The Boys School of Denver – Leadership

Dorian Bennett

Head of School

Dorian Bennett is ecstatic to be the Head of School of The Boys School of Denver. He brings 14 years of experience working with young people in counseling, social work, and most recently served as an essential member of the founding team at Denver Discovery School, working as the Dean of Culture, and growing that middle school from one grade to three while leading through multiple administration changes. Dorian knows emphatically that The Boys School of Denver is the perfect setting for his talents and ambitions. It is Dorian’s belief that relationships are the keys to success for a middle school serving boys as relationships create the foundation for a successful young man’s path. Dorian is humbled and honored to devote his time, his energy and his effort to ensuring that the boys feel confident, comfortable and complete as they progress in this beautiful world. Dorian envisions The Boys School thriving as the GALS school does and he is committed to making this a reality. During his personal time, he enjoys a good book, writing poetry and do it yourself projects. Ubuntu.

Felicia Soifer

Director of Instruction

Originally from Los Angeles, Felicia graduated from University of Colorado, Boulder with a degree in Sociology. After college, she moved to New York City, where she taught for nine years and received her Master's degree in Elementary Education and Curriculum from City College, City University New York. Felicia came to GALS after working for various educational non-profits as a freelance writer. She taught 6th grade language arts for two years at GALS before becoming the Director of Academics. When not working, Felicia spends all her time playing in beautiful Colorado with her amazing family, husband Josiah, their two boys Jackson and Spencer, and the family dogs, Harlem and Renaissance.

Tony Pigford

Leadership Team

Tony is a fourth generation Denverite and third generation product of Denver Public Schools. He is thrilled to have joined The Boys School of Denver as the Dean of Students! Tony joined the movement in 2016 and has served as a Dean, 7th Grade wellness coach, and movement coach at GALS. He comes to the organization from his position as a Student Voice and Leadership Coordinator at Denver Public Schools, where he coordinated the Student Board of Education and Challenge 5280. Tony coached boys varsity basketball for four years at his alma mater, Thomas Jefferson High School. It was there that he gained his passion for youth leadership and development. He attended Florida A&M University where he studied Business Administration and Theatre. Tony loves to travel, play golf, ski, and spend time with his wife, family, and friends.

BOYS Staff

Ismael Alvarez

Front Office Manager

Ismael "Ish" Alvarez grew up in El Paso, Texas, before moving up to Colorado and attending the Community College of Denver. He is a secretary with 15 years of experience in education doing office work, helping family communities, and doing Spanish translation. Ismael enjoys spending time with his 5 children as well as tabletop gaming.

Elizabeth Bailey

6th Grade BOYS Series

Elizabeth Bailey is ecstatic to be joining The Boys School as the 6th grade BOYS Series teacher. She has a background in International Law and has spent a decade in The Hague, Netherlands working on the integration process with asylum seekers. She is going into her 5th year of teaching and is honored to be apart of BOYS. Elizabeth loves experiencing new cultures, everything fitness, puppies, and bacon.

Fleur Alvarez


Lea Birbilas

7th Grade Science

Lea Birbilas is a veteran science teacher.  This is her eleventh year teaching and her second year with middle schoolers.  She has an undergraduate degree in Environmental and Plant Biology from Ohio University and a Masters in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University.  She loves all things science and working with your kids!  She volunteers for Girls Rock Denver in the summer and when needed during the school year.  When she is not in the classroom she is probably playing outside somewhere with her dog, Teton, or playing music.  She is a singer/songwriter and a one-person band by the name of Marvel West. She loves being active in the mountains and riding her motorcycle and having fun adventures .

Lindsay Cocos

6th Grade Social Studies

Lindsay is entering her 8th year of teaching middle school. She grew up in Elizabeth, Colorado and attended the University of Colorado at Boulder where she studied History. She earned her teaching license and MA in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Denver. Her favorite part of teaching is when students start to see real world applications of concepts they learn in social studies. When she isn't teaching, she loves to perform with the Broncos Stampede band, travel, and spend time with her husband and kids.

Emily Felsenthal

6th Grade Math

Emily is entering her 7th year of teaching and could not be more excited to be joining the BOYS team as the 6th grade math teacher. In 2010 Emily got her BA in Spanish and Peace + Justice Studies from Villanova University (Go Nova!), and taught in St. Louis, Chicago and Los Angeles before moving to Denver in July. As her students will tell you, Emily loves traveling, her Villanova Wildcats, top hats, hiking and math!

Michelle Hoffmeister

7th Grade Math

Michelle has been a middle school math and science teacher since 2004.  In addition to her time in China, Michelle has taught in the Roaring Fork School District in Colorado, California and in Hawaii.

Michelle’s deep experience in teaching middle school math and beyond, as well as her obvious passion for inspiring middle schoolers, She uses her experience in multiple sports to connect with kids aged 11-14.  She has a delightful sense of humor and she is excited to teach in a school where every child is known and honored.

Michelle has a B.A. in Zoology from Michigan State University, an M.Ed. in Math & Environmental Science from Concordia University, and a Juris Doctorate from Northern Illinois University. As a private tutor, she has provided support in all science and math subjects including AP Physics, AP Chemistry, Algebra 2, Pre-Calculus, SAT, ACT, LSAT, and GMAT test prep.

Her references describe her as an outstanding educator who finds the best in every individual student.  She is 100% committed and takes the time to explain difficult concepts in ways that all students can understand.  She is a wonderful motivator.

Mason Klahn

7th Grade Social Studies

Mason Klahn is the 7th grade social studies teacher at the Boys School of Denver. Mr. Klahn graduated from Colorado Mesa University last December with a double major in History and Kinesiology with an emphasis on adapted physical education. The last three summers Mason worked at Roundup River Ranch which is a free summer camp for children aged 7-17 years with serious diseases. After graduating Mr. Klahn worked for Ariel Clinical Services Sprite House which was a foster home designed for children rejected from previous foster programs. Mason moved to the Denver area in August and he worked as a substitute teacher before coming on full-time with the Boys School of Denver.

Michael Lamond

6th Grade Language Arts

Mike is originally from Buffalo, NY. He has spent the last 18 years teaching all ages in some pretty interesting places. He ended up in Colorado 14 years ago and doesn't intend to leave. When not teaching, Mike spends time coaching basketball, baseball, and soccer. When out of the school environment completely, you'll probably find him running or hanging out with his wife and 2 young sons.

Hannah Miller

6th Grade Science

Hannah is entering her 7th year of teaching and loves being a part of The Boys School of Denver! Hannah graduated from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with a BA in Elementary Education and an endorsement in Middle School Science. In 2016, Hannah received her Masters is Educational Leadership from Regis University. She was born and raised in Minnesota, but now calls Colorado home. Before GALS, Hannah was selected as a Nobel Peace Prize Scholar and later participated in Teachers Ready for Peace, a 6-week graduate course in India. She has spent time teaching abroad in Slovakia and Tanzania as well as 4th grade in Sioux Falls. Outside of the classroom, Hannah can be found enjoying this beautiful state. She spends her free time hiking, biking, getting lost, skiing, gardening and traveling with her family and friends. Teaching is her passion and she hopes to ignite curiosity within all of her students.

Jamal Rankins

6th Grade Social Studies

Jamal is excited to learn and share with the latest class of 6th graders at The Boys School. Jamal comes to teach 6th grade Social Studies at The Boys School after recent experiences with McAuliffe Manual Middle School, and DSST Henry Middle School. Besides learning in and out of the classroom Jamal is stoked to share his love of team sport with students of Boys and GALS. When Jamal is not in the classroom he can be found running around town on a motorcycle, enjoying time with his niece and nephews, playing team sports, swimming for fun and fitness, and making things up on stage in search of levity with his improv comedy troupe. Finally Jamal plays a mean game of Mario Kart on Nintendo Switch.

Kylie Shields

Athletic Director

Kylie is ecstatic to share her love of blending personal development and growth with the electricity that comes with athletics and physical movement here at GALS and The Boys School of Denver. As the incoming Athletic Director, Kylie is most excited to be part of a mission and school (movement) that not only supports, but breathes these ideas into life each and every day. Kylie grew up in New York before moving to Alabama where she received her undergraduate degree in Health Promotion from Auburn University. Kylie also competed all four years at Auburn as an all-arounder on their Gymnastics Team. Realizing her heart felt more at home in the West near the mountains, Kylie moved to Denver three years ago and obtained her Masters in Sport and Performance Psychology from the University of Denver. If she isn’t out supporting all our incredible athletes and coaches, you can find Kylie doing handstands as mental boosts, climbing 14ers, napping (recovery is important too!), and exploring all the fun art and restaurants here in town.

Andrew Vandal

7th Grade Language Arts

Andrew comes to us from Minnesota; however he has called Colorado home for the past 5 years. He is a recent graduate from the University of Colorado, Denver. Andrew graduated from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with a BA in literature with distinction and a secondary teaching license. He is extremely excited to work with the BOYS and teach them all things language arts. Andrew spent time in his undergrad as a behavioral and restorative justice paraprofessional, a floor hockey coach, and he also student taught at Arvada High School and Clayton Partnership School. When Andrew is not in the classroom, he can be found reading a book, playing hockey, or venturing into the mountains with his wife, Kari and mastiff, Skye.

Student Support Team

Nicole Brodeur

School Psychologist

Gabriel Cannon


Gabriel Cannon, Counselor at The Boys School, has worked with youth, young adults, and families for over 20 years. Gabriel received his undergraduate degree in Human Development and Adventure Education from Prescott College and his graduate degree in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Gabriel has worked in both clinical settings and wilderness-based programs, and he is passionate about helping young people transition through adolescence into healthy adulthood.

Karen Davidson

Director of Special Education

Karen is thrilled to be the Director of Special Education at GALS and the BOYS School. She is a native of Denver and loves to read and travel. Karen received her Bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Denver and her Master's degree in Special Education from Metropolitan State University. She has worked for DPS, Adams 14, Children's Hospital Colorado, and as an independent educational consultant. When not at GALS, Karen enjoys spending time with her husband, 15-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son.

Julie Dolin MA, LPC, BC-DMT

Director of Counseling & Wellness

Originally from New York City, Julie has been living and working in Boulder for the past 25 years. She holds a BA in English from Vassar College, an MA in Dance/Movement Therapy from Naropa University and is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She has a private psychotherapy practice working with individuals and groups, adults, teens and parents. She has also been Adjunct Faculty in Naropa University’s Somatic Counseling Psychology program, focusing primarily on group work, Authentic Movement, and mentoring students in their internships and in writing the Master’s Thesis. She has been fielding the question “why movement in psychotherapy?" for so long, she cannot believe her good fortune to be at GALS where the power of movement is a given, and playful, creative and strenuous activity happens daily. She is also the mother of two sons, ages 17 and 11.

Tami McGuan

Special Education

Tami is beyond excited to be a member of the Inclusion Team for The Boys School. Tami is from originally from Maine, where she received her Bachelor's Degree at the University of Maine at Farmington. After moving across the country and teaching in Albuquerque for 5 years, she decided that Colorado was the place to be and has called it her home for the past 20 years. Tami received her Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Lesley University and taught for Denver Public Schools before joining the BOYS team. When not at school, Tami enjoys spending time with her husband and two girls as well as anything that will get her moving.

Randall Nigohosian

Special Education

Randall is delighted and honored to be joining the Boys School of Denver team. He is a Rhode Island native and was raised in Utah. Randall graduated summa cum laude from Westminster College in Salt Lake City with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education with a Special Education endorsement. He has lived in China teaching English to children and working with college students as an English tutor. Randall received the Teacher of the Year Award while working at a school for students with special needs here in Denver.