Principal Mr. Alex Marquez:
Alex Marquez has been in the education field since 1990 and has worked as principal at JICHS since the summer of 2008. In addition to administration, Mr. Marquez teaches Character & Ethics, a required course for all JICHS students. He received an Associate of Arts degree from Miami-Dade Community College in 1987, a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Florida State University in 1990, and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University in 2003. Mr. Marquez holds Colorado professional licenses in education for K-12 music and school administration. Prior to his role as principal at James Irwin Charter High School, Mr. Marquez’s career included one year as an elementary music teacher, seven years as a middle and high school Director of Bands, and seven and a half years as a school principal. His career also includes stints as a county manager for crisis counselors in Project HOPE, a bank trainer, and editor of a small newspaper.
Mr. Marquez met his wife, Ruthie, in 1985 and they have been happily married since 1990. Currently, they are busy raising four boys ranging in age from 12 to 18, and stay busy managing a small urban farm in their own city backyard complete with a garden, chickens and goats. Their oldest son graduated from JICHS in May 2018, and their second son will graduate in May 2019. While in Florida, Mr. Marquez was involved in several community theater productions and a brass quintet. He co-wrote a couple plays and several television scripts with his long-time writing partner who is a principal in North Dakota. One of their sitcom pilots placed in the semi-finals of a script competition in 2004. Their next endeavors include a motion picture script, a self-published novel series and several short video projects for a local production company. Mr. Marquez hopes one day to be able to contribute scripts and books that are family friendly, yet meaningful and inspiring. During the spring of 2016, Mr. Marquez played George Banks in the Forestgate Community Theatre’s production of Mary Poppins and was thrilled to return to the stage after a 15-year hiatus.
While enjoying being the principal of JICHS, Mr. Marquez also loves dating his wife, spending time with his children, writing, playing piano, singing, traveling, playing board and video games, and serving as a Bible teacher and counselor. After living in Florida his entire life, Mr. Marquez and his family moved to Colorado Springs in the summer of 2006. He states, “We absolutely love Colorado! James Irwin is an incredible school where the staff and parents team up to do what’s best for the students. The mission of JICHS, to develop students’ character and provide an academically rigorous program, is lived out each day in a real way with amazing teachers who truly care. I’m so excited to be part of one of the top schools in Colorado and feel incredibly blessed to serve alongside the best and finest faculty and staff anywhere.”
A Denver, Colorado native, Mrs. Bears began teaching English at JICHS in 2013 and holds a degree in English and secondary education. She brings with her two years of teaching experience from Mitchell and Sierra High School in Colorado Springs. Mrs. Bears enjoys reading, camping, crafting and spending time with family.
A Rosemount, Minnesota native, Ms. Hartley holds a degree in English and secondary education. She taught one year in a Minnesota school district before joining the JICHS faculty in 2006.
Ms. Jordan joined the staff in the fall of 2017. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in biology from CU-Boulder and a Master of Arts in education from University of Phoenix. Her hobbies include cycling, hiking, reading, writing and scrapbooking.
Mr. Sinka is a Colorado native and has been with JICHS since 2016. He teaches English, Photojournalism, and Digital Design. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/Creative Writing from Adams State College and a Master of Fine Arts from Western State College.
Originally from Dahlonega, Georgia, Mrs. Zempel has lived out west since 2008. She joined the faculty at JICHS in 2014. She taught at the University of Wyoming for two years prior to moving to Colorado. Mrs. Zempel holds a Master’s degree in English with a focus in literary studies, and also has experience teaching composition, rhetoric, library research, and copy-editing courses. She and her husband are the proud dog-parents of a St. Bernard, a greyhound, and a chubby retriever. Other than continuously removing dog hair from her clothing, her hobbies include sewing, cooking, and listening to National Public Radio.
A Detroit, Michigan native, Mr. Ashmore holds a degree in economics with a minor in mathematics. He joined the faculty at JICHS in 2013 and teaches American Government, Economics and Personal Finance. Mr. Ashmore enjoys music, movies and an array of outdoor activities.
A native of Colorado Springs, Mr. Downing began teaching at JICHS in 2004. His World History II and Western Civilization students benefit from his many years as an adjunct professor of history at Pikes Peak Community College. Mr. Downing holds a Master’s degree in history. He enjoys writing, reading, bicycling, weightlifting and crocheting.
Mr. Hillman is originally from Chattanooga, TN but has lived all over the world including Russia, Dubai, UAE, and a long summer in Africa. He joined the JICHS staff in 2017. He teaches history, Law and Morality, and physical education. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Gordon College and a Juris Doctorate from the University of St. Thomas.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Mrs. Riden joined JICHS in 2017. She teaches world history. Previous teaching experience includes substitute teaching in Alabama, Colorado and California along with two years each at James Irwin Charter Middle School and Vandenberg Middle School. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international business and a Master of Arts in teaching, secondary education. She is married with three children.
Mrs. Robbins was born in Iowa and joined the JICHS staff in 2017. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in United States history from Fort Lewis College and a master’s degree in history from University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. She is married with two sons.
Math and Science Department
Keri Dawn Bernstrom
Born in Germany, Mrs. Bernstrom has lived in Sterling, VA and Lake Forest , CA. The place she lived the longest is the Stockholm area of Sweden. She joined the staff of JICHS in the fall of 2018 as a math teacher. Being a math teacher is what she has wanted to do since high school. Mrs. Bernstrom holds an Associate of Arts and Accounting Certificate from Golden West College in Huntington Beach, CA, a Bachelor of Arts in business administration, with a concentration in accounting from California State University, Fullerton, and is working on a Master of Arts in curriculum and instruction at Colorado Christian University. She is married and has two children. She has many interests and things she wants to investigate but especially loves reading, journaling and creating. Her creations come from crocheting, knitting, sewing and baking.
Originally from Escondido, California, Mrs. Brouwer holds a degree in secondary education and history with endorsements in social studies and mathematics. She joined the faculty at JICHS in 2014 and teaches classes of Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 and Intermediate Algebra. Before JICHS, she taught middle and high school history in South Dakota. Mrs. Brouwer’s hobbies include cooking, crocheting and reading.
Mrs. Johnson is originally from the Grand Canyon State, Arizona. She brought with her twelve years of teaching experience when she joined the JICHS faculty in 2015. Mrs. Johnson teaches regular and AP Biology. She holds an undergraduate degree in biology education and a Master’s degree in biology.
A Tennessee native, Mrs. McGuire joined the JICHS staff in 2071 as a math teacher and softball coach. She hold a degree in medical laboratory science. Married with two children, she enjoys archery, fishing, sports and crafting.
Mrs. Rediger joined the JICHS faculty in 2012. She teaches Algebra I and Algebra II. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in middle education with concentrations in math and language arts. Her hobbies include crocheting, rock climbing, playing World of Warcraft with her husband,and camping.
Mr. Reeve-Lobaugh joined the staff of JICHS in 2018. He teaches physics and AP physics. He grew up in Ft. Worth, TX and has lived in Iowa, Nebraska and Egypt. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics and astronomy from Texas Christian University. Mr. Reeve-Lobaugh is married and enjoys hiking, cooking, choir, video games, and board games.
Mrs. Riley was born and raised in Auburn, WA. She began teaching chemistry at JICHS in 2017. Before coming to James Irwin, Mrs. Riley was on full time orders with the USAF Spaced Aggressors where she supported various military exercises around the world. Mrs. Riley has a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry with a minor in chemistry from the University of Washington as well as a MBS in technology management from Colorado Technical University. She obtained her teaching license from the University of West Florida.
Mrs. Simons joined the JICHS staff in 2017. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics with a minor in chemistry as well as a Master of Arts in Education (MAE) in mathematics education.
Originally from San Diego, California, as a veteran and military family, Mr. Tomlinson has moved with the U.S. Air Force for the past 26 years. Almost half of that time has been spent here in Colorado Springs. He joined the staff of JICHS in 2018 after working with JICMS for a year and a half. He is the computer science and applications teacher, serves as a math support aide to the department and is the sound technician for all JICHS events. He holds a bachelor’s degree in information technology from American Intercontinental University. Mr. Tomlinson is married with three children and enjoys writing recreational software in VB.Net or C#, answering programming questions in public forums, playing first person shooters, and doing flips off playground equipment.
Ms. Tustin joined the staff of JICHS in August 2015. She teaches Biology and Physical Education. Ms. Tustin holds a Bachelor’s degree in zoology. She worked at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and with the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program prior to JICHS. Her hobbies include hiking, camping, crocheting, sewing swing dancing and volunteering at the zoo.
Foreign Language Department
A native Spanish-speaker from Puerto Rico, Mr. Ocasio-Rodriguez holds a Bachelor’s degree in marketing and a Master’s degree in Strategic Management. He starting teaching Spanish at JICHS in 2015 and enjoys singing and playing the piano.
Mr. Prewitt, originally from Salida, Colorado, joined the JICHS staff in March of 2014. He teaches Spanish and Drama. Mr. Prewitt earned his Spanish degree from UCCS in 2013. His previous experience includes working with students in college practicum courses and training adults as a human resources specialist.
From Annecy, France, Mrs. Perot joined the JICHS staff in 2017 to teach French. She holds a bachelor’s degree in French. She is married with 1 daughter, 2 dogs, 2 cats and a guinea pig.
A native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Ms. Collins holds a degree in education with a minor in music. She brings years of teaching experience in Lubbock and Austin, Texas. Ms. Collins joined the faculty at JICS in 2012 and teaches middle and high school choir and piano keyboarding. Her favorite hobby is hiking.
Janna Glosup serves as the Director of Bands at James Irwin Charter Schools. It is a wonderful work environment with plenty of support for the arts. Janna is set for success with the positive atmosphere and friendly assistance whenever needed. She graduated from Dordt College in Iowa in 2014. Her major was vertical instrumental music education. Janna is from Lynden, Washington and has also played teaching roles in California and Michigan. She is excited to continue to expand her horizons in the diverse population of Colorado Springs. Janna loves living in Colorado with its varied opportunities. She is currently participating in several musical organizations such as the community group of Pikes Peak Philharmonic and a Praise Band at church. Going on weekend hikes with her husband is also a highlight of living in the beautiful area. “Moving to Colorado has provided me with my dream job in an outstanding location“.
Suzan Mitchell grew up as a “military brat” and can say that the ten plus years she has resided in Colorado Springs is longer by far than anywhere else on earth she has lived. She teaches all aspects of art at JICHS. She received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Studio Art and Art History at Virginia Commonwealth University. While JICHS is the first time she has taught high school, she did teach a few stints in colleges on the East Coast and the Western Slope. She loves to hang out with family, read, and travel, do yoga and ride her amazing road bike in her spare time. She joined the JICHS faculty in 2012.