If at first you don't succeed, take a break and have a little chocolate.
- jane shirley
I'm a teacher, designer, facilitator, coach, writer, performer and novice ukulele player. I have a talent for connecting seemingly unrelated dots, creating order out of chaos, and putting together powerhouse teams. I lead with honesty, fairness, creativity and humor. I build organizations that are respectful and open and I care deeply about the health of each community that I'm a part of. I am an optimistic pessimist who believes that everyone is working together for the greater good, but who also knows that is not always true. So I look for the good, but I'm not afraid to call out the bad because at my core, I value justice over getting along.
I consider myself a Coloradan since I've lived here for almost forty years, but I grew up in Norman, Oklahoma which is where I get my expertise on tornadoes. My mom always told us kids we were part Cherokee from her side and part Choctaw from my dad's. I knew my grandfather was born in Indian Territory in 1900 and one of my great grandmothers came to Oklahoma via the Trail of Tears, but the rest of the story was largely unknown. As information became more accessible and I learned more about my own ancestry, it got me thinking about how our identities are formed and shaped by both nature and nurture. None of us is an archetype of any one race, culture, religion or upbringing and all of us are influenced by our DNA, our families, communities and the events we experience. The opportunity before us is to understand and embrace our differences for the richness they bring and to align on the hopes that we share for our future.
I've spent most of my career working at the intersection of education, business and the arts and I'm currently a consultant and executive coach for education leaders and entrepreneurs. In 2005, I was selected to lead William Smith High School in Aurora, which was known at the time as "Last Chance High". Using the foundations for creating that I had been studying through my work with Robert Fritz and Peter Senge, my team and I transformed the school into an award-winning program that has sustained success through two leadership changes. After passing the leadership baton to my assistant principal, I began work for a non-profit where I designed a leadership program that teaches principals and district leaders how to use the creative process as the foundation for strategic planning.
In addition to my consulting work, my husband Dave and I are partners in a company called Rattlebrain Productions. In 2002 we opened a new theater in the basement of the D&F Tower and were honored to receive the Downtown Denver Partnership Award for significant contribution and positive impact in our very first year. Since then, we've gone on to write and produce several shows that have played in Denver and around the country. Our son Drew often gets roped into helping out with video shoots or running tech, making it a full family affair. Together, we are in the business of making people laugh and we take that very, very seriously.
If elected, I will bring the knowledge, skills and wisdom I've developed over my 30+ year career, along with the full force of my passion, to work creatively and collaboratively with the Denver School Board to take bold actions toward what's possible.
Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.