Kindergarten & 1st Grade CREW
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mary Higgins: 1st Grade
Mary is a proud Colorado native and grew in up in Denver. After graduating from Santa Clara University, she moved to San Francisco where she earned her Master of Arts in Teaching at San Francisco University. She spent the next 4 years teaching 1st grade in San Francisco Unified and exploring the Bay Area. Although she loves California, she decided it was time to come home to Colorado and she's spent the last two years teaching 1st grade at McMeen Elementary in Denver Public Schools. Mary loves teaching 1st grade and is so excited to learn more about Expeditionary Learning with the crew at Tollgate! Her favorite ways to pass time outside of school include cooking, hiking, swimming, concerts, yoga, and spending time with friends and family.
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 thought 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 campfire.
Eunice Yoo: 1st Grade
Eunice is a proud Colorado native and considers herself as an American with a Korean heritage. In 2016, she graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in Psychology along with her teaching licensure. She loves helping future world changers discover their new passions and challenges, and hopes to motivate them to take on leadership and ownership in their own education. This will be her third year teaching in APS. Eunice is very excited to partner with the Tollgate CREW and community to bring the most authentic and engaging learning experiences to her future students. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and loves trying new foods in our local area. She has been to places like South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. She also loves to shred the mountain on her snowboard in the winter!