Middle School Staff Credentials

Erik Cohen, PhD – Middle School Assistant Principal


Jessica McCurdy – 6th Grade Language Arts/Social Studies

  • High Growth Award all Years of Teaching (6)
  • “Exceeds Expectations” Rating 2012-2013, 2013-2014 school year
  • Distinguished Rating Award 2013 – 14
  • International Teaching in West Africa, Ghana
  • Received the Oprah Winfrey Award in 8th grade for Top Reader

Renee Survis - 6th Grade Math/Science

  • Among only 7% of Denver Public Schools teachers rated as “Distinguished” based on growth and professional scores
  • “Exceeds Expectations” Ratings 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16
  • International teaching in Antigua, Guatemala
  • One of eight teachers in Denver Public Schools to receive a grant to study The Civil Rights Movement in Alabama during the summer of 2009
Other fun facts:
My favorite place to be is on a beach!
I love running and last summer I ran in the Ragnar Relay Race, a 200-mile race from Copper Mountain to Aspen.
I love to travel!!!!  This past summer I was lucky enough to visit Paris and Amsterdam for two weeks.  I am also going to the Dominican Republic for Christmas!
In my free time I love to cook for friends and family, dig in my garden, play with my pets (Skye, Jett, Olivia and James) and read.


Danielle Worden – 6th Grade Math Interventionist

  • Recognized as a “High Performing Teacher” by the Colorado Department of Education for exceptional TCAP growth scores for 7 years
  • Among only 7% of Denver Public Schools rated as “Distinguished” based on growth and professional scores
  • Highest growth scores overall in DPS for 6th Grade math for several years
  • Two-time selected Denver Mile High Teacher
  • Students’ status scores consistently higher that State and District
  • Master Teacher in the state of Louisiana

Lynn Knowles – 7/8th Grade – Social Studies

  • Masters Degree in Secondary Ed
  • 26 years experience as a Middle School Teacher
  • Mile High Teacher Award Recipient 2009
  • Recognized as teacher who “Exceeds Growth Expectations” for 7 years in a row
  • Teacher liaison/supervisor for a DPS middle school and CU Denver student teachers
  • 9 years experience as a mild/moderate middle school special educator
  • ‪Creative Grant recipient from Coca-Cola and Join-a-School in New Mexico
Nischala (Nish) Hendricks – 7/8th Grade language arts
  • Masters Degree in Multicultural Urban Secondary English from UC Berkeley (4.0)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Modern Literature (High Honors)
  • Contributing author of “The First Year of Teaching: Classroom Research to Increase Student Learning”
  • Highly Effective Rating (Jefferson County) 2014-15
  • “Exceeds Expectations” Rating (DPS) 2012-13

    Other fun facts:
    My college mascot is a banana slug (UC Santa Cruz)
    I love having opportunities to geek out about literature and I’m an avid reader of young adult lit.
    I like to go hiking with my husband, Luke, and puppy, Bella.
    I have two sisters.
    I spend my summers enjoying time with my family and selling ice cream for our family business (Milk Money).
    My family had a horse and a pony when I was growing up!

Joel Assenheimer - 7/8th Grade Math
  • Bachelor of Arts in Middle Childhood Education from Wittenberg University (Ohio).
  • Completing Masters Degree in Educational Policy and Leadership from the University of Cincinnati.
  • Lead Educational Consultant for AdvantaCore School Improvement Solutions traveling across the country training teachers and administrators to implement a successful freshman transition program into high school.

Other fun facts:
Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, I moved to Denver two years ago with my fiancé`, Laura.  In my personal time I enjoy hiking, skiing, Ohio State football, golfing and playing with our dog Max.

Jon Havens – 7/8th Grade Science

  • Bachelor of Science from Journalism School at CU Boulder
  • Masters Degree from CU-Denver in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Mentor teacher in both Aurora and Denver Public Schools
  • Demonstration classroom teacher Aurora Public Schools
  • Superintendent Award for high-growth scores in Aurora
  • Led Engineering Club to first place in city-wide lithium-ion battery car competition sponsored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) last year
Kristin Nappe – Middle School Reading Intervention
  • Master of Arts in Special Education from University of Connecticut’s NEAG School of Education
  • 11 years teaching experience in special education/intervention
  • Distinguished Rating (DPS) 2015-16

Cathy Warden – 7/8th Grade Special Education

  • Master of Arts in Special Education
  • 22 years of teaching experience in Denver Public Schools, Middle School level
  • Mile High Teacher Award 2008
  • Experienced ‘Response to Intervention Teacher’ Instructional Coach
  • Experienced “Special Education Teacher” Instructional Coach
  • Denver University Adjunct Professor-Teacher Education Program, 2012
  • Language Essentials for Teaching Reading and Spelling District Trainer
  • Recognized as a strong student advocate by parent community
  • Williams Syndrome Adult Mentor

Robin Tobin – Gifted and Talented Teacher

  • Bachelor of Arts, CU Boulder in Psychology and Dance
  • Master of Arts, University of Denver in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Licensed Elementary, Special Education and Gifted and Talented Teacher
  • Distinguished Rating, 2014-15
  • Graduate of Denver Teacher Residency and model classroom for new residents