Meet our 2022-23 school year staff members
Originally from Maryland, I have been fortunate to call Denver my home since 2007. Over the years, I have served as a classroom teacher, an Assistant Principal in a K-8 school, and a Principal at both the high school level and elementary level. I was hired at Park Hill Elementary in the Spring of 2015, and began my first year as Principal at PHE in the 2015-2016 school year. Since then, we have created a school environment that is joyful, and is inclusive and welcoming to all students and families. Overall, it is a true honor to serve the community in which I live.
I have been working in education for 20 years, and I am grateful to be starting my 4th year at Park Hill. I started in education as a kindergarten teacher, where I stayed for many years, as my family grew, my job shifted. I worked as an English Language Development Teacher, a Social Emotional Learning Coordinator, an Instructional Coach, and all of those experiences led me here.
When I am not at school, you can find me with my family. I have three daughters that keep my husband and I very busy. We like to hang out in City Park, and find adventures all around the state of Colorado!
Hello, I’m Belle Newman and I am the ECE-PreK teacher here at Park Hill. I have been teaching for 12 years in DPS and I came here to Park Hill Elementary in the fall of 2017.I have lived just across the blvd for 21 years with both of my children graduating from East High. My goal as an educator is to provide a loving, safe, and respectful environment for all students and their families. I believe that all cultures, life experiences, identities, and belief systems should be honored and cherished. I teach the whole child and understand that social-emotional learning is just as important as 1,2,3s and A,B,Cs. I am honored to and love teaching in such a wonderful and caring school community.
Early Childhood Education Teacher
Michelle (Belle) Newman
Hello! I have been in education for 6 years with two of them being a teacher at Park Hill. Before moving back to Colorado, I had been working in outdoor education working with students on recreation skills like backcountry skiing, rock climbing, and more. My classroom works off of a mutual love and respect for learning, with a focus on positive relationship building each day. My favorite part about teaching is being present for the tremendous growth in which our students go through in their academic careers and personal lives; they bring such creativity and light to every interaction and it is genuinely inspiring. Outside of school you will mostly find me playing in the mountains and rivers with my dog, cooking, or going to shows. I am so grateful to be a teacher at PH and have the opportunity to work with such wonderful families and their students.
Louisa (Lulu) Kennedy
This is my 29th year in education.
Came to Park Hill in 1999 (hahahahaha whoa!)
Favorite subject to teach is writing
PHE is my home away from home, like a family to me
Favorite thing about Kindergarten is watching them bloom into lifelong learners
I love to spend time with my family, sail, play tennis, and travel.
I recently started teaching at Park Hill this school year and love the community and families I serve already! I have been in education in various forms (Autism consultant, 1st and 3rd grade teacher, paraeducator, and preschool teacher) for about 8 years. I was born and raised in California and my family and I have been in Colorado since 2016. My favorite part about teaching is the relationships I build with students and watching their confidence and skills grow throughout the year. Outside of school, my husband, dog and 2 children enjoy camping, watching movies, and going to dinner.
This will be my third year teaching, all of which have been at Park Hill!
My favorite part of my job is spending my days with my students and seeing the joy of their learning. I also love making memories as a class to cherish forever.
Outside of school I love to spend time with my husband and son. We usually spend our weekends outdoors - hiking, camping, rock climbing, or skiing!
1st Grade Teacher
Years in Education: 18
Year started at Park Hill: 2007
I am excited to join the 1st grade team!
I love skiing, walking my dog, and hanging out with my family!
1st Grade Teacher
2 years in education, 2 years at park hill
- Interests in teaching / working at PHE / Favorite part of your job
being apart of a strong community, favorite part is seeing the growth kids have from the start to end. Also being around pure joy.
- Interests outside of school
Camping. biking, climbing, hanging out with family and friends.
2nd Grade Teacher
This is my 13th year teaching, and my 8th year at Park Hill, I started in 2015. I enjoy working with children and seeing the world through their eyes; they are curious, enthusiastic, and confident. I have a passion for children's literature and believe there is a picture book for anything and everything. I love bringing books to life for my students. Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my husband Daniel and our son George. My hobbies include cooking, hiking, and traveling. I love trying new things and saying "yes" whenever possible!
2nd Grade Teacher
I have been teaching in DPS for 20 years and this is my fifth year at Park Hill. Teaching has been my passion ever since I was a kid. I love watching the students grow as learners, foster deep and meaningful connections, and maintain a sense of community as we grow together. When I'm not teaching, traveling and getting outdoors are some of the things that I value and try to do as much as possible. I also enjoy camping, hiking, attending music festivals, and spending time with my 3 kids and dogs.
2nd Grade Teacher
I have over 20 years of experience in education. I started at Park Hill as a paraprofessional in 2002 and held that position for two years. Then went to get my teaching license, taught for 10 years in Aurora, and then finally came "home" to Park Hill Elementary in 2015.I love working at this school. I live in the neighborhood and get excited to be a part of this amazing community. I'm a member of our amazing PTSA, too. My favorite part of my job is creating meaningful and trusting relationships with our students. Also, I always tell the kids that if I didn't make them laugh that day, then I didn't my job. Before teaching I had a 15-year career in the music business. I worked in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Jersey and Colorado as a publicist, marketing, artist relations, talent buyer, radio DJ, and concert promotion. Music will always be a big part of my life. I am in a rock and roll choir, and I love to go to as many concerts as I can around Colorado. In the late 1990s, I was also able to be a stay-at-home mom (who somehow never stayed at home) to my son (now 25) who attended Park Hill, Polaris, Morey, East High, and CU Boulder.
3rd Grade Teacher
I’m looking forward to a wonderful school year ahead! This is my 24th year teaching and my 12th year at Park Hill. I love being part of this amazing community. My son will be in 7th grade at Bill Roberts this school year. This summer we spent time mountain biking, paddle boarding and taking our pup out for adventures on the many trails near our cabin in Silverthorne. My favorite aspects of teaching are developing positive relationships with students and their families as well as working together to help all students succeed!
3rd Grade Teacher
I'm Katie Main, this is my 6th year teaching at Park Hill Elementary School. I teach reading, writing and social studies. I love seeing students be creative and meet their goals.
Before working in the Denver Public Schools, I was a children's ski instructor in Steamboat Springs, CO. I still love going up to the mountains every chance I can, especially with my dog Libby.
3rd Grade Teacher
I'm Meredith Strumor and this is my 6th year teaching at Park Hill Elementary. I will be teaching math and science this year.
I have been teaching for 13 years and most recently taught 4th grade here at Park Hill.
I love working with students and strive to support them in reaching their goals and aspirations. Outside of school I love to read and travel!
3rd Grade Teacher
I started teaching in 2019 and will begin my 4th year this school year. Teaching has so many perks and joys, and I believe that the students can be so inspirational for us as adults. They have creative thoughts, can work hard, and are able to be flexible when needed. I love to teach and live for those "Ah-Ha" moments. The moments in which the learning clicks for the students and they know they have grasped the material. The joy on their faces make it worth it! I love being a part of a close knit community such as Park Hill and find happiness each day I am at the school. One other thing I love is building relationships not only with my current students, but their families and siblings too! Outside of teaching, I love to attend concerts, enjoy arts and crafts, and when the weather is nice, a good little hike to enjoy our beautiful state. I am so happy for another year at Park Hill, and know it will be great!
4th Grade Teacher
I love watching students grow and learn in all areas- academically and socially. I enjoy building relationships with students and helping them succeed in the real world.
I have been a teacher for 17 years and have taught 2nd-5th grade. I have been at Park Hill for seven years. Before that I was at Swansea Elementary for two years and started my teaching career at Side Creek Elementary in Aurora for eight years.
I enjoy spending time together with family and friends, Going to the mountains- my family owns a 150+ year old Victorian home in Fairplay that has been written up as one of the most haunted houses in Colorado. I love to go to concerts and enjoy all types of music! I garden, crochet, and do diamond painting!
4th Grade Teacher
Graduated with a BS in Education/Psy in 1999
Started teaching at Park Hill in 2001
My favorite part of my job is working with such great people and seeing the older kids come back to visit.
I love 9/10-year-olds!!!
Outside of school, I love to snowboard and roller skate. I'm back on a Derby team!!!
4th Grade Teacher
11th year in education, all at PH. Started in 2012
- I love building a classroom community that works and plays well together. I love teaching math and introducing students to new concepts. The staff at PH is fun, silly, and a group of extremely talented, passionate teachers.
- I love that my students from previous years still give me all the hugs and love when they did when they were in my class. These little humans are exactly the reason I come to work every day.
- I love watching my son and daughter compete in gymnastics, playing with my feisty dog Kane, camping and playing outdoors with my husband, and snowboarding with the whole family! Freshie pow pow bro brah!
4th Grade Teacher
11 years in education/Started at Park Hill in 2017
My favorite subject to teach is math and I am always trying to improve my practice in restorative justice. I love building students' confidence in themselves and building a great classroom community. My favorite part of the job is partnering with my 5th grade team and parents to make sure that every student thrives.
My family and I spend a lot of time in our backyard enjoying the Colorado weather and watching the NFL and scary movies. Also, I recently started playing hockey again and really enjoy playing a round of golf at City Park.
5th Grade Teacher
23 years in education, 4th year at Park Hill, although I also taught for two years here 14 years ago.
Lucky to be working with such an amazing, supportive Park Hill community. Love building a class that values creativity, critical thinking and inquiry. Favorite part of my job is getting kids out into the community to see all the amazing opportunities we have in Denver, and Colorado.
Outside of school you will find me hanging out with my family, taking advantage of the Colorado mountains by camping, mountain biking, fishing and hiking. If not, I'm home reading, cooking or trying somewhere new and delicious for a meal out.
5th Grade Teacher
I have been teaching for 19 years (I was an elementary school classroom teacher before I started teaching Dance and Drama. My first teaching job was teaching fifth grade in India!)
5th year at Park Hill
Interests in Teaching: Dance, Drama, Yoga, Cultural Competence and learning about World Arts and Cultures, Healthy Lifestyle
Favorite part of my job is that I get to teach creativity, storytelling and movement. I love working at Park Hill. The staff, students and parent community are just the best! The building is also beautiful! I especially love the stage and the auditorium!
Interests outside of school: East Indian Classical Dance (Odissi), singing, sewing, yoga, being in nature, traveling
I have been teaching art for 19 years - teaching at Park Hill since 2017.
My favorite part of the job is working with kids during studio time, seeing the most magical creations come to life and the joy creating brings to them.
Hobbies outside of school: Painting, sculpture, turning trash into treasure, bike riding, gardening, reading, riding my scooter with my granddaughter, and believe it or not prepping the art room and supplies for the kids.
This is my 18th year teaching music in the Park Hill neighborhood. I'm very excited to start my seventh year at Park Hill Elementary School and I look forward to creating music with all of you! I am an Orff-Schulwerk certified teacher through the University of Northern Colorado and Metro State University, which means I will teach music in a way that is fun and natural for children. This approach seamlessly integrates music, movement, drama, speech, play, and collaboration in Music instruction. My primary instrument is the piano which I studied at Butler University in Indianapolis. My love for the arts goes far beyond music, inspiring my master's degree in arts integration in instruction from Lesley University. I am a mother of 2 beautiful boys and 2 crazy dogs. My husband and I enjoy doing fun activities as a family, especially if it involves sports or the mountains. I'm looking forward to a musical year with all of you!
This is my 2nd year at Park Hill. I get the pleasure of walking to school with my kiddos each day to school. In past careers, I've been a physician assistant and engineer. I really enjoy being part of the team at PHE and get to work on a wide range of activities each day.
Hello there! I am so excited to join the Park Hill team for my sixth year as a school psychologist in Denver Public Schools! I am originally from Oklahoma, where I grew up spending summers on the golf course and winters playing basketball. I am a proud alumni of Baylor University (sic 'em Bears!), and on the weekends you can usually find me exploring Denver with my dogs, Charlie (pictured) & Tobin (has never held still long enough for a picture), or watching a game with friends. I cannot wait to get to know you all and do everything I can to support this amazing Park Hill community!
Cathryn (Cat) Sennott
I've been in education for 12 years and teaching at Park Hill since 2018. I also work with an adorable facility dog, Ike. He's a ten year old goldador who loves reading and cuddling with students. Outside of work, I enjoy playing volleyball, rock climbing, backpacking, doing yoga, and traveling.
I have taught for 24 years, and 23 years at Park Hill. My favorite part of teaching is building relationships with students and parents. In my free time, I love reading and spending time with my family and friends.
This is my 9th year at Park Hill, 13th year of teaching.
I love the spirit and collaboration at Park Hill and my favorite part of my GT role is time spent directly with my students/teaching my pull out groups.
My interests apart from school are spending time with my family, being outdoors and sunshine.
My name is Jenny Hekkers and I am a reading support teacher and a Senior Team Lead at Park Hill. This is my 12th year teaching, and my 8th at Park Hill. I am excited to support our students in reading, and to support our teachers to be the best teachers they can be! I'm a mother to two middle schoolers (!!!), a music lover, a supporter of ethical fashion, and an enthusiastic reader. I especially love reading memoirs and I hope to write my own one day. Before teaching reading at Park Hill, I taught 4th and 5th grade at Columbine Elementary. I did my student teaching here in 2006, and am so excited to be a part of this incredible community! My favorite part of teaching is empowering students to master the tricky parts of the English language so they can read, write, and hopefully use their voices to advocate for themselves and others. My other passion is sustainable fashion, and I work a few shifts at Dona Forta, an ethical women's clothing boutique in the Berkeley neighborhood. While not teaching, reading memoirs, or working at Dona Forta, you'll find me trying to convince my kids to go on a hike with our two dogs, dreaming of traveling the world, or learning to play the guitar.
I have been a teacher in DPS for 13 years now, spending the majority of my time in kindergarten, first, and second grade. This is my third year at Park Hill, and I feel so grateful for this supportive, caring community. I have the best job ever as a reading teacher for first grade.
When I'm not reading with PH first graders, you can find me chasing around my own first grader and third grader along with our two dogs. My husband and I control our chaos by taking advantage of all the wonderful things the Colorado outdoors has to offer.
This is my 6th year at Park Hill
-10+years in education
- favorite part of my job is making strong connections with students in our small groups
-Interests include fostering animals, traveling and anything that allows me to be outdoors
¡Hola! My name is Lorena Otrera and this is my 5th year as the ELD teacher at Park Hill and my 9th year in DPS. Before moving to Denver, I worked for 7 years in North Carolina, and another 7 years as an English Teacher in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I am originally from.
What I love most about my job is connecting with our multilingual and multicultural students and families, and ensuring they are supported academically and that they can access all the resources they need. I am passionate about bilingual education and heritage language preservation!
In my free time I like to relax by going on walks and traveling, but I also enjoy staying at home and playing board games and video games with my kids. I love doing jigsaw puzzles and collecting indoor plants, too!
This is my 21st year at Park Hill and my 35th year as a speech/language pathologist (SLP). I took several years
off to raise children and worked part time as a paraprofessional at Park Hill before taking the job as the SLP. I
have been incredibly blessed to live and work in the Park Hill community. My grown children thrived as
My favorite part of my job is working with my incredible Special Education team and our amazing teachers and
staff. I enjoy watching my students achieve new milestones. They often make me laugh as well!
In my free time, I enjoy reading, hiking, snowshoeing, knitting and traveling when I can. I volunteer weekly at a
homeless shelter as well.
I might have a bit more gray hair than my bio picture shows!
This is my 25th year as the occupational therapist at Park Hill.
- I love the Park Hill community. I enjoy collaborating with teachers and other service providers to help students achieve their goals and be successful in school.
- Outside of school I enjoy reading, walking my dog, spending time with my family, and traveling.
Hi, my name is Thomas Byars but the kids call me Mr. Corey. I started at Park Hill 10 years ago in 2012. I started out as a paraprofessional in the MI program. After several years doing that I transitioned to being a Kindergarten Para and the enrichment coordinator. Most recently I have taken over as the school's computer technician.
Park Hill is an amazing school full of amazing staff. I have been fortunate enough to get to spend my days here helping the wonderful students and staff, as well as being a parent of a Park Hill student.
I'm Susie Seawell, a para in the Gifted and Talented program here at PHE. I've been in education for over 20 years, with positions ranging from teaching first grade to being a consultant for a teacher preparation program. After taking some time off to focus on my own 3 girls, I started working at Park Hill in 2017. I love working with small groups that focus on building critical thinking skills. Seeing kids learn from each other is one of my favorite parts of teaching. Outside of school, travel is my passion - Antarctica is the only continent I have yet to visit!
I've been a DPS Para since 2006; I started at Park Hill in 2016.
I love getting to know the children in my class, and watching them grow academically and socially during the school year. I cannot imagine a better job!
My family is the most important thing in my personal life -- I have 3 grown kids and a grandson who's 1 -- and a husband I adore!
I started at Park Hill 2017-2018.
My first year with DPS was 2015-2016.
I love working in Pre-K/ECE with curious, energetic students. It is so wonderful to see their growth through the year. My favorite part of working at Park Hill is that we can continue to see that growth as they progress through elementary school. The community is amazing and I enjoy getting to know our students' families.
I really enjoy living in Denver and have been here since 1990. I like to spend time outdoors with my family and our 2 dogs. I have 2 grown up children. My son is working and attending trade school at Emily Griffith. My daughter is in her second year of college and transferred this year from Metro to UNC Greeley.
I have a Master's Degree in Social Work (M.S.W.)
I started at Park Hill in 2010.
I enjoy working with first graders because they are full of surprises and joy.
My own kids, Samantha and Jeremy, went to Park Hill School years ago and they are now college graduates.
I like to put together 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles, listen to podcasts, go hiking, and take care of our cat Kit-Kat.
I began at PHE in 2020 as a one-on-one SPED para. I have also taught ECE / elementary age children for nearly a decade. I simply love children, their smiles, stories, and creativity. The best part of teaching for me is the "ah ha" moment: when a child really gets it and their eyes and face light up. I also love the process of getting there and figuring out what method works best for each student.
When I am not at Parkhill, I love my family time! My husband of 17 yrs and I, have two awesome boys. They have loved and benefited from PHE tremendously. I adore my 2 dogs, Boudreaux and Rocket; 2 cats, Darth and Jedi, plus my chameleon named ♡Boots. I especially love walking, lake camping, music, hiking, propagating plants and gardening.