Science Department

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Welcome to the Science Department!

  • Thank you for visiting Riverdale Ridge’s Science Department.

    Our Science department consists of passionate educators that are constantly striving for excellence by providing opportunities for our students to inquire and explore scientific principles.  Our course offerings are driven by standards and provide a comprehensive science education that prepares students for all post-secondary options.. 

    The quality science education at RRHS embodies 21st century skills and postsecondary and workforce readiness by teaching students critical skills and thought processes to meet the challenges of today’s world. Scientifically literate graduates will help to ensure Colorado’s economic vitality by encouraging the development of research and technology, managing and preserving our environmental treasures, and caring for the health and well-being of our citizens. (2020 Colorado Academic Standards)

    Our teachers believe in the words of Carl Sagan, “Science is a way of thinking much more than a body of knowledge.” 


Meet Our Science Team!

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AAS Design Drafting Technology, BEd Secondary Science Education- Physics, MS Science Education

Mrs. Patricia Brandenburger-Fidrych

Call me Mrs. B (she, her, hers) Since beginning my teaching career in 2013 I have taught both middle and high school science courses. This is my third year at Riverdale Ridge where I am excited to be teaching my one true love, physics! Besides teaching I enjoy exploring the mountains of Colorado with my husband and our puppy, Sunshine, and our sons Aleksander and Lukas.

Mrs. B teaches Physics and AP Physics.

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Mrs. Kristina Burnham

I'm very excited to be part of the Riverdale Ridge High School team. I attended Metropolitan State College of Denver, receiving a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology and Minor in Chemistry. Currently, I am working towards a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in the Biological Sciences. I'm currently in the 8th year of my teaching. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband and two sons, traveling to the mountains and bring at the lake.

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Master of Natural Sciences Education

Mr. Emilio Centeno

Mr. Centeno is excited about beginning his first year at The Ridge as a biology and chemistry teacher. Mr. Centeno is a seventh generation Coloradan. He earned his high school diploma from Holy Family High School and a graduate degree from Colorado State University. When Mr. Centeno is not in the classroom, he coaches the junior varsity soccer team at Riverdale and plays futsal in his free time.

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B.S General Biology, M.S. Teaching/Learning, Principal and Teacher License

Mrs. April-Sasha Chesler

I am excited to start the next part of my teaching career at Riverdale Ridge High School. I grew up in Colorado and attended Fort Lewis College for my undergrad in General Biology. I have a masters in Teaching and Learning from Colorado State University and I am currently working on my Doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Northern Colorado. I have been teaching science for the last 15 years. I am married and we have two energetic young boys. My free time is spent with my family attending sports events or taking care of our dogs, chickens and turkeys.

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Julia Fleischer

Ms. Julia Fleischer is passionate about science education and has taught science now for 4 years.

She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology, Minor in Chemistry, and a Biotechnology certification from CU Denver. She went on to get her Masters of Science in Teaching and learning through CSU-Global and did the teacher certification program through Western State University. With all of that education, she finds it amazing to still get to learn something new every day from her students!

She loves her family time camping, reading, watching movies, and hanging out with her 2 sons and husband. She is ecstatic to be part of the Riverdale Ridge High School Science team.

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Ms. Michele Hart

I am excited to be part of the Riverdale Ridge community. Growing up in Iowa and Colorado, I spent lots of time outdoors and developed a life long passion for nature. My own high school chemistry experience was amazing and inspired me to become a science teacher. I am a graduate of CSU-Fort Collins and obtained a Masters in Instruction and Curriculum through CU-Boulder. In my free time I love to road bike, hike, camp and read. When not in the classroom, you can find me with my family, playing lots of games and watching my three children play lots of soccer.

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Bachelors in Business Administration and Environmental Studies

Mr. Jared James

Mr. James teaches Earth/Space Sciences and Chemistry at the Ridge. He started his teaching career in 2020, after working in local government positions in Alaska and Paraguay. In his free time he dabbles in many projects including natural building, textiles, tinctures and woodcarving. He is an avid backpacker and gardener as well. 

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B.S in Biology from Colorado State University M Ed in Curriculum and Instruction from University of Colorado at Denver Certified to teach all Project Lead the Way Biomedical Science courses

Mrs. Tina Phibbs

I am very excited to be teaching Biomedical Science at Riverdale Ridge High School. I am passionate about teaching and helping students develop a lifelong love of science. I have been teaching in district 27J for 18 years and have opened 4 new schools. Prior to 27J, I was a teacher in Jefferson County and then took a few years off to stay home with my children. Outside of teaching, I enjoy spending time with my family, walking my dogs, and being in the outdoors. I am also passionate about the sport of gymnastics. I was a competitor for many years, a coach for many years and have been judging the sport for nearly 30 years. I have also been on some pretty crazy adventures including swimming with whale sharks and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.

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B.A. Psychology and Sociology; M.A. Education

Mrs. Megan Lindemann

I’m Mrs. Megan Lindemann and I am extremely excited to be working as a Raven at Riverdale Ridge High School. I am a passionate teacher and I love all things science. I have been teaching for almost 20 years, and 15 years within the 27J school district. My main focus will be biology this year however I am an avid geologist and paleontologist.

Outside of teaching, I enjoy spending time with my family going on adventures camping and traveling to volcanoes while surfing many waves. The ocean is always calling me but so are the majestic mountains. I embrace the fact that I am a nerd, but I consider myself a cool nerd. Yes, I love Marvel (not DC), all things Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Hogwarts, and I am brainwashed by Disney and Pixar. (Dreamworks is pretty cool too).

During the school year, I live off coffee and love my daughter’s extracurricular activities and the craziness of my many furball babies. I have 2 rescued dogs and 2 rescued cats. After adopting out many rescued pets I have a remaining 4 gigantic aquatic turtles. (They lived in my bathtub during Covid). I enjoy time helping during the many club swim meets I attend for my older daughter and the wonderful theatrical events she is in. I am learning the many moves a volleyball player must master while I watch my youngest play club volleyball. 

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Degrees and Certifications:

Bachelor's of Science: Chemistry, Education Emphasis; Master's of Arts: Secondary Science Education - Chemistry; Google Certified Educator.

Mrs. Krystle Sommer

Mrs. Sommer has been at our school since 2019. With a B.S. in Chemistry with an education emphasis from Western Illinois University and a Master's of Arts in Secondary Science Education - Chemistry from Western Governor's University, Mrs. Sommer is our Chemistry expert. Her passion for chemistry definitely shows in her teaching.

Mrs. Sommer is also a mother of 2 boys and is married to an aerospace engineer. Their family loves softball/baseball, cycling, swimming, reading, and learning! She looks forward to teaching and learning with all of her students each year!

Providing a safe, supportive, and challenging learning community for ALL students to THRIVE!