Middle School Teachers

Alissa Mundt, 6th Grade Teacher, DGS Partner

I was born in Seattle, Washington, raised in the Portland, Oregon, and stayed in the I-5 corridor for college, attending the University of Puget Sound.  After spending my entire life in the Northwest, I ventured south to begin my teaching career in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  After two years in the Red Stick, I was ready for a change.  I moved to Denver to continue teaching and then, after five years of teaching, I took a year off and traveled in South and Central America volunteering and learning Spanish.  My teaching career took a slight detour when I returned to Denver to attend law school at the University of Denver.  After three years of law school I realized that while I enjoyed the legal world, I really missed teaching.  I am really excited to be back in the classroom this year, especially at Denver Green School.  I look forward to learning from my peers and students, as well as integrating my experiences from outside the classroom to create an engaging and inspiring learning environment.  When I am not in the classroom as either a student or a teacher, I love to spend my time running, biking, cooking, hiking, traveling, and doing yoga. 


I am a 6th grade (mostly) math teacher and a founding partner of Denver Green School. I graduated from Cherry Creek high school back in 1986 and went on to study history at the University of Kansas. I gained a global perspective (as well as competency in both French and Spanish) by spending three years living in Strasbourg, France and Barcelona. In 2011 I completed a Master's degree in Global Affairs from the University of Denver. I've been a teacher in Denver for 18 years, the first 15 of them at Rishel middle school. I'm proud of my accomplishments as a teacher, student advisor and coach, as well as the connections and relationships I built by living and working in the Rishel community. Now that DGS is beginning its fourth year as a school, I am just as proud of the community connections we are building here. I am committed to putting students at the center of their own learning; I believe that this approach (known as Place-Based education) is the key to fostering relevancy in students' learning. When students see the connections between education and their own lives, they are far more enthusiastic learners. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to create and work in this spirited learning environment.

Bailey Simone, 7th Grade Teacher

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.  The 2015-2016 school year marks my 8th year teaching!  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 so thrilled to join DGS’ team of inspiring educators and 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 children. It’s great to be back in the district and teaching at a school with a unique mission committed to student achievement and success, a school to which I am proud to send my own two children. I truly believe that books are windows to the world; through writing, students have the amazing opportunity to tell their own stories so others don’t have to do it for them. When I’m not teaching, I practice yoga, run, hike, snowboard, camp, travel, garden and spend as much time as possible with friends and family. I can’t wait to share what I am passionate about with my students. 

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 teaching 10th grade chemistry in living in New York City.  I am excited to be a part of the teaching staff at DGS. As a chemistry major in college, I found myself constantly drawn to working with students but always passionate about science. 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 enjoy working with students from a diverse set of backgrounds.  I can frequently be found outdoors, and I look forward to spending my weekends climbing, biking, hiking and snowboarding.  I am also a consistent Ultimate player and will likely have a large supply of Frisbees in the classroom.