English Department​

All the teachers in the Pine Creek English department are passionate about helping students hone their writing, reading, vocabulary, research, and critical thinking skills. 

We strive to help all our students become thoughtful, innovative, creative, and reflective lifelong readers and learners equipped to thrive in a quickly changing information and technology-based world.

Program Information:

English Course Progression
English Department Photo.jpg

Meet the English Department

California State University, Northridge logo

Val Babbitt was born and raised in Southern California and earned her Master's in Education from California State University, Northridge. Her husband and two boys moved to Colorado over ten years ago and have loved every minute here!

University of Colorado Colorado Springs logo

Malcolm Campbell may be new to the Pine Creek community, but he could not be more excited to start a career here! As a District 20 graduate from Air Academy High School, he understands the importance of community, communication, and excellence, and believes it is essential to not only embody those qualities, but pass them on to each and every student he meets. Malcolm is also a graduate of the UCCS teacher preparation program and has had several opportunities to not only work with learners of all ages, but present his research at regional educational conferences. Needless to say, he can't wait to get started!

University of Colorado Colorado Springs logo

Steve Flannery, a graduate of Air Academy High School ('84), has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Colorado State University. He worked as a journalist and magazine editor for five years before before earning a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and becoming a teacher. He has taught English (and a few other subjects) to a wide range of students and grade levels since 1995. A PCHS English teacher since 2006, he also serves as Pine Creek's yearbook advisor and head cross country coach.  

Colorado College logo

Nan Gefreh loves learning and considers her students as some of her best teachers!  She has BA degrees in English, Theater, and Music, from Lycoming College, in Williamsport, PA, and a Masters in Humanities and Comparative Literature, from Colorado College, Colorado Springs.  Her teacher training was completed at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.  She has been teaching for 27 years, 12 of those years at Pine Creek.  Her free time is spent reading, studying, and playing the piano. 

Concordia Univeristy Portland logo.jpg

Gigi McNulty is a teacher of juniors and seniors in English Literature and Composition.  This is Gigi's first year at Pine Creek High School, having moved here from northern California.  Gigi is a graduate of California State University, San Bernardino with a Bachelor's degree in English Literature.  She finished her Master's in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University -- Portland in August 2018. Gigi's is married and has 3 adult children and 2 grandchildren—all boys! In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, quilting, and of course, reading. She feels so blessed to be a part of the Pine Creek family. GO EAGLES!

Colorado Christian University logo

Caroline Mertens is a native of Southern California, moved to Colorado Springs as a teenager, and graduated from Air Academy High School. She received her BA in English and Secondary Education from Colorado Christian University in the Denver area, taught English overseas and in D11, and worked as a non-profit writer for six years. After three years in the Chicago suburbs, she recently returned to the Springs to teach at Pine Creek. In her spare time, Caroline enjoys writing, hiking, cooking Indonesian food, and traveling with her husband, three daughters, and energetic Chocolate Lab. 


University of Northern Colorado logo

Karalyn Mullins is a Colorado native who loves the power of story in the lives of individuals, generations, and nations.She earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of Northern Colorado - Greeley.


Middlebury College logo

Justin Morrill is a Colorado Springs native lucky enough to have been a student in Academy District #20 schools from 4th grade through 9th grade, and though he eventually graduated from Fountain Valley School, the academic foundations that he developed while a student in District 20 have helped him become a successful student and professional. For his undergraduate studies, he attended Montana State in the beautiful environs of Bozeman, Montana. There he earned a bachelor of arts degree in literature. After returning to Colorado and completing the UCCS teacher preparation program, he was lucky enough to continue his literary studies through Middlebury college's Bread Loaf program, which was originated by Robert Frost among others. Earning a Master of Arts in literature from Middlebury was an enriching and broadening experience that helped shape him, more than any other academic experience, into the teacher he is today. 

Kathryn Spencer has a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Grand Canyon University and has been an adolescent American literary instructional facilitator (high school English teacher) at Pine Creek High School since 2001. Prior to that, she lived and taught in Louisiana, but she loves not getting eaten alive by mosquitoes here in Colorado. 


Grand Canyon University logo

Jennifer Tews is originally from Mississippi and Tennessee, but has been living in Colorado Springs for over 20 years.  Having earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and her Master's at Grand Canyon University, she has been teaching at Pine Creek for over ten years and loves working with staff and students each day! 


University of Colorado Colorado Springs logo

Lynette Tidwell has been teaching English since 1996.  She earned her Bachelor of the Arts in English from Fort Lewis College and her Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an Emphasis in Reading from UCCS.


Florida International University logo

Kristi Tipps-Deutsch is in her 21st year of teaching and enjoying her third year at PCHS. She has a Master's degree in English Education from Florida International University. First and foremost, she believes that it's important to build relationships with her students and parents. From that foundation she can launch them into a learning experience that will challenge them, feed them and stretch their capacity for lifelong growth. Being here with our kids is what she hopes to be doing for a very long time. There's nothing she'd rather do!


Grand Canyon University logo

Dawn Yontz has been at PCHS for 18 years. She grew up in Ohio and moved to Colorado in 1977.  She received her Bachelor's Degree in English as well as her teaching credentials at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.  She went on to earn her Master's Degree in Reading Instruction from Grand Canyon University. Dawn is married and has three children and six grandchildren.  She loves spending time with her family.  In her spare time, she enjoys reading, gardening, going to the movies, and travelling to the beach whenever possible.

BabbittValerie(719) 234-8373Valerie.Babbitt@asd20.orgWebsiteTeacher
BarnhardtCarrie (719) 234-8477Carrie.Barnhardt@asd20.org20Learn(Schoology)Teacher
CampbellMalcolm(719) 234-8107Malcolm.Campbell@asd20.org20Learn(Schoology)Teacher
EplerBen(719) 234-2623Benjamin.Epler@asd20.org20Learn(Schoology)Teacher
GefrehNan(719) 234-8365Nan.Gefreh@asd20.orgWebsiteTeacher
McNultyGigi(719) 234-8329Gigi.Mcnulty@asd20.org20Learn(Schoology)Teacher
MertensCaroline (719) 234-8175Caroline.Mertens@asd20.org20Learn(Schoology)Teacher
MorrillJustin(719) 234-8521Justin.Morrill@asd20.org20Learn(Schoology)Teacher & Department Chair
MullinsKaralyn(719) 234-7274Karalyn.Mullins@asd20.orgWebsiteTeacher
SpencerKathryn(719) 234-8480Kathryn.Spencer@asd20.org20Learn(Schoology)Teacher
TewsJennifer(719) 234-8547Jennifer.Tews@asd20.orgWebsiteTeacher
TidwellLynette(719) 234-8186Lynette.Tidwell@asd20.org20Learn(Schoology)Teacher
Tipps-DeutschKristi(719) 234-7169Kristi.Tipps-Deutsch@asd20.org20Learn(Schoology)Teacher