Fall 2022 Teachers

Dr. Jacob Pride

English, Theology, and Humanities

Dr. Jacob Pride has taught for over ten years. He lives in Thornton, CO, where he is currently a copy-writer for Little J Marketing. His wife, Caitlin, and two boys, William and Charles, and first girl, Elsie Grace, moved from Manhattan, KS back to the Denver area in June 2020. Their fourth child, Emma Kate, was born in October! Jacob graduated from Ave Maria University with a concentration in English and philosophy in 2008 and received the St. Thomas Aquinas Award for Balance and Eutropalia. After studying theology for a year at Mount St. Mary’s seminary, he served as a FOCUS missionary for two years and met Caitlin, whom he dated while earning a master’s in English at Georgia Southern University. Caitlin and he were married in 2013, and he received his PhD in English at the University of Denver in 2017. His dissertation concerns Catholic literary theory and the Southern Gothic Literature of Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, and Cormac McCarthy. He taught English literature and composition at Kansas State University and Manhattan Christian College and 7th-12th Grade theology at St. Francis Xavier School in Kansas. He is glad to be back to Colorado, where he has taught at Arapahoe Community College and Holy Family High School. He is excited to use his education and experience to teach homeschool students throughout the Denver area. He is available for teaching 1:1 or groups in writing, rhetoric, literature, philosophy, history, theology, and introductory Latin.

Jimmy Betsill

Earth Science – Colorado School of Mines

My name is Jimmy Betsill and I will be the instructor for this upcoming fall semester. I was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and lived there the first nine years of my life and then moved to the Cleveland, Ohio, metropolitan area. After attending St. Raphael School and St. Edward High School, the Lord led me to attend college at the Colorado School of Mines. I just graduated with my Bachelor’s of Science in Geological Engineering this past May and am returning to Mines to begin pursuing my Master’s of Science in Hydrological Sciences and Engineering. I have worked for the United States Geological Survey since July of last year out of their Cheyenne office for the Wyoming-Montana Water Science Center as a Student Trainee Hydrologist, but soon to be Permanent Hydrologist. Outside of my academics and work, I am extremely involved with the Mines Athletic Department, Mines Catholic, and I was the former sports editor for The Oredigger (Mines’ student newspaper). As you can probably tell from the previous sentence, I am a huge sports fan and in my free time I love watching sports whether it be one of my many favorite teams on TV or heading downtown to a game at Coors Field or Ball Arena.

As described above, my educational background is in the Earth Sciences, and I hope to introduce students to these sciences as best as I can. Ever since I was young, I was fascinated with the Earth Sciences whether it be the weather, mineral collecting (a hobby which only continues to grow), the solar system, or many of the other topics to be covered this semester. In my opinion the Earth Sciences are one of the best fields a young STEM student can become involved in, yet it tends to receive less focus and attention in education compared to traditional science topics such as physics and chemistry. This is a field that can take you anywhere in the world. Personally, I have had the opportunity to do work in Arches National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and at the edge of Grand Teton National Park to list a few. The opportunities those I know have had are endless. My former classmates now have jobs from coast to coast, my professors have done work in more countries than I can name, and most of my coworkers have done research in Antarctica. It is such an amazing field (along with one of the most in demand fields for jobs) and I wish more people would get to experience how unique our Earth’s history is and all that is still yet to be discovered about it. I hope to have you join me for this wonderful adventure as we get to know as much as we can about our planet we call home.

Mari Held

STEM Education – Colorado School of Mines

Hi! My name is Mari Held and I am a graduate student at Colorado School of Mines in Geophysics. I am originally from Montana and have a B.S. in Geophysical Engineering from Montana Tech. For two summers, I was a counselor at St. Thomas camp for the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, another summer I worked for Avid4 Adventure in Colorado, and last year taught 5th grade catechism at St. Joan of Arc in Arvada. Through all of that, I have learned how much I love teaching and interacting with kids, and I’m excited for the chance to bridge my education with my passion for teaching! 

Aaron Mikita

Highlight Catholic Ministries – Frassati Sports

Coach Mikita has over 18 years of coaching and leadership experience.  He has coached youth from age four to middle school. As a two-sport athlete in high school (basketball and soccer), he excelled at soccer as an All-State Defenseman and led his high school team to their first state championship appearance in 30 years. He has coached with the Catholic Ministries of Frassati and the newly formed Badano Sports since 2016, and this will be his fourth year partnering with CCE. He seeks to develop character in youth through physical and spiritual development. He and his wife of 17 years have been blessed with four children.

Darci Byrnes

CCE Coordinator

Darci is a proud wife and mother.  She and her husband, Tom, recently celebrated 20 years of marriage and have seven children from 9 months to 19 years old. She has homeschooled her children since 2007 and over the course of those fifteen years she has participated in many co-ops and enrichment programs! She has been a part of CCE, either as a parent, teacher or administrator since 2014. As the daughter of an engineer and a science teacher, it was all science and math growing up. However, God revealed different plans during college and Darci received a BA in Theology and Humanities from Franciscan University of Steubenville. These diverse educational experiences lend themselves well to Darci serving CCE in a number of different ways in the classroom. Darci loves Drama (the literary kind only please!) and is looking forward to teaching both Theatre and Young Ameritowne for CCE this year.

Elise Epstein

Creative Drama

Elise Epstein has been doing theater since childhood and enjoys the unique opportunities it provides for all of us to explore and express different creative sides of ourselves we would only get away with on the stage! It is her joy to watch young actors and actors with unique abilities discover their abilities and gain confidence through theatrical experiences. She finds her greatest inspiration from well known stories found in books.  

Rebecca Gautier

Public Speaking

I am very excited to be joining the staff at CCE as your public speaking teacher! Throughout high school, I learned and participated in speech and debate competitions. After graduation, I returned as a coach for my club for three years. Now I’m excited to get back on the teaching saddle and share the important skill of public speaking with my students!