Meet the Teachers
Mrs. Hares

Christina Hares
6th Grade Writing and Science Teacher
(303) 467-2295 ext. 119  

I am so fortunate to be a 6th grade teacher at Excel Academy, working with so many incredible scholars! Since 1999, I’ve had an incredible adventure of teaching every grade from 1st through 6th both in Colorado and Arizona. Although I really liked teaching every grade, 6th is my favorite. I earned both my Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Denver. My Bachelor's degree is in psychology and political science and my Master's degree is in Arts in Education. I've continued my learning with many classes in art, science, history, technology, language arts, and math. I'm a lifelong learner and work hard to impart this same feeling to my students. I'm married with 3 amazing children, Alana, who is a recent college graduate who has just gotten her first "real" job, Cameron and Callista. When I’m not teaching, I love spending time with my family, reading, camping, 4-wheeling, visiting museums, festivals and traveling. I am passionate about art, books, and writing and strive to bring a creative flair to the classroom. I absolutely love working with children and am excited to share in the next part of your child’s journey.

Mrs. Lynch

Michelle Lynch

6th Grade Social Studies and Math Teacher
(303) 467-2295 ext. 118

I was born and raised in Arvada, Colorado and continue to be an Arvada resident where my husband and I have enjoyed raising our 4 children. I   am very excited to be part of the 6th grade team. In 2000 I received my K-6 Elementary Education Certificate with a major in History and a minor in Reading from Metropolitan College of Denver. It has been a lifelong passion and goal to become an educator and I have had the good fortune to find many avenues in order to achieve this goal, whether through volunteering or various educational positions since high school. My second passion is that of a lifelong learner and as such, hope to ignite and promote that same passion in my students.

Mrs. Haberman

Heather Haberman
7th/8th Grade Science Teacher
(303) 467-2295 ext. 316

Since 2012, I have been the 7/8 science teacher at Excel Academy. I have two Bachelor degrees, one in Biology and the other in Secondary Education. From 2005-2012, I was a Biology and Environmental Science teacher at Scottsbluff High School in Nebraska. Some of my more recent accomplishments include earning a second endorsement in Gifted and Talented Education,  STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Educator certification through the NASA Endeavor Program and having served as a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Teacher at Sea. I have a real passion for science, and I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm with the 7th and 8th grade students at Excel.  You can access my teaching portfolio to learn more.

Mr. Cherry

William Cherry
7th/8th Grade Math Teacher
(303) 467-2295 ext. 317

I am very excited to be at Excel teaching the 7/8 grade Mathematics class! I am also excited to join the 7/8 grade team. My wife and I have recently moved to Colorado from Texas where I have spent the past 8 years in education. I graduated from Hardin-Simmons University in Abliene, TX and received my Texas Teaching certification in 2008. I enjoy riding my bicycle, being outside and keeping up with the Texas Rangers, Baylor Bears, and the Texas Tech Red Raiders sports programs. I love being part of Excel Academy and look forward to becoming a Bronco and Rockies fan this school year!

Mr. Whittier

Aaron Whittier
7th/8th Grade Math Teacher
(303) 467-2295 ext. 309

I am delighted to be teaching math to so many great students! I graduated with my degree in Math from CU Boulder in 2011, and have been teaching math and science at a variety of levels since then. I am quite happy to have settled in at the middle school level and am pleased to be guiding students through their math education. Besides great passions for math and teaching, I enjoy hiking, board games of all kinds, and my pet bunnies. I hope to share some of my passion for math with each of my students and create lifelong curious learners.

Ms. Bortner

Penny Bortner
7th/8th Grade Literature Teacher
(303) 467-2295 ext. 355

It is a pleasure and privilege to be a part of the Excel Community and the middle school team.  After over 20 years of teaching middle school, I still can't get out of the 7th and 8th grade and enjoy teaching middle school.  I teach literature and am relentless in having students create a rich personal reading life. I have a degree in journalism, English and a Master's degree in education administration.

Picture coming soon

Laurie Mekelburg
7th/8th Grade Writing Teacher
(303) 467-2295 ext. 318

I am excited to be part of the Excel Academy team.  This year I am the new writing teacher for 7th and 8th grade.  I was raised on a dairy farm in Limon, met my husband in Greeley and have lived in the Denver area for 25+ years.  My family consists of three grown children and four grand daughters.  I received my English/Secondary Education degrees from Metro and previously taught  at Westminster High School.  Things I enjoy doing in my free time include sitting on my backyard swing, taking my dog for a hike, and watching old recordings of Castle. 

Marisa Anderson

Marisa Anderson
7th/8th Grade Social Studies Teacher
(303) 467-2295 ext. 319

Greetings! I am proud to be a teacher at Excel Academy and a resident of beautiful Colorado! I moved from San Diego, California in 2015 where I had been teaching for six years. I graduated from UC Davis where I studied and majored in Psychology with a minor in Human Development. I earned my teaching credential at Point Loma Nazarene University and I began teaching 18-21 year olds with developmental disabilities. I have taught History, Language Arts, Math, and Technology in a variety of age groups. At Mt. Helix Academy, I taught 6th-8th grade, and at The Child’s Primary School, I was the 4th-5th grade teacher. At Excel I teach 7/8 Social Studies. I have also taught World Cultures, Journalism, Psychology, Geography, Yoga, Bootcamp, and Project Runway! I am incredibly passionate about education and truly believe that we are all lifelong learners. It is vital to "light their fires”, to spark their curiosity. As Yeats said, “[e]ducation is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire.” I also believe that it is important for students to feel empowered, confident, and comfortable with who they are. My job is to help them in their quest of self discovery. Besides teaching and learning, my spare time is filled with reading, playing volleyball, camping, skiing, cooking, and of course play time with my dogs, Penny and Oscar! 
I am thrilled for another wonderful year teaching and getting to know more students and families at Excel!

Mrs. Copeland

Amy Copeland
6th Grade Paraprofessional
(303) 467-2295 ext. 353

I was born and raised in Arkansas, on a small family farm. I attended the University of Arkansas where I completed a M.A.T. degree in Early Childhood Education.  I have a passion for travel, reading, and Science-Fiction movies! 

Mrs. Donna Anderson

Donna Anderson
7th/8th Grade Paraprofessional
(303) 467-2295 ext. 354

New to 7/8th grade but not to EXCEL!   I was the 6th grade Para for the past 3 years.  I have fun at Excel learning with your kids and the middle school team.   It is a pleasure to talk with and get to know the students as they grow.  Every year the students come back from summer break a little more grown up, not just in size, but in character.  I see your children as young adults, ready to soak up the very essence of life and it is my pleasure to help them along their path. I am originally from Tucson, AZ  **GO WILDCATS**    I graduated from the UofA with a BS in Business Administration and a minor in MIS.  I have a husband and 2 daughters (18 & 16 yrs old).   I enjoy football...Especially the BRONCOS, scrapbooking, being out in nature and working with numbers. 

I'm responsible for collecting field study trip forms & deposits, monitoring the playground and lunchroom, helping the teachers in classrooms, and making good use of the copy room! Oh, I actually like doing bulletin boards too! Stop by and say hi to me anytime!  If your son or daughter needs help getting to know people, or needs a Permission form, or just needs to chill in my pod, tell them to come see me. I'm here for them and you.