Marquetta Thomas

Marquetta Thomas
Executive Director
School Performance

Suzanne Bastien
Assistant to the Executive Director
School Performance

APS Learning Communities

School Performance in the Division of Equity in Learning includes seven Learning Communities led by Learning Community Directors. Each Learning Community supports a group of schools from preschool through post secondary.

School Performance Departments

In addition to the APS Learning Communities, School Performance also supports the Early Childhood Education Department and Leadership Development.

Meet the School Performance Team

Marquetta Thomas

Marquetta Thomas
Executive Director

Executive Director of School Performance Marquetta Thomas comes into this position with more than 3 decades of experience in education. Mrs. Thomas began her educational career in Flint, Michigan as a kindergarten and elementary science teacher. Over her career, she has had the opportunity to teach various elementary and middle school students in Cincinnati Public Schools, Kalamazoo Schools, Columbus Public Schools and Cherry Creek Schools. Most recently, she served as an administrator in Cherry Creek Schools and the central region instructional superintendent in Denver Public Schools.

As a mother of three adult children, who enjoys spending time with family in Virginia and on the beaches of Florida, Marquetta knows the value of public education and is committed to ensuring that all students have the opportunity to walk into their destiny because of the educational opportunities they experience in APS.

Dr. Karen Powell

Dr. Karen Powell
Director, Learning Community 1

Schools served:
Pickens Technical College
Altura Elementary
Montview Elementary
Park Lane Elementary
Tollgate Elementary
Yale Elementary

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships!" - Michael Jordan

Dr. Karen Powell is the Learning Community Director for Community One in Aurora Public Schools. She has been with Aurora Public Schools for two years. Dr. Powell previously served as Regional Assistant Instructional Superintendent for Denver Public Schools. While at DPS, Dr. Powell was the principal of Montbello Career and Technical High School and Collegiate Prep Academy.

Dr. Powell brings a wealth of experience in urban education, which she uses to empower leaders as they lead their school teams in transforming their schools toward academic excellence. Throughout Aurora Public Schools, she believes that everyone has a role to play in Power Your Potential.

kelly forrest

Kelly Forrest
Director, Learning Community 2

Schools served:
Virginia Court Elementary
Dartmouth Elementary
Arkansas Elementary
Aurora Frontier P-8
Clara Brown Entrepreneurial Academy P-8
North Middle School
P-Tech High School Program

Kelly Forrest joins the School Performance Team with over a decade of experience under her belt. Kelly has gained a well-rounded perspective on education through her roles as elementary teacher, assistant principal, assessment coordinator and P-8 principal.

Currently, Kelly is in the final stages of her EdD in Educational Leadership, with a focus on principal burnout. This area of interest is driven by her belief that the principalship is one of the most important and challenging positions in education. Kelly understands the immense responsibility that principals carry and the impact they have on their schools and the communities they serve.

Kelly's beliefs and passion for supporting leaders and advocating for positive change are the driving forces behind her dedication to her work. She believes that effective leadership is the key to creating a positive and thriving learning environment. By fostering strong relationships and collaboration among leaders, Kelly aims to create a culture of continuous improvement and academic success.

Dr. Sue-Lin Toussaint

Dr. Sue-Lin Toussaint
Director, Learning Community 3

Schools served:
Kenton Elementary
Lansing Elementary
Jewell Elementary
Mosley P-8
Murphy Creek P-8
Aurora Hills Middle School
Gateway High School

Dr. Sue-Lin Toussaint is passionate about student achievement and success for all students. She has spent twenty-five years in education serving students who live in underserved communities throughout the Denver metro area. Across three school districts, she has served as a high school teacher, principal and district administrator, serving at different levels and positions within K-12 education.

Sue-Lin received her doctoral degree from University of Colorado Denver and her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Brown University.

Heather Stewart

Heather Stewart
Director, Learning Community 4

Schools served:
Iowa Elementary
Fulton Elementary
Elkhart Elementary
Aurora Quest P-8
East Middle School
APS Avenues
Hinkley High School

Heather Stewart is humbled to serve as the Learning Community Director of Community Four in Aurora Public Schools. She has been an educator for 23 years serving in roles such as teacher, instructional coach, assistant principal and principal. Her bachelor's degree is in English with an emphasis in reading, and her master's degree is in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

Heather is a data-driven leader who relentlessly pursues excellence for each and every Aurora Public Schools student.

garrett rosa

Garrett Rosa
Director, Learning Community 5

Schools served:
Vaughn Elementary
Vassar Elementary
Side Creek Elementary
Clyde Miller P-8
Aurora Highlands P-8
Mrachek Middle School
Rangeview High School

Garrett Rosa has served as the Learning Community Director for Community 5 in Aurora Public Schools for the past five years. Before serving in his current capacity, Mr. Rosa opened the Vista PEAK P-20 campus as the school principal, served as Assistant Principal at South Middle school, and taught English at Aurora Central High School. Mr. Rosa brings a deep dedication to the Aurora Community and strives to make APS the destination district for all families in Colorado.

His biggest motivation is his family and he gets up every day to ensure every Aurora Public Schools student has the plan, skills, and credentials to power their true potential.

Dr. Shawn Graziani

Dr. Shawn Graziani
Director, Learning Community 6

Schools served:
Dalton Elementary
Laredo Elementary
Del Mar Academy P-8
Harmony Ridge P-8
Vista Peak Exploratory P-8
Columbia Middle School
Vista PEAK Preparatory

Prior to serving Community 6 as Learning Community Director, Dr. Shawn Graziani had the privilege to serve as the principal of Charles Burrell Arts K-8 and Lyn Knoll Elementary in Aurora Public Schools. In addition to principal, he has been an assistant principal, instructional coach, and teacher.

Dr. Graziani has a bachelor’s of arts in elementary education from Point Park University, a master’s degree in school administration from Johns Hopkins University, and a doctorate degree from the University of Denver in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

jon mann

Jon Mann
Director, Learning Community 7

Schools served:
Crawford Elementary
Boston P-8
Charles Burrell P-12
Aurora West 6-12
Aurora Central High School
William Smith High School
APS Options

Jon Mann is Director of the Community 7 in Aurora Public Schools, where he provides support to six schools located in the northwest of the district.

Apart from his work in Aurora, Jon has had a diverse range of career experiences. He served as a founding teacher and eventually became the Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning. He also worked as the Director of Welby New Technology High School and held the position of Program Director for College Summit Colorado.

Additionally, Jon worked as a Principal Leadership Facilitator with the Public Education and Business Coalition. Moreover, he served as the Director of Education for Colorado Ocean Journey and taught science, math, and technology at various schools in Colorado and even in India. Notably, Jon also established a local chain of restaurants in the Denver area.

Cynthia Cobb

Cynthia Cobb
Director, Early Childhood Education

Schools served:
APS Early Beginnings
Jamaica CDC
Laredo CDC
Meadowood CDC
Sable CDC

Cynthia Cobb is the Director of Early Childhood Education for Aurora Public Schools. She has been in Aurora Public Schools for two years. Prior to joining APS, she served various roles from teaching to building leadership in school districts in Saint Louis, MO. She brings a wealth of experience in urban schools, has a strong background in early learning, Head Start and with the practices of Reggio Emilia.

Ms. Cobb is an advocate for early learning and child development. She believes in the power of a strong preschool experience to start students and families on a solid foundation for learning.

Mario Giardiello

Mario Giardiello
Director on Special Assignment: Operations and Community Support

Mario Giardiello has been with Aurora Public Schools for five years and in that time has served as the Director of the ACTION Zone, Principal at Paris Elementary School and is currently a Learning Community Director for Operations and Community Support. Previously, he was the Executive Director of School Support at Denver Public Schools and directed the Teacher Effectiveness Coaches, as well.

Mario has led at various schools including Manual High School, Denver Center for International Studies and West High School in DPS. He has been a consultant as a School and Principal coach for the Colorado Small Schools Initiative, the Public Education and Business Coalition, and The Institute for Educational Equity.

He is the proud father of three girls who teach him every day how to be a good father and a good person. I’m still learning.

Suzanne Bastien
Assistant to the Executive Director

Suzanne Bastien serves as the Assistant to the Executive Director of School Performance. Her journey with Aurora Public Schools began at Transportation in 1997 as a Paraprofessional.

After a brief stint in Texas, she returned to the district in 2007, this time working in the fast paced department at Transportation Maintenance. Now, she's excited to contribute to the Division of Equity in Learning, dedicated to nurturing the success of students in Aurora Public Schools.

Outside of work, Suzanne finds joy in traveling with her family, hoping to get more stamps in their passport than miles in a car, video gaming, and honing her archery skills at Aurora Reservoir.

Sachia Jones

Sāchia Jones
Assistant to Learning Community Directors in Communities 2, 3, 4

Sāchia Jones is the Assistant to the Learning Community Directors for Communities 2, 3 and 4. Having moved from California to Colorado at the age of 2, she considers herself a Colorado native. She graduated from MSU Denver with a B.S. in Events & Meeting Management and a minor in Culinary Restaurant Management in 2018.

Her affinity for altruism as well as feeling strongly about education and the impact that it has on shaping lives is what drew her to Aurora Public Schools. She has been in her current role for two years and loves being a part of a community that cares about the wellbeing of their current and future leaders.

Sāchia finds joy in collaborating with her colleagues as well as the school sites that she supports. She values the relationships district and community-wide that she has been able to build during her time with APS.

When she’s not working, she likes to spend time with her puppy, cook, collect vinyl, and read.

Tabetha Ross

Tabetha Ross
Assistant to the Learning Community Directors in Communities 1, 5, 6

Tabetha Ross is the Assistant to the Learning Community Directors for Communities 1, 5 and 6. She is a proud Colorado Native who loves exploring all that nature has to offer.

Tabetha graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Metropolitan State College of Denver. Prior to joining the Aurora Public Schools team, Tabetha spent 13 years with Denver Public Schools at Marrama Elementary, Hill Middle School and Westerly Creek. The past 9 years she served as the Dean of Operations at Isabella Bird Community School.

Tabetha is committed to finding ways to provide students with experiences and opportunities that foster their love of learning and bring them joy.

In her free time, Tabetha enjoys spending time with her husband and children adventuring, traveling, camping and going to concerts.

janelle marshall

Janelle Marshall
Assistant to the Learning Community Directors for Community 7

Janelle Marshall is the Assistant to the Learning Community Director for Community 7. She is a native of Colorado and attended Aurora Public Schools from Kindergarten thru 12th grade. After High School she attended University of Phoenix and studied Business Administration and Accounting.

Janelle began her professional career with Aurora Public Schools 21 years ago, and has always enjoyed being a part of the APS community and has had a wonderful experience working alongside great principals, teachers and directors-- all who have inspired her to do work she is proud of.

In her free time, she is usually spending time with her two French bulldogs, or reading, and in the summer she enjoys the Mountain air going on camping and ATV trips.

Jessica Loren

Jessica Loren
Assistant to the Director of Early Childhood Education

Jessica Loren is the Assistant to the Director of Early Childhood Education for Aurora Public Schools. She is a native of Colorado and a graduate from Aurora Public Schools.

She realized early on she has the passion for making a difference in the community and children’s lives. She has spent fifteen years in Early Childhood and five years in the classroom. She treasures the relationships she has been able to develop with directors, school leaders and community-based leaders.

Her biggest drive is in the joy of making an impact in the lives of our youngest learners that will benefit from experiences to create the skills to reach their full potential for future success.