Science Teachers

Teacher  Mrs. Hellman (

      I have been a member of the PHS Science Department since 2007 and teach Honors Biology, Biology, AP Environmental Science, Botany, Zoology, and IB Biology. Prior to being at Palisade I taught middle school science for 8 years at Holy Family Catholic School here in Grand Junction. I received my B.S. in Education from Northern Arizona University in 1990 and spent time substituting and raising my children until I began teaching full time at HFCS. I studied watershed science at Colorado State University and after several detours ended up in Flagstaff at NAU. I have a Masters in Science in Science Education from Montana State University that I completed in 2012. When I’m not teaching, grading papers or reading biology I enjoy spending time outdoors; hiking, fly fishing, skiing and just enjoying the sunshine. I am honored to be a part of not only PHS, but the super science department.

Teacher  Mr. Baskin (


     I have the fortunate opportunity to be a teacher here at Palisade High School.  I come here from Bookcliff Middle School where I spent 13 years teaching nearly all subjects.  Prior to teaching I worked for Broncos Sports Medicine as a Physical Therapist assistant.  During that stint I worked with orthopedic patients on their path through physical rehabilitation.  My collegiate work has been all over this state as well as graduate work from Minnesota.  Along with the charge of being a science educator I will be coaching the Varsity boys Basketball team here at Palisade. 

Teacher Mr. Kem (

      I am Mr. Kem and I have been teaching here at Palisade High School for over 25 years. This was my first and only teaching assignment since graduating from Western State College in 1986. I have taught just about all of our science courses at one time or another. My main thing over the years has been Chemistry, Chemistry in the Community, and Unified Sciences. I have tried to give myself a varied back ground that will help my students. I hold a class D water treatment certification, have Hazardous Chemical training from UNC and Earlie Thomas Associates, have been trained in Colorado River Watch and have been trained in IB. I have worked as a ranger for Vega State Park, a consultant for Sundstand Aviation and Ute Water, and have had several positions in retail sales in our area. My wife and I currently run one of the larger 4H clubs in the county and I work for Murdocks Home and Ranch Supply. My family is very active in our local church. I enjoy gardening and working around my home. I am also the stadium announcer for our Palisade football team, which I enjoy very much. 

 Mrs. Motz (

      I have taught in the District for 20 years, including student teaching right here at Palisade High School. Born and raised in Grand Junction, I attended Colorado State University where I obtained a B.S. Degree in Home Economics (1979) and a teaching certificate and vocational credential (1992). In my spare time I like to cook, read, travel and spend time with my family. 


Teacher Mr. Torfin (


Teacher Mr. Steele ( 

      I am a graduate of Palisade High School and I am super-excited to be back at PHS as a teacher. Currently, I am teaching IB Chemistry, Honors Unified Science, General Chemistry and GeoPhysical Science. Coaching football is another one of my responsibilities at PHS. I coach the offensive and defensive lineman and I absolutely love it! I am in my 15th year of teaching. I student taught at PHS and got a job teaching at Mt. Garfield Middle School, where I was at for seven years. While at MGMS I taught eighth grade science, some math and some literacy. In my spare time, I like to spend time with my beautiful family. I have been married for 13 years and we have two spectacular daughters. Since my wife is a teacher too, we like to spend our time off camping, fishing, hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking and just being outdoors. We love living in Western Colorado because of the numerous outdoor adventures that this area has to offer. Finally, it is an honor to be a PHS bulldog. Go DOGS! 


Teacher  Mr. Sargent (