Photo of Chris Bacavis

Chris Bacavis

English, Peer Tutoring, & SAT Prep

Prior to teaching at CPS, Chris worked for nearly a decade as a freelance writer, copy editor, and private tutor. “At Community Prep, I get to interact every day with incredible people who often have much more to teach me than I have to teach them. One of my greatest passions is encouraging students to interact with the human experience through critical thought, careful use of texts, and constructive discourse.”


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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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Lori Bitar


Lori is a long term alternative education administrator and educator.  “Working at CPS matters to me to ensure that our students and staff get the opportunity to have a world class education.”


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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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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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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.”


Photo of Bonnie Herbst

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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Jason Hinrichs

Science ane Mathematics

Jason comes to CPS after earning degrees in Chemistry in Laramie, WY and Bioengineering at Colorado State University. “I look forward to working with students to help them find their passions in life, and gain a strong will to succeed.”


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Karen Hughes

Front Office & Community Liaison

Among other work experiences, Karen has been an advocate for youth, tutoring and teaching mainly in math, English and reading.  Why does working at CPS matters to you? “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world (Nelson Mandela).”


Photo of John Longmore

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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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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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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Julie Nassar

Special Educator

Through her twelve years in education, Julie has taught several elementary grades, special education, as well as yoga to adults and students!  “I am excited to support the fabulous CPS students and families and align that support to the vision of Community Prep School!”


Photo of Kellie Palmblad

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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Michael Payton

Director of Facilities

Mike is a master of creative problem solving! “I appreciate the staff’s passion and their sincere desire to make a difference!”

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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.”


Photo of Yantz Robinson

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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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.…

Photo of Matthew Sheldon

Matthew Sheldon


Matt received his Construction Engineering degree from San Diego State University, but enjoyed his time as an SAT tutor/instructor so much that he knew he wanted to teach full-time.  “CPS is a unique learning environment where I am able to help students realize their full potential and achieve their goals.”


Photo of Michaela Simonds

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.”


Photo of Bari Snyder

Bari Snyder

English, Language Arts

“Originally from New York, I started my career as a first grade teacher, then became a reading/literacy intervention, then the Education Director at Cotttonwood Center for the Arts before coming to CPS.
CPS is a unique environment where students and staff work together to bring out the best in each other.”


Photo of Eric Trujillo

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!…

Photo of Brian Tryon

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.”


Photo of Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson

English & Social Studies

Jeff comes from California, graduated from ASU, teaching in South Phoenix for eleven years.  “I want to have a positive influence and support kids who need it.”


Photo of Jennifer Winders

Jennifer Winders

Family and Attendance Advocate 

Jennifer has over 15 years work in the community with youth and families.  “Working with CPS matters to me because I want to see young adults get the support they need to complete high school and move on to college and/or a career. ”