Elementary Staff

    Arruda, Denise

    Elementary Para

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    I have worked for the Dolores District starting my sixth year and 15 years in the Cortez District. When I first started working in the school systems it was to have the same schedule as my daughters. When they were off to some activity, I also wanted to be there to watch and enjoy my girls. Once they went off to school I found that I liked working with kids more then I realized.
    I have had many jobs. I have trained race horses, worked as a shipping/claims clerk for ACE hardware, running materials for fiber optics, banker teller and I have built a log cabin once.

      Castillo, Tanya

      Elementary Para

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        Christenson, Emily

        1st Grade

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        Emily Christenson is in her seventh year of teaching 1st grade at Dolores Elementary School. Mrs. Christenson is a Fort Lewis College graduate. Shortly after graduating she moved to Idaho where she taught 6th grade, 4th grade and 2nd grade. Upon returning to Colorado Mrs. Christenson taught 4th grade at Mesa Elementary School in Cortez. She then joined the Little Bear team at the preschool level before moving over to 1st grade.

          Elder, Brooke

          PE

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          Brooke Elder has been working at Dolores Elementary School for 13 years where she has not only been a third grade teacher for 8 of those, but then moved on to be our K-5 physical education teacher, HS track coach, and Dolores HS FCA huddle coach sponsor. She loves working with kids to help them learn to develop healthy habits involving nutrition, movement, and positive attitudes in super fun ways! Brooke and her husband Scot have lived in Dolores for almost 20 years and are proud parents of three grown girls Taylor, Cameron, and Jordan, who all grew up here and graduated from DHS. When not at school, you’ll most often find Brooke on a lake, river, trail, or outside somewhere with her family finding adventures and building memories together.

            Furse, Crystin

            5th Grade

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            Mrs. Furse grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, but has been living with her family in Dolores, Colorado for over 12 years. She enjoys gardening, mountain biking, camping, hiking, picking wildflowers, and reading fantasy novels. She graduated from Fort Lewis College, majoring in Elementary Education with a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) minor. She also graduated from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and spent much of her youth involved in theatre. She feels incredibly lucky to be teaching in a community that she loves dearly.

             

              Gaddis, Jen

              School Nurse

              Jennifer Gaddis is the School Nurse for the Dolores School district. She originally came from Maryland where she obtained her Paramedic degree after high school and moved to Colorado where she has loved living and working since 2000. Jen returned to nursing school to advance her knowledge and has loved working in the nursing field. She has two boys who are her life, and they have three dogs and one cat at home for now. She has also had bearded dragons and hermit crabs at home as well, and says "Who knows what’s next!" They are outdoor enthusiasts and love to hike, bike, ski, paddle board, camp, hunt, and just be outside doing whatever.

                Haase, Reggy

                Elementary Para

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                Ms. Haase grew up in Gunnison, Colorado and has lived in Dolores for the last 9 years. She is blessed with a wonderful 17 year old daughter who enjoys jiu jitsu and loves her mini-Australian Shepherd, Fenrir. Ms. Haase has been a paraprofessional here at Dolores Elementary for 9 years and has loved every year better than the last. Ms. Haase’s favorite season is Summer when she enjoys camping and/or hiking.

                  Harris, Lori

                  Title 1/ELL

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                  Mrs. Lori Harris has been working at Dolores Elementary for the past 18 years. Although she first started as a Para, her position has evolved to become the district’s Title 1 teacher and RTI Coordinator for grades K-2, as well as the district’s ELL Coordinator. Lori has a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in linguistically and culturally diverse education. She enjoys the variety her position offers of working with both small group student interventions as well as the teachers at different grade level teams. After raising their two daughters who both attended the Dolores schools K-12, she and her husband now take pleasure in camping, jeeping, fishing and family time, especially with their new role as grandparents.

                    Hill, Amanda

                    2nd Grade

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                    Amanda Hill is a second grade teacher at Dolores Elementary School with 11 years of experience as a primary classroom teacher and 1 year of experience as Dean of Students. She has a Master’s of Education degree in Teacher Leadership from Fort Lewis College. Developing strong relationships with her students and families is the most important part of the job .Outside of school she enjoys gardening, watching her children play soccer, and spending time with her family in the mountains.

                      Hite, Debbie

                      Elementary Para

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                      Mrs. Hite had a very fun adventurous childhood growing up near Dolores and graduated from Dolores High in 1987. After high school, she attended Mesa State College in Grand Junction and earned an Associates Degree in 1990 for computer accounting. She started volunteering at Teddy Bear Preschool when her son, Hunter, started in 2008. It was at this time that she decided she wanted to work in the education world. She earned her Early Childhood Degree from PCC in 2010. Mrs. Hite was the secretary at Teddy Bear Preschool from 2010 thru 2018. Then in 2019, she got another dream job of hers to be a Para at the Dolores Elementary. Her oldest son, Hunter, will be a junior and her youngest son, Tanner, will be a freshman at Dolores High this school year. In her spare time, she loves to hang out with her 3 guys and their dog, Duke, in the mountains and riding their 4-wheelers and dirt bikes and fishing.

                        Hutchins, Hollee

                        Kindergarten

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                        Hollee Hutchins is a Kindergarten teacher and has been here at Dolores Elementary for 7 years. She grew up in Durango, CO and graduated from Fort Lewis College. She has a twin brother and is the youngest of eight children. Hollee enjoys camping, fishing, hiking, reading, and spending time with her family.

                          Jensen, Bridget

                          Elementary Library

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                            Johnson, Mikaela

                            3rd Grade

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                            Mikaela Johnson is originally from a small town in Kansas. She is a graduate from Western State and moved here recently from chilly Gunnison Colorado. She is so excited to begin her teaching journey here at Dolores Elementary School! Mikaela loves to teach math and reading and to think of fun and exciting activities for her students to showcase their skills and talents. Outside of school, Mikaela enjoys many outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, biking, camping, and snowboarding.

                              Jones, Sandy

                              5th Grade

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                              Sandy Jones is a fifth-grade teacher here at Dolores Elementary and will be kicking off her eleventh year with us. She has 25 years of experience in different education realms ranging from cook, Instructional Paraprofessional, Reading and Math Interventions, Temporary Alternative Placement, Technology Teacher, Volleyball Coach, and Fifth-Grade Teacher. Some of her hobbies include volleyball, camping, riding four-wheelers, reading, playing piano, crocheting, and baking. Sandy looks forward to the opportunity of working with you and your children this upcoming school year!

                                Kleinmann, Troy

                                4th Grade

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                                I’m originally from Fort Myers, FL. I have two brothers, who are twins (I’m the youngest). I graduated from the University of Central Florida and afterward I served in the Peace Corps in a town called Sheno, Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, I taught English to highschool students. Upon my return to the United States, I moved to Spokane, WA. I took a position as a Pre-K teacher–this is where my fiance and I met! Together we moved to Denver, CO where we spent two years. I spent one of those years as a substitute teacher for the Jefferson County School District, the following year I was hired at a school in Lakewood to teach third grade. Last year was my first year here in Dolores teaching fourth grade. I have two dogs (black lab and terrier/pug mix), and I enjoy spending lots of time at the river with them.

                                  Knight, Tessy

                                  3rd Grade

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                                  I was born and raised in Louisiana. I moved to Fort Collins Colorado when I was 22 years old. I have two daughters and one granddaughter.  I love being near the water growing up near the Gulf of Mexico. I was a beach bum most of my youth. I have been on many adventures relating to the water I lived in Florida where I learned to scuba dive. I enjoyed many years of exploring our  Atlantic sea life; so to  get my water fix here in Colorado, I enjoy boating at Mcfee and  sunset  kayaking.

                                    Koskie, Mary

                                    Elementary Para

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                                    Mary Koskie has been a paraprofessional in our kindergarten since 2009. She grew up in Wisconsin, spent some time in Arizona and landed in Colorado in 1999. Mary and Kyle live on his family’s homestead with their two high school aged boys. If you can’t find her she will be on the beach with her pat of flamingos.

                                      Krumwiede, David

                                      Technology Teacher

                                      Mr. K graduated on the President's List from Grand Canyon University, where he obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management. He is currently enrolled in PEBC's (formerly known as Boettcher's) Teacher of Record Program to obtain his alternative teaching license. He moved up to the Dolores Community from Phoenix, Az. 2 years ago and fell in love. In his free time Mr. K loves to shoot his bow and explore the outdoors hunting, hiking, and camping. He also loves nothing more than watching his beloved Eagles play football, although they are often known to ruin his Sunday afternoons...

                                        Lee, Stephanie

                                        Elementary Para

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                                        Mrs. Stephanie Lee is beginning her fifth year as a para at Dolores Elementary. She has 14 years of experience in education. She previously taught 5th grade, preschool, and kindergarten in eastern CO. Stephanie has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

                                          Lein, Kathryn

                                          1st Grade

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                                          Katie Lein will be joining first grade this year as she enters her 21st year in teaching. She previously taught fifth grade in Dolores, kindergarten and first grade in Cortez, and multi-age classrooms in third through fifth grades in Page, Arizona. She received her teaching certification from Fort Lewis College and her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Lesley University. She enjoys spending time with her family as she and her husband try to keep up with two active boys while they hike, bike, camp, and backpack together. She believes that learning is a life-long journey and is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of your child’s learning journey.

                                            Lowe, Angela

                                            3rd Grade

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                                            Angie Lowe has been teaching in the four corners area for 18 years. She graduated from Indiana University with a BA in Art Education, and received her elementary teaching endorsement at Fort Lewis College. She earned her Master’s degree in Special Education from Western Governors University in 2013. This will be her 6th year teaching 3rd grade at Dolores Elementary School. She loves spending time with her family and friends in the beautiful mountains and high deserts of Southwest Colorado. She enjoys trail running, rafting, skiing, gardening, and a good book!

                                              Maloney, Kyan

                                              3rd Grade Teacher

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                                              Kyan was born and raised in Montezuma County. She has been a Dental Hygienist for the last 20 years and has chosen teaching as her new career. Kyan will be completing her teaching residency this year through the Boettcher program. She has been the cub master for cub scout pack 225 for four years which she has worked on projects and planned activities for kindergarten thru fifth graders. Kyan volunteered in all of her son’s elementary classrooms and attended field trips at Dolores Elementary School. Her favorite activities include snow skiing, dirt biking, gardening, boating, playing fetch with their dogs, sports and spending time with her family. She is very excited to join our teaching team!

                                                Margeson, Nicole

                                                2nd Grade

                                                Ms. Margeson grew up in Alaska and went to college at the University of Michigan. After 10 years of being an accountant she wanted a change, so she made the move to teaching. She started teaching toddlers and then preschoolers for Head Start. After getting her license, she taught kindergarten for 3 years in Cortez. This is her second year at Dolores, and she loves it! When she's not teaching, she's usually hanging out with her husband and daughter. They like to hike, camp, and visit new places.

                                                  McCormick, Lurleen

                                                  Elementary Principal

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                                                  Lurleen McCormick is the Principal at Dolores Elementary. She grew up in Recovery, Georgia and has enjoyed 15 years of service in educational settings while living in Cherry Creek and Jeffco school districts in Colorado. She studied Agriculture and Animal Science while at Florida A & M University and at the University of Georgia, and then she taught sustainable animal production while in the Peace Corps serving Ecuadorians in South America. She then received her Masters in Education Studies at Regis University. She also completed her Education Specialist degree in Administrative Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Colorado. Lurleen is honored and humbled to have an opportunity to put her years of experience and education to use to serve our community.

                                                    Miller, Susan

                                                    Elementary Counselor

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                                                    Susan started out as a secondary English teacher but soon realized her true passion, as well as what the students needed most, was helping them deal with the mental and emotional barriers that get in the way of their learning.  She made the switch to school counseling and to elementary because with prevention, earlier is better.  She helps the kids learn Resilience, Mindfulness, problem solving, Social skills, etc. and can help educate you and your child on things like ADHD, School Avoidance, grief, etc.

                                                      Nielson, Tyler

                                                      Para

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                                                      This is my 5th year here at Dolores. I was born across the state line in Utah, but grew up and graduated in Dove Creek. I moved away for college but was led back home to Colorado. I have been married for 15 years and have adopted 2 amazing boys who are my world. William is 7th grade and Alexander is 6th grade. I am the older brother of the other Mr. Nielson in the high school. I love my family and am a proud uncle of some amazing kids. I enjoy hunting, fishing and writing poetry.

                                                        Pejsa, Kristen

                                                        Kindergarten

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                                                          Reynolds, Helen

                                                          Special Ed

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                                                          Helen Reynolds began teaching in 1989, and she has an International Pedagogy Degree, International Montessori Certification with Merit, a Colorado Teacher’s License with endorsements in Early Childhood Education (0-8 yrs), Linguistically Diverse Education (K-12), and Special Education (0-21), a Bachelor of Science in Human Resources and a Minor in Art/Art History from the University of Delaware, and has studied Education at the Master’s Level at the University of Colorado. Ms. Reynolds has been the Elementary Exceptional Student Services teacher at Dolores ELementary since August 2015. Helen is one of the last passengers to immigrate to America by steamship.  She arrived in New York Harbour in March 1967, aboard the penultimate Atlantic crossing of the Queen Mary,  She became a Naturalized American Citizen in 1980.  She is fluent in French, conversationally capable in Spanish, and knows some German, Swahilli and Mandarin Chinese. Helen kayaks, skis, xc skis, hikes, mountain bikes and is a recreational acrylic painter, and photographer.

                                                            Schaper, Tom

                                                            ESS Teacher

                                                            Mr. S. attended Northern Arizona University and earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education in 1990 and his Special Education License in 1997. He also attended Northeastern Illinois University to earn his Learning Behavior Specialist degree in 2006. Mr. S. taught from 1992 to 1999 in Arizona schools, and from 2000 to 2020 in Cicero, Illinois. He enjoys hiking and exploring outdoors.

                                                              Schrage, Ashley

                                                              4th Grade

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                                                              Ms. Schrage’s passion for education is shown in her commitment to a positive school environment for all students and encouraging their success. Ms. Schrage loves to design the hallway bulletin boards and AR/Khan student IDs. She is the proud mom of 3 boys and loves to spend family time fishing, hiking, enjoying our beautiful mountains, and visiting National Parks across America.

                                                                Tourjee, Shirley

                                                                1st Grade

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                                                                Shirley Tourjee is teaching her 15th year in 1st grade. She has been in education going on 25 years. After graduating from the University of Northern Colorado, Shirley worked with Kindergarten in Mancos, CO. She taught in Battle Rock, a one room schoolhouse K-3 in Montezuma County. Shirley loves math and taught as an interventionist for 7th and 8th grade and later taught 8th grade core math in Cortez, CO. She joined her Dolores school family as a director and teacher for Gifted and Talented part time before moving to full time teaching in 1st grade. Shirley loves Dolores Schools, kids, and families. She is so grateful to be part of a strong and caring learning environment.

                                                                  Vaughn, Kevin

                                                                  Art

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                                                                  Kevin Vaughn was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and then he moved around in his early years, living in both Delaware and Louisiana. He received a BS in Art from the University of Delaware and has an MEd in “Cultural, Critical and Curricular Studies of Education” from the University of Utah. Kevin came late in life to his life in education having spent ten years in F&B management before making the leap. His career now spans over a quarter of a century in three different states: Arizona, Oregon and Colorado. His rather varied experiences across grade levels include being a classroom teacher (3rd, 5th, 5/6th grades), a middle school teacher (6th, 7th, 8th), a librarian/GT Coordinator, and he even established an ESL program while teaching in a migrant community in Oregon. Currently he finds himself as the full time elementary art teacher. His most recent accomplishments include being the introductory speaker for CEI’s “Sparking Curiosity” summer workshop in 2016 and being one of the inaugural members of the CDE’s “Commissioner’s Teacher Cabinet” on which he has served three consecutive years. Kevin is very proud of all the accomplishments he has had over the years, but he’s mostly filled with pride when recounting the number of students he has watched succeed in his classrooms.

                                                                    Wade, Linda

                                                                    Kindergarten

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                                                                    Linda Wade has called southwest Colorado home all of her life. She earned a Bachelor degree at Fort Lewis college. Early childhood is a passion of hers, working at Teddy Bear preschool for 8 years and going into her 14th year as a kindergarten teacher. Linda’s sisters have said, “You are great at raising children, but not plants.” She enjoys traveling, baking, and going on walks with her husband and dog.

                                                                      Werner, Ellen

                                                                      4th Grade

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                                                                      Ellen Werner has been teaching 4th grade at Dolores elementary school since fall of 2018. She has her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and her master’s degree in curriculum and design with a focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (S.T.E.M.). Born and raised in Dakota, Ellen decided to move to Colorado because of the amazing weather and chance to enjoy the great outdoors all year long. Her favorite part of teaching is interacting with her students and building strong relationships with them and between classmates. In her free time, Ellen enjoys hiking, mountain biking, and hanging out with her Fiance, Luke, and their two cats, KiKi and Zim.

                                                                        Werner, Lucas

                                                                        5th Grade

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                                                                        Luke Werner has his bachelor’s degree in elementary education and master’s degree in educational technology. Born and raised in Minnesota, he moved to Colorado for the great outdoors. His favorite part of teaching is the life long relationships he builds with his students and playing football with them during recess. In his free time, you can find Luke cheering on the Minnesota Vikings, whatever team LeBron is currently playing for, listening to music, exploring the area, and hanging out with his fiancee, Ellen, and their two cats, Kiki and Zim.