The Saia Family | Owners
Colleen, Ariel and Nicole are the proud owners of Smart Bear Learning; together they started Smart Bear Learning with a love and passion for teaching new ways of learning through technology and science. Their focus is to create a unique, educational and safe environment for all students to learn and grow!
Colleen has taught in the early childhood education field for over 20 years and brings the key values of loving, caring and nurturing that is so critical for a solid learning foundation. Nicole attends a STEM based High school where she brings home great Ideas to incorporate into Smart Bear Learning’s various classrooms. Ariel brings an extensive background of technology and engineering to Smart Bear Learning that allows us to remain on top of cutting edge learning tools, software and technology. He is committed to bringing the latest learning and safety technologies to our center.
Hi I’m Karen, the center Director at Smart Bear Learning. I am married, and have two children. I’m a native Californian and I’ve been in Colorado since 2005. We are lucky enough to live between Waterton Canyon, Roxborough and Chatfield State Parks. I enjoy the outdoors, traveling and reading. I am very excited and proud to be part of the Smart Bear Learning family!!
Whitney | Office Assistant | Lead Toddler Teacher
My name is Whitney and I am a teacher in your toddler’s room! In addition to the title of teacher, I gladly respond to mother and wife. I am the resident Smart Bear Learning Closer and enjoy assisting in the family events and assisting the managment team make Smart Bear such a great place to be! I have a two year old son named Luke and a six year old yorkie named Louis. My family recently moved to Colorado from Arkansas and we are in love! In my free time I enjoy reading, cooking, spending time with my family and exploring our new home. I have been working with children of all ages for 7 years, and have completed many courses regarding child development. I have already made great relationships with many of the families and staff at Smart Bear Learning.
Cathy | Cook & Events
I moved to Colorado from Ohio a little over 2 years ago. I am a Buckeye through and through. I attended Ohio State and majored in business. I have worked in healthcare most my life, this is my first experience working with children and I love it! Besides health care, I have also owned an ice cream parlor. I live with my husband Rusty with our two dogs, Gibbs & Sadie. We have 2 grown daughters, Tessa who just relocated to Colorado and works at Smart Bear. My daughter Alex lives in Conneticut and is expecting her first child this year. I am so excited to become a Grandma!
Jennifer | Toddler Teacher
My name is Jennifer and I am a Colorado Native! I am a CNA and enjoyed caring for people over 5 years. I have a baby girl Eloise and with my love of caring for people I decided a career path in caring for children! I love working in the Toddler classroom and meeting all the families here at Smart Bear Learning. I look forward to making memories here to last!
Pennie | Toddler Lead Teacher
Hi my name is Pennie. I am a mother of a 4 year old named Ethan. I am originally from New Mexico but, I live in Denver with my son, loving husband and sister Kylee. I started at Smart Bear Learning and quickly fell in love with working with the infants and toddlers. I grew up wanting to work with children. In my free time I love to paint by number, read and spend time with my son.
Sarah E. | Infant Nursery Supervisor
Hello all! My name is Sarah and i have been in Colorado for all but 5 years in my life where we lived in Lockport, Illions. I have always had a way with young children and enjoyed watching them excel and learn in their own special way! So the decision to be a child educater came with ease after spending time in administration and retail! Being a parent of a 5 year old daughter has showed me that I have a passion for working with children. I am excited to be here and learn just as much as I teach to the younger children!
Amanda | Infant Teacher
I consider myself a Boulder, Colorado "native," but I actually spent my early childhood in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from high school, I went to a university in Washington, D.C., on scholarship to study sociology and public policy. Unfortunately, my funding was pulled from the school, so I returned home to my second love: early childhood education. I have been teaching children under five since age 15, and have worked everywhere from small nonprofit, to large corporate, to progressive charter schools. However, I have found Smart Bear to be the perfect mix of all three! Most of my previous experience has been with preschool and prekindergarten, but I'm in heaven teaching infants. My goal is to bring the same amount of energy, conversations, cuddles, and learning to my baby friends.
Tessa | Early Learners Teacher
Hi my name is Tessa and I am so happy to be here at Smart Bear Learning! I followed my mom Ms. Cathy to Colorado from Ohio. I brought my sweet dog Luxe with me and am a true lover of all animals. I love caring for all childen especially my Early Learners. I pride myself in caring for each child and making sure they are safe as I help them learn and develop! I look forward to making many a memory here at Smart Bear Learning.
Amissi | Preschool
Hi my name is Amissi, I have been working with children since February 2014. I realized early on that working with children is my true calling and became group lead certified in November of 2016. I am a Colorado Native and live with my loving husband, two dogs and a cat. In my spare time I love singing and spending time with my family.
Amber | Preschool Teacher
Hello my name is Amber, I am a Colorado native and love it here. I am a proud mom of my beautiful daughter Malia she is my whole world. I love working with the kids in preschool. I love seeing them grow and learn every day. I am excited to be a teacher here at Smart Bear Learning!
Sarah M. | Pre-Kindergarten Teacher
Hi! I am Sarah Mefford and a Colorado native. I am happily married and have two daughters, Savannah who is 15 and attends Denver Online High School. My daughter Sereniti who is 8 and attends Bear Canyon Elementary. I have been working with children for over ten years now in a variety of roles. I am a licensed teacher in the state of Colorado who has been in multiple districts. I have a network of friends I can lean on for new exciting learning opportunities. In my free time I like to read, swim, go to movies, camp, and spend time with my friends & family. I am so happy to be part of the Smart Bear Family!
Debi | Pre-Kindergarten Teacher Assistant
Ciao! My name is Debi and I am re-entering child care after a long absence. I lived in Italy for 12 years and began working with kiddos at Reggio Children in Reggio Emilia. I started my family there and then moved back to the states about 13 years ago. I am a proud mother of and 18 year old freshman at Arizona State and a 14 year old middle schooler at Anastasis Academy. My husband is Italian but, currently coaches a professional soccer club in France. F.C. Xlantes so our family does a lot of International travel. We love living and learning new cultures and languages. I look forward to getting to know your kids and being a part of the Smart Bear Learning family.
Karen | Substitute Teacher
I am excited to join the faculty at Smart Bear Learning. I grew up in California and have lived in several different states. My teaching career has given me the opportunity to teach all ages and many different subjects but my heart is with Preschoolers. I have three young adult daughters. Elizabeth lives in Indianapolis with her husband and is a professional ballroom dance teacher. Judith lives in Chicago finishing up her Masters of Divinity degree. Kimberly just moved to Hiram, OH and is beginning her career in education. For fun I love to cook, garden, and paint. I also love to play the piano, sing and play the guitar.
Mr. Ron | Emergent Science Program | Curriculum Consultant
Ron Green grew up among the Jurassic geology and scrub-oak thickets of the Colorado front-range. He studied music, art, poetics, Cisco networking, education, coffee, and wine before moving to Costa Rica to pursue a multilingual, cultural and ecological education for his wife and two boys. While in Central America, Ron taught English to all grade levels as well as adult corporate programs. He co-founded a holistic learning studio in Esparza, Costa Rica in 2010 dedicated to cultural and ecological recovery. Ron has worked with and developed non-traditional English Acquisition methodologies for with a wide range of international students of all ages. For over eight years, Ron has delivered cross-curricular learning instruction to early childhood, primary and secondary classrooms. He is the executive director of Originateve Holistic Learning Designs, a Colorado non-profit dedicated to assisting organizations holistically meet the needs of modern educational goals and Serves as President of the International Council of Holistic Education and Learning.
Ron has managed restaurants, corporate executive suites and a wedding/events venue. He graduated from Metropolitan State University with a BA in English, and took a Masters of Education through Colorado Christian University. He also studied poetics at Naropa University, indigenous studies with Marin Prechtel, and Permaculture with Eric Toensnmeier.
Mr. Rich | Music Teacher | Substitute Teacher
I had the opportunity to be raised around the world during my youth, because of my Dad's service in the Navy. I had the chance to live in places such as: Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Guam, United Kingdom (Scotland & Wales) and Baltimore. I graduated from Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina with a Bachelor's Degree in Performing Arts Studies with a focus on acting and playwriting. After college I traveled the country and performed on stage for a variety of different theatre companies and landed an internship in Denver.
Since then, I have settled down in Denver and earned a license in Early Childhood Education from Metropolitan State University of Denver. For the past 6 years I have spent my time as a Lead Teacher in Pre-School/Pre-kindergarten classrooms and a Interventionist in the Kindergarten classroom.
I am married and have a 4 year old daughter; who I love to share my passion for music, the arts and cooking food with. I hope to continue to educate young minds using my gifts of music, movement and scientific exploration for as long as possible.