Faculty & Staff
2021-22 Classroom Teachers and Faculty
|Director of Business & Operations||Shannon Gossard|
|Community Learning Center Director||Tracy Evangelista|
|Office Manager||Jada Kankel|
|Special Education Teacher||Lauren Cole|
|Special Education Staff||Elizabeth Bayliss(Speech); Julie McIntire(OT); Robyn Williams (Psychologist)|
|Kindergarten||Dana Smith; Amber Hall|
|1st Grade||Alison Sloan; Keaton Smith|
|2nd Grade||Caitrin Cullen|
|3rd Grade||Lisa Thompson|
|4th Grade||Eilish Poe; Kirsten Schnell|
|5th Grade||Raleigh Fairchild|
|Music Teacher||Lorna Floyd|
|Visual Arts Teacher||Dianne Andrejasich|
|Expressions Teacher||Declan Brennan|
|Facilities||Randall Foss; Mike Fuller|
|School Nurse||Keri Dennison|
|Information Technology||Scott Wilson|
|Community Learning Center Teachers/Interventionists||Stephanie Trujillo; Brooke Bodnar; Breeann Sanchez; Patrick Mead; Rebecca Hyman; Whitney Davis;|
NICHOLE SCHLAGEL – PRINCIPAL
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.
SHANNON GOSSARD — DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS AND OPERATIONS
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.
JADA KANKEL — OFFICE MANAGER
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.
AMANDA WOODS — RECEPTIONIST/REGISTRAR
My name is Amanda Woods, and I am so excited to join AAK in the main office. I have five years experience in a school office, formerly with Thompson School District, and also four years of experience as an elementary paraprofessional. I love working with kids and watching them grow, and I already know this will be the best school I have ever worked at.
I am married and have three kids, two sons aged 18 and 13, and a 4-year-old daughter. We also have two crazy dogs and three chickens at our house. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in both English and History, and a Masters’s Degree in Multicultural / Transnational Literature. I have lived all over the US, from California to North Carolina, and lived three years in Okinawa, Japan, but I am a Colorado native and I am glad to be here in this part of the state. I love to read, garden, cook, bake, hike, camp, and spend time with friends and family.
AMBER HALL – KINDERGARTEN TEACHER
I am beyond excited to be teaching Kindergarten at the Academy of Arts and Knowledge! This will be my first year teaching! I am a Colorado native and absolutely love anything outdoors whether that be snowboarding, hiking 14ers, paddleboarding, or running with my dog.
I love the community AAK offers and can’t wait to welcome students and families into my classroom this 2021-2022 school year. Encouraging, supporting, and teaching children has been a lifelong passion of mine. I believe providing opportunities for children to strive, develop, learn, and grow is essential within a classroom setting. We are going to have such an amazing and fun year!
DANA SMITH— KINDERGARTEN TEACHER
KEATON SMITH — 1ST GRADE TEACHER
This year will be my 6th year as an educator at AAK! I have had the wonderful opportunity to work alongside Ms. Sloan, and together we have fostered a creative, engaging, and safe learning environment here in first grade. One of my favorite perks of this job is watching the students grow, not only in education but also in their confidence in themselves as creative individuals. I love working alongside educators who are here to make learning feel unique, positive, and enjoyable.
In my free time, I am usually playing video games, dancing around my house, spending quality time with friends, or up in Wyoming visiting family.
ALISON SLOAN — 1ST GRADE TEACHER
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 6th year in first grade with the best teammate in the history of teaching, Mr. Smith. As your child’s teacher I will work hard to show the students how amazing they are. Boosting confidence in academics and who they are as an individual are my goals as an educator. I’m looking forward to growing and learning with your child. In my spare time, I enjoy arts and crafts, video games, puzzles, and watching movies.
CAITRIN CULLEN — 2ND GRADE TEACHER
I am excited to be a Second Grade Teacher at the Academy of Arts and Knowledge! I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and moved to Fort Collins, Colorado for college. I enjoy all that Colorado has to offer, from skiing to hiking to boating on Horsetooth Reservoir. I am excited to create a community in our Second Grade class full of learning, fun, laughter, and hard work. It will be a fun 2021-2022 year!
LISA THOMPSON — THIRD GRADE TEACHER
I am so excited for my first full year here at AAK. My name is Lisa Thompson, I am married, a mother of three children (21,20, 14). I have been homeschooling my children for several years and teaching students English remotely over the past three years. I have a great PASSION for teaching!!! I am currently enrolled and attending CCU (Colorado Christian University) to obtain my Master’s in Education with a Focus on Curriculum and Instruction. I hold a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the University of Phoenix as well.
I have been with AAK since September 2021, I am honored and very proud to be a 3rd-grade teacher here. I look forward to the many adventures in learning and different projects that our third grade will do this year. The students are so creative and I love that I can integrate the subjects to help enhance their learning experience. I am also looking forward to working with such a supportive team of admin and teachers! Looking forward to an awesome year!!
EILISH POE — 4TH GRADE TEACHER
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.
KIRSTEN SCHELL— FOURTH GRADE TEACHER
I am excited to be teaching my 4th year of teaching at AAK this year. I have previously taught 4th grade at Rice Elementary and 6th grade at Preston Middle School in the Poudre School District.
I moved about six years ago to Fort Collins from Western Washington. All my family still lives there, and I dearly love the Pacific Northwest.
Before I obtained my teaching degree, I got my B.A. in Art History. I love incorporating visual elements into all my lessons. I love using both my passion for teaching and art to celebrate the learning process for all students.
RALEIGH FAIRCHILD — FIFTH GRADE TEACHER
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!
DIANNE ANDREJASICH – VISUAL ARTS TEACHER
I have taught at AAK since the opening of our school. Watching our highly creative students’ 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 of 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 almost unlimited potential for learning and creativity.” How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci
LORNA FLOYD – MUSIC TEACHER
I have been the music teacher since the 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.
DECLAN BRENNAN – EXPRESSIONS TEACHER
I am thrilled to continue my journey as a teacher at AAK, recently relocating from Dallas, Texas. Growing up I always had a strong love for the performing arts. Starting theatre in middle school, I struggled to learn the disciplines of the craft. But nonetheless, I preserved and have performed in countless productions since. That drive is what eventually led me to teach and I haven’t looked back since. I studied theatre at Cabrillo College for several years before moving to Dallas to teach. While there I taught for Drama Kids International and directed student productions with Art Centre Theatre. As a patient and compassionate teacher, I strive to create a safe learning environment in my lessons so that every student can feel comfortable to explore and achieve his or her full potential. All I ask of my students is that they participate and give their all in my class. If they do this, I truly believe that they will be successful in my class and learn a new way to express themselves.
LAUREN COLE— SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER
My name is Lauren Cole, and I am very excited to be a new member of AAK Elementary School. I have been teaching in many capacities for over 9 years. I graduated from NM Highlands University and started my teaching career in a small rural community in New Mexico. I am originally from Colorado and have family here, so I am thrilled to be back!
We all learn differently, so I look forward to helping you grow as a learner and a positive student. Students with a disability all have an ABILITY! The number one goal in my classroom is respect, and that we will be a school family and work together. I will only ask you to work as hard as I will.
When I am not in the classroom or teaching, I love to enjoy the outdoors, especially sunflowers! I have worked on a ranch with cattle, horses, and buffalo. My two absolute favorites are my son and our black lab, Duke!
ELIZABETH BAYLISS— SPEECH PATHOLOGIST
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!
JULIE MCINTIRE— OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST
“Today is a good day to have a good day!” This is the feeling that I get when working at AAK. I have been an occupational therapist (OT) for 39 years, with 22 of those years in the school setting. This is my second year providing OT services at AAK. It has been a joy working with the students and staff at this wonderful school. My OT role is to assist staff, students, and families to maximize student access, independence & participation in the academic setting. I look forward to continued participation at AAK and observing the success and growth of each student.
My husband and I landed in Colorado Springs in 1985. We have 2 children that were born and raised in Colorado Springs. After they both completed college at Colorado State University, they decided to remain in Northern Colorado to work in their chosen careers. In 2017, we had a grandchild on the way, so we packed up & headed North to join “the pack”. I love animals & have 2 German shepherds, a labradoodle, and a cat. When we have free time, we enjoy family time, camping, hiking, snowshoeing & skiing.
ROBYN WILLIAMS— SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST
I am a Colorado native and I am in my 20th year in education. I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology at Colorado State University and my Education Specialist degree in School Psychology at the University of Northern Colorado. Professionally, I love connecting with students and teachers to support their success at school and in life. I welcome the opportunity to partner with parents as well!
When I am not working part-time, I am usually enjoying my true passion in life – my amazing husband and 6 incredible children. We like hiking, road trips, camping, backpacking, snowshoeing – generally enjoying our beautiful Colorado backyard and beyond! When we don’t have a lot of spare time for exploring, I like to find moments to read or journal (usually while waiting in the car during someone’s sports practice).
TRACY EVANGELISTA— COMMUNITY LEARNING CENTER PROGRAM DIRECTOR
I am thrilled to be the Community Learning Center Program Director for the Academy of Arts and Knowledge. I earned my Master’s in Applied Sociology from The University of Indianapolis, in 2011. Since then, I have worked in gifted and alternative education, specializing in passion and interest-based, personalized learning opportunities. I plan to leverage Northern Colorado resources to foster learner creativity and build a program that bridges learning opportunities occurring in the classroom into before, after, and out-of-school breaks.
I moved to Loveland in 2013, with my husband and 2 boys (18 and 21). My husband and I are proud U.S. Navy veterans. Our oldest graduated from Aims Community College with a degree in air traffic control; our youngest is currently serving in the Navy as an air traffic controller. We love living in this area, but we are also wanderlust travelers. Most recently, we spent a week in a campervan touring Iceland, but we have also traveled to Thailand, England, Austria, Germany, Spain, France, Italy (including Sicily), Costa Rica, Honduras, Belize, Canada, Morocco, and Mexico. Occasionally, we travel stateside, but we love to call Colorado home and regularly enjoy everything the state has to offer.
Ideas are always welcome and opportunities are everywhere; please feel free to share programming ideas and opportunities with me.
STEPHANIE TRUJILLO— COMMUNITY LEARNING CENTER TEACHER
I was born and raised here in Fort Collins, Colorado. This will be my 3rd school year at AAK, and it has been an exciting adventure with new chapters since day 1! From the staff and faculty to the kiddos I couldn’t think of a greater combination of support and laughs. They make work truly enjoyable. When I am not helping out in the classrooms or around the school you can find me being crafty in all sorts of mediums; on a personal note I enjoy playing video games, traveling, and atving with my family. I found myself in an exciting role at AAK. I am loving this adventure, and the new paths it has led me and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m just here enjoying the ride!
REBECCA HYMAN— COMMUNITY LEARNING CENTER TEACHER
I was born and raised in Virginia and got my undergrad degree in West Virginia before I moved to Fort Collins in July of 2020. I have been with AAK since January of 2021 and I am excited to continue to be a part of this community of fantastic students and staff. I will be mostly doing morning CLC so keep an eye out for me if you drop your kids off early and you can sometimes see me at after-school CLC too. During the day I will be helping with interventions in the classroom and will also be around as a lunch and recess monitor. In my free time, I love to roller skate, hike, and bake!
BROOKE BODNAR— COMMUNITY LEARNING CENTER TEACHER
Bio coming soon!
BREEANN SANCHEZ— COMMUNITY LEARNING CENTER TEACHER
Bio coming soon!
WHITNEY DAVIS— COMMUNITY LEARNING CENTER TEACHER
My name is Whitney Davis. I moved to Colorado in 2012 from Missouri and have loved living here. I’ve traveled all over the United States and did tiny living for a year. I have two dogs, love hiking and I run free art Friday: the Fort Collins edition. I love houseplants and gardening and look forward to the start of our very own garden club here at AAK. I really appreciate the community here, the students are happy and confident and the faculty has been so kind, warm, and welcoming!
SCOTT WILSON— INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Bio coming soon!
RANDALL FOSS— FACILITIES MANAGER
As the facilities manager for AAK, I am grateful to be a part of such an outstanding educational family. The faculty and students here are continually enhancing my life with positivity and teaching me many great things a long the way. I truly enjoy caring for this school! It is like my second home!
MIKE FULLER— CUSTODIAN
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!