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SPED Department Contacts


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Special Education Community Support Line



Amy Allen Assistant Director


Amy Allen Image

Amy is beginning her 7th year as a Special Education Assistant Director. Her current assignment includes the South/Mountain secondary schools and supervision of the district Behavior Analyst team.

She previously served as an Assistant Principal at Bear Creek High School for 8 years.  Prior to working in Jeffco, Amy was an Assistant Principal at Mountain Vista High School for 6 years.  She started her career in Texas as a high school business teacher. Amy earned a Bachelor of Business Administration at Stephen F. Austin University and a Masters of Education at Texas A&M Commerce.

For 2021-22 Amy Allen works with the following schools. Chatfield Senior, Columbine Senior, Conifer Senior, D’Evelyn Jr./Sr., Dakota Ridge Senior, Deer Creek Middle, Evergreen Middle, Evergreen Senior, Falcon Bluffs Middle, Ken Caryl Middle, Summit Ridge Middle & West Jefferson Middle. 



Jeb Brako Assistant Director


Jeb Brako Image

Jeb Brako is in his second year of service for Jefferson County Public Schools in the role of Assistant Director of Special Education. Prior to his current role, he worked as a special education teacher serving secondary aged students in Colorado’s rural mountain schools and before that, a 4th grade teacher in Cherry Creek School District. Jeb shares administrative leadership over several Jeffco Transition Services sites and supports special education teams at most centrally based Jeffco middle and high schools.

For 2021-22 Jeb Brako works with the following schools. All Transition Sites. Evergreen High School, Rose Stein, Dakota Ridge High School, Arvada High School, Arvada West High School, Sobesky, Fletcher Miller, Federal Center, Children's Hospital & UC Health.




Sarah Cooksey Assistant Director


Sarah Cooksey

Sarah Cooksey is in her first year of service with Jeffco and is currently working with secondary schools in the central and north regions of the district. For the last 16 years, Sarah has worked as a Special Education Teacher in both Denver and Colorado Springs serving populations from kindergarten through high school with a variety of needs. In addition to teaching in the K-12 world, Sarah worked as a research assistant and lecturer in the teacher preparation program at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. In this capacity, she worked to understand the educational structures, access, and supports that further outcomes for marginalized populations. Sarah’s journey in special education started at the age of nine after her sister suffered a life-altering car accident leaving her physically and cognitively disabled. Sarah has worked to advance outcomes for individuals with disabilities and their families since then. Her passion for equity and inclusion are the cornerstones of her research endeavors and predicate her professional life. When Sarah has free time, she loves to be outside walking and hiking the foothills with her dogs.

For 2021-22 Sarah Cooksey works with the following schools. Bear Creek Senior, Bell Meddle, Carmody Middle, Creighton Middle, Dunstan Middle, Golden Senior, Green Mountain Senior, Lakewood Senior, Manning, Oberon Middle & Ralston High School. 


Nicole Dallek Assistant Director


Nicole Dallek

Nicole is a New York native and has been living in Colorado since 2011. Prior to starting her new role as an assistant director, Nicole was a special education teacher for ten years in both Jeffco and Gunnison Watershed School District serving the elementary population. In addition to her role, she serves on the Colorado Special Education Advisory Committee (CSEAC) as the Special Education Directors representative. Nicole earned her Master’s degree in 2013 from Western Colorado University and her Bachelor’s degree in 2009 from the University at Buffalo. Most recently, she completed an additional Master’s degree from Colorado Northern University in Educational Leadership and Special Education Administration.

In her free time, Nicole enjoys spending time with her husband Andrew and their dog Baloo.

For 2021-22 Nicole Dallek works with the following schools. Compass Montessori Golden, Compass Montessori Wheat Ridge, Dennison, Devinny, Eiber Elementary & Preschool, Kyffin Elementary & Preschool, Mitchell Elementary, Prospect Valley Elementary, Ralston Elementary, Rooney Ranch Elementary, Shelton Elementary & Preschool, Stevens Elementary & Preschool, Stevens Elementary & Preschool, Welchester Elementary & Preschool, Wilmore-Davis Elementary & Preschool.


Erin Frank Assistant Director


Erin Frank Image

Erin is a Colorado native, a 2nd generation Jeffco student and 3rd generation Jeffco professional. She began working in the mental health field in 2002 as a counselor and director in treatment facilities and group homes. She joined Jeffco as a School Psychologist practicum student in the fall of 2005 and continued in the role of school psych supporting students in and out of Affective Needs (AN) programs through 2014 when she shifted into the role of Special Education Coordinator and then Assistant Director. Erin currently supports all schools with AN programs as well as leading the district work of Center Program Alignment. She also proudly supports schools without center programs and charter schools in the district.

Erin’s core value in supporting students with disabilities is ensuring that all students’ right to an inclusive education is the foundation of IEP decisions. Erin believes that students rise to high expectations and accomplish amazing things when they have the support of a collaborative team. As an Assistant Director, Erin’s primary role is to support direct partnerships between student families and the school professionals. Erin encourages all members of an IEP team to enter conversations ready to listen and consider everyone’s input with an open mind. She is grateful for each opportunity to grow and learn through interactions with Jeffco teams, students and families. 

For 2021-22 Erin Frank works with the following schools. Addenbrooke Classical Academy, Addenbrooke Classical Grammar, Addenbrooke Classical Secondary, Collegiate Academy, Colorow Elementary & Preschool, Emory Elementary, Glennon Heights Elementary, Hutchinson Elementary & Preschool, JRLP-Elementary, Kendallvue Elementary & Preschool, Kullerstrand Elementary & Preschool, Montessori Peaks Academy, Mountain Phoenix, Mountain Phoenix Community, Semper Elementary & Preschool, Stott Elementary & Preschool, Thomson Elementary, Two Roads Charter Schools, Warder Elementary & Preschool & Weber Elementary.


Sarah Fournier Assistant Director


Sarah Fournier Image

For 2021-22 Sarah Fournier works with the following schools. Brady Exploration, Connections Learning Center, Jeffco Virtual Academy, JLRP – Secondary, Long View, McClain, Mount View, New America School, POOD, ReConnect, Sobesky Academy & Warren Tech. 








Amy Geerts  Assistant Director


Amy Geerts Image

Originally from California, Amy Geerts has been a proud member of Team Jeffco for the past 11 years.  Amy began her career in Littleton Public Schools as a Paraprofessional and Volleyball Coach. She joined the Jeffco team as a secondary Learning Specialist focusing on Language Arts. This is Amy's first year as Assistant Director of Special Education. Amy supports south area elementary schools with and without Autism and Significant Support Needs programs.  Amy is passionate about problem-solving and finding solutions that are student centered.   Outside of work, Amy enjoys cooking, reading, traveling, or spending time with her husband and two children.

For 2021-22 Amy Geerts works with the following schools. Columbine Hills & Preschool, Coronado Elementary & Preschool, Dutch Creek Elementary & Preschool, Governor’s Ranch, Green Gables, Kendrick Lakes & Preschool, Leadwood Elementary & Preschool, Mortensen Elementary & Preschool, Normandy Elementary & Preschool, Peiffer Elementary & Preschool, Powderhorn Elementary, Red Rocks Elementary, Shaffer Elementary & Preschool, Stony Creek & Preschool, Ute Meadows Elementary & Preschool & Westridge Elementary.


Jessica Goodkin  Assistant Director


Jessica Goodkin Image

Jessica Goodkin moved to Colorado in 1994 and attended UC Boulder for her undergraduate degree.  She received her Master’s in Special Education from UC Denver and has spent her entire educational career in Jeffco.  Jessica Goodkin is in her second year as an Assistant Director for special education. Prior to this, she worked as a learning specialist and then as an instructional coach.  This year, Jessica is the supervisor for the special education instructional coaches, and oversees Learning Ally.  Jessica is also the lead for the SSN center programs in the district.  When not working, you can find Jessica hiking, camping or snowboarding with her family all over Colorado.

For 2021-22 Jessica Goodkin works with the following schools. Arvada K-8, Belmar, Campbell Elementary, Foster K-8 & Preschool, Hackberry Hill Elementary, Lawrence Elementary & Preschool, Little Elementary, Lukas Elementary, Peck Elementary, Ryan Elementary & Preschool, Secrest Elementary & Preschool, Sierra Elementary, Slater Elementary & Preschool. 


Kelly Klatt Assistant Director 


Kelly Klatt Image

Originally from Minnesota, by way of Nebraska, Kelly Klatt is proud to say she has been a member of Team Jeffco for 16 years.  Kelly began her career in Jeffco as an Early Childhood Special Education teacher.  Prior to working in Jeffco she worked in a Day Treatment facility, was a child-care director and an in-home ABA provider.  This is Kelly’s 3rd year as Assistant Director of Special Education.  Kelly supports north area schools with and without Autism programs.  She is the Autism Lead, guiding the district teams/centers on policy and professional development, as well oversees the iReady Accommodation as part of Read Act.  This is her 21th year in Special Education.  She is passionate about supporting equity and inclusive practices for all students.  Outside of work, Kelly enjoys yoga, reading, participating in 5k races and triathlons, or spending time in the mountains with her husband and their 2 active boys. 

For 2021-22 Kelly Klatt works with the following schools. Adams Elementary & Preschool, Excel Academy, Fairmount Elementary, Fitzmorris Elementary & Preschool, Free Horizon Montessori (District Innovation School) & Preschool, Fremont Elementary, Headstart – Lakewood, Lincoln Academy, Parr Elementary & Preschool, Peak Expeditionary at Pennington & Preschool, Swanson Elementary, Three Creeks K-8, Vanderhoof Elementary, Witt Elementary & Preschool.



Jill Leitner Assistant Director


Jill Leitner

Jill Leitner is a Jeffco native and attended Jeffco schools.  After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder in Psychology she started her career as a counselor in a Residential Treatment Center in Aurora.  Ten years later, Jill became a Special Education Teacher in Denver while simultaneously obtaining her Master’s Degree in Special Education from The University of Colorado in Denver.  For twelve years she taught students in the affective needs program in several elementary schools.  Jill left the classroom to be a member of the Behavior and Evaluation Support Team and then a Regional Support Specialist in Denver Public Schools for the next four years.  Jill then moved on to Aurora public Schools, where she worked as a Special Education Consultant for schools in Northwest Aurora for nearly six years.  Circling back to Jeffco with 22 years in education, Jill is happily in the position of Assistant Director of Special Education serving schools in the Mountains and South Jeffco. Outside of her career, Jill enjoys fishing, camping, hiking with her dogs and collecting antique bottles.

For 2021-22 Jill Leitner works with the following schools. Bear creek K-8, Bergen Meadow Elementary PK-2nd, Bergen Valley Elementary 3rd – 5th , Blue Heron Elementary & Preschool, Bradford K-8 North & South, Elk Creek Elementary & Preschool, Green Mountain Elementary, Marshdale Elementary, Mount Carbon Elementary & Preschool, Parmalee Elementary, Rocky Mtn Academy – Evergreen, West Jefferson Elementary & Preschool, Westgate Elementary & Preschool, Wilmot Elementary & Preschool.


Adena Miller Assistant Director


Adena Miller

Adena Miller, Ph.D., has been committed to equity in education for over two decades. Her experiences range from teaching students in the classroom to coaching educators across the nation. Adena has co-authored special education policies at the Colorado Department of Education prior to conducting research evaluations of policy implementation at McREL International. Her passion for problem-solving the needs of struggling learners; building collaborative partnerships between professionals and families; and studying special education law inspires her work as an Assistant Director of Special Education in Jeffco Public Schools. Adena is driven to inspire, empower, teach, and learn within our community to meet the needs of all learners so that, together, we can improve outcomes for our students.

For 2021-22 Adena Miller works with the following schools. Alameda Jr./Sr, Deane, Edgewater Elementary, Patterson & Preschool, Rose Stein & Preschool, South Lakewood Elementary, Stober Elementary & Jefferson Academy.


Karin Neugebauer Assistant Director


For 2021-22 Karin Neugebauer works with the following schools. Arvada Senior, Arvada West Senior, Coal Creek Canyon K-8, Drake Middle, Everitt Middle, Mandalay Middle, Moore Middle, North Arvada Middle, Pomona Senior, Standley Lake Senior, Wayne Carle Middle, Wheat Ridge Senior & Woodrow Wilson Academy. 


Lynea Pearson Assistant Director


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Lynea Pearson joined the Jeffco Public Schools team in 2015.  She started her career as a Speech Language Pathologist working in schools, hospitals, private practice and 10 years as a University Clinical Professor.  As an SLP, she specialized in Assistive Technology and Augmentative Alternative Communication.  Lynea has been in special education for over 25 years.  She currently supports the Birth to 5 Child Find evaluation team, Deaf and Hard of Hearing as well as the brain injury (BrainSTEPs) consultation team. 

For 2021-22 Lynea Pearson works with the following schools. Doral Academy of Colorado, Fletcher Miller & Preschool, Foothills Elementary & Preschool, Great Work Montessori, Headstart – Jeffco, Jefferson Academy Elementary, Jefferson County Open, Male grove Elementary, Meiklejohn Elementary, Rocky Mountain Deaf School, Sheridan Green Elementary & Preschool, Van Arsdale Elementary & Preschool, Vivian Elementary & Preschool & West Woods Elementary.


Liza Meier Director 


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Liza is excited to work in Jeffco in order to create authentic, inclusive, and meaningful opportunities for all students, especially students with disabilities. For over 20 years, Liza has worked in the field of public education. 16 of these years have been spent in Jeffco working as a Special Education Teacher, Instructional Coach, Assistant Principal and Assistant Director of Special Education before becoming a Director of Special Education.  She is dedicated to continued support of Jeffco Special Education professionals, students, and families.






Anastassia Tatarskaja Director


Anastassia Tatarskaja Image

Anastassia Tatarskaja has served students with disabilities as a teacher, campus leader, and district administrator. Her leadership is routed in making the greatest impact to move the needle of student achievement.  Anastassia Tatarskaja is a daughter of Crime Scene Lead Investigator and a violinist who lived in Russia and Europe with a unique perspective on global education system. After three years of business school, she changed her major to education because that was her true purpose to make an impact.  For the past 14 years Anastassia Tatarskaja has served students with disabilities in the seventh largest and most diverse district in the nation. She has experience working with families of students with disabilities from all over the world, various socioeconomic backgrounds, and differing cultural views.  She leads with compassion and humble service to achieve transformational change. Her dream is to be the change agent that moves away from exclusionary practices and elevates inclusion by removing barriers that are created by fear of the unknown.


Matt Palaoro Executive Director


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Matt Palaoro is a servant leader who believes relationships, collaboration, and communication are the main ingredients to a healthy school year and our overall success. He listens closely, focuses on the needs of kids, and always acts with integrity. Although Matt is new to being an Executive Director of Special Education, his experience as a Special Education Paraprofessional, Special Education Teacher, Assistive Technology Coordinator, Special Education Coordinator, Assistant Director of Special Education, and Director of Special Education have prepared him for his new leadership role. Matt holds an MBA from the University of Northern Colorado in Educational Leadership and Special Education Administration. You can expect honesty, strong communication, and a child-centered approach when working with Matt. He is committed to improving the outcomes of every student with a disability in Jeffco Public Schools, and he loves his job!


Dr. Susan Leach Chief Student Success Officer



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