Special Education Teachers

Meghan Manley, Mild Moderate Special Eduction Teacher

This is my 5th year of teaching and my 3rd year as a mild/moderate elementary teacher at DGS. Every year at DGS, my love for the students, staff and community just grows. I am passionate about advocating for and supporting our diverse learners. 

I am originally from a small town in south Texas and I moved to Colorado about 7 years ago for graduate school. Since then, I have been enjoying everything Colorado has to offer. I love hiking with my husband and our pup, traveling, trying new restaurants, reading sci-fi/fantasy, and supporting Longhorn Football through its continuous rebuilding years. I graduated from The University of Texas with my BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders and then, after moving to Colorado, obtained my MA from Metropolitan State in Special Education. I love getting students excited about learning new things, supporting them in reaching their goals, and helping them to become lifelong learners.


I am a Colorado native and love living and working in the Denver area. I received my Bachelor's degree and Master's degree in Special Education from Denver's own Metropolitan State University. I have worked with students and adults with disabilities for over eight years and have worked in DPS in different capacities for the past six. Prior to my work as a special education teacher I served as a behavioral interventionist for an autism center in Denver, as a speech-language pathology assistant and assistive technology consultant for DPS. Of all of my experience working with people with disabilities, I found my true passion is working with students with autism spectrum disorders.  I feel truly lucky to work at Denver Green School which fosters an incredibly inclusive environment for students with different needs. I am constantly inspired by the gifted staff and enthusiastic students. In my free time, I am an avid reader, an aspiring foodie, and an amateur runner/cyclist.

Colleen Washburn, Autism Teacher

I am thrilled to be entering my second year at Denver Green School as a teacher in the Autism Center Program. I grew up in Michigan and attended Albion College where I obtained my BA in Speech Communications. I then attended Rutgers School of Law - Camden where I earned my JD and continued to practice law in Philadelphia and New Jersey. After spending time volunteer teaching throughout law school and in my legal career I decided to pursue my passion to become a special education teacher and moved to Colorado where I earned my MAT in Special Education from Metropolitan State. While my path to become a teacher may seem unorthodox it has made me a strong advocate and passionate teacher for my students. Outside of school I am an avid yogi, hiker and traveler.



I am thrilled to be entering my third year at the Denver Green School and continuing to develop in such an inclusive and impassioned community. I grew up in Colorado, ventured out to Portland, OR to complete my B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing from Lewis & Clark College, and am glad to be back in the Denver sunshine. I come from a family of educators and have worked with students with disabilities for almost five years in both educational and community-based settings. Currently, I am pursuing my Masters in Teaching with a concentration in Special Education through Metropolitan State University. When I am not teaching and taking classes I enjoy yoga, hiking, or simply relaxing with a cup of coffee and a good book. Through my close relationships with students I have learned an immeasurable amount about the power of empathy, self-acceptance, and determination. I cannot wait to spend another year growing as a learner and teacher at DGS!

Amy Sakuda, Speech-Language Pathologist

This is my second year working in DPS as a speech-language pathologist. I love working with children and teaching them how to be effective communicators. I believe that communication is a right that each individual has, to be able to understand language and express themselves so they can be clearly understood by others. I am excited to be a part of such a dynamic staff and contribute to the learning environment!


Lana Von Tersch, Gifted and Talented

I currently work as the half-time Gifted and Talented Representative at DGS. This is my 4th year working for the Gifted and Talented Department.  I was previously a 4th and 5th grade classroom teacher for 12 years.      I am a native of Denver and a DPS graduate. When I'm not teaching, I enjoy spending time with my husband, my 4 year old son and Colfax, our cat.

ELA Teachers

Jared Acker, Elementary School ELA Teacher

I grew up cycling the country roads of southeastern Michigan and graduated with a B.A. from Michigan State University.  I attended graduate school at DePaul University where I earned a master's degree in International Public Service Management.  I lived in Chicago for 3 years and worked for the Chicago Teaching Center doing conflict resolution in classrooms and team-building through out Chicago Public Schools.  After teaching English at an elementary school in Busan, South Korea, I found myself in Denver and a member of the Denver Teaching Fellows 2010 cohort.  This will be my 5th year teaching in Denver Public Schools and my third at Denver Green School.  As the elementary English Language Acquisition (ELA) teacher, I cannot wait to guide my English language learners as they explore and attempt to understand the world around them while mastering English along the way.  If I'm not in my classroom, I'm probably fly-fishing a river in a quiet valley or camping somewhere isolated with my beautiful wife Jenn, and our border collie, Chico

Liz Dawson, Elementary School ELA Teacher

As a Colorado native, I grew up playing outside and learning how to take care of my surroundings. After attending CU Boulder for a psychology degree and an elementary education certification (and for more outdoor play time), I decided to utilize my Spanish skills to teach in a bilingual 2nd grade classroom and adored fostering development in kids who were learning two languages simultaneously. It was my honor to be an advocate for Spanish-speaking families and to watch kids blossom as I received a certification to teach children learning a second language. I then taught in Englewood for three years and decided I wanted to return to DPS to focus on language development. I am thrilled to be at Denver Green school, where I can simultaneously teach ideals of sustainability in our beautiful state and utilize my passion for teaching English Language Learners every day. Go Dragons!

Paula Zendle, Middle School ELA Teacher

I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin by parents who relished academics and cultural activities.  My childhood was filled with learning from books, musicals, and weekend international festivals. In high school, I enjoyed studying Spanish and participated in a family stay in Valencia, Spain. After graduating from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, I worked in technology sales and marketing for IBM for thirteen years.  When my children entered public schools, I began teaching after-school Spanish classes and volunteering to tutor a wide variety of learners.  This experience motivated me to earn my Masters in Education.  With my husband and children, I enjoy skiing, camping, and hiking in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. I have enjoyed teaching at Denver Green School for the last five years, and I look forward to inspiring another group of English Language Learners and dedicated readers at Denver Green School to love learning and to appreciate our natural surroundings."