2017/2018 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!
Principal: Mr. Andrew Hayes joined up as principal for his second stint at Ambleside Colorado in 2016 after serving for two years as principal at Ambleside Boerne (Texas) and for three years as a junior high teacher at Ambleside Colorado. During his time as a teacher, he worked with Ambleside Schools International to coordinate junior high teacher training and conference calls. 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. He 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 children under the age of 4, Evan and little Margaret, who are already learning the fight song and alma mater. 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 board games.
Assistant Principal, Teacher; Junior High (Grades 7/8): Miss Candice Whitley has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Mathematics, from Gordon College, and a Masters of Education, focused on meeting the needs of diverse students, from Vanderbilt University. She has taught 5th grade and middle school math in the greater Metro Denver area for 6 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 this opportunity to participate in a learning environment that cherishes the heart and potential of every student.”
Office/Business Manager: Mrs. Sheila Howell joined Ambleside’s staff in 2010 and brings twenty years of office experience in business and six years at a local Christian school. She attended Texas Tech and CU Denver, and is married with four boys. She loves being a part of Ambleside “because of its alignment with family values. I enjoy working with the Ambleside community and supporting them with my administrative skills.”
Office Coordinator: Mrs. Debra Hart has worked at Ambleside since the spring of 2012. She has taught Conditioning, Ambleside Afternoons with first grade students, was a substitute across all classrooms and is currently in the front office supporting the school. Debra graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing. She worked in the corporate world for nine years before leaving to raise her family. Debra has home schooled her four sons during their early elementary years, and has taught Apologetics to middle school students at Foothills Bible Church. She has attended Ambleside Schools International’s Institute for teacher training. Debra “relishes the idea of being a co-learner with the children and watching them grow in their relationships.”
Director of Admissions: Ms. Annie Nordby‘s bio can be viewed on the below under the Teachers section.
Teacher, Kindergarten: Mrs. Tammy Rotello joined Ambleside part time 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 studied Elementary Education at the University of Missouri and received her Elementary Certification. She taught fourth grade for three years at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Missouri. She 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.”
Intern, Kindergarten Aide and 1st Grade Ambleside Afternoons: Ms. Stacey Stouffer
Teacher, Kindergarten Ambleside Afternoons: Mrs. Faith Perkins
Teacher, Grade 1: Mrs. Alicia Patterson has been fascinated with Ambleside’s approach to education since childhood where she got to see it in action in the life of her future husband, Darren, whose family homeschooled using this educational philosophy. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in Liberal Arts and then attended Bethel School of Ministry with an emphasis in Children’s Ministry. She has always had a passion for working with children, whether subbing in the local school district, teaching after-school programs or educating underprivileged children overseas. Alicia thinks that her greatest teaching adventure has come with the arrival of her three children and she loves to hike and enjoy God’s beautiful creation with her family. “Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education has been transformational in the life of my family. It is one of my greatest joys to get to watch the eyes of a child light up as they encounter a living idea.”
Teacher, Grade 2: Mr. Evan White 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. He continued teaching in DPS for three years, predominantly as a second grade teacher. 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.
Teacher, Grade 3: Mr. Matthew Perkins 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, and taught high school English for eight years along with coaching track. While there 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 and 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. While leaving amazing friends, family and church, Matt and Faith feel Ambleside is where God wants Matt for this next chapter of their lives. Matt is excited to return to his home state and is looking forward to spending time outdoors. He is excited to share his passion of learning with the students and is looking forward to having his children attend the school at which he teaches.
Teacher, Grade 4: Mrs. Rebecca Merskin holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Elementary Education from Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. She has been teaching elementary school for 13 years, ranging from grades two to five, in both public and Christian school settings. She has also coached high school volleyball for two years at a previous school. Mrs. Merskin first encountered Charlotte Mason’s philosophies 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, ages 5 and 6. She enjoys reading, playing or watching any kind of sport, singing, and playing the piano.
Teacher, Grade 5: Ms. Kathy Luch taught junior high at Ambleside School of Ocala for the past three years. Prior to this she taught international students at UNC 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 the philosophy at Ambleside, it seemed a perfect fit. “I love seeing students inspired through 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.”
Teacher, Grade 6: Mrs. Heidi Kimball graduated from Colorado Christian University with a degree in Organizational Leadership and Management in Human Resources. She joined Ambleside in 2014. Heidi’s journey with the Charlotte Mason 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.”
Teacher, Junior High (Grades 7/8): Mr. Jessiah Bram 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, lead the college group at Littleton Bible Chapel, and try and get into the wilderness to backpack as opportunity permits. Ambleside is appealing to him for many reasons, though chiefly due to its strong, Christ-centered community and its emphasis on having the students take primary responsibility for their learning.
Teacher, Junior High (Grades 7/8): 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 undergrad, 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 two years as a parent, she is excited to join the staff in the discipling of children by educating them for life and not merely a test.
Teacher, Spanish Instructor/Ambleside Afternoons (Grade 1): Annie Nordby joined Ambleside in 2014 after teaching beginning Spanish for many years, most recently at a small Christian school on Long Island. A former homeschooling mom of five sons, Annie is a native of Colorado and is thrilled to be back home after a four year stint in New York. Annie was an English/Political Science/Mass Communication major at the University of Denver, and a field producer and assignment editor at CNN’s Washington Bureau. She has also been co-owner of two family-owned small businesses. Annie sees God’s hand on her life through all these diverse experiences, and is grateful that He has answered her prayer “please give me something wonderful to do in Denver!” by leading her to Ambleside. She very much looks forward to learning alongside the students again this year. Annie has four daughters-in-law, and no grand-babies — yet!
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 Cal 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 about the opportunity 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.
Teacher, Math Specialist: Mrs. Meagan Howell became the 2nd grade teacher at Ambleside in 2011. She graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder with a B.S. in Business Administration with a focus in accounting. She spent two years working as a tax accountant for public accounting firms in Colorado. Meagan has taught and coached swimming for over 10 years, most recently as the head coach for a team of 107 boys and girls age five to 18. Her work as a coach led her to pursue a teaching license through Western State College of Colorado. She has taught 3rd grade as an intern at Governor’s Ranch Elementary in Jefferson County before joining Ambleside. ”I am so grateful to have the opportunity to teach at Ambleside alongside people who are dedicated to helping children develop a lifelong love of learning.”
Lower Elementary Teaching Coach: Mrs. Ashley White taught mathematics at a Kipp Charter School in Atlanta, Georgia prior to joining Ambleside. She graduated from The Georgia Institute of Technology in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Management and spent three and a half years working in business project management before pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher. Throughout and after college, Ashley enjoyed serving in various capacities in the Children’s Ministry of her church, in addition to tutoring and mentoring students through Whiz Kids. She received her Teaching Certification through Teach for America in Atlanta, Georgia before joining Kipp. “I am so thankful to have the opportunity to teach children in an Ambleside school, where children are encouraged and taught how to love learning as a means of learning about and falling in love with God, as revealed to us through Jesus Christ.”
Intern, Kindergarten – 2nd Grade Art/Conditioning/Handwork: Miss Audrey Voorhees
Arrowsmith Program™Teacher: Mrs. Chris deRidder grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, IL. where she knew at a very early age that she wanted to be a teacher. After earning her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education at Dordt College in Iowa, she accepted her first teaching job in Alameda, CA. During this time Chris got engaged and her fiance encouraged her to move to Denver, CO which she happily did! In Denver Chris taught at Van Dellen Christian School for six years. Teaching Sunday school, tutoring and raising their four children kept her busy outside of the classroom for the next twelve years. With her youngest in school full time Chris was recently able to return to the classroom and to teach the Arrowsmith Program™ at Ambleside. Chris appreciates the way the Arrowsmith Program™ incorporates neuroplasticity, cognitive exercises and hard work, all of which align well with Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education.
The Arrowsmith Program™ is currently being offered at Ambleside as a two-year pilot program and only to students who have been Ambleside students for at least two years.
“Throw perfection into everything you do…let everything he does be done well.”