Founder, Executive Director, Master Level Certified Cognitive Skills Coach and WJIV Assessment Lead Administrator
Andrea Pitman is Executive Director and Owner of The Nectar Group. She is a Master Level Certified Cognitive Coach with over 17 years of experience working with students and families through cognitive skills training, consulting, and teaching. Originally from Leander, Texas, Andrea received her education and teaching certification from Southwestern University in Georgetown. She has consulted with over 80 learning centers across the US to help improve student outcomes. With a rich background in education and neuroscience, she has always striven to pinpoint the root issues of learning challenges and create comprehensive plans of action to help students achieve excellent results. She is proud to call Denver her home, and when not sharing the benefits of brain training, she enjoys traveling, cooking, reading, the arts, and spending time outdoors.
Merrylue Martin, Ph.D.
Organizational and Staff Development Director, Certified Cognitive Skills Coach
Merrylue Martin received a Ph.D in education and organizational management from Pepperdine University and a master’s degree in education and adult learning from Chapman University. She has over 25 years of combined experience in both public education and corporate employee development, having held positions as an Assistant Principal and, most recently, as the Corporate Vice President of Learning and Organizational Development for Comcast. Beyond her extensive work improving efficiency and communication in the world of corporate training, she also devotes her time to mixed media collage, musical theatre, reading, and, along with her husband, writing and producing puppet shows for young learners.
Nichole Tipton, Certified Teacher
Master Level Certified Cognitive Skills Coach, Coach Development Consultant and Curriculum Developer
Nichole Tipton has worked in her role as Coach Performance Director with The Nectar Group since its inception. Her passion for training our Cognitive Skills Coaches is matched only by her penchant for monitoring student programs, ensuring optimal results are achieved. She has been a Certified Cognitive Coach for over six years and has played a leading role in developing The Nectar Group’s curriculum. Nichole graduated from San Diego State with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies and her teaching credential. After teaching in the classroom for several years, she devoted herself to cognitive training. Nichole currently lives in Elizabeth, CO with her husband, her three children, her goats, a dog, a cat, and some chickens. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, playing soccer, and taking pictures.
Ally Manthey, BCaBA
Certified Teacher, Director of Coach Development, Certified Cognitive Skills Coach and Academic Tutor
Ally Manthey has a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Wisconsin Lutheran College. She has teaching licenses in Wisconsin and Colorado, and she is also a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) in Applied Behavior Analysis. With years of experience in the education field, both in the classroom and one-on-one, Ally is always working to help her students become their very best selves. Whether working with individuals on the autism spectrum, tutoring and mentoring college students, or teaching reading and writing to elementary and middle schoolers, Ally always strives to make powerful and positive connections with her students. If she’s not coaching her students to success, you might find Ally cooking, reading, or exploring the many wonders of Colorado and beyond.
Anna Hough, M.Ed., Certified Teacher
Expert Level Certified Cognitive Skills Coach, Specialist Level Academic Coach and WJIV Assessment Coordinator
Anna Hough received her Master of Education in learning, teaching, and curriculum and her Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Missouri. She has served as a language arts and humanities teacher in the Cherry Creek School District and elsewhere, emphasizing differentiated instruction to serve the diverse needs of a modern classroom. When not plying her education skills or attending music events in Denver’s great music scene, Anna enjoys reading, spending time outdoors, and cuddling with her beloved pets Gigi and Loki.
Anna Sheehan, Certified Teacher
Program Director, Certified Cognitive Skills Coach and Academic Tutoring Supervisor
Anna Sheehan holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and mass communications from New Mexico State University. After receiving her teaching certification, Anna spent several years helping elementary and middle schoolers meet state standards in language arts, science, and social studies with the injection of STEM-based lessons and projects alongside problem-based learning. With hands-on approaches to curriculum, Anna prepared her students with the tools to tackle the problems they’ll face today and beyond into the future. And, like many, Anna is an avid Denver Broncos fan. You can always find her on game day draped in blue and orange, cheering her team on to a win. She also enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends, traveling, being outdoors, and dining out at the multitude of great restaurants in the Denver area.
Danielle Regan, M.S.Ed., Certified Teacher
Certified Cognitive Skills Coach and WJIV Assessment Administrator
Danielle Regan holds a Master of Science in education with a dual certification in early childhood and elementary education from Bank Street College and a Bachelor of Science in music education from NYU. She has nearly ten years of experience working with pre-school and kindergarten age learners, developing curriculum and working closely with parents to actively engage them in their child’s early education. Danielle is passionate about all things creative, whether creating art, playing music, dancing or writing. And in her spare time, Danielle enjoys creating memories with her husband and two sons.
Meghan Merson, M.A.
Certified Teacher, Certified Cognitive Skills Coach, Academic Tutor and WJIV Assessment Administrator
Meghan Merson has a Master of Arts degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Colorado at Denver. She has an elementary education license and started her principal licensure and doctoral coursework at the University of Denver’s education program. For years, Meghan served as an elementary school teacher in the Cherry Creek School district. The few times when she’s not encouraging students and pushing them to meet the challenges of the world, she can be found traveling with her family, cooking, or burying her nose in a good book.
Michelle Breitenbach, Certified Teacher
Certified Cognitive Skills Coach, Certified Academic Tutor, Assistant Business and Operations Manager
Michelle Breitenbach has a Bachelor of Music in music education from Ithaca College. With teaching certifications in multiple states, Michelle has worked with learners of all ages and abilities to develop a life-long love of music and learning. In everything she does Michelle brings a level of care and integrity to her work to inevitably infect her clients with the invaluable habits of discipline and independence. Michelle loves hiking, spending time with her dog, and playing her clarinet.
Certified Cognitive Skills Coach, Curriculum Developer, Academic Tutor, Graphic Designer and Desktop Publishing Coordinator
Emily Brien received her Bachelor of Arts in international affairs from the University of Colorado, Boulder. While pursuing her degree, Emily acquired a wealth of philanthropic and communications experience abroad, in China and West Africa, experience that when coupled with her infectious charisma and enthusiasm has always served to meet the diverse needs of her students. Emily has worked with young learners across many disciplines, lending her many talents to ESL tutoring, math instruction, and reading intervention across the Denver-Metro area and the world. When not honing her students’ cognitive skills you might be able to find Emily speeding down the street on her bike or volunteering with local organizations for ESL instruction and interfaith dialogue.
Rachel Geyer, M.A.
Certified Teacher, Certified Cognitive Skills Coach
Rachel Geyer holds a Bachelor of Arts in education and a Master of Arts in curriculum and instruction from Colorado Christian University and the University of Phoenix, respectively. She has Colorado and international teaching licenses. And that’s not to mention her ten-plus years of experience in and around the classroom in the Denver area. She comes to us from Southeast Christian School where she inspired elementary age students to fall in love with math. Connecting to learners is what it’s all about, she says. And she knows that connection is strongest when you can build the bridge between student’s learning and their own interests and goals. As a teacher, a former nurse, and foster parent, she knows what that connection can add up to; that engagement equals success. And she brings that attitude to everything she does with The Nectar Group. But when she’s out of the office, you might find her cultivating her own interests and goals: traveling, visiting museums, and spending as much time as possible in the company of her family.
Certified Cognitive Skills Coach
Ryan Colby has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and exercise science from Grove City College in Pennsylvania. He’s spent years helping young learners across the country maintain and improve both their mental and physical well-being. Whether serving at-risk youth as a counselor or star athletes as an experienced lacrosse coach, Ryan pushes his students toward positive growth. If he’s not offering performance consulting, athletic counseling, or emotional resiliency training, you might catch glimpses of him among the trees and trails of the Colorado high country.
Kristin Wooley, Certified Teacher
Certified Cognitive Skills Coach and Academic Tutor
Kristin Wooley received her Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies with an emphasis in elementary education from Biola University in California. With teaching certificates from both California and Colorado, Kristin brings a wealth of experience supporting elementary age students to her work with The Nectar Group. A leader inside the classroom and out, Kristin has mentored and coached people of all ages. Always encouraging and supportive, she applies her extensive experience to help students understand and maximize their strengths. When she’s not helping her students achieve their potential, Kristin can be found in the company of her two daughters, and, whenever she has the chance, strolling the boulevards of one of the happiest places on Earth, Disneyland.
Sarah Robbins, Certified Teacher
Certified Cognitive Skills Coach, Academic Tutor and Marketing Assistant
Sarah Robbins received her Bachelor of Science in education from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. She also has a professional educator license in elementary education with an emphasis in language arts from Illinois and Colorado. Sarah has put that license to good use as a first-grade teacher, practicing sound academic and behavioral intervention and helping her students get involved with their learning process. You can find Sarah reading, riding her bike, or, if you’re lucky to be within earshot, singing.
Amanda Corken, Certified Teacher
Certified Cognitive Skills Coach
Amanda Corken has a Bachelor of Science in education, with an emphasis on elementary and math education, from Northern Arizona University. For years, she was a college level math tutor as well as a math and STEM instructor for a 4th-grade classroom. As she fostered a life-long love of learning and problem solving, her students met and exceeded state standards for their curriculum. Always looking to grow as an educator and mentor, Amanda wants to pass on that mindset to her students, helping to prepare them to solve the problems we have yet to discover. New to Colorado, but already entranced by its landscape of shifting colors, she’s just as happy in the cool light of a movie theater as she is outdoors, under our state’s ever-shining sun.
Certified Cognitive Skills Coach
April O’Farrill has a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from Grand Valley State University. As a certified personal trainer, April has been using her health-conscious mind to develop passionate, positive attitudes toward physical health across Colorado. She takes the same care with the brain in her role with The Nectar Group as well as with her work as a neurological rehabilitation specialist. She uses neurological-based therapies to improve neurological function in addition to administering functional neurology exams. All of that experience forms the foundation of her mission to educate, encourage, and empower. When she’s not empowering her students, you can imagine her trotting alongside her beloved dog with her earbuds humming, thinking all the time, “strong body, strong mind.”
Shelby Johnson, Certified Teacher
Certified Cognitive Skills Coach
Shelby Johnson has a Bachelor of Science in education, with a focus on elementary and ESL education, from the University of Miami. She has a Colorado teaching license and years of experience as an elementary school classroom teacher and private educator. Shelby cherishes the relationships she builds with her students. She believes that with mutual respect and trust an educator can not only close achievement gaps but help others make the choice to grow and learn every single day. Born in raised in the colorful state of Colorado, Shelby is a strong competitor for biggest Broncos fan at The Nectar Group. And when not bleeding the orange and blue, you might be able to find her cracking the ceiling of our state atop one of our many 14ers.
Peter Giebel, M.F.A.
Certified Cognitive Skills Coach, Curriculum Developer, Expert Level Academic Tutor and Communications Coordinator
Peter Giebel received his Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Denver and his Master of Fine Arts in literary arts from Brown University. He has spent over 10 years working in and around the education field. Peter has served as a university instructor, private tutor, teaching assistant, and tutorial leader with the national AVID program—working to help historically underserved students develop critical thinking and organizational skills to prepare them for the rigors of college and beyond. And if he’s not working with students, you can find him perusing his library or exploring the many wonders of our digital age.