Samantha Eaton, Full Day Kindergarten

My name is Mrs. Eaton and this is my first year teaching at Heritage Heights Academy. I am a recent graduate of the University of Northern Colorado’s Center for Urban Education Program, where I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education with a culturally and linguistically diverse endorsement. Before coming to Heritage Heights Academy, I spent 5 years working as a paraprofessional and substitute teacher for a K-8 charter school that used the Core Knowledge curriculum. ​

I am looking forward to a wonderful year with all of you at Heritage Heights Academy.

Email: Samantha.Eaton@heritageha.org

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Lakshmi Addanki, Kindergarten

Hi! I am Lakshmi Addanki, Kindergarten teacher.
My classroom management style is to have fun while learning with Love and Logic. I believe in building strong academic foundation and positive behavior when they are young and help them feel happy about achieving their milestones. This leaves them with happy memories of learning which will indeed lead them to be happy life-long learners. It is so fascinating to know that their brains are like sponges and when you pour some love and teaching into them, they keep absorbing. I grew up around different cultures and traditions. So I understand and come up with different ways to teach kids and I enjoy doing it.

I was born in Saudi Arabia and studied there until my 7th grade. Then I moved to India to continue my studies till my Bachelors. I completed my Master’s degree in Electrical and Electronics at City University of New York. After I got married, I lived in Seattle for 5 years with my husband and kids and moved to Colorado in 2015. I am a proud mother of two kids, ages 6 and 4. My son studies here at HHA (1st grade). I’ve been happy to be a part of HHA since the day it started. I volunteered in the kindergarten classroom for reading groups for a year and this is my first year of teaching at HHA. I am very excited to join the HHA team.

I spend lot of my time with my kids taking them to libraries, classes, sports or just playing in our backyard. I enjoy teaching my kids and engaging them in different interactive games and activities. I love history. It interests me to know about how things evolved from the past through present. I learn in the process of educating my kids. I love to go for long drives, travel to other places, organize things, being outdoors, learning new languages and enjoy being with my family and kids.

Email: Lakshmi.Addanki@heritageha.org

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Kat McAuley, 1st Grade

Hi! My name is Kat McAuley. I am one of the 1st grade teachers at Heritage Heights Academy! This will be my third official year teaching, though I have worked with kids in all sorts of settings for years. I moved to Colorado in the summer of 2015 with my husband and dog from New Jersey and absolutely love it here! I have a Bachelors in Sociology with a Elementary teaching certificate. Before I went to college, I volunteered overseas in Nepal and Ghana, teaching kids English. After I graduated college, I moved to Europe and worked in an international preschool. I have been working in an elementary school in Denver for the past year as a Paraprofessional. I enjoy being outside, rock‐climbing, skiing and horseback riding. I am super excited to be a part of a brand new school and look forward to meeting everyone!

Email: Kat.McAuley@heritageha.org

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Katherine Phelps, 1st Grade

Hello! My name is Katherine Phelps and I am so excited to be teaching First Grade this year!
I am a graduate from the University of Northern Colorado-Center for Urban Education Program. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Endorsement. Throughout college I worked in a Kindergarten classroom as a paraprofessional, and student taught in Kindergarten as well. I also worked for a company called Varsity Tutors and tutored students in grades K-5 in reading and math.  I could not be more excited to be teaching First Grade this year!
I am a Colorado native and love this beautiful state. I take any chance I can to spend some time outdoors. I love hiking, camping, kayaking, and running in every wonderful place this state has to offer. Every once in a while I challenge myself to learn something new. The most recent activity I chose is tennis—I’m still getting the hang of it. While the outdoors do take up most of my free time, I also enjoy reading, painting, and going to museums. The Art museum and Museum of Nature and Science are my personal favorites!

I have had a passion for teaching my entire life and am so excited to turn my dreams into a reality this year!

Email: Katherine.Phelps@heritageha.org

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Masha Carlson, 2nd Grade

Masha (Mariya) Carlson is originally from St. Petersburg, Russia before moving to California when she was 11 years old. Prior to moving to Colorado with her husband in 2014 Masha obtained her Bachelor's Degree and Teaching Credential from California State University - Fullerton where she gained valuable elementary school experience in a variety of grades. Since relocating to Colorado Masha has been working in early childhood education. Masha enjoys spending time with her husband exploring Colorado, traveling around the world, watching movies and reading. Masha is a first year teacher at Heritage Heights Academy and is looking forward to teaching 2nd graders.

Email: Masha.Carlson@heritageha.org

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Susan Steranka, 2nd Grade

My name is Susan Steranka and I am so excited to be part of the HHA team!

I have been an educator for more than ten years and have a strong background teaching the Core Knowledge curriculum. I earned my Bachelor of Arts from the American College of the Applied Arts in Atlanta, Georgia and London, England. Subsequently, I worked on my Masters of Early Childhood Education from Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland. I taught 2 years at Legacy Academy charter school and 5 years at Parker Core Knowledge charter school. I have been married to my husband John for 33 years and have four grown children and two grandchildren. I live in Parker, Colorado and a member of Ave Maria Catholic Church. I enjoy traveling, hiking in the outdoors, and spending quality time with my family who reside in Colorado.

Email: Susan.Steranka@heritageha.org

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Lisa Driver, 3rd Grade

Welcome to a new school year at Heritage Heights Academy! My name is Lisa Driver and I will be teaching third grade this year. A native Coloradoan, I grew up in Aurora and graduated from Overland High School. I spent my college years at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. I graduated from there with a major in Humanities and a minor in Elementary Education. My husband and I just celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary this summer. We currently live in Denver with our two children. As a family, we enjoy all the outdoor activities Colorado offers (camping, boating, biking, hiking, skiing). In my free time, I really like to get lost in a book. Mysteries are my favorite, but I like to read non-fiction too.

My career as a teacher began in 1997 after graduating from college. I was a substitute teacher for various front range school districts. In 1999, I began my teaching career at Kiowa Elementary School in Kiowa, Colorado. I taught there for ten years. I taught fifth grade for five years and then moved to second grade where I taught for another five years. I left teaching for a few years to focus on raising my family, but I always knew I’d return to the classroom. This past fall I began teaching again as a guest teacher for Denver Public Schools. I’m excited to be a part of Heritage Heights Academy.

Email: Lisa.Driver@heritageha.org

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