2018/2019 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!
“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.”
Director of Admissions: 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 and from that moment on Lorna has thrown herself into all things Ambleside, especially Admissions, where she loves to share the life-changing philosophy of education at Ambleside with others. She loves the blessing of the Ambleside community and looks forward to learning and growing here for many years to come.
Office Manager: Miss Kristin Carmickle has a Masters in Christian Education from Dallas Theological Seminary with a Concentration in Parachurch Ministry, and a BA in in Spanish Language and Literature with a Minor in Linguistics form Liberty University. She has served as Assistant Editor for a Christian publishing company, as Legal Assistant for a law firm, as Academic Administrator for Kauai Bible College, and as Administrative Assistant for an Insurance company. During the summer of 2018 Kristin traveled to Myanmar with some faculty and board members from Ambleside who highly recommended her for the Office Manager position at Ambleside.
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.”
Ambleside Fellow: Mrs. Lauren Kraig divides her time between the office and the classroom, blessing the school with her writing, organization and teaching skills. Lauren came to Ambleside in 2018 from Houston, Texas, with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Wake Forest University and a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte. She has coached students through the college admissions process, taught 10th grade English, served as a Director of College Placement/Registrar, and worked for a campus ministry at Rice University. She and her husband Stephen moved to the Denver Metro area in June 2018. Lauren is thrilled to have found Ambleside Colorado and be serving in a school where children are respected as persons and where a wide feast is spread before them full of rich texts and living ideas. She has a passion for discipleship and sees Charlotte Mason’s concept of habit formation as a key component of spiritual growth.
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: Miss Audrey Voorhees joined Ambleside in 2017. She was born and raised in Northern Virginia as the child of one of the founding families of Ambleside Herndon, and is an Ambleside graduate. During her time as an Ambleside student (Kindergarten through 8th grade), she came to value the rich education she received and to deeply appreciate Charlotte Mason’s philosophy. She is passionate about the outdoors, youth ministry, creativity, and cooking. Audrey graduated with a degree in General Psychology from Azusa Pacific University, where she also served as a Resident Advisor for 40 freshman girls, and came to love her role as a mentor. She has served in summers as a RMR Backcountry (Young Life) backpacking guide. She is so glad to work at Ambleside Colorado, and to help her students experience the same great education she received as an Ambleside student!
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. Rebecca Merskin has been teaching elementary school for 13 years, ranging from grades two to five, in both public and Christian school settings. She also coached high school volleyball for two years. Rebecca holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Elementary Education from Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. She first encountered Charlotte Mason’s philosophy while researching various teaching methodologies online, and immediately began pouring over Miss Mason’s works. Later, she was thrilled to discover Ambleside Schools International, and began investigating the various schools nationwide and, upon discovery of Ambleside Colorado, felt called to apply. “The fact that, ‘At Ambleside, children are not identified or limited by their strengths or weaknesses’ really resonated with me, not only as a teacher, but as a parent myself.” Mrs. Merskin is married and has two children. She enjoys reading, playing or watching any kind of sport, singing, and playing the piano.
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.”
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.
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.
Kindergarten Ambleside Afternoons: 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.”
Intern, Kindergarten Aide, Handwork: Ms. Stacey Stouffer joined Ambleside in 2017. She is a Colorado native with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Colorado State University and she is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts at Denver Seminary. She has 3 years of volunteer experience with a local youth group and enjoys teaching in the children’s ministry at her church. She is grateful to work in an environment where children are challenged creatively, spiritually, and intellectually in a community that supports God’s inherent purpose in each child. She also loves the energy, curiosity, and excitement that children exude, and is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Ambleside community.
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.”
Ambleside Fellow: Mrs. Lauren Kraig. See above.