Middle School Teachers
Allen Potter, 6TH GRADE TEACHER, DGS PARTNER
Talk about a charmed life: I am a founding partner at the best school in Denver! The students, families, staff and community at Denver Green School are absolutely incredible. How did I get to be a math teacher in such an ideal environment? After bouncing around the country as a boy (Illinois, Arizona, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio), I settled into the Denver area when I was 10 years old. I wanted to be a schoolteacher from an early age, and I studied at the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk!) with that goal in mind. After internships in Kansas City, I took a detour all the way to Strasbourg, France, where I spent nearly three years teaching English. It was there that I learned French and Spanish and broadened my understanding of other cultures. Eventually, I returned to Denver, and I've been teaching in DPS ever since. DGS is a school that does so much more than teaching the basics. We created this school because we wanted to show that a great school could prepare students for a bright future and empower them to create it. Besides teaching middle school math, you'll find me cooking a great meal at home, working in the garden, out riding my bike, or planning a trip back to France.
Matt Suprunowicz, 6th Grade Teacher
I am so excited to start my 6th year of teaching with the 6th grade of Denver Green School. Growing up I really struggled with reading and writing and it wasn't until college that I finally felt successful. Despite my early detestation of the subject, I majored in English literature. My favorite author is David Mitchell; I re-read Cloud Atlas almost yearly. I started my teaching career in a traditional high school that focussed on getting all students to college. I taught 9th and 12th grade there, before taking a new job at a Montessori middle school. There I was able to integrate my language arts lessons with real world lessons of a working farm. I am excited for my first year at DGS because I will be able to marry my previous teaching experiences by creating curriculum that is rigorous college bound material and is project-based getting kiddos in the garden. Other than reading, I love to backpack, run with my dog, play in my garden, and create visual art in my garage studio.
Bailey Wagner, 7th Grade Teacher
Hi! My name is Bailey Wagner. I'm so excited to be leading 7th graders on their math and EfS journey! A bit about me - I was born and raised in western Massachusetts where I spent my summers leading kids of all ages at a wilderness summer camp. In high school, my curiosity was sparked by my high school physics teacher who never gave us any answers and always guided us through experimental discovery. I was so intrigued that I decided to combine my interests of math, science, caring for the environment, and serving my community by studying civil and environmental engineering at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania. After graduation, I was drawn to the beautiful scenery of Colorado and decided to further my engineering career by getting a masters degree in environmental engineering. I focused my time on studying drinking water quality in wells in Bangladesh. I graduated with my masters degree and got a job in Boulder as an environmental consultant. Although I love the subject of engineering after a few years of working in a cubicle I got antsy to pursue my passion for education.
I think that working with 7th graders is especially rewarding because they are growing, learning, and exploring at a rapid rate. My math class has a mix of real world problems with an eye towards critical thinking, and also time for self-paced individual learning. I love working at DGS because of the amazing, supportive, and passionate community of teachers, students, and parents.
Jose Piza, 7th Grade Teacher, DGS Partner
I am a Cuban-Mexican educator with a passionate interest in what education means for the 21st century learner. As a Cuban-Mexican, I share a love of diversity and have a deep respect for the challenge of learning a language. Spanish is my native language. Through my coursework, as I attained a Masters Degree in Classical studies, I have also studied Latin and Ancient Greek. It is clear to me that language and diversity both involve getting close and personal to effectively translate those concepts into good learning. As an educator, I am new to my field. I worked in the non-profit sector helping families through various education programs. Eventually, I returned to school. I earned a license to teach and began working as a middle school teacher. The age group for me demonstrates an amazing talent for curiosity as they explore the world through a unique blend of youthful play and adult-like intellectual maturity. It is a privilege to work with this age group, and a source of constant joy. As someone concerned with learning in the 21st century, I sense a dramatic change in the world around us. It is evident to most that a digital age filled with new attitudes about the world has emerged. Tomorrow's leaders will require a tool set for success that relies on critical thinking skills, an ability to connect their local world to the global landscape and a love for constant learning as the world around them changes. I can't think of anything more exciting than joining students as they tackle this work or a more perfect location for the work. Go DGS!
Travis Balch, 8th Grade Teacher
I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I finished my masters in Secondary Education from The University of New Mexico in 2011 and completed a masters as Education Specialist in 2017. The 2017-2018 school year marks the 10th year in my teaching career! My passion for education was ignited through my work and experience in summer camps in Colorado and New Mexico. But my passion for math has always existed. I love teaching math because, more than anything, I see math as the method for understanding the world around us. DGS provides a unique opportunity to blend the study of mathematics and environmental education which is what most excites me about being a teacher at DGS. In my spare time I enjoy traveling, kayaking, hiking, playing hockey and, of course, watching South Park.
Nicole Saab, 8th Grade Teacher
I am thrilled to work at DGS, a place filled with inspirational teachers, leaders and beautifully diverse students. I am a Denver native and proud graduate of Denver Public Schools. After teaching in two DPS middle schools for five years, I took some time off to raise my own two children. When it was time for me to return to the profession, I knew I wanted to teach at a school with a unique mission committed to student achievement, success and happiness. I am passionate about educating kids with engaging and relevant topics that inspire them to find their true calling. As the 8th grade teacher, I have a personal responsibility to prepare my students for the rigor of high school and the realities of the world. As stories are often windows to the world, I love using literature to discuss the human experiences and universal themes that bring us all together. I am also deeply committed to growing my students as writers so they can explore their unique voice to tell their own stories. Additionally, I prioritize mindfulness and social emotional education, providing kids with the tools they need to navigate their feelings, thoughts and relationships. When I’m not at DGS, I practice yoga, run, hike, snowboard, camp, travel, and spend as much time as possible with friends and family.
Ari Leventhal, Middle School Science Teacher
I am a Colorado native and grew up in the suburbs of Denver. I went to college in Portland or and spent my first years as a teacher in New York City teaching 10th grade chemistry. I continue to be excited to be a part of the teaching staff at DGS where we are always working to make our students better citizens and students. As a chemistry major in college, I found myself constantly drawn to working with people and loving science at the same time, teaching has been an ideal match for my interests. I look forward to working with the middle schoolers and exploring, playing, learning and challenging ourselves with science. Whether as a summer camp counselor, teacher or a mentor, I have always enjoyed working with students from a diverse set of backgrounds. I can frequently be found outdoors with friends and at concerts, and I look forward to spending my weekends climbing, biking, hiking and snowboarding. I am also an Ultimate player and will likely have a large supply of Frisbees in the classroom.