Academics/Faculty

All KCAA students enjoy thematic units that weave the arts into the day-to-day classroom. Teachers use foundation curriculum from Denver Public Schools to teach extended blocks in literacy and math, regular blocks in science and social studies and a variety of arts based electives. KCAA middle school students are offered dance, drama, music, digital media, 2-D and 3-D art and PE based on choice and availability.

KCAA teachers believe in stimulating our students with provocative questions that guide investigations and build deep understanding as well as the critical thinking skills necessary for the 21st century. Academic teachers use Chromebooks in addition to iPad technology in their classrooms to support student learning as well as collecting assessment data.

Secondary Assistant Principals
john

John_Delaney@dpsk12.org

John Delaney

Having the opportunity to be the Assistant Principal at KCAA and work with your creative students is not only an honor but also a genuine pleasure. The students, staff and community are so rich with ideas and energy that I feel like this is an excellent fit for all of us. I began my educational journey by teaching science in San Antonio, then moved to Colorado and worked in administration. As an assistant principal in Aurora Public Schools, I developed the leadership skills that have propelled me to Denver Public Schools. My experience is in working in a comprehensive high school that serves students of many diverse learning styles and cultures. My commitment to the KCAA community is that EVERY student receives a quality education- EVERY day!

 

 

 Erickson PictureLindsay_erickson@dpsk12.org

 

Lindsay Erikson

I am originally from western Massachusetts and I moved out to Denver after I graduated high school to attend the University of Denver to pursue my education, to play soccer, and enjoy the beautiful Rocky mountains. I have since made Colorado my home. I got married in 2012 and now have two wonderful and active twin toddlers. I am an avid and competitive snowboarder. I also enjoy hiking Colorado trails in search of ancient artifacts to add to my collection. I have been teaching high school social studies in DPS since 2005. I have two bachelor degrees in History and Anthropology from the University of Denver. In addition, I have two masters in Secondary Education and Gifted and Talented from DU. Currently, I am working on my third masters in Leadership through CU Denver. I enjoy the small school and family focused setting at KCAA and enjoy supporting students in their career and college goals to help them become successful in achieving their goals.

Meet the Teachers

6th Grade

Raylene Kaufman

Raylene_kaufman@dpsk12.org

Raylene Kaufman Language Arts Instructor

Ms. Kaufman loves teaching 6th grade Language Arts because she loves to see her students’ eyes light up when they connect with a text or share an idea for their own writing! She draws on the inspiration of her students when writing poetry, short-stories, and novels. Recently, she has become involved with a local reading program with her dog called “PAWS for Reading”. She writes short articles for pet therapy newsletters to share her experiences with children, books, and her dog, Minnie. She is a graduate of Knox College and The University of Mississippi, and this will be her 16th year of teaching. Ms. Kaufman – Language Arts Instructor

Clay Jessen

clay_jessen@dpsk12.org

Clay Jessen – Math Instructor

Mr. Clay is a 2002 graduate of South Dakota State University. He worked six years as an electrical engineer before entering the exciting world of teaching middle school math. Mr. Jessen is interested in learning the Spanish language, photography, film, reading, basketball, gardening, and hiking. He is passionate about mathematics and the arts, and is thrilled to share his love of learning with students at KCAA.

Website — https://sites.google.com/site/kcaa6thgrade/math-mr-jessen

Molly O'Malley

molly_o’malley@dpsk12.org

Ms. O’Malley – Science

Science and Art together, oh my! Kunsmiller is such a great place to learn about these things that I love. I grew up here in Colorado, back when Highlands Ranch still had real cows on it. After college at CSU, I spent several fun years working for the National Park Service. It was a exciting way to see the west and live in beautiful places. I landed in San Francisco and even spent a few years working on Alcatraz for the Park Service. I starting teaching in San Francisco and also worked at the Exploratorium Museum. After 18 years in California, I returned to be near family, here in Colorado, and obtain my Masters Degree at CU, Boulder. I have worked here in DPS for 10 years. I love to travel, read, and garden. My son Miles and I live with a 110 pound dog named Jolly and 7 guinea pigs.

 

Greg Jock

Gregory_Jock@dpsk12.org

Mr. Gregory Jock – Social Studies

I was born in Los Angeles, and moved to the South Metro Denver area when I was 6. I played baseball and graduated from Cherry Creek High School. I played Collegiate baseball at Hesston College -Kansas, and Colorado State University- Fort Collins. I graduated from Colorado State with a B.A. majoring in Political Science with a minor in History. I began teaching in DPS in 2007, while teaching I earned my Masters Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix. I was an assistant coach for baseball at the Freshman, JV, and Varsity level at Lincoln for a year and coached the KCAA team last year. I will be coaching the team, as well, this year.

Tiffany Templeton

tiffany_templeton@dpsk12.org

Ms. Tiffany Templeton – Math Instructor

This is my second year teaching math at KCAA, however this is my 11th year teaching in Denver Public  Schools. My husband I moved  here from Minnesota to enjoy the Colorado outdoors. You can find us hiking in the summers, and skiing in the winters. Three years ago we welcomed our little girl Adelynn and in October we will again welcome another little girl! I love passing on my passion for math to my students! 

 

 

 

ASHLEA-NICHOLE_SKILES@dpsk12.org

7th Grade

Gary Bahr gary_bahr@dpsk12.org

Mr. Gary Bahr – Science

Gary Bahr was born and raised here in Denver Colorado. He has two Bachelor of Arts degrees. One with a major in Recreation from Western State College in Gunnison Colorado and one with a major in Biology from Metro State College in Denver. He also received his teacher certification in secondary science from Metro State College. He has been teaching secondary science for over twenty years in Denver Public Schools. This is his first year at KCAA and he is excited to start this new path in his career. Being from Colorado he simply loves the Rocky Mountains and all that goes with them. Hiking, fishing, and 4-wheeling are at the top of the list.

Timothy Gilliam

 Timothy_Gilliam@dpsk12.org

Mr. Timothy Gilliam – Social Studies 

I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago. As I grew older, my family decided to move about 12 miles to the east to North West Indiana. It is at this time that I became a Hoosier. Well when in Indiana do what the Hoosiers do, so naturally I went to Indiana University Northwest campus. I met my future wife and we both finished our degrees, got married, and promptly moved down to sunny Florida. Overtime the heat became too stifling. We longed for the day of seasons. We moved to a cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We both taught in Asheville, NC. After 2 years of ice covered treachery, we decided we needed to find ourselves a city to live in. Now we are in Denver, Colorado. Both Laurie and I are very happy that we play for the DPS team.

Web: https://sites.google.com/a/dpsk12.net/7th-grade-social-studies-with-mr-gilliam/

Eric Mendoza eric_mendoza@dpsk12.org

Eric Mendoza – Math Teacher

Eric is from Medellin, Colombia and moved to Denver in 2003 with his wife Amparo and their two children, Felipe and daughter Fernanda. His wife is a stay at home mom, going to school to learn English and the children are already in mainstream classes. He is personally is very happy in Denver due to the tranquility this city offers. Eric attended the Universidad Eafit de Medellin’ and graduated in Business Administration. After graduating he was hired for three years to work for Chemical Bank in New York as a Loan Officer. When he went back to Colombia, he started an investment firm and sold it when they decided to move to the States. He is a eighth year as a middle school math teacher working on his Masters in Education. He was just awarded the Mile High Teacher 2008-2009 for Kunsmiller Middle School. Eric likes to go hiking with his family in summer and since they are new in the states they do a lot of road traveling as far as Florida, visiting the various cities Dallas, New Orleans, and of course Orlando (Disney). They have also visited Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and San Diego. They admire the roads and beauty of this country.

8th Grade

 

 

 

Kristie Burke
Kristie_burke@dpsk12.org

Ms. Kristie Burke – Literacy/English Language Development

Kristie Burke has been teaching Middle School Language Arts and English Language Development in SW Denver for the last 7 years! She hopes to guide her scholars as they become good readers, critical thinkers and active learners in their own communities. She truly believes that each student has the potential to become leaders in this world and Ms. Burke hopes to help all her students on their personal journeys. Ms. Burke loves all things related to young adult fiction and can be found climbing, mountain biking or performing yoga on her down time.

Special Service Provider

Rebecca Ramos

rebecca_ramos@dpsk12.org

 Rebecca Ramos – Special Education Instructor

Stephanie_wippel@dpsk12.org

Stephanie Wippel – Special Education Instructor

Stephanie Wippel is one of the middle school special educators here at Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy. She graduated summa cum laude from Metropolitan State College with a BA in Psychology and and a minor in fine art. She was selected to participate in Denver Teach Today, a rigorous alternative license program, where she earned her teaching license in Special Education. Prior to becoming a teacher, she worked as a paraprofessional in a Multi-Intensive (MI) classroom. This is her 9th year working for DPS.

 

ibonne_pineda@dpsk12.org

Ms. Ibonne Pineda – MS Counselor 

As the KCAA Middle School Counselor, Ms. Pineda works with students on academics, post-secondary readiness and personal/social development. This is her sixth year as a middle school counselor in DPS.

Ms. Pineda is originally from the greater Los Angeles area, and received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, with a minor in Education and Applied Psychology, from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She received her Master’s degree in School Counseling from San Diego State University. Her past work experience includes behavioral therapy with students with disabilities, and K-12 tutoring. In her spare time, Ibonne likes to hike, visit new places, and spend time with her family.

Ms. Pineda is available to meet with students either before or after school, or during recess. If you have an urgent concern, please get a pass from your teacher before stopping by 223C. She is here to make sure your students gain the necessary knowledge, attitude, and skills that will prepare them to be successful in middle school.