2019/2020 School Year

Teachers at Ambleside are creative, thoughtful, engaged learners with broad interests and educational knowledge. They enjoy ideas, read regularly, and are passionate about faith and learning. They pursue relationship with Christ and are called to shepherd their students spiritually as well as academically. In addition to classroom observation and weekly training, all our teachers complete a week-long intensive training through Ambleside Schools International, with whom we enjoy a formal affiliation.

If you are interested in joining our staff, please visit the employment page.  Thank you!

STAFF

Faculty & Staff

“Throw perfection into everything you do…let everything he does be done well.”

Principal: Mr. Andrew Hayes re-joined Ambleside Colorado as Principal in 2016 after serving for two years as Principal at Ambleside Boerne (Texas). Previously he spent three years as a Junior High teacher at Ambleside Colorado.  Andrew received his Bachelors of Arts in History from the University of Notre Dame and met his wife, Joanna, in French class during his senior year. They have two young children.  Prior to his work at Ambleside, Andrew was the College Pastor for three years at River Valley Church in Mishawaka, Indiana, while also learning the construction trade (just enough to make him dangerous), and spent formative college summers as a counselor and director at Spring Hill Camps in Evart, Michigan. Through these experiences, a passion for academic and spiritual growth emerged in Andrew.  The longer he spends at Ambleside schools, the more convinced Andrew is that this is the best way to educate children. He enjoys all aspects of the philosophy, but is especially drawn to the cultivation of a lifelong love of learning, the growth-oriented mindset for the whole community, the healthy approach to work, and the ways that the ideas in the rich texts are life-giving and formative. He most loves the opportunity to serve Christ, children, and parents on a daily basis.  Andrew grew up in Okemos, Michigan, a little town near Michigan State University.  In his spare time, Andrew enjoys watching Notre Dame football and the Detroit Tigers, playing baseball in a local men’s league, reading (Russian novelists, history, and science fiction are three favorites), hiking with his family, woodworking, and playing board games.

Assistant Principal, Teacher – Grade 6: Mr. Matthew Perkins joined Ambleside in 2015 and has taught 6th and 3rd grades and serves as an Assistant Principal.  Matt previously taught High School English for eight years and coached track in in North Carolina.  He earned his BS in English Education from Indiana Wesleyan University and moved to Charlotte, NC, where he taught 7th grade Language Arts for two years.  After marrying his wife, Faith, he moved to Holly Springs, NC,  where he earned his Masters’ of Education degree.  Their growing family moved to Wadsworth, Ohio in the summer of 2013, close to Faith’s family, where he worked at a vocational High School for two years while he and Faith lead the young adult ministry at their church.  Through experiencing their four pregnancies, Matt was inspired to write a book about pregnancy from the “man’s” perspective and self-published it in the fall of 2014.  Matt is glad to be back in his home state where he can spend time outdoors, share his passion of learning with students, and have his own children attend Ambleside.

Assistant Principal, Teacher – Grade 5: Miss Candice Whitley joined Ambleside in 2012 and has taught many classes and served as Assistant Principal.  Candice has a Masters of Education, focused on meeting the needs of diverse students, from Vanderbilt University, and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Mathematics, from Gordon College. She taught 5th grade and middle school math in the greater Metro Denver area for six years. Candice is passionate about developing relationships with youth, and has volunteered in her church youth group, at a Nashville non-profit organization committed to supporting youth in crisis called the Oasis Group, and as a camp counselor at Kanakuk Kamps for several years. She is thrilled to be a part of the Ambleside community, ”I am so blessed and thankful for the opportunity to participate in a learning environment that cherishes the heart and potential of every student.”

Ambleside Fellow: Miss Lesley Walbridge is the Lead Office Coordinator as well as teaching several subjects in the classroom. Lesley has years of experience in office administration and has also spent the last few years running a Charlotte Mason homeschooling co-op in Golden. She has attended an ASI Internship at our school previously and has pursued being part of this community due to her great experience with us there.

Office Coordinator: Mrs. Liz Strecker has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and has worked in real estate and co-owned a landscaping company in Colorado Springs. Since the Streckers started at Ambleside in 2014, Liz has been a very active and faithful volunteer, helping with the yearbook team, scribing during exam week, assisting with dissections, attending open houses, performing various office tasks, and even helping a square dance. “During my time at Ambleside, I have seen every teacher and staff member guiding and instructing students — gently, patiently, encouragingly aiming toward growth. I’ve seen relationships form between families that have grown and lasted years. I’m sure many will last lifetimes. It is a blessing to me to work in the front office and my hope is that all families will find the same sense of belonging we have.”

Director of Office Operations: Mrs. Lorna Armani has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Denver and a Master of Science in Fire Protection Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Throughout a cross-country career in consulting engineering, project management and business administration, Lorna has always been passionate about the customer service aspect of each piece, whether providing such service to outside clientele, fellow teammates, or leaders in-house. Once Lorna and her husband Joel started a family, Lorna left the workforce to focus on raising their three children. It was during this time that Lorna and Joel discovered Ambleside. From that moment on Lorna has thrown herself into all things Ambleside, and now leads the support staff team consisting of admissions, marketing, and front office. Lorna loves the life-changing philosophy of education at Ambleside and the blessing of the Ambleside community. She looks forward to learning and growing here for many years to come.

Director of Admissions: Mrs. Rebecca Borger has a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (English, Biblical Studies, and Community Development) from Covenant College, where she and her husband Scott met on the cross-country team. After marrying and moving to Colorado, she worked as a grant manager and grant writer for a nonprofit dedicated to youth development and mentoring.  After the birth of her children, she was a stay-at-home parent while also volunteering in leadership at her church, MOPS, and Ambleside. She continues to enjoy giving her time in ways that develop and support community culture. Originally from Georgia, Rebecca had the joy of receiving a Charlotte Mason centered education during her middle school years. That experience made an indelible impact, and she began the search for a similar school in Denver long before her own two children came into the world. She and her family consider it a gift to be part of the Ambleside community: a group of life-long learners committed to growth of the mind, spirit, and character.

Marketing Coordinator: Mrs. Marsha Olsen was born in Hawaii but has called Colorado her home for over 30 years.  She and her husband have one daughter. Marsha has a background in real estate and marketing as well as in performing arts.  She has always loved children, and since becoming a mother, she has become even more passionate about child development and education.  Entering into the Ambleside community, Marsha fell in love with the Charlotte Mason educational philosophy. “I am convinced that this is exactly where God wants my daughter, my family and me to be.  I am amazed and humbled at how Ambleside has inspired me to grow not only in my relationship with Jesus, but in becoming who He created me to be.”  Marsha adopted her official marketing title in January 2019, after ably contributing to Ambleside’s marketing for years as a volunteer.  She also teaches Handwork to the 6th grade class.

TEACHERS

Kindergarten: Mrs. Tammy Rotello joined Ambleside in 2010, and became the Kindergarten teacher the following year. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Colorado. After marrying her husband, Steve, and moving to St. Louis, she received her Elementary Certification at the University of Missouri. She taught fourth grade for three years at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Missouri, and eventually moved back to Denver and had three children. ”It is through my children and their experiences that I began to rethink my views on education and how it is presented to the children. Charlotte Mason’s philosophy brought a sense of peace to my heart. I am thrilled to be a part of Ambleside, where a child is seen and valued as a person, and education is presented as a life-long journey.”

Grade 1: Mrs. Abby Gunn is a graduate of Wheaton College. As the oldest of seven daughters, she has always enjoyed learning alongside children. Abby has experience tutoring kindergarteners and 1st graders in reading and writing. She is thankful for formative experiences leading in a variety of outreach ministries, working in applied behavior analysis, and in developing and teaching spiritual development curriculum to adults in the Philippines. When discovering Ambleside and Charlotte Mason, it was clear that the philosophy was going to change her life. “I am certain that all parts of my life will be touched by this rich philosophy of learning. It is a delight to grow in and build relationships in this wonderful community”. She loves that Ambleside cares about the whole person- body, heart, mind, and soul.

Grade 2: Mr. Evan White joined Ambleside in 2017, after teaching for three years in the Denver Public Schools, mostly 2nd grade.  Evan graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2011 with a Bachelor of Psychology and Leadership Studies. He then served as a Team Leader in AmeriCorps in the Western US before moving to Aurora, CO in 2013 to pursue teaching. Since arriving in Colorado, Evan received his teaching certification through Denver Public Schools (DPS) and served as a specialist teacher helping students weak in mathematics, and then 2nd grade.  Throughout his time in Colorado, Evan has enjoyed serving in the Children’s and Hospitality Ministries of his church. He also loves walks with his wife Ashley and bouncing their infant daughter. Observing Ambleside from afar as the husband of an Ambleside teacher, Evan found that the philosophy was different from anything he had seen, and fundamentally good for students. Evan is grateful for the opportunity to work and grow in community at Ambleside, where Christ is at the center of the learning.

Grade 3:  Mrs. Heidi Kimball joined Ambleside in 2014.  She has taught 3rd and 6th grades.  She graduated from Colorado Christian University with a degree in Organizational Leadership and Management in Human Resources.  Heidi’s journey with the Charlotte Mason educational philosophy began several years ago with a single page and has since transformed her life in many ways, including a life lived more fully with her husband and three children. “I believe God prepared me for several years to join Ambleside School of Colorado,” she says, “and I daily enjoy learning and serving with this team.”

Grade 4: Mrs. Carrie Gerdes was born and raised in Texas.  She has a BA in Elementary Education from Texas Wesleyan University.  She taught 8 years in Texas, primarily 4th grade, before getting married to her husband, Aaron.  After getting married, they moved to Colorado where Carrie taught 6th grade for Douglas County Public Schools.   After having her two sons, Connor and Carson, Carrie took some time away from the classroom to stay at home. For the past 8 years, she has been teaching fitness classes at various gyms in the Denver area.    Over the past 2 years, Carrie has worked as a Master Trainer facilitating new instructor trainings across the United States. She is delighted to be returning to the classroom. Carrie is “especially thrilled to be working at Ambleside in a Christ-centered environment where children are really seen and valued as whole people.”  She is very excited to be a part of the Ambleside family.

Grade 5, Assistant Principal: Miss Candice Whitley.  See above.

Grade 6, Assistant Principal: Mr. Matthew Perkins. See above.

Junior High (Grades 7/8): Mr. Jessiah Bram joined Ambleside in 2015.  Jessiah has a degree in History with an emphasis in Secondary Education and Biblical Studies from Colorado Christian University.  After completing his student teaching in World History and Economics at Chaparral High School, he spent two years teaching Grades 5 and 6 at a local private school. While at CCU he played club ice hockey for two years and was team captain for one season. Jessiah and his wife, Nathalie, have led the college group at Littleton Bible Chapel, have a heart for missions, and are enjoying their sweet daughter.  Ambleside appeals to Jessiah for many reasons, though chiefly due to its strong, Christ-centered community and its emphasis on having students take primary responsibility for their learning.

Spanish Instructor : Ms. Kathy Luch taught junior high at Ambleside School of Ocala for three years, and 5th grade for Ambleside Colorado for one year. Prior to this, she taught international students at University of North Carolina, Charlotte and high school students at Tech of Monterrey in Mexico City. After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and a teaching credential from San Diego State University, she began to work for a non-profit Christian student organization in Arizona, Mexico, and California. During that time she received a Master’s Degree from Reformed Theological Seminary in Theology. These experiences brought out her love of teaching and learning, and after one of her best friends introduced her to Ambleside, it seemed a perfect fit. “I love seeing students inspired by a wide range of living ideas, and to see them come alive as they think critically and come up with new ideas of their own. It also brings me joy to see students grow closer in love for and knowledge of God and others.”

Mrs. Lani Whitley

Art Instructor: Mrs. Lani Whitley has worked at Ambleside since it opened in 2010. Lani has a degree in Art, with an emphasis in illustration, from California State University, Fullerton. She has loved art her whole life and still remembers the thrill of a new box of crayons or paints from her childhood years! Her teaching experience includes 10 years with Monart School of the Arts in Greenwood Village and four more years at the same location with Artful Journey Fine Arts School. She also spent 2 years teaching art for Heritage Elementary School in Highlands Ranch. “I am very excited to work with fellow teachers and students who possess such excellent goals in mind and heart. I am also glad to embrace the Charlotte Mason philosophy of teaching and apply it to our learning experience in the art room.”

Music Instructor:  Mrs. Joanna Malm has a BA in Music and has completed a post-graduate Certificate in Suzuki Pedagogy at the University of Denver. She has been teaching music to children since 2003 and is the founder and director of Noteworthy School for Strings. Committed to life-long learning, she has completed teacher training in Music Mind Games with Michiko Yurko, and has studied the Ploger Method of Music Perception and Cognition with Marianne Ploger at Vanderbilt University. Joanna has performed violin and viola throughout the US and England and is currently the Assistant Principal Violist of the Arapahoe Philharmonic. Joanna enjoys hiking, reading classic literature, and traveling to hear significant pipe organs throughout the world. She is delighted to be a part of the Ambleside community where students are able to grow and expand their personal expression by engaging in music and the arts.

Upper Grades Math Specialist, Grades 6-8:  Margaret Nordberg received her B.S. in Atmospheric Sciences from Oregon State University. She spent the next 13 years working for the National Weather Service as a Meteorologist specializing in Agricultural and Fire Weather Forecasting on the West Coast, ending that career as Meteorologist-in-Charge of the Concord, NH office. With a higher calling, she quit the NWS to stay home with two young sons, homeschooling from Kindergarten through 12th grades. She has privately tutored Math for 15 years. Her teaching experience includes 6th grade Math through Algebra 2 in a STEM-hybrid program during its first year, and two separate years teaching Geometry and Algebra II at Rock Solid High School. She has also taught Physical Science at Credo. Margaret is involved with youth and women’s ministry at her local church and has four granddaughters. She began teaching 6th through 8th grade Math at Ambleside in January 2019 and enjoys seeing the spark and interest as the students learn.

Jr. High Composition, Grammar and Citizenship: Mrs. Ann Johnson received her BS in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska and a Masters of Divinity from Denver Seminary. During and after her undergraduate studies, she worked in commercial and investment real estate and volunteered in the college ministry at her church.  Throughout that time she felt called to seminary. While at seminary, she volunteered in children’s ministry and eventually became the children and family pastor at a local church. For the past six years, she has been a stay-at-home mom to her three boys. She and her husband learned of Ambleside when thinking about schools for their sons. Having experienced the Ambleside community for years as a parent, she is glad to also be part of the staff in the discipling of children by educating them for life and not merely a test.

Handwork / First Grade Ambleside Afternoons: Mrs. Shannon Walker has a BA in Elementary Education, with Minors in Bible, History and English from FaithWay Baptist College in Michigan.  She has taught first, fourth, and fifth grades at an Elementary school, and has volunteered extensively in church children’s ministry.  Shannon has also worked with NSK Corporation in an administrative capacity.  Shannon attended an ASI internship and was trained as a teacher at an ASI Institute in 2014. She homeschooled her three children in Florida using this method and curriculum for four years.  “Ambleside has an atmosphere of helping others to grow and love learning. I desire for my own growth and to contribute to the learning and growth of children in
the Ambleside community.”
Teacher / Kindergarten Ambleside Afternoons: Miss Lesley Walbridge see above.

Kindergarten Aide:  Mrs. Faith Perkins joined the Ambleside staff in 2017.  She has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Malone University. During her teaching career, she taught 5th, 2nd and 1st grade. She cherishes the memories of growing up on a dairy farm in Ohio, thoroughly enjoyed the sweet southern hospitality they found in living in North Carolina and is loving the beauty of Colorado.  She, and her husband, Matt, have spent much of their marriage leading small group Bible studies and working with young adults.  For the last 10 years, she has been dedicated to raising her four children and building community with other families. She enjoys volunteering, working a home-based business around her family’s schedule, and teaching Ambleside afternoons.  “It is a joy to be in the classroom, and a blessing to help students recognize opportunities to learn and to watch them grow, especially in their relationship with Christ.  I am thrilled to be able to do that in a community as wonderful as Ambleside.”

First Grade Aide: Mrs. Jessica McKrill is a native of Colorado and a mom of three children. Prior to having her own little ones, she worked with children in a multitude of ways, including nannying and counseling youth at Camp Elim in Woodland Park, CO.  Jessica loves to sing and is very involved in the music ministry at her church. She and her husband, Chris, lead a small group from their home and enjoy cultivating the community around them. Discovering Ambleside Colorado through a family connection, Jessica has only continued to love each new thing she learns about it. She is passionate about Charlotte Mason and finds her philosophy life-giving, not only to children but in her own personal life as well, in and out of the classroom: “The philosophy and atmosphere of an Ambleside school is Biblically based.  I love that Ambleside is centered on Christ and interested in forming character as well as educating the mind.”