Who We Are

Welcome to TGS

Dear Future TGS Parent,

How was school today? If your neurodivergent student’s answer to this question breaks your parent’s heart, it may be time to start looking for a new school. Your child’s adolescence is too short – and too critical to their development – to waste. Joining a school community that understands and embraces neurodiversity can be life-changing for your child, and for your family.

The Temple Grandin School (TGS) program is inspired by Dr. Temple Grandin, whose example reminds us that the world needs all kinds of minds. The students we serve are exceptional neurodivergent teens who are willing to risk sharing their whole selves – strengths and challenges – with our staff and each other. They come from a wide range of family and educational backgrounds, but share in common the challenge of finding a community of belonging. TGS provides a safe environment where these capable students can begin to believe in themselves, persist through their challenges, and achieve their full potential.

We invite you to explore our website to learn more about our educational community and program. Students – and parents – there’s a place for you here!

Warmly,

Jen Wilger
Co-Founder & Executive Director

Our Mission
and Values

We empower neurodivergent students to recognize and realize their potential, and equip them with the knowledge and skills they’ll need to accomplish their young adult goals.

We know what it takes to get students where they want to go next, at a pace that’s right for them. Our core values guide students to understand and embrace their neurodiversities so they can leverage their strengths and advocate for the accommodations they need to access meaningful, fulfilling employment.

The road to adulting starts now. Students, here’s how our values will help jumpstart your journey:

We want you.

Welcome to the “Us” group. We are all TGS, no one is “in” or “out.” Staff and students together are building an affirming and inclusive neurodiverse community where all kinds of minds—and identities—belong.

We get you.

When it comes to neurodiversity, we’re all in. We like the way you think, your sense of humor, your sensitivity…all of it. We know what bugs you about teachers and school. We deeply respect you, and you’ll feel that as soon as you walk through our doors.

We’ll meet you.

Tell us where you’re going, and we’ll help you get there – your way. Schedules, learning groups, course outlines…are all means to an end, and that end is you, ready to step out into the post-TGS world. We are constantly fine-tuning our program to better meet our students’ needs.

We’ll help you.

We work together here, teachers, students, and parents. Tell us your needs, and we’ll figure out how to meet them. If you have a problem or challenge, we’ll help you solve it.

We’ll push you.

Ask anyone – everyone here is working on something, even the teachers. We grow as we go, and we don’t give up even when things are hard. No matter how long you stay, you’ll leave knowing more about who you are, and what it will take for you to find your place in the world of work.

We love you.

Yes, love. The important thing about Temple Grandin School is the love. We care deeply about you, your family, and our shared communities – at TGS and beyond. If something’s wrong, we want to know about it. If something’s right, we want to join you in celebrating it!

Our Team

Jen Wilger

Jennifer Wilger

Executive Director, Co-Founder

For Jen, her role as Temple Grandin School’s Executive Director – guiding TGS’ collaboration with community partners for research, current program planning, and future organizational development – is more than her life’s work. It is a personal passion, begun when her now young adult son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at age three. Outside of TGS, Jen enjoys cooking, spending time with her family, and exploring the great outdoors in Colorado and beyond.

Lisa Baba

Lisa Baba

Director of Community Relations

Lisa knows that TGS is a safe and supportive community for neurodivergent middle and high school students – and their parents – and she wants them to discover that TGS is a school that will honor their strengths and help them reach their dreams. When she’s not networking with prospective parents and other organizations that serve the neurodivergent, Lisa spends time creating art, writing, and music and being active by teaching Nia, walking her dog, biking, hiking, and skiing with her husband and young adult children.

Mary Kay Braccio

Mary Kay Braccio

School Psychologist, Transitions Director

Throughout her career, Mary Kay has been dedicated to bringing together the best services and instruction for neurodivergent students so they have the opportunity to grow to their fullest potential. At TGS, Mary Kay supports students in finding their path through high school and into meaningful college and career options. Mary Kay enjoys spending time with her family, taking walks with her labradoodle, Luigi, connecting with friends, and traveling to beautiful snorkeling beaches.

 

 

Raymond Baker

Raymond Baker

Math Teacher

Raymond has an excitement for giving students the tools they need to take the learning process into their own hands and to enjoy it along the way. One of Raymond’s goals is to share his love of mathematics with his students, allowing them to see that “serious math” can be as lighthearted and fun as playing games and solving puzzles. In his spare time, Raymond enjoys creating confections, baking bread, and doing “recreational math.”

Erin Chipman

Erin Chipman

Science Teacher

Erin’s personal experience with people on the spectrum have given her a passion for helping TGS students make connections and develop a holistic view of science. When not at school, Erin enjoys swimming, walking her dogs, hiking, biking, drawing, and eating good food.

Ciara Currigan

Ciara Currigan

Support Team

Supporting people is Ciara’s passion, and specifically she loves to work with middle and high school students. Ciara enjoys being part of the close-knit community at TGS, especially during Morning Meeting when she can hang out and connect with students and staff. In her free time you’ll find her outdoors with her dog Sophie, stand-up paddleboarding, or playing pickleball, or indoors watching a good movie.

David Edwards

David Edwards

Support Team

Autism has a special place in his heart, because his eldest son is on the spectrum – this is what propelled Dave into the world of special education. When he’s not working with students, he’s spending time with his husband and his four amazing kids. Dave enjoys trail running, hiking, traveling, going to the beach, and paddle boarding and serves as an ambassador for 3W Races.

Rebecca Hasannabad

Rebecca Hassanabad

English/Language Arts Teacher

Rebecca is passionate about working at TGS because of its whole-person learning perspective, ensuring that students are learning not only their academic subjects but also life skills that will promote their success beyond TGS. When she isn’t teaching, you can find Rebecca studying for her Masters in Learning Design Technology or enjoying the outdoors with her husband and kids.

Caleb Kulman

Caleb Kulman

Social Studies Teacher

A lifelong learner and unabashed nerd, Caleb is deeply passionate about history, education, and working with young people. In his free time, Caleb can be found rock climbing, watching NBA games, walking around town, drawing, or at the movies.

Leslie Levinson

Leslie Levinson

Business Manager

Leslie’s special areas of interest include business operations and resource development of non-profit programs that address critical issues in our community, and working at TGS gives her the opportunity to apply her knowledge to helping neurodivergent students learn and thrive. In her off hours, Leslie enjoys traveling with her husband in their camper van, visiting her two adult sons and taking in the beauty of nature.

Elisabeth Peterson

Elisabeth Peterson

Development Director

Elisabeth leads the charge of developing and implementing a strategic fundraising plan that will guide and sustain TGS’ growth for decades to come. Having worked with the neurodivergent young people during her college summers, Elisabeth has a passion for seeing that they receive the education and support they need. During her off hours, Elisabeth and her partner explore all of the outdoor beauty and activities Boulder has to offer, including hiking, visiting the farmer’s market, and going to concerts whenever they have the chance.

Mike Ross

Mike Ross

Academic Team Lead, Science Teacher

Mike serves TGS as science teacher and faculty mentor, supporting his fellow teachers in their endeavors to deliver the best possible education to neurodivergent students, especially in the STEM subjects. When not discussing physics with learners, Mike enjoys biking, backpacking, fly fishing, and spending time outdoors with his wife and three kids.

Maura Siedal

Maura Seidel

Middle School Specialist, Support Team

Maura loves to learn, and she has a passion for sharing that love for learning with neurodivergent middle school students through the areas of academic intervention, behavior support, and life skills. Maura is working on a certification in social work through the University of Michigan. Maura is a dedicated skier, an avid scuba diver, an inveterate global traveler, and a devoted golfer and tennis player.

Kathy Sievering

Kathy Sievering

School Psychologist, Support Team

Kathy is passionate about helping TGS students grow, supporting them in their classrooms, encouraging them through one-on-one conversations, building trust, and developing personal goals for the students to achieve each day. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award last October, (2022), from the Colorado Society of School Psychologists. In her spare time, Kathy spends time with family, stays active through running, lifting, and attending pilates classes. She enjoys traveling and creating beauty in her garden and painting watercolor pictures.

Board of Directors

Christine Keaten

Christine Keaten

Board Chair
Founder and President of Amplify Communications

Christine is motivated to set TGS up for a long, sustained future so it can help many students, just as it helped her own son graduate from high school and allowed her family to successfully transition to the next step in their lives.

David Millage

David Millage

Vice Chair
Vice President of Global Sales at Sphero Inc.

David serves on the TGS Board because he knows TGS is a special place, and he enjoys being part of an organization with the mission of helping young people recognize their full potential in education, relationships, and future career goals.

Thomas Hutchinson

Treasurer
Founder of Belvedere Trading

Thomas is thankful for the impact TGS has had on his son, and hopes through his board engagement to have a positive impact on the entire TGS community.

Cindy Bishop Photo

Cindy Bishop

Director-at-Large
Retired Human Resource Executive, Talent Acquisition

Recently, Cindy was introduced to Temple Grandin School and to the biography of Dr. Temple Grandin, where her heart was captured, sparking new passion and purpose.  Transitioning into a new season of life, Cindy welcomes the opportunity to serve others while contributing to the ongoing success of the TGS community.

Casey Grothus

Casey Grothus

Director-at-Large
Sketchup Community Programs Trainer for Trimble

As someone with an autism diagnosis, Casey is extremely passionate about doing good for the autism community, and serves on the TGS board to help it make decisions that will truly serve the neurodivergent population.

Brad Kemp

Brad Kemp

Director-at-Large
Chief Revenue Officer at Verblio

Brad remembers the incredible impact that the right educators, support staff, and school had on his younger brother, who was diagnosed with Möebius Syndrome at birth. When he learned about Temple Grandin School, Brad was extremely moved by its vision and mission. He’s excited to help TGS continue down a path of growth and sustainability, providing neurodivergent students with an opportunity to thrive and recognize their full potential.

Evan Icolari - Staff Bio

Evan Icolari

Director-at-Large
Retired, Former Administrator in Finance Departments on University of Colorado campuses

The opportunity to become a board member for Temple Grandin School excited Evan because he has seen firsthand what can happen for young people when they don’t have a supportive environment that recognizes and embraces their individual and unique needs.  Temple Grandin School does just that, and Evan welcomes the opportunity to be a part of the growth and success of such an important place.

David Hazen

Honorary Board Member,
Co-Founder

With decades of experience teaching neurotypical and neurodiverse students and seven years serving as a principal in charter schools, David knows that, given a good education, TGS students can offer the world extraordinary intelligence, creativity, and unique perspectives on our society.

Jason Lynch

Honorary Director
General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer at the Foundry Group

Jason serves on the TGS Board because while his son attended TGS, Jason saw firsthand how the teachers and staff at TGS are amazing engineers of human potential, and wants to support their work for future generations of students and their families.

“From the moment we stepped into Temple Grandin School, my son knew it was where he needed to be. He was immediately accepted and understood. Kids and teachers spoke to him with interest and compassion. Since the beginning of my son’s “rebirth” with Temple Grandin School, we have growing hope that he will have a wonderful future.”

-Parent of a 2021 TGS Graduate

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