Posts in faculty
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

Lesson Plans: Click HERE

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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 children who are currently studying at HHA. This is my 2nd year of teaching and I am very excited to be part of 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

Lesson Plans: Click HERE

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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

Lesson Plans: Click HERE

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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

Lesson Plans: Click HERE

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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

Lesson Plans: Click HERE

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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

Lesson Plans: Click HERE

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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

Lesson Plans: Click HERE

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Rebecca Erickson, 3rd Grade

Hi all! My name is Rebecca Erickson and I cannot wait to start the journey in 3rd grade. I graduated from the University of Northern Colorado-Center for Urban Education. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with an endorsement in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education. While attending the University of Northern Colorado, I worked for Aurora Public Schools. My student teaching was completed in a Kindergarten classroom, but I do have a background in Fourth and Fifth Grade. I cannot wait to start my journey in Third Grade.

I was born and raised here in Colorado. I love to be outdoors and enjoying Colorado’s diverse weather. My favorite hobby is crafting: painting, scrapbooking, artsy stuff, you name it. Being a teacher has always been my passion. I am so excited to see where this year takes me.

Email: Rebecca.Erickson@heritageha.org

Lesson Plans: Click HERE

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Jenna Mandelbaum, 4th Grade

Hello! I’m Jena Mandelbaum and I am very excited to finish this school year with such a great 4th grade class! I earned my Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Vermont, then a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Secondary Education from the University of Colorado Boulder. I have taught middle school science and math for 3 years and am very much enjoying my time with the younger students this year through subbing and now classroom teaching.

 In addition to my passion for education I enjoy traveling, reading, camping with my dogs, and seeing live music. I hope to pass along some of the knowledge and experiences I have gained through these interests and build strong relationships. I am confident we will have a fantastic rest of the year together in 4th grade!

Email: Jenna.Mandelbaum@heritageha.org

Lesson Plans: Click HERE

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Karilyn Surratt, 5th Grade

Hello! My name is Karilyn Surratt and I’m very excited to be a part of the wonderful team here at HHA! I hold my master’s in Elementary Education from the University of Northern Colorado with an endorsement in Early Childhood Education and Social Studies.

When I am not in the classroom, you can find me on a golf course, cheering on my daughter in one of her activities, rooting for the Dodgers, dreaming of being on a beach or absorbed in a book. I love to read and hope to pass that love on to all the scholars here at HHA.

Email: Karilyn.Surratt@heritageha.org

Lesson Plans: Click HERE

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Jenna Youmans, 6th Grade

My name is Jenna Youmans and I am so excited to be teaching at 6th grade at HHA. I am originally from Whittier, California. I attended college at Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, Texas where I received my degree in Secondary Education teaching both math and science. After college I moved to Aurora where I have been teaching the last 18 years where I taught both 6th and 7th grade math and science.

When I am not at work, I am spending time watching my two sons play sports, ride their bikes, swim or just be silly. On the rare occasion that I have nothing to do, I love to fill my time quilting. During the summer, my husband and I enjoy taking the boys camping and showing them the beauty of our world.

Email: Jenna.Youmans@heritageha.org

Lesson Plans: Click HERE

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Kris Hinman, 7th Grade

Hi my name is Kris Hinman and I am excited to be teaching 7th grade this year at Heritage Heights Academy. I grew up in upstate New York where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education in 1994 and a Master’s degrees in Education in 2000. I have been in the education field for 24 years teaching various grades, tutoring and teaching online computer classes to college students.

My family and I have lived in many places in the past 14 years. We moved to Colorado in 2013 and I never want to leave. My husband and I just celebrated our 16th anniversary and I have three children ages 14, 12 and 11 that keep me busy. I enjoy reading, walking and especially going to Colorado Rockies baseball games.

Email: Kris.Hinman@heritageha.org

Lesson Plans: Click HERE

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Jeff Wallace, Latin

Salve! My name is Jeff Wallace and I have the joy and privilege of teaching Latin this year. I grew up in Colorado going to Cherry Creek High School before earning my Bachelor of Arts degree in Classics from Grinnell College. After graduating, I stayed at Grinnell College for a year as an assistant soccer coach while also coaching at the town’s high school. I then had the opportunity of playing and coaching semi-professional soccer in Spokane, WA, where I spent seven years before moving back to Colorado in 2015 to begin my teaching career at Denver Street School. Throughout the years I have tutored elementary through college students, across a variety subjects, from Latin to Calculus. When working with kids, I love being a part of the light bulb moments, those times when the student moves from confusion to understanding. When not teaching, I am spending time with my 3 children, reading, playing board games, or “writing the next great American novel.”

Email: Jeff.Wallace@heritageha.org

Lesson Plans: Click HERE

Latin Links: BLANK & COMPLETE Declension Page

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Kelsey Langston, Physical Education

Kelsey Langston is originally from Columbia, Missouri but has lived all over the United States. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology Sports Performance Enhancement from Southwest Baptist University and a master’s degree in Physical Education from the University of West Florida. Kelsey moved to Colorado from California where she was the founding Health and Fitness Teacher for a charter school in the Bay Area. She is a certified NASM personal trainer and has completed an internship with the University of West Florida working with Division II athletes. She believes in bridging the gap between physical education and health education so every student will be able to continue a healthy lifestyle in and out of the classroom to be the best versions of themselves.

In her free time, Kelsey loves to spend time with her husband of five years and her two dogs. She enjoys hiking, traveling, and experiencing new cultures.

Email: Kelsey.Langston@heritageha.org

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Susan Hodge, Music

I grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of east Tennessee. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and continued on to add a Master’s degree in Elementary Teaching and a certificate to teach high school mathematics, English, and science. I became Highly Qualified in Music, because music has been a lifelong passion, and through Core Knowledge Music, I can teach much more than just singing to the students.

My family and I love living in Colorado. My husband, Kevin, works in college planning. Our two girls are teenagers, one in college and the other in high school. Both of the girls attended a Core Knowledge school and would express great satisfaction with their early education. I also taught in a Core Knowledge school as a math teacher, 4th grade teacher, and music teacher.

My teaching experience has been deep and wide. Beginning in the state of Tennessee and living in six other states, I have worked with children in some capacity a number of years that is hard to admit. From summer camps to children’s librarian, preschool teacher to 8th grade music teacher, dance teacher to vocal coach, I’ve had wonderful experiences with children wherever I’ve lived.

I am truly looking forward to bringing music into each classroom at Heritage Heights Academy. I also look forward to getting to know the children and their families as we embark on the adventure of opening our new school together.

Email: Susan.Hodge@heritageha.org

Lesson Plans: Click HERE

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