Get a closer look into Denver Online High School’s faculty through our Teacher Appreciation Week Video.
Principal Ian Jones
Ian Jones joined the Denver Online High School team after 4 years of leading Provost Academy Colorado as both the Director of Instruction and Executive Director. Prior to that, he served as an instructional technologist for Brighton School District 27J and Pender County Schools in North Carolina. He currently holds a Colorado Principal’s License and a M.S. in Instructional Technology and Design, as well as a B.A. in Education with an emphasis on Theatre Arts, Technology Education, and secondary Social Studies. Mr. Jones has designed and led efforts to implement a number of federal, state, and local grants; served in district leadership teams; supervised district instructional technology and media programs; and presented ideas and projects to numerous national, state, and local groups. His work has focused on designing and developing effective online and blended models to support student growth and achievement, professional development, instructional systems design, teacher/administrator support, and investigating blended models of education. He lives with his wife, two young sons, and two dogs in the Denver-metro area.
Assistant Principal Jennifer Wiebesiek
Jennifer Wiebesiek graduated from Metro State with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and received her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with emphasis on Literacy Instruction at the University of Texas Arlington. Before coming to Denver Online High School in 2015, she worked in online schools for the 8 years prior where she worked as an Academic Advisor, Social Studies Teacher, Instructional Coordinator, and Executive Director. She also previously mentored high school students at Mt. Evans Outdoor Lab for 7 years. Jennifer’s favorite thing about working at Denver Online is that, “Online education allows me to individualize student education to make it more meaningful for students and what they want and need. Also because I see how just attending an online program in high school gives students a leg up on using the technology and communication skills that they will need in the 21st century.” Her favorite things to learn about are government, politics, and the cosmos. She also is a dedicated wife and mom to two children where she says, “I dominate the household in Hide and Seek, Red-Light/Green-Light, and Mario Kart, and I am currently improving my Rock Band Skills.”
Counselor Casey Burton
Casey Burton has worked for Denver Online since its beginning in 2003 and for the Denver Public School District since 2001. He received his Bachelor of Arts in History from CU Boulder and then his Master of Arts in School Counseling from the University of Phoenix. While he enjoys learning about history and politics, he became a counselor after teaching because he realized he liked kids more than content. Casey loves his job because he gets to work with kids from all over and because it affords him the freedom to spend time with his two kids and amazing wife. Whether it is building from his kids’ Lego set or doing major home remodeling, he also highly enjoys doing building projects.
Student Advisor Nadia Coleman
Nadia Coleman received her Ph.D. from the University of Denver in Educational Leadership and Policy, her B.A. in Political Science from Macalester College, and her M.A. from CU Boulder in Instruction and Curriculum in Education. She has worked eight years teaching secondary English and social studies, six years supporting students expelled from school and their families, published an article in the “Educational Studies” journal about fostering adolescents’ resilience, and is also a contributing editor to the journal “Children and Schools.” She loves learning about Eastern philosophy, social science research, and Italian cooking. She says one of her favorite past times is taking care of her recently adopted cat named “Half Pint.” Nadia also enjoys cooking with her husband, backpacking in the Rockies, road trips, and spending summers traveling internationally.
CareerConnect School Based Learning Manager Dawn Bauer
Dawn came to Denver Online through the way of the CareerConnect program, having worked with them since 2014 as a School-based Learning Manager and CTE Curriculum Coordinator. Prior to that, she worked as an upper elementary Math/Science and middle school teacher in DPS, Cherry Creek, and Aurora. She is also a member of various professional associations including ASCD, Colorado Council of Mathematics Teachers, National Science Teachers Association, and the Association for Career and Technical Education. In 2014, she was even awarded the national Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. She received her B.S. in Biological Sciences and secondary science teaching credential from Colorado State University, also earning her elementary endorsement from University of Washington.
Office Manager Julie Capp
Julie Capp works as the secretary of Denver Online High School and loves making students and families feel welcome. On her free time, she is an avid runner and participates in many races throughout the year. She also enjoys trying out new restaurants, working on her small crafting business, and heading out in her kayak.
Communications and Marketing Specialist Kaci Sintek
Kaci Sintek grew up in Oregon where she went to Oregon State University to receive her B.S. in New Media Communications with a minor in Animal Science. Wanting to explore a new state, she headed to Colorado State University where she graduated with her M.S. in Public Communication and Technology. For her graduate thesis, she worked with Rodeo News magazine to complete a readership study about the differences between online and print audiences. She grew up immersed in the 4-H and FFA programs where she competitively showed horses, cattle, sheep, and pigs. She credits those late nights and early mornings in the barn for the countless lessons learned about hard work, determination, and family. She also loves to sing country music, play acoustic guitar, and take every chance to explore Colorado’s adventurous beauty including hiking, white water rafting, rock climbing, biking, and more! One of her favorite parts of working at Denver Online High School is helping students pursue the areas they are most passionate about. She loves connecting students with special competitions, internships, community service projects, or organizations that add value to students’ lives. She said, “It is truly a blessing to be working here at DOHS; the faculty care SO much about their students, and it is truly a very special family to be a part of.”
Social Worker Jaime Smith
Jaime Smith has worked as a social worker in the Denver Public School District since 2005. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Colorado, her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Chicago, and is also fluent in Spanish. Her favorite part about working at Denver Online High School is, “the relationships I get to build with students and the way we get to create an individualized education for each student.” When she is not working, she loves being a mom to her three kids.
Social Worker Florence Tracy
Florence Muniz Tracy moved to Colorado when she was eleven years old. She graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology/Anthropology and the University of Denver with her Masters in Social Work and her Masters in Public Administration. Florence previously worked at Antioch University as the Director of the Bachelor Degree Program, and she has worked in the Denver Public School District for the last twenty years as a bilingual social worker. She said, “I value diversity, have the capacity for cultural assessment, and I am conscious of the dynamics inherent when cultures interact and when cultural gaps and language barriers exist. I am able to conceptualize problems readily, identify interventions, and develop effective plans of action.”
Computer Science Teacher Justin Bale
For as long as Michael Bale can remember, he has loved learning and technology. From the first VCR his family purchased when he was a kid, to programming Android applications, he has always sought to understand how things work. This passion for learning and technology ended up landing him in the software industry for more than a decade. He’s performed a myriad of roles on many software projects in an array of different industries. He’s built small stand-alone applications, large enterprise systems, and everything in between. This includes complicated email systems, scheduling software, e-commerce sites, and just about every Band-Aid solution you can think of. His area of expertise is in server side technologies (primarily in Java based platforms) and shuttling data between fancy widgets and underlying databases. He received his B.S. in Information Technology from Brown College, and he previously taught coding and technology courses at the Silicon STEM Academy here in Denver while finishing his Masters courses in Information and Learning Technologies with an emphasis in Instructional Design and Adult Learning. Not only did he love every minute of it, it helped him to set his life’s goal to impacting the next generation and getting them prepared for a technologically advanced world. In his free time, he loves to play Frisbee golf and video games. He also said he moved here for the mountains and sun but stayed because he loves the state and the people that make it up.
Social Studies Teacher Jennifer Carpenter
Jennifer received her bachelor’s degree in History Education from Colorado State University where she then went internationally, working as an English Teacher in Seoul South Korea. In the two years prior to coming to Denver Online High School, Jennifer worked at Noel Community Arts School. She likes to read about history and politics, enjoy time outdoors, and spend live life with her husband and daughter.
Special Education Teacher Ben Eisen
Ben Eisen grew up in Norther Israel and moved to Colorado in 1978. He started school in Denver at the age of eleven where he didn’t speak a word of English. After graduating high school, he opted to delay college and instead return to Israel to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces. Eventually he went on to earn his B.A. in Physical Education and Physiology from The Zinman College for Physical Education and Sport Sciences at the Wingate Institute in Netanya, Israel. He then received his M.A. in Special Education from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado, followed by obtaining his Principal Licensure from the University of Denver. Before coming to Denver Online, Ben taught and supervised the special education department at South High School for ten years, and then he worked for three years as the Site Assessment Leader at Hamilton Middle School, working primarily online assisting teachers and school administrators with testing and data analysis. He enjoys hiking with the Colorado Mountain Club, international travel and learning about new cultures, and being with his wife and two sons, one of which plays the saxophone in a marching band and the other who desires to study sports broadcasting.
English Teacher Jessica Glynn
Jessica Glynn studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer, and content manager. In 2009, she began volunteering at Manual High School’s student magazine, and discovered the joy of mentoring teenagers as they develop their unique voices. Jessica soon earned her English teaching credentials through the University of Colorado-Denver. She joined the Denver Online team in 2012, and loves being part of an innovative school where she has the resources to provide individualized writing support to her many inspiring students with incredible stories to tell.
Math Teacher Grace Lahti
Math Teacher Grace Lahti joined Denver Online High School in 2019. She earned her B.A. in Liberal Studies from Thomas Edison State University and her M.A. in Teaching from University of Colorado, Denver. She has also taught private piano and guitar lessons and tutored college math at Denver University. She said, “I love learning through math (and science, and poetry, and psychology), about the abstract, weird beauty of the universe.” Grace also is an avid bike commuter and goes backpacking every summer. She also has a love of cats, coffee, books, music, travel, clothing design, and casual gaming (Minecraft specifically!).
Math Interventionist Martha MacCormack
Martha was born in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, where her father was working with South African refugees. Her family moved to Denver when she was in second grade where she eventually graduated from Denver Public Schools. She then received her Bachelors and Masters of Education degrees from the University of Northern Colorado, starting her career in 1987 as an 8th grade algebra and geometry teacher. Prior to coming to Denver Online High School, she spent three years teaching math intervention in a dual language K-8 school. She says, “I enjoy learning how people think; I enjoy conversations about people’s interests and how they interpret events.” She also is married, has two grown children, and spends her free time bike riding, hiking, cooking, attending plays, reading mystery novels, doing cross stitch, sewing, building footstools, and putting together jigsaw puzzles.
Science Teacher Erica MacIntosh
Erica attended Metropolitan State College of Denver where she received her teaching credentials and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology with a minor in Earth Science. She has been teaching online science classes since 2008, off-and-on teaching at Jeffco Virtual Academy, and taught in the science classroom at Arvada High School for fourteen years. She loves to learn about how science relates to the environment and enjoys volunteering at the Denver Comic Con with her husband, working hard to bring fun and educational programming for teachers and pop culture fans of all ages. She said, “I would say I’m an all around ‘Geek’ and like to bring my geekiness into the classroom.” In her free time she likes to read, sew, craft, and hang out with her three kids and husband.
Art Teacher Elisa Narizhnaya
Elisa Narizhnava earned Master’s Degree in Art Education from the College of New Rochelle and her Bachelor’s Degree from Pratt Institute in Communications Design with a focus in Illustration. Before coming to Denver Online, Elisa taught both fine and digital art classes from kindergarten up to twelfth grade. She has also worked as a freelance graphic artist/illustrator. While she was living in New York just prior to moving to Denver, she completed a two-year project with a client in Southeast Asia. With all of her communication with the client being online, she never actually met the client in-person until she visited the region about two years after the project began. She said her favorite part of working at Denver Online is that, “I enjoy both art and technology, and look forward to helping students improve or even discover hidden talents. I thrive on seeing that ‘aha!’ moment when a student creates something that they are proud of.” She loves learning new art techniques, about history, and new languages, already speaking Spanish and a bit of Russian. Prior to Elisa and her husband moving to Denver in 2013, they spent a year traveling around Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and India. She worked remotely as an illustrator while traveling and also visited schools, volunteered at an English language learning center for Tibetan refugees in India, and explored the local art scenes in various countries.
Science Teacher Susan Nelson
Sue Nelson has been teaching science since 1977 and is licensed by the state to teach all of the sciences. She has worked both in the private and public sector, in a small K-8 school to a huge suburban high school. Since 2011, she has been working at Denver Online High School teaching Earth Science, Chemistry, and Biology. Her passion is learning with a goal to learn something new every day. She says her students at Denver Online have taught her about thinking outside of the box, perseverance, and how to use technology for learning. Since marrying her high school sweetheart in 1977, she now has three amazing daughters and three young, bright, funny grandchildren. She also works at a downtown Starbucks early every morning and loves to garden, renovate old houses, and go camping in her family’s teardrop trailer.
Social Studies Teacher Jessica O’Neal
Jessica O’Neal is a Colorado native from the formerly “small town” of Castle Rock. She received her B.A. in History and Humanities from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and her teaching credential from Metropolitan State College of Denver. She is passionate about the wide field of social studies but has a particular interest in Sociology and European history.
She has been with Denver Online since 2011. She said, “Being a teacher at Denver Online is a wonderful and unique experience. At Denver Online, I have the ability to create a learning environment that enables my students to be individuals and have an education tailored to their needs.” In addition to teaching at Denver Online, she also works as an assistant at her sister’s law firm. When she is not working, she is usually reading, or spending time with her fiancé and three pets.
Math Teacher Gilberto Palomino
Gilberto J Palomino was born in a small village called San Pedro de Cajas in the very heart of Andes of Peru at 14,000 feet sea level. There in his hometown he attended a small public elementary school from where he graduated in 1976. His high school years were the most memorable; he still remembers his classmates by names and also his wonderful teachers, because it was a very small school with approximately 150 students in total. He graduated from this high school in 1981 among twenty students. After he graduated from high school, he applied to several national universities in Peru and was accepted at the National University of Daniel Alcides Carrion to become a math and science teacher. However, he had to give up before graduating from the university because he lacked the financial support he needed until he came to the United States. He moved to the U.S in 1994 with the hopes to achieve a new dream. Although, he was not too sure what he wanted to achieve since he was uncertain how to make it happen or if it would happen. In 1996, he applied to the Community College of Denver to learn English; he still remembers when he took the placement exam to determine what level of classes he should take. He got the lowest score in mathematics and English. He expected the English score—he barely knew the language but was shocked with the very low mathematics score. Why? He was surprised because he was in advanced mathematics back in Peru. So, what went wrong? What was the problem? The problem was that he had never touched a computer in his life. The placement test was a computer based test, and he did not know what the keys were for. However, this very situation helped direct his decision to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Mathematics which he accomplished in 2002 from the University of Colorado at Denver. Along the way, his vocation for teaching was stronger than his desire to work in the corporate world. He started teaching mathematics at Abraham Lincoln high school in the Denver Public School (DPS) District in 2003. In 2005, he obtained his teaching license to teach mathematics K-12; later in 2007, he achieved a Master’s degree of Arts in Instructional Design and e-Learning from the University of Colorado at Denver. Technology is changing rapidly, the same way that learning and teaching using technology is rapidly changing. The skills that he has gained from this program enabled him to fulfill his current role as an e-teacher at an e-high school. He looks forward to exploring and expanding the world of the e-learning environment. In his current position as a virtual math teacher at Denver Online High School, he is shaping the frontier of e-learning by teaching using technology. He loves teaching because he says, “It is one of the most beautiful and caring vocations. I can’t see myself doing anything else other than teaching. I care for my students and I believe that I can make a difference in each of my student’s lives. I believe to be a teacher one has to have the knowledge and the passion. My motto is that ‘Teaching is more than a science, it is an art.’ You can have the knowledge of the world, but if you don’t know how to teach it will be difficult to make a connection with the students.”
Student Advisor and Office Support Eduardo Perez
Eduardo earned his Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with a focus on teaching, strength and conditioning, and coaching at California State University, Fullerton. He also has his teaching credential in Physical education K-12. Before coming to Denver Online, he taught at Respect Academy for six years. He is an avid runner and hiker, and he loves going to all types of sporting events with his wife!
English Teacher Rosanne Valentine
Rosy attended Humboldt State University in Arcata, California where she received her B.A. in English Education with an emphasis on multicultural literature, also completing her teaching credentials. Prior to coming to Denver Online High School, she taught Language Arts for six years. Throughout her teaching experience, she said, “I have incorporated technology and online assignments for students to better suit their needs both inside and outside of the classroom.” She enjoys reading, writing, and laughing with her family, both in Denver and California. She says, “I like to learn about people. Who they are, what drives them, and how they learn.”
English Teacher Jennifer White
Jennifer White grew up in North Dakota and moved to Fort Collins when she was 5. Jennifer came to Denver Online High School in 2015 after previously working at Arvada High School for 10 years as a 10th and 11th grade teacher. Prior to teaching, she received her Bachelor’s Degree from Regis University, majoring in English and minoring in Education. She then earned her Master’s Degree from University of Colorado in Denver, majoring in Curriculum and Instruction, emphasizing in Language, Literacy, and Culture. When asked what her favorite thing is to learn about, she said, “I love to learn about everything! I love being a teacher because I’m always surrounded by so many smart, accomplished people who have an amazing breadth of knowledge and fascinating stories to share. I get to learn from them every day, and I can share my passions with them. If I had to narrow it down, I love learning about people, places, cultures, and beliefs. I’m also a fan of trivia and celebrity gossip (guilty pleasure).” Her husband is also an English teacher and together they have two sons. She says when she’s not running around the house with her boys, she enjoys reading, doing yoga, catching up with friends, spending time with her husband, and taking in the sunshine!
School Tech and Advisor Martha Wilcox
Martha Wilcox completed her undergraduate work at Whittier College and graduate degree at UCLA. She left college as an art historian specializing in Egyptology, and then taught at the college level for 17 years. The colleges she taught at include Whittier, UCLA, University of Hawaii, and CSU. However, when she was introduced to computers in 1980, her career made a sudden change. Since 1982, she has been teaching computer classes to students from 5-years-old to 95-years-old. She absolutely loves computers and enjoys them as her profession and her hobby. In 2012, she retired from Denver Public Schools only to return to work part-time at Denver Online High School. Her favorite part of working at Denver Online is teaching kids while also being able to continually learn new things as a life-long learner. Besides computers, her other hobby is travel. She frequently goes to Rwanda and India where she helps schools with their technology programs.