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Children's Summer Program Teachers

Gifted and Talented+ Summer Program

Jennifer WakeenWakeen, Jennifer - G&T (2015)

Gifted and Talented+ Program Director

Jennifer taught elementary and middle school for 28 years in Colorado Springs before coming to Colorado College as an Elementary Supervisor.  She has a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a major emphasis in Reading and a minor in Gifted and Talented Education. She has taught in the Gifted and Talented Summer Program for many years.  “I love teaching this summer class because it allows me to provide an in-depth study of science topics that I love and have a passion for teaching. The students are excited to dig deeper into these topics and bring their enthusiasm into my classes. We all benefit!” Another highlight includes being able to work with and mentor new teacher candidates who are beginning the MAT program. Their insights and experiences also enhance the G&T program.

Heidi BakerBaker, Heidi - G&T (2015)

Heidi has taught grades 1st - 5th in Colorado Springs D-11 for 28 years and has been with CC’s Gifted & Talented Summer Program for six years. She grew up in Colorado Springs and has three daughters and one four-month old grandson. Heidi attended the University of Northern Colorado and received her masters in teaching from Grand Canyon University. She spends the summer at her cabin in Ontario, Canada and LOVES the G&T program because it brings learning to life.

Dorene Calvin

Calvin, Dorene - G&T (2015)Dorene was born in Wisconsin and raised in Colorado Springs. She attended Grant Elementary, Russell Junior High, and Thomas Doherty High School. She received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and Music Education from Adams State College in Alamosa, CO and her Master’s Degree in the Diverse Learner from the University of Phoenix with additional graduate work at CC with an emphasis in Elementary Science Curriculum. Dorene returned to Grant Elementary school to teach for 20 years and also taught at Rudy Elementary for 8 years teaching K-5 science and part-time music for D11. Dorene retired in spring 2013 after 32 years in education and continues to work as a consultant for D11 for Elementary Science Curriculum and Design and the Pikes Peak Regional Elementary Science and Engineering Fair.

Dorene says of CC’s G&T program, “I love being a part of the Summer Program for Gifted Children at Colorado College. It is a great opportunity to teach students that are eager to learn, mentor competent and enthusiastic MAT students, and work with energetic and supportive colleagues.”

Brittni DarrasDarras, Brittni - CHK (2015)

Brittni received her Bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis in Literature at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and her Master of Arts in Teaching degree from the Colorado College in 2012. She has been teaching English to 9th & 10th graders at Rampart High School for 3 years and has IB training. She enjoys the outdoors – 5Ks, hiking, and time with her White Golden Retriever at the dog park. Brittni is looking forward to teaching students about community involvement and making a difference in this year’s Conversations for Humankind Summer Program for middle- and high-schoolers this June.

Tiffany HawkHawk, Tiffany - WBS (2015)2

Tiffany is an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme Coordinator for Discovery Canyon Campus in Colorado Springs. At DCC, Tiffany works closely with both PYP and DP coordinators to ensure a strong continuum and provides staff professional development focusing on MYP aims and objectives and effective instructional practices. Tiffany has spent twelve of her fourteen teaching years in IB schools in positions such as PYP teacher, PYP Coordinator, RtI specialist, and MYP Coordinator. Her passion is working with teachers in a co-teaching model and has a goal to return overseas to continue teaching with the IB.

Christy HowardHoward, Christy - G&T (2015)

Christy has been teaching early childhood/primary grades for over 20 years. She is currently loving and enjoying her 13th year at Taylor Elementary where both of her own children attended. In summer 2014 she graduated from Colorado College’s MAT program and was thrilled to be asked to teach in the G&T program.

Christy is passionate about teaching social studies with young students. She enjoys teaching in the G&T program as she is able to carefully choose and research topics that are significantly interesting for her, and will open new doors for her students. The topics are endless and can lead to lifelong studies and interests. She loves to travel, take photographs, and write regional children's books and these all come together in the classroom.

Melodie RobertsRoberts, Melodie - G&T (2015)

Melodie has been teaching at Academy School District 20 for 10 years. Most recently she is at ASD20's Home School Academy and loves teaching music, drama, and arts integrated history. She enjoys reading, hiking and spending time with her husband, and two daughters. As her name implies, she loves music and playing guitar. Her love of music and drama drives her passion for learning through the arts. She is an alumni of Indiana University and received her Masters of Arts in Teaching at Colorado College. She has spent 5 summers teaching in the G&T program at CC. Melodie believes the best part about the G&T program is the eagerness and enthusiasm of the students. She is looking forward to this summer and discovering what is "Beneath our Feet".

Ethan RobertsonEthan Robertson cropped

Ethan has taught grades 1 and 3 for five years, in Academy District 20. He is currently working on opening the newest elementary addition to the district- Legacy Peak! Ethan has attended UCCS and Adams State University, with a bachelor's in Elementary Education and History, and a Master's in Educational Leadership and Administration. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking with his dog Cash, traveling across the state of Colorado, running 5ks, and is dreaming of building his own tiny house in his backyard! He is very excited to bring his passion of geography and cultures to CC this year! 

Kristin RoweRowe, Kristin - G&T (2015)

Kristin was born in California where she attended the University of San Diego and received her undergraduate degree in Accounting. She then pursued her teaching credential and Master’s Degree through Santa Clara University. She has taught the intermediate grades for 17 years in both California and Colorado and is currently teaching 5th grade at Foothills Elementary in D20. She enjoys hiking with her husband and two daughters, playing tennis, and swimming. After spending last summer in California, she is excited to return to the CC Gifted and Talented Program. It allows her to think creatively and work with exceptional students.

Ian SchimmelSchimmel, Ian - G T (2017)

Ian Schimmel is currently a Digital Learning Coach and STEAM Coordinator at The da Vinci Academy, a 2016 Think 360 Arts for Learning Outstanding Arts School recipient, in Colorado Springs. He has been an elementary educator for 12 years and received his Ed.D. from Northeastern University in Organizational Leadership and Communication. He is interested in using technology to integrate curriculum and promote deeper learning in general. He has published an article on educational entrepreneurship and worked with the Colorado Department of Education on designing integrated arts curriculum. Outside of school, he enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and two young children.

Whiz Bang Summer ProgramCheryl Munoz Kammerer web

Cheryl Munoz-Kammerer

Whiz Bang Program Director

Louisa DickLouisa Dick

Louisa Dick is a 3rd grade teacher at Ute Pass Elementary. She attended Colorado College and received degrees in both Art History and Spanish Language. In 2014, Louisa graduated from Colorado College’s Masters of Arts in Teaching program. She loves teaching because it provides endless learning and growing opportunities. Outside of the classroom, Louisa enjoys hiking, skiing, cooking, gardening, and reading. She is excited to be part of Whiz Bang!

Deb ElliottElliott, Deb WBS Wild Africa Trek

After growing up in Cincinnati, Deb attended Denison University and received her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science with a focus on Biology and Education. She earned her Masters of Arts in Teaching from Colorado College in 2005 and taught in Colorado Springs for 10 years before moving to North Carolina with her husband. Prior to becoming a teacher, Deb had the opportunity to work at Disney World where she was a lifeguard and learned about Disney’s sustainable agriculture program. Currently she is teaching 4th grade math and science in North Carolina. Deb is also a teacher liaison for the Space Foundation and loves teaching about space to her students. In her free time she enjoys training for Ironman triathlons, hiking, gardening, playing with her dog, traveling, finding new coffee shops, and listening to live music. She looks forward to coming back to Colorado every summer to be a part of Whiz Bang and to work with such dedicated teachers and students.

Jennifer Kinkennon

A Colorado native, Jenni spent most of her childhood in Colorado Springs, and is thrilled to continue to call this beautiful state home. Kinkennon, Jenni WB photo

Jenni earned her BA in Psychology from Colorado College in 2005 and later returned to earn her MA in Elementary Education in 2010. She is a 4thgrade teacher at Soaring Eagles Elementary where she will soon begin her 9thyear. In 2017, Jenni earned National Board Certification, and will begin pursuit of a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership through UCCS in the fall of 2018. 

In 2013, Jenni joined the Whiz Bang program and enjoys returning to CC to work with the young scientists each summer. She believes in inquiry learning, and loves when students have a chance to discover the world around them. When not in a classroom teaching and learning, Jenni can be found spending time outdoors with her husband and three children.  

Loren MowersLoren Mowers web

Loren Mowers excitedly joined Whiz Bang Science in July of 2017. She was born and raised in Colorado. Loren attended Colorado College where she graduated in 2012 with a degree in sociology and a minor in education. She immediately began pursuit of a master’s degree and graduated once again from Colorado College with a Masters of Arts in Education in 2013. Loren began teaching full-time in August of 2013 and has been teaching since. She has experience in third and fourth grade instruction and really enjoys teaching math and science. In her spare time, Loren enjoys spending time with her husband and family, going on motorcycle rides, hiking the great outdoors, and napping with her cat.

David PricePrice, Davd - WBS (2015)

David earned his BA in Psychology from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, his Master of Arts in Teaching at Colorado College, and a Type D Certificate earned at the University of Denver.

He grew up about 2 miles away from CC and as a kid he used to sneak into the gym and use the facilities on campus. He always wanted to attend CC as its warm and friendly campus always felt inviting. Plus the way the curriculum was designed around the Block plan made sense for him. The small classes were geared toward individual success with true emphasis on diversification with a focus on looking at issues from non-standard points of view. He’s been teaching since 1996 – mostly in 5th grade.

After graduating CC’s MAT program David felt extremely well prepared to tackle the intricacies of teaching and he still feels that it was the best education he has received. When David was given the opportunity to teach in the Whiz Bang Science Summer Program he felt proud to be included with such a group of great people who truly understand what it is like to teach.

Autumn RiveraRivera, Autumn - WBS (2015)

Autumn has been teaching middle school science for 10 years, first in Colorado Springs and now in Glenwood Springs. She graduated from The Colorado College with a BA in Biology and an MAT in Secondary Science Education and is finishing up her second masters in Educational Leadership through UCCS. Autumn was born and raised in Eagle County, CO and is a huge Bronco fan. Autumn’s favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle is Donatello.

This is Autumn’s 9th year as a Whiz Bang Science Teacher and she loves coming back every summer. She believes science is such a huge part of our lives, and that it is awesome to be able to encourage the questioning spirit in children.

Hal RobertsRoberts, Hal - WBS (2015)2

Hal graduated from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in 1980 with a BA in Education, and received his Master’s in Guidance and Counseling from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in 1989. He recently retired after teaching elementary school for 32 years, teaching third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grades. He spent eight of those years teaching for the Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS) in Germany, where he enjoyed traveling to countries such as France, Austria, Italy, Belgium, Mallorca, the Netherlands, the former Yugoslavia, the former Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Russia, and Egypt. Since retiring, he has enjoyed tutoring at-risk readers, filling in as a gifted and talented teacher, traveling, and spending time in St. Augustine, Florida.

Hal has taught for the Whiz Bang program for the past 14 years. He says that working with inquisitive, young scientists, as well as serving as a mentor teacher to CC MAT students who are getting ready to enter the classroom as student teachers is a true joy.

Thomas RussellRussell, Thomas WB

Thomas Russell is an Information Technology and cybersecurity teacher at Falcon High School and the founder of SEMtech, (Student Engagement and Mentoring in Technology). SEMtech introduces students to cybersecurity and conducts annual Cyber Boot Camps that gives students hands-on experience for correcting vulnerabilities found in operating systems. Thomas received his masters in Technology Education from the College of Saint Rose, in New York. Additionally, he writes a technology column for the Colorado Springs Independent called Technicalities. Hobbies are writing, photography, and hiking.