School Overview

JICES is a Kindergarten through 5th grade elementary school with the James Irwin Charter Schools’ brand of academic excellence and character development. Key to this excellence is the teaching of Core Knowledge™ using Direct Instruction™. The curriculum and methodology have been successfully used in other James Irwin Charter Schools, and this has been enormously successful in producing high academic performance. This performance has afforded James Irwin Charter Schools the honor of the John Irwin School of Excellence Award in the State of Colorado, meaning they all have measured success that places them in the top 8 percent of schools in the State.

School Administration

Principal Elizabeth Berg
Background: Mrs. Berg has been involved in education for over 30 years, spanning teaching, research, charter school curriculum, training, and administration.
-Charter school administration:
-James Irwin Charter Elementary School – Principal: 2005- Present.
-James Irwin Charter Middle School, curriculum and instruction
-James Irwin Charter High School – data analysis, curriculum and instruction
-Cheyenne Mountain Charter Academy – Academic Dean

She has also worked in the following areas:
-Teaching various subjects (writing, math, history, French): Cheyenne Mountain Charter Academy, James Irwin Charter High School
-Adjunct faculty – UCCS: taught graduate courses in teaching language arts at UCCS (University of Colorado – Colorado Springs) in the Special Education department and supervised the Summit Scholars Reading Program under Dr. Gail Coulter.
– Published curriculum: Core Knowledge Unit – Learning Greek and Latin Roots – “Moving With Your Roots” ( )

Before working with charter schools, Mrs. Berg was involved in the following;
– Teaching English as a Second Language: practicum a public school in San Diego and in a private school in France; teaching basic survival English skills to Vietnamese refugees who were seeking asylum in the United States at Camp Pendleton, CA.
– Teaching French at a homeschool association in San Diego. (Mrs. Berg homeschooled her own children at various times.)
– She and her husband were on staff with The Navigators, working with university students at Stanford University (California) and in the Paris region in France.
-After graduating with honors from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, she worked as a research assistant at the Xerox PARC on various projects (memory development and evaluating student errors & heuristics in subtraction).


Assistant Principal  Carissa (Cari) Reed – Mrs. Reed has worked with students and teachers at James Irwin Charter Schools since the first year James Irwin Charter Elementary School was established.  She appreciates working alongside dedicated, passionate, diligent colleagues who are all focused on accomplishing the same goal; student mastery of our rigorous academic program.

Mrs. Reed grew up in Hillsdale, Michigan where, being the daughter of a minister, she learned the importance of service to the community.  Mrs. Reed received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Hillsdale College in 2004 with a major in History and a minor in English.  After experiencing long-term substitute teaching at a charter school in Michigan, she knew she was called to a career in education.  In 2005, she accepted a fourth grade teaching position with James Irwin Charter Elementary School.  Since then, she has continued to learn from her mentors and partner with parents in educating students.  Mrs. Reed has had growing leadership opportunities; first as fourth grade teacher, then lead teacher, then teacher trainer/coach, and now as the assistant principal.  In December of 2015, she completed a Master’s degree in Educational Administration through Argosy University.

Mrs. Reed’s journey as an educator has continued to evolve.  In 2009, she and her husband welcomed the first of three daughters.  Her oldest is now a student at James Irwin Charter Elementary School, so she has the joy of experiencing the education we provide from the parent’s point of view.  She loves living in Colorado – from the outdoor adventures that Colorado offers to the cherished friendships and educational opportunities that she has received through her involvement with this high-caliber organization.