Meet Our G.A.T.E. Team

Melissa Trujillo is an elementary G/T Facilitator who works at Northside, Pomona, and Oak Grove Elementary Schools. She has 22 years teaching experience in grades K-6, including grade level curriculum and art. The 2017-18 school year begins her13th year of teaching in the Montrose County Gifted and Talented Program. She holds a Master’s Degree in differentiation and an endorsement in Gifted Education. Melissa enjoys working with gifted students and strives to help them become self-advocates. She loves the outdoor opportunities that living in Montrose provides and appreciates that our area is a community where people come together to support each other.

Tanya Fredrick is the elementary G/T Facilitator who splits her time between Johnson, Cottonwood, and Olathe Elementary Schools. She has been an educator for 22 years and has spent 20 of those years in gifted education. Tanya loves working with gifted kids because of their out of the box thinking and their senses of humor. Her husband and she are enjoying their empty nest as their daughter, Heather, attends Colgate University in Hamilton, New York on an academic scholarship.

Danielle Kistler is new to the GATE team but not new to education. She has been a classroom teacher for over fourteen years and is currently working on Gifted and Talented Education coursework. Originally from California, Danielle taught high school English for eight years, three in a magnet school. Most recently she has been teaching 6th grade as well as elementary and middle school music here in Montrose. Danielle has worked with gifted students in the traditional classroom but is looking forward to being able to focus specifically on the talents and potential of gifted learners. Danielle will be working at OMHS and CtMS. When she is not teaching, Danielle enjoys spending time with her family and friends, practicing music, reading, exercising and baking.

Loryn Leonard is excited to engage the creative minds of the Gifted and Talented program. Originally from Texas, she has been an educator for six years and has taught everything from advanced art to Special Education. Prior to becoming a teacher, Loryn worked in museum education for notable museums such as The Dallas Museum of Art. On weekends, you may find her hiking around the Western Slope with her family, or constructing sheet metal jewelry in her studio.

John Steele is the MCSD Gifted Education Coordinator and is currently working on graduate coursework to earn an Endorsement in Gifted Education. John has taught Concurrent Enrollment English at Montrose High School for the past four years, and previously to joining Montrose County School District, john taught English, Film Studies, and Creative Writing at Western State Colorado University. He holds an MFA from Spalding University and has lived in Colorado all his life. He has a wife, five-year-old son, and two dogs. John is very passionate and excited about working with Gifted & Talented students!