but I also love hiking, painting, cooking, and soccer. I am looking forward to a year of bringing the thunder! A favorite quote of mine is…
If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the immensity of the sea. —Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Taylor Roholt – French
This will be my second year teaching at McAuliffe Manual and I am thrilled to join the World Languages team! I spent 2 years teaching high school French in Arizona, and it was there that my passion for this career was born. I love teaching the French language as it fosters cultural understanding, interaction and self-expression. Growing up in Albuquerque, NM, I spent many years exploring Colorado. I’m excited to be a part of the Denver community and more importantly MMMS! When I’m not teaching you can find me in the mountains and on the trails. A favorite quote of mine is…
To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift. —Steve Prefontaine
Clear eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t lose. —Coach Taylor
Rachel Shea – data specialist
I am so happy to be a part of this innovative team of educators. I taught 7th and 8th grade math for six years before jumping into curriculum, data and assessment work. I am from Wisconsin and hate the cold, so I moved to the Virgin Islands after college, and I’ve now found a weather-life balance here in Denver. A favorite quote of mine is…
Sometimes you have to stop thinking so much and go where your heart takes you. —Unknown
Paige Shumaker – 8th grade science
This will be my first year at McAuliffe Manual and I am excited to join the MMMS team! I am originally from Michigan and I graduated from Michigan State University with a BA in Education. I have spent the past two years teaching 6th grade science in Houston, Texas. I am looking forward to getting out of the heat and humidity! I moved to Denver this past summer and cannot wait to explore all that Denver has to offer. I have one fur baby, Dobby. Outside of teaching, I enjoy spending time outdoors, running, and reading. A favorite quote of mine is …
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. —Nelson Mandala
Andrea Sunday – intervention math
Why fit in when you were born to stand out? —Dr. Seuss!
It’s our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. —Albus Dumbledore
Jennifer Thomas – 8th grade language arts
Janelle Tribuzzi – ELD
I am thrilled to be part of the McAuliffe Manual Middle School team! Last year I worked as a literacy fellow and it was a rewarding experience, especially seeing the amount of growth that happened with our students’ reading and writing. This year I’m really excited to be working with English Language Learners. I look forward to helping them build their confidence with English, and helping them succeed in their other classes/middle school. I grew up in a small town south of Buffalo, NY, where I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood and Childhood Education and a Master’s Degree in Literacy (K-12). I moved to Colorado after visiting, and I really love it here! When I’m not teaching, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, hiking, skiing, going for bike rides, camping, seeing live music/concerts, eating at new restaurants and traveling. I look forward to meeting everyone and to a great 2018-2019 school year!
Dylan Tuggle – MI para
Zackary Tull – Literacy Fellow
I’m very excited to join the faculty at McAuliffe Manual Middle School. My passion is working with gifted and advanced students and I have done that for 16 years in the Denver Public Schools. I am looking forward to working with the students at MMMS. I have a Masters in Gifted Education and a PhD in Curriculum and Instructions; both received at the University of Denver while I worked at the Ricks Center for Gifted Children. I have three grown children and 8 grandchildren. My husband and I enjoy hiking and traveling. Our most recent trip was a cruise on the Baltic Sea to Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Finland and Russia. A very beautiful part of the world.
Allison Walsh – psychologist
Scott Williamson – 6th grade science
This will be my 2nd year as our 6th grade science teacher; before that I was a math fellow. My wife and I moved to Denver in 2015 to be closer to family after the birth of our son, Micah (3 years old). I have also lived in Columbia, MO; Northfield, MN and Seattle, WA. My favorite thing in the world is to swim in a cold, clear mountain lake. Coaching baseball for MMMS has been a dream come true. A favorite quote of mine is…
The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. —Nelson Henderson