Meet Our Staff

Don Trujillo - Site Leader,

Brittany Metz - Instructional Coach, Brittany.Metz@d51schools.orgMy 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,

Katherine O'Leary - Attendance Specialist,

Nicole Lee - Registrar,


Denae Nesbit - Department Head,
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,
Katie.Allender@d51schools.orgHi! 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,
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, : 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 or hanging out with my dog and husband. 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, 
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 Amy.Hrubes@d51schools.orgMy 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,

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,
Alissa.Pruitt@d51schools.orgHi. 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,


Clay Keithley - Department Head, 
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,
I teach all science topics, careers, personal finance and the outdoor program.
I am from Cleveland, Ohio and am the youngest of four siblings.
I am married and have two boys.
When not teaching, I am outside enjoying an adventure.

Social Studies

Jacob Dickhausen, Hey Y'all! I like to rock climb and have fun with friends outside. I'm from Thornton, CO and teach social studies. My favorite movie is Goodwill Hunting.

Jon Mariz - Department Head, 
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,
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,

Young Parent Program

Miranda Milham - Director, Miranda.Milham@d51schools.orgMy 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,

Kierra Barba: 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, Kassie.Heit@d51schools.orgHi. 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,


Kirk Golba,

Dustin Giesenhagen,

Post-secondary Workforce Readiness

Nick Martinez,

Mike Hirons,


Katy Mercer, 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. 

Angela Lopez:  Hi! I was born and raised in Delta have been married for 33 years have
have 3 kids-grown-2 girls and a boy, as well as 11 grandbabies-5 boys and 6 girls.
My forms of stress relievers include: creating things in my free time such as cups, shirts, cakes, and various things.
I come from a work history that includes a family medical clinic and 10+ years at the Delta County School District.

Keri Brice: My name is Keri Brice.  I am the mother to three strong, beautiful girls, Julia, 17, Caylor, 14, and Ruby 12.  I enjoy doing anything with my children with one of our particular interests being music. We each play at least one instrument, I play the piano.  We genuinely love all types of music, especially country music and hip hop.  We attend concerts whenever we can and saw P!nk a few years ago, which was very special for us.  I love being outdoors, camping, hiking, and hope to return to hunting and fishing as these were things I really enjoyed in my childhood.  My favorite book series are The Earth's Children by Jane Auel and The Seven waters Series by Jane Auel. My favorite movie is Grace of My Heart which also contains my favorite song, Boat on the Sea.   

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