Meet the new staff at Gilpin County School

Their love for young people shines through

By Patty Unruh

Several new staff members have joined Gilpin County School for the 2013-2014 year. Please join parents and community members in welcoming these people who work with Gilpin’s children and youth.

Patrick Griffin teaches fifth grade. This is his third year of teaching. The first two years were spent substitute teaching and working on his master’s degree in education. Griffin has over 20 years of electrical engineering experience and most recently worked for 18 years at Mentor Graphics, a global software company in Longmont. He has always admired the teaching profession and believes that it is much harder than the work he did in his engineering company. He decided to follow his passion to work with children and left his previous position to go back to school and become a teacher. Griffin says, “My favorite aspect of working with young people is seeing how well all students can do if they are treated in a positive manner with caring and respect.” He and his wife have lived in Ward, Colorado for 13 years, are avid outdoor people, and love all the activities that Colorado has to offer.

Cynthia Masters is the special education teacher for mild and moderate needs from kindergarten through fifth grade. She has been teaching for 13 years as an educator and 32 years as a fitness instructor. Masters grew up in Denver and worked for Denver Public Schools (DPS) prior to coming to Gilpin. She received her undergraduate degree in recreation/program planning and fitness at CU Boulder and attained her master’s degree in psychology from Regis University while substitute teaching for DPS. She then took special education classes from Metropolitan State College in Denver to get her generalist endorsement in special education. She first began doing programs and teaching children with Denver Parks and Recreation in the inner city recreation center. She loves seeing them filled with pride and self-esteem when they realize they can accomplish anything and see the results of their hard work. She says, “I have been inspired as long as I can remember to work with young minds.” Masters has a strong Italian background; her grandparents came from Italy. She has three brothers and two sons of whom she is very proud. She loves to cook, teach fitness with special emphasis on yoga, work out, and spend time skiing.

Heather Newman is the secondary science teacher. She teaches chemistry, biology, and advanced placement biology. This is Newman’s first year as a teacher. She is originally from Colorado and lives in Gilpin now. Prior to teaching, her main job was as mom to her three children, ages 17, 15, and 10. She went back to school to get her master’s degree in teaching and also holds a degree in chemistry. “I always wanted to be a teacher,” Newman enthuses. She loves teens, with their passion for life, hopes, and energy, which she finds contagious. Her interests include camping, hiking, and horseback riding.

April Andrescavage is the occupational therapist at Gilpin and has worked in that field for 11 years. She moved here from Pennsylvania, where she worked at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “I love working with children and helping them to develop and grow,” she notes. In the summer, Andrescavage enjoys hiking; winter finds her skiing. She loves to do yoga all year around.

Debbie Owens is the K-12 technology teacher. She is a Colorado native who has returned after three years away. She moved back to Colorado from North Carolina, where she served as an educational technologist.

Jaclyn Morrow, while technically a substitute, is applying for a position as paraprofessional in special education and kindergarten. She has substituted at Gilpin since 2013. “I like people themselves. The folks here are outstanding in their field,” she comments.

Julia Miller, first and second grade paraprofessional for the Montessori program, was unavailable at the time of this article.

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