Thomas Jefferson introduces five new faculty members into the math department.
The fall semester is in full swing, and with it there are many new faces at Thomas Jefferson High School. This year, TJ has made a few changes to the math department by hiring five new math teachers. The new teachers are excited to be a part of the TJ community and are sure to bring a new dynamic to the math department. Each new teacher has an exciting new element that they plan to incorporate into TJ’s culture.
Michael Logan teaches Integrated Math 1 and Integrated Math 2. The University of Colorado at Boulder graduate is also a Colorado native, and has been an educator for more than 13 years. After graduating from CU with a bachelor’s degree in Business Finance, Logan attended the University of Colorado at Denver and received his master’s degree in Secondary Math Education. He began his teaching career at Highline Academy then taught at Denver Green School and Eaglecrest High School before joining the TJ staff. Logan is extremely excited to be a part of the TJ staff. “I hope to bring lots of enthusiasm and energy in my approach to teaching, and in the process encourage students to do the same,” explained Logan. Other than teaching, Logan enjoys spending time with his wife and four kids in addition to being an avid runner.
Mackenzie Marquart also teaches Integrated Math 2. Marquart is originally from Syracuse, New York, but later moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, before arriving in Denver in 2018. Marquart attended Le Moyne College, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and then earned her masters degree in Education two years later. “I am a major math nerd. I love to learn new math and I love to find ways to help it click for my students. It’s like one big puzzle for me and it’s fun to solve,” described Marquart. Marquart has a passion for education and is thrilled to help contribute her teaching skills to TJ. During her time off, Marquart loves to hike with her dogs and go snowboarding in the winter.
Katie Fitzgerald teaches both Integrated Math 3 and Honors Pre-Calculus. Fitzgerald is a huge supporter of school pride because she is a TJ alumnus. After graduating as Salutatorian in 2008, she attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she earned her BA in Astronomy. The Spartan graduate began her teaching career at Grant Beacon Middle School, then taught at Abraham Lincoln High School, before returning to TJ. She is glad to return to her alma mater to educate students. “I am just really excited to relearn the school. It’s different looking at it from the eyes of an adult, so I’m excited to get to know all of the students and teachers and see how things have changed,” mentioned Fitzgerald. Outside of TJ, she is a competitive Irish dancer and teaches beginners how to dance.
TJ also employed Jake Fortnum as a math teacher for the Special Education department. He teaches Integrated Math 1 and 2, as well as Math 505. Fortnum is from Bakersfield, California, and he attended California Polytechnic State University of San Luis Obispo, where he received his BA in Kinesiology and his master’s in Special Education. This is Fortnum’s first year as a teacher, but before coming to TJ he worked in a physical therapy clinic and a special education clinic. He is excited to begin working as an educator. “This is my first year teaching, so I am excited to get experience and help students who have had a hard time with math in the past or don’t like it,” described Fortnum. Outside of school, he has a passion for sports. Fortnum played multiple sports growing up and is an avid Packers fan. He is also getting involved in the TJ community by coaching cross country, which combines his love of education and athletics.
Katherine Shipley teaches Integrated Math 1. Shipley attended Western Michigan University. Before becoming a Spartan, she taught summer school at TJ for the past two summers, so she was already familiar with some of the students and staff. “I knew I wanted to come here full time based on that. TJ has not disappointed. I love it here,” expressed Shipley. She also worked as a middle school math teacher for 11 years at Morey Middle School and Hill Campus of Arts and Sciences. Shipley is enthusiastic about becoming a high school teacher and can’t wait to see how much her students grow during this year. When she isn’t teaching, Shipley enjoys watching football, reading, spending time with her family, and playing with her two pitbulls. By the end of the year she hopes to prepare her students for their next year of school by creating a positive and fun environment.
TJ’s introduction of the new math teachers will no doubt benefit the TJ community. They are all extremely proud to be a part of the TJ math department and hope to inspire an appreciation of math in their students. As the year progresses, the new teachers and students will begin to develop positive relationships in order to contribute to the productive environment that TJ aims to create in each class.