Instructional Leadership Team

Nadine Ritchotte

Principal

It's with great pleasure that I introduce myself as the Principal of Harmony Ridge P-8!Originally from New Hampshire (Go New England Patriots!), I moved to Colorado in 1989, after graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a BA in psychology. It was not my original intent to be a teacher, I always thought that I’d be a social worker. However, I moved to Breckenridge and began teaching kids’ ski school. Ski school led to the directorship of a large preschool and daycare center. I had found my place in the world! At that time and place, I realized that I could help to shape children’s opportunities and love for learning. I was hooked!
In 1998, I moved to Denver, where I began teaching in Denver Public Schools. I worked as an elementary school teacher, middle school teacher, literacy coach, and a dean of students. I received my Master’s in Educational Leadership and got my administrative license from the University of Phoenix. I then became an assistant principal and a principal resident in Denver and finally Principal of Jewell Elementary School in Aurora in 2016.
In my spare time, I love to spend time with my wonderful husband, Troy and our 6 year old daughter, Alahnie.Camping is one of our favorite things to do; in fact, we just got back from a four-week camping trip through the northwest part of the country. We also travel to see music; bluegrass being a big favorite.
Alahnie and I spend a lot of time skiing in the winter and riding bikes in the summer. Mommy/daughter days are the best!
Being from New Hampshire means that I'm a huge Patriots and Red Sox fan, but you'll also see me cheering on the Broncos or the Rockies when my team is not in town.
When I finally get a chance to be quiet, reading is my favorite thing to do. A book, a blanket and a cup of coffee always make me happy!

Rachel Franks

Admin TOSA (Teacher on Special Assignment)

I am so excited to be a part of the Harmony Ridge P-8 team as an Admin TOSA! I moved to Colorado in 2007 from the Kansas City area after completing my Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Teaching English as a Second Language. In 2020, I completed the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program at the University of Denver to earn my Colorado Principal License. I began my professional career as a secondary Social Studies teacher in Thornton, CO in 2007 and then had the pleasure of being a CLDE Teacher Leader in Aurora Public Schools. I also facilitated professional development for teachers in Denver Public Schools to provide support with meeting the needs of their English Language Learners. I describe myself as an advocate for all learners, and I thrive on seeing student growth. I believe building relationships and a strong community is the key to student success. I am honored to continue my journey as an educator and leader at Harmony Ridge!In my free time, I love taking walks with my amazing dog, Bailey, reading, doing yoga, watching college basketball, seeing live music and enjoying many days of sunshine in Colorado!


Alex Brown

Assistant Principal

It's with great pleasure that I get to introduce myself as a new member of the Aurora Public Schools team and AP at Harmony. My professional journey has brought me here after serving a variety of communities in both Buffalo, NY and the greater Denver area. My wife and I moved to Colorado from New York in 2008 and i've committed to the students and families of Colorado in an effort to provide an exceptional educational experience while responding to each communities particular needs.
After teaching middle school mathematics for 7 years, I transitioned into a role as an instructional coach serving middle and high schools followed by a dean of instruction and currently assistant principal. During that time, I completed a Masters in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Denver. I am humbled and excited to continue my professional growth with the Harmony community and collaborate to bring a highly engaging and enriching experience to all of our students and families.
When not working, you can find me spending time with my wife and two kiddos (Owen 5 and Quinn 2) camping, exploring and just enjoying each others company. Backcountry skiing, mountain biking and backpacking are some of the ways I enjoy taking advantage of the Rocky Mountains. Closer to home, nothing beats the live music scene here on the front range.

Nicole Plantus

Teaching Partner

I am honored to be a part of the Harmony community to share in all the exciting learning that will take place.
As a Michigan native, I have been lucky enough to call Colorado home for the past twelve years. I started my professional career teaching early childhood education in Cheery Creek. Later, I transitioned to elementary education where I taught reading intervention as well as 3rd and 4th grades in Aurora. Last year, I embarked on the role of a Teaching Partner (instructional coach) and found my passion for serving both teachers and administration in fostering spaces where children reach their full potential. I am excited about real-world learning experiences that ignite a passion for learning as well as nourishing children socially and emotionally. We are working hard to ensure that the students and staff in our community will benefit from such learning.
In my spare time, I am happiest when cooking, heading into the mountains, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying live music. Recently, I graduated from the University of Denver with a Master's in Educational Leadership and Policy. I am dedicated to the future of education and believe that together, we can develop strong citizens that are connected to school and the broader community. I look forward to meeting you!

Kim Nusbaum

Teaching Partner

I am super excited to serve as a Teaching Partner for Harmony Ridge P8! I was born in Indiana and grew up in Durango. After graduating from the University of Northern Colorado, I began my teaching career in the Washington, D.C. area. Three years later, I traded lives with a teacher in Coventry, England on a Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program. While I loved living on the East Coast and overseas, my heart was always in Colorado. I returned to teach in the Englewood Public Schools and then worked as the Lead Education Specialist for the world’s first multimedia news product for kids. I spent the next 18 years in the Denver Public Schools working as an in-building coach and across schools as an assessment and instructional specialist. I live in Denver with my husband, our two (gulp!) high schoolers, and our rescue dog. On the weekends you will find me cooking, biking, hiking, or skiing.



Alison Ledesma

Teacher Leader

Hello Harmony Ridge students and families! I am excited to be joining the Harmony Ridge team for the 20-21 school year as the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education (CLDE) Teacher Leader. As a first year CLDE teacher leader, I consider it an honor and privilege to get to collaborate with and support the staff, students, and families in upholding the APS mission to provide equitable and appropriate instruction to all students that honors and supports their individual cultural legacies and linguistic skills. This will be my 12th year working for APS, I served as a paraprofessional, special education teacher, elementary classroom teacher, and a dedicated English Language Acquisition teacher grades K-5th before taking on this new role. My undergraduate degree is in Special Education earned from the University of Northern Colorado. I hold an endorsement in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education from Regis University and am a few classes shy of earning my master’s degree in that same area. I am proud to serve the same community in which my family resides--we moved to Aurora from Pennsylvania in 2007. All three of my children were and are educated in APS schools. My oldest two children are graduates from Vista Peak Preparatory. My son is studying Architecture at CU Boulder and my daughter will start her freshman year, this year, at CU Denver majoring in Psychology. My youngest daughter will be in first grade this year. In my free time, I enjoy adventures in the outdoors, making art, reading, and watching movies. I am looking forward to meeting new students and their families and seeing my former VPE students who are joining Harmony Ridge this year!