Noah Teitelbaum, MBA, M.Ed
Noah started his 20 years in education with 5th graders in Harlem and then went on to teach in other schools serving low-income students in the NYC area. He knows firsthand the need for tools for teaching SEL and Mindfulness. Noah has also been an instructional coach, an author of teaching handbooks and curricula, a consultant to some of the most innovative schools in the country, and a business manager and product innovator for a national test-prep business. He’s earned his Masters in Education, and an MBA, and has done significant course work in Instructional Leadership.
Charlie Merrow, MA
Ashley is a digital marketer that loves explaining complicated things in simple ways. At work, she uses data analytics, language skills, and a sense of humor to write online content that connects with people. She’s so happy to share her digital experience with an organization that shares her passion for education & emotional wellness. In a past life, she worked as a victim advocate for the child dependency courts in Miami, FL. Before that, she taught English as a foreign language in Swiss schools. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies from Franklin University Switzerland.
Sarah is a graphic designer and entrepreneur. After graduating with a BA in Graphic Design from Central Saint Martins (London, UK), she has lived and worked in three continents. Sarah has a decade of extensive experience in end-to-end creative processes and enjoys problem solving. In 2014, Sarah co-founded a high-technology escape room based in Denver, CO, which has since expanded into three locations in Colorado and New Mexico.
Shailyn is an undergraduate student at the University of Denver pursuing a double major in International Studies and Spanish with a minor in Business Marketing. She is passionate about international affairs but also enjoys being involved in her local community. She believes in accessible education for all and the positive impact of social-emotional learning. She loves to learn and recently studied abroad at a university in Sevilla, Spain.
MJ Roberts-Gibson, EdS, MA
MJ is the assistant principal at Morey Middle School in Denver. She started her work in education as a special educator while also serving as team specialist and senior team lead for the special education department. MJ is passionate about educational equity and creating school-wide impact through community building. She is a 2014 Teach For America alumna who earned her BS in Art History at Barnard College, MA in Critical Pedagogy and EdS in Administrative Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Colorado-Denver, and is an EdD student studying Educational Equity.
Anthony Dilorenzo, MSW
Anthony started his career in social work and education as a supervisor for youth treatment counselors in both residential and day treatment programs. He now runs a company in which he trains, coaches, and supports the implementation of restorative practice programs. Anthony also works as a therapist primarily with youth struggling with suicidal and homicidal ideation. He believes that our response to school violence and adverse behaviors needs to be a response that focuses on the root causes of peer isolation and lagging social emotional skills.
Katherine Pivoda, MA
Katherine Pivoda has been teaching reading and composition at the University of Colorado Denver for nearly a decade. After earning her MA in literature, she taught at International College Beijing for two years, overseeing writing center operations and working intensively with ESL students and English instructors. Now, she works primarily with first-year college students. She is a Pushcart Prize nominated essayist and a PhD student studying Education.
Laurie LaComb has been working in the public-school arena for over 25 years and currently serves as the Healthy Schools Coordinator for the Douglas County School District in Colorado where she teaches SEL and mindfulness to students and staff. Laurie received her 200-yoga certification, completed the ambassador program with Mindful Life, as well as taken courses through the Institute for Mindful Leadership, Kristin Neff, Mindful Schools, and Mindful Education. Her passions include social-emotional learning, working with children/teens/teachers, staff wellness, self-compassion, family, yoga, meditation, and chocolate.
Julie has almost two decades of experience teaching in Denver Public Schools. Currently, she is a bilingual teacher for unaccompanied children seeking asylum. She brings a strong background in English language acquisition, Montessori in the public education system, and formal training in restorative justice practices. She is a certified direct service provider and dedicated several years serving Head Start families at Catholic Charities. Julie is devoted to promoting a love of learning, contributing to the emotional intelligence of all learners and fostering mindfulness in the classroom. She is particularly drawn to serving diverse communities, particularly, those in high poverty schools and neighborhoods.
Our Board of Directors
Andreas "Andy" Wilfong
Andy is the Board Chair and founder of Empowering Education Inc. (EE) and has also founded two additional companies headquartered in Colorado. One of the companies was awarded best small business in Colorado from 2008-2010 and in 2010 was ranked 25th nationally. Andy has extensive experience with business start-up operations and subsequent business sustainability.
Charis Whitnah, MA
Charis Whitnah is the Senior Manager of Student Services at Rocky Mountain Prep Charter Schools. She spent the first five years of her career teaching special education at SOAR and the Tennyson Center for Children. Charis is passionate about educational equity and social and emotional learning. She is a 2013 Teach For America alumna who earned her BA in Philosophy from Colorado College and her MA in Special Education from the University of Northern Colorado.
Maryann Wiggs, MA
Board Member, Executive Editor
Maryann has over four decades of experience in education. She is the founder of Educational Performance Consulting, providing engaging seminars and workshops on a wide range of educational topics both locally and nationally. She is the author of five books on understanding and implementing standards-based educational practices and former Assistant Superintendent and Executive Director in two Colorado school districts.
Emma Espel, PhD
Emma seeks to encourage social and emotional learning in
Robert Sutro, NBCT, MA
Robert is an equity-driven National Board certified early childhood teacher at Denver Green School who places love at the heart of his repertoire of strategies to meet his students’ needs. He endeavors to understand his students’ cultures, histories, languages and social-emotional needs in order to see them for all that they are and can be. In addition to being a renewed NBCT, Robert holds a MA in Interdisciplinary Social Science, taught English in Taiwan and in Turkey, and did peace building work with children in both Bosnia and Kosovo.
Amanda Withington, MPPA
Amanda Withington is the Manager of School Improvement Planning at Denver Public Schools. She has spent many years, in different roles, supporting schools create and implement data driven improvement plans. This work has inspired her passion and belief in social-emotional curriculum and programs as part of a well-rounded education that should be available to every child. She received her BA in Economics from Kenyon College and her MPPA from Northwestern University.
Tara Laughlin, Ed.D.
Tara Laughlin spent the first decade of her career as a teacher at the elementary and middle school levels. In 2015, Tara became Curriculum Director for PAIRIN, leading the development of a comprehensive SEL curriculum and educator professional development. She now serves as the Competency-Based Learning Specialist for Denver Public Schools.Tara holds an Ed.D. in Curriculum, Innovation, and Educational Reform from the University of Northern Colorado. Through her dissertation research, she developed a framework for the systematic integration of social emotional learning into the content area. Her educational and professional endeavors have centered around two core tenets: (1) The development of meaningful, authentic relationships, and (2) The pursuit of college, career, and life readiness for all learners.