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News release - Commissioner's Teacher Cabinet members announced

Commissioner’s Teacher Cabinet members announced

Twenty teachers from around the state selected to serve and help bridge gap between policy and practice

DENVER – The Colorado Department of Education today announced the members of the first ever Commissioner’s Teacher Cabinet.  This group of 20 practicing teachers will meet with Education Commissioner Katy Anthes on a regular basis and provide a much-needed teacher perspective to the current issues facing our state and schools. Members will share their insights on the classroom impact of education policies, make recommendations for the effective implementation of policy and procedures and help to make decisions relatable to teachers.
“Teacher Cabinet members will brainstorm solutions, serve as a sounding board and provide valuable feedback to help us tackle some of the challenges facing Colorado’s educators,” Anthes said. “Hearing directly from educators will give us a better picture of the impact new laws have on teachers and students.”
More than 170 applications were submitted for approximately 15 cabinet positions. Five more positions were added because of the huge interest.  The Commissioner’s Teacher Cabinet review panel that selected the finalists was composed of teachers representing all regions of Colorado, both charter and traditional schools, various grade levels, and ethnicities as well as rural, suburban, and urban schools. Candidates’ expertise, accomplishments and dedication to Colorado’s students were among the many factors the review panel considered to create a diverse and well-rounded cabinet.

Commissioner's Teacher Cabinet Members:

  • Justin Bankey - Music Teacher, 17 years
    Cactus Valley Elementary, Garfield School District RE-2
  • Lisa Bejarano - Mathematics Teacher, 13 years
    Aspen Valley High School, Academy School District 20
  • Carla Cariño Social Studies Teacher, 18 years
    North High School, Denver Public Schools
  • Ashley Faris - AP Language and Composition Teacher, 9 years
    KIPP Denver Collegiate High School (Charter), Denver Public Schools
  • Andrew Guinn - Mathematics Teacher, 5 years
    Pagosa Springs Middle School, Archuleta School District 50JT
  • Dan Haught - Speech Language Pathologist, 4 years
    Mesa Elementary/Westminster Academy for International Studies, Westminster Public Schools
  • Terry Highfield – Elementary Teacher, 19 years
    S. Christa McAuliffe STEM Academy, Greeley-Evans School District 6
  • Laura Keathley – Special Education Teacher, 29 years
    Avery-Parsons Elementary, Buena Vista School District R-31 
  • Valerie Lovato – Elementary Teacher, 8 years
    Eagleton Elementary, Denver Public Schools
  • Jocelyn Nguyen-Reed – Mathematics Teacher, 7 years
    Cherry Creek High School, Cherry Creek School District 5

  • Nathan Pearsall – Social Studies Teacher, 10 years
    Vista Ridge High School, Falcon School District 49
  • Denise Perritt – English Teacher, 32 years
    Paradox Valley (Charter School), West End School District RE-2
  • Cynthia Rimmer – Elementary Teacher, 18 years
    Fraser Valley Elementary, East Grand School District 2
  • Allison Sampish – Elementary Teacher, 10 years
    Fall River Elementary, St. Vrain Valley School District
  • Kelly Jo Smith – English and Drama Teacher, 32 years
    La Junta Jr/Sr High School, East Otero School District R-1
  • Kevin Vaughn – Elementary Teacher, 21 years
    Dolores Elementary, Dolores School District RE-4A
  • Shannon Wachowski – Science and Mathematics Teacher, 11 years
    Platte Valley High School, Platte Valley School District RE-7
  • Sheri White – Elementary Resource Teacher, 20 years
    HOPE Online Learning Academy (Charter/Online), Douglas County School District RE-1
  • Megan Witucki – Elementary Teacher, 7 years
    Compass Montessori - Wheat Ridge Campus (Charter), Jefferson County School District R-1
  • Sean Wybrant (2017 Colorado Teacher of the Year) – Career and Technical Education Teacher, 11 years
    Palmer High School, Colorado Springs School District 11

The Commissioner’s Teacher Cabinet is expected to have its first meeting in August and will meet at least four times a year. The term for members will be two years with alternating two-year terms to ensure there are experienced members each year.

Teacher cabinet members will serve on a volunteer basis, although travel and substitute teacher costs will be reimbursed.

Learn more about the Commissioner’s Teacher Cabinet.