Staff

Vanessa Peterson Executive Director 

Vanessa graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and in 2014 obtained a Master's Degree in Nonprofit Management from Regis University. Vanessa began working as a GED instructor with CEO in 2011. She had previously volunteered as an ESL tutor and discovered her passion for helping non traditional learners. She feels very honored to work with an organization that provides students the opportunity to reach their full potential regardless of their background.

Erica Jackson 
Director of Operations 

Erica has a Bachelor's degree in Business from Campbell University, a Bachelor's in Psychology from the University of Wyoming, and a Master’s degree in Psychology. Erica has extensive work experience in for profit and nonprofit industries, most recently many years within the organization of WIC. Erica believes education is the key to being successful in life, and everyone should be given an opportunity to receive an education.

Erin Miller  
Director of Programs

Erin has a B.S. in Business and a M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction. Prior to coming to CEO she taught elementary school for 12 years in Bakersfield, Ca. While she enjoyed teaching elementary school moving to Denver allowed her to opportunity to change careers.  Erin is currently teaching Math at CEO. 

John Sarmiento 
Development Coordinator 

John Sarmiento holds a Bachelor's Degree in English Literature and a Master's Degree in Teaching. He has spent over a decade developing effective and engaging learning environments for youth and adults alike. He is also an award-winning poet and independent touring hip-hop artist with experience in social media branding, events hosting, and cultivating community.

Greeley Team 

Shelley Marie
Program Coordinator 

Shelley graduated with a B.S. in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology from Colorado State University. She’s always had a passion for serving others and trying to make the world a better place. Her interest in education began as a tutor for children with learning disabilities, and she believes strongly in providing assistance to people in vulnerable situations. With CEO, Shelley is able to combine her love of teaching and helping others succeed in life. 

Tim Willis 
Instructor 

Tim attended the University of Northern Colorado and Boise State University after an honorable discharge from the US Army and earned a Bachelor’s in Business Management and a Master’s in Business Management. From there, he decided to get some more experience abroad, and he left the US to teach English in Japan in 1991. He found his calling in Osaka.  He taught classes at a university and various businesses in Japan.  He was a natural at teaching English to Japanese students.  In 2018, he returned to the States, and began looking for ways to use his language teaching skills.  CEO gave him an opportunity, and he is thrilled to be employed with the school.  He hopes his students will leave his lessons with a better understanding of English in order to pursue satisfying jobs in the community.  In his free time, he enjoys walking, riding a bicycle, and reading novels.

Maria Guerrero
Instructor
Maria Panakhyo
Instructor

Maria Guerrero recently had an opportunity to work with CEO through a six-month internship and fell in love with the organization's mission and students. When CEO hired her as an Instructor, Maria was thrilled to continue serving this population. Her background in education began as a tutor for teens working on their GEDs, so this position fell right in line with her experience and passions. 

Lakewood Women's Team

Emmy West
Instructor
Renee Freeman
Instructor

Emmy is an experienced communicator, researcher and policy adviser with expertise in state and federal education policies, regulations and advocacy efforts designed to improve the lives of students. She has undergraduate degrees in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Iowa and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Colorado, Denver. Her ability to connect whole-heartedly, foster relationships, facilitate learning and her strong desire to work with underserved student populations makes her a great fit for CEO. 

Lakewood Men's Team

April Thompson 
Program Coordinator 

April graduated in May 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from a small college in Clearwater, Florida. After teaching 5th grade in Florida and then Colorado, she went on to teach at Mount View Youth Services Center, a juvenile detention center in Lakewood.  Following a few years there, April began teaching GED prep courses and employment skills for adults in Denver County on a government program called TANF.

April enjoys the diversity and rewarding uniqueness of working in Adult Education.  The power of positivity and a caring, helping hand are two of her biggest reasons and motivators for loving this field of work. April tells us “I truly enjoy and feel blessed to be working here with CEO and ICCS staff and clients.  I hope I am making a lasting and positive impact and difference in the lives of those I see, teach, and interact with each and every day.”

Kim Christoff
Instructor 

Kim grew up in Silverthorne, Colorado and graduated from Arizona State University with an M.F.A in Creative Writing-Poetry and a B.A. in English Literature. She taught writing courses in the English departments at Arizona State University and University of Texas San Antonio. Kim has led writing workshops in correctional facilities and high schools, worked with at-risk youth as a special education instructor and worked as a therapeutic riding aide.  She is excited to share her passion for literacy, education and writing.

Anna Lord 
Instructor 

Raised in Texas, Anna attended the University of Texas at Austin. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, she worked as an actuary for a health insurance company as well as an animal caretaker. She is so happy to have found CEO here in Colorado where she can combine her love of math with her desire to help out others who need guidance in getting back on the right track. 

Jacinda Lay 
Instructor 

Jacinda comes to CEO with over 20 years experience working in education, program development, and research.  Jacinda has a Bachelors of Science Degree, a Masters of Philosophy Degree, a Masters degree in Education Administration, and is currently working on her PhD focused on Education Policy and Leadership. In education she has worked as an adjunct instructor and a guest teacher in grades K-12. In addition to teaching, she has experience working with curriculum development, and program development as the program director for two nonprofit organizations. Jacinda has been described as a hardworking individual, a teacher, a lifelong learner, and a kind person.

Stout Street Foundation Team

Sean Brewer
Instructor
 
Angela Vizzi
Instructor

Sean is a native of Colorado having grown up in the Denver Metro Area. After many years working in the banking industry he went back to school and earned his Bachelor of Arts, in History,  from Metropolitan State University of Denver. Sean has spent the last few years in different educational roles with K - 12 students. He is happy to now include adult educator in his educational jobs, and understands the challenges of returning to the classroom. 

Attention Homes

Christina McCloskey 
Instructor 

Teaching GED is the culmination of a life well lived. Chris grew up in Denver and graduated from CSU with a degree in Fine Art-Ceramics. Then spent ten great years as a production potter working at the Boulder Potter’s Guild. When she felt the itch for a change in direction, she got her teaching certificate for K-6 at CU and started a graduate externship that included teaching 2nd and 3rd grades. As well, she used her art degree by teaching Elementary Art. Then she unwittingly took the jump of her life by accepting a summer job teaching GED and ESL for BVSD at VoTech which lead to a position teaching English Composition and ESL at Front Range Community College for 22 years. Most recently, she joined some of her Front Range colleagues to form a non-profit adult education facility, Coal Creek Adult Ed. Her avocations have included writing two middle-grade fiction books, published by OnStage Publishing; visiting schools and senior centers as a Spellbinder storyteller; and raising Guide Dog puppies.

The identifying thread through most of her life has been to recognize opportunity and facilitate transitions in others. Attention Homes is a perfect fit!

Women's Bean Project

Abigail McGaha Miller
Instructor 

Abi McGaha Miller is a Colorado native who received her bachelor's degrees in Anthropology and Spanish at the University of Northern Colorado. She also received a dual certification in Teaching English as a Second Language from Front Range Community College in 2013 and has been tutoring English language learners of all levels ever since. Abi strives to help strengthen her community through activism, advocacy, cultural competency, and compassion. As a bilingual educator, she aims to create safe spaces for students and residents of varying backgrounds. Abi is committed to creating an inclusive atmosphere in all that she does by honoring cultural differences. She currently works as a tutor and teaches English as a Second Language to adults at The Language School as well as HSE/GED prep at The Women's Bean Project.  

Contact Us 

P.O. Box 18874 

Denver, CO 80218

303-921-8600

info@ceocolorado.org 

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