Our Team

We are a mission-aligned team who are hard-working, collaborative, passionate, and flexible. We are individuals from diverse backgrounds who thrive in a student-centered environment of respect, trust, and high expectations. We are also individuals who are relational and care deeply about meeting the needs of young parents through a strong academic program. As an innovative public charter school, we enjoy building something where there once was nothing.










Steven Bartholomew, Executive Director

Steven Bartholomew joins New Legacy after 23 successful years in education.  Steven started his journey in education as a speech and debate coach in Rapid City, SD, and annually he took students to compete in nationals.  After moving to Rhode Island, Steven served as an advisor and teacher for four years at The Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center (part of Big Picture Learning), then as principal for eleven years.  He found a passion for teaching teachers, then mentoring new principals. “The Met” is recognized as one of the 13 most innovative schools in the world by Tech Insider. Steven is a winner of the Ted Sizer Award for Innovative Leadership, recipient of the Presidential Scholar Distinguished Teacher Award, and has facilitated many workshops around the country on personalized, interest-based education.  Steven was recently published in Education Reimagined: “How One Conversation Transformed My Son’s Future Forever.”

Leah Bock, High School Principal

Leah Bock will be joining the school in 2018-19 as the first ever High School Director. She comes to New Legacy from the Girls Athletic Leadership School where she has been serving as an assistant principal and math teacher. She holds a Master’s degree in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity from the University of Colorado-Boulder and has a Bachelor’s Degree from Luther College in proof-oriented mathematics and gender studies. Before she began her career in teaching, Leah spent time in East Africa working at an HIV/AIDS organization, lived in northern California as an economic justice activist and yoga instructor, and owned a bakery. When she’s not working, she loves running and spending time with her family at home.

Roynetta Douglas, High School Assistant Principal

Roynetta (Netta) is New Legacy’s Director of Curriculum and Instruction. She comes to us from Farrell B. Howell ECE – 8 School in far northeast Denver where she has worked as a middle school language arts and teacher leader since 2011. Prior to that, she worked as an English, Spanish, and reading teacher in Tennessee. Her leadership experience at Howell has included department chair, member of the Teacher Leader Advisory, member of the School Leadership Team, and data team leader. Netta is highly qualified in English, Reading, and Spanish and also has a Linguistically Diverse Endorsement. She received her B.A. in English and Spanish from Western Michigan University, her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from Union University in Jackson, TN, and is working towards an Ed.D. from the University of Denver in Curriculum and Instruction.

 Cecilia Reyes, Early Learning Center Director

 team-ceci-reyesPrior to joining the New Legacy Charter School staff as the Early Learning Center Director, Cecilia worked at Mile High Montessori (MHM) Early Learning Center for 16 years. During her time at Mile High Montessori (MHM), Cecilia worked as a Head Start Lead Teacher, Education Coach, and Family Resource Assistant. From 2010-2015, she served as program director of two of Mile High Montessori’s (MHM) early learning centers. Cecilia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education from University of Northern Colorado. She enjoys her time working with and assisting students to achieve their goals.

Aeron Finley-LaCrosby, ELC Assistant Director

team-aeron finley-lacrosby

Aeron has served children and families for the last 17 years in the Metro area of Colorado. Prior to joining New Legacy staff, Aeron worked in the heart of Denver, Colorado at the Open Door Ministry Childcare. While at Open Door, she served as an assistant teacher in a Kindergarten classroom and grew in knowledge and leadership to becoming assistant Director in 2 years. Aeron enjoys walking alongside other to fulfill their full potential. She holds an AAS degree from Community College of Denver in Early Childhood Education and holds a Colorado Center Director License. She enjoys her family and friends and serving her local community.

Joy Hettich, ELC Curriculum Coordinator and Coach


Joy joins the New Legacy Charter School team as the Curriculum Coach and CTE Instructor. She was the founder and director of the Centennial Christian Learning Center. She led the Centennial Christian Learning Center for over ten years. She has over thirty years of teaching experience which has spanned from infants all the way up to 12th grade. She holds a Colorado Director License and a degree in elementary education from Oklahoma Wesleyan University. She enjoys both volunteer and professional childcare consulting. In her spare time, Joy and enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with a great book. Joy is excited to be part of the New Legacy Charter School team.

Claudia Baylon, Operations Director   


Claudia joined the New Legacy staff in February 2015. Prior to joining New Legacy, she spent 10 years working at Inner City Health Center as a Program Manager where she assisted patients in accessing specialty services. Claudia also managed several other programs including the Patient Assistance Program, Women’s Wellness Connection, Susan G Komen, and the Colorectal Cancer Screening Program. Claudia is bilingual in English and Spanish and enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.


Julie Reyes, Administrative Assistant

Julie joined the New Legacy staff in September 2016. Prior to joining New Legacy, she spent 2 years working at Ability Connection Colorado as the school nurse. Julie holds her Medical Assistant diploma. She worked at Clinic Family Health Services as a Medical Assistant.  In additional Julie has her CDA in infant and toddler. She has been part of great organizations including Sherman Elementary and Restoration Christian Academy. Julie is bilingual in English and Spanish and enjoys traveling and spending time with friends and family.











Cindy Barajas, Health & Fitness Teacher/School Wellness Coordinator

Cindy Barajas moved between Los Angeles, California and Aurora, Colorado since she was a teenager. She studied Psychobiology at California State University at Long Beach, and proceeded to work in the non-profit field as an organizer in higher education, youth programming, and public health. Passionate about advocacy, healthy living, and helping others to see their amazing potential, New Legacy was a natural next step in her career. Her natural ambition in life has given her the ability to promote positive leadership and self-love. In her free time, Cindy loves to play with her daughter, Peace. They both love to explore various forms of fitness and enjoy learning new plant-based recipes to share with everyone. She is also a long-time volunteer for the Aurora Youth Options program, where she is a mentor to an amazing young lady that attends Aurora Central High School. Thankful for this wonderful life experience, Cindy makes sure to spread love, respect, and compassion in her everyday life, no matter what she is doing.

Britta Carlisle, MSW, Social Worker 

Britta joins New Legacy as the School Social Worker. As the social worker, Britta provides social and emotional support to students and families, as well as community resources for wellness. Britta holds a Bachelor of Social Work and minor in Spanish with an emphasis in indigenous and immigrant populations from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ, as well as, a Master of Social Work and Certificate of Social Work with Latinos/as from the University of Denver. Britta is a fluent Spanish speaker and is passionate about school based counseling and social justice. Britta was born and raised in the Denver area and loves to travel with her husband, camp, ski, practice yoga, spend time with friends and family and take care of the newest member of her family, her puppy, Benny.

Grace Lenhart, Mathematics Teacher

Grace serves on the mathematics team covering topics in algebra, geometry, and fundamental mathematics.  She originally joined the New Legacy team in Fall 2016 through a year of service with Urban Servant Corps. Before serving with New Legacy, Grace lived in northern Wisconsin where she worked in direct service to provide food security in rural areas, and empowerment to persons with disabilities. Grace holds a Bachelor of Arts from Augsburg University in Minneapolis, MN. She enjoys singing, swimming, reading, having fun outdoors, and being creative.


Jenn Stephens, Parenting Educator


Jenn serves as the Parent Educator at New Legacy. Prior to joining New Legacy, she served as the Parent Educator at The Program for Women and Families, a social service agency in Pennsylvania. While at the program, she taught parenting classes, facilitated parent support groups and conducted weekly home visits. Most recently, she worked at Emmanuel Methodist Preschool as a teaching assistant. Jenn holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Syracuse University and an M.A. in International Education and Training from American University. Jenn enjoys spending time with her family, being outdoors, hiking, camping, looking for wildflowers, traveling, and having coffee with friends.

Adam Stewart, Mathematics Teacher


Adam teaches Mathematics at New Legacy after working 10 years working with teenagers in multiple states and countries. Adam has run after school programs for refugees in Houston, taught at a secondary school in the United Kingdom, and worked as a senior mathematics tutor for the tutoring program, General Academic. Adam has lived in five countries and visited more than 20, helping him develop a very well rounded view of the world. He is thrilled to be able to share his passion for mathematics, culture, and life with the students at New Legacy. Adam holds a Master’s Degree in Mathematics from The University of Bristol, England. Adam enjoys to scale huge rock faces around the world, perform circus arts, and enter running races.


Nathan Malkemus, Humanities Teacher

Nate Malkemus is happy to return to the New Legacy family after serving as a member of the founding team in 2016 and then taking a sabbatical for the 2017-2018 school year. He has taught Social Studies for close to 10 years, and is passionate about social justice issues and empowering younger generations to be agents of change. On his spare time, he enjoys running, climbing, hiking, and anything else that gets him outside and/or involves his precious wife and son.  Most importantly, he loves chili cheese dogs.


Amanda Christos, Language Arts Teacher

Amanda Christos is joining New Legacy Charter School as the English Language Arts Teacher. Previously, she taught English for 2 years in Connecticut, grades 6th through 12th. Afterwards, she taught 12th grade for 2 years at a charter school in Brooklyn, NY where she developed her passion in teaching social justice. Amanda coached the boys soccer team in Brooklyn and won the state championship! She is passionate about health, fitness, sports, traveling and reading, of course!



Amanda Conner, Science Teacher

​Amanda joins the New Legacy Charter School team as the high school science teacher. As a member of the 2017-2018 Boettcher Teacher Residency cohort, she holds a license in secondary science from the state of Colorado. Holding a B.S in Marine Biology and Religious Studies, Amanda encourages a well-rounded and mindful education for all her students. Taking on numerous research opportunities, she has worked with scientists at WHOI and USGS to understand corals as an indicator for climate change. After her position as Scientific Officer at the Korallion Lab in the Maldives, she came back to the United States with a desire to teach science. She joined Scubanauts International as a Scientist Educator, where she taught students marine-oriented chemistry, physics, and biology in conjunction with diving research expeditions. She has experience with teaching STEM at a Montessori program and privately tutoring students in language arts, math, science, and Spanish. Amanda is currently interested research pertaining to the relationship between mindfulness and neuroscience. Amanda is passionate about her students becoming proactive masters of organization and leaders of their own learning. You can find Amanda in the mountains, in the yoga studio, or in the ocean! Amanda is elated to support the New Legacy team.

Heather Cutillo, RN, MSN, School Nurse


As the Director of Health and Wellness, Heather is responsible for overseeing implementation of the Coordinated School Health Model at New Legacy. Heather is a pediatric nurse practitioner who has been involved in various types of nursing her whole career, including in schools, hospitals, and out-patient settings. She has worked as a nurse in Africa and in clinics in Chicago, Washington DC, and Denver S. that serve medically underserved patients, . Heather comes to New Legacy from Inner-City Health Center in Denver where she has served as the Diabetes Care Coordinator since 2001. While working at the Center, Heather also served on New Legacy’s Health and Wellness Committee for two years.

Elizabeth Gouveia, School Counselor

Elizabeth grew up in Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia. She later lived in New Jersey, near Princeton, for 10 years. Elizabeth graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelors degree in Psychology and a Masters in School Counseling from Capella University. She has worked in high schools throughout her career, and loves helping students with post-secondary planning by helping students realize and embrace their skills, abilities, and interests and set meaningful goals tied to these. Elizabeth and her husband live in Denver with their two cats, Hawk and Louise. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, skiing, and traveling the world.

Melissa Hummel, Family and Student Advocate

Melissa joins the New Legacy team as the Student and Family Advocate. She was born in Aurora, Colorado, but has lived in many places, including Mexico City. She holds a B.A degree in Psychology and Spanish from Wittenberg University and has enjoyed many diverse professional experiences including working as an Immigration Paralegal, Student Services Coordinator at an ESL school, and a private tutor of Spanish. Melissa enjoys traveling, drinking coffee, dancing, and spending time building meaningful relationships with students, coworkers, and friends.


Cherrelle Jackson, Home-Based and Personalized Learning Instruct


Linda Johnson, Special Education Paraprofessional

Linda joined the New Legacy Charter School family during the 2017/2018 school year as a Special Education – Paraprofessional. In addition to working with New Legacy Linda also works part-time as a Substance Abuse Counselor facilitating DUI groups and an Intake Specialist in Aurora.  Because of her love for youth and assisting them with finding their passion, she has dedicated over 30 years working with youth in the community as well as in the private sector as a Behavioral Coach/Counseling. She has worked with At-Risk youth dealing with physical, mental, and social issues ensuring that they do not fall through the cracks of society. Linda holds a BA in Behavioral Science from Metropolitan State College and Licensed as a Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC) III.  She enjoys spending time with her family, movies, bowling and being creative by sewing and crocheting various fun projects!

Hanna King, CYC Volunteer 

Valarie Stepaniak, Social Worker

Val will be joining New Legacy Charter School for the 2018-2019 school year as the Part-Time School Social Worker. Prior to being at New Legacy, Val worked for four years as an Elementary School Social Worker in Northglenn, CO. She also has experience working for Child Protection Services. Val graduated from the University of Denver with her Master’s in Social Work with a focus on high-risk youth. In her free time, Val enjoys spending time outside with her family and dog.

Shaunay Vafeades, Therapist

Shaunay joins New Legacy Charter School for the 2018-2019 school year as the Aurora Mental Health School Based Therapist.  Shaunay is a Colorado native, born and raised in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood. She believes that learning and growing is a lifelong process and works to incorporate this concept into her life. Shaunay received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Colorado Boulder and her Master’s in Counseling from Regis University. Using her acquired skills and passion for working with youth has led Shaunay to work with students impacted by trauma and various hardships, supporting them in overcoming life obstacles in order to become stronger versions of themselves. In addition to working with youth in schools, Shaunay has also served as a youth sports coach for over 10 years. Through coaching, Shaunay strives not only to teach her team the fundamentals of the sport, but to develop their character and mental toughness.

Cal Duran, Art Teacher



















Alexandra Acevedo, Preschool Co-Teacher  

team-alexandra acevedo Alexandra Acevedo is a Preschool Teacher at New Legacy Charter School. Prior to working at New Legacy, she worked for Denver Public Schools as an assistant teacher for second language learners in Preschool, a tutor for Elementary students, and with Summer Scholars as a STEM Paraprofessional. Alexandra graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a Bachelor’s degree, majoring in Sociology with an emphasis in Family Studies, and minoring in Psychology and Criminal Justice. While working at New Legacy, Alexandra has earned her certification for Early Childhood Education. Alexandra is passionate about teaching, learning and growing. Alexandra’s hobbies include reading, writing, and working out. She enjoys all forms of art, exploration, adrenaline, adventure, traveling, and loves being in good company.

Felicia Davis, Toddler Assistant Teacher

My name is Felicia Davis and I have been working in the Early Childhood Education field since I graduated High School back in 2010. I was born in California but raised here in Colorado. I learned early that I wanted to pursue my career in Early Childhood so in 2012 I begin studying ECE courses. I am a mother of three boys and they are ages 7, 3, and 1 years old.  I am currently in school working on my Bachelor’s degree so that I can become an Elementary school teacher. Children are our future and I love making a difference in their lives. I am now working in the Toddler classroom here at New Legacy and it has been such a joy.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

Shaquatta Lewis, Infant Lead Teacher 

Hello everyone. My name is Shaquatta Lewis and I am a mother of four. I having been working in the Early Education field for over ten years. Prior to me joining the New Legacy family, I was working for Global Village, Cherry Creek, and Kids town in which I helped children gained the knowledge to succeed for the present and the future. I am director qualified and I obtained those accolades by attending Ashford University. I am also certified in many areas like CPR, CCAP training, and Medicine Administration. My motto that drives me is that “Our children goals and ambitions is what drives us to be successful as teachers and parents. My future goal is to become a director and continue to show the passion and desire that directed me to be what I am and love today and that is teaching.

Lynn Replinger, Toddler Lead Teacher  

05 LynnLynn is a toddler lead teacher. Lynn was drawn to New Legacy Charter School by its mission of “impacting two generations at a time.”  She wants to help empower the students and children to prepare for a successful life through a legacy of education.  Lynn has taught in elementary education for the last 21 years, providing enrichment and remedial classes for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. She has a master’s in education from the University of Phoenix. When she is not nurturing the infants and students at New Legacy, she enjoys crafting, reading, outdoor activities like walking, biking and sailing, and most of all spending time with her family.

Chantal Rukundo-Karaara, Toddler Lead Teacher

Chantal Rukundo-Karaara is a Lead Toddler Teacher who joined the NLCS team in 2017. Chantal is passionate about Early Childhood Education and has worked in the field for over 10 years, serving as a counselor, teacher and director.  She was excited to find New Legacy, a school that uniquely impacts two generations with a mission for social justice. Chantal moved to Denver, CO from the East Coast where she graduated form the University of Maryland with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and minor in LGBT studies.  Since then she has earned her National Directors credential and a Child Development Associate. When Chantal isn’t busy playing (read: learning) with her Toddlers, you can find her exploring Colorado with her daughter Araminta and partner Andre or volunteering as a doula and birth worker.  Chantal is an advocate for all things related to birth, breastfeeding and maternal and child well-being with a focus on uplifting our most underserved communities


Dallana Alvarado, Infant Assistant Teacher

My name is pronounced “Da-ya-na,” and I was born and raised in a neighborhood of  Boyle Heights in Los Angeles, California known as the “Ellis Island of the West.”  I started working in the education sector when I was 16 as a co-teacher for an accelerated math program called Jaime Escalante and thus my love for teaching students blossomed. I have worked with students from ages 6 weeks to 21 years old. For the past 6 years I worked for  the Los Angeles Unified School District as an after-school program supervisor and a teacher’s assistant . I’ve recently graduated Magna Cum Laude with a  Bachelor’s of Science in Child Development from California State University, Dominguez Hills. Some of my hobbies include standing too close to stages at concerts, reading, photography, knitting, and naps. Looking forward to learning from the staff and students at New Legacy.


Destiny Nunez, Infant Assistant Teacher

Hello my name is Destiny Nunez! I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. I have always had a passion taking care of children. This will be my first year working in Early Learning. I am excited to learn and become apart of this community.


Tania Baez, Infant Assistant Teacher

Linda Appiah, Infant Lead Teacher

Perla De La Rosa, Infant Assistant Teacher

Teresa Flores, Infant Assistant Teacher

Padma Kunapuli, Toddler Lead Teacher

Sha Smith, Infant Lead Teacher

Cha’Taya Ridge, ELC Admin. Assistant