Literacy Teachers and Staff


Tamara Sotillo -2nd/3rd Grade Biliteracy

Tamara has been a bilingual teacher for 19 years and is currently serving on the board of the Colorado Association of Bilingual Education. She was awarded the Bilingual Teacher of the Year in Colorado in 2004. She came to Columbine in 2005 as their literacy coach and she is loving working at here. She has worked as a fourth grade bilingual teacher and a bilingual literacy teacher in Boulder Valley since 1988. She also enjoys music, dance and the outdoors.

Tamara Sotillo’s Schedule 2007-2008

8:40-11:15  2nd grade biliteracy

12:40-2:50  5TH grade biliteracy

Tamara ha enseñado en programas bilingües por 19 años y fue elegido "Maestro del Año" en 2004 por la Asociación de Educación Bilingüe de Colorado (CABE). Ella está actualmente trabajando en la mesa directiva de CABE. Vino a trabajar en Columbine en 2005 como capacitadora de maestros en la lectoescritura y le gusta mucho la escuela. Ha estado trabajando como maestra de cuarto grado y de la lectoescritura en el distrito del Valle de Boulder desde 1988. Cuando no está en la escuela, le gusta la música, el baile y la naturaleza.

Katie Mc Carthy-Unkefer

I graduated from the University of Kansas where I earned a Bachelors Degree in elementary education and Spanish.  After graduating I moved to Spain where I taught English for a year to both children and adults.  This was a truly memorable experience that helped to reinforce to me that teaching is really what I love to do.  As a result of this I decided to further my education at the University of Colorado with a Masters degree in ESL/Bilingual/Multi-cultural education.

It’s hard to believe that this will be my 8th year teaching at Columbine.  Where did the time go?  For the past six years I have worked as a 1st and 2nd grade teacher.  However, after becoming a proud new mother earlier this year I have decided to downsize a little bit.  This year I will be working as a Spanish CLIP teacher and a kindergarten literacy teacher.  I hope to encourage all of my students to become enthusiastic learners and creative problem solvers, willing to seek out and take on new challenges.

When I am not teaching you can find me spending time with my family and playing with my new little guy, hiking, running, biking and traveling.

Melanie Pappageorge

Melanie Pappageorge grew up in Connecticut and received a B.A. from the University of Vermont in 1990. Inspired by the beauty of the West, and her love for skiing she moved to Colorado in 1992. Ms. Pappageorge was accepted into University of Colorado's School of Education, and received her M.A. in Elementary Education in 1994. Her focus of study during this program was English as a Second Language. Melanie taught fifth grade in Westminster, Colorado for six years before teaching at Columbine. This is her seventh year at Columbine and she is part of the 4/5 looping team. When Melanie is not teaching, she loves to go hiking with her Chocolate Lab, Maddie. Also, she is learning how to surf and finds happiness listening to all kinds of music. Traveling and photography are two hobbies that top Melanie's list of fun things to do. Her family lives on Nantucket Island, so every summer she drives back to Massachusetts to spend time with them. Melanie's dad was a teacher, too,for 35 years, and he was her inspiration for becoming an educator.

Jessica Cirelli

Because my father was military, I spent my childhood getting to know many different places, such as Panama, Germany, Maryland and Alabama.  I have been in Colorado since 1993, and I love the mountains and outdoor opportunities.  I got my B.A., Masters, and Endorsements in Bilingual and ESL Education from CU, and have spent the past 9 years teaching in bilingual programs in Boulder Valley.  My passion is bilingual education , and I love teaching the younger kids.  I also love to travel, read, play the piano, run, and, most of all, spend time outside with my family.  I am very proud to be a part of the Columbine team. 

Jessica's 2007-08 Schedule

8:15 - 8:45- CLIP

8:40 - 10:15- 2nd grade Spanish Literacy

10:15 - 10:30 Recess

10:30 - 11:10 ESL

*Thursday 9:25-10:15 Art

Jorge Rodriguez - Biliteracy Teacher and Literacy Coach

Having had the opportunity of growing up bilingual in the United States, education, but more specifically, bilingual education was a natural choice for dedicating a career to. Noticing a great need for providing all students with this wonderful opportunity to develop increased social, cultural, linguistic, and cognitive capacities, motivates his everyday practice. Jorge has a MA in Bilingual/Multicultural Education and has been teaching for nine years. He spends much of his free time traveling with his wife Yolanda, and competing in triathlons in far away places.


Yolanda Perez-Ruiz - Biliteracy Teacher


For Yolanda, bilingual education was more of a life calling rather than a career choice. It sort of found her. Having grown up in Spain, Yolanda moved to the United States with her husband just over ten years ago. With a degree in Business Administration, she quickly realized that her heart was more in providing opportunities for kids to become bilingual, than making a profit. Yolanda has been teaching for 10 years and holds a Master’s Degree in Bilingual Education. She enjoys travelling with her husband Jorge, and spending as much time as possible with her family, faraway in her native Spain.


Yolanda Walmsley - Secondary Literacy


Yolanda Walmsley is a true Boulder native.  She attended Boulder Valley Public Schools for elementary, junior high and high school.  She is both thrilled and privileged to be back in the classroom in one of the finest districts in the country. 


Yolanda has been teaching for 14 years.  Starting in the Aurora Public School system, Yolanda taught multi-age first/second, second/third and third/fourth grades with an emphasis in talented and gifted education.  Since returning to Boulder Valley Schools,  Yolanda has taught kindergarten and literacy.  She is currently working on her Masters in Literacy at the University of Colorado in Boulder with an endorsement in English as a Second Language.


Outside of school, Yolanda loves running after her two little boys, Jakeob and Luke and most recently, laughing with her baby girl, Elliana.  She enjoys exploring new countries with her family, snorkeling and dancing. 


Sarah Quiatt - Literacy


Hello!  This is my fifth year at Columbine and my first year as a first grade literacy teacher.  I have a Masters in education, and I've been teaching in various capacities for 15 years, including ESL, adult education, and Montessori elementary.  I love being part of the team at Columbine, and I love the kids!  I also love hanging out with my family, hiking, traveling, learning languages, and reading - anything. 

Silvia Latimer - Biliteracy

Hello! My name is Silvia Latimer. I am the new biliteracy teacher for grades 3rd and 5th. I am very excited to be a part of Columbine’s teaching staff. Columbine is well known for being one of the best schools in the Boulder Valley School District, so it is an honor to be part of such a great team.

I was born in Mexico City and part of my family lives in the D.F. and part in Guadalajara. Spanish is my native language, but I have lived in the USA for 28 years. I have a Masters Degree in Bilingual/ESL Education from the University of Colorado.  I have taught in Bilingual and Dual Language Programs at the elementary and middle school levels in Colorado. I have also been a faculty member of the University of Colorado in Denver where I taught courses for teachers getting their Masters in Bilingual Education. I was also the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE) recipient of The Bilingual Teacher of the Year Award in 1993. This is an honor that I share with many committed bilingual teachers in Colorado.   This is my 23rd year as a bilingual teacher and I continue to cherish and absolutely love my work. It is so nice to wake up in the mornings and know that I am so lucky to be a part of the lives of wonderful children and families with whom I work. Helping my students reach high academic levels in two languages is my goal and my passion. Also, making school a safe and enjoyable place for our kids is very important to me.  I am married to a wonderful man named Phil and I have two (cute and funny) sons: Philip (14 yrs old) and Marco(11yrs old). I love Mariachi music and Mexican Folklore dancing. It is important for me to stay in touch with my culture and heritage as I learn and respect others. Please stop by to see me anytime. I am in Portable #10. Mi casa es su casa.  


Columbine Elementary School
3130 Repplier Drive, Boulder, CO  80304
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