1st - 4th Grade Teachers

Our Primary School Teachers understand that learning opportunities are embedded into daily routines where children are allowed to be active explorers of their environment as individuals, as well as in small and large groups. Our teachers are there to promote the children’s unique interests and to facilitate opportunities for more in-depth acquisition of knowledge and skills. 

1st Grade

  • Torey Holzer

    B.V.A., Graphic Design & Computer Art, University of Northern Colorado
    B.A. Communication & Marketing and Advertising, University of Northern Colorado
    M.A. Elementary Education(K-6)


    Torey has been teaching for the past 14 years and has been at Ricks for six years. She has taught a diverse population of students and students of different ages in public schools and private schools, where she has always advocated for her students. Torey is passionate about teaching and enjoys helping each child progress in all areas of their development. She strives to create a community of learners in a positive, fun, and safe environment. When not in the classroom, Torey enjoys time spent with her husband, their two dogs Ernie and Elroy, and their cat Lenny. She also enjoys all that Colorado offers: hiking, camping, skiing, and water and motorsports. Torey also enjoys her Kansas City roots, cheering on the Chiefs and the Royals and competing in BBQ competitions with her family and friends.


2nd Grade

  • Sara Jeffers

    B.A. Behavioral Science, Metropolitan State University of Denver
    M.A. Curriculum and Design, University of Phoenix
    Early Childhood Education License

    Sara is a Colorado native and has been a teacher at the Ricks Center for over 15 years, teaching first through fourth grade. Sara believes in teaching the whole child, celebrating successes both big and small. Sara empowers each child to believe in themselves and encourages them to follow their passions, helping them grow into confident, independent thinkers. Sara is excited to begin a new chapter in her learning this year, becoming a trainer for other staff members in creating a Culture of Care using Restorative Justice principles and practices. When not teaching, Sara enjoys exploring Colorado with her husband, children, and dog Oreo. Sara’s husband Greg volunteers at Ricks, and her daughters have attended Ricks since preschool.


3rd Grade

  • Audrey Dellgren

    BA in European Studies, Heidelberg, Germany
    Urban Teacher Education Program, University of Colorado Denver


    Audrey is beginning her fifth year at Ricks and is thrilled to be teaching third grade! A native of Dallas, she has also lived in Austria, Germany, and Sweden. In the classroom, Audrey strives to foster a space where students pose big questions, explore curiosities, welcome different perspectives, and develop a sense of agency and voice. She also has a love of children’s literature and appreciates the power of a story. Audrey’s greatest joy has been raising her two children. Her daughter Ally is pursuing a Master of Music at Lamont for voice performance and son Johan will be a junior at Pomona College. Outside of the classroom, you can find Audrey playing tennis, cooking for family and friends, or walking at City Park with her husband Peter and dog Bodhi.


4th Grade

  • Amanda Ellis


    B.A. Education and Human Development, Elementary Education - University of Colorado Denver


    Amanda recently received her degree in Elementary Education with an endorsement in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education from the University of Colorado Denver. She has been working at Rick’s Center for almost five years, and this will be her first year in her own classroom. She is passionate about creating a positive, responsive classroom that supports the social/emotional well-being of students while fueling their learning through their passions. Amanda strives to foster a meaningful learning environment that brings the real world into the classroom. Outside of school, she lives with her partner, three cats, and a snake. She enjoys spending time with her loved ones and getting out in nature to hike and explore.

  • Lillian Forward

    Lillian Forward has spent the last 25 years teaching and raising her three daughters with her husband, Mark, in Dallas, Los Angeles, and Denver. She has taught multiple-age groups, ranging from pre-kindergarten through the 11th grade, but she has found that her true passion lies in teaching elementary school — the intersection of education and a child’s natural sense of wonder is where the magic happens.  In and out of the classroom, Lillian is committed to prioritizing community, relationships, and the dignity and individuality of each human person. She firmly believes that care is the foundation of all meaningful learning and teaching and centers her humanizing pedagogy around this philosophy.  

    Lillian keeps herself energized by running, hiking, gardening, reading, and by playing with her Great Dane, Penelope. She was raised in Dallas and so her allegiance to the Dallas Cowboys remains steadfast even in the midst of Broncos country.  

    Lillian always looks forward to forging deep, meaningful relationships with each family in the Ricks community so that we can all work together to foster each child’s natural curiosity and desire to learn through experience and exploration. 


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. 

Learn More