Building Support Staff

Melanie Lawhorn

Email: mklawhorn@aurorak12.org

Principal's Secretary and Office Manager

I have been with Aurora Public Schools for 13 years. Before joining the team at the Harmony Ridge P-8, I was at Gateway High School as Secretary to the Principal, Bookkeeper and ESS Assistant. I have also been a DLC Para at both Gateway and Aurora Central High Schools. My family is a big part of the APS community. My husband, Chuck, is a Restorative Conversation Assistant (RCA) at Pickens Tech. My son, Koda, is a Daniel's Fund Scholarship recipient from Hinkley HS and attended Colorado State University, earning a Masters in Elementary Education and a BFA in Technology Design and currently teaches 6th grade. His wonderful wife, Alisha, is a graduate from Aurora Central HS and CSU and now teaches Family and Consumer Science, Culinary Nutrition, and Life Management. My daughter, Taryn, is an adult with special needs, who went through the APS Crossroads and Project Search programs and landed an amazing job at Children's Hospital in Aurora. She is the reason I started my journey in the education field. I couldn't be more proud of my entire family! In my free time I enjoy traveling, camping and all things glitter. I am so excited to be a part of the Harmony community and look forward to building strong relationships with our neighbors, students and staff. I'm a great listener, caring and pride myself on always providing friendly, helpful and positive customer service. I look forward to building a great relationship with you!

Rakshan Lodhi

Email: rklodhi@aurorak12.org

Registrar/Clerk

I am honored and very excited to be a part of Harmony Ridge P-8. I have been with the APS district for six years. I started working at Side Creek Elementary as an Attendance Secretary and then got promoted to Registrar position. I worked at that position for four years then moved to Gateway high school for one school year as an Attendance Secretary. Currently I am at South Middle School as a Registrar.
I love people! I enjoy social interaction especially with the kids. I am a good listener and a caring person. In my free time, I enjoy reading, knitting, and sewing. I have a 13 year old who currently goes to Aurora Quest. She is the reason I started working with APS and stayed at Side Creek Elementary before moving on to explore new job opportunities.
I am really looking forward to serving the Harmony Ridge community and being a part of the team.

Jessica Villegas Lopez

Email: jvillegaslopez@aurorak12.org

School Nurse

My Name is Jessica Villegas-Lopez, the school nurse that will be responsible for providing care for your child/children when needed. I truly enjoy working and promoting community health and look forward to working with our diverse community here at Harmony Ridge P-8. I started my nursing career in 2009. My Career in Health care as a Registered Nurse includes varied nursing experiences such as school nursing, postpartum, Medical/Surgical, step down ICU and rehabilitation to name a few. Part of my professional goal is keeping my BLS certification current and being up to date with medical advancements and new research through continuing education. I graduated from FRCC – Westminster with an associate’s degree in nursing in 2008 and from Regis University with Bachelor of Science degree in nursing in 2011.When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my Husband and my three kids. I also love baking and cooking for my family and friends.

Jena Anderson

Email: jlanderson@aurorak12.org

Counselor

I am honored to serve as the Professional School Counselor for Harmony Ridge P-8! In addition to supporting the social emotional needs and development of all students, I will strive to ensure all students feel seen, heard, and valued as part of our school community. Counseling is my second career, and I feel very lucky to have found my calling. I began my career path in journalism after attending the University of Missouri and earning a Bachelors of Journalism in 2009. While working at a regional magazine, I wrote articles about community organizations for children and families. I learned more about the helping professions and realized counseling was exactly what I wanted to do. I graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Masters of Science in School Counseling and Mental Health Counseling in 2015. I then spent two years as a high school counselor and three years as an elementary school counselor in Northwest Arkansas. I also spent the last four years operating a small private practice. As a counselor, I have a strong interest in topics such as trauma, mindfulness and growth mindset as well as play therapy. I recently moved to the Denver area from Northwest Arkansas. I look forward to spending time with my nieces, hiking, camping, and taking ski lessons (my first attempt skiing earned me a torn ACL)! I believe strong relationships are the foundation of learning. I can't wait to get to know you and your children and learn how I can support them in reaching their full potential.

Maggie Okoniewski

Email: mjokoniewski@aurorak12.org

General Education Social Worker

I'm Maggie Okoniewski, the school social worker at Harmony Ridge. I am so excited to be a Raptor and a part of this amazing community. I enjoy working in schools because I love the learning environment, academic culture, and seeing students grow.
I'm from Green Bay, Wisconsin and attended school at University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. My background began in clinical social work with children and families in a therapeutic setting. From there, I began working in schools in Jefferson County and Sheridan School District before coming to Aurora Public Schools.
Outside of school, I keep very busy teaching fitness classes and running an outside therapy practice. In my spare time, I love all things outdoors, active, and Colorado. I am a proud nerd and enjoy anything related to science fiction and fantasy (books, movies, video games, cosplay conventions, you name it!). I also love football and will tell you that the Green Bay Packers are the best team ever!

Jessika Munoz

Facilities Manager

My name is Jessika Munoz and I am so excited to be part of the Harmony Ridge Community as your Facilities Manager!
I was born in Oroville, California and moved to Aurora, Colorado at the age of five. For my education, I attended the Aurora Public Schools beginning in 1998. I went to Crawford Elementary, West Middle School, and graduated from Aurora Central High School in 2010. I did some college at the Community College of Aurora.
I started working for the Aurora Public Schools as a Utility Custodian. As a Utility I was able to learn so many things. I learned the right knowledge to keep a school standing strong and I will keep striving for perfection! I believe that being able to satisfy the needs for our kids, parents and staff is the key to success and it will be my goal and my pleasure to maintain a strong, healthy school environment.
In my spare time, I love to work out. I love to cook. I love to remodel my home when I get the chance. I love to walk my beautiful dogs. I love to read, and watch my favorite shows on Netflix. I enjoy drinking coffee every morning and my favorite food is pizza.
I am ready to show my potential and I am so thrilled to meet everyone! Thank you so much Harmony Ridge for the opportunity!

Susie Hager Locke

Nutrition Services Manager

Hello Harmony Ridge Raptor Community! I look forward to our new adventure together!
This will be my fourth year with Aurora Public Schools and my third year as a kitchen manager with the district. I have a total of 37 years in the food industry, with that I have over 30 years in the management and hospitality area. Once I decided to work at the schools I realized I found my calling. Colorado has always been my home. I spent a few years on the east coast in Washington DC as a teenager. I graduated from Aurora Public Schools. You could say that APS is in my heart. I am a Bronco fan through and through. I love the color yellow and my granddaughter Olivia is my world. I have two grown daughters, JerryLynn and Samantha. I am married to my high school sweetheart, Greg. In my spare time I enjoy crafting of all kinds.
My goal as a Nutrition Service Manager is to embrace each and every child that crosses my path with love, acceptance and equality. I want to show them that each one of them brings a unique attribute to the community and the world. I look forward to building relationships and partnering with our community, staff and kids.

Pam Candelaria

Email: pacandelaria@aurorak12.org

Site Tech/Library

Hello, Harmony Ridge! I'm Pam Candelaria, and I'm excited to join your community as librarian and site technician! I have worked in APS for 7 years, all at Jewell Elementary. I started there as a para, a couple years later moved into the library, and a year after that started up a tech lab as well! One of the things that I love most about my job is getting to learn and discover with my students. Whether it's reading a new book, discovering new technology, or just getting to know the amazing young people I've had the pleasure of working with, I wouldn't trade my experience for the world!
In my time away from school I enjoy spending time with my husband and our four children, I love baking, and I'm a voracious reader. I also love animals, and adore my 2 cats, our Saint Bernard, and our bearded dragon. I am looking forward to being part of the community at Harmony Ridge and can't wait to meet all of you!