Kindergarten & 1st Grade

Kelsey Dittloff: Kindergarten

Kelsey grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her degree in Early Childhood Education and English as a Second Language. Though she absolutely loves Wisconsin, she moved to Colorado after graduating to teach at Tollgate Elementary. This will be her fourth year teaching at Tollgate! There are so many things Kelsey loves about Tollgate, but she especially loves that it is truly a community! Teachers and students get to learn together in exciting ways, while still taking time to value their relationships with one another. In her free time, Kelsey loves to spend as much time outside as she can by hiking, exploring a new parts of town, or just being with friends!

Email: KLDITTLOFF@aurorak12.org

Mackenzie Johnson: Kindergarten

Mackenzie is from Goldsby, Oklahoma. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Elementary Education. Before moving to Colorado in the summer of 2016, she taught Kindergarten for half a year in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In the Fall of 2016, she joined Tollgate's Crew as a first grade teacher and continued her work as a Kindergarten teacher for the 2017-2018 school year. She loves working at Tollgate because of the teachers and the passion they show for the students. In her free time, she loves listening to all genres of music and attend concerts. She loves to travel and spend time with family and friends.

Email: MMJOHNSON@aurorak12.org

Mary Ellen Korby: Kindergarten

Mary Ellen grew up in Louisville, Colorado. She graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota with a degree in Elementary Education. She has been teaching at Tollgate for five years, and previously taught preschool at Country Side Montessori in Boulder for two years. Mary Ellen loves Tollgate's community as well as how the staff is able to learn and explore alongside the students. Outside of school, Mary Ellen loves cooking and baking. She also enjoys running, the outdoors, and spending time with her family and friends.

Email: MEKORBY@aurorak12.org

Nichol Castinado: K/1

Nichol is from Colorado. She graduated from University of Northern Colorado with a bachelors degree in Elementary Education and received her Masters degree from the University of Phoenix. She has been teaching kindergarten and first grade for 8 years at Tollgate Elementary. She loves teaching at Tollgate because of how the staff and students embody what it means to be citizens of their community. She is so inspired by her students each day. In her free time, Nichol loves to go hiking, camping, and snowboarding. She loves to travel with volunteer groups over the summer around the world.

Email: nmcastinado@aurorak12.org

Check out what Ms. Castinado's Crew did in the 2017-2018 school year!

Kristin Bacheldor: K/1

Kristin spent her childhood enjoying the numerous blue lakes and super chilly winters of Minnesota. After attending Crown College (in Minnesota) and getting married, she moved out to Colorado with her husband, Chris. They have been here ever since! Kristin has grown to love the mountains—their beauty constantly refreshes her heart and soul. Her and her husband have 4 amazing boys: Jaden (10) Uriah (7), Noah(7), and Jace(3). Together they love enjoying the outdoors and spending Friday nights watching movies together. Four boys definitely keep her busy, but she wouldn’t have it any other way!

Kirstin has been a teacher for 12 years. She has worked at Tollgate for all those years except one. There are many reasons why she loves Tollgate: she enjoys the students and families here so much! She also thinks Tollgate has the best staff—they work hard, have fun, and always take the time to help each other out. Last, Kristin really enjoys teaching the curriculum: Expeditionary Learning is so fun and meaningful for the kids!! Kristin is honored to be apart of such an amazing school.

Email: kabacheldor@aurorak12.org

Mary Higgins: 1st Grade

Melissa Kenfield: 1st Grade

Melissa began her career in education sixteen years ago, teaching Kindergarten at a Littleton private school. She's enjoyed teaching both first grade and second grade at Tollgate for the last ten years. Her love for creating experiences where students can engage in constructing their own understanding, become responsible for their own learning, all while helping their crew mates become better people than though possible, aligns well with Expeditionary Learning's philosophy. She has a B.A in Behavioral Science from Metro State University of Denver and a M.S. Elementary Reading and Literacy. She is a Colorado native and grew up loving all the natural beauty that Colorado has to offer. She has been married to her husband for six years, and they are parents to two adorable pups. On the weekends, her and her husband love to complete around-the-house projects, and head to the mountains for fishing, practicing archery, and enjoy good conversations with close friends around the camp fire.

Email: mmkenfield@aurorak12.org

Eunice Yoo: 1st Grade