Photo of Abbey Banta

Abbey Banta

English & Student Advocate

“I’m a basketball playing, poetry writing, nature loving, world traveling, long boarding, college going, bibliophilic conversationalist and philosopher. Nice to meet you ???? . I have been at CPS for 6 years and absolutely love my work. My experience here has not only gained me beautiful relationships, but broadened my perspective and made me a better person.”

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Ron Banta

Social Studies & Life Coach

“I came to CPS after years of working with high school students in faith-based and outdoor educational environments. Substitute teaching and tutoring led me to pursue work in a high school. Working at Community Prep is an opportunity to encourage students to find their own educational path, and to help them prepare for the future they envision for themselves.”

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Marc Benning

Music Faculty

“I have been a musician and songwriter for over twenty years. I absolutely love CPS. The relationships that are built between staff and students is outstanding and a pleasure to be a part of.”

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Amy Blackshear

Art & Art Therapy

Amy is a professional illustrator and certified art therapist with over 10 years experience teaching art to K-12 students. “Everyday I look forward to helping students discover the blessings of creativity, healing, and joy through the visual arts.”

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Clarence Bumpas

Student Advocate

“I was born and raised in Colorado Springs and I know what it means to be an ‘at-risk’ youth personally. I went on to be a D-1 college and professional athlete. Working at CPS means an opportunity to give support where it is needed most to those thos need it most. Most importantly, I get to EMPOWER INDIVIDUALISM!”

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Tara Bush

Student Advocate & DJ Workshop

Tara, AKA DJ T-BeatZ, is a professional DJ and has worked with students for many years.  “Working here at CPS is such an exciting and humbling experience. I Love coming to work and knowing I am making a difference in young adult lives, and sharing and teaching my skills to this young generation. I am also blessed to be surrounded by such talented Teachers and Advocates.”

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Bruce Durham

Assistant Director

Retired military, Bruce has served CPS for almost two decades as a math teacher, mentor, student advocate and administrator.  “Working at Community Prep allows me an opportunity to influence the future through our students and, hopefully, have a positive impact on our community.”

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Kevin Ewing


After his military career, Kevin began teaching in charter schools (Pikes Peak Community College and Colorado Technical University). “Working at CPS means building a stronger foundation in student’s lives through a sense of family, friendship, food, fun and the freedom to pursue interests and passions.”

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Lisa Haden

Facilities/Building Beautification

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Shawna Henry

Student Advocate

“I have always been passionate about cultivating whole-hearted, well balance life and am privileged to be able to do exactly that here everyday with these students.  I have the honor to get to know these amazing students and be a part of their team as they learn about life, school and themselves. Prior to working at at CPS, I received my Bachelors from CU Boulder in psychology and I have found my perfect fit in with Community Prep family.”

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Bonnie Herbst

Student Advocate & Icap/Career Development

Bonnie has 5 years human services background, and served as a TANF Case Manager and a Community Liaison, teaching job-ready skills to adults who were seeking employment. “CPS means so many things to me. As a teenager, I attended an alternative high school very similar to Prep. It amazes each day to see these incredibly strong kiddos stay focused and persevere through their struggles.…

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Harriett Landrum

Student Advocate

“I have a background in waiting tables, playing and teaching music.  I love working here because I love working with our kids.  Everyday is an opportunity to see someone grow up a little bit, to understand themselves, and how they are going to fit into the world.”

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Jayde Lanning

Student Advocate

“I have always had an affinity for working with teens.  I have raised four of my own kids and my youngest daughter is a CPS graduate.  I fell in love with this school when she started here and knew this is where I belonged.  Working at Prep is the most rewarding job I have ever had.…

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John Longmore


John graduated from Iowa State in 1989. He taught 3 years with Peace Corps (Papua New Guinea), 3 years in South Dakota, and since then he has mostly been in the alternative schools here in Colorado. “At CPS, I get to work with small groups of students tutoring, and linking ideas for better understanding. Seeing the light in their eyes as they understand something for the first time, that will always be my motivation.”

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Kelley Lyons

Operations Manager

“I’m a fifth generation to live in Colorado Springs and a former student of Community Prep. I love that fact that I get to come back to Community Prep and work side by side with some of my former teachers who made such an impact in my life. Watching young people with amazing minds grow into awesome humans is just a plus side of working here!”

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Allen Mauer

Science Teacher & Coordinator

From Collierville, Tennessee, Allen earned his Physics degree from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.  “Being at CPS means meeting every student where they are at and helping them achieve their full potential in science education and individual growth.”

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Carly Mentink

Student Advocate & Expeditionary Learning

“I really like being outside, it’s my favorite thing.  I’ve learned a lot from the outdoors and that’s why I like taking the kids on our outdoor adventure trips.  In the past, I’ve worked with teenagers in many different aspects, everything from trail building, to outdoor recreation, to wilderness therapy.  What I love the most about CPS are the opportunities if offers all the students and staff.…

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Charlotte Miller

Creative & Technical Art

Charlotte has been teaching art since 1990 with a special love for “found object art.”  A bicycle enthusiast, she teaches bike courses at CPS and in the community.  Charlotte has developed community projects with Kids on Bikes, Concrete Couch, Colorado Springs Food Rescue, and Christmas Unlimited.  “Working at Community Prep School means I get to be a part of a diverse group of staff and students.…

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John Moore


As an enthusiastic reader/athlete/father/husband, John serves as a teacher/mentor/friend to many.  “Working at CPS means I can do some of the things I love-reading, writing, and camping-and get paid to do it.”

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Kellie Palmblad


Kellie is an educator and artist in Colorado Springs. She studied Secondary English Language Arts Education at Colorado College in the MAT Program. Her practicum explored using creative writing to teach and assess analytic writing in secondary ELA. She conducted comparative research in curriculum and assessment abroad in Auckland New Zealand. Kellie began her career working at Mitchell HS in the MLA Program and went on to work in holistic education in the upper grades at MSCS.…

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Mike Perez

Discover & Expeditionary Learning

Mike has worked as an educator and wilderness guide for over 25 years.   “Discovery introduces students to CPS.  Expeditionary Education introduces them to a much larger world.”

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Shanet Reed-Suceska

Records and Enrollment Coordinator/ Registrar

“I enjoy working in education in a variety of roles, including as a SPED teacher and a counselor in a treatment facility. I enjoy working with diverse student populations and assisting with their educational goals. CPS provides unique ways for students to navigate through high school within a supportive environment. I know firsthand the challenge of encountering hardships while tackling school responsibilities and I love being a part of an organization that is cognizant of the support all students need.”

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Marcus Robinson

Music & Student Advocate

Marcus served as a minister and musician in various churches before coming to CPS.  He plays around Colorado Springs as a singer/songwriter.  “I love encouraging students in education, life and music. CPS has become a daily encouragement to me.”

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Yantz Robinson

Student Advocate

“I enjoy guiding students towards their dreams and their diploma.  I am a father, son, husband, and an army veteran.  Working at CPS is a way for me to continue to work with students and help them on their road to life. To work at CPS is a tremendous opportunity to effect change before bad decisions are made that could be life changing.”

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Martin Schneider


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Joni Sheffer

Special Education Coordinator & Academic Interventionist

Joni has worked within alternative high school settings since 1985. She ran an on-grounds school at an emancipation program for 14 years, and has been in District #11 since 2006.
She also tutors in the district. Other than SPED, Joni has a license in Secondary Social Studies, and highly qualified status in English and science.

“It has been my first choice always to work with students that were struggling in some way, to help them recover their strengths, and to help enable them to graduate and move toward what they want for their lives.…

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Michaela Simonds

Student Advocate

“I have always had a love for kids and have had many opportunities to work along side them in different settings. I have been priviledged to work at an Intern at Neighborhood Ministries in Phoenix, Arizona. I also was able to speak in many different schools for a non profit in Denver called Rachel’s Challenge. In many ways, Community Prep School is a dream come true for me.…

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Cee Smith

Culinary Arts

Mrs. Cee loves cooking and CPS students.  “Cooking is my love My heart is here everyday.  I’m blessed and thankful.”

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Eric Trujillo

Director of Student Services

“I was born and raise a Colorado kid! I have always had a desire to work with young people in schools. I had a hard time along my educational journey and wanted to help students who have similar struggles.  Community Prep means the world to me! Our program gives every student the opportunity to learn the best way they can!…

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Brian Tryon

Student Advocate & Photography

“I’ve worked with teenagers as a mentor for over 9 years in a school setting. Helping them succeed in school and after. I am a self taught photographer and visual artist. I use photography and art as a healing tool, and a healthy way to escape.  I love walking side by side with the students on their journey.…

Photo of Tony White

Tony White


Tony served in the military from 1981-2001 and began teaching in 1998.  “Working at CPS means I am given an opportunity to accept the challenge to grow and help students and staff grow with me.”