Our Preschool Staff

Preschool Director

Gary Allen

My name is Gary Allen and I am the preschool director at Adams Preschool! I grew up with my parents and my brother in Thornton, Colorado. Upon graduating from high school I knew that I wanted to get into the world of education. I began teaching at a private preschool where I had many years of experiences with students and their families. During this time I began school and knew that early childhood education was my passion!

I graduated from Ashford University with my Bachelors in Early Childhood Education Administration and my Masters in Education with a specialization in Early Childhood Education.

Aside from work and school, I have a beautiful wife named Brittani and 3 children ages 4,6, and 7. We love to spend our time at soccer games and other outdoor activities such as the zoo and going to the pool.

I am beyond excited to be at Betty Adams Preschool and I look forward to meeting your family and working with your child to provide a love for school and a foundation for success.

Assistant Director

Amy Saltzman

My name is Amy Saltzman and I am the assistant director for Betty Adams Preschool. I joined JeffCo preschools in November of last year. Before coming to JeffCo I worked at many different preschools and childcares in the Denver metro area both as a classroom teacher as well as a substitute teacher. I have been in the early childhood field for about 10 years working to support every age group from infants and toddlers to school-agers. My desire to work with children began with the birth of my first niece when I was nine years old. Now I have many nieces and nephews and most of them are grown and have children of their own! I studied at Pensacola Christian College and obtained my Director Certificate from Front Range Community College in 2016. I am an active committee member for the Colorado Association For the Education of Young Children working to provide professional development to the preschool teachers in both the rural and urban areas of our state. I was able to pursue my passion of cooking through the Emily Griffith School of Opportunity and have had the opportunity to work with some amazing chefs. When I am away from work I love to spend time with my husband playing games and going for scenic drives through the Eastern plains of Colorado. I am proud to call myself a native of Colorado and am happy to be a part of a state that is pushing the bar for Early Childhood Education. Thank you so much for the opportunity learn and grow as part of your school.

Preschool Teachers

Ms. Josie

Hello I am Ms. Josie.  I have been a Pre-Kindergarten Teacher for thirty years.  Seventeen of those years were spent in the Jefferson County School District.  I absolutely love my position at Betty Adams.  I have completed my director qualifications and am currently working on my bachelor’s degree.

 I am a New York native, however, Colorado has become my home.  When I am not in the classroom, I enjoy adventurous activities and spending time with family and my new grandbaby.  I’m definitely a pet lover and have two dogs, Chloe and Foxy.

I am very excited about our school year.  Our pre-kindergarten students will have fantastic learning experiences while making wonderful memories.  Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to teach your child.

Ms. Lyna

Hello everyone! My name is Lyna Kopecky. I have been teaching pre-kindergarten for the last eight years. I have been teaching here at Betty Adams for two years and I absolutely love it! I have my associate’s degree in elementary education. I am continuing my degree in order to obtain my teachers license. In my free time I love to spend time with my family and my dog.  I love hiking and spending time at the lake. Teaching is my passion and I look forward to working with your children. 

Ms. Sarah
My Name is Sarah Smith. I have been with Jeffco Preschools since 1997 when I began at Tanglewood/ Litz Preschool in Golden.  I came to Betty Adams in 2016 and have enjoyed being with a preschool inside an elementary school. What a treat! 

Growing up in Nebraska I always felt a pull towards teaching and that led me to pursuing a degree in Elementary Education. After graduating with a B.A. in Elementary Education from Mount Marty College in Yankton, South Dakota I taught a combined class of first and second grades in a small Catholic school in the basement of a convent in small town Nebraska. I was there for 2 years. 

Marriage brought me to Denver 30 years ago and this is where I discovered my love for teaching the littles. Preschool is where my heart is. Making that early connection with a child is so very rewarding.... I did realize I had been teaching a little while when I got my first invitation to high school graduations. My heart melts every time these kiddos reach out to share a milestone with me. 
My classroom is one of discovery and learning. The children are encouraged to live to their abilities every day while challenging them to do a bit more each time- Be it a bit more learning, a bit more laughing or just a bit more comfort, it’s all good.

Ms. Cheery
Greetings!  My name is Cheery Walz, and I have been with Jefferson County Public Schools for 13 years,  all in Preschool.  Originally from the Philippines, I have called Colorado home since 2002.  I have a bachelors degree in elementary education from Mindanao State University in Marawi, Philippines. I speak Tagalog, Visayan, and English, which puts me in a unique position to relate to students whose first language is not English.  I have a 17-year-old daughter, who will be graduating from high school this year.  I enjoy music, concerts, scuba diving, and spending time with my fiancé.
My teaching style is very interactive and empathetic, where I strive to put myself in the shoes of the student.  I enjoy interacting with the parents most of all, where we can discuss the students’ progress and work together toward a better outcome.  As we continue another year here at Betty Adams Preschool, I look forward to getting to know the students and parents alike!

Ms. Tania

Hi! My name is Ms. Tania and I have taught at Betty Adams for the last 12 years.  When my middle son attended Betty Adams Preschool, I enjoyed the program so much that I decided I wanted to teach. I love helping each child reach a new goal and celebrating with them.I have 3 boys aged  29, 16 and 15.  At home I have a big fluffy white dog named Ally, 3 cats named Arty, Leia and Ahsoka, and a  bunny named Einstein. I am originally from Pennsylvania but very much enjoy all that Colorado has to offer.

Ms. Marissa

My name is Marissa and I was born and raised in the small city of Scranton, PA, where our claim to fame is the show “The Office!” Philadelphia, PA is where I attended Temple University, studying biology for one year, and then switching to a dual major in Early Childhood/Elementary Education and Special Education. There I earned my Bachelor of Science in Education and obtained my Pennsylvania teaching license.  I have worked and volunteered with diverse populations of children for many years, e.g.:  nannying, summer camps, art and music programs, after school cooking classes, public and charter schools, and now Jeffco Public Schools! When I am not having fun teaching and working with kiddos I enjoy music, art, yoga, reading, skiing, hiking, camping, just about anything outdoors, dogs, and cooking! I am so very happy to be a part of the JPS community!

Ms. Julie
Many many moons ago I started teaching preschool back when we shared space with Jefferson Academy in the old Juchem Elementary building.  In that time I worked half days for a few years, part day mornings and afternooons for about 15 years and full day for 4 years.  For the last 2 1/2 years I've been the floater which has allowed me to help out in all the classrooms as well as the office.  So if you've been wondering why all the kids seem to know me but can't tell you what I do now you know!

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