ALL schools in the district are responsible for meeting the needs of identified gifted and talented students. K-8 schools are supported through a GT teacher, charter schools are supported through a designated point of contact, and high school is supported through a site-based team and the Central Office. Please refer to the Gifted and Talented Teacher/Point of Contact to find your school’s GT teacher and coordinator.
Dr. Jennifer Lemoine
Dr. Jennifer Lemoine’s career in education spans over 20 years as an educator, leader, and advocate in schools with diverse populations. She brings her passion for the unique learning and social/emotional needs of gifted learners to the DPS team. Jennifer is a National Board Certified Teacher in Exceptional Needs, has a master’s degree in Curriculum and Supervision, holds endorsements in Gifted Education and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners, and recently completed her doctoral program at the University of Denver in Curriculum and Instruction: Gifted Leadership. Jennifer believes in educating the whole gifted child which includes both affective and academic needs with a lens on equity and inclusion. She is looking forward to collaborating and partnering with a passionate team of educators to serve a diverse population of students and their families. She hopes to increase awareness and support of gifted learners’ characteristics, needs, and build community connections. When not working with or advocating for gifted learners, Jennifer enjoys spending time adventuring with her family.
Dr. Meryl Faulkner
Dr. Meryl Faulkner holds a doctorate from the University of Denver in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Gifted Education. She also has a Gifted and Talented Director district-level administrator’s license. Her masters degree is in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education. In addition to the past two years as a district level GT Coordinator in DPS, she has been a classroom teacher at the elementary level teaching preschool, kindergarten, fourth, and fifth grades, and spent several years as a GT itinerant teacher in elementary and middle schools. Her passion is promoting equity within gifted education, especially as it relates to early identification of students of color. She is a board member for the Colorado Academy for Educators of the Gifted, Talented, and Creative and serves on the board of the School Accountability Committee at Stargate School for Gifted Children. Outside of work, she is an escape room enthusiast and gamer.
Michelle Slovak McKinsey
With over 20 years of experience in education and leadership with schools with diverse student populations, Michelle brings her passion for equity and inclusion in Gifted Identification and Programming to her new role as Manager in the Gifted and Talented Department. She is passionate about providing equitable access in the identification of diverse learners, supporting schools and teachers with culturally appropriate gifted programming and professional development. She is most looking forward to collaborating across departments to increase our district partnership and awareness of the needs of Gifted and Talented learners as well as connecting with families and school communities to elevate their voices. Michelle holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature, as well as Graduate Credentials in Elementary Education, with an Early Childhood endorsement from San Francisco State University. She is also licensed and endorsed in Gifted Education and Cultural and Linguistic Diversity.
GT Curriculum Specialist
Brian Beard has a Bachelor’s Degree in English with an emphasis in Secondary Teaching and a Master’s Degree in Special Education with an emphasis on Gifted Education from the University of Northern Colorado. He has 16 years in 6-12 English and Language Arts classrooms having taught several classes at each grade level. He loves time in the mountains with his family. He is also the current program chair for the Global Awareness Network for the National Association for Gifted Children.
GT Curriculum Specialist
Nathan Burt holds a Masters degree in Special Education with an emphasis on Gifted and Talented Education from the University of Northern Colorado where he is also an adjunct professor in Gifted and Talented courses for Masters-level students. He has been working in education for more than 8 years as a teacher of the gifted at the elementary level as well as a Gifted Coordinator for Denver Public Schools. In his free time, you can probably find Nathan in any of Denver’s several movie theaters or on a cruise ship traveling around the world with his family.
Sherri Creel has a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Oklahoma State University and a Master’s in Special Education with an endorsement in Secondary Math from the University of Texas at Dallas. She has worked for DPS for 30 years, 12 years in the classroom and the rest of her tenure at the Gifted Education Office. She is a 3rd degree Blackbelt in Taekwondo and has been training for 15 years. She loves to travel and hopes to spend the majority of her retirement traveling the world.
Curriculum Specialist- High Schools
Roberta “Bertie” Fiz has been working for DPS for 17 years. She served as a ELA-S 4th grade teacher, art teacher, librarian, GT teacher and, recently, the HGT program specialist at Morey Middle School. Bertie is passionate about encouraging all students in order that their academic, social and emotional needs are met. To her, this means promoting students’ self-awareness and building their self-advocacy skills. She has a Master’s in Special Education with an emphasis in Gifted Education from the University of Northern Colorado. Bertie is also the Communications Director for the CAEGTC. Away from the office, Bertie enjoys parenting teenagers, sewing, gardening, and traveling.
GT Curriculum Specialist
Maggie Rowbottom has taught in DPS for over 8 years in many different areas. Her roles included elementary ELA-S instructor, ELA Academy mentor teacher, and Gifted and Talented itinerant. She has found passion in taking on and creating new leadership roles for herself to improve school culture. She has created and piloted classroom instructional models, materials and enrichment programs to promote equity, and ideas for school-wide GT collaboration with great success. She is passionate about learning and educating staff about culturally responsive gifted education to identify and support all students. In her free time, Maggie enjoys traveling, being active in the mountains year-round, and attending local community events and festivals.
Dr. Vanessa Ewing
GT Curriculum Specialist
Dr. Vanessa Ewing holds degrees in educational psychology and curriculum/instruction. Her experience includes 20 years experience as an instructor in teacher education programs, serving as a teacher and principal of gifted children, and doing cognitive assessments. Vanessa works with charters in identification and programming for gifted children. She also leads classes in gifted education. She is passionate about varied educational models for student needs, twice-exceptional students, and creativity. When not working, Vanessa enjoys time with her son, traveling, and painting.
Michelle holds a Masters in Child Psychology and is currently completing her Ph.D in School Psychology. Her experience includes 10 years working across a wide variety of settings, including as preschool teacher, a behavior therapist with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families, working within the Colorado Crisis network, and most recently as a school psychologist in DPS, primarily working with center based students in the MI-A program. Michelle’s dissertation research focuses on teacher’s experience and knowledge of working with students who are twice exceptional, research that looks to aid in the identification and overall education of these students, as well as teacher confidence. When not working, Michelle enjoys hanging out with her 3 dogs and her cat, as well as doing the most difficult jigsaw puzzle she can find.
Jennifer McDonough, NCSP
Jen began her career as a social worker in child protection which led to her decision to advocate for children and families and pursue the field of school psychology. With over 24 years of experience as a school psychologist, Jen joined the Gifted and Talented team after working extensively at all levels in the school setting (elementary, middle and high school). Jen has held leadership positions in other metro districts and has obtained a principal licensure. Jen is passionate about removing barriers to learning and providing equitable practices in her field, specifically with twice exceptional students. In her free time, Jen enjoys spending time with her family in the mountains, gardening, and beach vacations. She is also a huge college basketball fan as she hails from Louisville, Kentucky…Go Big Blue!
GT Curriculum Specialist- High School
After 18 years teaching high school English, Greg’s been teamed up on GT program building in DPS’s traditional high schools, close to 40 total. Alongside school site teams and our own devoted central team, he’s training students to advocate for their academic needs, connecting them to professors and professionals to cultivate curiosity, mentoring them through some underachieving fog, etc., etc. Anything to advance the cause of our youngsters. Beyond that, larger DPS initiatives consume him: he’s knee deep in vertical teaming ventures between middle and high school teachers, building networks of community partners with real world problems to solve, reimagining the college admissions portfolio process with the help of colleges across the nation, and lots more. He loves to hike with family, swim, read, obsess over his cats, . . .
Assessment and Technology Specialist
Stacey started working in the GT office in November 2016. Prior to that time, she taught history courses at the University of Colorado Denver and Metropolitan State University, while simultaneously serving as the Director of Operations for the state affiliate National History Day program. She has worked with Jeffco School’s GT program in assessments and summer enrichment programming. She is currently serving as the Technology Governor for the Colorado Academy for Educators of the Gifted, Talented, and Creative. Outside of work, she spends her time watching a variety of films, writing, hiking, travelling, thrift shopping, and attending as many concerts as humanly possible (especially at Red Rocks).
GT Curriculum Specialist
Alesandra Rodriguez has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and will complete a Master’s Degree in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education with an endorsement in Special Education this Fall. She has more than 10 years of teaching experience in different grade levels as well as in dual-language education. She is passionate, dedicated, and committed to advocating for the identification and programming of gifted and talented students in underrepresented populations and with multiple exceptionalities. Alesandra is an avid Montessorian; she is active in the community participating and presenting in Gifted and Talented conferences and is a board member for the Colorado Academy for Educators of the Gifted, Talented, and Creative. Outside of work, Alesandra loves hiking, yoga, and spending time with her family and dogs.