Meet Our Staff and Therapists
Meghan Klassen: Executive Director
Meghan earned her Bachelor's degree in Journalism and Marketing from Creighton University. She spent one year as a Jesuit Volunteer in San Antonio, as the Lead Teacher of a Mothers' Day Out program for low-income families of children with special needs. She earned her Master's degree in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Texas-Austin in 2005. She taught one year of bilingual first grade at a Title I school, and completed her practicum at The Rise School of Austin, where she taught for three years, before starting a family. She came to the Rise School of Denver in 2011 and taught the Pre-K class before becoming the Executive Director in 2012. A Denver native, Meghan enjoys spending time with her family, running, cooking, reading, doing yoga, and traveling.
Bears classroom — 12 months to 2 years
Therese Marucci: Lead Teacher - [email protected]
Therese joined the Rise School is 2015 after several years of working with children in both school and camp settings. Most recently, Therese was a special needs para educator in a K-6, Level 3 Autism Spectrum Disorder Lab. She has also been an assistant teacher in a toddler classroom, managed day-to-day activities at overseas military day camps, and tutored in after-school programs for at-risk students and children with special needs. Therese holds a Master's degree in Early Childhood Special Education at the University of Colorado Denver. Born and raised in Sacramento, California, Therese now lives in Denver and is an avid Miami Dolphins fan!
Tristen Holsborg: Teaching Assistant
Tristen grew up in the capital region of New York and has since relocated to Colorado to pursue her passions and career. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Rehabilitation and Disability Studies at Springfield College in Springfield, MA. She has experience working with children of all ages, but has primarily worked with children under 3. Tristen has completed internships with ABA programs and Early Intervention programs for young children with global developmental needs. Through these experiences she discovered her heart for working with little ones and being a part of their growth! In her free time she enjoys photography, outdoor activities, cooking and baking, and spending time with friends and family.
Bio coming soon!
Kangaroos Classroom — 2 to 3 years
Claudia Severance: Lead Teacher - [email protected]
Claudia was born and raised in New Hampshire, and earned her Bachelor's degree in Rehabilitation and Disability Studies and Psychology at Springfield College in Springfield, MA. Claudia is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Early Childhood Special Education from The University of Denver. This is her third year working at Rise and she has additional experience working with children in a variety of settings including at a therapeutic equestrian center, as a nanny for children with special needs and as a trips leader. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking and skiing.
Megan Murray: Teaching Assistant
Megan is a Colorado native and proud graduate of The University of Colorado Boulder. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Communication in the Spring of 2014. Megan has many years of experience working with children, with and without disabilities. She coached Special Olympic swimming in high school and since then has worked closely with the Special Olympics community and serves on the Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Association Young Professionals Board. Megan lives in Denver and in her spare time enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
Kristin Davis: Teaching Assistant
Kristin grew up in Lenexa, Kansas and made her way to the mountains in August of 2015 after completing her BA in Elementary Education from Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS (otherwise known as the "Little Apple”). Kristin came to Rise with ten years of experience working with kids of all ages and abilities, from daycare, Special Olympics volunteering, Head Start Preschool programs, volunteering with Global Down Syndrome and positions with various school districts. Most recently, she was a special education paraprofessional in the Cherry Creek School District. In her free time, Kristin loves taking her Siberian Husky, Maverick, on long hikes, reading, skiing, spending as much time in the mountains as possible, being with friends and family and crafting whatever her heart desires!
Ladybugs Classroom — 3 to 4 years
Megan Gallagher: Lead Teacher - [email protected]
Megan is a Colorado native and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Audiology and Speech-Language Sciences from University of Northern Colorado. She has been working within the field of early childhood education for five years. She earned her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from CU Denver in December 2016. Megan lives in Centennial with her husband Daniel and enjoys spending time with friends and family!
Dylann Forsyth: Teaching Assistant
Dylann was born and raised in Colorado. Both of her parents are teachers and she has always loved the idea of being an educator. She graduated from MSU Denver in May of 2017 with her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Dylann has experience working with children from her years of nannying/respite care and working as a camp counselor through Easter Seals Colorado. Facilitating joy through education is Dylann’s passion. She enjoys spending time with her family, boyfriend, and puppy!
Katie Williams: Teaching Assistant
Katie is a Denver native who joined Rise in summer 2016. Katie has several years of experience as a teaching assistant in the Denver area, including positions at The Primrose Schools, The Nest Early Learning Center and Iliff Preschool and Kindergarten, working with all levels of early childhood development and education. In addition to her passion for children, in her free time Katie collects vinyl records and loves to read.
CATERPILLARS CLASSROOM — 4 TO 5 YEARS
Addie Adler: Lead Teacher- [email protected]
Addie recently moved to Denver from Houston and comes to Rise as a Floating Teacher Assistant. She will become a full time Teaching Assistant for the Bears classroom in January 2017. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Communication Disorders from LSU, and her Master's in Special Ed from Texas Tech. Addie brings with her experience in working one on one with preschool and school age children with speech, language, memory, motor, sensory processing and other disorders at Village Therapy Works in Houston. She also worked as a Physical Education teacher at The Kinkaid School in Texas. She lives in Aurora with her husband Daniel.
Sean O'Brien: Teaching Assistant
I was born in Denver, Colorado. This is my first year at Rise. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Special Education and Rehabilitation at the University of Arizona. Throughout my life, I’ve had numerous positions and volunteer opportunities working in the disability field. Last year I spent the year in Los Angeles working as an ABA technician. I plan to attend graduate school in special education. In my free time, I love to watch and play sports, and enjoy spending time with family and friends.
Ashley Peralta: Teaching Assistant
When Ashley was 4 1/2 years old, she became a big sister and her life path forever changed. Her younger brother, Shawn, was born at 28 weeks and is officially diagnosed with Hydrocephalus and has significant developmental disabilities. Growing up as a sibling to someone with special needs shaped her passions, made her want to be more involved with the special needs community, and influenced her decision to become an Early Childhood Special Education teacher. She will graduate with her Masters degree in Early Childhood Education with an Early Childhood Special Education licensure in May 2018. She joined Rise in January 2018.
Kristin is a graduate of Overland High School. She has attended Ability Specialist program for several years, they assisted her with job coaching and then they helped her with various job opportunities, one of them being University Hospital in the position of kitchen staff and then dining room staff. Abilities informed us that Kristin would be a good fit for a position that was opening up at the Rise School. Kristin applied and got the job and is enjoying her new job immensely! She love to go to movies, and enjoys many types of music and hanging out with her friends.
Bio coming soon!
Lisa Swenson, PT, C/NDT - Physical Therapist
Lisa has worked with young children for 30 + years. She is currently senior instructor faculty at the University of Colorado School of Medicine/ JFK Partners. She is certified in neurodevelopment treatment and believes that incorporating developmentally appropriate activities into motivating gross motor skills will lead to a child’s interest and participation in athletic endeavors. She partners with Special Olympics Colorado in directing the Young Athletes Program at Rise. Lisa joined the Rise team in August 2008.
Lynn Vosbeek - Occupational Therapist
Lynn received her degree in occupational therapy from Colorado State University. She has more than 30 years of experience as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist with a strong background in multidisciplinary, early intervention. Lynn joined The Rise School’s therapeutic team in August 2010.
Julie Demes, MS, CCC-SLP - Speech and Language Pathologist
Julie completed her Master’s Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Northern Arizona University. Since then, she has worked in a variety of settings, including early intervention, private practice, therapeutic school, and home health.
She gained extensive understanding of augmentative and alternative communication and early speech and language development, while working as the head of the speech department and director of the therapeutic preschool program at a private practice in Chicago, Il. Julie believes in relationship-based intervention and is committed to working closely with parents, teachers, and other therapy providers to maximize her students’ success. Julie holds a Certificate of Clinical Competency from ASHA and is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist in the state of Colorado. She has specialized training and certification in DIRFloortime, PROMPT, SOS Approaching to Feeding, and Lee Silverman Voice Treatment.
In her spare time, Julie enjoys reading, biking, and playing outdoors with her husband and two daughters.
Laura Ganguli - Music Therapist
Laura completed her Bachelors in Music from Kutztown University and her Masters in Creative Arts in Therapy/Music Therapy from Drexel University. She is a current member of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) and the Colorado Association of Music Therapy (CAMT). Laura is a client-centered therapist who believes each individual has a unique relationship to music, and through that relationship there is the potential for self-expression, creativity, and personal growth. When Laura isn’t creating or playing music, she loves the outdoors, travel and spending quality time with her family.