Parent Post – August 12, 2017

Posted August 12, 2017

Dear Cory Community,

It is hard to believe that the summer vacation is already coming to a close! We are looking forward to a wonderful year here at school and can’t wait to see all of our students and families in just a few short weeks. Teachers will be returning officially next week for planning with their teams, classroom setup, and professional development time together. As we prepare for the new year I wanted to send out some important dates to help you plan for the first few weeks back. I also wanted to send a quick introduction, as your interim principal for the year, so you know a little bit about me as well as send out the bios of the teachers who are new to the Cory team this year. We have also included a good bye message from Lauren Vertrees who is moving out of state this fall. Lastly, there is a link to a good article from the New York Times on easing the transition back to school. Enjoy!


  • Week of August 14th 
    • Classroom letters from your child’s teachers will be sent to your email welcoming your child. 
  • August 18th Meet the Teacher Night: 4:30-5:30
    • Please come to your child’s classroom and meet their teacher! Popsicles will be served on the playground at 5:15
  • August 21st: First day back for students (full day)
  • August 30th Back to School Night 5:30-6:30
    • This is a parent-only event please. This is a great opportunity to hear more about the exciting year ahead for your child, instructional goals, resources and general classroom information.
  • September 24th: Cory Carnival! Mark your calendars for the annual Cory Carnival. Join us for fun and games as we celebrate the start of a new school year with the community.


Interim Principal: Liz TenCate (if you didn’t have a chance to read this already)

I bring a diverse set of experiences and background to the role of school leader. Most recently I served as the Principal of Swigert International School. For the last six years I worked as the IB Coordinator and then as the Principal of Swigert International School, an Innovation School in DPS. I led Swigert through the design and development of an IB, inquiry based model, the curriculum design process, IB authorization, innovation planning and renewal, and our tremendous growth to accommodate the growing neighborhood in Stapleton. It is now one of the most “choiced” elementary schools in the Denver Public Schools. I absolutely loved the opportunity to create a school from the very beginning- it was an amazing experience! I made the very difficult decision to step down from Swigert to search for a little more balance in my school-home life as well as to pursue new opportunities to challenge and grow myself.

Before coming to Swigert, I served as the Principal of Fairmont, an International School, in the Baker neighborhood. During my time at Fairmont we doubled our proficiency rates and developed a strategic plan to transition the school from a dual language model to an international school.

I have ten years administrative experience in the Denver Public Schools as well as several years of  teaching experience at both elementary and middle school. I have also worked in museum education as the Educational Director for the Women of the West Museum and as a consultant for the Rosa Parks Museum.

Two of the most transformative experiences, that led me to pursue education as a career, came from working closely with DePauw University and the Peace Corps in both Ecuador and Guatemala on public education and health initiatives. I have also studied in Spain and returned to live and work there for a time. 

I am passionate about education and developing high quality programs for students that ignite their love of learning, spark their intellectual curiosity, and develop their creativity. I am very excited to be joining the Cory team this year. The school has a wonderful reputation and I am very happy to support the school as it continues its work of educating students with a joyful, challenging and engaging program during a time of transition. 

Music: Erin Lewis 

Erin is a recent graduate of Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Throughout her student teaching experience Erin worked in a school with over 450 students K-5 to design daily lesson plans, prepare for multiple age groups and classes as well as plan and direct four different musical programs. Erin has been part of the university’s A Capella Choir, a performance pianist and part of the University Choral Society. She is also winner of the Paderes Paderewski medal from the American College of Musicians. Erin is excited to begin her teaching career with us here at Cory. She and her fiancé are relocating to Denver for this opportunity!

2nd Grade: Erin Miller 

Erin was born and raised in Bakersfield, California. She studied at Cal State Bakersfield where she received her BS in Marketing and her MA in Curriculum and Instruction.  Erin has been teaching for 12 years. She is recently married and has relocated to Denver. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, doing any outside activity and traveling.  She is loving exploring everything Denver has to offer and meeting amazing people.  Erin is very excited for her new adventure teaching 2nd grade at Cory and getting to know her new Cory team and community! 

Special Education: Don Joyce 

Don Joyce has been teaching in DPS for 16 years. He is native to Denver and attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, receiving a Bachelor’s of Arts in Environmental Conservation and History.  After working on a fishing boat in Alaska, and living in the mountains for several years he decided to come back to Denver to become a teacher.  Don has served in several schools in the Denver Public Schools including Fairview, Palmer, Place Bridge Academy and Hamilton Middle School. Don lives in the West Wash Park neighborhood.  He is excited to work at Cory and engage with the community!

Message from Lauren Vertrees about her move

To The Cory Community: It truly breaks my heart to have to do this, but I have decided not to teach at Cory next year. I am taking an opportunity to live in Washington, D.C. and begin a new adventure. I will be forever grateful to have worked at Cory Elementary. I want to thank everyone I had the privilege to get to know while here and extend a huge thank you to all of my students who I learned so much from over the years. Teaching at Cory was my dream job and I loved every minute of it. I am grateful to have been challenged by the talented and bright 2nd and 3rd graders each and every day, felt supported by the overwhelmingly generous parents of this community, and collaborated with the brilliant minds of Cory’s amazing staff. It is because of this community that I will continue my passion and pursue another job in the education field. Although I don’t know where exactly yet, I do know that my experiences at Cory will be so hard to live up to, but will have prepared me for whatever opportunity comes next. Thank you for all of the memories and for allowing me to teach the best kids I know. It’s not goodbye, but see you later! Thank you. Enjoy your summer! Lauren

While we are sad to see Lauren go, we are excited to welcome Erin Miller to the 2nd grade team.  


Lastly, here is a great article from the New York Times on supporting your kids through the transition from summer back to school:

Have a wonderful last week of summer vacation!


Liz TenCate

Interim Principal

Cory Elementary School