Faculty & Staff

Accelerated Schools employs carefully screened professionals in every area of administration and instruction. All teachers are certified or eligible for certification in the specific fields of their assignments, and all have a specialty that complements the background of their associates.

Many teachers hold advanced degrees in education, special education, psychology, sociology, mathematics, and reading. Each teacher must also complete extensive independent study courses in behavior and computer classroom management.

In addition to the teaching staff, head teachers and educational counselors with special training in behavior management analyze the education background and factors of psychological motivation affecting each student. They hold regular conferences with students and parents throughout the school year.

Because the faculty holds itself responsible for the student’s education, weekly staff-training and review sessions are held. This allows the entire staff the opportunity to contribute to an individual’s progress.

Georgina Bruce

High School Instructor


Georgina earned her Bachelor of Science in Natural Sciences from Trinity College and a Master’s degree in Geology from Colorado School of Mines. She also took classes in Astrophysics at UC Berkeley and spent time at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii. Georgina has taught geology at ACC and CCD in Colorado, and has taught STEM classes in various high schools oversees and in the U.S.. Her class in ballroom dancing at Bethlehem Lutheran School in Denver was transmitted by a local TV station.

Anna Castillo

High School Instructor


Anna earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Bishops University in Quebec and received her Master’s Degree from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. Last year, she moved from Baltimore, MD to Denver, CO. While in Charm City, she taught different levels of English, Special Education and High School Spanish. Anna has worked in a variety of school settings ranging from private schools, Level 5 schools and residential treatment centers throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia area.

Cale Dunlap

High School and Middle School Instructor


Cale earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and Banking Management from Stamford International University. He has also studied various subjects like engineering, linguistics and philosophy at several universities. Cale spent many years teaching Math and Science in Thailand, and has used his linguistic skills to assist doctors in providing medical care for migrant farm laborers, to serve as a linguist in the United States Air Force, and to provide foreign language education to students. He is excited to pursue his passion for education back in the U.S.

Zachary Leins

High School Instructor


Zachary earned a Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Physiology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Over the course of four years at the University of Colorado Boulder, Zachary taught  and tutored numerous undergraduate level courses including Human Anatomy Cadaver Lab, Biology, and multiple Chemistry courses. Zachary has also presented about the benefits of a tobacco-free lifestyle to colleagues and children numerous times. Zachary is excited to be back in the classroom teaching and working with young adults.

Aundrea McCormick

High School Instructor


Aundrea has a Bachelors of Science with a major in Physical Education and minor in Health from the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, AR. She also holds a TESOL Certification from the International Language Institute in Washington, D.C. She Is currently pursuing her Principal’s license and Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from CSU-Global. Aundrea spent seven years as a collegiate basketball coach, instructor and academic advisor. In addition, Aundrea has also been an ESL, English and Reading teacher. Most recently, she managed an SES program in both Denver and Aurora Public Schools.

Valerie Montano

Music Instructor


Valerie earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University, Master of Music degree from the University of Arizona, and Professional Teacher License from the University of Missouri in Kansas City. She has taught music at every level, from preschool through college and post-graduate students including Avila University, Jefferson County, Cherry Creek and Colorado Springs School Districts. She has over thirty years of teaching experience. Valerie is the founder and artistic director of the Denver Chorale.

Evan Simpson

Middle School Instructor and Activities Coordinator


Evan Simpson is a Colorado native and received his Bachelor’s in English Education from Colorado State University in Fort Collins. He has worked as a youth counselor and mentor for traditional schools as well as outdoor education programs and is now in his fourth year of classroom teaching. He works to have students engaged in their own education by helping them find their passions and interest.

Laura Popovics

Middle School Instructor


Laura earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Swarthmore College and her Master of Arts in Language and Literacy from The City College of New York. She also holds a TEFL Certification, which she used to teach English in the Czech Republic for a couple years. It was there that Laura realized her passion for education and pursued a degree in the US that emphasized promoting social justice in education. After finishing her graduate studies, Laura relocated to Denver from NYC in 2014 to return to teaching full-time. With experience teaching within DPS and for educational nonprofits, she is thrilled for the opportunity to work with the young minds of the AS Middle School.


Jane T. Queen

Executive Director


Jane has Bachelor of Science with a major in Science and a minor in Education. She has been with the school since 1979. Jane was nominated by the Colorado Counselor Association as Counselor of the Year. She recruits and enrolls new students and provides academic and behavioral counseling for students and parents. She also hires and advises new faculty.

John Klieforth



John holds a Master of Science in Business Education. He completed his Administrative program at the University of Colorado at Boulder and is also a College of Financial Planning graduate. John spent 25 years in public education, lastly as Superintendent of Schools in Clear Creek County, Colorado. He has served as Principal at Accelerated Schools since 1997.

Amber Jeffres

Associate Director, International Liaison and Finance


Amber earned a Bachelor’s degree of Mathematics with emphasis in Middle Level Education from the University of Northern Colorado. She taught for three years in Poudre School District and then spent ten years in the payroll and business world. She enjoys her role and contributions to our Accelerated Schools community.

Michelle Tuengel

Associate Director and Admissions


Michelle earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Metropolitan State College with a minor in Reading. She earned her teaching license in 1994 and has 14+  years’ experience in education. Michelle is the coordinator for the Middle and Elementary schools at Accelerated Schools as well as recruiting and enrolling new students. She enjoys studying genealogy and traveling.

Marianna Bagge

Director of Community Outreach and Recruitment


Marianna holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Mikkeli Polytechnic University in Finland and a teaching certificate through the State of Colorado. She has over 25 years of experience in education, including working at Accelerated Schools and owning her own educational consulting company. Marianna also recruits and enrolls new students.

Terry Frank



Terry holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration form the University of San Diego and an Associate of Applied Science in Accounting from Arapahoe Community College. His past experiences include sales and customer service working for Vanier Graphics, Columbine Systems, Frontier Airlines and Marriott.

Andrea Tovar

Operations Support, Media and IT Administration


Andrea is a skilled business professional with 17+ years of experience in a versatile human resource, operations coordination and executive administrative skill set. Her past experience also includes partnering with academic tutors who specialized in ADHD, ADD, dyslexia, ESL, executive function and diverse learners to help develop curriculum and professional development training. In addition, Andrea was a main collaborator in establishing Supplemental Education Programs and grant programs for the past six years with Denver Public Schools, Aurora Public Schools, Westminster School District and Cherry Creek School District.

Nadean Johnson

Transportation and Security Director


Nadean has been in the security field for more than 15 years. Her training includes TEAM training (Techniques for Effective Aggression Management), de-escalation, first aid and CPR certification. She takes great pride in keeping Accelerated Schools students, staff and campus safe. She is a Colorado native and enjoys fishing tremendously and has an eight year old grandson.  She is an avid animal lover, who has a dog, two cats and two parrots (and yes they talk)!

Craig Havel

Maintenance Supervisor


Craig is a skilled tradesman with over 20 years of experience in new home construction. He spent the last 13 years serving as Facilities Manager at Bear Creek Church in Lakewood, Colorado. Craig also worked with special needs students twice a week from the local High School by offering a Community Living course, which helped to prepare the students for living independently. When Craig isn't working in the community he enjoys hiking, camping, backpacking, hunting and fishing in the mountains of Colorado.