2020-21 Classroom Teachers and Faculty

Additional staff may be added throughout the summer.

Principal Nichole Schlagel
Director of Business & Operations Shannon Gossard
Assistant Principal Dylan Bono
Receptionist Jada Kankel
Registrar Registrar
Special Education Teacher Theresa Dreyer
Special Education Staff Elizabeth Bayliss(Speech)Julie McIntire(OT); Robyn Williams (Psychologist)
Kindergarten Jessica Guindon; Dana Smith
1st Grade Alison Sloan;  Keaton Smith
2nd Grade Alison Sloan; Tedi Tatro
3rd Grade Amy Jenes;  Eilish Poe
4th/5th Grade ELA and SS Kristen Rubenthaler
4th/5th Grade Math and Science Samantha Siu
Music Teacher Lorna Floyd
Visual Arts Teacher Dianne Andrejasich
Wellness Jeanett Turriago
Facilities Mike Fuller
School Nurse  Keri Dennison
Information Technology Scott Wilson

Learn about our Faculty Favorites!


Email: nschlagel@aakelementary.org

My name is Nichole Schlagel and I am honored to be the Principal at The Academy of Arts and Knowledge!
I live in Fort Collins with my family.  We are very busy with 3 children (18, 17, and 10).  My oldest is starting college so we are preparing him for his new adventure.  We enjoy camping, car shows, and being outdoors.  We are always up for trying something new and taking advantage of the social activities Northern Colorado has to offer.
I have been in education for many years and I have a passion for personalizing education to support students in reaching their personal best.  I believe every student has a right to achieve at high levels.  It is our responsibility to provide the necessary support to help them reach their goals.  When students feel safe and secure in their learning environments they will take risks and discover their passion for learning.  As a community, we will continue to work together to increase academic achievement as well as the social and emotional well-being of all of our students.


Email: sgossard@aakelementary.org

From the moment I stepped into this school, I was blown away by the amazing things that teachers do every day with their students and the amount of passion and dedication they have for each and every child they work with. Over the last eight years, I have seen immense growth in our students and witnessed them blossoming into confident and expressive students who have the ability to think critically about the world around them. I am honored to be able to support such an amazing community of staff, students, and parents.


Email: dbono@aakelementary.org

I am so excited to be a part of the AAK community.  This year marks my 18th year in education, 10 years in school leadership, and the last 4 years as an Administrator. 

I have been blessed to have a work background that is exciting and eclectic. I have worked in the field of Information Technology, been a personal Banker, provided Host-Home services for the Developmentally Disabled, and served honorably in the United States Navy. While in college at the University of New Orleans, one of the greatest “Food” cities in the world, I developed a love for Culinary Arts-I am a “foodie”! I enjoy spending time with my family, being outdoors, and I love Music, Art, and sports-especially the Broncos!! 

Academy of Arts and Knowledge is a wonderful opportunity for me both personally and professionally. Getting to know the students and their families has been an honor. I am so excited to grow in my field through shared experiences with the exceptional staff at AAK that are just ahead. All of these opportunities will lead to my contribution in building the paths that will lead our students to their hopes and dreams!  


Email: jkankel@aakelementary.org

Both of my children are alumni of the school. I have been working here since 2009 and my heartstrings are tied to the children and staff. This school embraces students with differences and teaches them to be comfortable in their own skin. Students graduate from school with a confidence in who they are and acceptance for who others are. I greatly enjoy working with this community and I look forward to meeting new and returning students and staff in the fall.


Email: jguindon@aakelementary.org

I’m a language-lover originally from Birmingham, Alabama, who came out to Colorado to complete my Master’s degree and never left! I have my BA in French and English and I am in the process of learning Spanish! My hobbies include reading, watching TV shows, cuddling my dog and cat, tending to my plants, and eating at restaurants with my husband Spencer. In my free time, I enjoy walking or biking outside and volunteering at the Larimer Humane Society.

I’m excited to start my second year teaching Kindergarten here at AAK. In my 5 – going on 6 – years of teaching, I have never felt so welcomed into a community as I have at AAK. I love how teachers and students are encouraged to embrace and showcase their creative sides here. Last year was my first year doing Drama Club and it was a blast! I’m so stoked to welcome all our new AAK Dragons into Kindergarten for the 2020-2021 school year!


Email: dsmith@aakelementary.org


Email: ksmith@aakelementary.org

Working at this school definitely feels like a family community. We have out of this world educators, creatively fueled students, and hard-working volunteers. I’m excited to begin my fifth year teaching first grade for the 20-21 school year! It’s truly so much fun working alongside the primary team, motivating youth to collaborate and inspire one another to the best of their abilities. I love to teach, and being at this school amplifies my love to a new level. So, what are you waiting for? Come explore the creative arts, and join our magical AAK family!


Email: asloan@aakelementary.org

I’m so excited to begin another year here at AAK. This is the most amazing school I have taught at. I love the freedom to be creative and to explore with the students. I’m beginning my 5th year in first grade with the best teammate in the history of teaching, Mr. Smith. I am also beginning my 1st year of teaching 2nd grade with the fabulous Mrs. Tatro. I can’t wait to start this new adventure of teaching a combination 1st/2nd classroom. We will work hard to make every day an adventure for our students.



Email: ttatro@aakelementary.org

I am so excited to be a part of the team at The Academy of Arts and Knowledge as a 2nd-grade teacher this year. I look forward to working with the amazing team here at this school and bringing my own knowledge and passion to it. This will be my third year in Fort Collins, originally having grown up in Walla Walla Washington. In my free time, I love to read, hike, and snuggle my two cats Pip and Doctor. My husband and I also enjoy traveling and exploring new places.  I am looking forward to seeing what we can do together in the classroom. I can’t wait to make this year great!


Email: epoe@aakelementary.org

I am extremely excited to be a part of this wonderful community.  For the last 2.5 years, I have been working at Bauder Elementary, here in Fort Collins. I grew up in Dallas, Texas and moved to Colorado when I was 18 to come to Colorado State University. I am an extremely community-based teacher, and feel like AAK is going to be a great fit for that.


Email: ajenes@aakelementary.org

I am thrilled to take part in shaping The Academy of Arts & Knowledge into a close learning community with a family feel. I love connecting with my students and want each of them to know that they are cared for and respected at school. I am looking forward to my 8th year at AAK because I love having the ability to incorporate the arts into my classroom learning and I love the community that we have here.  This year is especially exciting because I get to see both new and familiar faces in third grade!  In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, picnicking, traveling, baking, bird-watching, playing games and just being silly with my family.


Email: ssiu@aakelementary.org

I am so excited to be a part of the AAK community!  I am born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, which is also where I received my Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and my Bachelors of Education.  I recently got married which has led me to northern Colorado and I have fallen in love with this state!  If I am not in the classroom, you can probably find me hanging out with my husband and puppy, Paxton.  We love being outside and enjoying the fresh air and nature.
I can’t wait to meet my new group of students.  I look forward to creating a family community where we can learn to make mistakes and make mistakes to learn.  With a background in the fine and performing arts, I am excited to see how we can work together in integrating these ideas with the academic curriculum.  I believe students learn best when they have the freedom to express themselves and their creativity.  Education is a unique and personal journey for every individual and I am excited to embark on this one with all of you!”


Email: krubenthaler@aakelementary.org

The Academy of Arts & Knowledge has been a wonderful school to be a part of. We have had the best teachers, and I am so happy to work with and learn from them. I have had the opportunity to use my creativity to find innovative ways to teach my students. From going on Viking raids, to learning and trying out Roman battle tactics. We have spent time creating mosaics, and writing about our “first-hand experiences when Mount Vesuvius erupted.” We have worked with many different classes and grades to help our 4th and 5th graders become the teachers and leaders, and share what they have learned with the younger grades.

I have loved teaching here for the past five years and I am looking forward to working with a new group of amazing students. I love combining my love of History and English together to really go deeper into both subjects. I am really looking forward to working with the students to create new things that are unique to our class!


Email: tdreyer@aakelementary.org

As a master’s level Special Education instructor with a specialization in Specific Learning Disabilities, I am here to help you take care of business regarding your concerns with your child’s progress in the areas of Reading, Writing, and Math.   

My approach to instruction involves the belief that if a student is not learning then something is not right with what or how I am teaching.  This contrasts with the idea that when the student isn’t learning, something is wrong with the student. 

I believe that some students learn in a different way, and am a witness to how all students benefit when we accommodate for these differences. I love the analogy of Colorado mountain flowers.  They don’t bloom on schedule. They bloom when they are ready. Their beauty is a direct consequence of adapting to a unique environment.  Their ability to thrive is an inspiration.

I am looking forward to working with the staff and families for my first year at the Academy. I feel I am a great fit with my background at a fine arts magnet school in Minneapolis, Minnesota and over 15 years working with students with unique needs.


Email: ebayliss@aakelementary.org

My name is Elizabeth and I am a Speech-Language Pathologist. Although I am a native Oklahoman, I have lived in several states (TX, NJ, MO) throughout my journey, and I am so grateful to have landed in Fort Collins! I received my Bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and completed my Master’s degree at Rockhurst University. I have worked in several settings including home healthcare and outpatient clinics, but I am especially excited to be working in a school setting with such a devoted team and supportive community. I have a passion for communication and believe every child’s “voice” is important. My mission as a speech therapist is to provide the tools, support, and encouragement each child needs to understand and communicate in his or her world. Communication is the key to connection!

In my free time, I enjoy reading, yoga, art projects, and exploring Colorado with my Blue Heeler, Buckley Blue!


Email: dbrenner@aakelementary.org

Bio coming soon!


Email: dandrejasich@aakelementary.org

I have taught at AAK since the opening of our school. Watching our highly creative student’s brilliance shine has been one of the greatest inspirations in my 20-year education career. Before I received my teaching license I worked as a commercial and fine artist for 20 plus years teaching art as an artist-in-residence for schools.

 As a young elementary school student, several core academics were difficult for me because I learn differently than most people. Ingenious teachers guided me with different learning methods opening new doors for me and raising my academic studies.  Thus, I strive to unlock frustration in students who need a different approach to many academic subjects through the visual arts.  Along with motivating them to soar to new heights in their artwork.  Our art projects begin with a goal giving students choices for exploring various materials that will complete their imaginative concepts building confidence with their accomplishments.

My goal in the visual arts is not assembling project activities with little room for creativity.  Instead, students will go beyond their initial ideas to develop higher-order thinking skills in their approach to artistic problem-solving.  “Genius is made, not born. And human beings are gifted with an almost unlimited potential for learning and creativity.”  How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci


Email: lfloyd@aakelementary.org

I have been the music teacher since fall of 2010. I love how our school music program meets and exceeds the Colorado State Music Standards in a unique way–by offering an elementary instrumental program!

When I am not in my classroom I’m in my many gardens with my husband and three little dogs or making my own music! I play alto saxophone with the funk band Archie Funker, flute with Bole Bole Brazilian band, and clarinet and vocals in my own ensemble, Lorna’s Swingset.


Email: jturriago@aakelementary.org 

My name is Jeanett Turriago. I am from Bogota, Colombia, South America, but I lived abroad most of my life. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education from Universidad Pedagogica in Bogota, Colombia, a Master’s in Infancy and Childhood Motor Development from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana and a Graduate Degree in Didactics of Spanish as a Foreign Language from University of Barcelona, Spain. I have been teaching Physical Education and Spanish as a Foreign Language for more than 20 years in International Schools. I love teaching, and feel very fortunate for having the opportunity to interact with children from different nationalities and cultures. In my free time, I enjoy exercising, going to the movies and traveling with my husband and children.



Email: swilson@aakelementary.org

Bio coming soon!


Email: facilities@aakelementary.org

Hello! I am anxious to start working and to meet all the staff and kids.  I am an easy-going guy and have a great sense of humor!  I am also a sports nut.  My favorite teams are the Raiders, Yankees, and Lakers.  I am engaged to a beautiful lady!