Meet Our Team
TeRay Esquibel is a DPS graduate from Abraham Lincoln High School. He was awarded the Daniels Fund Scholarship that gave him the opportunity to attend the University of Denver. While attending DU, TeRay dedicated himself to breaking down barriers to higher education within his community. After college, TeRay went on to participate and work with the El Pomar Foundation Fellowship program. Eventually, he found himself back at DU as an Admission Counselor serving Denver and Aurora Public Schools. In this role, TeRay engaged with DPS and its community to empower students (and their families) on their journey to furthering their educational horizons. To do this, he acted as a liaison between DU and external organizations dedicated to increasing the enrollment and persistence rates for students who were from underrepresented communities throughout Denver. Most recently, TeRay held the title of Partner of Community Partnerships and Advocacy at the Denver based philanthropic organization RootED. In this role, he led research, strategy, and community grant making. This is where the seed of Ednium: The Alumni Collective was planted and watered. TeRay now acts as the founding Executive Director of Ednium.
A graduate of John F. Kennedy High School, Richard is responsible for all programs including the annual leadership development cohort, research and storytelling initiatives, and policy ideation and implementation. Prior to joining Ednium Richard served as IB Program Manager at George Washington High School, where he led school-wide professional development around equity and authentic student engagement and helped eliminate barriers to increase BIPOC student access and engagement in advanced courses. Additionally he served as the coach for the Student Board of Education team, a policy-focused student organization as well as the GW Powerlifting team. He is passionate about community engagement, volunteering with organizations such as Minds Matter Colorado and the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Program. Richard holds a bachelor's degree in History and Spanish and a masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Denver, and a certificate in Educational Leadership from Colorado State University Global. Richard resides in southwest Denver with his partner and two rambunctious puppies.
Kathe is a Denver native raised by African immigrant parents. She is an East High School Alumni and earned a bachelor’s degree in International Relations with minors in Psychology and Communications from the University of Colorado Denver. After graduating, Kathe started her career in the nonprofit world wanting to serve the communities she grew up within. Helping to create and develop programs, opportunities, and resources for communities in need has become a passion of hers and it is truly seen through her work. Finding her goals and values to be in alliance with Ednium, she joined the team! Kathe is excited to be a part of the team and is ready to help us get to the next level!
Board of Directors
For many years, Nathan has dedicated his professional career path on the social and academic advancement of Denver’s students. As a native Coloradan, Nathan has worked in education for over fifteen years within community colleges, universities, and nonprofit organizations. He has served professionally as a career counselor, professional trainer, advisor/instructor, financial aid administrator, and director of both college access and success programs. Nathan is a proud TRIO Upward Bound Alum, holds a certificate in Global Career Development Facilitation, a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences from Colorado State University, and a Master of Education degree from Regis University. In his leisure time, Nathan enjoys spending time with his family and supporting Colorado sports teams
Linda Quintanar serves as the Director of First-Generation Initiatives and the Volunteers in Partnership (VIP) program at the University of Denver. She brings more than 15 years of experience serving on state-wide advisory committees and University task forces, working with students, families, and educators of Denver and Aurora public schools. Linda’s passion to increase college access and retention of historically underrepresented students in higher education stems from her own journey as an immigrant and a first-generation student. Linda volunteers her time and serves on the board of Keeping the Dream Alive, a non-profit organization dedicated to sharing post-secondary advising strategies for Colorado’s DACA and undocumented students. Born in Chihuahua, Mexico and mother of four current Denver Public School students, Linda is a DPS graduate alongside her husband.
At her core, Emily is a connector. Fueled by the belief that the whole is often greater than the sum of its parts, Emily has spent her career connecting donors to mission, partners to investment opportunities, and good people doing good work to one another. For the past 10 years she has raised capital to support social impact endeavors in policy, education and health equity spaces. Most recently Emily served as Teach For America Colorado's Managing Director of Corporate Partnerships and Communications. Today, she is the Director of External Partnerships in the office of the CEO at Gary Community Ventures. She is a mother, cancer-survivor, disability advocate, nature-walk-lover, and aspiring aviator.
Board Member & Alumni Partner
Upon graduation, Ousman committed to a year of service with Americorps City Year, where he worked at Miami Central High School preparing students with the social, emotional and academic skills and mindsets to succeed in school and in life. After City Year, he moved back to Denver and worked in the banking industry as a treasury management representative with FirstBank. During his time at FirstBank, he volunteered with ALG as the Youth Empowerment Program facilitator. After two years as a volunteer, he joined the ALG team as a Program Coordinator.
Senator James R. Coleman was born and raised in the Park Hill neighborhood of Denver and is a resident of the district he so proudly represents: Senate District 33. Coleman served his first term in 2016, becoming the youngest elected to Colorado's state legislature. After serving 2 terms as the State Representative of House District 7, he went on to win his election to the Senate District 33 seat in November 2020. Senator Coleman currently serves as Chair of the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee, Vice-Chair of the Senate Business, Labor, and Technology Committee, and Vice-Chair of the Legislative Oversight Committee Concerning Colorado Jail Standards. The Senator also serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Legislative Council Committee, and the Colorado Youth Advisory Council Committee.
Miguel In Suk Lovato
After starting his career as a teacher, Miguel left the classroom to lead an education nonprofit focused on helping students on the path to college. There, he led the organization’s strategy and gained hands-on experience with funders.
In 2000, Miguel joined the Daniels Fund in Denver, Colorado. As a senior program officer concentrating on education in Colorado and New Mexico, Miguel saw how access to health care and quality education are naturally linked – an observation reinforced by the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Miguel’s ardent belief in community-informed grant making, and his desire to help address inequities exacerbated by public health crises, brought him to his role as a senior program officer focused on adult recovery and early childhood social emotional programs. Bolstered by more than twenty years of experience in education and philanthropy, Miguel joined the Colorado Health Foundation’s philanthropy team in 2020 where he manages the priority areas of adult recovery and early childhood social emotional development. Miguel grew up in a variety of neighborhoods across the Denver-metro area but has called Aurora home since the early 1980s. Strongly influenced by his Chicano and Korean heritage, he is proud of his achievements as a first-generation college graduate. Miguel actively engages with his local community as an education advocate and charter school board member.
When he’s not teaching his eight-year-old daughter to skateboard, or showing her his favorite ‘70’s kung fu movies, he’s probably learning how to play her latest favorite video game. Miguel’s family loves to take neighborhood bike rides and hike in the mountains in the summer. Miguel says life is good when he is surrounded by family, laughing and going on an adventure.
Nadriene Jackson is the former Executive Director of Secondary Schools, where she ensured Secondary Schools had the resources, professional development, support, and accountability needed to propel instructional quality and impactful learning experiences for students in Denver Public Schools. Prior to her serving in that capacity, she served in the capacity of Sr. Executive Director of Career and College Success, where she guided the development, implementation and evaluation of robust PreK-12 career and college programming that increases on time graduation rates/credit attainment, competency mastery completion, ICAP completion with fidelity, concurrent enrollment participation, and Advanced Placement participation, and International Baccalaureate participation diploma completion rates; Regional Assistant Instructional Superintendent of the Near Northeast Region in Denver Public Schools, where she provided direct leadership support and supervision for over half of the schools in the region, the School Leader Development and Pathways Partner for the former Lead in Denver Team, where she co managed LEAD Onboarding, the Denver Lead Today Alternative Licensure Program, Principal Induction Program, and the THRIVE Teacher Leader Fellowship.
Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, Nadriene graduated with her Bachelor’s of Science in Speech Communications with an emphasis in Secondary Education in 1999 from Mississippi State University. She went on to acquire her Master’s Degree in Education in Educational Leadership from Mississippi College in 2002 and her Education Specialist in Educational Administration and Policy Studies from the University of Tennessee in 2012.
While Nadriene has a true fervor for impacting the lives of children across the PK – 12 spectrum and leadership development in education, she most enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband, Roderick, and her family.
Joy Maez is a Vice President in Business Banking at U.S. Bank – the 5th largest commercial bank in the United States - and works with business owners to achieve their financial goals with a single purpose – we put people first and do the right thing by our business clients to help them achieve their vision of success and creating generational wealth. Joy believes in strong relationships based on authenticity and trust to be successful.
Joy has completed the McKinsey Hispanic and Latino Leadership Academy: Management Accelerator Program; she is a graduate of the Latino Leadership Institute Ignite Program and is the Co-Lead of the Nosotros Latinos Business Resource Group at U.S. Bank. Joy holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from University of Phoenix.
Bernard McCune is the Executive Director of Athletics and Activities with Denver Public Schools. Bernard returned to DPS in 2019 from RootED -- a philanthropic organization in Denver dedicated to a quality public education for all students -- where he served as a founding partner and Chief Portfolio and Talent Officer. Prior to joining RootED, Bernard served the Oakland Unified School District as Deputy Chief of Post- Secondary Readiness, providing leadership for district schools, principal supervisors and principals implementing college and career initiatives. Bernard held a similar role in DPS from 2012-14 as the head of the Office of College and Career Readiness, developing strategies that led to increased achievement in graduation rates, Advanced Placement, concurrent enrollment and the growth of career and technical education.
Bernard spent nearly a decade working in Chicago Public Schools, where he teamed with then-Superintendent Arne Duncan to create what became a national model for increasing college access and success among low-income students, and with then-Senator Barack Obama to increase federal funding for district initiatives that increase post-secondary readiness and success.
Board Member & Alumni Partner
My name is Jeri Marie Romero. I am a wife and a mom to a brilliant 3 year old son, and 9 month old sassy little girl! I graduated from Denver West High school and followed in the education direction at the University of Northern Colorado. Not long after, God graciously gave me a way to my alma mater to be a teacher/mentor with Colorado Uplift. I’ve been a part of Colorado Uplift since I was a high school student. I loved being one of the first interns to pioneer the first summer camp internships as one of my first summer jobs.
Colorado Uplift has been providing leadership and character instruction in the public school system for students from 4th grade through college for over . Along with the In-School Program, Colorado UpLift regularly mentors students after school and throughout the summer, improving the odds for urban youth to emerge as successful, productive young adults.
Josh Scott currently serves as a board member for several high-growth technology companies including Betabrand, Havenly and Artifact Uprising. Previously, Josh was President of Guild Education and co-founded Craftsy, which was acquired by NBCUniversal in 2017. At Guild Education and Craftsy, Josh led Product, Marketing and Operations teams through periods of high growth. Prior to Craftsy, Josh worked for eBay, Home Advisor and Bain & Company and has degrees from Michigan and Berkeley.
Lauren Sisneros has a long history supporting educational access in Colorado. She has worked with universities and the Colorado Department of Higher Education as a pre-collegiate advisor and college advisor working with first generation, low-income students. She also served as the Director of Programs at Prosperity Denver Fund where was responsible for developing and implementing the Fund’s program services working with scholarship organizations. Lauren began her career working for Colorado Legislative Council Staff, the non-partisan research arm of the General Assembly, where she gained policy experience. She later served as a State Relations Manager for Education Commission of the States, a national policy organization.
Lauren earned her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from CSU-Pueblo and a Master’s Degree in Education from Colorado State University. She later graduated from the University of Denver’s Latino Leadership Institute, a nine-month fellowship program that prepares Latino professionals for elevated roles of influence in Colorado. Lauren participated in the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation's Leadership Program, an 11-month program that aims to transform actively engaged civic leaders into community champions through in-depth experiences with a close network.
Lauren is a Colorado native, born and raised in the San Luis Valley. She currently resides in Lakewood, Colorado with her husband, Julian. Lauren is a mother of two adult children, a student at MSU Denver and a student at Colorado Mesa University. She is also a proud grandmother. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the outdoors of Colorado with her family.
Ana has over twenty-five years of nonprofit and government public service. Areas of experience include education, systems change, community building, leadership, program development, curriculum development, crime and victim services, youth issues, restorative justice, and equity training. The thread that is woven through both career and community is the work of bringing those who do not have a voice to the conversation. Ana joined Gates Family Foundation in June 2017 and her primary focus is to engage with communities in Colorado’s rural and urban areas to increase equity and achievement for low-income students. Prior to Gates Family Foundation, Ana worked for the community with Denver Partners, Urban Peak, the Denver District Attorney’s Office Juvenile Diversion program, the Denver District Attorney’s Office Victim Services Network, and The Civic Canopy. She brings experience working with complex projects in education, health, and community-building in a variety of cultures and contexts. She is bilingual in Spanish and English.
Xochitl was raised in Denver and is a graduate of Denver Public Schools. Xochitl is a proud first-generation college grad. She graduated from Colorado State University; where she studied Social Work and Communication Studies. Currently, Xochitl is a Campus Advisor for the Denver Scholarship Foundation at CU Denver. Xochitl loves Colorado and her Denver community. Xochitl believes that education is power, and is excited to continue learning and growing alongside her community.
Ousman Ba is originally from Senegal, and was raised in Denver, Colorado. A first generation college graduate at Colorado State University with a degree in political science and international studies. Upon graduation, Ousman committed to a year of service with Americorps City Year, where he worked at Miami Central High School preparing students with the social, emotional, and academic skills and mindsets to succeed in school and in life. After City Year, he moved back to Denver and worked in the banking industry as a treasury management representative with FirstBank. During his time at FirstBank, he volunteered with African Leadership Group(ALG) as the Youth Empowerment Program facilitator. After two years as a volunteer, he joined the ALG team as a Program Coordinator. He is a graduate of the Leadership Africa Program with African Leadership Group and Leadership Aurora 2023 Aurora Chamber of Commerce. He is currently part of Leadership Aurora class of 2024. He sits on the Board of Ednium Collective and Vanguard Classical School. Ousman is passionate about serving the community, loves sports, reading, traveling and enjoys time with family and friends.
Kiara Chavez is the Community Outreach Associate for Denver Parks & Recreation, where she provides support for a variety of outreach, engagement, and communications tasks. This includes promoting awareness and understanding of park projects through outreach and cultivating positive working relationships in the community. She is a first-generation graduate from Leeds School of Business with a bachelor’s in Business Administration. Her experience growing up as an undocumented student has fueled her passion for immigrant rights and quality education alike.
Yasmeen is a motivated college student who is completing coursework towards a degree in sports broadcasting. She is an insurance agent, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a human being living a spiritual experience. Yasmeen is optimistic and hard working. She believes failure is only failure if you don’t learn from it. Yasmeen has been through a lot of homelessness, jobless and left without nothing. Her story is her pain, her grief and her joy and laughter. She is never ashamed to show she cares, and she wants to impact the same community that helped her. She is Yasmeen Cofield.
Shawn is a Denver native and DPS Alumni. He graduated from George Washington High School in 2016. Shawn also graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2020 with a degree in Political Science. He is currently an 8th grade ELA teacher at KIPP Northeast Denver Middle School.
Elijah Huff was born and raised in the Five Points community in Denver, Colorado. He graduated from Manual High School before earning his bachelor’s degree at Fort Lewis College. Elijah was led to community work after the passing of a close friend due to gang violence during his freshman year of college. His desire to be a mentor who could help youth avoid the same fate led him to the education sector. Elijah serves as a College Advisor for the Scholar Prep Program at Bruce Randolph High School. Everyday he looks forward to helping youth use education to help them discover their inner brilliance and life purpose. In his free time he enjoys watching sports and coaching boys high school basketball.
Liloni S. Ramos is a 4th generation Coloradoan and 3rd generation Denverite who grew up in Denver’s Harvey Park neighborhood. Being raised by her mother and grandmother, Liloni understood the power of education, service, and human connection at a young age.
Having attended Denver Public Schools, she experienced firsthand the educational disparities in the public school system. Determined to make an impact, Liloni pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development & Family Studies at Colorado State University (#ProudToBe). It was on the CSU campus where she became passionate about equitable access to education, resources, networks, and development opportunities. In an effort to learn more about educational inequities and support first generation college students’ pursuit of education, Liloni pivoted away from kindergarten classrooms and into the world of higher education and educational systems. After a career in the various facets of education, Liloni now serves as the Program Manager of Gary’s Piton Fellowship where she leverages her operational and programmatic experiences to cultivate the next generation of Denver change makers.
Liloni holds a Masters in nonprofit management from Regis University. She has participated in various community committees and boards including most recently The Denver Foundation’s Advisory Committee for Community Impact and co-chairs the Reisher Alumni Program Board. Liloni is driven by her nieces and nephews to support future generations of leaders in pursuit of their own definition of success.
Kai currently serves as a Business Integration Architect at Accenture. In this capacity, he has been instrumental in designing, building, and implementing cloud computer architecture, with a particular focus on integrating third-party systems with internal software.
Beyond his daily profession, Kai is also deeply committed to philanthropy and community service. He is the Founder and Chair of the Board of the Kobu Foundation, a hunger relief organization he built in 2020. Under his leadership, the Kobu Foundation designed and implemented a meal delivery program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since its creation, this program has donated over 290,000 meals in Colorado. In addition to Kobu Foundation’s meal delivery program, Kai established The Angel Rose Youngdog Scholarship; a fund that has awarded over $16,000 to students that have exhibited exceptional service and dedication to their community.