Board Members

Rick Griffith

Rick Griffith is a graphic designer and master letterpress printer. His work is an erudite exploration of language, history, politics, science, music, and ethics—typographically-focused and relevant. He is known as a passionate advocate for design. 

As Design Director at MATTER, Rick works across all media for business, culture, and civic engagement with his partner and staff. MATTER’s broad range of clients includes restaurants, beverage manufacturers and distributors, politicians, universities, architects, engineers, arts venues, mimes, scientists, government agencies, and entrepreneurs.

He has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Denver, University of Colorado, Denver, and has been a visiting artist at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design and the Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design in Prague (UMPRUM). His work is represented in the permanent collections of the Denver Art Museum, the Tweed Museum of Art, and the Butler Library of Rare Books and Manuscripts at Columbia University. 

It has been celebrated by the Type Directors Club, Print Magazine, Dwell, and AIGA 50 Books | 50 Covers. Rick has designed and curated three exhibits on typography and letterpress printing and served as a curator and designer of exhibitions for AIGA National. He was inducted into the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences in 2001. Rick’s true orientation is towards self-reliance, disruption, creative compassion, and independent thought. For most of us, life is long—for lots of reasons, we might begin to act like it.

Normena Walton

Normena Walton

Normena Walton is a native New Yorker who has lived in Colorado for over 25 years.

She holds a B.A. in Communications from Marist College and has worked in both the non-profit and private sectors. Previously, she worked in advertising at BBDO New York and Thomas & Perkins in Denver, Colorado.  Currently, she is a Senior Contract Specialist at IHS Markit, having managed over $70MM in contracts for the Federal government. She lives in Arvada, CO, with her husband, Matthew.  They have two children, one in high school and the other at the University of Colorado.  She enjoys the arts, hiking, volunteering at Urban Peak, and spending time with her family.

“At the age of forty-one, my mother decided to return to college to complete her education.  At the time, I didn’t realize the sacrifice this decision required for a divorced mother of three children. She worked a full-time job, took classes in the evenings, and graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She demonstrated the importance of education and showed me that it is never too late to pursue your dreams.”

“The purpose of an education… is to create in a person the ability to look at the world for himself, to make his own decisions.”

-James Baldwin    read blog posts and reports by Normena Walton

Lee Spiegler

Lee Spiegler

Board Member

Lee is a long-time Denver Attorney, currently doing freelance legal work.  Previously, he served for 16 years as the Executive Vice President and General Counsel of ANGI Homeservices, Inc. (owner of HomeAdvisor and Angie's List). Prior to ANGI, Lee served as General Counsel for an online education platform and a laser vision correction company. He also was an associate at the law firms of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrision, and Ballard, Spahr, Andrews & Ingersoll.  Lee is a graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and received his law degree from the University of Colorado.  He enjoys hiking and skiing in the mountains of Colorado with his wife Susie, a long-time elementary school teacher in Jeffco, his two boys who are students at the University of Vermont and the University of Oregon, and his faithful Golden Retriever, Moose.

Jill Barkin A+ Board

Jill Barkin

Board Member

Jill S. Barkin is The Director of Education at The Beacon Fund --a newly launched social impact enterprise committed to using the full range philanthropic to market rate investment tools and advocacy to help individuals achieve their full potential.

Most recently Jill served as Vice President of Board Governance for Teach for America and prior to that was Vice President of Corporate Philanthropy and Community Relations for JP Morgan Chase in Colorado. Before moving to Colorado in 2006, Jill worked in Massachusetts as a consultant to nonprofits and charitable foundations at Monitor Institute, New Profit Inc. and FSG Social Impact Advisors.

Jill currently serves on the Board of Directors of Chalkbeat, a national network of local education news bureaus and on the Education Committee of The Denver Foundation. She also serves on the Advisory Board of Colorado Public Radio. In 2011 Jill was appointed by Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock to serve on Denver’s Homelessness Commission and the Denver Education Compact. In 2017 Jill was appointed by the Denver School Board to serve on the Strengthening Neighborhood Initiative.

Jill holds a BA in Economics and Political Science cum laude from Williams College and a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School. She lives in Denver with her husband Adam and their sons Jacob (7) & Eli (5). She enjoys running, skiing, cooking, and listening to TED Talks.

Alan Gottlieb

Alan Gottlieb

Board Member

Alan Gottlieb is a Colorado-based writer, editor, journalist, and nonprofit entrepreneur, with 20 years of experience in education policy and education journalism.

Currently, Alan is owner of Write.Edit.Think,. LLC, an independent communications consulting firm.

Alan co-founded Chalkbeat, a growing and increasingly prominent national news nonprofit focused on PreK-12 education policy, policy implementation and practice. Alan founded Chalkbeat’s precursor, Education News Colorado, and served as its publisher from its founding in 2008 until the merger with New York-based GothamSchools that created Chalkbeat in 2013. Under Alan’s leadership, Chalkbeat grew into an organization with more than 20 employees and a budget topping $3 million.

From 1988-97, Alan was a reporter with The Denver Post. His work focused primarily on urban social issues, including public housing, homelessness, and, from 1995-7, Denver Public Schools. His coverage of DPS earned several regional journalism awards.

From 1997 until June 2007, Gottlieb served as education program officer at The Piton Foundation in Denver. He is the author of two books, one fiction, one non-fiction. Neither has anything to do with education.

Tom Kaesemeyer

Board Member

After 19 years heading two independent schools, Westtown School (PA) and Kent Denver School (CO), Tom Kaesemeyer served as executive director of the Gates Family Foundation in Denver. He retired in June, 2010 after 13 years in that position.  While at Gates, Tom focused on public-private partnerships, including the funding and construction of 22 “Learning Landscapes” on DPS elementary school campuses in Denver’s Focus Neighborhoods. He also helped establish a 5-foundation collaborative, the “Foundations for Great Schools,” which annually granted $500,000 to high performing public district and charter schools in Metro Denver. Tom currently works part-time as executive director of the Fox Family Foundation that focuses on supporting nonprofits that promote education reform and self-sufficiency for underserved populations in Denver and New Orleans.

In 1999 Tom was asked by Roger Reisher, founder and CEO of First Bank to help set up a major college scholarship program for Colorado students. It now provides $2.2 million annually in merit/need scholarship grants to over 300 students in 6 state universities. The scholarships are awarded to community college graduates matriculating into 4-year colleges and rising sophomores at state universities. With Federal grants and Reisher funds, tuition and board are fully covered. In February, after 17 years, Tom stepped down as Chair of the Reisher Scholarship Committee.

Tom is a trustee of St. Anne’s Episcopal School in Denver.  He served as trustee of Colorado Mesa University from 2000-2008, and of the Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST-Public Schools) from 2008-2014. While at Kent Denver, Tom was the catalyst in establishing Denver Summerbridge (now Breakthrough Kent Denver) on the school campus in 1994. He chaired the Association of Colorado Independent Schools (ACIS) while at Kent and served on the board of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).

Tom graduated from Lehigh University (BA) and the University of Washington (MA). He and his wife, Sally, served in the Peace Corps in Peru. They have two children, Kate and Karl.   

F. Mike Miles

Board Member

Mike Miles co-founded Third Future, an educational services company, after serving three years as the Superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District. Under his leadership, the District saw remarkable student achievement gains and implemented ground-breaking initiatives. Prior to Dallas, Miles successfully transformed the Harrison School District in Colorado Springs, raising student achievement and building a high-performance culture.

A graduate of West Point, Mike Miles has also served as an officer in the Army’s elite Ranger Battalion. He later served in the U.S. State Department as a Diplomat to Poland and Russia.

Miles also holds degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University.

Jesus Salazar

Jesus Salazar

Board Member

Jesus is a Colorado native who loves bringing exceptional people together to accomplish great things.  He believes that we are all at our best when we can tie what we do really well back to helping others.  His vision for Prosono, the company he founded, is to create a workplace where exceptional consulting professionals can find a deeper purpose in their work, by unlocking their passion in philanthropy and incorporating it into their day to day jobs.  For the past 16 years, Jesus Salazar has helped some of the largest organizations in North America formulate and execute compelling strategies that significantly transform their business.

Amy Slothower

Board Member

Amy Slothower is a management consultant with more than 20 years of leadership experience in both the private and nonprofit sectors. She currently provides strategic planning services to organizations in the health care and education industries.  Her current and past clients include Children’s Hospital Colorado, the Colorado Health Foundation, the Colorado Office of Early Childhood, the Colorado Charter School Institute, Colorado Access and numerous smaller nonprofits, charter schools and independent schools. Slothower typically is hired by the Board of Directors of her client organizations, and often provides them with guidance on effective governance. She was previously the founding Executive Director of Get Smart Schools, a charter school incubator and leadership development organization. Slothower was also the founder and board president of Denver Venture School, a Denver Public Schools charter high school with an entrepreneurship focus. In addition, she co-founded the Denver School of Science and Technology where she spent three years as chief financial officer prior to its 2004 opening. She also served as the vice president of finance and operations for the Colorado Children's Campaign, an advocacy organization working to improve the lives of all of Colorado's 1.1 million kids. Her private sector experiences include serving as Director of Product Management for, which is now a publicly-traded company, and working in management consulting for the Mitchell Madison Group, a McKinsey spin-off. Slothower received Bachelor’s degrees in history and literature from Harvard University. She earned a Masters of Business Administration with an emphasis in finance and accounting from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

Craig Smith

Craig M. Smith

Board Member

As a fourth-generation Coloradan, Craig Smith was raised with a deep appreciation for his home state and a desire to help its citizens prosper. True to the spirit of the West, Smith’s persistence and work ethic earned him a prestigious fellowship at El Pomar Foundation, a job that laid the foundation for his rise to President & COO of HomeAdvisor by age 33.  One year later, Smith was named a Colorado Biz “CEO of the Year” finalist and helped earn the company top honors as Denver Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work” and CTA Technology “Company of the Year.” As one of HomeAdvisor’s early executives, Smith was instrumental in building the company from an idea to Colorado’s largest consumer Internet brand.

Today, Smith still serves as President & COO of HomeAdvisor, responsible for leading more than 1,400 employees, including international and subsidiary businesses.  In true pioneer fashion, he has helped launch and guide several new start-ups in Denver, and serves on the board of Remotely, a Colorado-based technology start-up.

In addition to his leadership in the business community, Smith has stayed true to his philanthropic roots.  In addition to Remotely, he serves on The Children’s Hospital Colorado Corporate Leadership Council and the Board of Directors of the Beanstalk Foundation, where he helped champion a new strategy to support the social enterprise movement.

In 2015, Craig received the first ever Colorado Governor's Citizenship Medal recognizing his professional excellence and positive impact on the Colorado Community.  

Smith graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in 1997 with a degree in Finance.

Craig lives in Denver with his wife and three young children and starts his mornings with a bike ride to take his daughter to school. Even though she’s only in kindergarten, these rides have become the greatest source of inspiration shaping his future career and civic duties. As they say: “Life is like a bicycle, to keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

Charles Ward

Charles L. Ward

Board Member

Chuck retired as Colorado President for Qwest Communications in 2012. He worked in the telecommunications industry for over 38 years. He also served as interim CEO at the National Sports Center for the Disabled and two years as head of Public Affairs at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Chuck served on the Board of the Denver Metro Economic Development Corporation, which he co-chaired for two years, the Board of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, which he chaired in 2010, and the Board of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Colorado.

Chuck grew up in Pennsylvania and attended Penn State University [BS] and Southern Illinois University [MBA]. Chuck and his wife Chris have lived in Denver for 20 years and have two children.

Bill Weintraub

Board Member

Bill Weintraub teaches advertising and marketing in the College of Communication at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He is passionate about mentoring and coaching young people about their careers.

Bill attended public schools, growing up in a mixed-ethnic working class Chicago neighborhood. He graduated from the University of Illinois and went on to receive an MBA from Northwestern. He served a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps, before beginning his marketing career at Procter & Gamble in Ohio. He went on to become Chief Marketing Officer at Kellogg in Michigan, then at Tropicana in Florida, then at Coors in Colorado.

Over the years, Bill has served on the boards of various national and local, for-profit and non-profit organizations, including SOAR charter school in far northeast Denver.