Meet Our Dedicated Team
Lucas KetzerHead of School
Lucas has been working in Denver area schools for the last 15 years. He is deeply committed to social justice and has a passion for serving and working with young people. Lucas started his career in education teaching middle school math and science. He earned his Principal license through the University of Colorado-Denver and opened RiseUp Community School, a DPS charter school to serve students that had dropped out or were counseled out of school. Lucas is extremely honored to join the Horizons community and is looking forward to empowering students, teachers, and parents to drive the mission and vision of the school. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters, mountain biking, cross country skiing, and cooking.
Karen WolferAssistant Head of School
Karen is thrilled to be serving the Horizons Family as Assistant Head of School. She has more than 20 years of teaching and leadership experience in education in three different states. A native of Colorado, she grew up in New Mexico and calls both states home. She is proud of her family which includes her husband, four nearly grown kids, and three dogs. She really enjoys the outdoors in the form of Jeeping, hiking, running, paddleboarding, and watching her son play football. A rabid Avalanche, Bronco, and Cubs fan, if Karen isn’t cheering on her teams she is probably running or reading. She is really proud to be part of the Horizon community.
Maggie AndersonSchool Support, Office Manager, Registrar & Webmaster
Maggie is so grateful to serve the Horizons community in the front office. Maggie has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with minors in Religious Studies and Business from Missouri State University. She completed her master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Tennessee. When she isn’t working or chasing her kids, she enjoys hiking, biking, reading, writing, music, and exploring the world around her.
Beth ColemanKindergarten Teacher
Beth's Horizons career began in 1993 when she ran the Wednesday afternoon program. Since that time, she has taught Kindergarten through 3rd grade. Prior to receiving her Masters Degree in Elementary Education from CU, Beth taught at various preschools and at an alternative private school for children ages 8-18. In her "free" time Beth loves to run, do construction projects, and spend time with her sweet girls and husband.
Natalie BauerKindergarten Teacher
Natalie is thrilled to be joining the Horizons K-8 family. She received her BA in Elementary Education from the University of Minnesota Duluth. Then she immediately moved out to Colorado after graduation for sunshine and mountains. She received her Masters in Teaching Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education and Special Education from CU Boulder. She has taught K-5 English Language Development, kindergarten, 1st grade, and K-6 multiage classes. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, cooking, reading, hiking, and camping with her family.
Aubrey Demmon1/2 Teacher
Aubrey has been teaching since 1999. She has taught high school English, elementary Spanish, and K-8th grade students. Most of her teaching has been grades 2/3 and she is currently working with a 1/2 class. Aubrey received her BA at Bradley University and her Masters in Literacy at Lesley University. She enjoys spending time with her husband, two boys and her daughter, snowboarding, reading, and playing with her pets.
Nicoleta Simon1/2 Teacher
Nicoleta Simon joined the Horizons' community in 2011. Her childhood dream was to become an English teacher. So, she got a BA in Language Arts (English and French) and is now helping teach 1st and 2nd graders how to read and write. While not at school she likes to read, watch movies or cook.
Fran Orman Cohen1/2 Teacher
Fran Orman Cohen is joining the 1-2 team with over 20 years in education! Her background in Elementary and Special Education, coupled with her Masters Degree in Literacy, and licensure in Administration, Leadership and Policy have enabled her to serve in a variety of roles such as: special education teacher, school facilitator and consultant, literacy interventionist, and general education teacher. Most recently, Fran served as Horizons’ MTSS coordinator/GT advisor/504 and Literacy Interventionist. She is grateful to be returning to the simple joys of the classroom. Fran enjoys spending time with her family outdoors hiking, biking, camping and skiing. She also loves yoga and dancing and recently became a Registered Yoga Teacher and SEL facilitator.
Tali Shapiro1/2 Teacher
Tali received her BA in Elementary Education and English as a Second Language at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Last year, she moved to Boulder and had the opportunity to join the Horizons community teaching Kindergarten! This year, she is teaching first and second grade. She is so grateful to be at Horizons again and celebrating her fifth year teaching! Tali is also pursuing her Masters at CU-Boulder in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity. In her free time, Tali enjoys running, hiking, climbing, and spending time with friends and family.
Adam Brink3/4 Teacher
Adam joined the Horizons community back in 2000. He first started teaching in Maine as an outdoor educator, taking kids climbing, backpacking, and canoeing. When Adam is not wrapped up in the world of school, he is traveling and rock climbing with his wife, Jessi, and dog, Arlo.
Julie Cohen3/4 Teacher
Julie has a BA from Grinnell College, an international Montessori teaching license, and a M.A. in Instruction and Curriculum from CU Boulder. She has been teaching in Boulder since 1992. Julie enjoys spending time with her family, playing outdoors, and traveling.
Emmy Kurtz3/4 Teacher
Emmy has been teaching at Horizons since 2016. She has a B.A. in sociology and music and a M.A. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Denver. Her teaching career started in 2014. She was born and raised in Boulder and is a graduate of Horizons. Emmy spends her free time hiking, traveling, enjoying music, cooking, and reading.
Mia Seymour3/4 Teacher
Mia is originally from NY and has been living in CO for over 10 years. She has a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction and has been in education as a classroom teacher (grades 3-8) and instructional coach for over 15 years teaching in Mexico, Thailand, TX, and CO. After taking some time off to raise her daughter, Liana, she is excited to be back in the classroom. Mia also teaches group fitness classes at Mecha and runs Spartan races for fun. She loves adventures of all kinds, traveling, hiking, cooking, and playing with her daughter.
Lynn Dobransky Pence5/6 Teacher
Lynn has been happily learning and growing with her students, colleagues and parents here in the Horizons K-8 community since 1998. She takes pride in creating learning environments that help students challenge themselves outside their comfort zone, in the academic, social, and critical realms of thinking - she believes that all students are capable of accomplishing great things. Lynn has a BA in Sociology and a MA in Education specializing in Multicultural Foundations of Bilingual Education from CU- Boulder and maintains 5 different teaching licenses. When she is not working on her own professional development or being inspired by her students, she can be found hiking the trails around Boulder, writing, and spending time with her family and friends.
Peter Hegelbach5/6 Teacher
Peter has taught all grades from K-12 in areas from special education to film making. After a brief stint as an ocean lifeguard, he began teaching in 1987 and has taught exclusively in multi-age settings during his career. Peter graduated with a BA in architecture from Princeton University and a MA in elementary education from the University of Colorado – Denver. Recently, he authored publications for the Center for Teaching International Relations on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, illegal diamond trade in Sierra Leone, and a teacher's guide to the “State of the World Atlas.” When not with his family, Peter can be found running the hills and trails of Boulder.
Ashley Bailey5/6 Teacher
Ashley is thrilled to be joining the Horizon's family this year. She is originally from Tallahassee, Florida and earned a Bachelor's and Master's degree in K-6 Education from the University of Florida. Ashley has spent 14 years as an educator and has taught in a variety of educational settings including charter, public, Title 1, and International Baccalaureate schools in both Georgia and Colorado. She recently spent four years teaching abroad in the British Virgin Islands at an international school. She strives to create an equitable and positive classroom community that instills passion and empathy in each of her students. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, hiking, camping, skiing, and music.
Rachel Clionsky5/6 Teacher
Rachel joined the Horizons community in 2016. She has twelve years in the classroom that have given her time to discover her passion for student-centered education with a focus on social and emotional learning. Rachel earned a BA in Biology from UNCW and an MA in Math and Science Education from CU. Her husband, Amir, is also a teacher and they love to play outdoors climbing, hiking, biking, and trail running.
Jim Freund7/8 Math teacher and Advisory
Jim has been married to his lovely wife, Lynda, for over 25 years. They share their lives with two wonderful children, Darcy and MacLean, both of whom are in college. Jim has a B.S. in Civil Engineering and an M.A. in Education. He has been teaching at Horizons/Paddock since 1993. He taught kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade for three years and has taught 5th through 8th grade since. He has sung in local area choirs and directed musicals at a local theater company. He also enjoys biking, hiking, camping, most sports, reading, writing, traveling, and, most certainly, teaching. Look for his young adult fiction book coming out soon (he hopes).
Pat Smalley7/8 Spanish Teacher and Advisory
Pat has been teaching Spanish in Boulder for seven years. His love for the language began while studying at La Universidad de Lenguas Modernas in Granada, Spain, and since then has spent time traveling through various Spanish-speaking countries. When not teaching, Pat enjoys spending time with his family, furthering his language study, and being outdoors.
Teran Sittner7/8 Language Arts Teacher and Advisory
Teran has a B.A. in Liberal Arts and World Religious Studies and an M.A. in Education. A curious soul, Teran considers herself a facilitator and co-learner alongside her students and is always seeking new perspectives and ideas from the world at large to bring into the classroom. Among her favorite out-of-school passions are reading, traveling, camping, all things cats, enjoying and making music, and yoga.
Caley Gallison7/8 Science Teacher & Advisory
Caley is passionate about helping young learners experience the world through a scientific lens. She loves asking questions and has a curiosity for the natural world. She has a BA in Biology from Colorado College and first entered the education world in the field of environmental education in multiple national parks and countries. Caley enjoys spending time outside in numerous capacities including skiing, hiking, swimming, biking and reading.
Ryan Conrad7/8 Social Studies Teacher and Advisory
Ryan is overjoyed to be joining the Horizons team as both a teacher and a parent. Ryan's areas of passion include special education, social studies, literacy, talented and gifted, and serving diverse learners. Ryan completed his undergraduate work at Western State University and received a teaching certificate in secondary social sciences and special education. Ryan earned two master's degrees at Northern Arizona University, one in Bilingual/Multicultural Education, the other in Secondary Social Sciences. Ryan enjoys hiking, camping, swimming, biking, and traveling with his wife and two young sons.
Kate BachtelSPED Teacher/Gifted Coordinator
Kate is passionate about individualized and meaningful instruction. Her parents were educators and she inherited their whole child approach to teaching and social justice genes. She has a master's in education from CU Boulder (educational equity and cultural diversity) and a doctorate from DU (curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in gifted). Kate also loves hiking, cycling, and writing poetry. She meditates daily.
Stephanie LandrumK-5 Special Education Teacher
Stephanie Landrum has recently moved to Boulder from the San Francisco Bay Area but is originally from Upstate New York. She has received a BA in Applied Behavior Analysis from Binghamton University and earned both a multiple subjects teaching credential as well as a special education credential from California State University at Eastbay. When not in the classroom, she can be found camping, biking, walking her dog and spending time with her family.
Shoshana ZerbockMiddle School Special Ed. Resource Teacher
Shoshana is excited to join the Horizons team after moving to Boulder from Gainesville, Florida! While in Gainesville, they received a bachelor's in special education and a master's in early childhood education from UF. Shoshana is passionate about disability justice and equity in education and seeks to create learning experiences that are accessible to all. In their spare time, they enjoy reading, live music, spending time with their cats, and being outside.
Christy ShoemakerK-8 Literacy Interventionist
Christy is grateful to be a part of the Horizons community. She is passionate about social justice and equity in education and is committed to continuing her own learning. She received a BA in Sociology from Tufts University, and a MA in Elementary Education and K-12 Reading Teacher endorsement from CU Boulder. Christy recently began teaching a course as an adjunct instructor for CU’s MA in Curriculum & Instruction in Literacy program, where she is honored to learn from and with educators from around Colorado. Her experience includes teaching grades 1,2,3, & 5 as a classroom teacher, and teaching students in grades K-8 as a literacy interventionist. Her training includes OG (OGI & IMSE). Christy is inspired by the students she works with and believes that our role as educators is to help every student recognize gifts they bring to the world. She loves spending time with her amazing family, swimming, running, practicing yoga, and exploring YA literature.
Karen DimetroskyK-5 Literacy Specialist
Karen started teaching literacy at Horizons in 2010 after teaching literacy in BVSD and previously as a classroom teacher in Denver since 1998. She received her Masters in Experiential Education at CU Boulder in 1991 and she went back to graduate school in Boulder for Literacy. One of her daughters, Emma (who is now a freshman in college) was diagnosed with Dyslexia in 5th grade. This led her to specialize in Dyslexia and take several OG trainings: including OGI, IMSE. She attends the Dyslexia conferences (Reading in the Rockies) regularly. When not teaching, she spends time with her family: two daughters Maddie and Emma, her husband Scott and her family animals (3 dogs, 2 bunnies, chickens) Her favorite activities are trail running, hiking, skate skiing, cycling, cooking, reading, and traveling. Karen is so grateful to work with small groups of students and acknowledges the daily gift of being able to develop such a close rapport with her students.
Kat FritzMusic Teacher
Kara PriestVisual Arts Artist-in-Residence
Kara grew up in a family of professional oil painters. Kara studied Jacque Devand, Frank Covino, Italian Veradacio painting, and Berndt Savig. Other studies include drawing, painting, sculpture, composition and history. Kara has done illustration and design work for books, CD covers, and private businesses. She has been involved in multimedia productions, creating installations and designing artwork. Kara designs nearly all of her own curricula and has lately been teaching some of them to other educators
Bridget RoskuszkaPhysical Education teacher
Bridget is elated to be joining the Horizon’s staff as the P.E. teacher for the Fall 2022 semester. They have a background in Communication Studies and Psychology and hold a BA from Creighton University. They are from the suburbs of Chicago and grew up in a family of teachers. Bridget started guest teaching in Boulder Valley in January of 2022 and has found their own passion for teaching, with a niche for Elementary and Middle School ages. Outside of the classroom, they enjoy listening and playing music (drums are the go-to), being outdoors, traveling, and keeping up with family. A former athlete, Bridget cannot wait to get moving with the Horizons K-8 students!
Maegan McCardleK-6 Math Interventionist
Carol SchwendenerSTEAM Coordinator
Originally from California, Carol began her career teaching middle school math, science, and K-8 technology after moving to Boulder in 2005. Prior to pursuing her teaching credential, Carol studied Biology at UC Berkeley and Soil Science at Cornell University. While soil science may not sound exciting to everyone, studying soils and sustainable agriculture in the Brazilian Amazon allowed for plenty of adventures, including learning Portuguese and spotting anacondas. Carol loves problem-solving with her students, creating authentic learning opportunities, and teaching students to be risk-takers in their learning. Outside the classroom, she enjoys swimming, skiing, tennis, baking, or reading, especially when accompanied by her husband and two daughters.
Jeremy Dion, MA, LPCSchool Counselor Consultant
Jeremy Dion is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a background in play therapy, music therapy and Gestalt therapy. He is also a father and a professional musician, and has been working with children, adolescents, adults and families since 2000.
Kim WelchCounselor & Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Coordinator
Kim is delighted to join the Horizons community as the School Counselor and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Coordinator. Kim has her MA in Counseling Psychology and School Counseling. She began her work as a counselor in 2010 and is passionate about supporting the social emotional wellness of children and families. She is excited to bring her skillset to the Horizons community as a resource to students, families and staff. Kim believes that social emotional learning is important in education, and that providing opportunities for social emotional growth and development is an integral part of helping students learn to successfully navigate school and life. In her free time Kim enjoys spending time in the beautiful outdoors of Colorado with her husband and two children, hiking, paddleboarding, swimming, and skiing.
Tiffany RobyOccupational Therapist
Kimberly King PoplawskiK-8 Substitute
Kim has been a part of the Horizons community since 2008, both as a parent and as a teacher. She has two graduates of the school, and helped to co-found the Horizons Community Parent Group. Kim currently serves as a classroom support teacher and substitute teacher in all grade levels, K-8. She earned her B.A. in English and German from Colby College, and her M.A. in Instruction and Curriculum from CU-Boulder. Kim enjoys spending time with her family bicycling, playing games, hiking, and camping. Other interests include creative writing, photography, embroidery, travel, and reading.
Jannell EaganKindergarten Para Educator
Sally HolmesKindergarten ParaEducator
Sally has been a para, parent, and substitute teacher at Horizons since 2001. She currently works as a Para Educator in Natalie's kindergarten class. She enjoys supporting all of the teachers, students, and parents. Her past teaching experience enhances her classroom contributions.
Sarah Arabian1/2 ParaEducator
Sarah & family traded Chicago skyscrapers for the mountains of Colorado. She joined the Horizons community as an eager parent volunteer, liaison, and even para substitute from kinder through 8th-grade before joining as paraeducator during one of the craziest of school years. She holds a BBA in Accounting and is also a certified EFT (Tapping) Practitioner. She believes deeply in the whole-child learning approach, as experienced through her eldest children’s start with Montessori, and continues to see this need met here at Horizons. She loves supporting students with a mindful, heart-centered way of becoming critical thinkers and readers always striving to improve themselves and our world. Outside of school Sarah can be found cooking, gardening, or diving into another pile of books or docuseries.
Lisa Leftakes1/2 Para Educator
Melissa Spirko1/2 ParaEducator; SpEd ParaEducator
Melissa loves being part of the amazing Horizons community! She joined the team as a 5/6 Para in 2018. The following year she moved to the 1/2 team where, in addition to being a classroom Para, she’s been fortunate to have the rich experience of teaching small groups in math intervention and OG literacy. Melissa graduated from Rutgers in 1998 with a BA in English Literature and American Studies, and she is passionate about reading and literacy. She is trained in Orton-Gillingham and takes great joy in witnessing young learners transform into independent readers. When not at school, Melissa loves to garden with her husband and her daughter (who attends Horizons), see live music, kayak, read in her hammock, and spend hours solving all types of puzzles.
Brooke Bell1/2 ParaEducator, SpEd ParaEducator
Brooke is a CO native who joined the Horizons community as a parent in 2011. She co-founded the Horizons Community Group, substitute taught for many years and joined as a paraeducator in 2019. She currently supports Nicoleta in 1st/2nd grade as well as the Special Education team. She holds a K-6 teaching license and earned a masters in Educational Psychology from CU Denver. She strongly believes in supporting a child’s growth through their own passions, giving them voice and choice, while maintaining an emotionally supportive and caring learning environment. When she is not at school she is most likely chauffeuring her children to activities, cooking, or attempting to meditate.
Blake Fields3/4 ParaEducator
Blake is extremely excited to be be joining the 3/4 para team this year at Horizons. She grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and moved to Boulder to attend the University of Colorado where she studied ecology and evolutionary biology. She started working with kids in 2019 when she came to Boulder as an aftercare worker and summer day camp instructor. She soon discovered that she had a passion for working with and educating the youth. She is hoping to become a teacher one day and strives to push kids to their potential!
Lillian Craze3/4 Para Educator
Lillian has worked with children in teaching, caregiving and coaching roles, and feels grateful to be a member of the Horizons community. She is a connector and developer who enjoys helping kids learn more about themselves, supporting them as they try new things, and encouraging lifelong lessons. She loves kolaches, polka music, falling snow, hiking, photography, soccer and camping adventures with her husband, daughter and son.
Lucas Mile3/4 Para Educator
Kateri Saeks5/6 Para Educator
Kateri is a native to Minnesota, and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Madison (Go Badgers!). She spent multiple years living and working abroad, teaching English and studying during her college years. Years later, she discovered her love of volunteering and teaching at Horizons. She is a proud parent of 2 Horizons graduates and has worked subbing para and teaching Arts & Sciences at Horizons for over 8 years. Her hobbies are hiking and yoga.
Cynthia Yost5/6 ParaEducator, Literacy Interventionist
As a veteran teacher, Cynthia brings many, many years of teaching diverse populations of learners to her dual roles of upper/middle grade literacy interventionist and 5/6 para. She believes enthusiasm and a good sense of humor are essential qualities to help students recognize their academic and personal potentials. She loves short workouts, decorating her home, date nights with her husband, and she especially loves chauffeuring her 5 kids all over Boulder County... Every. Single. Afternoon.
Lucie Uhr5/6 ParaEducator
Lucie has lived in Boulder her whole life and is both excited and grateful to be joining the Horizons community this year as a 5/6 Para. She is currently working towards getting her BA in elementary education before one day becoming a teacher! She has been working as a nanny and childcare professional for 5 years and is passionate about facilitating a safe, engaging, and supportive learning environment!
Drew Card5/6 Para Educator
Drew grew up in Colorado and studied Philosophy at CU. They are passionate about education and are of the mindset that there's always something to learn or gain from our experiences. They aim to be licensed as a teacher someday. Their hobbies include playing video games, skating, reading, and generally enjoying nature.
Lisa SunK-5 Special Ed ParaEducator
Lisa is new to Horizons this year and is excited to be part of this incredibly inclusive and welcoming community! She is a native of Northern California and moved to Boulder in 2019 to live near her adult son, Skyler. She earned her BA from Chico State University in Elementary education and has a Masters degree in Special Education, and holds both a multiple subjects and mild/moderate special education teaching credentials. Lisa has a background in modern dance, Afro-Haitian dance, yoga, and is trained in somatic movement. Lisa also works as a holistic caregiver and parent coach. When Lisa isn’t working with students, teaching somatic movement or parent coaching, she enjoys sharing time with her 2 adult children, Skyler and Lily, designing landscapes and gardening, hiking, making jewelry, canoeing, and LOVES dancing to all types of music.
Shailaja SubramanianMS (6-8) SpEd ParaEducator; 7/8 ParaEducator,
Shyla is thrilled to be continuing her journey with the Horizons community this year! She holds a Bachelors degree from Georgia State University with a major in Finance and a Masters degree from CU Boulder with a major in Telecommunications. She brings over 7 years of experience working as an instructional para educator and also a substitute teacher in BVSD. Educating and interacting with young minds is where her heart truly lies! Shyla continues to inspire and teach students to have their own freedom to learn and be a responsible and compassionate citizen giving back to their community to the best of their abilities. Apart from being a paraprofessional Shyla is also a certified yoga instructor who truly believes in the healing benefits of yoga and she enjoys teaching yoga to her amazing clients and around her community! Outside of school, Shyla enjoys cooking, watching movies, hiking and loves spending time with her husband and daughter.
AJ RanoHealth Para/Office Assistant
AJ is originally from Orlando, FL where he attended the University of Central Florida. He worked as a Medical Assistant while also serving in the Air Force Reserve as an Aircraft Technician for 8 years. He has a huge passion for every aspect of health, helping many Veterans during their retirement and also working as a personal trainer to help people achieve their fitness goals. He's excited to work with students and keeping them healthy so that they can focus in the classroom. Outside of work, he loves all sports and playing flag football during the weekends.
Hilary MerinaPayroll Tech & Budget
Desiree SlavickSchool Finance & Budget
Desiree is a new employee here at Horizon's and will be filling the bookkeeping and budgeting role for us. She recently joins us from the Division of Banking where she audited banks and trust companies. Previous to returning to her professional career as a regulatory banker, Desiree worked at another Boulder Valley elementary school as a para-educator primarily helping the children with their literacy skills. Her fond experience with nurturing children is what brought her back to the school district. Desiree's favorite hobbies include tennis, hiking, horses as well as spending time with her two grown sons, husband, and pets.
Daniel AcostaHead Custodian
Daniel Acosta was born in Guadalajara Mexico. He came to the United States of America in 2007. He graduated from Boulder High School to later join a landscaping work team where he worked for six years. Daniel likes to run out to the mountains with his wife. and son. He likes to play soccer He enjoys every day with positivity