Staff Bios



IMG_1927Jonathan Almon

Librarian/Technology Teacher/STR
Born and raised in Oklahoma City, I spent most of my time loving my family and friends, attempting to play sports, reading without telling anyone, and hating humidity. This led to a four-year stint at Oklahoma State University where I earned a Bachelor’s degree in English. I taught a year in Oklahoma before making my way to Denver, CO in the summer of 2005. Without this important step in my life, I never would have met my wife, earned a Master’s degree in Information and Learning Technologies from the University of Colorado Denver, or moved to the great town of Golden, CO with our son. I spent the first 7 years of my career in Denver Public Schools at Morey MS where I held a wide array of positions including Language Arts teacher, Technology Teacher, AVID elective teacher, and Teacher Librarian. More recently, I’ve loved spending the last five years here at Steck as your Teacher Librarian, Technology Teacher, and School Technology Representative.


9k=Ronda Bailey

ECE Teacher


My name is Ronda Bailey and I am originally from St. Louis, Missouri. I have a degree in Elementary Education and a Masters in Reading. This will be my 22nd year to teach and I cannot think of anything that I would rather do than spend my day with children. They are so much fun!! I have spent most of my career as a Reading Specialist/Literacy Coach. I have also taught kindergarten and third grade. I am so excited to be teaching ECE at Steck this year! My husband and I have two four-legged fur-babies who love to snuggle. I enjoy traveling, skiing, hiking, reading, trying new restaurants, and scrap booking.

IMG_2578Val Collins

Literacy Interventionist
I grew up in the Bay Area and moved to Colorado with my first job as a court reporter. I met my husband, Jim, at that job and we settled in Denver. After fifteen years of working in the insurance industry, I pursued my 4th grade wish of becoming a teacher. I have taught in DPS for thirteen years at both Ellis Elementary and Steck. My favorite part of being a teacher is helping to create those “aha!” moments in a child’s learning. My husband and I have two daughters, Renee and Christine, and a mischievous Bichon named Kingsley. Renee is a PACU nurse at The Medical Center of Aurora, and Christine is currently in her first year of medical school in Georgia. In my free time, when I’m not keeping up with my lively granddaughter, Vivi, you might see me poking into art museums or relaxing in the springs at Ojo Caliente, New Mexico.

Sammy Daniel

Special Education Teacher

Hi! My name is Sammy Daniel and I am thrilled to join the community at Steck! I am originally from the Chicago suburbs and received my Bachelors in Elementary Education from Butler University in 2012. I have spent the past six years as a resource teacher in Indianapolis working primarily with fourth and fifth grade students. I love all Chicago sports, digging into a new book and trying out new restaurants with friends and family. I am excited for this adventure in Colorado and looking forward to a great year at Steck!

Sylvia Doud

Art Teacher
 I am thrilled to be the new art teacher at Steck and look forward to working with Steck Star
artists! My favorite aspect of school was art class and I studied various art techniques through
college and beyond. My favorite media include pastel and oil paintings. You will see a life-sized
painting of my dog in the art room. As the new art teacher, I will be making some changes to the
art curriculum, with a focus on teaching students artistic behaviors and developing student
creativity through choice-based art education.
Choice-based art education teaches students how to think, rather than what to think, thus
preparing students for the 21st century workforce. As an art teacher, my goals will be to create a
joyful and creative learning environment where students learn not only different art techniques
and styles, but also experience the process of creating art that is meaningful and expresses
individual views and perspectives. I hope the learning environment I create, as well as sharing my
own passion for art, will be an inspiration for students.

Karen Dworak photoKaren Dworak

Intermediate Math Interventionist


I have been involved with students of varying ages for more than 20 years. I first taught English in Italy at private schools and at the University of Cagliari on the island of Sardinia, where I lived for 4 years. Upon my return to the U.S., I was the Pedagogical Director of an ELA school which still operates in the Denver area.My son was a student at Steck from 1997-2003, during which time I began working as a paraprofessional at Southmoor Elementary. I’ve been there the past 14 years working in all grades and with all subject matter. My “specialty” is math in the upper grades where I have worked almost exclusively for the past few years.I have been an art jeweler for 25 years and continue to sell my work at art shows in the Rocky Mountain region. I love to community garden and have done so for 15 years. In addition, I like to bike, swim, hike and fish.I look forward to working in a new school with different dynamics.

IMG_4585Kathy Eichenberger

Music Teacher


I am thrilled to begin my 21st year teaching at Steck Elementary! I believe Music Education begins with a love of music: children using their voices to speak and sing, and their bodies to move and dance.My love of music began in my hometown, Las Animas, Colorado. For a small farming community, it was rich with musical opportunity. I began piano in 2nd grade, 4th grade band and choir. After graduating high school, I attended and graduated from Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado with a degree in Music Education. I met Brian and we have been married for 36 years. Our two sons are former Steck Star students!


Mirriah Elliott

Principal Resident



Mrs. Mirriah Elliott loves Steck! She is in her fifteenth year working with Steck children, as she previously taught fifth and second grades and now she is in her fourth year supporting the office administration. As a principal resident, Mrs. Elliott shares the tasks of the principal with Ms. Kline by spending time observing in classrooms and coaching teachers, supervising the para-educators and the teaching staff. Mrs. Elliott is in charge of the school, district and state assessments given throughout the building as the site assessment leader. She also encourages culture development at Steck through the Personal Success Factors initiative.
Not only is Mrs. Elliott a Steck employee, she is also a Steck parent! She has a collaborative fifth grader and an enthusiastic third grader at Steck!
When Mrs. Elliott is not at Steck, she enjoys being outdoors. She loves camping, hiking, and biking with her family. In the summer months her family spends a lot of time at the pool and she enjoys gardening in her backyard. Photography is another passion. When it is not so warm outside, she loves reading and playing board games.

DSC_0067Renee Erickson

Classroom Para Educator



I grew up in Leawood,Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City. I moved out to Denver to attend University of Denver, where I received my Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education.   My husband Rick and I have a daughter and two sons, who all went to Steck, Hamilton MS and East High School.  They have all settled down on the West coast (Seattle and LA), so we take many trips out there to visit.  I started at Steck as a parent, then a substitute teacher and now a para educator.  Outside of school, I enjoy reading, walking with friends and traveling to see family.

 Jo Fantana

School Nurse



My name is Jo Fontana RN, BSN, AE-C. I’m starting my third year as a school nurse. I’ve been a nurse for over 12 years. I like being a school nurse because it’s never the same and I get to help students and families.


DSC_0017April Gould

3rd Grade Teacher


Hi! My name is April Gould. I teach Math, Science and Social Studies for our third graders here at Steck. I am a proud Colorado native and I love to teach! I enjoy collaborating with students and families for a fun and inspiring school year.

Outside of work, I cannot think of a better way to spend my time than with my family! As a family, we love to spend time outdoors, watch movies, and play old-fashion board games.

Holly Grady

P.E. Teacher


 My name is Holly Grady and I have taught Physical Education at Steck since 2014.  I treasure that I was raised on a farm in Central Nebraska along with two older sisters and my brother, who still grows many acres of beans and corn at the farm.  After graduating with 48 classmates, I moved to the big cities of Lincoln, NE and Omaha, NE to earn Bachelors and Masters degrees in Education and Exercise Science, respectively.  After 17 years of teaching ALL grades (K-12!) and coaching sports in Eastern Nebraska, my future husband David and I fulfilled a mutual dream of moving to CO to “play in the mountains”, namely biking, skiing, hiking and camping.  My teaching career in DPS began near here in 1999 at George Washington HS and David and I purchasing a home nearby.  However, most of my first 14 years were spent in West Denver at Cowell Elementary, where I proudly attained National Board Certification in my field of Education in 2012.  The time there convinced me that teaching little kiddos the joy of movement, activity and sportsmanship was my true calling.  Continuing my career at Steck has been a gift to me, an opportunity to teach near my home again, in a close knit, caring and generous community.  After the sudden passing of my beloved husband David of 15 years in 2015, along with recovery from major brain surgery in 2016, I have been humbled by the compassion, generosity and patience of the Steck staff, students, and families, all who have contributed to my healing process.  I am once again enjoying life and trying to “practice what I preach” and “play outside in the mountains”, mostly at my second home in Salida, CO with my two kitties, Louie (pictured) and GoGo who tag along sometimes too! I also enjoy music, interior design, gardening and dinner parties!

Nichole Hansen

Kindergarten Teacher

My name is Nichole Hansen. This is my 12th year in DPS and I am happy to say my 7th in kindergarten here at Steck. I am a Colorado native so I grew up spending as much time as possible outdoors and now my husband and I are raising our three girls to do the same. My family and I love to hike, camp, Rollerblade and bike ride. When we are not in the mountains we are caring for our pets at home with our two dogs, two cats, turtle (who will be a part of my class), and fish.


Beth Harlin

Classroom Para Educator



 My name is Beth Harlin and I have been working with children for more than 25 years.  I  received my elementary teaching certification from Kennesaw University and my masters in elementary education from Troy State University.  I truly enjoy working with primary students.  I am originally from Georgia, where I taught first grade at the same elementary school that I attended. My husband, Tim and I moved to Denver in 2013.  We have two grown children, TJ and Katie, and have three fur babies.  We enjoy hiking, skiing and college football.

Debbie Heinz

4th Grade Teacher


Hello!  I am Debbie Heinz and I am very proud and happy to be the 4th grade literacy teacher at Steck Elementary.

Teaching is a second career for me and I have been lucky enough to be teaching at Steck for seventeen years! I started teaching second grade at Steck when my middle son was in second grade. All three of my sons were able to attend Steck and then Hill, just like their dad, and then go on to East HS.  My husband and his siblings attended Steck, Hill and then George Washington or Manual. Since I grew up in a military family my school experience was very different than my husband and sons. I moved every couple of years and I did not grow up in one stable community.  I delight in our Steck family and have so enjoyed the history, continuity and stability that all parents, students, teachers and staff enjoy when we are a part of the Steck Community.  (I truly believe that “It takes a village” to grow and nurture a child and a family.)

I have always loved books, writing and history and I get to do that every day with fabulous 4th graders!   I also love to garden, so the fourth graders and their families are instrumental in planting and maintaining the Steck community garden.   In my spare time I read, write, garden, do yoga and enjoy traveling and having adventures with my boys and my new little granddaughter.

Blanca Hernandez

Facilities Manager



I am Blanca Hernandez, a Denver Native, who has worked for DPS for 11 years in the Facilities department, 8 of those years serving as a Facility Manager. I am currently going to school for Business Management. In addition to school and work, I am Mom to 9- and 13-year-old children. Having recently remarried, I am also Step-mom to 8-, and 16-year-old boys. Education is highly important to me and I want students to thrive in all ways possible. I feel blessed to play a role in assuring a safe, clean and quality environment for DPS students and co-workers.


Kim Jonker

ECE Para Educator

Hi my name is Kim Jonker and I am the ECE para educator at Steck elementary. I have 12 years plus experience as an ECE and kindergarten para with DPS. I am very happy and excited to be a part of the Steck team. I am really looking forward to working with the students and the friendly community at Steck. I graduated from Pace University in Pleasantville, N.Y. where I received my B.S. degree in Art and Scientific Illustration. I am married to my wonderful husband Douglas. We love the outdoors, art, music, and having fun together. He is from the beautiful state of Colorado and I have lived here over 30 years. I am optimistic for a wonderful, fun and successful future with Steck Elementary.

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Natalie Keane

1st Grade Teacher


I grew up in Hartland, Wisconsin, a small town outside of Milwaukee. There, I spent my winters playing hockey and my summers on the lake. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin- Madison with a major in Economics, I made the great move to Denver and couldn’t be happier! After two years in the financial industry, I realized that my passion was in teaching, so I went back to school for my teaching license. I had the wonderful opportunity to student teach at Steck and work as a paraprofessional here, as well. I spent three years at Swigert International School, teaching kindergarten and 2nd grade. Last year, I returned to Steck as a first grade teacher. I am so excited to be a part of such an incredible community here at Steck once again! Steck is a place very dear to my heart. Having the opportunity to build amazing relationships with wonderful students and families is something I am grateful for.Outside of school, I love spending time with my husband, Ben, our two-year-old daughter, Harper, our (almost) one-year-old son, Beckett, and our golden retriever, Avery. We take every opportunity to be outside, enjoying everything that this beautiful state has to offer!


Molly profile photo

Molly Kirschling

ECE Teacher/DR Coach



I grew up in southern Ohio, graduated from the University of Dayton, and moved to Colorado in the early 90’s after just one ski trip to Steamboat Springs. I love the sunshine and the energy of Colorado! I spent my first two years of teaching in high school Spanish, but switched to bilingual Kindergarten and elementary ESL in Denver Public Schools. I have taught Kindergarten and ECE for the better part of my career and have loved working in early education. My husband teaches the other side of the spectrum – upper level French at East High School. We have two children who keep us busy: our teenage son plays hockey and lacrosse and attends East High and our preteen daughter competes in gymnastics, dances for Colorado Ballet and attends Denver School of the Arts. During our summers off we travel, read and play lots of games together.



Robin Kline

I am a Denver native, and DPS alum. I attended Carson in Kindergarten, Fallis, (Green School), for grades 1-6, Hill “Jr. High” and George Washington High School.I received my BA, M.Ed. and School Leadership license from the University of Northern Colorado.Having worked in Public Education since 1976 in multiple capacities, I spent most of my career (34 years!) in Douglas County Schools as an elementary and “Jr. High” reading specialist, classroom teacher, mentor/coach, central office administrator and principal.I have been involved in other projects since leaving Douglas County and during summer months throughout my career. I worked with the Colorado Department of Education as a Common Core Standards specialist and as a private literacy consultant in several Colorado school districts and the Public Education and Business Coalition. I have supervised student teachers for the University of Colorado and was a Literacy instructor for undergrad and graduate level courses for Adams State College and the University of Colorado at Denver.My favorite work to date has been at Steck. I continue to marvel at the skill and dedication of this staff and the amazing students and parents I get to work with every day!I have two children; Lindsey, who is married and living in a Detroit suburb. Most of you have heard me talk about or seen pictures of my precious granddaughter Eleanor. Lindsey is taking time away from her first-grade teaching job to be a full-time mother. I visit them as often as possible.My son, Colin, lives in Brooklyn and is a professional jazz drummer. He has traveled the world playing his drums and had incredible experiences through his art form. He attended DSA in high school which was a transformational experience.I live with Puzzles, my precious rescue cat!

Alli Kuhls

Classroom Para Educator



Hello! I’m Alli Kuhls and I am a paraprofessional at Steck! I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri where I found my passion for working with kids while working as a swim coach and instructor. I took that passion and moved out to Colorado to attend Regis Univeristy and take courses in education. After Regis I became a para in 2015 and instantly fell in love with the school! I knew I found my place with all the hard working and inspirational staff, as well as with the energetic students!  When I’m not at Steck I love to camp, hike and find new, fun spots around Denver!

DLPCA_DLMICK4_20170119_396511133175Kelly Leonard

Kindergarten Teacher

I have been teaching for a long time and I’ve taught all elementary grades, but I started teaching kindergarten 6 years ago and found my home! Getting to witness the remarkable growth my students each year keeps me coming back year after year. The hugs help, too:)When I’m not working, I’m mom to Max (10) and Lucy (3) who keep me busy! We love being outside, park-hopping, hiking, riding our bikes, baking, reading and watching movies. I’m originally from Los Angeles, but have been in Colorado since college (University of Colorado Boulder), but we get back to LA frequently to visit family and play at the beach.

Kerry McRae

3rd Grade Teacher



I joined the Steck family in 2009 as a student teacher, then continued on as a long-term substitute and para educator before settling into my dream job as a third grade literacy teacher. Each day my third graders make me laugh, inspire me to stay curious, and amaze me with their talents as readers, writers, and thinkers.  I am a proud Denver native and DPS alum. My ancestors first traveled to Colorado in a covered wagon, and my family has since made our home here for seven generations. I love spending time with my hilarious husband, our sweet son, and our loving little spaniel. In my free time I enjoy reading, being outdoors, going to museums, and cheering for the Broncos!

Andrew Menard

4th Grade Teacher


I moved to Colorado in June of 1993 to marry my wife Lisa. We met in graduate school in Boston, but the long gray winters brought us back to her home state of sunny Colorado. I began teaching in Denver Public Schools in 1994. I taught 3rd grade at Stedman Elementary for five years, 5th grade at Park Hill for seven years and have been at Steck ever since. (Thought I’d give you a real world math problem to determine how long I’ve been teaching and how long I’ve been at Steck!) I am definitely a dog person and enjoy spending time with my two Norwich terriers, ZiZi and Zuli. I also enjoy reading, music, sports and cooking.

Melanie Mitchell

2nd Grade Teacher
 Hi! I am Melanie Anderson and I teach 2nd grade Math, Science, and Social Studies! In 2013, I moved to Denver from my native state of Minnesota. There, I received both my Bachelors and Masters degrees from Minnesota State University at Mankato. I’ve been at Steck ever since! Somehow, I quickly earned the reputation as “Coffee Girl” with my students.When I am not in the classroom, you can find me running, hiking, or traveling! Some of my favorite places to travel to include Minnesota, Boston, and San Diego! I also love to spend time with family, friends, and my fiancé, Joe! We are getting married in October 2017, when my students will start to refer to me as Mrs. Mitchell! Last December, I ran my third marathon in Sacramento. With high hopes of qualifying for the Boston Marathon, and after many early morning runs, my dream came true! I will be running the Boston Marathon in April 2018.See you around Steck!

DSC_0065Kim Moya

Classroom Para Educator


Hi, my name is Kim Moya. After joining team DPS over 10 years ago, I am just as committed to the Core Values as when I initially hired on. Coming from a nice career in the private sector,it was refreshing and purposeful to embrace DPS’ vision for Every Child To Succeed. It has been my privilege to be a part of the team. I have seen the impact these shared values can make in the lives of families. My husband and I were blessed with three daughters who attended DPS for a time. Now as I work it is my honor to support both teachers and students in my role as ParaEducator.

UnknownPamela Newton

Literacy Interventionist

I have taught students in grades K-4 for the past 30 years. I am most passionate about teaching students to read as it will provide the foundation for their formal education. That’s why I love my position as a reading intervention teacher here at Steck.When I’m not teaching, I enjoy hiking, reading, gardening and spending time with my family. My husband and son are also public school teachers and our daughter is working on her masters degree here in Denver.

FullSizeRenderRachel Novak

Classroom Para /Site Assessment Leader


My name is Rachel Novak and I am from beautiful Minnesota! I received my B.S. in Health Education from the University of Northern Colorado. For the past 14 years, I have been working in higher education healthcare settings providing support to physicians as well as a variety of clinical and academic programs.I met my husband, Joe, while attending UNC. After graduation, we moved to his hometown of Chicago, IL, where we lived for ten years and had our son, Blu (going into 3rd grade at Steck). We returned to sunny Colorado in 2011 and since then I have been working in Academic Affairs providing Human Resources services at Children’s Hospital Colorado.My family and I recently moved to the Hilltop neighborhood. We spend our free time outdoors as much as possible skiing, camping, hiking and exploring all that Colorado has to offer.I am excited to join the team at Steck and can’t wait to meet and get to know all of the Steck students.

Kelly Nykamp

Speech Language Pathologist



I’m Kelly Nykamp and I’m a Michigan native who has lived in Denver for the last three years. I attended the University of Michigan for my undergraduate degree, and later received my master’s degree from the University of Kentucky. I love being a speech language pathologist and look forward to working with your students! This will be my fourth year with Denver Public Schools. In addition to working for DPS, I work in the home health setting in the greater Denver area. Outside of work, I am happily married with our first baby on the way in late 2018. I enjoy hiking, skiing, reading, playing with my two energetic pups, and traveling as much as possible. I’m excited to be joining the Steck team for the 2018-2019 school year!



Sally Petterson

Health Technician


My name is Sally Petterson and I graduated from Michigan State University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science in Child Development. I have worked as a preschool teacher and a childcare center director, and for the last three years I owned a coffee roasting company. My husband Ryan and I have been together since 1996 when we met on a spring break cruise and we have two sons, Brady and Nathan, who attend McAuliffe and Swigert. I like to spend my free time skiing with my family, reading nonfiction books, and cooking and baking with my sons. I’m happy to be a part of the Steck team!

Liz Riggleman



My name is Liz Riggleman and I support Steck administrators, teachers, students and families in my role as Secretary/Bookkeeper and Health Office delegate. Following a career in the publishing industry where leading focus groups with children and producing resources to serve them were among my favorite projects, I serendipitously discovered a love for school environments. After volunteering at the school where my two daughters attend I accepted several long term substitute assignments in Admissions and Administration and finally decided I wanted to commit to a career in the public school system where I received my education. During my time away from school, I enjoy activities with my children, Sophia and Samantha, and our two rescue dogs. We love traveling, gardening and baking together.

Kelsey Schuessler

5th Grade Teacher


 My name is Kelsey Schuessler and I teach 5thgrade Math, Science, and Social Studies! I grew up in Saint Louis, Missouri. There I received my B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Missouri. For the past six years I have been teaching elementary education for Saint Louis City and Beaufort County South Carolina. Recently, I earned a certificate as a Master Naturalist Teacher through the Clemson University Extension Program. When I am not in the classroom I enjoy the arts, cooking, reading, and spending time with my dog Abbey. You can find us exploring by hiking, camping, or traveling! I am thrilled to join the Steck community for the 2018-2019 school year!

Anda Seale

ESL Teacher


Hi! I am Anda Seale and I am Denver native! I grew up in the Park Hill neighborhood. I am a graduate of the Denver Public Schools! I went to Manual High school and later received a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish at Colorado State University. After that, I received a Master’s Degree in Bilingual Special Education at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Over twenty years ago, I started teaching in DPS in a bilingual (Spanish) 3rd grade classroom. Since then, I have taught children in grades kindergarten through eighth. I’ve taught ESL (English Second Language) for six years, and Special Education for four years. I have a husband, two teenage sons, a dog, and a cat. In my free time I read books, do yoga, go to music concerts, ride horses, ski and travel. I love teaching English to ELA students and learning about their diverse culture!



Beth Shuter

1st Grade Teacher
Hi! My name is Beth Shuter and I am thrilled to be a part of the Steck team! I grew up in a suburb west of Chicago and moved to Boulder to go to CU in 1993. I have since received my Master’s Degree from DU in Literacy and Curriculum Development and am starting another degree in Early Childhood Special Education this summer. I am passionate about instilling a love of learning in my students and making school fun. I have taught first through third grades for 15 years in Denver and am so excited to begin the ’17-’18 school year teaching a new group of 1st graders at Steck. At home I have a wonderful husband, Kris, and 2 beautiful kiddos that make me smile and laugh on a daily basis. Outside of school I love spending my time in Steamboat visiting my parents, exercising (trying to get back into triathlons), and attempting to keep up with my energetic kids. Please come say hello, I’d love to introduce myself in person! Looking forward to a great year!

Jimmy Truex

I am Jimmy Truex, Day Custodian at Steck. Home is West Virginia where I worked as a highway technician for the state before becoming a stay-at-home Dad these last two years. My wife and I moved to Denver with our two girls, Karmen and Tatum, in August 2017. My daughters attend Steck so I was happy to meet a safety need by serving as Crossing Guard in the mornings and at dismissal before my hire onto the Custodial Team. My duties in the building start early in the morning but I continue as Crossing Guard in the afternoons at dismissal. I enjoyed coaching my daughters’ softball teams and helping with basketball before our move.


Kerrie Trujillo

5th Grade Teacher


 My name is Kerrie Trujillo and this will be my third year teaching literacy at Steck.  I grew up in New Jersey, where I attended The College of New Jersey and received my bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Women’s and Gender Studies.  After graduating college, I moved out west to Denver with my sister and best friend.  I couldn’t be happier in this beautiful state!  Before teaching at Steck, I spent two years teaching fifth grade at Thornton Elementary and four years teaching sixth grade at Henry World School.  Last year was special for me because I got married and I received my master’s degree.  I earned my degree in Teaching English as a Second Language through The College of New Jersey’s international graduate program, where I was able to study abroad in Mallorca, Spain and Bangkok, Thailand.  When I am not teaching, I love to travel, read, and spend time with my husband and our two dogs, Madeline and Koba.  My husband and I are thrilled for the upcoming year, because we are expecting a baby boy this winter!

Kat Wallach

2nd Grade Teacher
I grew up as an only child on the coast of Maine and made my way to Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire where I studied anthropology and ran cross-country and track. Post-college, I moved to Creede, Colorado to work on a fly-fishing ranch. I later moved to Providence, Rhode Island to get my master’s in Elementary Education at Brown University and then began my teaching career in Norwich, Vermont in 2012.

Since then I’ve taught dozens of seven year olds how to read, skied lots of ice in Vermont and powder in Colorado, danced to a lot of live bluegrass with my wonderful husband Marshall, spent many a summer day riding and fishing in Wyoming, had three ankle ligaments replaced with cadaver tendons, adopted an adorable puppy named Winnie, and moved five times! We are finally ready to put down some roots in Denver and I’m so excited to make Steck a part of this new chapter in our lives.


IMG_0410Emily Ward

School Psychologist

Hello! My name is Emily Ward, and I am so excited to join the Steck Elementary team! I was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma where I enjoyed playing basketball and spending my summers at the lake. I moved to Texas to attend Baylor University (Sic em Bears!) where I received my bachelor’s degree in psychology and am working to complete my Education Specialist degree in School Psychology. Outside of school, I love spending time with my friends, family, and massive golden retriever, Charlie! I am looking forward to exploring the great state of Colorado and getting to know everyone at Steck!

Ann Warner photo

Ann Warner


Greetings! My name is Ann Warner and I am thrilled to be joining the staff as Secretary at Steck Elementary next year! Here is a little bit about me. I graduated from Regis College and did a two-year program in grad school for Youth Ministry studies. I worked in this field for many years until I had children. I wanted to make time for my family so I began working as a Paraprofessional in the public schools and have done this for about 11 years. I am married to my best friend Mike (going on 24 years now!). We have three children, Chris, Samantha, and Jesse. Our oldest, Chris, works for Team DPS as a Health Technician and Paraprofessional at Dora Moore School. Samantha just finished her freshman year at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City where she is getting a BFA in dance and choreography. Jesse will be a junior at Denver School of the Arts where he is majoring in Dance. We live in Denver and enjoy spending time with our family and friends. Our three little dogs tag along almost everywhere we go. I am very excited to be a part of the team at Steck and look forward to getting to know you all!



Kat Zimmerman

GT Coordinator/Teacher


For the past 19 years, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with so many amazing people in Denver’s educational community. My experiences with creative thinkers began in 2002 when I fatefully discovered Dr. Howard, a seriously inspirational being, and the inquisitive nature of gifted minds.   Since then I’ve learned an unbelievable amount about teaching, learning and life.

My teaching journey began in ACSD 14 in Commerce City in a Kindergarten classroom. After moving to Denver, I taught in a multi-age setting with 1st and 2nd graders at Teller Elementary before I jumped into the gifted and talented world at Polaris for the next 16 years as a 2nd grade teacher. In 2010 I became a mom while starting a picture framing shop with my husband. I’ve really enjoyed my time here at Steck and am looking forward to my 3rd year in the community. I’m honored to spend my time with your children each day!

Outside of school, I spend as much time as possible enjoying Colorado with my 6-year-old son Gibson, my husband, and our incredible friends. You can find us in the mountains…hiking, skiing, camping, dancing and exploring any chance we get!