About Jonathon

Jonathon has been an innovative educator since he first began to pursue the career.  His first teaching experience as a student teacher at Fairview High School in Boulder opened his eyes to the needs of non-traditional students through the Teen Mothers Program.  Then, as an English teacher at Standley Lake High School, Jonathon began applying Simulation-Based Learning methods of his own design in the forms of custom-built, interactive game systems designed to accompany important texts in an English classroom.  He used these innovative, simulated structures to drive student engagement, mitigate student risk, and reach students often left uninspired by standard class structures. One of his future principals nominated Jonathon to speak at a TEDx Denver Teacher’s event, where he delivered entitled “Press Play: Gaming and Simulation in the Classroom.”

Eventually, Jonathon joined the nationally-recognized KIPP: Program as a composition teacher. For the last three years of his seven year tenure at KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy, Jonathon was rated a Master Teacher according to the nationally-applied KIPP Teacher Training frameworks. His greatest achievements at KSPA came through his development of KIPP Colorado’s first dedicated computer science and makerspace program called Computer Arts and Sciences.  This program started when Jonathon was able to secure initial grant funding for new computers at KSPA, but he saw the opportunity to fuse art and technical skills in one new kind of class. In the first year of the program, he was able to raise enough funding to acquire tools like 3D printers, Arduinos, and Raspberry Pi’s that were made available to every student in the school. As a school that served a 98% ELL and FRL population, this program proved hundreds of students that a technologically-advanced career could be in their future.  Over the course of 6th, 7th, and 8th grades, students learned five programming languages (HTML, CSS, Javascript, Python, and C) and made countless exciting projects using the most cutting-edge electronics platforms.

Before Jonathon left KSPA to join The CUBE, he designed and implemented his greatest and most effective simulation experience for his students.  By partnering with local entrepreneur Daniel Harrison, Jonathon created the Guppy Tank Program, an entrepreneurship challenge for 8th graders in which they were given the task of creating a product and a business that could be manufactured and deployed on any scale, only to pitch their ideas Shark Tank-style to a panel at Galvanize in Denver.  Jonathon reached out to local business owners and found both prize money and business coaching for the students, which led to over $10,000 being given away to groups of students with innovative inventions and savvy business models. These community partnerships helped give reality to those students’ goals, and without them, Jonathon would not have been able to make the impact he did.

The CUBE represents more than just the future of Jonathon’s career in education: it represents ALL of our futures.  It transcends project-based learning and aims to help close the gap left open by decades of an educational system that has come close, but not close enough, to providing the best education possible.  The CUBE brings together the top education talent in Denver to try something new, something earnest, and something that will be a great success. Jonathon is proud to call himself the Computational Thinking Jedi at The CUBE, and he cannot wait to continue his work with future generations of students.