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    Children's Summer Program Teachers

    Gifted and Talented Plus

    Jennifer Wakeen

    Gifted and Talented Plus 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.

    Wakeen, Jennifer - G&T (2015)

    Heidi Baker

    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.

    Baker, Heidi - G&T (2015)

    Cole Bennett

    Cole Bennett (CC '05, MAT '08) earned his undergraduate degree at Colorado College in Art Studio and went on to complete his Master of Arts in Teaching, also at CC. He teaches Art at North Middle School in Colorado Springs School District 11. He is thrilled to be teaching Portfolio Building for Middle School Age Artists for  Gifted and Talented Plus and Whiz Bang Science of Color during the summer of 2019. 

    Cole Bennett cropped

    Brittni Darras

    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.

    Darras, Brittni - CHK (2015)

    Christy Howard

    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.

    Howard, Christy - G&T (2015)

    Dedra Montoya

    She retired from Colorado Springs School District 11's Steele Elementary School after teaching for over 25 years, and has been a Fulbright exchange teacher for a half-year in England. She is a freelance writer on the side. She looks forward to this experience every summer for two reasons: the children who enter the program are eager learners who get to focus on something they are passionate about, and the teachers are lifelong learners and masters at their craft and get to teach for the pure joy of teaching (without grading)!

    Montoya, Dedra - G&T (2015)

    Ethan Robertson

    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! 

    Ethan Robertson cropped

    Kristin Rowe

    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.

    Rowe, Kristin - G&T (2015)

    Ian Schimmel

    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.

    Schimmel, Ian - G T (2017)

    WhizBang Science 

    Cheryl Munoz-Kammerer

    WhizBang Science Program Director

    I grew up in Northern Arizona and come from a family of teachers and administrators.  I always knew I would be a teacher and received my Master of Arts in Teaching from Colorado College.

    I’ve been teaching for over 20 years -  12 years at Rockrimmon Elementary School - and have had the opportunity to work in a variety of capacities. While at Rockrimmon, I've taught third and second grade and am a FIRST Lego League robotics coach for fourth and fifth graders.   While at other schools, I was a  1st, 4th, and 5th grade classroom teacher; however, I've worked with and tutored students up to the college level. During the summer, I have the privilege of working at Colorado College as the director of the Whiz Bang Science program.

    My children have attended Rockrimmon, Eagleview, and AAHS and my ultimate goal for your child is to provide them with all that I would want for my own children!

    Cheryl Munoz Kammerer web

    Nichole Christensen

    Nichole Christensen is a third grade talented and gifted teacher at Soaring Eagles Elementary.  She grew up in Iowa where she attended the University of Northern Iowa and received a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Mathematics.  She then pursued her Master’s degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Educational Leadership from the University of Colorado.  Nichole has 19 years of experience teaching 2nd-5th graders in both Iowa and Colorado.  She and her husband are both teachers who spend most of their free time watching their son play baseball, basketball and soccer.  Whenever she can, Nichole enjoys hiking with her dog, yoga, cooking and curling up with a good book.  This will be her first summer working with the CC Gifted and Talented program and she is excited to spread her passion for teaching, learning, and science to the amazing students she will work with. 

    Louisa 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!

    Louisa Dick

    Deborah Elliott

    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.

    Elliott, Deb WBS Wild Africa Trek

    Loren Mowers

    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.

    Loren Mowers web

    David Price

    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.

    Price, Davd - WBS (2015)

    Autumn Rivera

    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 10th 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.

    Rivera, Autumn - WBS (2015)

    Leanne Sammon

    Leanne Sammon is currently a 4th grade teacher in the Fountain Fort-Carson School District. She is a Colorado native who has eight years of teaching experience in grades third through fifth. Leanne has also served as her school’s STEM and Math Coach. Her love for STEM and inquiry based learning is fueled by her passion for teaching math and science!

    Leanne graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Earth Science from the University of Northern Colorado in 2011.  She continued her quest to become a better educator by obtaining a Master of Arts in Teaching from Colorado College in the summer of 2015.   In her free time, she enjoys playing games, hiking the gorgeous Colorado trails, attending CC hockey games, and reading adventure books and mysteries.  Leanne is excited to be a part of the Whiz Bang program this summer and to receive the opportunity to participate in inquiry and hands –on learning with her students!

    Sammon, Leanne - WB cropped dino

    Jon Wuerth

    Jon Wuerth is the coordinator of School in the Woods and responsible for coordinating most aspects of its unique educational program. Along with the other co-founder, Carol Stansfield, Jon opened this innovative school to its first year of naturalists in August of 1999. He holds a Master’s Degree in Teaching Integrated Natural Sciences from Colorado College and a Master’s Degree in Administrative Leadership from Regis University. Jon have created and taught a wide variety of environmental and natural science programs for children at UCCS and in District 20's Summer Enrichment Program. He even takes middle school to the Grand Tetons each summer. He is deeply passionate about the natural world and feels strongly that children learn best through meaningful real world experiences in a community-focused environment. His goal is to assist children in becoming life-long learners who become committed to making a difference on our planet through their examples and advocacy.

    Jon Wuerth