Joseph Longbottom: Principal
Joseph was born on the coast of California, but relocated to Kansas early in his life. Before moving to Colorado a few years ago, he lived in Lawrence, Kansas for fifteen years. Joseph graduated from the University of Kansas, then attended Rockhurst University where he earned his Masters of Elementary Education. In his career as an educator, he has taught fourth grade, fifth grade and preschool through fifth grade as a media specialist, all in Expeditionary Learning schools. He has served in a variety of leadership roles including curriculum writer, instructional coach and assistant principal. These experiences led him to his dream position as principal of Tollgate Elementary School of EL Education. What Joseph loves most about his job is the opportunity to serve the wonderful community of students, parents and teachers. Outside of work, he loves to get outdoors with his beautiful wife, Irene, and their puppy, Kona. He also has a deep passion for writing music and playing guitar. Joseph is so proud of his loving family at home, and the inspiring family at Tollgate. We are CREW!!
Becky Bicha: Assistant Principal
Becky grew up in La Crosse, Wisconsin, which is located right on the Mississippi River. Shorty after marrying her high school sweetheart, Reggie, she graduated form Viterbo University in La Crosse with a Bachelors in Education and a minor in Early Childhood Education. She has taught in all the elementary grade levels and enjoyed learning about the developmental levels and standards required at each of the grade levels. After 10 years in the classroom, she earned her Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from UW River Falls and St. Thomas University. She enjoyed her role as an elementary principal in Wisconsin for 5 years before she moved her family to Denver, Colorado where she continued to serve as a principal for 3 years. Due to a very busy family life, she made the change in her career and stepped back from leadership to provide instructional and classroom management coaching to teachers for a few years. This year, Becky went back into the leadership as the Assistant Principal at Tollgate where she has loved working hand in hand with Mr. Longbottom to help support the CREW members accomplish things that they never thought possible. It has been an exciting busy year, and she looks forward to her continued work here at Tollgate.
Becky currently lives in Denver with her husband and 3 children. Her hobbies include singing in an all-women’s choir, spending time with her family, reading, baking, and supporting her favorite football teams, the Green Bay Packers and the Wisconsin Badgers.
Jessica Schwarz: Dean of Social-Emotional Learning
Jess was born and raised in northern Michigan, where she acquired a big love for the outdoors. She has a Bachelor's degree in fisheries and wildlife management from Michigan State University (Go Green!), a Master’s degree in human geography from the University of Colorado-Boulder and a Post-Baccalaureate degree in secondary education from the University of Hawaii-Manoa. As an NSF-Graduate Research Fellow, she researched community-based conservation in northeastern Tanzania and has completed graduate work in educational psychology. In her 12 years as an educator, Jess has served as a middle school science teacher, instructional coach, curriculum writer, and assistant principal. She has also taught overseas, spending 3 fantastic years in Italy and Spain. Most recently, Jess has worked to incorporate restorative practices, social-emotional learning and mindfulness curriculum into school-wide programming. She is a big believer in learning from experience, embracing mistakes and creating opportunities that fuel the realization of a student's best, most authentic self. While not at work, Jess likes to do anything outside - but, especially running, hiking, skiing, and camping in remote/hard to reach spots. Jess is thrilled to be part of the incredible crew at Tollgate!