High School Leadership

Carrie Donovan

Head of School 9-12


Carrie Donovan has been in public education for more than twenty years. She has worked as an English and English as a Second Language teacher, a soccer coach, an assistant principal, and as a principal. Carrie was the founding school leader of KIPP Austin Collegiate in Austin, Texas which is a college-preparatory, coed high school and is part of the KIPP network of public-charter schools. Carrie played Division 1 soccer at Texas Tech University, has spent time facilitating on ropes courses, and worked as a Girl Scout counselor for several summers. She is also a proud parent of two kiddos! Carrie is incredibly excited to be a part of the Movement at GALS and is humbled by the opportunity to support our students be their best selves.

Maggie Dickman

6-12 Dean of Students


Maggie Dickman is so incredibly excited to be in her second year at GALS as the 6th grade GALS Series teacher. Having attended a women's college, Maggie is thrilled at the opportunity to work to empower the young women of the Denver community. Maggie graduated from Scripps College with a B.A. in Hispanic Studies and then went on to the University of Colorado Denver for a Masters degree in Curriculum and Pedagogy. Before coming to GALS, Maggie taught 2nd and 3rd grade at AXL Academy in Aurora, CO. Born and raised in Colorado, Maggie is grateful to be able to work in this community. Outside of school, Maggie loves to travel, camp, hike, snowboard, play in the water and generally be in the great outdoors. Ideally with a dog, of course!

Yarkenda Payne

6-12 Dean


Yarkenda Payne finds great joy in claiming her roots in Adel, Georgia where her passion for education and girl empowerment began. Yarkenda is excited to join the Girls Athletic Leadership School as Dean of Students. Her work is rooted in restorative practices that produce an equitable place for all students to thrive. Most recently, she worked with Denver Public School’s CareerConnect team supporting students through a youth apprenticeship program. She has experience leading classrooms and community organizations. She has come to realize that her passion for education is what truly drives her and it pushes her to find new ways to better understand how she can support social and economic progress through education. In her self-care time, you will see her submerged in a good book or trying a new brunch spot around the city.

High School Staff

Katie Clark

HS Interventionist


Originally from Colorado, Katie earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver and her teaching credential from the University of Colorado, Denver. She spent her first three years teaching at Joan Farley Academy in Denver, before moving to Los Angeles to learn to surf and continue her career. In Los Angeles, Katie taught for six years in grades six through twelve at Ollin University Prep and earned her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction through Concordia University, Irvine. Katie is excited to be starting her second year at GALS high school, where she will support seniors as they develop their capstone projects and support teachers in their growth through instructional coaching. Outside of school, she loves spending time with her family, being outdoors, traveling and running.

Sara Cougill

HS Math


Sara is excited to join the GALS High School team! This year will be her 11th year teaching math. Sara grew up in North Little Rock, Arkansas. She attended the University of Arkansas while studying Chemical Engineering for 3 years, then she received her Bachelors of Science in Recording Industry from Middle Tennessee State University. Sara received her Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Tennessee State University. She taught high school math in Nashville, TN, for two years before moving to Denver, CO. Her favorite math is Geometry, and she still wants to be an astronaut when she grows up. Sara believes that everyone can do math regardless of how they feel about math!! When she's not teaching math, you can find Sara sewing clothes, knitting at Fancy Tiger Crafts, hanging out with her cats, growing things, hiking, riding her bike, organizing people for Girls Rock Denver, and drinking too much coffee.

Amanda Flageolle

HS Performing Arts/Registrar


Amanda is honored and excited to be back at GALS HS for another awesome year. She graduated from the University of MN--Morris with a BA in Theatre Arts and a double minor in Music and Geology. She loves teaching students how to use their voices, both on stage and off. Amanda also directs after school theatre productions for the high school and the 6-12 musical every other March. To put the rumors to rest, her favorite movie series is "Indiana Jones."

Erica Gonzalez

HS Visual and Media Arts


Erica is excited to teach art at GALS for a third year. She enjoys telling stories about art and introducing students to artists who are alive and making art today. Erica studied art history at Texas State University and education at Metropolitan State University, Denver. Erica loves taking her son on long hikes, even though he would prefer to be doing anything else. Erica also enjoys cooking food she grew herself.

Joshua Morris

HS English/HS Humanities


Joshua Morris enjoys learning and happens to be a teacher. He loves learning about dinosaurs, social issues, and cooking techniques. Additionally, he enjoys eating enchiladas, waking up early in the summer so he can binge watch TV longer, and driving. He is entering his 9th year teaching. Lastly, after spending the entire week learning and teaching, he spends his weekends eagerly waiting for the newest Games of Thrones episode.

Meghan Myron-Karels

Director of GALS Futures/GALS 11/Futures 12


Meghan goes by MK at the high school and her main role at GALS is to help students plan and prepare for their post-secondary education and career goals after graduation. She is a Luther College ('05) and American University alum ('08), and received both of her degrees in Sociology with emphases on Race, Class, Gender, Social Justice, and Equity. Prior to coming to GALS, she worked at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota (2008 - 2012), and the University of Colorado - Boulder (2012 - 2016) in Student Affairs. In her free time, she enjoys playing team sports, board & card games, and instruments. Additionally, Meghan enjoys spending time with her daughter Eddy, tending to her urban garden, and biking around Denver with her family.

Hannah Powers

HS GALS Series 9 & 10, Spanish


Hannah Powers is thrilled to join the GALS team as the 9th and 10th grade GALS series teacher, and the Spanish 1 teacher. She grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and learned Spanish in school there. She attended George Mason University for a B.A. in English - Non-fiction Writing, and subsequently, for an M.Ed. in ESL Curriculum and Instruction. She has taught in Fairfax County Public Schools, Jefferson County, and is excited to teach in DPS. Hannah adores teaching language, and loves sharing culture, language and all of the beautiful mess of both in the classroom. She is thankful that GALS has given her the opportunity to include social, emotional, relational wellness in education through the GALS Series classes, and she looks forward to connecting students with their community through this class. Her passions in education are culture, social justice, and family engagement. Hannah is the oldest of three sisters, a foodie, a dog lover, and a huge ice hockey fan. Go Capitals!

Liz Taylor

HS US History


Liz is excited to join GALS high school this year as a history teacher. She was born and raised in Michigan. Her mother is Welsh and she was fortunate enough to travel to Europe often to visit family. This itch to see the world inspired her to attend Kalamazoo College, where she majored in Religion and studied abroad in Athens, Greece. She then moved to Israel to pursue a master’s degree in Middle East Studies. She spent three years working for a nonprofit that promoted democracy in the Middle East and bounced back and forth between Iraq and Washington, D.C. She and her husband moved to Denver in 2013 to be closer to the mountains. Before GALS, Liz taught middle school social studies in DPS and Adams 14. She loves hiking, gardening, and playing with her cat.

Marianne Thomason

HS Science


Marianne is thrilled to be joining the GALS community this year. Marianne recieved her BA in chemistry with a minor in dance from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. She has taught in public education for 13 years and moved to Denver in 2007 with her daughter, to teach at Rocky Mountain School for Expeditionary Learning. Political science and history were Marianne's primary interests and her involvement with grassroots organizing around pollution, led her to study chemistry. She enjoys camping, dancing, photography, meditation and listening to peoples' stories. After an injury while competing in olympic lifting and CrossFit, Marianne has discovered yoga and embarked on an exploration of strength and fierceness through gentleness. Inquiry is at the heart of her teaching, learning and relating.

Sarah Surrey

HS English/HS Humanities/Literacy


Sarah is so excited to be joining the GALS HS staff this year as the 9th grade Humanities and 11th grade AP Language and Composition teacher.  Sarah is a Denver native and absolutely loves teaching in the best city in the world!!  She graduated from Pitzer College in 2012 with two BA degrees in English/World Literature and Spanish Literature.  Sarah then went on to teach in Newark, New Jersey through Teach for America where she also got her MS in Teaching and Learning from CSU: Global.  Following TFA, Sarah taught at another charter school in Denver for three years.  When not in the classroom, Sarah loves to read, ski, hike, cook, and hang out with her 9 year old dog, Zhivago. One of her life goals is to see all of the Audrey Hepburn movies.

Student Support Team

Amber Brydon

School Psychologist


Amber is the school psychologist at Girls Athletic Leadership School. She is thrilled to be part of the Inclusion Team, working together to support our students’ growth. Prior to coming to GALS, Amber worked as a school psychologist and MTSS Coordinator near Chicago. Amber graduated with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Coaching from Miami University. She earned her Ed.S. from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Amber enjoys running, hiking, biking, and spending time with her family, Spencer, Finley and Owen.

Yolanda Dandridge MA, LPCC, R-DMT

Lead Counselor


Yolanda Dandridge is a registered psychotherapist and researcher who has committed her career towards integrating Psychology and the Arts as an approach to emotional health stability. Yolanda has a master’s degree in Somatic Counseling Psychology, specializing in body and movement therapy. She has facilitated therapeutic and empowerment groups for over 10 years, addressing areas related to body paralyzation and phobias associated with: attachment styles, life transformations, women’s health, traumas, illness and community health. In, particular Yolanda’s master paper “Unveiling the Embodied Riddle - The Role of Dance/ Movement Therapy in the Black Body’s Developmental Experience” has started the conversation addressing the black body, and intergenerational trauma and how dance/movement therapy application can support the awakening, healing and re-educating the black body from the state of paralyzation to mobilization through the lens of developmental psychology. She also was a professional dancer for over 15 years, trained extensively in West African Dance, under the direction of Melvin Deal, African Heritage Dancers and Drummers. Yolanda’s philosophy “movement and body awareness are major components to healthy psychosocial development which support unity between the body, mind and spirit, as one.”

Karen Davidson

Director of Special Education


Karen is thrilled to be the Director of Special Education at GALS and the BOYS School. She is a native of Denver and loves to read and travel. Karen received her Bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Denver and her Master's degree in Special Education from Metropolitan State University. She has worked for DPS, Adams 14, Children's Hospital Colorado, and as an independent educational consultant. When not at GALS, Karen enjoys spending time with her husband, 15-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son.

Julie Dolin MA, LPC, BC-DMT

Director of Counseling & Wellness


Originally from New York City and a long time resident of Boulder, Julie is delighted to begin her 6th year at GALS. Each morning as the Denver skyline reveals itself during her morning commute, she feels her urban roots are watered.  Julie holds a BA in English from Vassar College, an MA in Dance/Movement Therapy from Naropa University and is a Licensed Professional Counselor.  She maintains a private psychotherapy practice, has been Adjunct Faculty in Naropa University’s Somatic Counseling Psychology program and worked in day treatment and hospital settings.  Julie is passionate about making mental health services accessible and integrated into the educational setting, as well as supporting social and emotional wellness through body-centered, mindfulness and expressive arts therapies.  She is the proud mama of two sons, age 21 and 15.

Jessica Dunn

6-12 Art Therapy Intern


Denver born, Jessica is currently pursuing her MA in Transpersonal Art Therapy at Naropa University, in Boulder CO. She received her undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (psychology and visual arts), from Naropa before being admitted into her graduate program. Jessica has had experience with mentoring organizations in the Denver area, and facilitating emotional support/art therapy groups with teen girls at the Empowerment Center of East County. She has done several professional trainings on trauma-informed art therapy and believes deeply in the ability for art materials and processes to facilitate discovery, healing, growth, and transformation. Jessica is grateful to be a part of the community at GALS and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Laura Fajardo-Arbelaez

Bilingual Counselor


Laura has a MA in Mindfulness-based Transpersonal Counseling from Naropa University in Boulder, CO and a BA in Sociology from Regis University in Denver, CO. Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Laura was raised in Latin America and the United States. Prior to joining the Counseling & Wellness team at GALS, Laura worked in various social service agencies as an educator in the prevention of child abuse, domestic violence, and human trafficking. She believes that schools are a place of connection and safety for many families, therefore her work at GALS is centered around supporting mental health care and wellness of all community members. Laura is excited to return to GALS for her 3rd year!

Ilana Fishman

GALS Special Education


Ilana comes to Colorado from the best city in the world, Philadelphia! She received her Bachelors in Psychology at Temple University and her Masters in Special Education at Arcadia University. She lives in Denver with her husband (a local) and their 2 daughters. Ilana has taught for over 20 years, and has taught every age from pre-school through Adult Education, and has enjoyed each age group immensely. When not teaching, or dragging her children to the mountains or bike trails Ilana loves to relax with a good book and espresso.

Ashleigh Davis

High School Counselor


Ashleigh Davis is in her second year as a school counselor and first year at GALS, after working as a guest teacher for GALS, she fell in love with the philosophy and made it her mission to be a part of the organization. Originally from sunny San Diego, CA, Ashleigh received her BA in Communication from Cal State University San Marcos, while there she ran the 100H, 400H & 4x100 relay. After spending a short time in the Town of Newburgh, New York raising her daughter, she was bit by the education bug and went back to school to receive her MA in School Counseling from Capella University. Denver, CO is no foreign place for Ashleigh, she and her family spent countless summers and holidays here visiting extended family. Ashleigh is thrilled to be living here and to call Denver, CO home! In her free time Ashleigh enjoys tending to her urban garden, roller skating and spending time with her daughter Olivia enjoying the beautiful outdoors and visiting museums.

Tim Lloyd

GALS Special Education


A native Coloradan, Tim has also lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City. Tim became inspired by adventurous social experiences when he was a teenager. Inspired by friends, novels, and music, he found insight in addressing and, at times, embracing life’s unforeseen challenges. This resolve stuck with him through college, leading him to get his BA in English Literature from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Tim quickly saw a need and developed a deep passion for working with adolescents of divergent backgrounds. He eventually went on to earn his MA in Educational Psychology from the University of Colorado, Denver. In his spare time, Tim works out, makes music, and explores uncommon, often illogical, creative ideas. He also loves/hates exploring Colorado and the West with his family in their 1982 Volkswagen Vanagon, responding to its frequent breakdowns, as a paradigm of life itself.

Lori Riley

SPED Liaison / Lead Paraprofessional


Originally from Los Angeles, Lori found her way to Colorado via Texas and Florida. She attended Florida Southern College where she received a BS in Business Management. Lori has worked for Denver Public Schools since 2010 and has been with GALS since 2016. What started out to be a personal mission to learn about our education system, has since turned into a true passion for working with kids. She has served in various roles throughout her time in education and is currently part of the Inclusion Support Team and is also a GALS parent. In Lori’s spare time, she enjoys hot yoga, walking, paddleboarding and cooking, and is especially passionate about traveling, and spending time with her two daughters.

Michelle Shea



Michelle grew up in Connecticut and has been living in Colorado for close to 10 years. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies and Government from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA and an MA in Special Education from the University of Colorado Denver. Prior to GALS Michelle completed two years of AmeriCorps at Mile High Youth Corps, where she built trails, used a chainsaw and provided the Denver Metro area with environmental education. She then went on to become a Denver Math Fellow at DCIS Montbello teaching 6th grade math in a unique small group setting. When outside of the classroom, Michelle can be found exploring the city and mountains she has grown to love so much!

6-12 Support Staff

Katie Wittenberg

6-12 Front Office & After School Activities Coordinator


Dolores Schaack

Director of Operations


Dolores was born and raised in Liberia, West Africa. She moved to the United States for college and studied General and Religious Education at Southern Methodist College in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Dolores moved to Denver and attended the University of Denver where she majored in Business Administration. Prior to joining the GALS team, she worked as a Business Manager for another Denver Charter School, and a Sr. Administrative Coordinator for a laboratory products distributor, also in Denver. Dolores has a son with whom she enjoys relaxing and hanging out in her free time.

Kylie Shields

Athletic Director & Enrollment Coordinator


Kylie is ecstatic to share her love of blending personal development and growth with the electricity that comes with athletics and physical movement here at GALS and The Boys School of Denver. As the incoming Athletic Director, Kylie is most excited to be part of a mission and school (movement) that not only supports, but breathes these ideas into life each and every day. Kylie grew up in New York before moving to Alabama where she received her undergraduate degree in Health Promotion from Auburn University. Kylie also competed all four years at Auburn as an all-arounder on their Gymnastics Team. Realizing her heart felt more at home in the West near the mountains, Kylie moved to Denver three years ago and obtained her Masters in Sport and Performance Psychology from the University of Denver. If she isn’t out supporting all our incredible athletes and coaches, you can find Kylie doing handstands as mental boosts, climbing 14ers, napping (recovery is important too!), and exploring all the fun art and restaurants here in town.