New staff and faculty

Join us in welcoming new faculty and staff to Northfield this year:

Courtney Wickham, Assistant Principal

Courtney Wickham will join the Northfield Leadership Team as an Assistant Principal for the 2018-19 school year. Ms. Wickham has been in education for over 20 years and brings a broad range of experience to NHS. After receiving her Language Arts teaching degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Ms. Wickham served in the United States Peace Corps in western Ukraine. This was an amazing experience for her and nudged her to see more of the world—53 countries to be exact. After she completed her service, she took a job as a middle school English teacher in Istanbul, Turkey. She spent four tremendous years there and tried her hand at leading a drama troupe, making dolmas, and buying many many carpets. After Turkey, she returned to the United States and completed her masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in English Language Acquisition. She then began her work in Denver Public Schools as an English language and literature teacher at Montbello High School. During her five years there, she had the opportunity to work with newcomers from Latin America, Africa, and Asia. She left behind many wonderful students, colleagues, and friends in Denver to begin her next adventure in Medellin, Colombia where she was tasked with developing a secondary oral fluency program. While in Medellin, Ms. Wickham hit “high novice” status with her Spanish speaking and salsa dance moves. Upon her return to Denver Public Schools, she joined the Denver for International Studies-Baker (DCIS-Baker) staff as a facilitator and teacher leader. During her time at DCIS, she built the school’s first-ever ELA program and coordinated poetry slams and parent involvement initiatives. Ms. Wickham then transitioned to Merrill Middle School as an administrative assistant and ultimately became the school’s assistant principal. She worked closely with the Instructional Leadership Team and also developed community partnerships and after school activities that spoke to the school’s diversity. In her spare time, Ms. Wickham enjoys circuit training, hiking, and comedy shows. She often visits Kansas City where her five nephews and nieces reside. During the summer months, however, she is eagerly collecting more passport stamps and looks forward to her next open-air market or overnight bus. She is humbled and proud to be an assistant principal at Northfield where she looks forward to supporting student voice, bolstering teacher professional development, and collaboratively shaping the vision of IB.

Cris Sandoval, Learn to Lead Principal in Residence

Cris is a proud graduate of North High School and has approximately 20 years of experience in education as a third-grade teacher, K-12 visual arts instructor, dean of students and culture, and assistant principal. Cris’ strategic and adaptive leadership style is through a lens of empowerment, social justice, integrity, rigorous and relevant instruction, and courageous innovation. Cris cares deeply about supporting praxis and pedagogy which effectively reaches the needs of all students, fosters creative settings that support the academic success of youth, and creates and implements school-wide systems for cultural inclusion and imaginative student-centered learning in the school community. Cris is guided by a continual vision to be part of a team that guides the system of schools toward positive and transformative change, and is thrilled about being an integral member of Northfield Nighthawks!


Elizabeth (Libby) Furns, Language and Literature

Libby has been teaching high school in Denver Public Schools for 12 years. Her favorite part of working in education is learning about and from young people. They are fragile yet strong, perfectly weird, and spending countless hours with them makes every day interesting, exhilarating, and memorable. Libby is so eager to meet the young scholars of Northfield! When not teaching, Libby is running her fashion business, Boldly Beautiful 303, and enjoying the outdoors with her Chiweenie Drake.



Ryan Hill, Theater

Ryan has been directing high school theater for six years and has two years of experience as the head of the theater department at Rangeview High School. Ryan’s favorite part of teaching is watching the students build an appreciation of theater and helping them build confidence through performance and hands-on experience. He is looking forward to meeting the students and seeing what they can build together. Ryan is a skier and the worlds biggest Survivor fan. He also enjoys hiking, fishing and supporting all Denver sports teams and the Liverpool Reds.


Ryan Kenkel, Social Studies

Ryan has eight years of classroom experience in social studies education. He has learned that his favorite aspect of teaching is that every single day is a unique experience. Next year, he is looking forward to the energy, thoughtfulness, and laughter that high schoolers carry with them. Outside of school, Ryan likes to run, go backpacking, and watch NBA basketball.



Jennifer Yacoubian, Math

Jennifer has been an educator in Denver Public Schools for the past nine years. During her first four years in DPS, she served as an ELA-E Math and Science teacher at Montbello High School, and during the last five years, she has been supporting our high school math teachers and leaders in her roles as ELA Math and Science Coordinator and then High School Math Curriculum Specialist. This past year, Jennifer had the opportunity to work with our Denver Teacher Residents through teaching the Secondary Math Methods courses at the University of Denver. She is extremely passionate about equity and access for all students in mathematics and just began a two-year term serving on the TODOS: Mathematics for ALL Board of Directors. Her favorite part of working in education is being a part of a constant learning community – growing alongside teachers, students, and the community. When she is not working, Jennifer enjoys hiking, spending time with her dog, Charlie, and exploring Colorado with friends.

Brian Thomas, Mild-Mod Special Education

This will be Brian’s second year teaching. He spent this past year as a SSN Special Education teacher at Prairie View High School. His favorite part of education is watching students grow into young adults and begin to discover themselves as he works to learn through them and develop himself. He is looking forward to getting to know his students and helping them learn to enjoy the process of discovering knew ideas and ways of thinking. Outside of teaching, his favorite things to do are to play music, go to as many shows as possible, snowboard, camp, and travel to new places. He also holds the RA position on the Colorado Council for Exceptional children.



Shelanda Mitchell, Nurse Tech Para

Shelanda is a DPS alumna from elementary to high School. Her experience ranges from medical expertise to early childhood care to DPS food services. Her favorite part of working in the education field is getting to know many families and learning from so many different people. She is looking forward to having a new and different position and meeting new kids and staff members in a new school setting. Her hobbies and interests include spending lots of time with her kids and doing a lot of outdoor activities, movie time, and traveling in the U.S. and to the Dominican Republic to visit family.



Blanca Escobedo, ELA Para

She has been tutoring for the past nine years and is now I am looking forward to helping students at Northfield High School succeed academically and enjoy learning. Originally from Mexico, Blanca enjoys reading, travel and drinking tea.