Hello AXL Community,
My name is Monique Shevlin-Davis, and I have been a proud educator for twenty-two years. For eight years, I taught preschool to children of diverse, low income, single parents in urban Denver before serving as an elementary educator in the northeast quadrant of Aurora. This work was especially important to my heart and identity as an educator having grown up in a low income, single parent household myself. As I began my work in the public school system, I continued to seek out diverse schools, setting my intention to be a meaningful change agent for a larger community, expanding my impact. I recognized that the work began in my own school, as it was apparent that much work needed to be done in regard to cultural and instructional equity. I was honored to chair the newly formed equity committee and lead our staff, students, and community through understanding bias and the opportunity gaps inherent in our systems. As a result, systems and behaviors changed permanently for the greater good, and this work became part of the foundation for success that led that school from the fourth worst performing school in the district to performance on the state School Performance Framework, a status it has maintained for the past eight years. My desire to extend the reach of students I was supporting as an educator came to include school administration. I served three years as an assistant principal. The next step in my career was a move to principal which brought me to AXL Academy in 2018. Being AXL’s principal has allowed me to help educators from all backgrounds serve diverse students in both the elementary and secondary grades. I have fallen in love with AXL Academy’s approach to expeditionary learning and the strong bond we have with our families.
Being a leader for AXL is because I am passionate about this community, the community I grew up in, having the tools and opportunities they need to be successful. This includes accessible rigorous instruction, social emotional support, and curriculum that has representation and connections to their everyday lives.
I am uniquely qualified for this position because I have auspiciously done this job for 2 school years. I have successfully led us through the renewal process with APS, kept us in Performance status according to the Colorado Department of Education, and procured a debt free budget. The success of my community is dependent on the success of AXL Academy. I would love the opportunity to continue to serve AXL and it’s scholars, families, and teachers.
Noah Tonk’s passion for education was born with a teacher who took him in and gave him direction and a sense of self-worth at a moment when he desperately needed it, and has worked to repay the debt ever since. He began in education as a classroom paraprofessional for children with severe developmental disabilities, taught high school and middle school Language Arts for nine years, and worked closely with students who had dropped out of high school due to trauma to eventually earn their high school diplomas. Over the years, he has learned the value and the meaning of encouraging student ownership of their learning, and helped to redesign and lead a school built on a foundation of student voice and choice through goal-setting, mentorship, community, and positive school culture grounded in equity. Noah has worked to transform education through trauma-informed work, culturally responsive education, restorative practices, and mindfulness. He leads through equity of voice; empathy with the needs of his families, children, and staff; and is devoted to values-based decision-making. Noah is a resident of Aurora, living not far from AXL Academy, and is a father of three children who all attend schools in Aurora Public Schools, including his oldest, who is about to graduate from Rangeview High School. His wife, Brie Tonk, is currently a school counselor at Virginia Court Elementary and has been an APS employee for the past 3 years. Noah has grown strong connections with many in Aurora’s educational community, and he has been eager to bring his leadership experience home. Noah Tonk has served schools with grades K-8 in the greater Denver area for the last seven years as a school leader, and is excited for the opportunity to become part of the crew of AXL Academy for many years to come, rather than merely a passenger in the city of Aurora.
I am thrilled about the opportunity to join the AXL Academy team! I was born in Halifax Nova Scotia Canada and parents are from the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago. I have one older brother and one younger brother, and my sister is the baby of the family. I attended Middlebury College in Vermont where I majored in American Studies with an emphasis in Sociology.
After graduation I moved to Dallas Texas for 3 years and became the assistant store manager of a Sanger Harris department store. It was there I first learned how to be act as a leader. It was the extreme heat that drove me to leave Dallas for the sunny shores of Boca Raton Florida. It was there my children Kaela and Christian were born. I spent several years in the hospitality industry using my management skills to open and train staff for restaurants. I fell into education when a friend of mine was gaining her elementary degree and said I would make a great teacher. She invited me to her 1st grade classroom and I immediately fell in love with it. I applied for a paraprofessional position at the school and six months later the principal asked me to become a SPED reading teacher and I accepted.
I realized I would need to go back to school to receive my educational degree, so I moved to Denver and took on the role as Cole MS’s reading specialist while I attended Metro to obtain my teaching degree.
While at Cole, I applied and took on the role of Literacy Coordinator 6-12 for Denver
Public School at the Central Office. I applied for my master’s at University of Denver as well as my administrator’s license. After several years I had a lifetime opportunity to become the Director of Curriculum and Instruction in Tacoma WA and spent 4 years helping to transform the school district. However, the weather in WA did not suit my Colorado wife so departed back to Denver. Since then I have worked at George Washington HS, the City of Pueblo helping turnaround their systems as well as an adjunct professorship at UNC.
I am looking forward to meeting you, the students, teachers, staff and parents and getting the chance to work with the AXL Academy Community. Thanks for making me feel so welcomed!
Roger A. Chow