This after-school reading club helps emerging bilingual students

Over the past few years Jessica Grant Van Lankvelt, a literacy interventionist at Alicia Sanchez Elementary School, noticed many students who are emerging bilingual did not have opportunities to practice reading in English. Sometimes parents are literate in different languages or they work evening hours which makes them unavailable to support their student’s literacy during the week.

This can make it hard for these students to progress in their English literacy skills as quickly as their monolingual English peers.

Jessica Grant Van Lankvelt
Literacy Interventionist at Alicia Sanchez Elementary School

Jessica wanted to level the playing field and provide these students opportunities to grow as readers. She received an Academic Opportunity Fund grant from Impact on Education to start an after-school reading club to support these students. The grant funding allows the school to pay staff to run the program.

How does the reading club work?

17 emerging bilingual students in 1st through 3rd grades participate in the Reading Club program after school. Each week students practice reading and listening with program volunteers. Over 20 volunteers – both students from Peak to Peak Charter School and adults from the community – support the program.

Reading Club provides students with opportunities to practice reading in English. They also get to practice newly learned literacy skills with volunteers who can give immediate, corrective feedback. Volunteers also read books of the students’ choice to them, helping their oral language and vocabulary, which are necessary for reading comprehension. Both the acts of practicing reading and listening to proficient readers read aloud are important for growing strong readers.

I just love the energy of the students and watching how they gain competency over time. And I enjoy building relationships with them through reading, which is something I personally love to do.

Nancy L., Reading Club Volunteer

Empowering young students

At the end of the school year Jessica will be able to see the progress these students have made on their school assessments. But in just a few weeks they’ve already seen some students build stronger accuracy and fluency. “Students feel empowered and like they are part of a team,” she says. “And their parents have been very supportive and encouraged by the extra help given to their students.”

I have noticed that my child has made a lot of progress and she has more retention in her reading.

Parent of Reading Club participant at Alicia Sanchez Elementary

This weekly program allows struggling readers to experience the joy of books and learn about the world around them. Students also see how their practice with volunteers is helping to build their reading skills, building confidence in their reading.

Engaging students in learning 

Our Academic Opportunity Fund provides educators and schools with the resources they need to bridge the opportunity gap. 

We offered two rounds of funding during the 2023-24 school year and awarded $154,680 across 141 grants.

From tutoring and equipment to field trip fees and newcomer student support, these grants expand access to resources and opportunities for BVSD students. Supporters like you allow us to provide these impactful grants to educators across the district, making a difference in students’ lives. 

You can help by making a gift to support our work or becoming an Impact on Education volunteer and helping review grant applications like Jessica’s next year!

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to students across the Boulder Valley School District?

How mock interviews support career readiness for high schoolers

For students in our Career Readiness Academy, mock interviews are more than just a practice run – they’re a safe space to explore their potential, polish their skills and practice professional communication.

In today’s fast-paced world where first impressions can make or break opportunities, these workshops help students build confidence and prepare for real-world challenges ahead. They also offer a unique opportunity for volunteers to engage with the next generation, sharing their expertise and learning in the process.

Thank you to all of our volunteers! These workshops rely on people like you donating your time and talent. We appreciate you, and so do these students!


More workshop photos can be found at the end of this story.

The mock interview experience

Participating in mock interviews can be a transformative experience for students. It’s during these three 7-minute interviews that they learn the subtle art of making eye contact, the importance of speaking confidently about their achievements, and how to navigate common interview questions.

I loved the workshop, as it progressed I gained confidence and it became much easier.

– Laura M., BVSD student

Students often start the workshop with a mix of excitement and nervousness, but as they engage in simulated interviews, receive feedback, and observe their peers, a profound change occurs. They leave the workshop not just with enhanced interview skills, but a newfound confidence in their ability to communicate their ideas and aspirations.

I really liked how many different interviewers there were to get multiple perspectives. 

– Henry D., BVSD Student

Our workshop volunteers bring diverse professional backgrounds to the experience and also find the workshops to be rewarding. Volunteers witness firsthand the eagerness and potential of the students and get to provide constructive feedback and share insights from their own experiences. The workshops are a reminder of the diverse paths to success and the importance of guidance and encouragement in shaping young careers.

Laying the groundwork for success

Mock interviews are just one of 10 workshops that make up the Career Readiness Academy, helping ensure students are adequately prepared for the interviews. Before this workshop students have explored their purpose and passions, learned about possible careers and BVSD opportunities that can support them, and practiced professional communication and interview skills.

One of the most important steps students take during the Career Readiness Academy is creating a resume. 

[I was surprised] how much they progressed from the first round to the third round of interviews. And how well prepared their resumes were!

– Erika W., Mock Interview Volunteer

Learning how to highlight their skills, experiences and achievements prepares them for the immediate task of presenting themselves professionally, but also instills a sense of confidence and self-awareness. 

More than just interview skills

For students these workshops extend beyond the goal of improving interview skills – the feedback and process often sparks self-reflection and personal growth. They also serve as a platform for networking, allowing students to connect with professionals who can offer guidance, mentorship, and sometimes even opportunities for internships or jobs.

The experience was eye-opening around what I thought I knew about teenagers. It was positive and exciting to learn more about IOE, and the volunteer team was energized, positive, and varied, which was great to experience and be part of.

– Emily T., Mock Interview Volunteer

[I enjoyed] the variety and the opportunity to speak to the kids. I never find myself interacting with students in that age group so it was a lovely step out of my norm.

– Kyle A., Mock Interview Volunteer

For volunteers the experience is equally enriching. Engaging with students allows them to give back to the community in a meaningful way, sharing their knowledge and experiences to help shape the workforce of tomorrow. It also offers them a fresh perspective on the challenges and aspirations of this younger generation.

A foundation for future success

Mock interview workshops show the value of practical, experiential learning.They underscore the importance of preparation, practice, and feedback in finding professional success, and offer both students and volunteers an invaluable experience that resonates long after the interviews are over.

Hearing the students describe what they learned from the interviews was the best part!

– Erika W., Mock Interview Volunteer

Through all of the Career Readiness Academy workshops, the journey of career exploration and personal growth goes hand in hand, laying a solid foundation for future success.

Photo Gallery

Click on any photo below to enlarge.

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to students across the Boulder Valley School District?

Daily acts of impact: Board member Ema Lyman’s 24-year career empowering BVSD youth

By Alison Meyer

After dedicating 24 years to serving the young people of Boulder Valley School District (BVSD), Ema Lyman isn’t interested in measuring the broad achievements of her career. Instead, she prefers to focus on the impact she makes each day. “I help where I can. I smile a lot and if I get a smile back, I’ve succeeded. I don’t need to know if my students will grow into success stories — my work is unconditional.”

Lyman, a McKinney Vento specialist and child welfare liaison, provides support to students experiencing housing instability and those in the foster care system. She is also a member of the Impact on Education Board of Directors

Born and raised in Santiago, Chile, Lyman grew up in a family that deeply valued education.

“My parents instilled in me that education was more important than anything,” she said. “Education for the sake of being educated, not for the sake of advancing in status or society, getting a wonderful job or being famous.”

While attending an all-girls Catholic school taught by American and Italian nuns, Lyman, who is no longer affiliated with a religion, learned the value of helping others. “To the nuns it wasn’t important to go to mass or confession,” she said. “The important thing was to feed the family down the street. I was very fortunate because they taught me civic duty and social support.”

New culture, same commitment

After finishing high school, Lyman began studying architecture. Around that time, her father’s company transferred him to an office in Denver, Colorado, and the entire family moved with him. Lyman finished college at the University of Colorado at Boulder, earning an environmental design and planning degree.

Soon after graduation, Lyman got married and had three children. “I was able to be a stay-at-home mom, which is what I always wanted,” she shared. Curious about her children’s experience in a North American school, Lyman became an active volunteer with BVSD. As she volunteered, Lyman started to notice demographic changes in the district.

“There were many more children of color and second language speakers, and the support for them wasn’t there.”

That first-hand experience would stick with Lyman and eventually bring her back to the school district. As her children grew older, Lyman went to work as an interior designer. After a ten-year career, Lyman couldn’t deny her desire to do something about the disparity she saw between schools and her clients. “I learned how much money this state, city and this country has,” she said. “I knew that it was imperative to channel all that into something that would better the community and society in general.”

Officially an educator

Taking action on everything she had learned so far, Lyman applied for a job with BVSD and was immediately hired. Initially, she worked in the Office of Open Enrollment and then as a community liaison and a language assessor. In her 50s, wanting to know more about how to help English learners, Lyman returned to school again. She earned her master’s degree in multicultural and English-as-a-second language education. 

Through her work in the schools Lyman learned about Impact on Education, eventually joining their board.

“It was a natural marriage for me to volunteer with them because I was already very involved and aware of everything they do and provide to our community.”

As someone who has worked directly with the recipients of Impact on Education’s support, Lyman knows firsthand the critical role the foundation plays in Boulder Valley schools. 

Through her approach to taking each day as an opportunity to give, Lyman has spent a lifetime dedicated to empowering young people through education. “To gain a measure of immortality and success in life is to enable and guide the next generation, whether they’re your children or not. It was a message given to me by the nuns whom I loved so dearly and I still believe it.”

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to students across the Boulder Valley School District?

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

CEO
Campminder

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.

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to students across 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.”

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to students across 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.

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to students across 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.

BEFORE YOU GO …

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

BEFORE YOU GO …

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. 

BEFORE YOU GO …

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. 

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Impact on Education
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