WICHE Staff

  • Candy Allen

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    Senior Graphic Designer
    Communications
    303.541.0262
  • Thomas Barrett

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    Senior Consultant
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.541.0311
  • Suzanne Benally

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    Director, Native Serving Institutions Initiative
    Programs and Services
    303.541.0213
  • Peace Bransberger

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      As senior research analyst for WICHE's Policy Analysis and Research unit, Peace leads the production and analysis of WICHE’s quadrennial projections of high school graduates (Knocking at the College Door), and contributes to many of WICHE’s annual data products and other efforts focused on equitable college access, success and financing across the Western states and the nation. Prior to WICHE, Peace was a consultant, evaluation researcher and licensed adult educator in Washington, DC, working on behalf of minoritized, immigrant and adult student populations to increase their opportunities for job training and postsecondary education. Peace’s professional and volunteer interests arise from her experience as a first-generation college graduate. She has a master’s degree from American University in Washington, DC and undergraduate degree from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota.

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    Senior Research Analyst
    Policy Analysis and Research
    303.541.0257
  • Gina Brimner

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      Gina Brimner, MSW, LCSW Gina holds a master’s degree in Social Work and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Her career spans direct service, management and leadership roles in government and non-profit health and behavioral health sectors in multiple western states. Most recently, Gina held independent consultant contracts with health care organizations, states, and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE BHP) before joining WICHE as an employee in 2019. In her role at WICHE BHP, she leads Together With Veterans Projects, a rural veteran suicide prevention collaborative developed in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Positions Gina held previously include Senior Vice President of Youth and Family Services at Albertina Kerr Centers in Portland, OR; Adolescent Unit Supervisor for the Policy Division of the Washington State Children’s Administration; Clinical Director of Juneau Mental Health, Inc.; and multiple roles in the State of Alaska Division of Behavioral Health.

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    Director of Veterans Initiatives
    Behavioral Health Program
    720.708.9321
  • Brittany Copithorn

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      Brittany Copithorn has been with the WICHE Mental Health Program since July 2014. As a Project Coordinator, her primary responsibility is recruiting Behavioral Health staff for the Hawaii Department of Education. She also aids in some administrative work as needed. Prior to WICHE, she was in sales and marketing. She earned her bachelor's degree in communications at Colorado State University. Brittany is a Colorado native with two young girls and loves hiking, biking, snowboarding and rafting. 

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    Project Coordinator
    Behavioral Health Program
    720.280.7266
  • Rosa Calabrese

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    Manager, Digital and Project Support Services
    WCET
    303.541.0219
  • Dave Clark

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      Dave Clark is the Chief of Digital Services at the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). In this role, he contributes to and oversees all operational, tactical, and strategic IT operations and initiatives. His work experiences include Research Associate at UC San Diego (Scripps Institution of Oceanography) where he supported various geology/geophysics departments with network design and implementation, programming interfaces to geophysical equipment, and system/network administration; Senior Network Engineer and Director of IT at CableLabs (where the cable modem specification was born), and Director of Infrastructure for two managed services/hosting service providers. Dave earned his Bachelors of Science in Geology (University Honors Program) from the University of Delaware. His hobbies include drumming (since age 7), fossil/mineral collecting, and enjoying the beautiful Colorado outdoors.

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    Chief of Digital Services
    Administrative Services
    303.541.0299
  • Margo Colalancia

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      Margo Colalancia (WICHE) directs WICHE’s three student access programs – the Professional Student Exchange Program, the Western Regional Graduate Program, and the Western Undergraduate Exchange – which provide a broad range of higher education options for more than 42,000 students. Prior to her current position she served as the associate project director for a trinational consortium of Mexican, Canadian and U.S. universities and colleges. She holds a bachelor's degree in business French from the University of Colorado and the Université de Bordeaux III, and a master's degree in international policy studies with an emphasis in intercultural communication from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Prior to her graduate studies, Colalancia spent seven years in Gabon, Central Africa, teaching English as a foreign language with the Peace Corps and on private contract with the Gabonese Ministry of Education.

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    Director of Student Access Programs
    Programs and Services
    303.541.0214
  • Deirdre Coulter

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    Director of Human Resources
    Administrative Services
    303.541.0292
  • Cherie Curtin

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    Administrative Assistant III
    Programs and Services
    303.541.0314
  • Laura DaVinci

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    Program Manager, Every Learner Everywhere
    WCET
    970.415.3653
  • Cheryl Dowd

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    Director, State Authorization Network
    WCET
    303.541.0210
  • Lindsey Downs

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    Assistant Director, Communications, Community, and Social Media
    WCET
    303.541.0234
  • Drew Elkshoulder

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    Accounting Specialist
    Administrative Services
    303.541.0280
  • Laura Ewing

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    Administrative Manager
    Policy Analysis and Research
    303.541.0269
  • Colleen Falkenstern

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    Research Analyst
    Policy Analysis and Research
    303.541.0313
  • John Fellers

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    Web Manager
    Communications
    303.541.0289
  • Georgia Frazer

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    HR Assistant
    Administrative Services
    303.541.0276
  • Anna Galas

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      Anna Galas directs three membership-based academic leadership and innovation organizations for the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). These are the WICHE Online Course Exchange, the Western Academic Leadership Forum (Forum), and the Western Alliance of Community College Academic Leaders (Alliance). In addition, she directs WICHE’s involvement in the Interstate Passport®, a program designed to facilitate nationwide block transfer of lower-division general education based on learning outcomes for institutions participating in the Interstate Passport Network. Previously, Galas was the program manager of Interstate Passport, starting in January 2018. Prior to joining WICHE as a full-time staff member, she provided consulting services for WICHE's Online Course Exchange program. Galas held several positions at the county, state, and national levels, including program manger for NEXus:The Nursing Education Xchange, the Western Institute of Nursing; Nutrition Education Program Manager, Lane County Extension Service, Oregon State University; Health Educator Consultant, Division of Health Awareness and Tobacco, Florida Department of Health; and Clinical Director, Athletic Training Service Center, International Institute for Sport and Human Performance, University of Oregon. She holds a M.S. in Exercise and Movement Science from the University of Oregon.

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    Director, Academic Leadership Initiatives
    Programs and Services
    303.541.0260
  • Sherri Artz Gilbert

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      Sherri Artz Gilbert, assistant director, operations and member services, has been with WCET since 1999. Her principal responsibilities include preparing and managing the budget, coordinating the membership effort, and database maintenance. Prior to joining WCET, she worked for the Reading Musical Foundation, a non-profit that promotes and facilitates music education and appreciation in order to preserve and develop musical experience and culture in Berks County, Pennsylvania. There she was responsible for donor management and administrator of the Blues in the Schools program. She received a B.S.B.A from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania with a major in Management and Marketing. Originally from Pennsylvania Dutch country, Sherri currently resides above 9200 feet in the Colorado Mountains with her husband and two dogs.

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    Director, Operations and Membership
    WCET
    303.541.0209
  • Elizabeth Golder

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    Executive Assistant to the President and Commission
    Office of the President
    303.541.0204
  • John Gomez

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    Director of Operations
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.541.0288
  • Vanessa Gonzalez

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    Rural Opioid Technical Assistance Coordinator
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.541.0255
  • Andie Hancock

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      Andie Hancock is a Budget Coordinator for the WICHE Mental Health Program. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas and has 35 years of experience in administration. She previously worked for the City of Boulder Parks and Recreation Department for 34 years and learned everything from flowers to financials!

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    Budget Coordinator
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.541.0309
  • Rebecca Helfand

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      Rebecca Helfand received her Ph.D. in psychology from Baylor University before moving to Colorado as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Colorado's Institute for Behavioral Genetics. Prior to joining the WICHE Behavioral Health Program team, Rebecca worked for the Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) in the State of Colorado Department of Human Services. In her four years with OBH, she worked on a variety of projects with other state agencies, namely the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Department of Healthcare Policy, and Financing. Rebecca served as the director of the Data and Evaluation unit within OBH where she supervised a team of twelve people, affording her the opportunity to work on projects throughout the OBH office.

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    Program Director
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.541.0205
  • Kay Hulstrom

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    Manager, Institution Services
    Programs and Services
    303.541.0294
  • Joyce Holliday

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    Administrative Assistant III, Every Learner Everywhere
    WCET
    303.541.0208
  • Alicia Jones

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    Accountant
    Administrative Services
    303.541.0281
  • Hannah Koch

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      Hannah Koch is a Research and Technical Assistance Associate with the WICHE Mental Health Program and is also a licensed psychologist. She earned her bachelor's degree with honors at the University of Chicago in psychology and biological sciences and her doctorate at the University of Denver's Graduate School of Professional Psychology with a focus area in couples therapy and systems theory. Dr. Koch's work with the WICHE Mental Health Program includes a variety of behavioral health research initiatives, including evaluating evidence based programs such as Assertive Community Treatment and campus sexual violence prevention. Dr. Koch has worked in a variety of clinical settings with varied populations, including clients with severe and persistent mental illness at a community mental health center and patients with blood cancers at the University of Colorado Hospital. Dr. Koch has extensive experience in university counseling centers. Through her work at the University of Colorado Boulder Counseling and Psychological Services and the University of Denver Health and Counseling Center, Dr. Koch gained experience in both crisis intervention and outreach, including creating and implementing healthy relationships programming. She also served as a research project coordinator for a nation-wide study of romantic relationship development and assisted with a study investigating family stability over time. Dr. Koch is a trained victim advocate for sexual assault survivors, and her primary research interests are in healthy romantic relationship development. Dr. Koch is also adjunct faculty at the University of Denver where she teaches several graduate-level courses in clinical interventions.

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    Research and Technical Assistance Associate
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.541.0254
  • Debra Kupfer

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    Senior Consultant
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.263.6517
  • Patrick Lane

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      Patrick Lane is the vice president of WICHE's Policy Analysis and Research unit. He previously was its director of data initiatives, a role that has included managing the Multistate Longitudinal Data Exchange, which seeks to improve linkages between state data systems to provide better information to students and their families while also improving education, workforce, and economic development policy. He previously coordinated WICHE’s Adult College Completion Network and has worked extensively on the Non-Traditional No More: Policy Solutions for Adult Learners project. Both projects focused on identifying policy and practice solutions to help adults with prior college credit return to postsecondary education to complete their degrees. Lane also coordinated WICHE’s College Access Regional Network, which focused on increasing the number of low-income students prepared to enter and succeed in post secondary education. He came to WICHE having spent several years working in education policy in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Lane received a master’s degree from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University in 2007 and completed a Ph.D. in public administration at the University of Colorado Denver in 2015.

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    Vice President
    Policy Analysis and Research
    303.541.0266
  • Sarah Leibrandt

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      Sarah Ohle Leibrandt is a research analyst for the Policy Analysis and Research Unit at WICHE.  Prior to joining WICHE, she worked for the Colorado Department of Education and Red Rocks Community College.  Sarah earned a Ph.D. in Education Policy from University of Colorado Boulder and a Bachelors degree from Wellesley College.  Sarah previously interned for WICHE in 2012 and is a proud Colorado native.

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    Senior Research Analyst
    Policy Analysis and Research
    303.541.0221
  • Jasmine Leonas

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    Communications Manager
    Communications
    303.541.0237
  • Mollie McGill

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      Mollie McGill serves as Deputy Director, Programs and Membership for WCET. She assists with the overall management of member services and communications that inform the e-learning community of relevant policy, practices and developments. She facilitates the advancement of several committee projects, such as those dealing with academic integrity and student identity authentication, student retention in online learning, institutional policies and practices for adjunct online faculty, and ownership of learning management systems. In 2009-2010, she has worked with the WICHE Policy Analysis unit on the Statewide Articulation and Transfer project, specifically to study state transfer web portals. Mollie spent nearly 20 years working for WICHE in the early part of her career and, among other accomplishments, was instrumental in founding WCET in 1989. Most recently she directed learning innovations and technology initiatives for the University of Colorado System and served in leadership roles for several Colorado statewide e-learning projects. She received her education degree from Emporia State University. As the parent of twin teenage boys, she has first-hand experience with the technology and study habits of today's millenials.

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    Senior Director, Operations and Membership
    WCET
    303.541.0306
  • Demarée Michelau

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      Demarée K. Michelau was appointed in November 2018 as the eighth president in the 65-year-history of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, overseeing WICHE's 65-member staff from its offices in Boulder, Colo. Previously she was WICHE's vice president of policy analysis and research, a role in which she managed WICHE’s Policy Analysis and Research unit and oversaw externally-funded projects related to projections of high school graduates, closing post secondary attainment gaps, and the development of a multistate longitudinal data exchange. The author of numerous reports and policy briefs, she has experience in a variety of higher education policy issues, including those related to equity and attainment, strategic planning, adult learners, articulation and transfer, accelerated learning options, college affordability, workforce linkages, and K-16 reform. Previously, she held positions with the National Conference of State Legislatures and with former Colorado Congressman David Skaggs. Michelau received her bachelor’s degree in public law from Northern Illinois University and her master’s degree and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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    President
    Office of the President
    303.541.0201
  • Craig Milburn

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    Chief Financial Officer
    Administrative Services
    303.541.0282
  • Andy Mills

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    Systems Administrator
    Administrative Services
    303.541.0301
  • Jere Mock

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      Jere J. Mock is vice president of Programs and Services at the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education in Boulder, Colorado. She oversees WICHE's regional student access programs that expand access to higher education at some 200 institutions for more than 42,500 students and help develop the West's workforce. The programs include the Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP), Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP), Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE), and Online Course Exchange (ICE). She also oversees externally-funded regional initiatives that foster college and university collaborations to enhance students' educational opportunities, increase institutional effectiveness, and enable institutions to reduce their administrative costs and offer expanded services to students. Some of these initiatives include the Western Academic Leadership Forum, Western Alliance of Community College Academic Leaders, Western Academic Leadership Academy, Interstate Passport, and WICHE's Native-Serving Institutions Initiative. Mock also directs WICHE's collaborations with the Midwestern Higher Eduction Compact to offer cost savings to institutions and systems, including a property insurance and risk management consortium, the Master Property Program; MHECare, a student health insurance initiative; MHEC tech, a collaborative purchasing program to reduce costs on a range of technology products and services, and a cyber-insurance program. Prior to joining WICHE in 1988, she was executive director of a regional telecommunications company's corporate philanthropy through the seven-state Mountain Bell Foundation, headquartered in Denver, and earlier she worked in public relations and government affairs at Mountain Bell. She received her bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Colorado, Boulder; a master's of public administration with an emphasis on policy analysis from the University of Colorado, Denver; and a master's of business administration with an emphasis in finance from Regis University. She serves on the boards of several nonprofit organizations.

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    Vice President
    Programs and Services
    303.541.0222
  • Dennis Mohatt

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      Dennis Mohatt is the vice president for Behavioral Health at the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). He directs the WICHE Behavioral Health Program and the WICHE Center for Rural Mental Health Research. Mohatt has over 30 years of public mental health services. His work has included direct clinical care, clinical supervision, and CEO tenure in a rural CMHC serving Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Additionally, he led an effort in the early 1990s, funded by HRSA, to successfully integrate mental health and primary care in multiple rural family practice settings. During the late 1990s, Mohatt served as the deputy director for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, a position where he also served as the state's commissioner of mental health. His duties included executive management of multiple state HHS divisions including: child welfare, juvenile justice, public health, mental health, developmental disabilities, substance use, services for the older adults, public assistance, Medicaid, services for the visually impaired, and public institutions. Since 2001, Mohatt has led WICHE's efforts in behavioral health. He has served as a member of the National Rural Health Advisory Committee, and led many national efforts relating to rural mental health including his role as the chief consultant to the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. He is actively engaged in efforts focused on improving services to Veterans, Guard, and Reserve as well as their families; rural mental health policy; workforce development, and increasing adoption of integrated approaches to behavioral and primary care practice. His graduate training was supported by a NIMH Fellowship and focused on rural community-clinical psychology. 

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    Vice President, Behavioral Health and Co-Director, Mental Health Technology Transfer Center
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.541.0256
  • Kim Nawrocki

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    Coordinator, Student Access Programs and Events
    Programs and Services
    303.541.0270
  • Robert Perez

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      Robert Perez, Grant Manager for the Every Learner Everywhere initiative, is a native of Austin, Texas and joined WICHE/WCET in November 2018. Previously, Robert was a Proposal Manager at ACT, where he organized and led responses to international business opportunities in areas such as creativity assessment, moral education, and workforce development.Before that, he worked at Harvard Stem Cell Institute, managing grants and contracts for researchers across Harvard and its affiliated research hospitals.Having grown up in a minority-majority community, broadening the pathways to higher education success for all students is an issue of great personal importance for Robert, and as Grant Manager he will work ensure that Every Learner's grants activities maximize its reach and impact. Robert earned a B.A.from St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas, and an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Missouri Columbia, Missouri.

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    Grant Manager, Every Learner Everywhere
    WCET
    303.541.0253
  • Shelley Plutto

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    Administrative Assistant III
    W-SARA, WCET
    303.541.0317
  • Jeanette Porter

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    Senior Administrative Coordinator
    Office of the President
    303.541.0215
  • Russell Poulin

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      Russ Poulin leads WCET, the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, which focuses on the practice, policy, and advocacy of technology-enhanced learning in higher education. WCET’s members hail from all fifty states and a few from Canada. As WICHE vice president, he advises on policy and projects for the regional higher education compact. Russ represented the distance education community on federal negotiated rulemaking committees and subcommittees. Poulin has received recognition from the Presidents’ Forum, Excelsior College, and the National University Technology Network for his contributions to policies for technology-enhanced postsecondary education. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado Denver and a master's from the University of Northern Colorado. He is also partial to movies, cats, and his wife, Laurie.  

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    Vice President for Technology-Enhanced Education & WCET Executive Director
    WCET
    303.541.0305
  • Megan Raymond

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      Megan Raymond, Assistant Director, Programs and Sponsorship, has been with WCET since 2007. Her primary responsibility is the coordination of the program and logistics for WCET's Annual Conference. Prior to joining WCET, she was the Assistant Director of housing and conference services at Fort Lewis College, a small liberal arts college in Durango, CO. Megan oversaw a successful conference services program and supervised 22 student staff members and two full-time professional staff. She also adjudicated resident discipline cases and coordinated staff development programming. Megan received a Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Marketing from Fort Lewis College and a Masters in Nutrition and Health Education from Hawthorn University. Running, biking, and trail marathons help Megan burn off stress and occupy her spare time.

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    Director, Programs and Sponsorship
    WCET
    303.541.0233
  • Bethany Rigles

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    Research and Technical Assistance Associate
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.541.0226
  • Annette Robertson

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    Fidelity Reviewer (Arizona)
    Behavioral Health Program
    602.705.4064
  • Angela Rochat

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    Data, Policy, and Evaluation Coordinator
    Programs and Services
    970.769.2669
  • Christina Sedney

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    Director of Policy Initiatives and State Authorization
    Policy Analysis and Research, W-SARA
    303.541.0238
  • Dan Silverman

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    Assistant Director, State Authorization Network
    WCET
    303.541.0285
  • Tanya Spilovoy

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    Director, Open Policy
    WCET
    303.541.0231
  • Kate Springsteen

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    Member and Education Services Coordinator, Interstate Passport
    Programs and Services
    303.541.0261
  • Emma Tilson

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    Administrative Coordinator
    Programs and Services
    Administrative Coordinator
    Communications
    303.541.0272
  • Liza Tupa

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      Liza Tupa is the Director of Education and Research for the WICHE Mental Health Program. A licensed clinical psychologist, her career has focused on public behavioral health service delivery. She has expertise in behavioral health service delivery systems in Colorado and other western states, program evaluation, behavioral health policy, management and leadership, and a variety of clinical issues. She has worked in a variety of public behavioral health systems, including community mental health center, Department of Corrections, and a state psychiatric institute. Prior to joining WICHE, Dr. Tupa served as Deputy Director of Colorado’s Office of Behavioral Health, providing leadership in community behavioral health programming and public services planning, procurement, and regulation. Her work there included developing budget requests and proposed legislation, performance improvement, supporting homelessness and institutional transition initiatives for individuals with behavioral health issues, and working closely with the legislative branch of Colorado’s state government as well as with a range of other state departments and agencies. Earlier in her career she served in several leadership roles at a state psychiatric inpatient hospital, including as a unit psychologist, APA-Accredited Psychology Internship Training Director, quality assurance researcher, and ultimately as Associate Director. Dr. Tupa’s graduate training had a dual focus on clinical work and research, with research specialization in program and assessment tool evaluation. She also completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Public Psychology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, studying public mental health service delivery and mental health case law. Her professional experience includes numerous clinical trainings, teaching college level psychology, and local and national presentations in the areas of behavioral health systems, communication skills training and assessment, critical incident stress debriefings, and recovery- focused mental health service delivery.

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    Director of Education and Research
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.541.0224
  • Karen Voyer-Caravona

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    Fidelity Reviewer (Arizona)
    Behavioral Health Program
    928.814.8497
  • Darlene Williams

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      Darlene Williams is an Administrative Assistant III for the WICHE Mental Health Program. She brings over 25 years of experience serving the non-profit and quasi-governmental sector. She has served in several capacities for agricultural, heritage, multicultural, arts and health service organizations as administrator, events and project manager, and corporate secretary. As an arts educator, mentor and consultant, she has extensive experience working in a variety of public and private educational settings in urban, rural and remote communities throughout Western Canada. Long active in the community, Ms. Williams has served on a number of non-profit boards, leading initiatives to increase the accessibility of arts education for everyone.

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    Administrative Assistant III
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.541.0311
  • Stefanie Winfield

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      Stefanie Winfield is a Research and Technical Assistance Associate with the Behavioral Health Program. Her work at WICHE focuses on the Mental Health Technical Transfers Center’s work providing intensive technical assistance and training to elementary schools. Stefanie comes to WICHE with extensive experience working in schools promoting youth sexual health, conflict and angry management, behavioral health education, and school-based health care. With over 17 years of experience working with nonprofits and community organizations, Stefanie has done everything from grant management and implementation, to program and outcome evaluation, training and facilitation. Stefanie received her BSW from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY and her MSW from the University of Denver. She has also completed certificates in the Advanced Study of Program Evaluation, Accelerated Learning, E-learning Design and Organization Development.

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    MHTTC Research and Technical Assistance Coordinator
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.541.0225