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Schooling in the Era of COVID-19: Ensuring Successful Transitions for Juniors and Seniors

Transitions webinar
Time: to

You can access a recording of this webinar here.

Join us on Monday, May 11th, 2020 at 3pm MDT for the second webinar in our series, Schooling in the Era of COVID-19: Ensuring Successful Transitions for Juniors and Seniors.

This discussion will cover the uncertainty, changes, and virtual support for students planning to transition from high school to a higher education as well as how higher education institutions in CO are handling virtual student outreach and support including recruitment, summer bridge programs, and summer melt. The conversation will be moderated by Erica Breunlin from the Colorado Sun, and the panel will include:

Joe Garcia

Dr. Angie Paccione

Nate Cadena

Dr. Wendy Birhanzel


About the Speakers:

Joe Garcia, Chancellor of the Colorado Community College System

Joe Garcia was Colorado’s Democratic Lieutenant Governor for John Hickenlooper from 2010 to May 2016 and is a member of DFER Colorado’s advisory board. Prior to being elected Lt. Governor, Garcia served as President of Pikes Peak Community College from 2001 to 2006 and President of Colorado State University in Pueblo from 2006-2010. While he was Lt. Governor he was also confirmed as the Executive Director for the Colorado Department of Higher Education due to his extensive experience in higher education. After leaving the Hickenlooper administration he was the President of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education Earlier this year he was selected as President of the Colorado Community College System. In all of these roles Joe Garcia has been focused on improving preparation for and access to higher education for students of all backgrounds.

Dr. Angie Paccione, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education

Dr. Angie Paccione is the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, appointed by Governor Jared Polis in 2019. She has over 20 years of experience in education, working across secondary and postsecondary education.

She’s been a high school teacher, a coach, and a college professor. Her development of a teacher preparation program was published in Teacher’s College Press and has been cited in over 75 academic papers.
Dr. Paccione left education and served 2 terms in the Colorado House representing west Fort Collins and was a member of the education committee for both of her terms.

Prior to taking her role at CDHE, Dr. Paccione worked in the private sector where she specialized in the areas of leadership development, diversity and inclusion, talent development, and change management working with leaders in 40 countries and all 50 states.

Nathan Cadena, Chief Operating Officer for Denver Scholarship Foundation

Nate Cadena currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer for the Denver Scholarship Foundation, an organization committed to assisting students in the pathway to and through college. He has been a part of the DSF since 2013 previously serving as the Senior Director of Programs. Previously, he has served as a career counselor, advisor/instructor, financial aid administrator, and director of both college access and success programs.

Cadena holds a Bachelors of Arts in social sciences from Colorado State University and a Masters of Education from Regis University.

Dr. Wendy Birhanzel, Superintendent of Harrison School District 2

Dr. Wendy Birhanzel stepped into the role as Superintendent of Harrison School District Two at the end of the 2019 academic year. Prior to her new position, she has dedicated her time to increasing educational achievements within her schools across Colorado and California for 18 years.

Dr. Birhanzel’s achievements within different Colorado school districts have gone unnoticed. In her role as principal for two Colorado elementary schools, she assisted in helping them reach the honor of National Blue Ribbon Award and National Title I Distinguished School. In regards to her own personal accomplishments, she was previously awarded the Young Alumni Achievement Award from her alma mater and the Mayor’s Young Leader Award in.

Dr. Birhanzel received her undergraduate degree from Valley City State in University, an Education Administration Master’s from California State University- Dominguez Hills and later on Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership specific to Urban School Settings from the University of Southern California.