Faculty & Staff Directory

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Longo, John

Upper School English Teacher

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Longo, John

Upper School English Teacher


Ph.D., English, Princeton University

M.A., English, Princeton University

B.A., English, Colgate University

Miller, Amy

Department Chair (English), Upper School English Teacher, Capstone Advisor, Full Steam Ahead Program Director

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Miller, Amy

Department Chair (English), Upper School English Teacher, Capstone Advisor, Full Steam Ahead Program Director


B.A., English, Colorado College

What is your role at CSS? My roles at CSS are English Department Chair, Upper School English teacher, Capstone Program Director, National Honor Society Faculty Adviser, Senior Class Sponsor, Full STEAM Ahead Program Director, and Upper School Community Service “tracker.”⁣

⁣What is a favorite memory at CSS?⁣ ⁣
Wow! There are more than I can sort through to find just one, so I’ll just write down a few to capture some of my favorites: Protecting Mr. Benson through the streets of Hoi An; laughing hysterically with Natalie R. as she bailed water into our canoe on the Mississippi; Matt B. hunting our AP class with a super soaker as we reenacted “The Most Dangerous Game”; purposely putting stressed seniors to sleep by reading Romantic poetry (Julie S.C.); and many, many CSS Revue skits!⁣
⁣ ⁣
⁣What draws you to working with students?⁣
I am reassured by some of the standard conventions of human development that I can rely on from year to year, including the look of wonder on a student’s face when they face a brilliant realization or make a brilliant stride forward — those AHA! moments keep me going and produce more and more of my own AHAs!⁣

⁣What is one thing you enjoy about CSS and why?⁣
I love the campus itself. I have missed driving by the pond every day and spotting ducklings or turtles or great blue herons, along with several grazing deer or the occasional bear in the field or by the creek. I enjoy looking out of my classroom window at the changing leaves on the trees on the quad and seeing the other buildings full of so many great people whom I admire and care about.⁣

⁣What is your favorite spot in the world?⁣ ⁣
That’s easy! A bookstore or a library. I feel inspired and calmed by being surrounded by books.⁣

Moorhead, Brent

Instrumental Music, Band Teacher

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Moorhead, Brent

Instrumental Music, Band Teacher


M.A., Music Education, Youngstown State University

B.A., Music Education, Youngstown State University

What is your role at CSS? I am the Instrumental Music teacher and Band Director for grades 4-12. I also teach Upper School Music Theory, direct the Pep Band, and coach the Upper School Garage Band, Holiday Winds, and various other small ensembles.

What is one thing you’ve learned from students? I’ve learned that goosebump moments aren’t restricted to professional recordings, performances, or paintings. Our CSS musicians, actors, and artists create some incredible moments that touch my heart and inspire me to be better at what I do. Our students create moments that will raise the hair on your arms, cause you to believe that they actually are the character they are portraying, or help you to experience colors (or other visuals) in a whole new way.

If you were a superhero, what powers would you have? I am a HUGE fan of the superheroes that have gadgets like Batman or the Green Arrow. Give me a utility belt full of cool devices or some arrows with a sweet bow, then add a neat costume, and I would be good to go! If I had to choose a superpower, I would love to have Spiderman’s ability to stick to things, paired with his super strength!

What is one thing you enjoy about CSS? I love how we think outside of the box and encourage risk-taking while exploring the possibilities of experiential education within every discipline.

What did you want to be growing up? I don’t know that I ever decided that I officially wanted to be a cowboy or the character from a favorite TV show - although I’m sure there are pictures and stories somewhere that suggest otherwise - but I always did want to follow my mom and dad around and learn how to do things that interested them. At one time my dad was a carpenter, and I would build things in the garage using his tools and scraps of wood. I would also go out on jobs and help him paint or do various other tasks. I did the same with my mom, following her around the kitchen and wanting to help her bake or visiting her at work when she was an RN in the ICU at the hospital. I wanted to be like them!

What is a favorite memory at CSS? I met my wife, Stacy, at the school, and we worked together for several years, so getting married at CSS was an amazing experience. The ceremony was outside on the Terrace of the Trianon in late October 2014. It was a beautiful 80-degree day with Colorado blue skies and the fall colors all around us. I remember looking over near the entrance to the gym and seeing two of my Upper School Band students watching our ceremony. There were regional volleyball games going on in the Field House that weekend, so our girls’ team ran out to give us hugs in-between games. I also remember a team from another school sitting under a tree on the quad, and cheering for us when the pastor finally said “you may now kiss the bride.” Such a magical moment at CSS!

Moulton, Jim

Upper School History

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Moulton, Jim

Upper School History


Ph.D., History, University of Denver

M.A., History, University of Arkansas

B.A., Political Science and History, University of Arkansas

Nissen, Colleen

Academic Interventionist

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Ortega, Gabe

4th Grade Teacher

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Ortega, Gabe

4th Grade Teacher


B.S., Sports Medicine, Colorado State University

Master's, Special Education, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

Certification in Educational Leadership, Pre-doctoral Coursework, University of Denver

What is your role at CSS? I teach 4th grade. This is my 25th year as a teacher and my first at CSS.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? I am the Mayor of the City of Fountain. I am a born and raised native of Fountain. I currently serve as the Mayor and am closing out my last year in public service to the town I grew up in. I have been on the City Council now for 15 years and am term-limited in November of this year. This is a volunteer position and something I have loved doing. On top of this, I consider myself to be a superfan of the Rocky movies — really, anything with Sylvester Stallone!

What is a favorite memory at CSS? Watching my daughter and the basketball team have one of their best seasons in 2020. Great group of athletes who showed perseverance, grit, and determination. Exciting season, to say the least. Loved the feeling of community as we cheered the team on.

What is one thing you’ve learned from students? To always be honest and upfront. To have real conversations and to most importantly always have fun.

What did you want to be growing up? A musician or professional fisherman.

What draws you to working with students? I love the ability to share my knowledge and perspective in education. Allowing kids to explore their world and build their voice as they learn about the world around them.

What is one thing you enjoy about CSS and why? Experiential education. We get to explore the world with the students and give them first-hand knowledge of the world surrounding them. The ability to add to the curriculum with real-world experiences is what every teacher wishes for in the classroom.

What is your favorite spot in the world? Anywhere in the Colorado Mountains camping with my family.

Palmer, Rebecca

Children’s School Art Teacher

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Palmer, Rebecca

Children’s School Art Teacher


B.A., Art Education, Brigham Young University

Perdew, Mark

Physical Education Teacher and Boys' Soccer Coach

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Perdew, Mark

Physical Education Teacher and Boys' Soccer Coach


B.A., Recreation and Physical Education, Ottawa University

Petit, Ann

Director of Student Programs

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Petit, Ann

Director of Student Programs


M.A., Communication, University of New Mexico

B.S., Marketing, Babson College

B.S., Communications, Babson College

What is your role at CSS? I am the Director of Student Programs. I oversee all our out of classroom experiential education programs. I am also the touchpoint for our international students.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I was a registered lobbyist for the State of New Mexico. I am also somewhat of a sci-fi geek. I love Dr. Who!

What is a favorite memory at CSS?
I loved going on Walkabout! Spending that amount of time with students in the outdoors is a gift.

What is one thing you’ve learned from students?
I love our students’ openness and excitement about learning and experiencing new things. I try to keep that mindset as well.

What is one thing you enjoy about CSS?
I love that our school is PreK through 12th and I can work with students of all ages. I also love my amazing and supportive co-workers!

What is your favorite spot in the world?
Any place outdoors, but especially Yosemite National Park.

Playe, Erik

College & Career Counselor

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Playe, Erik

College & Career Counselor


M.A., Liberal Studies, Wesleyan University

B.A., English, Saint Michael's College

If you were a superhero, what powers would you have and why?
I would be able to ripen an avocado just by touching it. I would even be able to bring avocados back from being overripe by touching them. I could make a dent in world hunger this way and also make guacamole at any moment.

What is one thing you've learned from students?

Patience...maybe. I am still working on it.

What did you want to be growing up?

A Jedi and a waterskier.

What draws you to working with students?

Their energy and never wondering if I am doing something meaningful.

What is one thing you enjoy about CSS and why?

I love that we are the Kodiaks. I have been a Wildcat, a Purple Knight, a Winged Beaver, a Cardinal, a Sun Devil, a Hawk and a Warrior, and now I am happy to be a Kodiak.

What is your favorite spot in the world and why?

Pagosa Springs, CO. My wife, Kelly, and I have a piece of property in Pagosa where we camp. It's our happy place.

Erik was born and raised in Northampton, MA, where he graduated from the Williston Northampton School. He attended St. Michael’s College in Vermont, where he majored in English Literature and minored in Spanish. He earned a master’s degree in Liberal Studies, with a focus in Humanities, from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. For the past 13 years, he has been teaching English and/or has served as a college counselor at three U.S. independent schools and at an international school in South America. He served, most recently, as Director of College Counseling, Academic Dean, and Softball Coach for a boarding school in Arizona. Erik and his wife, Kelly, are excited to be moving to Colorado Springs. Kelly is a horticulturist, who is starting her own business in resilient landscape design. Kelly and Erik enjoy hiking, snowshoeing, biking, gardening, and birding together. Erik loves teaching and working with high school students. He hopes there will be no livelier place on campus than his college counseling office, and is excited to share his enthusiasm with students and families at The Colorado Springs School.

Pratt, Rachel

Children's School Creative Dramatics and Middle School Drama Teacher

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Pratt, Rachel

Children's School Creative Dramatics and Middle School Drama Teacher


B.A., Music Theatre, Colorado Mesa University

Reynolds, Kaja

Visual Arts Teacher

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Reynolds, Kaja

Visual Arts Teacher


M.A., Instruction and Curriculum, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

B.F.A., Ceramic Art, University of Washington, Seattle

B.A., Anthropology, Bates College

What is your role at CSS? I am the Visual Arts teacher for grades 3-12. I teach a variety of Art electives in the Upper School such as Ceramics, Jewelry-Making, Printmaking, Video Production, and Digital Photography.

What is one of your favorite memories at CSS? One favorite memory is when guiding a student in class they said, “Mrs. Reynolds, you are like a magician - you are amazing!”

What did you want to be growing up? I wanted to be two things: a musician and an artist. I wasn’t sure what kind of artist, but I wanted to become famous for my art! I played the cello when young, and I wanted to learn how to play the guitar and sing so I could be in a band.

What draws you to teaching? I grew up with a Mom as an artist and a Dad as an architect. We often went to museums, and I would think about how I could share my love of art with others. In addition to creating my own artwork, teaching became a rewarding way to share my love of art with young people. I get incredible joy from creating, making, discovering, and exploring different mediums of art, and I wanted to share that passion with students.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? They might be surprised to know that I created my own business, called Mountain Clayworks, where I was a professional potter for 12 years, making and selling my work locally at Commonwheel Artist Co-op in Manitou Springs, as well as making special orders for people such as dinnerware sets, mug sets, etc. Two years ago, I created another business called Colorado Karma Jewelry by Kaja, where I make beaded, leather, and forged copper jewelry, such as earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. I sell my jewelry locally at a wonderful Artists Cooperative called EclecticCO, located in downtown Colorado Springs.