Team

Elliott Asp
Senior Partner

Elliott Asp
Senior Partner

Elliott Asp plays a lead role in CEI’s delivery of relevant, strategic programming to educators and system leaders in Colorado. His expertise in instruction and assessment informs CEI’s work to increase the organization’s impact in accelerating improvement and innovation in Colorado’s schools and districts. Most recently, Elliott served as Senior Fellow, Policy and Practice at Achieve Inc., and he was responsible for overseeing Achieve’s strategy for helping states develop, enact and sustain college-and career-ready policies and initiatives. Before joining Achieve, Elliott served as both Interim Commissioner and Special Assistant to the Commissioner at the Colorado Department of Education. Elliott brings a wealth of education experience to CEI, stemming from a 40-year career of serving students, that began in the classroom, as a teacher in traditional and alternative settings. He went on to serve as a curriculum developer, university professor, and administrator at school and district levels, and as assistant superintendent in Douglas County and Cherry Creek school districts, where he focused on curriculum, instruction, assessment and accountability.

Alex Carter, Ed.D
Vice President Implementation

Alex Carter, Ed.D
Vice President Implementation

Alex Carter joined the CEI team in 2016. Alex leads the field implementation team to support districts, schools, and educators in their work to accelerate educational improvement and innovation across Colorado. Before joining CEI, Alex enjoyed an exciting twenty-year career as a public school educator. Alex served as the superintendent of schools for Montezuma-Cortez School District in Southwest Colorado. Before that, he was the principal of Telluride High School, a principal and assistant principal in two high schools in Northern Virginia, and taught history as a high school teacher. In 2003, Alex’s work as a classroom teacher was recognized with a National Milken Educator Award. Originally from Woodbridge, Virginia, Alex holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Walden University, a master’s degree in public school administration from the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, and a bachelor’s degree in history and secondary education from James Madison University.

Rebecca Holmes
President and Chief Executive Officer

Rebecca Holmes
President and Chief Executive Officer

Rebecca Holmes began her education career as a teacher in Denver’s Cole neighborhood, and is a proud alumna of Colorado’s public schools, a graduate of Yale University, and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. Previously, Rebecca was the Associate Commissioner for Innovation, Choice, and Engagement at the Colorado Department of Education. Her areas of responsibility included supporting systems-level innovation activities at the district and state levels. Rebecca spent many years leading a system of public schools serving over 90% low-income students. She has been a program officer and committee member with several Colorado foundations and also has private sector experience as a Senior Consultant with Deloitte Consulting.

Emily Love
Chief of Staff

Emily Love
Chief of Staff

Emily Love joined The Colorado Education Initiative in 2015 as Director of Research and Impact. Emily leads the Research and Impact team and provides evaluation support across CEI initiatives to understand the reach and impact of our work. Before joining CEI, Emily was most recently an advanced researcher specializing in qualitative research methods at OMNI Institute, a Denver-based nonprofit research and evaluation organization. While at OMNI, Emily led multi-year, multi-site evaluations with a variety of nonprofit and government agencies. Emily valued the opportunity to work collaboratively with community partners to design and implement complex evaluations. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Emily completed her doctorate in education at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where her graduate research and teaching interests focused on immigrant education and education policy, specifically related to undocumented youth. After living abroad in Chile and Mexico, Emily completed her undergraduate work in Spanish and English at Tulane University in New Orleans.

Landon Mascareñaz, Ed.D
Vice President of Community Partnership

Landon Mascareñaz, Ed.D
Vice President of Community Partnership

Dr. Landon Mascareñaz is Vice President of Community Partnership at Colorado Education Initiative (CEI), where he leads community engagement, family partnership, equity, and policy initiatives. CEI (formerly the Colorado Legacy Foundation) plays a pivotal role in advancing critical initiatives in Colorado's public education system as a key partner to the Colorado Department of Education. Landon is a regular writer and speaker on issues of education, family engagement and politics. He is thrilled to serve on the state board of Community Colleges and Occupational Education as his mom taught in community colleges and his father attended one in pursuit of his degree in construction management. Prior to CEI, Landon led advocacy and partnership efforts as a Vice President at A+ Colorado, an action think tank focused on school districts to build momentum for educational change across Colorado. Before that, he helped lead family and community empowerment efforts at Denver Public Schools. He began his career teaching first grade on the Navajo Nation in New Mexico. He completed his Doctorate in Education Leadership from Harvard University in 2015. He is a Pahara Aspen Next Gen Fellow and a Flamboyan National Family Engagement Fellow.

Jeremy O’Grady
Director of Finance and Administration

Jeremy O’Grady
Director of Finance and Administration

Jeremy O’Grady joined Colorado Education Initiative in 2018 as Director of Finance and Administration. Jeremy leads the finance and operations team and provides strategic financial support to CEI. Before joining CEI, Jeremy worked most recently at KIPP Colorado Schools, a charter network serving a high population of low income students in Colorado, as the Chief Operating Officer. Before his role as COO, Jeremy was KIPP’s Director of Accounting and Finance (2010-2015). In these roles, Jeremy supported the expansion of the network from two to six public charter schools in Denver. Prior to this work, Jeremy’s career included non-profit finance management for several arts and education organizations in New York City. Originally from Nebraska, Jeremy received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wheaton College. He is currently enrolled in the MBA program at the University of Colorado in Denver.

Samantha Olson
Vice President Strategy

Samantha Olson
Vice President Strategy

Samantha Olson joined The Colorado Education Initiative (CEI) in 2010 as a director in Next Generation Learning. She collaborates with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), local schools and districts, and other partner organizations to advance a vision for education systems that recognizes the unique potential of every student and provides them with the skills to succeed in today’s economy. Samantha also supports educators and innovators discovering and implementing next generation learning. Before joining CEI, Samantha worked at CDE, where she teamed with members of the National Math and Science Initiative and policymakers to bring the Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program to Colorado high schools. Previously she was assistant director of the statewide system of accountability unit and former manager of Senate Bill 08-212 (CAP4K). A native of Fairport, N.Y., Samantha has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Colorado–Denver School of Public Affairs and a bachelor’s degree in public affairs from Syracuse University Maxwell and S.I. Newhouse schools.

Gail Bantugan
Office Manager
Paul Beck
Innovation Specialist
Heather Chikoore
Policy & Equity Specialist
Finessa Ferrell
SEL Specialist
Sarah Forbes
Program Lead
Elizabeth Kuehl
Program Lead
Benjamin Marchand
Accountant
Stephanie Olivas
Program Associate
Mary Palmer
Payroll and Benefits Accountant
Susan Paulsen
Strategic Communications Manager | The Hub Manager
Ellen Roberts
Executive Assistant
Carly Schwab
Program Lead
Jaren Amelia Smith
Program Lead
Amy Spicer
Senior Program Lead