Middle School Teachers

Our Middle School team works together to deliver a rigorous, integrated curriculum that builds on the Primary regimen and connects across all academic disciplines. Our teachers value creativity and are responsive to the needs of students in this emergent learning environment, where the learning process is embedded in trust and takes place in the context of relationships.



  • Emily Graboski


    Ph.D., University of Denver, Curriculum and Instruction (In Progress)

    M.A., University of Denver, Curriculum and Instruction (Specialization in Gifted Education), 2020

    B.A., University of Denver, Creative Writing and Sociology, 2019

    Emily is a Colorado native and finds the University of Denver her second home. She taught English Language Arts in charter and public-school settings. She worked as an apprentice English teacher at Ricks and felt ready to assume a lead position in English. Emily believes in student ownership of the content whenever possible. While reading diverse and rigorous texts, students are encouraged to make personal connections about the text while cultivating the necessary reading and writing skills for success beyond the walls of Ricks. Creativity, collaboration, and metacognition are essential parts of her instructional model. She is delighted to work with her new students!

    Outside of Ricks, Emily is a Ph.D. student in Curriculum and Instruction at Morgridge College of Education. She hopes to teach courses at Morgridge and conduct research in teacher education, culturally responsive education, and gifted education. When not in school, she enjoys writing poetry, reading books that pique her interest, and spending time with her family.



  • Jenn Matteson

    Upper School Math Teacher/Instructional Coach/8th Grade Advisor
    B.A. in Architectural Engineering, Wentworth Institute of Technology
    M.A.. in Curriculum and Instruction with a Leadership Area in Elementary Mathematics, University of Colorado at Denver
    Certificate in Gifted Education, University of Denver, expected Spring 2023
    Middle School Math Endorsement


    Jennifer has been teaching for a long time. She received her teaching license in 2005. She has a diverse range of experiences that she shares with Ricks. She has been an elementary math coach, a Montessori lower elementary co-teacher, a Montessori Children’s House Lead Guide and a structural engineer just to name a few. She has taught all grades ranging from pre-k through 8th grade. This allows her to know all levels of development for her students and gives her a unique perspective as a teacher and an instructional coach. She enjoys combining her varied experiences to make meaningful connections for the children in her classroom.

    Jennifer and her husband have 3 children all of which have all been identified as gifted. Therefore, she has made it her life work to teach, support, mentor and guide gifted children of all ages. She and her family enjoy music, reading, and anything having to do with the outdoors. Fun fact:  As a structural engineer, she was the project lead on the University of Denver's Daniel's College of Business building.

  • Jeff Cathrall

    Upper School Math Teacher/Instructional Coach
    B..A. in Mathematics, Stanford University
    M.A. in mathematics, specializing in probability and game theory, University of Colorado at Denver

    Jeff attended Stanford University on a full tennis scholarship and earned an undergraduate Mathematics degree. During that tenure, the tennis team won three consecutive NCAA team championships. Following his scholastics, he played professional tennis and achieved an ATP ranking in the top 400 worldwide.  In 2019, he was inducted into the Colorado tennis hall of fame. For most of his corporate career he worked in the financial industry as a software tester, actuary and mathematics analyst. During that career, he extended his education by obtaining a masters degree in mathematics, specializing in probability and game theory from University of Colorado at Denver.  He was the winner of the Top Graduate Student across all colleges for his thesis work.  Jeff has taught mathematics at the middle school, high school and college level for five plus years.  His approach to teaching is based on the thinking classroom model that emphasizes hands-on discovery learning through exploration of patterns and experiences. He serves as a guide to a collaborative quest for knowledge while developing key problem solving skills. His other passions include soccer, volleyball, bridge, reading and competition math.



  • Kevin Walton

    Upper School School Science, Athletic Director/Coach
    Upper School Musical Director/Choreographer
    B.S. Biology, University of Colorado at Denver
    Teacher Certification Program, Secondary Science Endorsement

    Kevin has been teaching for over 30 years in Colorado. Born in New York City and raised in Southern California with a few years spent in Hawaii, he gets to the beach whenever possible. He played three sports in high school and two sports in college. He also played rugby for over five years in the Southern California area. He umpired professional baseball for over seven years before starting his teaching career. Kevin is a huge fan of all Denver sports teams with a special love for UCLA men’s and women’s basketball, UCLA softball and the UConn women’s basketball team. Kevin spends his spare time now performing in professional musicals over the greater Denver metro area and has been fortunate to be on stage a few times with his talented son, Burke and daughter, Bailey. He loves the relationships he has been able to form with so many Ricks students over the past 26 years.


Social Studies

  • Kelly Danahey


    B.S. Psychology, Colorado State University

    M.A. Teaching in Diverse Contexts, University of Colorado, Denver 


    Kelly was born and raised in the Denver area. She has taught for several years in lower elementary and middle school. Kelly loves to bring the real world into the classroom and the classroom into the real world. She enjoys incorporating the interests of her students into the learning and discovering the natural phenomena that occur every day. In her free time, Kelly enjoys reading, traveling, golf and participating in competitive curling. 


Student Support

For students in need of accommodation, discover how our Student Support Team provides tailored strategies in multiple disciplines to aid in the success of our students. 

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