Impact on Education welcomes three new board members

Today we extend a warm and enthusiastic welcome to three exceptional individuals who recently joined our Board of Directors. The new additions include Amy Pickens, BVSD’s Director of Equity & Community Engagement; Bill De La Cruz, an inclusion and belonging facilitator; and Dan Konigsberg, an entrepreneur and CEO. Their wealth of experience and dedication to our mission will bring fresh perspectives and renewed energy to our work.

The board also elected a new executive committee, naming Karen Brown, board chair; Cathleen Kendall, vice chair; Karen Kruse, treasurer; and Callie Weiant, secretary. We’re also grateful to our outgoing board chair David Ziegert.

Our Board of Directors is key to expanding our ability to engage BVSD students and empower BVSD educators. And these new members are joining us at an exciting time in our organization’s growth.

Amy Pickens 

Director of Equity & Community Engagement
Boulder Valley School District

Amy has over 20 years of experience in education both in the United States and abroad. With her position as Director of Equity and Community Engagement, she supports schools and leaders with equity-focused school improvement and developing authentic partnerships with families and the community.

Amy has a passion for student voice, particularly bringing student voice into equity work. She co-founded the BVSD Youth Equity Council as part of her dissertation for the doctorate in education she earned in 2022. Amy also leads the BVSD Equity council and has served on multiple committees both within the school system and in the communities she’s lived in.  Her involvement in volunteer work, youth organizing, speaking engagements, and research shows her dedication and passion for social justice and equity. Amy is also a BVSD parent and lives in Broomfield.

Learn more about Amy in this recent spotlight article.

Bill De La Cruz

Inclusion and Belonging Facilitator
De La Cruz Solutions 

Bill is an author, facilitator and thought leader who offers facilitation, keynotes and workshops to support individuals and teams in building self-sustaining personal change processes. Bill’s books Finding The Origination Point, Understanding Our Biases to Create a More Peaceful World and Flipping Failure, A Blueprint for Self-Growth and Transformation were written to enhance the personal change process. Bill’s processes support the  creation of personal development and organizational belonging  that drives sustainable systemic change.

As a former board member and Board President for Boulder Valley Schools and the former Director of Equity and Inclusion for Denver public schools Bill has a vast knowledge about educational systems. Having served on the Board of Directors for Parent Engagement Network, the Boulder Chamber of Commerce, and as an original reader of Reading to End Racism, Bill has vast Board experience in Boulder county communities and expertise in adapting systems. Bill has 4 grown children who went through the Boulder Valley schools and lives in Erie. 

Dan Konigsberg


Dan is an experienced entrepreneur with 22 years of experience bootstrapping Campminder, a successful technology company that streamlines operations in the summer camp industry. He is personally devoted to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging and wants to raise more awareness about these important issues. He has gained skills of facilitation, mentorship, and strategy that will allow him to succeed as a board member. Dan is also a BVSD parent and lives in Boulder.


Impact on Education is a nonprofit organization, and we depend on our community to help us put our mission into action. We need your help to to provide opportunity and resources to 30,000 students and 4,000 educators of the Boulder Valley School District.

Board Chair David Ziegert Grateful To Be Part Of Impact On Education’s Evolution

‘We need to be proactive in driving toward change’

By Shay Castle

David Ziegert always intended to be a high school math teacher. But his nighttime job at Celestial Seasonings — taken to pay for classes at the University of Colorado — turned into a career. Ziegert was with the Boulder-based tea company for 22 years, eventually becoming general manager.

Despite the change of course, Ziegert never completely gave up on his first dream.

“When I chose to advance my career at Celestial,” he said, “it was always with the thought that when I turned 50 or 55, I could still be a high school math teacher.”

Though not in the way he expected, Ziegert did find his way back to education. In 2019 — now an operating partner at Boulder-based Sunrise Strategic Partners — he joined the board of Impact on Education. 

“It’s been an amazing experience,” he said. “It allows me to feel I’m having an impact in the lives of students.”

At Sunrise, Ziegert helps organizations navigate growth or “evolutions.” That skillset has come in handy during his four years on the board, a time of almost constant adjustment.

His tenure was marked first by the worldwide disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, and then the local devastation of the Marshall Fire. Impact on Education took an active role in both, helping to provide meals, transportation vouchers, child care and internet access as well as mental health and trauma support.

Impact on Education went from an organization that people “had heard of but really didn’t know what they did” to one intimately involved in families’ lives. 

“I remember being at the Louisville Street Faire last year and talking to people (who said) ‘You were the ones who helped me when we were displaced by the Marshall Fire, you helped me with transportation because we had to live in Broomfield.’ 

“It’s amazing to be able to say I was, in a way, part of that.”

He gives most of the credit to Impact on Education’s executive team, and BVSD superintendent Rob Anderson. 

“I’m so impressed with the leadership of Dr. Anderson (and) I can’t say enough about Allison (Billings, Impact on Education’s executive director) and the team,” Ziegert said. “The work they do each and every day, being champions and advocates for the kids… It’s very important to me to feel like I’m making a difference. The work I do with Impact on Education scratches that itch for me.”

Ziegert is particularly excited about Impact on Education’s work on mental health, particularly the funding of wellness centers in several schools. The organization will invest $1.2 million of their $2.6 million budget on mental health in the 2023-2024 school year.

“Through my own kids’ experience (of) the hardship that they internalized as part of Marshall Fire, COVID, the current state of the state… I see that need,” he said. “Trying to help my children navigate through challenges of growing up and transitioning into an adult, regardless of how much money I wanted to spend, the mental health resources were not available.

“We’re not going to solve the whole thing, but the work Impact on Education is doing by funding those centers, I truly believe it’s going to have impacts that we will never see or hear or know about to really change the course for an entire generation of students.”

An enduring focus for Ziegert is closing BVSD’s large and persistent achievement gap that COVID exacerbated and exposed. Ziegert believes Impact on Education can play a role in raising awareness, the first step to finding solutions. His time on the board elevated his own awareness, for which he is extremely grateful. 

“My work with Impact on Education really opened my eyes to some of the inequities, that not everyone has the same opportunities available to them,” he said. “It’s not enough for me to maintain my status quo: We need to be very proactive in driving toward that change and filling the gaps that lead to inequitable opportunities. 

“It’s great hearing perspectives that I wouldn’t necessarily have exposure to. There are pieces that will be part of my thinking going forward.”


Impact on Education is a nonprofit organization, and we depend on our community to help us put our mission into action. We need your help to to provide opportunity and resources to 29,000 students and 4,000 educators in the Boulder Valley School District.

Dr. Amy Pickens helps BVSD students find a sense of belonging

Impact on Education recognizes that opportunities are not level in education across racial and socioeconomic lines. Our programs and investments help to identify and remove inequities in public education, ensuring all Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) students receive an excellent and equitable education.

Today we want you to meet someone working tirelessly to advance equity from inside the district. Amy (Nelson) Pickens is starting her fourth year working with BVSD administration and currently serves as the Director of Equity and Community Engagement.

We’re also thrilled to share that Amy is one of three new members joining our Board of Directors in September 2023! You’ll learn more about all of our new members soon.

What does equitable education mean to you?

Every stakeholder, every individual in our system – student, staff member, family, community member – exists in a positive and inclusive culture of belonging. Equity is honoring and affirming identities, cultures, individual strengths, language, and interests. 

During the 2022-23 school year Impact on Education provided funding for racial trauma and healing counselors to work with BVSD students and families.

It’s ensuring we are providing equitable opportunities, access, and resources to meet the uniqueness of each of our students. It is when every member of our BVSD community feels seen, heard, valued, and supported within both their school and larger BVSD community. It is all these things and all encompassing – equity touches everything and everyone. It is both individual and collective. It is using an equity lens with every decision we make and honoring the voices closest to the inequity we are trying to address.

Equitable education means that students know that their voices, identities, hopes and dreams, families, and communities are valued.

How did your experiences teaching abroad and in special education help prepare you for this role?

We all view the world through our own unique lens, one that is informed by our education, our beliefs, and our lived experiences. The lens in which I view the world and educational systems was significantly altered after teaching abroad.

I talk often about mirror work and the importance of individual reflection. We need both insight into self and insight into context if we are going to create the change we hope to create.

While working overseas, every one of my students on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) was completing the rigorous IB (International Baccalaureate) Diploma Programme. Additionally, the vast majority of students I worked with were not learning in their primary language, and many spoke three or more languages. This led me to reflect on my work as a special educator prior to my experience overseas. Was I contributing to other educators viewing students through a deficit lens by focusing too much on their disabilities and not enough on their strengths? While I cared deeply about my students, I was not giving them everything they needed to thrive in their general education classes and I’m thankful my experience teaching abroad helped alter my thinking.  

Tell us about the work your team does to advance equity in BVSD.

The work is grounded in building trust and fostering a culture of belonging, but equity touches everything. We work with every district stakeholder, including students and families, district leaders, principals, employees, and our community. 

“Everyone wants to feel a sense of belonging. If we can put the foundational pieces into place to build a climate and a culture of belonging, students will thrive.”

Amy Pickens, BVSD’s Director of Equity and Community Engagement

It is not always easy for our educators to apply an equity lens. We all approach this work with our unique lens and our lens is only as extensive as our education, lived experiences, people we encounter, books read, lived experiences, etc.  

Part of equity work is consistently taking time to reflect individually on the ways our own lens helps shape our education system and either interrupts or contributes to inequities.  This is hard, but necessary work. While we are charged with supporting our staff and providing training, language, tools, and strategies to help build a culture of belonging in our classrooms and schools, the individual work each employee must do is just as critical to our collective equity work. 

In our work, we often discuss the systemic barriers – including socioeconomic status and race – to student success. How do you talk about these barriers?

Too often when we are talking about systemic barriers we focus on ‘fixing’ students or families.  While the intention may be good, the impact often leads to internalized deficit narratives and validates negative perceptions of students, families, and or their communities.

As educators, we have to continuously reflect on (often referred to as mirror work), name, and disrupt this type of thinking. While it’s important to acknowledge barriers and opportunity gaps, labels such as ‘at-risk’ can be stigmatizing but are often used when discussing systemic barriers to student success. 

If we’re going to talk about risk factors, we must also acknowledge protective factors – strengths & attributes of individuals, families, & communities – so that we don’t further contribute to false narratives and stereotypes.  

We need to view our students, families, and community holistically which requires us to not only consider the perceived barriers, but also the assets. Using an asset-based approach mitigates and even eliminates risk factors.  

What is the Youth Equity Council?

YEC (Youth Equity Council) is an amazing group of students with diverse intersecting identities that advise the district on issues of equity. While I co-founded the Youth Equity Council and help guide their leadership, YEC is an entirely student-led group. Students are recruited in the fall and most of the members are looking for an opportunity to have their voices heard and to create necessary & lasting change.  

The founding student leaders graduated this past May and I’m so proud of each of them and their accomplishments, as well as their lasting impact on generations that come after them. Working directly with our youth gives me so much hope and also motivates me to continue tackling equity issues in public education.  An individual win is a collective win and moves our work forward.  

Read a recent Daily Camera article about the Youth Equity Council.

Bringing her expertise to Impact on Education

BVSD is fortunate to have Amy helping empower students, staff and families in our community – her contributions are critical to the health of the district. We’re eager to see how her work with BVSD continues to evolve and welcome her to our Board of Directors.


Impact on Education is a nonprofit organization, and we depend on our community to help us put our mission into action. We need your help to to provide opportunity and resources to 29,000 students and 4,000 educators in the Boulder Valley School District.

Staff Spotlight: Mieke Bushhouse

Mieke joined Impact on Education in 2022 and is responsible for managing our finance, accounting, and operations as the organization grows and evolves. With experience working for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, she has been instrumental in building processes, providing insightful reporting, and managing all aspects of our finances and human resources. 

Why do you support public education?

I am a product of public education from kindergarten through my Master’s degree, so I know what a powerful resource public education can be in someone’s life. But, there are so many reasons why the experience may be short of exceptional or even intensely negative for students.

We have to take ownership of addressing systemic barriers that are in place in order to improve equity and inclusiveness in education. This organization is uniquely positioned with the school district to act nimbly as student needs change and emerge. Impact on Education has the ability to help bring the right resources to the learners who need them.

What do you remember about your favorite teacher?

My fifth grade teacher, Ms. Ruimveld, showed me the keen awareness teachers have of their students, along with their capacity to creatively reach students.

I was a quiet kid (and am still a pretty quiet adult), who knew the answers, but wouldn’t raise my hand to participate. Instead of leaving well enough alone, Ms. Ruimveld created a very simple game where she put a sticky note on my desk for me to tally the number of times I raised my hand.

As she guessed, my desire to do well on the tally game turned out to be stronger than the discomfort I felt raising my hand (and possibly giving the wrong answer!). It was such a small thing, but that individualized attention made a huge difference in my educational experience and I appreciate the effort that educators make to reach learners where they are.

More about Mieke

She grew up in southwest Michigan, and while her knowledge of Big Ten sports may be lacking, she can provide detailed reviews of libraries and delis in Ann Arbor. She moved to Denver in 2005 and takes any opportunity she has to be outside or go mountain biking with her husband. She holds an MBA from University of Colorado Denver and a BA from the University of Michigan.

What makes her smile

A cup of coffee outside on a crisp and sunny morning, spring flowers, her tiny city dogs running on a trail, someone having an ah-ha moment.

Ask her about

Mountain biking, all types of cuisine and cooking, birding.


Impact on Education is a nonprofit organization, and we depend on our community to help us put our mission into action. We need your help to to provide opportunity and resources to 29,000 students and 4,000 educators in the Boulder Valley School District.

Staff Spotlight: Katie DiMercurio

Katie started working with Impact on Education in May 2022 to support our fundraising team and she’s been instrumental in helping us engage more supporters and expand the reach of our work. We’re excited for her to shift into a new role on the team this month – Program Director – where she’ll manage our existing programs and investments, identify new opportunities, and monitor their impact.

Why Katie supports public education

Katie believes it is important to be involved in a meaningful way in her community. “Public education has the potential to be a great equalizer in our world,” she says. “It gives students from all different backgrounds chances and opportunities. Impact on Education is vital to ensuring that kids continue to have those opportunities to succeed and grow into amazing humans.”

Katie spent six years as an elementary music school teacher in Arizona and Colorado and got to play and teach kids every day. She says it was an amazing start to her career, but she ended up moving toward working in nonprofits because she wanted to be able to do more for her whole community. She moved back to Colorado in 2013, receiving a Masters in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management and beginning to work with human services nonprofits.

How her fundraising experience will help build strong programs

Katie is looking forward to providing support for educators and students across the school district. Her background mixes teaching and planning experience with fundraising and relationship management – a unique blend of skills that will drive our programming.

Katie’s classroom experience combined with her organizational skills and collaborative approach makes her the perfect fit. We’re thrilled to have Katie guide our programs and investment decisions. The support we’re offering to students and schools right now, from early childhood education to Wellness Centers to career readiness, will benefit from her skills and experiences.

– Allison Billings, Executive Director

Supporting and encouraging youth is where Katie’s heart lies. She’s passionate about making a difference in her community and specifically in the lives of young people. This career change allows her to go back to doing just that.

More about Katie

She enjoys traveling (her husband is a pilot!), exploring nature, spending time with their two kitties, and working on never-ending house projects.

Ask her about
Teaching and playing music, what book she’s currently reading


Impact on Education is a nonprofit organization, and we depend on our community to help us put our mission into action. We need your help to to provide opportunity and resources to 29,000 students and 4,000 educators in the Boulder Valley School District.

Impact on Education welcomes four new board members

Our Board of Directors plays an important role in our work to empower students, engage the community and help the Boulder Valley School District evolve. Our nominating committee led an effort to identify areas where the Board needed to grow, and to support this work and further our mission, we’re bringing four new community members onto our Board this month.

We’re so excited to welcome the individuals below who will each bring unique talents and perspectives to our work. We would also like to share a heartfelt thank you to Samara Williams, Principal at Emerald Elementary, whose term just ended after serving on our Board since 2016.

Jennifer Sterling 

Managing Director, Partner at Sterling-Rice Group (SRG)

Jen has over 20 years of experience providing strategic leadership, building strong collaborative teams, and delivering targeted results. She is focused on partnering with clients to build strong, emotionally relevant brands by understanding the target audience and keeping the consumer at the focus of all initiatives. Jen is a mother of two BVSD students who has led SRG’s outreach programs working directly with nonprofit organizations. SRG is a majority women-owned and led organization that  provides branding and marketing expertise to a variety of major lifestyle and food brands across the country. 

Jann Oldham

Semi-Retired, Consultant at Community by Design 

Jann spent most of her career working on affordable housing, community development and strategic planning including over 15 years as the City of Boulder’s Housing Community Development Manager. Jann’s served on a number of Boards throughout the Denver Metro Area, including the Denver Homeless Task Force, Mile High Community Loan Fund, Colorado Housing and Finance Authority’s New Market Tax Credit Advisory Committee, State of Colorado Housing Board, Boulder County Community Action Program Board, Community Foundation of Boulder County Board of Trustees, and Emergency Family Assistance Association. Jann has two children who graduated from BVSD, and looks forward to working on issues around educational equity.

Cathleen Kendall

Attorney and volunteer

Cathleen is an attorney by training and a lifelong learner. She just finished graduate school in May receiving certificates in Homeland Security & Emergency Management Leadership and National Security Intelligence. Cathleen is a BVSD alum and the parent of two recent BVSD students (class of 2020 and class of 2022). Cathleen worked as a guardian ad litem in Adams County representing abused and neglected children and worked for the State of Colorado helping to create a new model for representation of children in Dependency and Neglect cases. Prior to that, she represented entities in venture fund formations and did other work as a corporate attorney. She was also on various boards, most recently the Board of Fairview Choir Organization for 5 years and President for 2, and volunteers with organizations including Impact on Education. 

Tanya Santee

Principal, Birch Elementary (Broomfield)

Tanya Santee has worked in public education in both Douglas and Boulder counties. She has been a Science teacher, Dean of Students, Assistant Principal, and Principal in 20 years as a career educator. She lives in Louisville and has two children who attend BVSD in addition to leading Birch Elementary School, a Broomfield elementary school with wide disparities, so she brings a great perspective on the needs of students and educators in our District. 


Impact on Education is a nonprofit organization, and we depend on our community to help us put our mission into action. We need your help to to provide opportunity and resources to 30,000 students and 4,000 educators of the Boulder Valley School District.

I first became involved with Impact on Education in 2012 when my Uncle Blake asked my family if we would be interested in sorting school supplies into backpacks for Crayons to Calculators. During my high school career I stayed involved with Crayons to Calculators and pursued a variety of other volunteer opportunities and extracurricular activities that led me to the University of Denver where I have been studying Psychology and Sociology for the past several years. 

My next opportunity to become involved with Impact on Education was as a third year college student, sitting in my parents basement at the start of a global pandemic. I learned about their volunteer events and fundraising committee and after attending initial meetings I had no doubt that I wanted to be more involved with the organization.

The importance of the right team

When I applied for an Impact on Education internship, I expected to have similar experiences as my peers: they learned a lot at their respective internships but they were not valued as team members or colleagues. After starting my communications internship in January 2020, I quickly realized this would not be the case.

My input was not just tolerated but requested and valued. This was one of my biggest takeaways from the internship: how effective and productive an organization and team can be under the right leadership and supportive, constructive environment. 

I’m incredibly grateful for these experiences which, above all, taught me that my drive and goal in life is to utilize and reallocate resources towards populations, communities, and individuals who most need them.

Kate Snedeker

While my expectations about the internship were accurate, it was significantly more challenging than I had expected. The team and I quickly learned which areas I excelled and which areas I struggled more, such as social media and communications. The team was responsive and receptive, so I began working more with our Development Director, Darcy.

What I learned working at Impact on Education

I switched my focus to the Impact Awards where I got to truly stretch my wings. I was responsible for coordinating the partnerships with the local businesses who graciously partnered with Impact on Education in order to thank our education community. This particular experience taught me how well I do in the community, engaging with this type of outreach.

We decided to extend my spring internship through the summer so I could help with the annual gala, Together We Climb. As my work transitioned to the gala I had an opportunity to stretch my community outreach wings again in an effort to prepare for our silent auction. This gave me the chance to be creative in considering the items our community may like to bid on in the auction while working with other companies and businesses to procure them. True to Darcy’s sage advice, it really never did hurt to ask. 

Aside from the community outreach, I was able to work with our Communications Director, Catherine to get better and more familiar with the programs involved with communications and social media. I feel so much more confident in both working with the programs Cat taught me and wading through work challenges that may not come so easily to me.

What’s next for me

I’m incredibly grateful for these experiences which, above all, taught me that my drive and goal in life is to utilize and reallocate resources towards populations, communities, and individuals who most need them. I am looking forward to graduating from the University of Denver this November and turning towards a career as a social worker. 

By Karen Antonacci

Carly Hare’s Pawnee name <i kita u hoo <i ]a hiks — which translates to “kind leader of men” — turned out to be prophetic as the Impact on Education board vice chair has made a career of navigating the intersections of philanthropy, identity and equity.

A family that values education

Carly is a citizen of the Pawnee nation and grew up in rural tribal Oklahoma. Her family placed immense value on education.

“Both of my grandfathers — one was full-blood Pawnee and one was full-blood Yankton — they were college graduates in the 1940s,” she said. “My grandma that married my Pawnee grandfather … she went back to school in the 1960s because my grandfather said it was the best insurance policy she could have, to have an education and be independent and support herself and the family if she needed to.”

Carly excelled in school, spending summers in STEM or basketball camp. By the time she graduated high school, she had a lengthy resume.

“I was class president then vice president and then started a tutoring program as part of my (National Beta Club) service and then was captain my senior year of the basketball and softball team but also the friendliest and most unique in my superlatives,” Carly said before laughing. “Granted, we had the biggest class in 10 years at 50 kids.”

Even though she graduated with a 4.0 GPA, Carly said she felt her education experience didn’t adequately prepare her for her post-secondary experience. 

“I didn’t have the most rigorous high school education where it felt like I was challenged and tapped in ways that unearthed my interest in different areas. It was more the external science and math camps and the application-based projects I got involved in that were more of interest to me,” she said.

Building a career

Carly started at Colorado Mesa State College (now Mesa State University) on a full-ride scholarship as a biology major. By the end of her freshman year, she had lost her scholarship.

“It took me three semesters to figure out how to study and I made a major shift,” she said. “I switched my major to mass communication and a focus on public relations and it took five years before I graduated. But it was a good shift, because I knew I could be a science communicator and I could understand math and science in a way that a lot of people don’t have easy access to.”

Carly had to work three jobs the rest of her college career to continue her education.

When she graduated, she started a long track record of working for national native nonprofit organizations including the Council of Energy Resource Tribes, the Native American Rights Fund and serving as executive director of Native Americans in Philanthropy.

She became aware of Impact on Education when she worked as a program director at the Community Foundation Boulder County. Additionally, Carly has served on the boards of numerous nonprofits and advised and educated philanthropic professionals about improving diversity and inclusion.

Focusing on the underserved

“Predominantly the last 11 years professionally I’ve been working on this movement that is asking how do we change philanthropic practices and relationships to center on traditionally underinvested-in communities,” she explained.

Carly uses that expertise as the vice chair of the IOE board by leading on diversity, equity and inclusion work. That dovetails nicely with IOE’s work to fill the gaps for BVSD students to make sure they have all the resources they need to succeed.

“I hope to be able to bring those resources, skills and frameworks into IOE around our internal culture and climate change we’re going through with priority and commitment work, and then externally we are thinking about the evolution of how we are supporting students and the district at large,” she said. “It is a really great way to bring what has been strategy and theory into actual practice.”

In her career, Carly said she has learned that successful nonprofits go to the communities they serve for solutions to problems.

“We can’t find a solution for other people and expect it to stick. No matter how well-intentioned and resourced we are, it won’t be as successful as when we’re in actual communication and partnership and discussion and active community building with the impacted and affected communities.”

Helping students find their path

In terms of big-picture goals for Impact on Education, Carly draws from her own public school and collegiate experiences. She feels it’s important that students have access to education that encourages critical analysis as well as offers opportunities for them to explore their passions.

“Education should allow students to be fully present, so the arts and culture and athletics are high priorities for me. I want to bring forward that really robust access to fully engaged students to see where they can thrive and the tools they need to succeed in the future,” she said.

Setting students up to succeed in the future means supporting them as they transition to a postsecondary educational journey, whether it’s a trade school, courses in leadership and small business management or a traditional college experience, Carly added.

“Those pieces I don’t think were offered as readily or accessible 20 years ago,” she mused. “Now, we can think about how we help people find their passion and pathways and outline what those could actually look like so you don’t feel like you’re stumbling through it all.”

By Karen Antonacci

Today, Carlos Pacheco is the CEO of Boulder-based Premier Members Federal Credit Union and Board Chair of Impact on Education, but he still remembers the teachers who impacted him the most when he was a student in Northern California.

Impactful teachers

“There was Mr. Carney, back in 7th and 8th grade when you had one teacher for most of your classes. He was an ex-Marine and he was awesome. He joked around when it was appropriate but he always made sure you were learning and drove you to be better,” Carlos remembered.

Carlos’s parents immigrated from Lima, Peru and sacrificed and saved in order to send their six kids to Catholic schools in California. For Carlos, the experience solidified an appreciation of teachers who can lay a solid educational foundation for students. 

Now, as a parent of two teenage daughters in the public school system, Carlos said he sees great teachers having even more of an impact as they had to provide remote instruction and stability through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I distinctly remember the teachers that made an impact on me and I see my daughters experiencing the same thing. Teachers are working tirelessly and more than anyone ever expected of them in the last year. If you have a good teacher, you will remember that for the rest of your life,” Carlos said. 

Carlos Pachecho, IOE Board Chair

What motivates him to volunteer

IOE’s mission to support students in Boulder Valley public schools with resources to address critical needs and opportunity gaps resonates with Carlos. He said it’s vital to provide every student with the right tools so they can make the most of their education. When COVID-19 restrictions forced many students to learn online for the first time, he was impressed by IOE’s push to make sure BVSD students had what they needed to learn. 

“We hope to be that connective tissue between what the public institutions are doing and what the private families are able to do and provide that connection, whether it’s technology, mentoring, supplies,” Carlos said. “It’s great seeing our ability to get out in the community and deliver school starter packs. You have to have the right tools to be able to get the most out of education like food or internet connection and we have the opportunity to close those gaps.”

Committed to equity

Carlos compared education to a race and IOE’s work to making sure every student is in place on their starting blocks, and has their running shoes on.

“Everyone should be able to reach their educational attainment to the fullest extent, whatever that might mean,” he said “After high school I started junior college, but then I got a really good job and I didn’t go back and get my bachelor’s degree until later in life, but that foundation of K-12 was so important. We should eliminate those gaps and get students set up to explore their passions and pursue them in trade or business.”

Carlos also serves as a Board Director for the Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau. Perhaps then it is no surprise that when Carlos thinks about what lies on the horizon for IOE, he thinks like a businessman looking to franchise a successful endeavor. 

Although other school districts have similar organizations to Impact on Education, he would like to see the successful effort to connect public school students with the resources they need for education replicated across the country.

Our small but mighty team is thrilled to welcome Catherine Wessling as Impact on Education’s new Communications Director.

A hybrid professional, Catherine is a creative conductor working at the intersection of storytelling, design and project management. Working in communications since her early career, she honed her ability to both build and execute communications strategy while leading marketing for Haibike USA and building entrepreneurship programs at Leeds School of Business.

Catherine will drive Impact on Education’s annual communications strategy. She’s also responsible for our website, social media, and digital marketing.

Catherine grew up in Louisville, Colorado and is a BVSD alumna, having attended Louisville Middle School, Monarch K-8 and Monarch High School. When she’s not supporting educational equity in Boulder County, Catherine advocates for local history by volunteering with The Louisville History Foundation. She lives in her beloved hometown with her daughter and husband.

4 Fun Facts About Catherine

  1. She was part of the first class to attend all four years at Monarch High School.
  2. Her favorite font is Montserrat.
  3. She’d rather indulge with black licorice than chocolate.
  4. She has a chihuahua named Monkey.

“As a BVSD alumna and the mother of a three-year-old, I’m particularly interested in supporting our local education system,” Catherine shared. “But what truly drew me to Impact on Education is the ability to use my talents to help our local community close the achievement gap. Now, perhaps more than ever, the importance of local education is paramount.”

Catherine is getting to know us, and she’d love to hear from you. Reach out and introduce yourself!

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Impact on Education
721 Front Street, Suite A
Louisville, CO 80027

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