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Meet our Staff

Lou Valdez



I am very proud to be the Director of a program that helps people enter the career field of teaching.  I believe that working with students is one of the best career choices a person can make and I have been fortunate enough to experience all facets of this field.  Following many years as a middle school and high school teacher, I served three years as Assistant Principal at Wasson High School in Colorado Springs. My next assignment was to be Principal of Coronado High School in Colorado Springs District 11.  After seven years as principal I was appointed to the position of Executive Director of School Leadership in School District 11.  In that position I supervised twenty-five schools and principals including eight elementary schools and all of the high schools, middle schools, and alternative schools in the district.  Following my retirement from District 11, I had the opportunity to become the Director of the 2-Year Alternative Licensure Program.  This has been an extremely rewarding opportunity to help people discover the field that has been my life’s work.  In my free time I enjoy spending time with family, movies, playing golf, going to the gym, yoga, reading and travel.       

Samantha Griffin

Program Coordinator


I am graduate from the University of Wyoming with a Bachelor of Arts degree. I moved to Colorado Springs 13 years ago.  I have over 10 years of experience working as an Administrative Assistant.  Five of the years were spent working at Pikes Peak BOCES as the Executive Assistant of the Exceptional Students Department.

Outside of work I enjoy outdoor activities, concerts, creating artwork, and spending time with family and friends.

I am very excited to be the Program Coordinator for the Two Year Alternative Licensure Program!  I have enjoyed working with all of our teachers and watching them grow into their professions as educators.

Field Coaches

The Two-Year Alternative Licensure Provides a Field Coach appointed by the Program Coordinator.

The Field Coach, is responsible for direct observations and coaching of the alternative licensed teacher.    

 In all cases, the Field Coach is a very experienced, retired teacher, principal, or administrator. Every effort is given to matching teachers with a Field Coach who shares the same grade level or content area background.

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Beth Carlson

Field Coach

Beth taught in School District #11 for 28 years. She is the founder and supervisor of Kids in Motion dance, for underserved kids. She is also the President of the Board of Trustees for C.S. Dance Theatre, a presenting organization of 42 years, which gives scholarships to local dancers and tickets to underserved kids. Beth began working in the Alternative Licensure Program in 2002. 

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Brenda Kane

Field Coach

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Chris Bivin

Field Coach

BA & MA- University of Northern Colorado

Teacher – 4 years at Coronado High School – Taught Geology, Field Biology, Physical Science, Psychology

Teacher – 21 years at Doherty High School – Taught Psychology, American History, World Geography

Principal Licensure-University of Denver

Assistant Principal – 1 year at Doherty’s Night School

Assistant Principal – 8 years at Coronado H.S.

Interim Principal – One semester at Sabin Middle School

Principal – 2 years at Pueblo Centennial High School

Through the years Chris was an assistant coach in baseball and basketball and a head coach in tennis.

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Donna Priester

Field Coach

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Dora Gonzales

Field Coach

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Denise Rubio-Gurnett

Field Coach

Education is my profession and my passion! I began teaching in Iowa under a Temporary Certificate due to a shortage of teachers.  I taught in rural schools for 4 years. I moved from Iowa in 1965 to teach in Colorado Springs, where I met my husband, Joe, and we were married in 1967.

I received my Bachelor’s degree at Drake University in Iowa and my Master’s at Colorado College. I taught in elementary schools in C.S. School Districts 12 and 11, until I retired from the Classroom and became a consultant to schools and school districts, which I continue to do on a part time basis. 

I became associated with BOCES and the Alternative Licensure Program in 2007,  and have always been excited to share my experience and educational endeavors  with teachers just beginning the profession.

I joined an Optimist Club in 2003 as my joy and passion in life is helping Kids become the best they can be and the Optimist organization is one that works hands-on with kids.  That is the goal of all teachers – preparing our students to be the best they can be!

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Vivian Cook

Field Coach

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Judy Bacalane

Field Coach

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Linda Williams-Blackwell

Field Coach

Teacher at Doherty High School for 10 years.  Six years experience as Special Education Supervisor  in District #11.  Fourteen years experience as Executive Director of Special Services in Monument School District #38.  Five years experience as Principal and Special Education Director  for residential  treatment facility.  Currently ad hoc professor for UCCS working with Special Education student teachers and Field Coach for the 2YALP. 

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Marcia Gieck

Field Coach

Married 46+ years to Sam.  Mother of 3; grandmother of 8

33+ years teaching in both public and private schools

11+ years teaching and mentoring in PPBOCES programs

Degrees and Certificates:  Bachelor of Science in Sociology (UCCS), K-6 Teaching Certificate (UCCS), Masters' Degree in the Art of Teaching (Grand Canyon University), and Certified Academic Language Practitioner

Other Activities: Sports' Grandma, Reading, Crocheting,Walking, Exercise, Church Activities, and City of Fountain Planning Commission.

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Pat Kane

Field Coach

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Patty Weed

Field Coach

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Rebecca Wesley

Field Coach

As a teacher with 25+ years of experience, I enjoy having the chance to help others who are starting their careers as teachers. My teaching endorsements include Special Education, Secondary Social Studies, Art K-12, and Elementary Education. I have taught in public schools at all levels - Elementary, Middle School, High School - as well as running a program for teen moms at the D11 Tesla Alternative High School. Teaching has been my passion, and I hope to offer advise, ideas, motivation and support to all of the new teachers that I get to work with in our alternative licensure program. 

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Sandra Hawk

Field Coach

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Sue Sallee

Field Coach

My name is Sandy Hawk. I have lived and worked as an elementary educator in Colorado Springs for over 30 years. I have taught as a Special Education Paraprofessional, an elementary grade teacher grades K-6, (many of the years in 3rd and 5th), and a Teaching Learning Coach all in School District 11. As a Teaching Learning Coach I have observed and modeled lessons in all grade levels. Education is my passion, I can't imagine doing anything else! I look forward to working with like minded individuals just beginning their education careers and continuing my education experience.

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