jodie darnell

Jodie Darnell

General Ed Mental Health


Jodie Darnell was raised in Denver and graduated from the University of Denver with a B.A. in Sociology and Spanish. She also earned a Master's Degree in Social Work at Columbia University in New York City.  After spending more than a decade living on the East Coast, Jodie is thrilled to have returned home to Colorado although she does miss the ocean. As a new member of the Wheeling community, Jodie looks forward to building relationships with students, their families, and her new co-workers! 

Catrina Hernandez

CLDE Teacher Leader


Catrina Hernandez was born and raised in Denver, Colorado.  She grew up in North Denver with her 2 brothers and 1 sister. Catrina attended Loyola University, New Orleans for her undergraduate studies and the University of Phoenix for her graduate programs. After college, she returned to Denver and has been teaching for 22 years.  She enjoys singing, craft projects, reading, cooking, and hiking.


Laura Smallwood

CLDE Teacher Leader

Laura Smallwood was born in Romania and moved to Germany when she was four years old. There, I grew up in different cultures, speaking three languages. Later on, she learned four additional languages.  She attended the University of Braunschweig in Germany and holds three masters (English, Philosophy, and Education).  Throughout her career as an educator, she has been a district academic leader, an administrator, an instructional coach, a dean of students, and a teacher. Her experience with teaching different subjects ranges from Pre-Kindergarten through University level.

As the CLDE Teacher Lead, Laura believes in nurturing the whole child. With that, she is also committed to the linguistic success of all students, and especially that of every single English language learner. Linguistic proficiency gives students access content and creates a path to growth and academic achievement.

Laura also believes learning never stops and that it happens everywhere! Since she moved to Denver in 2003, she has immersed herself in different communities to learn more about them. Moreover, she created a tradition to celebrate diversity with friends from different cultural backgrounds every year. In addition to celebrating people, she has the strong belief that we need to take care of our planet.

In her free time, she enjoys eclectic music, reading, spending time with my family, cooking for friends, and being active. Her favorite book of all times is Beloved by Tony Morrison. Traveling and trying new foods are always on the list.

Lori Manhart

CLDE Education Assistant

Lori Manhart bio coming soon.

Jason Kirkpatrick

READ Interventionist

Jason Kirkpatrick bio coming soon.

Heather Cameron

Teacher Partner


Heather Cameron grew up in Colorado and went to all APS schools. She is a graduate of Hinkley High school. She went to Metro state on a full ride academic scholarship and graduated with a BA in English. Because of the amazing teachers that she had growing up she always knew that she wanted to be a teacher herself. Wheeling has been her home for 19 years. Heather has taught kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and worked as a reading interventionist. She now enjoys supporting teachers in bringing equitable, standards based lessons to the classroom in her role as teaching partner.  Heather is a member of Wheelings Leadership team as well as an active member of the PTO. During her free time she loves spending time with her family. They love to travel and spend time exploring the outdoors together.

Cynthia Breceda

Family Engagement


Cynthia Breceda was born and raised in Colorado. She went to Aurora Public Schools from 4th grade through high school. She graduated from Gateway High School and attended the University of Northern Colorado at Lowry. Cynthia spent 3.5 years working as a bilingual para for kindergarten and first grade. After her student teaching, she completed the year working as a multi-intensive needs para. In 2014, she earned her Bachelor's in Elementary Education and began teaching first grade in the Fall. She joined the amazing Wheeling family in 2016 teaching first grade. This has been the best school she has ever worked in. She feels at home with the diverse staff and strong leader, Mr. Carson. She is happy to be back in Aurora giving back to her community. She loves teaching students how to read and giving them the ability to be independent, caring, and a productive member of society. On her spare time, when she is not working at her part-time retail job, she likes to use her teacher voice to speak at board meetings, fight for social justice, and attend rallies for labor rights. Aside from being a community activist. She saves special time for her fiancé, and her 5 fur babies (Osita, Daisy, León, Flaco and Diesel). Cynthia enjoys being both indoors snuggled under many blankets drinking Abuelita Hot Chocolate or outside hiking in the Rocky Mountains with her friends.