21st Century/Discovery Center Programs

The BHSSC 21st Century Programs are co-curricular programs that enhance a student’s normal learning opportunities after school and during the summer months. We take great pride in implementing up-to-date teaching practices. We immerse students in Project-based STEM, Literacy, and Social and Emotional Learning activities they can use outside of the school walls. We not only provide a safe and secure setting for children afterschool, we also give students the opportunity to belong to something bigger than just themselves — a stepping stone to becoming upstanding citizens.

Desmond “Desi” Keller – RCAS 21st Century Program Co-Director

I graduated with dual degrees in Elementary Education and Special Education. Also, I am the oldest of five children and worked at a Montessori Daycare in highschool and really liked the non-traditional approach to education. After graduating from college and teaching Special Ed. for a year, I had the opportunity to begin working in a 21st Century Program and never looked back! In my position as director, the day-to-day is always different, but mainly consists of keeping up-to-date on licensing for all of our programs–from hiring staff to documenting training hours to continually engaging with families and staff. The fun part is socializing with the students and watching them relax and have fun in the after school programs.

I love that we never know what little thing we will do that a student will remember and say later was a game changer for them in their life. It really isn’t the subjects that we teach, it’s building the relationships and guiding those relationships to build character in our students that really is exciting for me. When I’m not at work, I like to run, mountain bike, and snowboard to be active. I enjoy fishing, reading, and gardening to relax.

Kellsie Judge – RCAS 21st Century Program Co-Director

Kellsie Judge has a bachelor’s degree in Child Development and a master’s degree in Family and Community Services. She worked with our 21st Century programs for many years and loved every moment of being involved in the culture and community of the schools. She was given the amazing opportunity to work more in depth with the families in our district and connecting them with community resources as the Family and Community Engagement Coordinator through Black Hills Special Services Cooperative (BHSSC) and she hasn’t looked back! Her days are always different and she spends most of her time out in the community doing various tasks–from attending and participating in outreach meetings to planning family engagement events for the schools in the district. She is a member of the Black Hills Regional Homeless Coalition, Prosperity Initiative, and various committees through United Way of the Black Hills. When she’s not working, she loves to spend time with her husband, daughter, and their two dogs!  

Kaitlin Brown – 21st Century Program Coordinator - North Middle School & Central High School Club Hub

I have an Elementary Education degree from the University of Wyoming. Previously, I worked at Youth and Family Services for almost four years and as an enrollment advisor at National American University. I am responsible for lesson planning, setting up the day, and doing reports. The fun happens once the kiddos arrive–no two days are alike! In general, we pick up our students after school, feed them a snack, and then go outside for recess. Then we do 30-minute rotations of P.E., iPad time, and a center activity based in math or literacy.

I love the cute and sometimes very goofy compliments that the kids give each other and to me. They make me want to live up to the image that they have of me in their minds. When I’m not at work I enjoy hiking and time at my family’s cabin in Spearfish Canyon. I also love any excuse to cook or bake for family and friends.

  • Quote: “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”–Robert Frost
  • Activity in Elementary School: Parachute day!!!
  • Movie: Gone with the Wind

Miranda Carlin - General Beadle Site Coordinator

I have recently returned to BHSSC as my family and I moved back to the beautiful Black Hills. Previously, I had been with the Discovery programs for eight years. Early on, I was an Instructional Assistant and then moved to the Site Coordinator position at Horace Mann Discovery. Working with children allows me to have a direct impact on the lives of many while keeping the spark and joy of childhood in my daily life! While not at work, I love to spend time with my husband, our children, and other family and friends. I enjoy crafting, painting, and being outdoors!

Shannon Koftinow - Rapid Valley Site Coordinator

Melissa Laughlin - Knollwood Site Coordinator

Nicole Sandstrom – South Park Site Coordinator

Malachi Nelson – South Middle School Club Hub Coordinator

I have been working for the Discovery Center program for seven years. I volunteered for Discovery for two years before that. I go to South Dakota School of Mines and Technology majoring in computer engineering and will be receiving my degree after one more semester. In my role as site coordinator, I make sure that the staff have everything that they need and make sure the program has all the things that it needs. I work with parents to further their child’s learning and school life. I work on social media outreach, and I also communicate with the schools and make sure that we have a healthy communication network. I also watch the children to ensure that they are learning and playing in a safe way.

I love the ability to help show kids the way to something that they love. I want every child to find something that they love to do. When I’m not working, I love writing and reading. I love writing books and reading books. I enjoy bringing ideas from all sorts of media–from video games to musical theater!

  • Quote: “I’d rather make mistakes than make nothing at all.”
  • Activity in Elementary School: I loved to read in school. Fantasy stories were always my preferred type of book.
  • Book: The Sword of Destiny
  • Movie: “Spirited Away”
  • Podcast: Critical Roll
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