Landmark Community School Staff

Leslie Patterson, Counseling, MA; Special Education, BA
Landmark Community School Director

Leslie Patterson is the the director and founding member of LCS.  She has worked in the education field for over 20 years. As an instructor, counselor, and supervisor, she has helped create programs and classes for students and families to find the best educational fit for each student’s unique talents and interest. Her approach is creative and reaches outside the box. Her passion to work with marginalized youth brought her to Community Prep where in 2015, she developed Landmark Community School, under the CPS charter, for students struggling with substance use disorders.


The Landmark mission and program provides enrichment opportunities to students that they may investigate who they are and create a future based on self discovery, passion, and desire. Her mission is to understand how to meet the needs of students who struggle with substance use; her counseling expertise, insights, and research informs how she designs programs to meet the individual needs of the students. Her leadership at LCS  gives students a safe space to work on the causes and conditions that lead them to use drugs. Patterson believes in not shaming drug use, but encouraging honest conversation and meeting students where they are to support them in their sobriety.


“The concept of Recovery High Schools intrigued me as a solution for youth who needed and wanted support from substance use.  I was interested in creating a unique learning environment that tapped into the talents, creativity and skills of this population. The majority of the students who land at LCS are very smart and have extraordinary creative talent.  We nurture those intelligences that many times have gone unnoticed.”

Michael Burdick, B.S., STEM Coordinator
Registered Yoga Teacher 500, Pursuing M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health with an Herbal Concentration, Training CACI

Michael has been with Landmark Community School since July 2017. He is the STEM Coordinator for Mathematics, Science and Technology Studies at LCS. He designs and implements course instruction within these areas that meet state standards and provide students with quality knowledge that they can use in everyday life. He worked as a dissection assistant and anatomy A&P lab teacher during his time at UCCS where he also served the Chancellor Task Force as an active committee member. During his laboratory work in chemistry, he shadowed a world renowned doctor in organic synthesis and pyrotechnics.


Michael also runs the Culinary Arts Program for LCS, implementing a full spectrum course that envelopes students in knowledge of brain chemistry, physiology and understanding drug use and remediation from previous use. A yoga teacher for almost two years, he provides knowledge and application of many healing modalities. He was also a mentor and tutor for Mission Possible.

Michael works hard to see these students graduate. He helps them have pride in their path to recovery and to live as successful beings, honoring their potential and overcoming challenges they experience.


“I was attracted to Landmark because of my love for teaching and supporting youth, especially those who are afflicted by addiction. My own path in recovery has brought me a large amount of compassion for the community and constant effort in analyzing how I may to bring love, acceptance, and healing to this community. The most amazing aspect of working with these students, is seeing them conquer their goals and aspirations and flourish in their self-love and confidence. They want to be here and they know we are here as a family who truly cares for their well being.”

Kellie Palmblad, English & Humanities Instructor

Kellie is an educator, artist, and musician in Colorado Springs. She received her undergraduate degree from UCCS in Literature with a minor in Film Studies. She studied Secondary English Language Arts Education at Colorado College in the MAT Program. Her practicum explored using creative writing to teach and assess analytic writing in secondary ELA. She conducted comparative research in curriculum and assessment abroad in Auckland New Zealand.


Her working practicum was teaching in D20, implementing MYP and I.B. English curriculum and also teaching Film Studies. Kellie began her career working at Mitchell HS in the Literary Arts Program, specializing in Creative Writing and Poetics. She then went on to work in holistic education in the upper grades at Mountain Song Community School. In 2018, Kellie joined the English team at Community Prep to help support students with high school credit recovery on the path to graduation. At CPS, she discovered her love for alternative education, the process of individualized education, and helping students explore their unique life experiences through writing. This experience opened the door for her to teach at Landmark Community School in the upcoming semesters. Already an outreach committee member and volunteer writer for Landmark, she grew to get to know the school and students through writing the newsletter student stories. Now, after working at CPS, she is grateful to join the Landmark students and share in the writing process and humanities studies within the expanding Landmark curriculum.


Kellie is especially inspired to work with students striving to stay sober. As a person familiar with the journey and challenges of recovery, her hope is to help foster an environment where students can explore and more deeply understand themselves and their education in light of this profound experience. “My classroom motto has always been to ‘honor your thoughts’ in writing, art, music and various studies; I am deeply honored to implement this process for students at Landmark as they discover the journey toward health and self-care.”

Gannon Shea, MA, CACII

Gannon Shea is a Counselor at Community Prep and joined Landmark Community School in 2017. She has played an integral role in LCS’s growth, providing support, knowledge, and valuable experience to the staff and families of the community. Her career with at-risk students has shown her that both abuse and substance use deeply impact student’s lives and education. She believes it’s imperative to address these issues to help students reach their full potential and their dreams.​ Gannon greatly enjoys being a positive part Landmark’s journey. This year, she hopes to help foster guidance for the students and help them realize their worth and meet their long term goals.​

Amy Blackshear, Certified Art & Play Therapist

Ms. Blackshear has taught art to K-12 students for 15 years. A certified art therapist, Amy now incorporates a therapeutic approach with at-risk teens through intuitive painting and mixed media encounter classes. She is very excited about helping teens overcoming addiction to create a “Constellation of Support” and enhance their recovery through art-making.

Charlotte Miller, MA
Community Art Project

Art has always been part of my life with an interest in creating found object art and teaching art.  I’ve been teaching art since 1990.  Over the course of my teaching career I developed a studio art curriculum with new courses at a private high school in Virginia.  After moving to Colorado Springs in 2005 I became the lead art teacher at a K – 8 charter school developing a strong art integration program.  In 2014, I became a technical and creative art teacher at Community Prep School instructing not just art but bringing my passion for bicycling into the learning bike shop.  I’m excited to be a part of the Landmark Community School staff and look forward to bringing my multiple talents to enrich Landmark Community School.