PERSONALIZED LEARNING:

Meet the Team

English Second Language (ESL): Cece Garza

Hi! My name is Cece Garza and I am the ELD teacher at Legacy Point. I have been teaching second language learners for 15 years. Before moving to Colorado I taught 3rd grade in California. I graduated from Grand Canyon University with a Masters Degree in TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) and a Bachelors degree in education.

I am married and have triplet boys that are now 23 years old. I am a huge animal lover, so I currently have 4 dogs, 4 cats and 2 geese. We love spending our time on the lake skiing and just having a great time.

I love teaching and feel that all students should have the same opportunities to learn to the best of their abilities. I meet students in small groups, independently or in the classroom - it all depends on their needs.

Contact: cygarza@dcsdk12.org

Reading Recovery: Kim Nelson

Hi! My name is Kim Nelson and I am a Reading Recovery teacher here at Legacy Point. I have been a literacy specialist and Reading Recovery teacher here in Douglas County for 18 years.

Before moving to Colorado, I was a Special Education teacher and Reading Recovery teacher for eight years in the deserts of California. I am married and have a wonderful 15 year old daughter. We also have a 12 year old Golden Retriever and a very shy cat. This summer we adopted a Golden Retriever puppy!

My job here has two parts. I work individually with four first grade students, following the structure of Reading Recovery. I also meet with kindergarten through second grade Booster Groups for 20 to 30 minutes a day, four times a week to provide small group literacy instruction for those students who need a little extra boost to help them become more proficient readers. This instruction is in addition to their reading instruction in the classroom.

Contact: kanelson@dcsdk12.org

Learning Specialists:

Learning Specialists work with students who qualify for special education services and are on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Targeted interventions are implemented in individual or small group settings to help students meet their personalized learning goals.

Lynn Eklund

I am thrilled to be at Legacy Point this year! My own children have attended LPE, and my youngest is a third grader at LPE, so it has a very special place in my heart. This is now my tenth year of teaching. I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education. I am currently working on my Master's degree in Special Education at Colorado State University- Pueblo, and I love how I get to apply all I am learning. I have also been trained and implement the Orton Gillingham approach to literacy instruction.

My husband Pete and I are blessed with three wonderful children that keep us very busy. Lydia is a sophomore at Ponderosa this year, Liam is a sixth grader at Sagewood, and our youngest Brandt, is in third grade. Our family enjoys traveling, hiking, watching movies and sports, and just spending time together!

I take my role as an educator very seriously. I love the rewards and challenges it brings. There is nothing greater than seeing the light bulb go off for my students and to watch them gain confidence as learners. It is my mission that all my students will discover how they learn best, and that they will acquire strategies that will help them grow as life long learners.

Contact: leklund@dcsdk12.org

Heather Kidd

My name is Heather Kidd and I am the intermediate learning specialist at LPE. I graduated from the University of Wyoming with a dual major in elementary/special education, received my Masters degree from Walden University in Literacy and have also been trained and implement the Orton Gillingham approach to literacy instruction. I moved to Colorado nineteen years ago to pursue my teaching career. I began my career in special education and then switched positions to teach first grade for twelve years. After twelve wonderful years with first graders I decided to return to special education to follow my passion as a learning specialist.

I have a wonderful family! My husband has worked for US Bank for 20 years. He is an amazing leader and husband who does so much for our family. My son, Aaron is a sophomore at Legend High School. He is extremely active and is always on the go. He plays baseball and is a dedicated student. My daughter, Carly, is ten and will be attending Cimarron Middle School this year. She also is extremely active and loves playing softball.

I believe that as a teacher, I give my students the motivation and confidence that is needed for them to believe that they can succeed. I am passionate and motivated to help guide all students so that they never need to question their potential.

Contact: hkkidd@dcsdk12.org

Sarah Merchant

I am a native Coloradan who absolutely loves spending time outside and teaching! I received my B.A. in Special Education from Seattle Pacific University in 1997. Later in my teaching career I went back to school and earned my masters degree so I could better understand how being exposed to and speaking another language impacts students. I have been teaching at Legacy Point for ten years and have never felt so at home. My passion is teaching reading and while in Douglas County I have been trained in Literacy Lessons as well as Orton Gillingham. No two students learn the same way. I think it is so much fun figuring out how to reach and bring out the reader in every one!

My husband Vic and I have four kids. We all enjoy playing outdoors whether it is biking, swimming, rafting, paddle boarding or walking on the trail near our home. Sam is a sophomore who takes the light rail to Denver School of Science and Technology every day. Emery is a 7th grader at Euclid Middle School in Littleton and Bo is a first grader at Centennial Fine Arts Academy. Willow is two and while I am teaching she hangs out with grandparents which she absolutely loves.

Contact: smerchant@dcsdk12.org

Occupational Therapy: Sharon Fisher

I am a licensed Occupational Therapist that specializes in pediatrics. I graduated from the University of Hartford in 1996. I have worked in a variety of therapy settings including Early Intervention, the schools and outpatient rehabilitation. I have worked with a wide variety of patients with orthopedic, neurological and developmental delays. This will be my 14th year working in the schools and my 4th year at Legacy Point. I am excited to work with my kids and love watching them grow from year to year! My husband and our 2 boys (Matthew and Max) moved to Colorado in 2013 from Atlanta, Georgia. Both my boys have attended Legacy Point and now my younger son is in 5th grade! We truly love the community and sense of family at Legacy Point. We love the outdoors and spend our weekends hiking, biking, camping, traveling, playing with our dog, and skiing.

Contact: sfisher@dcsdk12.org

Voyager Program: Brooke Patterson

Hello and welcome! Thank you for taking the time to learn a little about me! While I have been teaching in DCSD since 2006, this is my first year at Legacy Point. Professionally, I completed my undergraduate degree from Colorado State University in 2003, earning a Bachelors of Arts degree in music therapy. I successfully passed my board certification in 2004 and remain a licensed music therapist (MT-BC). I completed my graduate degree in 2007 from the University of Northern Colorado, earning a Masters degree in Education with K-12 certification as a Special Education Generalist (M.Ed.). In 2018 I was also recently certified as an animal assisted intervention k-9 handler (AAI) and partner with my dog Cedar to benefit adults and students alike.

Through my work with students, I have been blessed to find my true passion and calling in life. I believe wholeheartedly in the potential of every individual, whereby focusing personalized program planning on my student's strengths. I aim to be a highly-effective teacher and case manager, providing students with opportunities to learn in creative ways and to think critically by applying social, emotional and academic skills both in and out of the classroom.

Personally, I am a mom of an 11, 9 and 5 year old. They keep me on my toes for sure but I love every minute of it! I am a Colorado native and have called the town of Parker home since 2006. I have been married to my amazing husband (who is also a teacher in DCSD) for 13 years and have been teaching students with unique needs since 2003. I also am passionate about rescuing and rehabilitating homeless dogs and usually have at least one foster pup that lives with our pack of three furry family members. Life is busy for sure but I love what I do and could not have asked for a better place than LPE to call home.

Contact: bepatterson@dcsdk12.org

Speech Language Pathologist: Donna Bales

A Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) in a school works with students who qualify for special education services and are on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Students are provided individual and small group therapy to focus on improvement of articulation, voice, and language skills so they can better access their curriculum inside the classroom. An SLP maintains national certification through the American Speech Language Hearing Association and has obtained a master's degree in communication disorders.

Hi, I’m Donna Bales and I’m so excited to be the Speech Language Pathologist at Legacy Point Elementary! Originally from a small town in New Mexico, I recently moved to back to Colorado after 20 years away, living in Northern California, Georgia, Kentucky and most recently 10 years in Las Vegas, Nevada. I have 3 grown children, all girls. My oldest lives in Dallas with her husband, and the other two live here in Parker. We enjoy hanging out together, exploring Colorado, trying new recipes, and watching movies. I also adore reading and have way too many books! I live with my dog, “Peppermint” who is a 16-year-old Maltese. He is nearly blind and deaf, but still loves to cuddle. I’ve worked in a variety of settings, including elementary, middle and high school, early intervention, and a day program for adults and children with strokes and traumatic brain injuries. I love helping others find their best strengths in order to support any areas that need a boost. I love to laugh and sing and I use lots of music and books in therapy.

Contact: dbales1@dcsdk12.org

School Psychologist: Tricia Brown


Social Worker: Danielle McDowell

The School Social Worker is responsible for social and emotional skills for students with Individualized Education Plans and and supports the School Counselor with the general education students.

Hello! I joined Legacy Point Elementary in 2017 as the School Social Worker. I earned my Master's degree in Social Work in 2004. I spent 10 years working with at risk youth before transitioning to a private therapy practice in 2011. In 2016 I began working the the Douglas County School District.

I have a an amazing husband who is a principal in Denver and two inspiring young daughters. I have three very tiny dogs that drive us crazy in a good way. My family loves to be outside hiking, swimming and hanging out. I am a certified 500hr Yoga teacher and love bringing that aspect into the school systems.

Contact: damcdowell@dcsdk12.org

Counselor: Sarah Sanniola

Hi, my name is Sarah Sanniola and I joined the Legacy Point family as the Elementary School Counselor in February 2019. I earned my Masters degree in School Counseling from Adams State University in 2007.

As a School Counselor, my primary responsibility is to promote the academic, personal, and social development of all students. I look forward to offering support to the students, staff, families and community. I have the privilege to work with every single student in the school. I will be working with students at the classroom level, small group level, as well as at the short-term individual counseling level. I would like the students here to think of my office as a warm and friendly place, where they are always welcome. My office is also a safe haven – a place where they can get help if they feel confused or worried.

My husband and I have two little kiddos, a 10 month old son and a 2 1/2 year old daughter. I love that my two kids will be attending LPE not only because I work here but because it's such an amazing school and community.

Contact: ssanniola@dcsdk12.org