Stephanie is RAFT Colorado’s Executive Director, but the Board of Trustees has given her another title: the Dumpster Diving Diva. Stephanie is passionate about education and loves that RAFT’s business model supports teachers’ ability to teach in the way kids learn best – and preserves the environment at the same time! Launching RAFT in Colorado has drawn on her eclectic professional experience in non-profits, law, interior design, and education. Stephanie also serves on Colorado Fourteener’s Initiative Board of Trustees and on Rocky Mountain PBS’s Community Advisory Board.
Harley joined the RAFT team in August 2018. A fourth generation Colorado native and 3rd generation teacher, Harley came to RAFT with first-hand experience with how transformative hands-on learning can be in Colorado classrooms. Harley received his BFA in Sculpture from School of the Art Institute of Chicago, but he always knew he wanted to be a teacher—and during college he developed a love for public practice and working with kids in their communities. After getting his MEd. from the University of Illinois Chicago, Harley completed the Teach For America program and taught 4th grade in Colorado Springs District 11. He then moved to Denver and taught 4th grade and K-6 Science/STEM in Denver Public Schools. Harley discovered RAFT as a teacher, and says he witnessed a huge change in how the hands-on resources not only engaged his students differently in content but also inspired them to make connections between the concepts and real-world experiences.
Sarah is working part-time as RAFT’s Outreach Director, developing and overseeing donor engagement and marketing strategies and implementation. Until she began working for RAFT, Sarah was a RAFT board and Upcycle committee member, so she is already very familiar with our mission, strategic plan, and operations. She has been a dedicated volunteer leader at Graland for over 10 years, and worked as a marketing communications manager in the Telecom industry for over seven years.
Gwen brings over 20 years of teaching experience and a Master’s Degree in teaching to RAFT, with particular experience in early childhood education, literacy, and special needs. She also started Colorado’s first educator consignment sale (Teacher2Teacher) after she retired because she loves teachers, “stuff,” and hands-on learning! She is a force and she is fabulous!
Chad has been with RAFT in various capacities since 2014. He is a jack-of-all-trades who is happiest when he’s juggling lots of things. Chad is involved in virtually every step of the RAFT process, including picking up donated materials, organizing, and stocking, and many, many other tasks that keep RAFT going every day. He loves not knowing what his work day has in store at RAFT—and seeing how the tons of materials are transformed by RAFT staff and teachers. He is a family man (married with a sweet daughter), and in his spare time (when he can find it!) plays basketball.
Jacob joined RAFT in June 2018. Jacob is a Colorado native who grew up in Loveland. He joined the Marines at 19 and was stationed in Hawaii and Japan. He’s a big Green Bay Packers fan and loves his pit bull, Taz. Jacob owns a handyman company with his brother, and we are lucky to have his many talents on board. On any given day Jacob could be taking a truck out on donation pick-ups, hauling and organizing in our warehouse, or just taking care of business around here. He says he loves being in a place where he’s helping teachers.
We discovered Joyce at a joint DMNS / RAFT workshop. Her joyful, problem-solving, can-do attitude, educational know-how, and love for science made a big impression and we were thrilled to make her part of the RAFT team. In Joyce’s first career, she managed a Natural Foods store, then she turned her attention to teaching and has experience in PreK through 5th grade classrooms. She supports everyone who comes in the door to RAFT, from teachers to volunteers. Her hard work and positive energy are a winning combination!
Emily joined the RAFT team in August 2018. A rare Colorado native, Emily grew up in Wash Park and received her BA in Anthropology from CU-Boulder; she also has an MA in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico. She has worked in education off and on for over 20 years—from childcare through high school; Montessori, elementary, and after school! Emily was the Art Director at the Boettcher Boys & Girls Club in Aurora for 10 years, and has been a RAFT member since 2010. She says that RAFT changed the way she teaches art and the way she applies creativity in general. A self-proclaimed “creative dabbler” and avid Scrabble player, Emily feels that her job at RAFT allows her to continue to be creative while deepening her impact on kids by inspiring their teachers.
Nick was a para for five years, ran a before-and-after school program for four years, and has coached and worked with kids in a variety of educational settings since he was a kid himself (his mom is a teacher too!). Nick has been hanging out and helping part-time at RAFT practically since we opened in Denver. Nick has a gift for engaging and challenging children through hands-on learning and loves to share his enthusiasm and strategies with other teachers.
Tracy has been teaching in a variety of positions at DPS for the past 13 years, and has been a RAFT member since 2012. She is very aware of challenges teachers face every day, and loves that “RAFT provides hope that teaching can still be fun, exciting, and hands-on!” Tracy still teaches full-time and devotes one day of her weekend to RAFT.
From the day Ellen cut up her mother’s typewriter-written dissertation at age four, she has always been a curious person. She has an MAT in Museum Education and spent fifteen years designing and delivering programs in art and children’s museums, including the Denver Art Museum, the Clyfford Still Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Children’s Museum of Memphis. Ellen has worked with RAFT since its beginnings in Denver, and taught numerous teacher workshops at RAFT as a museum partner. She brings a solid professional grounding in non-profit organizations and a familiarity with all aspects of grant-funded programs.
Kristy joined RAFT in June 2018. Kristy lived in various places overseas as a kid of the Air Force and the oil and gas industry. She has three grown children and three granddaughters, and has a long-time love of helping all kids be their best. She was a substitute teacher and para in Jeffco for 12 years, and was also heavily involved with the Golden Backpack Program that provides a sack full of enough food to feed a child for the entire weekend. Kristy has a BA in Business from Texas Tech and an MBA from Oklahoma State. She is happy to have found a job that incorporates so many of her passions and interests, namely, volunteers, schools, and the environment.
Carrie and John Morgridge, Morgridge Family Foundation
Zachary Neumeyer, President, Sage Hospitality
George Sparks, CEO, Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Margie Gart, Former Director of Philanthropic Services, Rose Community Foundation
Frank Reeves, Superintendent, East Grand County School District
Tracey Calderon, Adams 12
Beth Crist, Colorado Department of Education
Susie Dykstra, Adams 12
Nick Haag, RAFT Colorado
Robyn Jennings, The Logan School
Tonja Mitchell, Boys & Girls Clubs
Justine Sawyer, DPS
Angie Willsea, APS
Sarah Brenkert, Children’s Museum
Maureen Creswell, Speech Pathologist
Chris DeKay, RAFT Colorado
Tom Graves, Douglas County
Jaquita Hurst, DPS
Lauren Lehmann, Colorado College
Violeta Garcia, PhD, National Inventors Hall of Fame
|Kate McDonough, Adams 12
Sue Sava, Stanley British Primary
Monica Strass, Adams 50
Cynthia Way, Adams 12
Kathy Zook, Adams 50
Mark Arseneau, DPS
Tracy Cress, DPS
Shawna Crocker, Project Learning Tree
Diane Gaston, DPS, CTEA
Christine Holpuch, Clayton Early Learning Schools
Sharyl Kay Lawson, Brighton 27
JPatrice Mason-Dawan, DPS
Rachael Rome, Adams 12
Shirley Stafford, Retired
Amy Turino, PhD
Mike Willsea, APS
Barry Kluger-Bell, PhD, Inquiry Science Educator
Madison Carter, Co-Secretary
Associate Vice President, Wealth Management, MorganStanley
Lisa Donovan, Co-Secretary
Chief People Officer, Sage Hospitality
Violeta Garcia, Ph.D.
Regional Program Development Manager, National Inventors Hall of Fame
Brent Geist, Treasurer
Senior Vice President – FirstBank, Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation
Joshua Hunt, Vice Chair
Founding CEO, TRELORA
Barry Kluger-Bell, PhD
Inquiry Science Educator
Partner, Hogan Lovells US, LLP
Vice President of Real Estate Reporting, Sage Hospitality
Art Director, Avanti Music Academy
Retired CEO, Colorado Children’s Chorale
Kevin Seggelke, Board Chair
CEO, Food Bank of the Rockies
CEO, Global Product Specialists, LLC
Stephanie Welsh, Executive Director