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Meet Our Team

The French American School of Denver employs a highly qualified and skilled team of teachers, administrators, and supportive staff to ensure the best learning environment possible.

 

FASDenver also has an active and engaged Board of Directors supporting the

well-being of our school. 

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Our Administrators

Administration

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Suzanne Acheson

Head of School

“Young learners are primed and ready to learn, and an immersion environment gives them the opportunity to excel academically, socially, and culturally.”

Suzanne is an educational leader, entrepreneur, and classroom teacher with experience in public and charter schools. She has two bachelor’s degrees in Finance and Mathematics, and a M.Ed. in Administrative Leadership.

 

Suzanne brings a combination of charter STEAM school start-up experience and International Baccalaureate experience to FASDenver. Having been in education for 20+ years, she has demonstrated expertise in developing cutting-edge initiatives to advance organizational priorities and offer novel learning experiences to encourage success.

 

At the charter STEAM start-up, she generated high retention rates from year one to year two, and doubled enrollment by establishing strategic recruitment, training, and retention practices. She has been recognized for superior leadership and meaningful impact initiatives by being awarded the Colorado Assistant Principal of the Year, the Outstanding Service Award, and the Outstanding Teacher of the Year awards.

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Emmanual Bidan

Director of Curriculum

“I firmly believe that learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.”

Experienced French immersion educator, certified teacher trainer, and school program leader. Emmanuel has 20+ years of experience working in French immersion schools and has taught every grade K – 6.

Emmanuel was born in Laval, France. He has been teaching since 1990 and has experience teaching every elementary grade level from Kindergarten through 5th grade. His leadership experience includes serving as Director of after-school programs and summer camps at a Denver private school. Emmanuel has lead academic project teams to build curricula for French schools in the U.S. and create a report card system for bilingual education, among other projects. In 1997, he completed a pedagogical and teacher trainer certificate program. When Emmanuel moved to Denver in 2001 with his family to join a bilingual school, he quickly became a passionate advocate for immersion education.

Our Teachers

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Agnès Crépy

Kindergarten Lead

Agnès was a previously a school principal and teacher for the French Ministry of Education in the town of Ugine in France. She has been a teacher in public elementary schools for 22 years. She holds a Master’s in Sciences and Geology and has experience teaching children from preschool to 5th grade in multi-grade classes, which has given her great skills in differentiating her instruction based on each student’s needs. She also taught French as a foreign language to young Afghan refugees for two years. Agnès is passionate about exchanging best teaching practices with other colleagues and university researchers through a local group she co-created. Outside of school, Agnès enjoys traveling with her family and playing board games.

 
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Alexandrine Toh

Kindergarten Lead

Before joining the French American School of Denver, Alexandrine worked as a preschool teacher, and has worked for several years as a French immersion teacher with Global Village Academy, and the Colorado International School. She holds an Early Childhood Education Director Certificate, a German teaching license, and a Special Education teacher’s diploma. She comes originally from the Ivory Coast where she taught 3rd and 4th graders as well as children with mild to moderate disabilities for 9 years before coming to the United States. Outside of her passion for children, Alexandrine loves to cook, listen to music, and spend time with her family.

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Malika Bidan

Assistant Kindergarten Teacher

Malika (Mali for short) hails from Paris, France, but arrived in Denver twenty years ago. It was here that she discovered the school environment and fell in love with teaching, especially helping students become bilingual learners. Her passion is helping non-French speaking children progress in acquiring the French language. In order to be even more effective, she is currently in training to be able to teach FLD in elementary school. Mali is a proud mother of three and grandmother of two. She loves being surrounded by children everyday. 

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Man'U Poirat

Paraprofessional/Assistant Kindergarten Assistant

Bio Coming Soon

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Taylor Jones

Paraprofessional/Assistant Kindergarten Assistant

Taylor was born and raised in a small town in Texas. She moved to Colorado in April of 2022 with her husband David, Gracie (their dog), and his family. She has no regrets. She loves the mountains, has a new hobby, hiking, reading on her patio in the cool air, and is excited to see a real winter. In Texas, her mother, father, and brother remain. Her brother, who has Autism and is still the best part of her life, is the reason she is a teacher. She is pursuing her degree in Teaching K-6 and Special Education, transferring from Collin College in Texas and now at Western Governors University. She joined FASD to assist with our Special Education program while she completes her studies in Colorado. Teaching is Taylor’s passion and her goal is to help guide and support the new generation of children.

 
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Marie Poirat

1st Grade

Marie previously taught 1st and 2nd grade for the French Ministry of Education in the public school of Marc et Rosalie Jullien in Chatuzange-le-Goubet in France before arriving in Denver. She holds a Master of Sciences in Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Sports and Tourism. She brings experience teaching children with special needs and tailoring her teaching tools to the needs of each child. Marie worked in tourism in different countries including Guatemala and Bulgaria before becoming a teacher and following the path of her parents, who were both public school teachers. Outside of school, Marie enjoys hiking in the Alps with her family, mountain biking, camping, reading, and spending time cooking and drawing with her two kids. 

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Romane Depraz-Depland

1st Grade

Romane was a teacher in France near Lyon before joining the team at the French American School of Denver. She worked mainly in schools where the social difficulties of families impacted student success. For a year, Romane taught French to children arriving from Turkey, Albania, and Serbia.  She is originally from Saint-Gervais, a ski resort at the foot of Mont Blanc. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Life Sciences and a Master's degree in Teaching and Education. Romane loves theater, running, hiking and discovering new places. She enjoys playing handball (a European team sport) and is very close to her family.

 
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Christel Munoz

2nd Grade

Before joining the French American School of Denver, Christel taught 4th grade for the French Ministry of Education at the public elementary school of La Plaine in Tignieu Jamezieu, France. She brings 13 years of experience teaching grades preschool through 5th. She holds two Masters degrees, one in Primary School Teaching and the other in Physical Education. She has some prior experience in the U.S. with a school internship in Virginia and as a summer camp counselor for teenagers traveling through California, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. Outside of school, Christel loves reading and traveling as well as skiing, hiking, running, and artistic swimming.

 
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Manon Zanivan

3rd Grade

Before joining the French American School of Denver, Manon was a teacher in France in a school near the city of Lyon.  She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Educational Sciences as well as a Master's Degree in Teaching Professions.  She is interested in different ways of teaching and likes to refine her practice according to what she can read in different educational research.  Manon is originally from Albertville in the French Alps. Outside of school Manon enjoys traveling, hiking and spending time with family and friends.

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Marie Madeleine Merwin

4th Grade

Marie-Madeleine was born in the City of Light, and grew up in a Parisian suburb in the 1960’s and 70’s, amidst the optimism, experimentation, and social upheaval in Ile de France during that time. Every summer, all summer, the Andreucci family would “prendre le maquis” on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica chez les grandparents. A former teacher at the International School of Denver, Marie-Madeleine is married to Dan, and they have two children, Julie and Paul, who grew up in Denver (and who also spent their childhood summers in Corsica!). AKA just Marie (five syllables can take some time to pronounce), in her spare time you will mostly find her doing things such as cooking and baking for family and friends, socializing on her patio, reading, dancing, trying her hand at various musical instruments, learning other languages, and traveling to Corsica and elsewhere, etc.

 
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Justin Dodd

English/ELD

Justin is currently an English teacher for Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade and 4th Grade. He comes from a background in middle school English, having taught both 7th and 8th grades. He has a masters degree in secondary education and a bachelor’s degree in English. He decided to move to Colorado 4 years ago from Riverside, California, where he was born and raised, and he doesn’t regret that decision. He loves Colorado and thoroughly enjoys having a winter each year. He has a cat who takes up a lot of his time. Justin is also an avid video game collector and really enjoys hiking, rock climbing, painting, and playing guitar.

 
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Annie Papes-Barerra

English/ELD

Annie grew up in Michigan, received her elementary education degree from Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and then moved to Colorado for adventure. Teaching preschool through fifth grade in rural Michigan, Denver Metro, the mountains of Colorado, and Germany have been some of the adventures on her journey. Annie’s current adventure is raising a young family while also supporting the needs of young learners at local French immersion school. She loves to enhance the wonder, energy, and inspiration children bring to life.

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Allie Giblin

Special Education Teacher

Bio Coming Soon

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Naarah Silva

Social Worker

Naarah is a licensed social worker in the State of Colorado with 8 years of experience providing social services, expanding possibilities, advocating for equality and equity, and empowering people of diverse ages and backgrounds in their growth.   Naarah holds a Bachelors of Social Work from Western Connecticut State University and a Masters in Social Work from Texas State University.   Naarah has moved from Texas to Colorado with her husband and dog, and outside of school loves all outdoor adventures and traveling.

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Sabrina Rodriguez Bouzekri

Paraprofessional

Sabrina was born in Spain and raised in both Morocco and France. She moved to Denver in the summer of 2021 to join her now husband Nicholas, who was her pen pal in her 10th grade Spanish class.

Sabrina joined the FASD team to pursue a career in bilingual education. She grew up speaking both Arabic and French and later on obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English Studies at the University of Lille 3, in the North of France. She knows first hand the challenges and advantages that come with a bilingual upbringing and wants to help the students at FASD navigate the wonders of languages and bilingualism. Outside of school, Sabrina enjoys winter hiking, spending time with her cat Muezza (who came with her from France) and baking intricate treats.

Our Support Staff

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Jillian Tahiri

Office Manager

Jillian was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. After high school, Jillian moved to Paris, France to work as a jeune fille au pair (nanny). There she pursued her French studies at the Sorbonne and fell in love with the French language and culture. Upon returning to Colorado, Jillian attended the University of Colorado at Denver where she earned a bachelor’s degree with double major concentrations in French and International Studies. She also holds a D.A.L.F (Diplôme approfondi de langue française) from the French Ministry of Education. Jillian worked in elementary schools as a paraprofessional before beginning her career in business operations. She lives in Wheat Ridge with her husband and two kids. As a family, they love camping and traveling.

Jennifer Sill

Psychologist

Allison Wilcox

Occupational Therapist

Thomas De Miniac

Speech Pathologist

Megan Smith, RN

School Nurse

FASD BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Board Responsibilities

We ensure the French American School of Denver’s compliance to its contract with Denver Public Schools, set and monitor the implementation of school policies, manage the school’s annual budget and financial planning, and hire and evaluate the performance of our Head of Schools. For a complete list of board responsibilities click below.

Contact the Board – For questions, concerns, or to sign up for the public comments portion of a board meeting, please email Board@fasdenver.org.

 
 

Board of Directors

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Wendy Fisher

Board Chair

Wendy holds a master’s degree in Arts Administration and has 20 years of experience driving fundraising efforts for several leading cultural institutions. Most recently, she led events for the American Academy in Rome, where she worked in a bilingual environment to plan fundraising galas in both New York and Rome.  Prior to this, she oversaw special events programs for the New York Botanical Garden, American Ballet Theatre, and the Metropolitan Opera, and led major gift campaigns for the San Francisco Symphony and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. She is honored to serve on the Board and to utilize her experience to create innovative strategies that will help the French American School of Denver continue to build capacity and exceed fundraising goals. Wendy relocated to Denver from New York with her husband Ari Pelto and her son Alessio, now in 3rd Grade at FASD.

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Stefan Hellstrom

Board Treasurer

Stefan, a parent of two FAS Denver students, was born in Vienna, Austria to a Swedish father and American mother and studied at the Lycee Francais in Jerusalem while in elementary school. Stefan is an Associate Director for Accenture, a large multinational consulting company, where he specializes in managing complex technical cloud implementations for his clients.  This work, in which he interfaces with a global team daily, continues to strengthen his values in the importance of language and cultural awareness.  Additionally, the nature of his profession requires Stefan to be capable of working well under pressure, solving complex problems, communicating very clearly, and bringing people together to achieve common goals.  Stefan brings these same skills to the FAS Denver Board.

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Phallon Treece

Board Secretary

A Michigan native, Phallon considers herself a global citizen; she has participated in many projects having to do with global health policy, emergency preparedness, and pandemic response.

While living in Italy, she co-founded Human Dignity International--an international NGO founded to promote change and stimulate holistic global development through signature projects in Haiti, France, Kenya, Morocco, and Zimbabwe. In 2013, Phallon spent time in Geneva, Switzerland at the World Health Organization as a part of the Evidence-Informed Policy Network (EVIPNet) while also in collaboration with the Afro-European Medical Research Network (AEMRN). After living in Europe for some time, she returned stateside with her family.  She has served with the New Orleans Health Department’s 10-Year Post-Katrina Emergency Preparedness Plan.

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Kiana Sarraf Joersz, JD, TIPC

Board Member

Kiana is an experienced attorney and advisor, with 15+ years consulting and advising for a top-tier investment bank, private firms, and and in various roles with federal agencies.  Kiana is additionally the Chief Operating Office of a consulting and coaching firm, focusing on trauma-informed processes and methodologies for executives and professionals.  

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David Roberts

Board Member

David is the president of building solutions for Cypress Envirosystems.  He has worked with Internet of Things (IoT) technology for over 15 years and energy-related industries for over 20 years.

Before joining Cypress, David worked as a strategy consultant for Accenture where he assisted utilities in their selection of IoT technologies, crafted their strategies in the smart homes market, and helped develop California’s Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategy. He also worked for Shell Oil and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Kazakhstan. David holds a BS from Michigan State University and an MBA from Dartmouth College.

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Yana Grigortchouk 

Board Member

Bio Pending

Special Thanks to all our Founding Board Members:

SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY COMMITTEE

SAC Responsibilities

  • The purpose of the SAC is to inform, encourage and provide opportunities for parent and community members to be involved in the planning and evaluation of the school’s instructional program and quality improvement process.

School Mission

To develop bilingual, bi-literate learners through a French language-immersion curriculum meeting the highest educational standards of the United States and France and delivered in a highly  diverse learning environment that promotes critical thinking, creativity and empathy. 

School Vision

To be a premier bilingual educational institution that prepares students for success in local and international high schools and  universities; inspires them to pursue personal and professional opportunities around the world; and encourages them to be lifelong learners and community leaders who can connect with others in one of the world’s most widely-spoken and influential languages. 

Contact the SAC Committee:

Email Address Pending

Head of School:  Suzanne Acheson

Chair:  Shane Brown

Vice Chair: Danielle Carpin

Recorder: Alexandra Musen

Teacher:  Agnes Crepy

PTO Liaison: Julia Earlbaum

Board Member: Open
Community Member: Open

Member: Isabelle Shiffrin

Member: Yana Grigortchouk

Member: David Roberts

Member: Position Open

 

Thank You

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Angela Strange
Founder & Board Emerita

Yohainna Abdala-Mesa, Founding Board Member

Tara Bardeen, Founding Board Vice Chair

Emmanuel Bidan, Founding Director of Curriculum

Marie Elalem, Founding Board Member

Wendy Fisher, Founding Board Member 

Martin Lafitte, French Curriculum Advisor

Isabelle Shiffrin, Founding Board Secretary 

Jean Claude Ndefu, Founding Board Member, Community Liaison 

Angela Strange, Founding Board Chair