Special Education

District Special Education Partner

Matt Palaoro
Matt Palaoro
(303) 982-3500

Matt Palaoro is an Assistant Director of Special Education at Jeffco, where he serves as a special education partner for 14 elementary schools, including the Governor’s Ranch school community.
Over the course of Matt’s career in education, he has served students in many different capacities including School Volunteer, Special Education Paraprofessional, Special Education Teacher, Assistive Technology Coordinator, Special Education Coordinator, and now Assistant Director of Special Education. In 2017, Matt received the ARC of Excellence Award for Special Education for his exceptional efforts and commitment to students and families. You can expect honesty, strong communication, and a child-centered approach when working with Matt.
Matt is a husband, dog lover, and avid vegetable gardener. He loves what he does for a living and looks forward to making a difference in the life of every child.

Learning Specialist

Here's the 2020-2021 Raccoon Video:

Mrs. Lizakowski

Mary Beth Lizakowski

Mary Beth Lizakowski will be joining the team at Governor’s Ranch Elementary as their Learning Specialist. She is originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin. She moved to Colorado 10 years ago to complete her Bachelor’s degree in Recreation Parks and Leisure Services, where she worked in a variety of capacities. It was with the Adaptive Recreation Program working as an Inclusion Specialist with the City of Fort Collins that brought her back to the education field, where she pursued her Master’s degree in special education at the University of Northern Colorado. She is coming to us from Sobesky Academy where she worked for three years developing their middle school Autism program. Prior to that, she worked for Platte Canyon School District at Fitzsimmons Middle School for three years developing their SSN program. Mary Beth and her husband Jake love spending time with and watching their girls, Quinn (3) and Madison (1) grow and learn about the world around them. They enjoy all the outdoor adventures that Colorado has to offer: hiking, camping, backpacking, snowboarding. Mary Beth looks forward to working in her home community of Littleton, developing collaborative relationships with parents, staff and the community, and most importantly helping your students learn and grow!

Lori Spindler
 Lori Spindler

Lori Spindler is very excited to join the Governor’s Ranch Elementary community. She started her career in special education in Nebraska where she taught for 2 years before moving back to Colorado. In Colorado, she has worked with students in elementary and middle school. She also taught Severe Special Needs students for 2 years in Englewood. Her biggest goal in working with students and families is strong communication and honesty. She has a strong desire to help students succeed in school both academically and socially.

Lori is a mother of 4 college students and stays busy with visiting her kids’ different colleges and enjoying time with her family, as well as adjusting to an empty nest, and a new ‘normal’ with her husband Joe.


Mental Health Providers

Here's the 2020-2021 Raccoon Video:

Michelle Myers
Michelle Myers, Social Emotional Learning Specialist (SELs)

Visit Mrs. Myer's Web site:  https://sites.google.com/jeffcoschools.us/michelle-myers/home

Michelle Myers has lived in Littleton since 1999. She has previously worked for the Jeffco Schools Medicaid Program, and as a School Social Worker in Jeffco. Most recently, she has been a substitute Social Worker, and has been substitute teaching at GRE for the past year or so. She spent several years in between her experiences staying home with her three kids. She’s very excited to increase her professional role at GRE.

In her free time, she loves to get outdoors with her three kids, husband, and dog. She especially enjoys mountain biking, skiing, rock climbing, hiking/walking the dog, camping, and fishing.

Generally Mrs. Myers works Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

 Alyssa Hoffman  Alyssa Hoffman, School Psychologist
Alyssa. Hoffman@jeffco.k12.co.us

Alyssa Hoffman is excited to join the Governor’s Ranch community for the 2020-2021 school year! Alyssa completed her M.Ed. and Ed.S. at the College of William and Mary, and worked as a school psychologist in Virginia Beach prior to relocating to Colorado in 2019. Although she is new to Jeffco, this is her sixth year as a school psychologist, and she is looking forward to supporting students, staff, and families at GRE and across the district as a member of the District Assessment Team.

In her free time, she loves spending time on the water to appease her East Coast native heart (still coming to terms with trading the ocean for lake life). She enjoys staying active through CrossFit, hiking, and paddle boarding. She is a live music enthusiast and a member of too many book clubs. 


Occupational Therapist
Staff pic coming soon!  Sandy Feroce

Physical Therapist

Staff pic coming soon! Jenna Schuetzle


Speech/Language Pathologist
Here's the 2020-2021 Raccoon Video:

 Kaitlyn Welden Kaitlyn Welden

Kaitlyn Welden is excited to begin her second year of work at Governor's Ranch Elementary! She recently completed her Master's of Speech and Language Pathology from the University of Colorado Boulder. Prior to graduate school, Ms. Welden spent several years working within Denver Public Schools in a variety of roles. After completing a year of service with AmeriCorps, she worked for Reading Partners, a literacy nonprofit that delivers tutoring sessions to students throughout the Denver area. Ms. Welden is originally from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, but she now spends as much time as she can in the mountains. 


SSN Teachers
Here's the 2020-2021 Raccoon Video:

Ericka Krantz
Ericka Krantz SSN  Teacher

Ericka Krantz is excited to return to Governor’s Ranch Elementary as the primary SSN2 teacher! She began in January 2018 and has really enjoyed getting to know the students, parents and community in the GRE area. Prior to working at Governor’s Ranch, she worked a variety of roles in elementary and middle schools while earning her Master’s in Special Education from Regis University. She has lived in Colorado most of her life and enjoys spending time outside, going to concerts, visiting new places with her family (her brother and parents are in the picture!) and walking her dog Odin! She’s looking forward to the upcoming school year and continuing to work with GRE students!

Ms. Ladd

Sarah Ladd - SSN Teacher

Sarah Ladd will be joining the team at Governors Ranch Elementary as an SSN Teacher. She is from Michigan where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in elementary and special education at Wayne State University in Detroit. She began her teaching work in Michigan as a special education teacher specializing in ASD and inclusion work with elementary age students. She moved to Colorado in 2015 and started work for Jeffco Schools at Fletcher Miller as a secondary teacher. More recently she worked at Elk Creek Elementry as a learning specialist and taught 1st grade.
Besides teaching, she enjoys yoga and completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training last summer. Through this training, she also worked to complete an SEL certification designed for teachers and school communities. She has a 3-year-old son named Rex and loves living in the mountains.
Sherry Lammers
Sherry Lammers
SSN-2 Para Educator

Mrs. Lammers came to GRE in August of 2009 and has loved helping students and working with teachers in her role as a Paraeducator. Prior to coming to GRE, she was at Peiffer Elementary as a Special Education Paraprofessional. She has lived in the neighborhood before GRE was built, so naturally her son and daughter attended GRE and area schools. She lives with her husband and best friend of 41 years (this August) and two fur babies. When not at school, she loves spending time with her two adorable grandsons (ages 4 and 2), family, friends, outdoor activities like camping, riding ATVs, travel, socializing with great neighbors, and some dabbling in crafts. She genuinely loves these kids and wouldn’t have it any other way!
Jenny Maxwell
Jenny Maxwell
SSN-2 Para Educator

Mrs. Maxwell began working at Governor's Ranch in 2006 as a substitute teacher, and then was hired full time as a para educator.  She loves working here!  She received her bachelor's degree from Anderson University, Indiana, in Elementary Education with a minor in Early Childhood Education.  Teaching has always been a passion, and she taught full time prior to having children.

Mrs. Maxwell has three wonderful daughters, Emily 28, Katie 26, and Becky 22.

She loves music and travel to Europe and Africa with a concert choir during her college years.  Also she love to spend time with her family and friends, enjoys traveling, and loves Baylor, where her girls went and are going.  Six'Em Bears!
Picture of Mrs. Nielsen
 Dottie Nielson
Mrs. Nielsen is excited to rejoin the Governor's Ranch staff and students for the 2018-2019 school year! She enjoyed her time with the first grade students this past year. Previous to GRE she served in an SED program at Kullerstrand Elementary. 
Her educational background is geared toward becoming a Registered Nurse. She may even be called a professional student since she is currently taking college classes and determined to earn her Bachelors Degree in the medical or educational field. She is happily married to 
her husband of 26 years, Greg Nielsen. She considers him to be her anchor and best friend. Ms. Dottie as some of the students refer to her, is a mother of nine children. She has six adventurous boys, and three darling daughters. Turbo and Charles are dogs who accompany the Nielsen family.
Dottie loves to spend time outdoors. She loves sports and spending time with family and friends. She has lived in Colorado for five years and previously lived in the Phoenix, AZ area. She loves the beautiful bipolar weather in Colorado. She cares about others and loves children.
She genuinely loves people and finds joy in helping others succeed.
Picture of Mrs. Peterson
Kristie Peterson
SSN-2 Para Educator

Kristie Peterson has been working at GRE since 2015 as a Paraprofessional Educator with our Special Education team. Her boys Jack and Jeremy attended GRE.  Kristie graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in Elementary Education. She has worked as a teacher, Early Child Care Director for YMCA’s of Denver, and worked at Heritage College. Kristie and her husband Gregg are going on twenty-five years of marriage.  Ms. Peterson enjoys walking her dog, cooking and hanging out with her family.


More about Special Education and Related Services

Check out our Raccoon Videos for all that you need to know about our incredible team!
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