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.
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 Instructor
Ryan Lerand, Special Educator
I have lived in 6 states but I consider Colorado to be my home. I have worked in schools for over 10 years and I studied Education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. I have coached basketball at many different levels including most recently as a volunteer at a juvenile detention center for girls. In my spare time I like to watch documentaries, cook and read. I am a passionate follower of the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team and a life long learner.
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