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.
Whitney | Director
Hey guys! Aside from being the Director here at Smart Bear Learning, my number one job is being a Mom to my two little boys; Luke who is 4 and Nolan who is 8 months. My family and I moved to Colorado from Arkansas just over 2 years ago and we absolutely love our new home! In my free time you can find me spending time with my husband and kiddos. I love coffee, crafts and exploring outside! I've made so many great relationships with the parents and children here at Smart Bear and I'm so happy to call this school home.
Laura | Assistant Director
I have been working with children for the last 5 years and have a BA in Child Development. I recently moved to Colorado from California. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my husband and Yorkie-Poo dog, Hunter. I am so happy to be here 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 and our two dogs, Gibbs & Sadie. We have 2 grown daughters, Tessa who lives back home in Ohio and Alex lives in Conneticut with my new granson, Greyson.
Jennifer | Toddler Lead 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!
Eryn | Toddler Teacher
I am a wife and a mother of a beautfiul 3 year old daughter. Her name is Brielle and she is currently attending Smart Bear Learning in the preschool classroom. I am a Colorado native and the Broncos are my favorite football team. I even named my dog Von Miller. I am so excited to be teaching in the toddler classroom.
Pennie | Transition Lead Teacher
Hi my name is Pennie. I am a mother of a 5 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. | Early Learners Lead Teacher
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!
Sparklynn | Infant Lead Teacher
Hi I’m Sparklynn. I am originally from Amarillo Texas where I was born and raised. I moved to Colorado with my husband and son Porter about 4 months ago. I am a horse lover and have shown horses and done rodeo for over 11 years. I have found a true passion working with infants here at Smart Bear Learning and look forward to making memories here with children of all ages.
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.
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!
Natalie | Pre-K Teacher
I'm Natalie, I have 2 babies my son William and my dog Princess. I just recently moved to Colorado in June 2017 from Nebraska, where I previously worked at 2 daycares and also worked with Special needs kids for 2 years. I have a Certificate in Special Education and am still continuing my education to get my teaching degree. I am so happy to have started working at Smart Bear Learning and finding such a loving and caring work place, not only for me but for my son as well. I love working with kids, and I've always thought that it’s the most rewarding career to be part of. I love all the memories we have made so far, and I look forward to making many more!
Breann | Floater
Alex | Floater
Hi, my name is Alex. I have worked in childcare for about a year now and worked in the medical field for 4 years. My passion is to help as many people as I can and that is why I chose working in childcare. I work with children because it makes me happy.
Sarah M. | Closing 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!
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.