Head of School Diane Dunne

Diane Dunne

Head of School

Diane Dunne, Head of School, received her B.A. in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania and her Masters in Social Work from Atlanta University. Ms. Dunne has worked as an educator, both in teaching and administration, for over two decades.  Before coming to Mackintosh, Ms. Dunne worked for many years at Foothills Academy in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, teaching in first, second, seventh and eighth grades, and in high school, and also serving ultimately as head of the high school and interim head of school.  Prior to that, she worked as lead coordinator of a middle school program for an independent school in Atlanta, Georgia. She also has an extensive background in leading students on beyond-the-classroom learning experiences, such as service and wilderness/outdoor trips, both in the United States and Central America. She is committed to working with students to help them to foster a love for learning, a strong global awareness, and a sense of service. She enjoys reading, poetry, backpacking, cross-country skiing, spending time with her family, and learning, side-by-side, along with the young people in her classroom.

Beth Steklac

Assistant Head of School and Director of Admissions

Beth Steklac, Assistant Head of School and Director of Admissions, on the Littleton campus. Mrs. Steklac joined Mackintosh Academy in 2002 as a teacher and is a parent of two Mackintosh graduates. She holds an MBA from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Beth had participated in numerous IB trainings and workshops to enhance our IB program. Beth is passionate about the learning styles of gifted children, particularly in science and math. Beth is also an avid traveller and enjoys exploring our global community with her family.

Arleen Brogan-Smith

Business Manager

Arleen Brogan-Smith, Business Manager, began working at Mackintosh Academy in 2003 after a successful career in public accounting. She is accomplished in finance and accounting with experience in a wide range of accounting, financial management, internal controls, risk management, IT, payroll, HR and benefit functions. As a Certified Public Accountant she served private, public, and non-profit organizations. She compiled corporate, not-for-profit, partnership, and individual income tax returns, and audited private, SEC, and not-for–profits. She has owned and operated her own private company and worked with local CPA firm. She received the Bachelor of Science, Accounting, with highest honors and is a member of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Arleen is active in the local art community serving on the Board of the Colorado Watercolor Society and as a co-op member of the Lakewood Arts Council. When not working at accounting, she can be found playing, walking and training her dog, planting and weeding in the garden, or in her studio painting.

Sharon Muench

Curriculum Coordinator and Middle School Mathematics Teacher

Sharon Muench, Curriculum Coordinator and Middle School Mathematics Teacher, is responsible for curriculum coordination and daily teacher support in the areas of curriculum and instruction. Mrs. Muench has been affiliated with Mackintosh Academy since 1994 as a lead teacher, a co-teacher, curriculum coordinator, and the technology coordinator. She holds a Masters certificate from the University of Colorado in Web Based Instructional Technology. She has her B.A. from the University of Iowa in English and has her certificate in Secondary English Education. She is passionate about her position and highly invested in ensuring the tenets of the International Baccalaureate program and educational philosophy of Mackintosh Academy is fully lived at both campuses.

Lisa Weiske Conner

Pre-Kindergarten Lead Teacher

Lisa Weiske Conner, Pre-Kindergarten Lead Teacher, earned her BA, summa cum laude in Political Science from The Colorado College and worked in the business community with Nabisco Brands, Inc. as a Division Sales Manager and Trainer. As a working parent searching for the best early childhood environment for her son, she discovered the Montessori philosophy and method of education. This was to be a life-changing experience for her entire family. With her son Dylan’s graduation from Kindergarten, she began her education as a teacher and received her International Certification with Distinction from Montessori Centre International, England in 2002. Lisa worked for seven years in a private school, opening the initial primary classroom of ten students, and positively contributing as the program grew to five classrooms of 120 students. She moved to a charter school serving PK- Middle School where she developed and implemented the position of Instructional Leader for the Lower Elementary department. As an individual and teacher, Lisa believes strongly in the value and inclusion of new and different information, keeping current with the research and discoveries in education, learning from others, the ‘priceless’ possibilities of experience and allowing oneself to learn. Therefore, during the last few years, she has become Director Qualified, received her Colorado Teaching License ECE-Elementary, qualified for a Level V Early Childhood Professional Credential, and earned her MA in Education from the University of Colorado. Throughout this entire time she has appreciated the influence, direction and support of several strong, positive and inspired mentors committed to education and the child. Lisa believes Mackintosh Academy to be an amazing community of leadership, teachers and families which actively supports and facilitates an educational philosophy that values and prepares the whole child to be active, peaceful citizens of our world. This environment offers the optimal opportunity to continue her own journey and meaningfully contribute to those of the students. Throughout it all, her passion in life is to be a good mother, and kind friend. In her free moments, she likes to spend time with her family and friends, at movies, sporting events, and traveling.

Greg Ashworth-Fanch

Pre-Kindergarten Associate Teacher and Middle School Design Teacher

Greg Ashworth-Fanch, Pre-Kindergarten Associate Teacher and Middle School Design Teacher, received his teacher’s license through CU of Denver in 2005 by completing the teacher training program at Stanley British Primary where he co-taught under the supervision of two mentor teachers in a multiple-age classroom. Mr. Ashworth earned his BA in journalism with a minor in anthropology through Metropolitan State College. He has also completed nearly 2000 hours of study in therapeutic massage, half of those spent in anatomy, physiology, and neurology, and is a certified massage therapist. Greg has been at Mackintosh Academy since 2005 as the MS2 lead teacher. His passions in life include his family, sharing a love of learning, music, and mountain biking. During rare free moments Mr. Ashworth enjoys playing his blues harmonica, bamboo saxophone, and his Native American flute.

Rebecca Blauw

Kindergarten Lead Teacher

Ms. Blauw is now in her 16th year of teaching. She holds a degree in Behavioral Science and a Colorado Early Childhood teaching license.  She received an endorsement in Gifted and Talented Education through the University of Denver. Ms. Blauw has also worked as an instructional coach and reading recovery teacher. She taught at Mackintosh Academy for four years, worked briefly in another school and returned to Mack two years ago.

Lara Pausback

1st/2nd Grade Lead Teacher

Lara Pausback, 1st/2nd Grade Lead Teacher, holds a Colorado teaching license as well as a Colorado Reading Teacher license. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Colorado, Boulder as well as a masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado Denver. Additionally she is is Orton-Gillingham trained. After graduating with her bachelor’s she traveled in South America with her then future husband Joe Pausback, one of the 5/6 grade teachers at Mackintosh Academy, where she practiced her Spanish and became inspired to become a teacher. Upon returning to the United States she enrolled in a teacher licensing program in Durango, Colorado at Fort Lewis College. After receiving her Colorado Teacher License she moved back to Denver where she taught in public schools until she and her husband started a family. Since then she worked as a learning specialist helping children with reading difficulties until she came to Mackintosh Academy. She is currently the 1st & 2nd grade lead teacher at Mackintosh Academy.

Mindy Lambert

1st/2nd Grade Associate Teacher

Mindy Lambert, 1st/2nd Grade Associate Teacher, is a certified Preschool Director and holds a Colorado class K-6th grade teaching license. Her teaching experiences began in 1975 in public schools and later owned and operated a large day care facility in Littleton. As a top graduate from Loretto Heights College she also holds a degree in art history, fine arts, early childhood education, with additional education in business and photography. Graduate hours include emphasis in gifted studies, reading, art, literature, and history. Ms. Lambert comes with many years of experience teaching and managing elementary and early childhood education and special needs children. She has been with Mackintosh since 1996, opening and implementing our EC/pre-K program, and being a lead teacher in 1st and 2nd grades. Ms. Lambert’s passion for art is reflected in her teaching style, which integrates art projects with our units of inquiry, history, language arts, and science.

Lula Guilbert

3rd/4th Grade Lead Teacher

Lula Guilbert, 3rd/4th Grade Lead Teacher, began her experience in gifted education with her own elementary and secondary education. She went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Liberal Studies from Sonoma State and then earned her Masters of Education from UMass Boston. Throughout her college career, Lula worked with students ranging in age from preschool to high school and her educational philosophy was shaped in part by her interactions with children at various stages of growth and development. Lula moved to Colorado with her family in 2002 and began working at Mackintosh in 2003. She became the lead teacher in the Primary 2 classroom before taking time away to nurture her own young family. She returned to Mackintosh in 2008 and has been a lead teacher in the 2nd/3rd grade classroom. This year she is currently the lead teacher in our 3rd/4th grade classroom. Lula has a passion for gifted education and also has interests in gardening, paper crafting, dancing and cooking.

Heather Thomas

3rd/4th Grade Associate Teacher

Heather Thomas, 3rd/4th Grade Associate Teacher, graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Zoology and two minors in Marine Biology and Fine Art. After completing her undergraduate studies, she went on to attend Life Chiropractic College West and graduated as valedictorian. For many years, she lead a busy life of raising children, homeschooling, and practicing in a functional neurology practice, but came to realize that children have always been the center of her passion. She has always found joy in learning and wondering about the beauty of our world alongside her kids, and now that they are in school full time, she wants to continue that practice in the classroom setting. This year, Heather is excited to be a part of the 3rd/4th grade team as Associate Teacher, and the Mackintosh community as a whole. And of course, Heather loves spending time with her husband and four children (and dog!), as well as sailing, swimming, diving, and being in nature.

Joe Pausback

5th/6th Grade Lead Teacher

Joe Pausback, 5th/6th Grade Lead Teacher, known affectionately as “Mr. P” began teaching at Mackintosh in 1998. He received an undergraduate degree in anthropology and history from the University of Colorado in Boulder. After a brief career as a field archaeologist in Alaska and New Mexico, he returned to school and earned a secondary social studies license from Fort Lewis College. He later earned a Master’s Degree in elementary education from the University of Colorado at Denver. Mr. Pausback is passionate about his family and outdoor recreation. He is a very enthusiastic rafter, mountain biker, skier/snowboarder, and world traveler.

Nancy Muhich

5th/6th Grade Associate Teacher

Nancy Muhich, 5th/6th Grade Associate Teacher, is originally from Toledo, Ohio. She received a bachelor’s degree in Business with Marketing emphasis, as well as a Vocal Performance Minor from Miami University of Ohio. She spent eight years in business doing Software Test Engineering, Office Management, and Administration. With each job, she found ways to gravitate toward children. She took a break from the business world to raise her own kids, and is now pursuing her second career in teaching – a true passion for her. Nancy is the Associate Teacher in the 5th/6th grade classroom. She loves children and dogs, she dabbles in crafting, loves Halloween and is a roller coaster enthusiast. She is thrilled to be part of the Mackintosh family.

Alison Weems

7th/8th Grade Co-Lead Teacher and Middle School Math and Science Teacher

Alison Weems,7th/8th Grade Middle Years Math and Science Teacher, earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies (with a focus in education) from Brown University in Rhode Island. Mrs. Weems taught middle school science for 8 years at independent schools in New England and in Colorado. She founded her own tutoring business in 1997 and worked with middle and high schoolers in all subject areas with a focus on study skills for ten years. She later worked as an educational policy researcher for the Education Commission of the States in Denver and as a Program Coordinator for the Arapahoe/Douglas Career and Technical School based at Arapahoe Community College. As the daughter of a US diplomat, Alison enjoys sharing her experiences travelling around the world with her students. Outside of school, she enjoys skiing, hiking, biking, and yoga with her family.

Megan Rich

Language and Literature and Spanish Teacher

Megan Rich, Middle Years English and Spanish, holds a BA and Secondary Teaching Certificate from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Megan has lived in five countries, including Spain, China, Germany, Sweden and Japan, and has several years experience teaching at independent schools, including IB world schools throughout the world. She has also taught writing courses for Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development. An avid Shakespeare fan, Megan has seen Shakespeare performed on stages throughout the world and has taught his works every year of her career. Finally, she is a practicing writer and has published a young-adult novel (with a gifted adolescent protagonist) and a travel memoir. You will find few people as passionate about language, global awareness, and writing as Megan, and she loves bringing this passion to her classroom every day.

Maria Cardona

Spanish and Kindergarten Teacher

Maria Cardona, Spanish Teacher, completed her Social Communication Degree from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia and has taught in Ohio and in the Cherry Creek School District in Colorado. Maria has worked for Cherry Creek Schools both in the classroom and as a translator and interpreter. She moved from her native Colombia 13 years ago. She is very passionate about languages and the Hispanic culture and loves education.  Always pursuing new challenges, Maria decided this year that she wanted to experience life not only as a Spanish teacher but also as a Kindergarten teacher. She will be assisting our lead kinder teacher as well as teaching Spanish to pre-k through second grade students.  Maria has been part of the Mackintosh Academy community for the last six years. She lives with her husband and daughter and loves exploring Colorado and the Rocky Mountains.

Susan Jenkins

Spanish and Humanities Teacher

Susan Jenkins, 3rd-6th grade Spanish Teacher and 7th-8th grade Humanities Teacher, earned her BS in Social Work with a concentration in Spanish from the State University of New York College at Brockport and her MS in Elementary Education from The College of St. Rose in Albany, New York.  Over the past 30 years, Ms. Jenkins followed her passions for education and community involvement by working as a community organizer, homeschooling her three children, and teaching at all levels in the Rochester, New York school districts, ranging from preschool to high school.  During her 13-year tenure as a 7th-8th grade Spanish teacher, she developed a World Cultures class. In addition, she incorporated her love for fitness by obtaining her New York State Coaching Certificates for Cross Country and Track and Field, serving as an assistant coach, taught adult spinning and water fitness and earned a 200-hour Yoga Instructor certification. Ms. Jenkins left New York and moved to Colorado in 2016 to be closer to family and take advantage of the 300+ days of sunshine. Since moving, she has been enjoying time with family, cycling, and hiking with her dog, Blaze.

Kelly Kates

Performing Arts Teacher

Kelly Kates, Performing Arts Teacher, was born in Montreal, Canada and raised in Nigeria and Northern British Columbia. She earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy degree from Sam Houston State University and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Denver. She was a counselor and teacher for ten years at Options Alternative High School, where she led the school drama, dance and choral programs. Kelly has worked as an actress and choreographer in Denver for the past fifteen years, receiving recognition from the Denver Post and the Colorado Theatre Guild. She loves sharing her passion for the performing arts with children and youth. Ten years ago, she founded the children’s program at Town Hall Arts Center in Littleton. Before coming to Mackintosh, she taught musical theatre and tap dance for Centennial Academy of Fine Arts Education and the drama enrichment program for Wilder Elementary. Kelly and her husband live in Littleton with their two dancing daughters. She enjoys international travel with her family, and has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity in El Salvador and Canada.

Christy Allen

Christy Allen

Visual Arts Teacher

Christy discovered an interest in art at a young age and it has become one of her life long pursuits. She loves sharing this interest with others and learning together about the meaning behind and need for art making. She graduated with a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, majoring in painting. Christy traveled and lived overseas for a bit before settling down in her hometown of Denver. After seeing her youngest off to 2nd grade, she was able to pursue another passion of hers, teaching. She is a graduate of the Stanley British Primary teacher preparation program and is currently pursing her Masters of Human Development and Education from the University of Colorado-Denver. When not in the classroom you can find Christy creating children’s book illustrations, painting, hiking, reading, museum going, sitting under trees, and in the company of her three children, discovering over and over again how interesting and wonderful this world can be.

Patty Weston

Physical Education Teacher

Patty Weston, Physical Education Teacher, has a B.S. in Education from Emporia State University. Mrs. Weston has been the Physical Education teacher at Mackintosh since 1993. She has outstanding experience working with gifted children and truly enjoys witnessing their physical growth and development. Mrs. Weston also teaches a middle school math class. Mrs. Weston’s positive outlook in all situations is a wonderful model for our children and inspiring to our staff. Her passions in life are her family, tennis, and a variety of sporting activities.

Stacey Anderson

Stacey Anderson

Learning Specialist

Stacey Anderson, Learning Specialist, is returning to Mackintosh Academy after a three-year absence. Stacey taught at Mackintosh for nine years beginning in 2002 and then worked as an administrator at Mack for three years. Always searching for a challenge, Stacey taught part-time at Asbury Elementary in Denver for the past two years, working with teachers and students in grades K-5 specifically focused on interventions and accommodations to aid students in being fully engaged in their classrooms. Prior to 2002, Stacey taught in the Cherry Creek School District for 10 years, both in elementary and special education. Stacey has a Bachelor of Arts’ degree in elementary and special education and a Master of Arts’ degree in special education. She holds a current Colorado Professional Teaching License and was recently awarded her certification in English Language Acquisition. Her passion in education revolves around student success in accessing and engaging in learning. Spending time with her family (all three of her children attended Mackintosh, and just this past spring, Evyn graduated from DU, Reid graduated from CU and Isabella completed her freshman year at CSU) and playing tennis are her two favorite hobbies. Stacey and her husband, Wayne, spend lots of time in the mountains and are getting quite adept at navigating their newfound “empty nest.”

Kristi

Kristi Holmes Espineira

Director of Advancement

Kristi has been involved with Mackintosh Academy in a number of roles (parent, teacher, board chair) and is excited to be moving into her new role as Director of Advancement, where she will head up development, marketing and outreach for Mack Littleton. Kristi has an AB in English from Stanford University, and graduate degrees in English from the University of Arizona and UCLA. Most recently, she ran her own communications/social media consulting firm for small businesses. She’s looking forward to putting her writing and communications skills, and her deep passion for gifted education, to work in the service of spreading the word about Mack!