Parenting, mental health, healthy families
Suzita Cochran, Ph.D. is a child and family psychologist living in Boulder, Colo. She and her husband have two sons and a daughter, ages 14, 12, and 9. At her blog, Play. Fight. Repeat., Suzita writes about the latest ideas and theories on children and parenting – green, educational, simple living, psychological, exercise-related. After trying out many of these strategies on her own kids, she blogs about her successes and failures in parenting. Suzita is currently working on a book about helping kids “stop at enough” and lead balanced and grateful lives in a world overflowing with options and items.
Childhood obesity, school wellness, biking to school
Leslie Levine is a technical assistance coordinator for LiveWell Colorado. In this role, Levine assists LiveWell Colorado community coalitions in the local implementation of strategies designed to create environments and awareness/public will to enhance HEAL behaviors and therefore prevent and reduce obesity at the local level. Prior to working with LiveWell Colorado, Levine served as a policy specialist for more than six years with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Her primary role was to educate state legislators and their staff about policies and research-based best practices to prevent chronic disease and promote access to healthy food and active community environment policies. Levine received a master’s degree in public health from Emory University in 1998 and began her public health career at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Injury Prevention Program and the Georgia Department of Health’s Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program before heading to Denver in 2000.
Health, nutrition, fitness, food allergies
Shari Engkvist is a certified nutrition therapist and owner of Experience Nutrition. She received her degree from the Nutrition Therapy Institute of Denver, and continues to further her education by taking advanced courses and seminars. In addition to her nutrition practice, she graduated from the School of Healing Arts in San Diego in 1989 as a holistic health practitioner and has been practicing massage for more than 20 years. Engkvist has a B.S. in Corporate Health and Fitness and a certification as a Hatha yoga instructor. She now practices at The Center for Functional Health, and recently joined Kaiser Permanante’s Centers for Complimentary Medicine as its nutrition therapist. Her own challenges with autoimmune disease and food allergies led her to pursue her career path. She has experienced firsthand what changing your diet and lifestyle can do for your overall health.
Steve Sarche has run a private practice in child, adolescent and adult psychiatry in Denver since 2004. He works with individuals and families with a wide range of mental health concerns. The majority of his patient population is in the age group of 12 to 20 years old. Currently, his time is split between work in the office, consultation with Children’s Medical Center in Denver to help primary care physicians and social workers deliver care for their patients with psychiatric problems, and consultation at Craig Hospital, which is world-renowned in spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury rehabilitation. Sarche is also the medical director at Forest Heights Lodge, a unique residential treatment facility for boys aged 9 to 14 in Evergreen. It is one of the oldest of its kind, and youth from all over the United States and other countries are treated there. Unable to be treated as outpatients, the children are admitted with severe struggles in home, social and academic settings. For Sarche, these are some of his most challenging and rewarding clients. Check out Sarche’s website , in which he writes a monthly blog on relevant social/psychiatric issues. Sarche is also a proud father of two young boys. He is married and his wife also works full-time. It has been an interesting challenge balancing busy work days with busy evenings at home with two smart and high energy boys, and it has been the most rewarding thing he has done.
Kevin Everhart, Ph.D., is Associate Clinical-Teaching Professor of Psychology, and Director of the Psychological Services Center at the University of Colorado Denver Department of Psychology. He is a clinical child and pediatric specialist with more than 20 years experience in child and family mental health. “Dr. Kevin” is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Minnesota, where he studied psychology and child development. He completed his doctoral training in clinical psychology at the University of South Carolina, and is a graduate of the Stanford University School of Medicine’s Clinical Child and Pediatric Psychology Training Program. Dr. Kevin moved to Denver in 1999 and completed a post-doctoral fellowship with the Harris Program for Infant Mental Health and Child Development at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He then completed post-doctoral training as a fellow in the CU Health Sciences Center Developmental Psychobiology Research Training Program. Dr. Kevin is an award-winning member of the CU faculty in the Department of Psychology, where he teaches child development, developmental psychopathology, theories of personality and cultural diversity; and provides specialized clinical supervision in pediatric assessment and intervention to clinical psychology doctoral candidates. Since 2001, he has been a licensed psychologist in Denver. Dr. Kevin has served as a certified expert witness in child custody matters, and has been a featured consultant for local news and national media programs on issues related to child development, parenting, and children’s mental health. He lives in Denver with his wife and two daughters, both of whom attend public schools in Denver.
Physical fitness and PE
Chris Strater grew up in Indiana and became an avid basketball fan at a young age. She graduated from Franklin College in Indiana in 1984 after running track and playing basketball for four years; and playing women’s field hockey for two. Strater has worked as an elementary school physical education teacher in Aurora Public Schools since 1987. She earned her master’s degree in psychology and counseling from Lesley College in Cambridge, Mass., in 1996. She served as manager and head facilitator for Aurora Public Schools Challenge Course from 2001-2004. Strater was named the 2003 Elementary Teacher of the Year by the Colorado Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. She has coached basketball at both the high school and college levels, along with high school volleyball, high school track and field. She presently coaches field hockey at Grandview High School. She also teaches a PE class for elementary education majors as an adjunct professor at the Metropolitan State College of Denver.
Chef Ann Cooper, aka the Renegade Lunch Lady, is happily working overtime as a chef, nutrition services director for the Boulder Valley School District, consultant, author, public speaker, and advocate because she sees a need for change and has the gifts to help. She envisions a time soon when being a chef working to feed children fresh, delicious, and nourishing food will no longer be considered “renegade.” While working full-time as nutrition services director in Boulder, Cooper founded the Food Family Farming Foundation in 2009 to help bring about more expedient school food change and help to make better food in schools more mainstream. F3 is focusing its efforts on The Lunch Box: Healthy Tools To Help All Schools. The Lunch Box is a web-based portal that enables all schools and school districts to make a healthy difference for all children in America by providing relevant information and the pragmatic tools necessary to make good food available for all kids. F3 is also proud to be a part of Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, an initiative with the goal of granting 6,000 salad bars in the next three years, making a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables more accessible to children across the country.
Check out all of Chef Ann’s websites:
Theresa Byrne aims to empower and inspire children and adults to embrace their uniqueness and live healthy lives. Byrne has spent more than 15 years training people to transform and love their lives. She is the national health and self-defense expert seen onSPIKE TV’s recent series, Don’t Be a Victim. She’s also a black belt in martial arts, fitness instructor, trainer, motivational speaker, life/empowerment coach, and creator of “Finding Your Voice,”“Practical Self Defense,” and “Holistic Power for Heathy Living” self-empowerment programs for kids/adults. Byrne is one of the experts offering training for students through the 9Health Fair’s Classroom Program. She is the creator of the DVD “Fitness Revolution for Kids” and is featured in the TV show “Fitting In,” which helps kids get healthy. Byrne is also an anger management coach/educator, FAST Defense Coach and spokesperson, and has been offering empowerment programs in local schools for more than seven years. She is the director of United Martial Arts Centerin Englewood. She has been featured on 9News, Colorado & Company,WB2’s Morning Show, The Denver Post under Ffitness Finds,” “The Best Defense” TV show, the Kung Fu Kops movie, Vim & Vigor magazine, Metaphyscial Journey magazine, and the international Mensa magazine. When Byrne isn’t trying to change the world, she enjoys meditating, reading, writing, creating inspiring videos with kids, and napping.
Rainey Wikstrom In 2004, as a frustrated parent of a sugar-toting first-grader, Wikstrom led a campaign to replace candy with carrots at University Park Elementary (a Denver Public School). Since those early days of trial and error school-wellness-advocacy, UPark has become a leading model for school wellness and has earned numerous awards, including the coveted Silver Award from the Alliance For a Healthy Generation (a national healthy schools recognition program). Wikstrom is now recognized as a ‘Hero for Healthy Schools’ by the Healthy Schools Campaign and owner of The Healthy People Project, a consulting firm dedicated to creating healthy schools everywhere. Wikstrom also serves as a consultant to Adams 14 School District under Community Putting Prevention to Work grant and previously as a consultant under a LiveWell Colorado grant. Bringing her palatable energy to audiences, Wikstrom is a motivational speaker who inspires audiences to take small steps to create large-scale change. Additionally, she is the Colorado PTA wellness chair and serves on the leadership team for Colorado Action for Healthy Kids growing a network of school wellness champions across Colorado.
Gifted and talented, early childhood education
Dr. Susan Scheibel is the mother of three, grandmother of two, and an advocate for gifted and talented individuals in our schools and in our culture. As the past president of the Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented (CAGT), she currently teaches and mentors master degree students at Regis University and at the University of Northern Colorado. Her professional interests and research focus include academic acceleration, concurrent enrollment, creativity, early childhood, along with curriculum and programming. She is an involved member of the Colorado Coalition for Gifted; the Colorado Educational Success Task Force; the State Advisory Committee for Gifted Student Education; the Colorado Academy of Educators for the Gifted, Talented, and Creative; and the Board of Directors of the Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented.
Literacy, parenting, early childhood education
Ilana Dubin Spiegel has been a literacy staff developer for the Denver-based Public Education and Business Coalition (PEBC) for over 13 years. She coaches and consults with teachers, administrators and parents nationwide to help implement research-based literacy instruction. She has helped schools and districts align curriculum and instruction, teaching and learning. Ilana is passionate about working with teachers to monitor and adjust their instruction based on the needs of their students. Prior to working with the PEBC, Ilana taught public and private school in New York City and in Westchester County, New York. During that time, she worked closely with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project and received the Bank Street College of Education award for Early Childhood Teaching. Ilana is a graduate of Wellesley College and Columbia University’s Teachers College. She enjoys reading and writing the most with her own four children, Max, 12, Charlotte, 10, and Jack, 7, and Ruth, 4.
Literacy, special education, diverse learners
Ann Morrison is an assistant professor of teacher education at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She was a public school teacher and administrator for ten years before entering higher education. At Metro, Morrison teaches classes on literacy instruction for diverse learners and classroom assessment. She lives in Boulder and is a wife and the mother of two teenage sons.
Early childhood literacy
Caroline Hughes has dedicated much of her career to building and strengthening early literacy skills. She is currently supervising literacy services for children from birth to 5 years old for the Denver Public Library. She has extensive experience working in public library, public schools, and business environments. Hughes is passionate about the role libraries can play for children in their early years, particularly children who are at-risk. Hughes worked for several years as a school librarian in both Colorado and Michigan public schools for grades K-8, advocating for high quality resources and integrated 21st century skills. Prior to attending the University of Michigan, where she attained a graduate degree, she worked for eight years in marketing, advertising, and publishing.
Technology in the classroom, educational apps
Karen A. Sorensen is speaker and educator on entrepreneurship, education and technology in P-20 education. She is founder of 21st Century Education, an edutainment company that develops multimedia mobile learning solutions for the P-20 market. For the past 10 years, Sorensen has worked with P-20 students, parents, caregivers, and educators to help bring change to education. Her passions have taken her on many different career paths that have focused on telecommunications, education, training, marketing and personal finance. She has been an entrepreneur, consultant, college administrator and faculty member, after-school programs leader and a PTO president, where she was instrumental in developing parent involvement in a high poverty urban turnaround school. Sorensen holds a bachelor’s degree in Small Business Administration and a master’s in Educational Technology. She is a professional development affiliate of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, communications chair for ISTE-SIG-Mobile Learning, and is a parent of a Denver Public Schools student.
Financial planning for families, saving for college
Linda R. Barker is a financial advisor who focuses on saving for education, among other things. Operating from a position of caring and trust, Barker enthusiastically adopts the role of guide and mentor to the families of the clients she serves. While she specializes in multiple areas of financial planning, she especially enjoys retirement, college, estate, and family planning strategies that impact the whole family. Barker not only designs specialized financial plans to fit a family’s needs, she also acts as a mentor that guides and counsels each family member.
Literacy, math, middle school, high school, alternative education
Bethy Leonardi is in her second year as a doctoral student at the University of Colorado at Boulder in Educational Foundations, Policy and Practice. She received her master’s in the same discipline at CU. Leonardi, a native of New Orleans, also has a bachelor’s degree in English education with a minor in math education. She has taught both high school and middle school English, math and history for the past 14 years in a variety of settings, including traditional schools, Waldorf, John Dewey-based progressive, gifted, as well as an alternative high school that supports students who have had difficulty succeeding in more traditional environments. Colorado stints include the September School in Boulder, the TARA Performing Arts Institute in Boulder and the Mackintosh Academy in Littleton.
Bilingual education, languages
Jackie Hernandez comes to us from Phoenix, Ariz., where she spent five years working in ESL (English as a Second Language) and Spanish immersion classrooms. While K-12 education is her practice professionally, her hobby is in adult language acquisition. Whether she is teaching children or adults, Hernandez enjoys being part of the language learning experience. Hernandez has master’s degrees in both secondary education and public administration, as well as a bachelor’s degree in political science with a Spanish minor from Arizona State University. She is currently a doctoral student in the School of Education at the University of Colorado at Boulder, emphasizing in educational equity and cultural diversity. Hernandez and her husband are raising their preschool-aged son in a bilingual setting.
Rural education, teens, high school, PE
Kevin Jones graduated in 1990 from Alamosa High School. He was an ornery kid who gave teachers a hard time. He didn’t try very hard and only got by to be eligible for sports. Sports took him to college where he attended a community college to play baseball. He stayed one year, and transferred back home to attend Adams State (and to be near his sweetheart). He enjoyed college and began working toward a degree. Somewhere along the way, he decided to become an educator like his father and older brother. He graduated in 1996. He applied for many jobs and landed in Center, in the rural San Luis Valley, where he taught elementary PE for 11 years. He was also a reading specialist, and was awarded Center Schools Teacher of the Year in 2007. He pursued a master’s degree in educational leadership in 2005 and graduated in summer 2006. He landed his first administrative job as assistant principal in fall 2008. Jones was named principal of Center Middle and High School in fall 2009. He currently serves as high school principal. In early 2011, the Colorado Legacy Foundation honored him with a Commissioner’s Choice Award for “expanding opportunity through effective leadership,” which recognizes a leader from a school using successful innovation with a historically underserved population. Some 92 percent of his 600-student district qualify for free and reduced price lunch.
Early childhood and elementary education, science
Sarah Brenkert has worked with young children, families, and educators for 15 years, and holds an M.S. Ed in early childhood and elementary education from Bank Street College in New York City. A mom to Liam, 3, and Vivian, 3 months, Brenkert’s professional approach is guided by a love for learning and belief in the competency of young children. She is the director of education at the Children’s Museum of Denver, where she guides the museum’s school and public programs, and works to develop the educational content for museum exhibits. Previously, Brenkert was the education coordinator for school and teacher programs at Denver Zoo and an early childhood educator in Tennessee, Oregon, and New York City. Her areas of expertise include a strong background in child development, experiential education, and play theory, with a professional emphasis in how adult-child interactions can support children’s development of higher-level thinking skills. She has presented sessions for CAEYC and Week of the Young Child, and facilitated workshops for educators on topics such as inquiry-based science, documenting children’s work, and intentional classroom design.
Literacy, high school
Suzanne Lustie is a former high school English teacher and department chair in Douglas County schools. Now an educational consultant, assessment specialist, writer and devoted grandma, she brings 31 years of professional educational experience to the table. Lustie is experienced in a wide variety of internet technology and tools as well as best practices and instructional strategies relating to various types of instruction. Lustie believes the 21st century is much about numbers – stocks up and down, oil up and down, and on it goes. In her 21st century encore career, she is accumulating numbers as well. She brought into the century two daughters, and now has two son-in-laws, and two granddaughters. She brought into the century three decades of marriage and is now up to four. She brought into the century three degrees and multiple endorsements. Lustie earned her master’s degree in speech communication from the University of Northern Colorado and her doctoral degree in education from the University of Colorado at Denver.
Elementary education, teacher education
Kathleen Luttenegger, PhD., has worked in the field of elementary education for 17 years teaching in a variety of settings and across grade levels. She is currently an assistant professor at Metropolitan State College of Denver where she teaches undergraduate, licensure, and graduate courses in the Teacher Education Department. Luttenegger completed her undergraduate degree and initial teaching certificate at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. She earned an MA in special education from Columbia University. She earned an MBA with a focus on Educational Administration from the University of Denver. And, in 2006, she earned her PhD with a focus on curriculum and instruction from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Luttenegger is also a National Board Certified Teacher in the area of middle childhood (second to fifth grades), generalist. She has taught in school districts within Colorado and also overseas at the American School of Warsaw in Poland. As a parent, Luttenegger keeps busy raising her very spirited 7-year-old daughter. Luttenegger adopted her daughter as a single parent. Her daughter was born in Guatemala and came to the USA when she was 4- months-old. They enjoy spending free time with cousins and grandparents who all live nearby.
Experiential learning, high school, teens
Kerry Lord has enjoyed an exciting career as a public educator over the past two decades. As an elementary teacher in San Francisco, Lord worked with the Exploratorium Science Museum and the San Francisco Modern Art Museum to incorporate art and science inquiry into the school curriculum. During her 10 years in the Bay Area, she taught middle school and began her administrative career as an assistant principal at the middle level. Since moving to Denver, Lord has been a principal at the elementary level, as well as a K-12 Expeditionary Learning public school of choice. As a school leader, she has had the opportunity to enhance her professional learning through the PEBC and the National Institute of School Leaders. She has been a presenter at the Expeditionary Learning National Conference, was appointed to the Governor’s Council recommending Graduation Guidelines, and most recently was selected as a panelist to review District/School improvement plans for the Colorado Department of Education. She is currently a program consultant for the National Organization, Educators for Social Responsibility. She lives in Park Hill with her elementary-school aged son, and her husband.
Charter schools, school choice
Karin Piper is an award winning author, speaker, school choice advocate and education writer. Karin provides communications and tools necessary for parents to become informed decision makers in the expanding world of education options. She also works with various organizations in engaging with surrounding communities and creating dynamic relationships with families. Piper is mostly known for her charter school blogs and authoring the book “Charter
Schools: The Ultimate Handbook for Parents.” The Dougco mom also blogs periodically for EdNews Colorado. She has three
kids and three education solutions. One of her kiddos is in a private high school, the middle is learning at home
with an online umbrella and a bunch of exciting props, and her daughter is
starting in a district program in fall 2011.
Early childhood education, school choice
Laura Barr has been working with families in the Denver area for over 20 years. A mother of four children, she holds an M.A. in early childhood and elementary education from Bank Street College in New York City. Barr’s qualifications include a background in educational philosophy, teaching in both the pre-school and elementary classrooms, serving as an admission director at an independent school, and facilitating teacher education and Love and Logic. She has attended numerous workshops in the education field as well as in the area of leadership and self improvement. When Barr is not working with clients, she is visiting the many dynamic and exciting schools in the Denver area. Whether it is consulting with families about school choice or working, coaching parents in Parenting Education or Life Coaching, Barr’s experience as an educator, woman, and mother support a hands-on approach that helps her clients achieve clarity and vision.
Middle school, math
Carrie Heaney is currently the mathematics department coordinator and an eighth grade math teacher at Sky Vista Middle School in Aurora, Colo. Heaney has been a mathematics educator for the past 12 years. She is the 2009 recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and the 2007 Colorado Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Outstanding Teacher Award. In addition to teaching eighth grade and working with the teachers in her building, Heaney also supports mathematics teachers in the Cherry Creek School District by leading classes on implementing the districts mathematics curriculum as well as classes on understanding how students develop numeracy and the effect that has on a student’s understanding of multiplication, division, and place value.
Bilingual education, elementary school topics, school wellness
Rosalie Gómez is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has two daughters and three grandchildren, and has worked for Denver Public Schools for eight years. She teaches second grade ELA-S at Bryant-Webster K-8 helping native Spanish speaking students learn English. She earned a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, bilingual education/ESL from the University of Colorado at Denver. Gómez participates in a nutrition program at her school, known as Integrated Nutrition Education Program (INEP). Materials include stories and activities related to Colorado content standards. Students can create their own healthy recipes every week. In 2011, the school sent home a book bag with each child containing books, recipes and a parent survey. The parents all relayed how much they appreciate that their children are learning how important it is to eat vegetables and fruits, and they liked the recipes. When she’s not at school, Gómez enjoys working out to music (Jazzercise and Zumba). She also enjoys riding her mountain bike.