Author: Boettcher Foundation

DENVER, January 17, 2022 — The Boettcher Foundation is pleased to announce that Aurora Public Schools Superintendent Rico Munn has been appointed to the Board of Trustees. A longtime leader in Colorado’s education and public sectors, Munn also has held important roles in the state’s legal and business communities. Comprised of some of Colorado’s most dynamic business and community leaders, the Boettcher Foundation Trustees are responsible for governing and guiding the Foundation’s mission to support the promise of Colorado and the potential of Coloradans. “Rico’s commitment to system-level and community leadership is exemplary,” said President & CEO Katie Kramer. “He is a natural collaborator and problem solver who possesses vast knowledge of the challenges and opportunities that face the families, community organizations, and institutions of Colorado.” Munn said he chose to join the Boettcher Foundation Board of Trustees because of the organization’s statewide influence and history of supporting organizations, institutions, and individuals. "I am excited and honored to join the Board of the Boettcher Foundation,” Munn said.  “I am inspired by the Boettcher family's legacy of giving back to Colorado. I want to carry forward that legacy by helping to propel Colorado forward as we focus on the needs of our students and the future leaders of our state and nation." Named the 16th superintendent of Aurora Public Schools in 2013, Munn oversees the fifth largest school district in Colorado. In 2019, he was named Colorado’s Superintendent of the Year and Aurora’s Man of the Year. Prior to his role with APS, Munn served in a variety of leadership roles in Colorado’s legal and business communities. In 2012, he was appointed to the Board of Governors for the Colorado State University System, serving until 2020. He also served as the executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education from 2009-11; this followed his elected tenure to the Colorado State Board of Education from 2002-07. Munn also served on Gov. Bill Ritter’s Cabinet as executive director of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies from 2007-09. He is a graduate of Midland Lutheran College in Fremont, Nebraska, where he received his B.A. in secondary education and was named Student Teacher of the Year in 1993. He received his Juris Doctorate from the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver. Munn has been married to his wife Kay since 1998, and he is the proud father of two teenagers. About the Boettcher Foundation At the Boettcher Foundation, we believe in the promise of Colorado and the potential of Coloradans. Every day we champion excellence across our state by investing in our most talented citizens and high-potential organizations, because supporting their hard work and leadership will enable them to give back for years to come. ...

By Wylia Sims | Chief Zen Officer, The Equity Project Although leadership shows up in many ways throughout one’s life journey – in work, family or community – (EID) lens is not always easily identifiable. Instead, it discreetly reveals itself at times or moments when we become more aware of its purpose and impact – and most, of all, its importance. When I see someone leading with an EID lens, some of the attributes are detectable. I recognize how someone can demonstrate awareness of their own biases and preferences. I watch as they intentionally seek out and consider different views from their own, make efforts to have an empathetic perspective, and engage in courageous conversations. Very few innately possess these attributes. In fact, most of us, like me, acquire them through life experiences and environmental influences. At this time in my life, I am gaining a better understanding of how EID leadership has influenced me, by taking inventory of my journey - a continuous series of chapters, each providing an opportunity to explore my curiosities and gain exposure to the unknown. Some that come to mind: Born from the love of biracial high school sweethearts who attended Manual High School in the 1960s with predominantly Black, Asian and Mexican students, creating a community of mixed races, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds Attending predominantly white private schools, because my parents knew that education would be the key to accessing limitless possibilities for my brother and me, exposing us to different worlds Living in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Park Hill, now renamed “North” Park Hill, where my father has lived in same house for decades and has witnessed the changing cultural fabric Earning a degree in International Business at Howard University, the mecca of Historically Black Colleges and Universities located in a majority-black city in the 1990s, shaping my definition of success from those who looked like me, my family, and community Working for Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., the “Black Rainmaker” in DC, raised in Jim Crow Atlanta who broke the glass ceiling for minorities to serve on Fortune 500 corporate boards, paving the way for future generations and creating a network of professionals carrying the torch to the next Mentored by the first CEO of the Fannie Mae Foundation, Wendy Sherman, who corrected me when referring to myself and colleagues as girls instead of women. She instilled in me the desire to make an impact with my work Living in the heart of New York City and working for George Soros, a self-made billionaire who escaped a war-torn Hungary during World War II and emigrated to the United States. He has created one of the largest foundations opening closed societies around the world Serving on a board of Miracle Makers, a social service agency in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, as a young professional; this was my first experience voluntarily working with a diverse group of members, during a controversial time of city funding and the transitioning of founding executive directors Building the operational foundation for a start-up philanthropic marketplace, GlobalGiving Foundation, connecting donors to grassroots projects globally, and distributing hundreds of millions of donations to those wanting to improve their lives Decades after leaving, moving back home to Denver, once labeled a “cow town” that has grown into a thriving economic destination attracting a vibrant workforce yet still faced with inequitable circumstances for lifelong residents, in particular the minority population Managing the finances and operations at the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation developing programs for leaders to better understand the issues of their communities and how to contribute for impactful change Currently leading operations at The Equity Project, an EDI consulting firm founded by a Black woman who hired an all-female leadership team, empowering organizations across the country to become more equitable All these life events are the sum of who I have become (and I am still becoming).  They have provided me a unique lens - directing the way I live, contribute, and understand. Life events that have made me aware of my predispositions, offered unique perspectives I may not have sought on my own, triggered the discovery of the new and unfamiliar, as well as developed a sensitivity of empathy and compassion. I share this inventory of experiences because without knowing, labeling or communicating it, diversity, equity and inclusion were weaved throughout. Each piece of the puzzle has formed a unique lens of lived experience THAT I use to lead wherever I stand. Professionally, my roles have not included responsibilities to implement EID initiatives. Instead, I manage the financial and operational health of organizations, which has provided me the opportunity to work at a range of companies and nonprofits, each with unique missions, locations, and employees. Today, I lead the business operations for The Equity Project, a consultant firm that specializes in EID training for organizations of every sector and industry. For me to be truly vested and successful in my role, I must be aligned with the mission and integrate into our day-to-day operations the same values we counsel externally to clients. Additionally, I also must apply my EID lens in managing the operations and developing the organizational strategy. I believe this practice will not only grow the business but will create empowered team members who contribute to the overall strength of the team. I also believe it will make our organization and team impactful community members.  If we make decisions using a true EID lens, as Dr. Dwinita Mosby Tyler, chief catalyst of The Equity Project says, it should be “a win for the individual, a win for the organization and a win for the community.”   I’m sure if you took an inventory of your life events, chapters from your journey, you would be able to take stock of how your EID lens has developed and supports how you lead through awareness, willingness, empathy and authenticity resulting in wins for you, your organization, and your community....

Shari Williams President Leadership Program of the Rockies How have your years working in public policy, strategic planning, consulting, and local and national campaigns shaped your approach to leading the Leadership Program of the Rockies? Decades of involvement in public policy, and election campaigns, convinced me that electing good people to office is not enough. They rely on, are influenced by, and become a reflection of, the people they represent and the culture they live in. Thus, if we want to change the culture to one that embraces freedom over force, we actually need better citizens. Citizens own the government, not the other way around, so the only way to ensure government plays its proper role, focused on protecting the people’s individual rights, is for active, engaged citizens to be informed and involved enough to hold their officials accountable. Who is a fit for the Leadership Program of the Rockies? The problem of American culture is not a partisan one, but a divide that is at the heart of America’s future. Active citizens can ensure a free future only if they are informed and prepared. We look for people who already demonstrate leadership in their communities, and who are open to understanding the founders’ vision, and the role of capitalism in a free society. They must know that free enterprise – the system that created the Boettcher Foundation – is essential to economic success. No one can give away that which they did not produce, so our classes understand that doing good works first requires freedom and the right to pursue happiness. A big focus of your organization and program emphasizes principle-centered leadership. How have you seen principle-centered leadership practiced or implemented among your program Alumni who work in different sectors and industries? LPR’s 1800 graduates are now in leadership positions in every part of the state, and in several other states – in politics, business, health care, education, and the media. They are changing the discussions in their families, neighborhoods, businesses, and communities, because they have learned to apply founding principles to current everyday issues, and they know how to persuade others. Leaders should think in principles, not policy details, and our graduates not only do that, but they convince others to look at issues through a lens of liberty. Diversity and inclusion are values that have been at the forefront of American discourse over the past several years. One important dimension of diversity that’s often overlooked or forgotten is diversity of perspective. Why do you feel diversity of perspective is so important for organizations and leadership?  This is a vital component of LPR’s success. Throughout American pop culture, there is a misplaced emphasis on diversity of characteristics people cannot change (race, gender, national origin). We emphasize diversity of areas people can choose, such as their opinions and philosophies, and we honor their choices. This is the most important diversity of all, because we value individuality, not conformity. It is an uphill struggle these days, because society wants to force conformity of thought, which Americans should never agree to. LPR graduates are prepared, and skilled, to push back and to insist on the value of individual freedom of thought. One of LPR’s important recruitment strategies emphasizes that the program doesn’t teach participants “how” to be a leader but “why” to be a leader. How does that phrase resonate for you personally when you think about your “why?” We reject the premise that “how” and “why” are mutually exclusive. We teach that America is not merely a geographic place, but an idea – the idea that ordinary people can govern themselves, and that they are all equal under the law. Leadership based on that ideal is central, so our graduates understand that it is the government’s job to protect that ideal for future generations, not to solve all the people’s problems. This is a crucial concept, which leaders must fully understand in order to properly manage their country. People, families, communities, associations, and foundations can come together to solve their own problems. They need government to guarantee their free ability to do so How has your definition of leadership shifted – or not changed – since you began leading Leadership Program of the Rockies? Initially we were focused on leaders, especially elected officials, but over the years came to realize that they are merely reflections of the culture. True leadership lies in the ability to boil complex issues down to basic principles, living one’s life accordingly, and continuously reminding others in the most persuasive and effective way. Every citizen can be that kind of leader, each with their own sphere of influence – however large or small. That’s what ultimately changes the culture, and thereby changes the leadership and future of the country. Where do you draw your inspiration? I am inspired by so many individuals I meet who have found their own ways to improve their communities, families, and businesses. They are people who carve their own path, and pursue their own happiness. The Declaration of Independence not only inspires nations around the world, it also continues to inspire individuals to improve their country, each in their own way. Nobody else can create happiness in a person’s life, but every individual must figure that out for themselves. There is no end to the inspiration that can be drawn from people who figure that out, and then use that understanding to better their world....

Janice Sinden President & CEO Denver Center for Performing Arts How have your years of public service, most recently as Chief of Staff for Mayor Hancock, shaped your approach to leading the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA)? For me, the most fulfilling work is in the nonprofit and public sectors. Building collaborations, tackling complicated issues, and developing strategies that will enrich the lives of our community members and visitors defines my purpose. I am fortunate to be a part of many coalitions, boards and initiatives that have informed my values, how I lead and how I continue to grow, especially now in my role at the DCPA. As we all know, the arts were particularly impacted by COVID-19 and necessary measures to halt and then limit in-person performances, classes, and camps. Where are you all now in tackling the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, and what new opportunities are surfacing in this tumultuous time? The DCPA was deeply impacted by the 18 month shut-down due to COVID-19. We experienced $100 million in unrealized income, cancelled more than 40 shows, dozens of events and hundreds of classes. Thanks to the incredible support of our staff, Board of Trustees, patrons and broader community, we remain resilient and recently announced a 30-show season that will allow us to welcome audiences back to our theatres and artists back to our stages.  This is all possible thanks for federal funding from the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, Paycheck Protection Program, SCFD funding, and the generosity of our donors. You are a founding CEO leader of Colorado Inclusive Economy. What does that designation represent for DCPA in terms of both short- and long-term commitment? In response to Black Lives Matter and We See You W.A.T., the DCPA published an Equity Statement and identified several key areas of focus to improve inclusivity at the DCPA. The DCPA’s work is led by Lydia Garcia, Executive Director or Equity and Organization Culture, along with an employee-led committee called PACE (Peer Advocacy Coalition for EDI) and five cross-departmental operational project teams that are building a robust framework for meaningful change. Our areas of focus include Artistic Practices, EDI Training, Inclusive Spaces, Talent Recruitment and Retention and Working Conditions. Our EDI work aligns directly with the mission of the Colorado Inclusive Economy to build and sustain opportunities for BIPOC individuals to grow and thrive in our collective organizations. Several years ago, the DCPA officially adopted EDI as a core organizational value and then took part in a cohort experience that was led by the Theatre Communications Group. What were some of the learnings from that experience that you have implemented? The DCPA is committed to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion throughout our organization and in partnership with our audiences, students and broader community. Our Board of Trustees recently expanded its Governance Committee to include People and Culture, and we launched workshops for employees and visiting artists to define our commitment to building a culture of respect and belonging. Additionally, we have adopted a number of practices in an effort to make our spaces more inclusive, including gender neutral restrooms, welcoming folks to share their pronouns, and adopting a Land Acknowledgement. These are a few examples of our most recent efforts. In many ways, DCPA has emerged as a leading example of an organization that embraces EDI at multiple organizational levels – from diversifying your Board of Trustees to presenting productions that better reflect the demographics and lived experiences of Coloradans. And, in 2019, DCPA created a position on your leadership team focused on equity and organizational culture. What are you most proud of when you think about the present and future of living in a more socially-aware and post-pandemic world? There are days when I am incredibly proud of the progress we have made, and then there are days when I am acutely aware of how much more work we have to do to ensure that our spaces and places are truly accessible and inclusive. This is a life-long, multi-generational journey – one that will continue to require honest conversations, reflections on past and present practices, and the investment of time, talent and resources to make transformative, sustainable change. How has your definition of leadership shifted – or not changed – since you began leading DCPA? My definition of leadership has changed dramatically since I arrived at the DCPA in September of 2016.  In my prior positions, I was more linear, clear-cut and goal driven/oriented. And now that I am at the DCPA, I feel like my heart has expanded 10 times. I am surrounded by the most gifted, inspirational artists and team members who care so deeply about telling stories of our past, present and future to build community, remind us of our humanity, and challenge us to grow and expand in our thinking. My amazing colleagues have transformed who I am as a leader, and I am better for it. One thing that has stayed the same is that my mantra “right, not fast” has never been more fundamental to my leadership approach. The pandemic taught us all that transparency, accountability, long-term planning and compassion take time and require patience if you want to get them (mostly) right. Where do you draw your inspiration? I draw my inspiration from SO MANY places.  First and foremost, I am inspired every single day by my 10-year-old nephew Ryland and my almost 6-year-old niece Amelia. They are the loves of my life. I also draw inspiration from community service. I am on too many boards to count, but with my love of servant leadership, there is always another hour in the day to invest in organizations that do so much for so many....

The Best Part of My Day By José Martinez, 2003 Boettcher Scholar and outgoing Alumni Board member A few weeks ago, my eldest daughter Penelope shared an interesting story with me on the way home from school. She told me that three students in her first grade class got to the chance to eat lunch with their beloved teacher that day. Naturally, I inquired as to why those specific students were chosen and she excitedly replied, ‘because it was their birthday in November, Dad! When a kid has their birthday in that month, they get to eat lunch with the teacher.’ I nodded in approval, but before I could say anything else, Penelope then added to the story. She told me that one of the three students chose not to eat lunch with the teacher… Now, for those that don’t know, there are few things in life that are cooler or more desired (for a first grader, at least) than the opportunity to eat lunch with your teacher. With that idea as cannon, I was immediately intrigued as to why this student would elect to opt out. Penelope explained to me that in their classroom, each student has a table partner that they sit next to. She also explained that two of the kids chosen were table-mates, but the third chosen student didn’t want her table-mate to be left out and alone at lunch, so she chose to eat lunch with them in the cafeteria instead. We only had a few more blocks left to get home at that point, and all I could do was smile and think, “man, kids are awesome.” One of the best parts of parenthood is the opportunity to shape the world in a way that makes it better. Every day, we as a society have the opportunity to teach our children and to help them frame the world. In our own household, my wife and I have made a concerted effort to work with our own young daughters on working hard and being kind. When we read books and watch movies with the girls, we try to highlight characters who show resilience or those who do good for others. When we talk about our daily lives and what we see around us, we often talk about ‘filling other people’s bucket’s’ and trying our best, even when things are hard. What made me so happy to hear Penelope explain the lunch story was that this whole experience was totally logical and not at all surprising in her world; she was just telling me what happened at school because that’s just what we do everyday on the ride home. You see, the reason why my wife and I focus so strongly on kindness and work ethic with our kids is because we believe these are the key tenets of growth and leadership. Our hope is that one day, our girls will grow up and be empowered to do anything and everything they want, but we want them to do it with kindness. We want them to pursue their dreams, but we also want them to make the world a better place. Perhaps ironically, my wife and I found out we were pregnant with Penelope just before I had the pleasure of being invited to be part of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board, 7 years ago. Much like Penelope has experienced and learned about these leadership tenets from us, my own experience working for and with the Board has continually taught and reinforced these same beliefs for me. Being a part of the Alumni Board has easily been one of the most fun and rewarding things I have ever done. While the Boettcher brand has always been synonymous with greatness, that’s not really the reason why I was so eager to serve or why the experience has been so incredible. The real draw has actually been the dedication and kindness of everyone involved. Much like my daughter’s first grade class and my own attempt at parenting, we all seek out the good in others and we are eager to support those around us, no matter the cost. Simply put, this group of people is one of the best arguments I can make about why I am optimistic and hopeful for the future. And, for all those on the Board, I want to express how deeply grateful and honored I am to have had the pleasure to serve alongside you. For the reader of this post, however, I want to leave you with just one piece of advice. Comedian Conan O’Brien, in his farewell speech from his show, told his audience, “work hard and be kind; amazing things will happen.” Though from an unconventional source, I truly believe there is magic in this idea. As I approach my own farewell of sorts, I simply want to encourage you to heed this advice. It’s not always easy to do and sometimes it seems like a counterintuitive response to the situation at hand, but I promise you that most of the time it will be exactly what you need. And just like that, I must bid you adieu. As luck would have it, it’s time for me to go pick up Penelope from school and see what other life lessons await....

Peter Maiurro Chief Communications & Business Affairs Officer and 2001 Boettcher Scholar I donate to the Boettcher Foundation because Boettcher Foundation has supported me and provided me opportunities to enhance the work I am fortunate to do. I believe in the synergy of Boettcher Foundation investing in people and projects that were destined to make a positive impact. That positive impact is amplified by Boettcher and I want to support that amplification for future people and projects. Paying it forward means supporting future generations of people and projects with great potential to make a positive impact. Philanthropy is giving of one’s resources to support meaningful work for goodness in our communities. In addition to giving to Boettcher, my personal giving priorities are arts and culture, education, economic prosperity My favorite thing about being a Boettcher Scholar is the network of scholars and the relationships with Boettcher staff/Trustees.  The community of those associated with Boettcher is one of the greatest collection of people I have ever known- smart, kind, fun people who are committed to doing good. The leadership value that I strive to apply daily is character because being a person of strong character is a critical foundation for effective leadership.  Courage is a close second…   Dr. Larry Allen Professor of Medicine, University of Colorado, School of Medicine, Former Trustee, and 1990 Boettcher Scholar I donate to the Boettcher Foundation because the Boettcher Foundation has been such a positive influence in my life in many ways. Trying to pay it forward is the least I can do. Paying it forward means pass it on to someone else who will benefit. Turn the good fortune that has been created for you into good fortune for others. Philanthropy is generosity, giving without expecting something in return. In addition to giving to Boettcher, my personal giving priorities are President’s Leadership Class at CU Boulder, National Public Radio and Colorado Public Radio, Denver Public Schools, Florence Crittenton, Colorado Open Lands, Planned Parenthood, and the CU Foundation. My favorite thing about being a part of the Boettcher Community is being a part of the Boettcher Community. The leadership value that I strive to apply daily is responsibility because I believe a lot of leadership is done through example and hard work and that nothing should be beneath any of us.   Michelle Lucero Trustee I donate to the Boettcher Foundation because I believe in the mission of the Boettcher Foundation. With my heart and soul.  I am proudly a Colorado native, "to invest in the promise of Colorado...

By Curtis L. Esquibel Laying the groundwork for an eventual manned mission to the moon, the Gemini Space Program launched its second unmanned spacecraft to test heat protection and structural integrity upon launch and re-entry. In other headlines, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a civil rights march in Alabama from Selma to Montgomery. The year was 1965. It was also the year that Peter Erdman received the Boettcher Scholarship as a senior at Fairview High School in Boulder. After opening his scholarship offer letter, Peter told himself that one day he would give back to the program that helped launch his career and pursue his love of science. Earlier this year, Peter donated a major gift to the Foundation in support of the scholarship program. (Visit here to learn about giving to the Boettcher Foundation). “I was the first in my family to go to college,” he said. “The financial support of the Boettcher Foundation gave me that opportunity.” Today, Peter teaches physics in the physical science department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL. While he took the fall semester off from teaching, Peter sat down to answer some questions about his career path, life, and philanthropic interests. Share a little about your post-Boettcher Scholar life – family, career path, interests, and inspirations? “I finished at the University of Colorado with an undergraduate degree in physics and continued on to graduate school in physics at the University of Pittsburgh. There I completed a PhD in between making some mountaineering trips to the Himalaya, Andes, Canada, and Alaska. I have been married (41 years now) and have two daughters, who are all grown up. I continued as a research scientist at Pittsburgh, working in Earth upper atmospheric physics and chemistry by designing and building instruments for both laboratory experiments and for flights on sounding rockets and satellites. I moved to the Daytona Beach, FL area upon taking a faculty position at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1998 where I still teach physics. After moving, I soon developed a strong interest in hands-on observational astronomy as a way to increase student interest in science. My first challenge was then to convince anyone that ground-based astronomy could be done from a semi-urban location, so I delved into astro photography as a means of demonstration (a number of my images can be found on "astrobin.com,” search for "erdmanpe").  The images proved convincing enough to raise funding, and so I developed an Astronomy & Astrophysics undergraduate degree program, along with an observatory system right on campus with a 1-meter telescope (I believe the largest university telescope in the southeast) in order to give students access to state of the art instrumentation for their projects.  The undergraduate A&A program is now one of the largest in the country.” What made you choose to ‘give back’ to Boettcher through philanthropy? “I always considered my scholarship to essentially be a loan that I should pay back, with interest, when I could feel financially comfortable doing so. The obvious great need of so many people in these times reminded me of that obligation.” When you think about giving and your personal philanthropy, what are your priorities? “Primarily food banks and organizations providing emergency help and disaster relief.” What does being a part of the Boettcher Scholar community mean to you? “It reminds me that I've been helped by others, and it is my obligation to do what I can with my good fortune. I frequently remind myself and family, "do you realize how lucky we are?" As an educator and lifelong learner, what is the message you would share with young Boettcher Scholars today, perhaps those in college or early in their careers? “Remember that there were those you inspired you on your path, and who helped you along it. It is your obligation to society to continue that legacy for those behind you.” As an alum, did you know you can donate to the Boettcher Foundation Scholarship Program? If you are inspired to do so, your support can help us create additional academic, intellectual, and leadership opportunities for undergraduate Scholars. Learn more here. ...

Scholars to attend eight Colorado Institutions DENVER, May 4, 2021 — A group of Colorado’s most talented graduating seniors has been named 2021 Boettcher Foundation Scholars, marking the newest class of students to earn the influential scholarship recognizing the next generation of doers and difference makers. “These young leaders personify our mission to support the promise of Colorado and the potential of Coloradans,” said Katie Kramer, president and CEO of the Foundation. “The leadership and sense of responsibility to contribute to their schools and communities are what best describe the 2021 class. We’re ecstatic that they are staying home to contribute to our Colorado universities and colleges.” Established in 1952, the Boettcher Scholarship program annually awards scholarships to graduating high school seniors in Colorado. The four-year scholarship includes virtually all expenses to attend the Colorado school of the recipient’s choice: full tuition, fees, a book allowance, and an annual stipend for living expenses. The scholarship also includes programming and support to ensure that students reach their full leadership potential. Scholars are selected based on academics, service, leadership, and character. The Boettcher Scholar network includes more than 2,600 leaders who have gone on to make their marks in business, government, nonprofits, academia, and other industries. This year’s cohort includes the founder of Protect Pueblo, a collaborative network that set up COVID-19 health and safety regulations across four schools, a guest blogger for 9News, a Division I football player, and a Scholar who manages her own goat herd. “Our 2021 Boettcher Scholars are a diverse group who demonstrated their all-around excellence and dedication to serve as leaders in their respective communities,” said Tiffany Anderson, director of programs at the Foundation. “We are proud to have them become a part of the Boettcher community.” More than 1,600 students applied for the Boettcher Scholarship this year, which also marked the first time that the 100 finalists were interviewed virtually. Scholar names, high schools, college choices, and photos follow.    About the Boettcher Foundation At the Boettcher Foundation, we believe in the promise of Colorado and the potential of Coloradans. Every day we champion excellence across our state by investing in our most talented citizens and high-potential organizations, because supporting their hard work and leadership will enable them to give back for years to come.   2021 Boettcher Foundation Scholars ...

By Cameron Elder, 2018 Boettcher Scholar In life, we all go through seasons that teach us things about others, ourselves, or the world around us. This past year has done all of the above in my life. From living in the big city to transitioning to small town life and the in between, I have changed and grown in ways I never anticipated. As with all of us that have experienced the unexpected our world has dished out, life is unpredictable and full of surprises of all kinds. I have quickly been humbled as I learn that my plans are not as set in stone as I brought myself to think. I believe this was a necessary wakeup, however, and am eager to see the ways my plans continue to change. I began last year as a student at the University of Denver, studying English Education and enrolled in the dual degree program with Morgridge College of Education to get my masters in Curriculum Development and earn my teaching license. Today, one year later, I am sitting in Dolores Colorado as an 8th grade English teacher and a graduate student at Fort Lewis College for an MA in Education. What I really want to highlight today though is the in between. Starting what would be my last year in Denver, I was incredibly hopeful about the future and the state of the world. Even though classes were still online, I could live in the city, go to my job, and continue building relationships with my friends which all felt normal, or the closest thing to normal in a long time. At the beginning of October, a close family member fell incredibly ill, and I decided to take the time off of my job to go home in order to help my parents with the situation. This opportunity was one of the many hidden blessings of the state of my schooling as I had the flexibility to stay on top of school while living at home for a couple weeks. While this period was full of a lot of heartache, it reintroduced me to my home and showed me the large portion of my heart that was still firmly planted in this place, no matter how hard I had tried to uproot it throughout my time in Denver. It is these unexpected moments that give us pause to reflect on our lives, priorities, and futures. What did I want my life to be like in five years? Where did I truly desire my priorities to be? The answers to questions such as this were ones I was only then ready to internalize. I have had a habit of turning my life and my happiness away from what I know deeply to be true and instead toward the things I believe others want from me or the expectations I assume they hold. I was finally ready to let go of this and accept who I was with no holds. I was not happy living in a big city. I was not fulfilled living away from my family. I was not living in a way that fit with what I wanted in my life. It was scary to know these things while having a hard time understanding practical ways I could make changes to bring my life closer to this picture I had in my mind. Through research and the course of about a week, I found an alternative to the graduate program I was currently enrolled in, pulled out of the program I was in, and declared my graduation for the following March. I felt so much peace over these changes which would allow me to live in my small town, close to my family, while still pursuing my goals of being an educator. Looking back now, it is difficult to find the reason why I was so timid to pursue a more simple, slow pace of life near my family. I do not understand the stigma that I, and many people I know, hold about living where we grew up or not following through with what is considered a more high-profile career path. The engraining of these things in my brain kept me from happiness and being who I am, and I feel grateful to have resources to support the pursuit of this level of happiness that I can now achieve. Our paths are all different, change is good, and it is important to be authentic with our unique passions. I hope this is an encouragement for anyone reading that it is okay to change your path many times because it will lead you to where you are supposed to be. Use this time and the flexibility we are afforded to discover who you are and what you want your life to look like in five years. The people around you will love and support you because you are doing what is right for you and that joy you achieve will be what it is all about....

DENVER, May 20, 2021 — The Boettcher Foundation today announced that it is recognizing a group of standout Colorado teachers for their exemplary influence in educating some of the state’s top students. As part of the Boettcher Scholarship Program, which provides Colorado’s most talented students with scholarships to attend a Colorado college or university, the Boettcher Foundation also honors the teachers who have committed themselves to supporting the high-achieving students who compete for the scholarship. “Teachers bring education to life for young people,” said Tiffany Anderson, director of programs at the Boettcher Foundation. “They provide motivation, inspiration, and a commitment to excellence that their students experience and we get to hear about every year when we interview candidates. The life-long influence of these educators is immeasurable." This year’s teacher honorees were selected by the 100 finalists for the Boettcher Scholarship. Each educator will receive a plaque, a personalized tribute from the student who selected them, and a $500 grant to be used for a project or activity to benefit students at their school. “These dedicated and passionate educators have championed leadership in their classrooms, and we are proud to recognize them for helping Colorado students to achieve their goals and prepare for their futures,” Anderson said. A complete list of the 2021 Teacher Recognition Award recipients follows. About the Boettcher Foundation: At the Boettcher Foundation, we believe in the promise of Colorado and the potential of Coloradans. Every day we champion excellence across our state by investing in our most talented citizens and high-potential organizations, because supporting their hard work and leadership will enable them to give back for years to come. 2021 Teacher Recognition Award Recipients School District High School Educator Name Denver County 1 Abraham Lincoln High School Greg Gallegos Alamosa RE-11J Alamosa High School Matthew Relyea Private Alexander Dawson School Melissa Barker Durango 9-R Animas High School Kyle Edmondson South Conejos RE-10 Antonito High School David Jackson Jefferson County R-1 Arvada West High School Christine Fry Jefferson County R-1 Arvada West High School Lindsey Welsh Boulder Valley RE-2 Boulder High School Ryan O'Block Canon City RE-1 Canon City High School Steven Carter Douglas County RE-1 Castle View High School Michael Schneider Brush RE-2 Cedaredge High School Craig Cerise Cherry Creek 5 Cherokee Trail High School Julie Scheffel Cherry Creek 5 Cherry Creek High School David Rowe Cherry Creek 5 Cherry Creek High School Jodi Best Private Colorado Springs School David Benson Jefferson County R-1 Columbine High School Eric Friesen Jefferson County R-1 Conifer High School Jeremy Barnett Denver County 1 Denver East High School Thomas Anderson Denver County 1 Denver East High School Casey Hudson Denver County 1 Denver School of Science & Technology: Montview Kateri Williams Denver County 1 Denver School of Science & Technology: Green Valley Ranch Evan Goodrich Denver County 1 Denver School of the Arts Mark Mallaney Denver County 1 Denver South High School Kyle Dobbins Denver County 1 Denver South High School Jennifer Rinaldi Durango 9-R Durango High School Kristina Bruton Englewood 1 Englewood High School Phil Emery St. Vrain Valley RE 1J Erie High School Greta von Bernuth Boulder Valley RE 2 Fairview High School David Rutherford Poudre R-1 Fort Collins High School Enrique Blas Poudre R-1 Fossil Ridge High School Todd Pfeifer Mesa County Valley 51 Fruita Monument High School Trent Wuster Adams-Arapahoe 28J Gateway High School Nicole Burdick Denver County 1 George Washington High School Joseph Bolz Denver County 1 George Washington High School Richard Leeds Mapleton 1 Global Leadership Academy Christine Patten Mesa County Valley 51 Grand Junction Central High School Sarah Keen Garfield 16 Grand Valley High School Jason Arthur Cherry Creek 5 Grandview High School William Baird Greeley 6 Greeley Central High School Flor Varela Greeley 6 Greeley Central High School Steven Burch Greeley 6 Greeley West High School Beth Dent Greeley 6  Greeley West High School Lea Sanford Harrison 2 Harrison Wesley Brown Adams 12 Five Star Schools Horizon High School Steve Lash Jefferson County R-1 Jefferson Academy High School  Mary Ferbrache East Otero R-1 La Junta High School Kellie Buhr East Otero R-1 La Junta High School Julia Barta Lake County R-1 Lake County High School Karl Remsen Jefferson County R-1 Lakewood High School Whitney Barnes Adams 12 Five Star Schools Legacy High School Matthew Cirbo Lone Star 101 Lone Star Undivided High School Saralynn Vetter Thompson R2-J Loveland High School Gregory Morrison Thompson R2-J Loveland High School Rebecca Lewis Thompson R2-J Loveland High School Christine Marshall St. Vrain Valley RE 1J Lyons Middle/Senior High School Jeffrey Klipstein Denver County 1 Manual High School Whitney Weathers Denver County 1 Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College Heather Williams St. Vrain Valley RE 1J Mead High School Chris Reynolds St. Vrain Valley RE 1J Mead High School Benjamin Holskin Buffalo RE-4J Merino High School Luann Koester Boulder Valley RE 2 Monarch High School Kathleen Hein Douglas County RE 1 Mountain Vista High School Heather Riggs Adams 12 Five Star Schools Northglenn High School Kathryn Zaleski Adams 12 Five Star Schools Northglenn High School Kasey Nunn Montrose County RE-1J Olathe High School Cheryl Jackson Cherry Creek 5 Overland High School Kara Billings Cherry Creek 5 Overland High School Kara Billings Mesa County Valley 51 Palisade High School Laura Meinzen Colorado Springs 11 Palmer High School Robert Gilliam Lewis-Palmer 38 Palmer Ridge High School Tyler Dall Boulder Valley RE 2 Peak to Peak Charter School Jake Lehr Boulder Valley RE 2 Peak to Peak Charter School Kurt Schaefer Boulder Valley RE 2 Peak to Peak Charter School Meghan Lukens Boulder Valley RE 2 Peak to Peak Charter School Elizabeth Tarbutton Boulder Valley RE 2 Peak to Peak Charter School Jake Lehr Colorado Springs 11 Peetz Plateau High School Brian Kurz Academy 20 Pine Creek High School Valerie Babbitt Academy 20 Pine Creek High School Maria Boyczuk Academy 20 Pine Creek High School April Pierce Platte Valley RE-7 Platte Valley High School Julie Thomas Jefferson County R-1 Pomona High School Gillian Lange-Kemper School District 27J Prairie View High School Veronica Randall Pueblo City 60 Pueblo South High School Karen Olson Academy 20 Rampart High School Gregory Andersen Private Resurrection Christian School Christopher Krueger Roaring Fork RE-1 Roaring Fork High School Matt Wells Poudre R-1 Rocky Mountain High School Kelsey Mauch Johnston-Milliken RE-5J Roosevelt High School Leticia Garcia Salida R-32 Salida High School Heidi Slaymaker Centennial R-1 San Luis Centennial High School Helen Seay Sheridan 2 Sheridan High School Kelly Landgraf St. Vrain Valley Re 1J Skyline High School Amanda Giulani Mapleton 1 Skyview Academy Kirsten Schuman Cherry Creek 5 Smoky Hill High School Thomas Tafoya Steamboat Springs RE-2 Steamboat Springs High School Deirdre Boyd Strasburg 31J Strasburg High School Cliff Smith Denver County 1 STRIVE Prep -- RISE Anna Steed Denver County 1 Thomas Jefferson High School Amber Wilson Thompson R2-J Thompson Valley High School Jon Cooley Greeley 6 University High School JoEll Matthews Greeley 6 University High School Beryldell Parker Westminster Public Schools - District 50 Westminster High School Kathleen Herter Westminster Public Schools - District 50 Westminster High School Josh Linenberger Widefield 3 Widefield High School Emily Molina Windsor Re-4 Windsor High School Phil Weiser Wray RD-2 Wray High School Angela DePue  ...