Community Educational Outreach Staff
Vanessa Peterson, Executive Director
Vanessa received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2009 and her Master of Nonprofit Management degree from Regis University. After moving to Denver in 2010, Vanessa began a volunteer position teaching English to ESL students in the Denver community. It was there that she discovered her passion for adult education and the nonprofit sector.
She began working with CEO in 2010 as a GED instructor. There she found a way to expand her experience in adult education beyond teaching English. After graduating from the Master of Nonprofit Management program at Regis University, she has expanded her skills in all aspects of the nonprofit sector. Her responsibilities as Executive Director include training and managing instructors, organizational development, as well as direct teaching and center management responsibilities.
Erica Jackson, Director of Operations
Erica has two Bachelor degrees one in Business (Campbell University, N.C.) and another in Psychology (University of Wyoming, W.Y.) and a Master’s degree in Psychology.
Erica has enormous amounts of work experience in profit and nonprofit industries, most recently many years within the organization of WIC (Women, Infant, and Children). Erica believes education is the key to being successful in life, and everyone should be given an opportunity to receive solid instruction; CEO is the place to make that happen!
CEO at ICCS (Men’s Facility) – Lakewood
Will graduated from the University of North Carolina Asheville in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. He worked the following year with AmeriCorps as the Adult Education Coordinator for a non-profit in Brooklyn. As his interest in adult education grew, Will obtained his TEFL certification and spent two years in the Middle East teaching ESL in Amman, Jordan. On his return to the US, Will worked as the Lead ESL/GED Instructor for Marion Correctional Institution, a close-security state prison for adult males in North Carolina.
Will’s career is directly guided by his deep passion for social work. He has focused his professional life on advocating for people and communities that suffer from discrimination, disenfranchisement, isolation, and prejudice. He believes that access to language and education are basic human rights.
Scott grew up in Lakewood. He has a Bachelor of Science in Ministry and Bible from Platte Valley Bible College and a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with an emphasis on Mathematics from Grand Canyon University. Scott is especially proud of completing his second degree having started it thirty years earlier.
Scott exclaims, “I love to teach!.” Scott has taught adults and children as a minister. He spent three years working with Special Education students in an Elementary School. He assisted people from the community who were pursuing their GEDs with CEO at Jefferson High School, for two years. Scott is now at ICCS, Lakewood.
Scott believes that good work and an education are essential elements to avoiding recidivism. He feels that CEO is an important part of the solution. Scott states “We help our clients to be successful, in their program and in the community. In the process, they learn something about themselves”.
Born and raised in rural East Central Illinois, 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. She currently works at the Men’s Lakewood ICCS campus teaching Language Arts.
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.”
CEO at ICCS West – (Women’s Facility) – Lakewood
Michelle received her Bachelor’s of Science degree from Texas State University, San Marcos, TX. Michelle followed a career in environmental science where she worked for the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, and the Colorado Department of Agriculture. During this time she took six months to volunteer in South America as an ESL teacher as well as environmental stewardship to children in Ecuador.
She also has volunteered with the Big Brother Big Sister Program for over three years as a mentor. In addition, she volunteered with the non-profit organization, Growing Home, as a tutor of math and reading for first graders at Tennyson Knolls Elementary School. During these volunteer experiences within the non-profit sector, she realized her passion for teaching.
Michelle changed her experience and background has led her to pursue a new career as an adult educator instructor. Here she can help give others the power of education and respect that everyone deserves.
In 2001, Ellen discovered a volunteer opportunity to assist adults who needed to learn English. After moving back to Denver in 2010, Ellen attained full time employment as an adult education instructor teaching English for Second Language Learners with a few of her students also studying to take their GED exams. The last few years, Ellen has only been focusing on assisting students with practicing the skills necessary to change their lives by furthering their education through the attainment of their high school equivalency diploma.
Ellen realizes the difference an education can make in a person’s life and she brings her passion for life-long learning to the classroom through practical step-by-step instruction. She is excited to help CEO students access their own personal way of learning to master the skills needed for educational and employment success.
Ellen holds a B.S. in Psychology from Carrol University, an M.A. in Psychology from Naropa University, as well as the Adult Basic Education Authorization from the Colorado Department of Education.
Candy Markle, ICCS West and Stout Street Instructor
CEO at ICCS Greeley
After retiring from Colorado State University, Janelle began a new career as an adult educational instructor with the CEO program in Greeley. She passionately believes in education and hopes to help others achieve their goals in obtaining their GED. She enjoys the challenge of different learning styles and is rewarded when the student says, “Aha, I get it now!”
Marilyn graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Education from the University of Northern Colorado. She taught high school students for several years in eastern Colorado and Colorado Springs before settling in Greeley as a high school business teacher for Weld County Schools. While teaching in Greeley, Marilyn received her Master’s degree from Lesley University.
Retiring from public education, gave Marilyn the opportunity to work part-time as a CEO Math instructor. She enjoys working one-on-one with clients to help them make positive-life changes.
David Rodriguez, Instructor
Tawni Wingstrom, Instructor
CEO at ICCS Pueblo
Leisa Cunningham, Program Coordinator
Naseem Mohammed, Instructor
Tabitha Dobbs, Instructor
Greg La Sage, Instructor
Stout Street Foundation – Commerce City
Michelle Clark, Program Coordinator
Ellen Klement, Instructor
Natasha Hill, Instructor
Parker & Castle Rock
Ian was a volunteer firefighter for many years and rose to the rank of lieutenant, as well as taking on the position as company safety officer. During that time, he was also a county and state adjunct fire instructor. While performing his duties in these positions, Ian became aware of serious gaps in the education system that left our young people without the necessary basic skills to meet life on life’s own terms. Assisting recruit firefighters with literacy led him to want to help more.
When the opportunity of the GED preparation class at CEO was offered, Ian jumped in with both feet. Although the GED is different from any other adult education he is used to, he is determined to adapt his skills to this challenge to give others the opportunity to grow beyond where they find themselves. “Seeing a student achieve a goal they did not think possible is something greater than words can describe.”