Anna Goetz -- Interim Principal, [email protected]

Cortney Valerio -- Assistant Principal, [email protected]

Brittany Metz -- Instructional Coach, [email protected]My name is Brittany Metz and I am a native to Grand Junction, CO and alumni of Fruita Monument High School. I have worked for the district for 15 years in many different capacities ranging from a substitute, high school Spanish teacher, an elementary teacher, Deaf Education teacher, and a high school American Sign Language teacher. I also worked as an instructor of American Sign Language at Colorado Mesa University. This year I am in a new role as a Learning Model Coach where I get to work with teachers from a variety of schools supporting them while they add new tools to their teaching toolbox. A 'favorite' movie is impossible to pick, but one of my current favorites is Jumanji because I want to be like Ruby Roundhouse!

Office Staff

Lindsey Chitwood -- Principal's Secretary, [email protected]

Katherine O'Leary -- Attendance Specialist, [email protected]

Nicole Lee -- Registrar, [email protected]


Denae Nesbit -- Department Head[email protected]
Nesbit writes fantasy books (pen name of Denae Christine), listens to audiobooks at double speed, hosts a Bible study with her husband, and likes to hike and bike. She taught math for four years and now teaches ELA.
Fave Movie: How to Train Your Dragon

Katie Allender --
 [email protected]: Hi! I am Katie Allender and I teach English in the Aquaponics cohort. I am a Colorado native but moved to the western slope a year ago with my husband and two young children. We love any and all outdoor activities, but mostly hiking, biking, and skiing. Fun fact? I love gummy bears and hate mustard! My favorite movie is Bridesmaids! 

Rox Truter -- [email protected]: Hi! I'm Roxanne. I was born in South Africa and now I'm working towards gaining citizenship as an American! I teach ELA and my favorite movie is "Crybaby" with Johnny Depp.


Kalie Cook -- [email protected]: My name is Kalie Cook and I'm a math teacher at R-5. I grew up in western Michigan and love being out on the lake, skiing or hanging out with my dog, husband and daughter. This is my seventh year in education and I really love being with the R-5 kids all day! My favorite movie is Hercules (yes, the animated Disney version :)).

Katie Diekmann -- Department Head, [email protected]: I am Katie Diekmann, I have been teaching math for 5 years. I am from Southern Florida and love the ocean. I love scuba diving, rock climbing, hiking, and most of all my 2 dogs. I spend most of my time working or with my dogs on an adventure!

Amy Hrubes -- [email protected]: My name is Amy Hrubes. I was born and raised in the Seattle area, moving to Grand Junction in 2007 after graduating from Gonzaga University. I taught 8th grade math at West Middle School for eight years, followed by four years staying home with our three young kids. I returned to the math classroom at R-5 High School in 2019 and feel right at home here. If I'm not teaching, you can find me hanging out with my family and two dogs, camping, hiking, mountain biking, or on the water. A favorite movie of mine is Mr. Holland's Opus.

Mary Maxwell -- [email protected]
I was born in Denver but moved to New Mexico in 1993. I have been married to my husband, Roger for 37 years and counting. I have three daughters-- Megan, 33; Stacy, 29; and Rebecca, 25. I also have one son-in-law, Doug (Megan’s husband). My husband and I love to travel, especially where we can snorkel. We have two toy poodles, Coco and Carmelita. I have no grandkids but lots of grand dogs, grand cats and even a grand horse. 

My all time favorite movie is “Ghost.

Alissa Pruitt -- [email protected]: Hi. My name is Alissa Pruitt and I'm new to R-5 as a math teacher.  I've lived in the valley for the last 14 years, but originally from California.  I have 4 kids, and a husband who works at the VA.  I like to run, play all sports, cook and eat! I also LOVE a good road trip
Mitch Hamilton -- [email protected]


Clay Keithley -- Department Head, [email protected]
Teacher of Science and Math for 22 years. Family - Married for 25 years (LaDawn) with two sons Dillon (20) and Parker (17), and maybe some others....IDK. I love sports, good books, great music, traveling, and museums.  
My favorite animal is the horse, favorite actor was Charles Bronson. There are too many great movies to pick just one.

Rob Pizem -- [email protected]: Rob Pizem has been teaching high school science for 20 years. He is an Ohio native and moved in 1995 to Golden, CO to attend the Colorado School of Mines. After graduating with a Geological Engineering degree, he worked as a Geotechnical Engineer for a few years before transitioning into high school science. Rob loves the outdoors and has established an outdoor program at every school that he has worked at. His family keeps him busy through sports and outdoor adventures. Be sure to check out the R5 Outdoor Program to challenge yourself and have a great time!

Social Studies

Robert Buckley -- [email protected]: I am a Grand Junction native but lived in Switzerland for a year as a child. I was a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal, and I also lived with a host family in Mexico for half a year. I lived in Nepal for 10+ years, and one of my offices was at around 11,500 feet elevation. I taught overseas at international schools in Thailand and China (I'm certified in ELA and Social Studies, and have an MS in Human Services). I was a massage therapist for 10+ years, and I love soccer, poetry, and creative writing. I ran with the bulls in Pamplona when I was much younger and less boring; I also went scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef. Most of my days include coffee and chocolate. I believe in the importance of community service. I’ve written several children’s storybooks, just waiting on illustration to be finished. I  also designed my own soccer ball ("Kick Out Racism" soccer ball), and I’m trying to get it into schools and youth clubs.

Jacob Dickhausen -- [email protected]
Jacob Dickhausen here! I am a Colorado native who loves to be outside. I graduated from Colorado Mesa University with a Music degree before realizing that teaching and history are my passions. After two years of being a paraprofessional at R5 I decided to finally get my teaching license, the rest is “history”! 

Jon Mariz -- Department Head, [email protected]
My name: Jon Mariz (aka "The GOAT"). I am starting my third year at R5. I started as a long term substitute. I love being around these learners, not only teaching them History but life lessons as well. I have many passions in my life -- my wife, my kids, coaching, being out on my road and challenging myself.  As of late I am struggling to teach myself to play guitar.  I believe that the people who have the most achievements are special. Man never seeks glory; he seeks achievement. Man is never judged by his looks but by what he brings to the world. Always STAND OUT, never try to blend in. My hobbies include breakfast, semi-lunch, lunch, and dinner!

Special Education

Jennifer Reid -- [email protected]: Hello, My name is Jennifer Reid. I am originally from Grand Junction, CO. I am a 1996 graduate of R-5 High School. I now teach special education at R-5 High School and I love it! My favorite movie of all time would be between 3 different movies. Stand by Me, Heathers, and Dodgeball.

Karin Vermeulen -- [email protected]

Young Parent Program (YPP)

Miranda Milham -- Director, [email protected]: My name is Miranda and I am the Young Parent Program Director. I enjoy spending time with my family and raising my kiddos, I have 5 boys. I also enjoy photography, camping, fishing, and being outdoors. My favorite movie is The Notebook.

Jeanie Eccher -- [email protected]

Kierra Barba -- [email protected]: Aloha! My name is Kierra Barba, but everyone calls me Kia. I work for the Young Parents Program in the toddler room. I was born and raised on Kauai. I moved to Grand Junction to attend college in 2009 and have been here ever since. I do occasionally go back to visit my home and there I enjoy surfing, spear fishing, and anything that has to do with the outdoors. I especially miss the food from Kauai. Grand Junction is also fun to live in and I consider this place my home. I graduated with an English Literature Degree. I have two awesome dogs! I have been working in Early ChildHood for about 4 years now and I really enjoy the time I spent with the children. It's really hard to pick just one favorite film, but if I was to say it would be Moana!

Kassie Heit -- [email protected]: Hi. My name is Kassie Heit. I work in the Young Parent Program in the toddler room. I am from Houston, Tx. I moved to Grand Junction in July of 2013. I have 2 wonderful kids, my daughter is 18 and she just started cosmetology school and my son is 14 and is in middle school. I married my wonderful husband in April of 2012. I have been with R-5 High School Young Parent Program since Feb 2019. I have been working in Early Childhood since Oct 2016 and graduated Colorado Mesa University in May of 2019 with a technical certificates in Early Lead Teacher and a Director in Early Childhood. On my spare time I work with my church kiddos and I also love photography. I have several favorite movies but really love watching any and all Hallmark movies and Hallmark movies and mysteries.

Caleen Street -- [email protected]


Kirk Golba -- [email protected]

Dustin Giesenhagen -- [email protected]

Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA)

Nick Martinez -- [email protected]

Mike Hirons -- [email protected]


Sherah DaCosta -- [email protected]My name is Sherah DaCosta. I am in my second year with the Aquaponics Cohort as the Greenhouse and Garden Para. I love my job working together with the students as we learn about and take care of our plants and fish. I have found that working in the greenhouse year-round is vital for my mental health, and it's been amazing to see how the students react positively to the environment as well. In my free time, I can be found outside with my family and friends mountain biking, hiking, and spending time at the river.

Katy Mercer -- [email protected]: Hello! I’m Katy, but everyone calls me Pistol. I was born and raised in Georgia. I also cheered for and graduated from the University of Georgia. GO DAWGS! I enjoy outdoor activities and working out. My favorite movie is Zoolander. 

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