Meet Our Team

Danae Duke

Academy Director

Danae grew up in Southern California and moved to Colorado Springs with her family in 2005. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work from Hope International University and a Master's Degree in Leadership from University of Colorado Colorado Springs. She joins HillSprings after serving in Colorado Springs School District 11 as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, and reading interventionist.  Danae's passion to serve families affected by learning differences grows each and every day. She has one grown daughter, Tricia, and most of her free time is spent with her husband, David, and their cat, Professor McGonagall.

Lori McCauley

Professional Development

Lori received her BA in Elementary Education from Augustana College and her MS in Special Education from the University of Oregon. She worked as a special education teacher in the public school system for 22 years before starting a private tutoring business. Committed to explicit, systematic, direct instruction, Lori has spent the majority of her teaching career instructing students individually and in small groups. In 2004, she became one of the founding members of HillSprings.  Lori has served as the Executive Director of HillSprings.  After her semi-retirement, she continues to teach professional development courses.

Ashley Prueitt

Office Manager

Ashley grew up in St. Louis Missouri. She attended Sanford Brown College where she received her degree as an X-Ray and MRI Technologist and enjoyed working in Outpatient and Urgent Care facilities throughout the St. Louis area. Excited to continue evolving in an administrative setting, she has happily stepped into the office manager role with HillSprings Academy. A passion for hiking has allowed her to take on a volunteer position as a trail ambassador with North Cheyenne Canon Park where she assists fellow hikers on their journey.  Ashley also enjoys reading, cooking, and gardening while on her downtime. 

Mary Bryant

Marketing & Enrollment



Mary grew up in Lake Forest, Illinois.  She and her family moved to Colorado Springs from Atlanta, GA in 2008.  Prior to joining HillSprings Academy, Mary spent the majority of her career in graduate business school admissions, marketing, account management, and business development.  She enjoys skiing, walking, reading, cooking, and getting together with friends.  Mary holds a BA from Duke University, and an MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. 

Celeste Hausner


Celeste grew up in Haddon Township, N.J. before moving to Florida. She attended Jacksonville University to attain a BA degree in Elementary Education and University of North Florida for a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She taught in Florida for six years working with children with special needs. After moving to Colorado, she taught for many years as a special education resource teacher and a regular classroom teacher.  Celeste enjoys spending time with her grown children and grandchildren while traveling, shopping in thrift stores, spending time with her pets, and reading.

Gail Iida


Gail grew up in southern California, and then moved with her family to Arizona. She graduated from the University of Arizona after completing a dual program in elementary and special education. Soon after that, Gail was drawn to the mountains and moved to Manitou Springs, Colorado. She earned her Master’s Degree in Special Education at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and spent many years teaching in public schools.  She thoroughly enjoys working at HillSprings because she watches students learn and grow every day. When Gail is not teaching, she delights in spending time with her husband, Tom, and her son, Max.

Karyn Robson


Originally from Ohio, Karyn has lived and taught all over the United States and abroad in South Korea, Tokyo, Japan, and most recently Berlin, Germany during her husband’s military and diplomatic postings.  She received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and her Montessori teaching accreditation from the Center for Montessori Teacher Education (CMTE) in North Carolina.  She received her MACAR and Sequential English Education (SEE) certification and took Orton Gillingham training through the Dyslexia Training Institute.  Karyn has three grown and one middle school daughter and has recently become a grandmother! She shares her home with two rescue dogs and one ball python.

Julaine Swithers


Julaine recently moved to Colorado Springs from the Chicago suburbs. She has a Master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University and worked as a magazine editor for nearly 20 years. While homeschooling her five children, Julaine developed an interest in learning differences and became an educational therapist. She earned her certification as a Wilson Reading Specialist and Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner. She thoroughly enjoys working with children (and adults) with learning differences and is passionate about helping them unlock their unique strengths and potential. When not teaching, Julaine enjoys spending time with her growing family, reading, and learning.

Cathy Vana


Cathy grew up in Pennsylvania. After receiving her undergraduate degree there, she moved to Colorado and taught in a variety of public schools, including Hanover District, Elbert District, and Harrison District #2, during which time she earned her master’s degree at the University of Colorado in Denver. In her final public school position, in Academy School District #20, she served as a teacher in grades 2 and 5, as a Title One reading specialist, and finally as an assessment coach, before retiring in 2011. Cathy has two grown children and is the doting owner of two rescue dogs. Cathy loves hiking and reading.

Sharon Webster


Sharon hails from New York. She received her BA in Theater and Speech from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. Eventually, she settled back in New York City and attended the Pratt Institute for Architecture in Brooklyn. In 1990, her husband’s business took them to Marina Del Rey, California, where she earned her degree in Education at UCLA. She then taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District. In 2002, they moved to Colorado Spring where she continues to teach.  Sharon enjoys live theater, art exhibits, and museums of all kinds.


437 Windchime Place
Colorado Springs, CO 80919

Phone: (719) 576-3840

Fax: (719) 576-3863

© 2017 by HillSprings Academy