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Our Team

Laura Anderson

AEI Program Manager

Laura joined the Adult Education Initiatives team in February 2018. In 2019, Laura transitioned from program coordinator to program manager. As program manager, she oversees the program coordinator team, ensuring grantees receive leadership, accountability and resources to successfully provide adult education services to learners in Colorado

Before joining AEI, Laura was a curriculum developer for higher education. As a curriculum development lead, she worked with content experts, instructional designers, and multimedia designers to develop online courses for universities that met learning outcomes and engaged students in the learning space. Teaching college-preparatory ESL grammar and writing, Laura assisted non-native speakers in gaining the necessary skills for reading and writing at the college level.

Amanda Brewer

Adult Education Data Manager

Amanda joined the Adult Education Initiatives team in September 2016. Prior to that she worked for the Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s Adult Education team for 5 years and taught High School Social Studies for 3 years. She currently works directly with numerous grantees to provide support. Amanda is also the primary contact for the LACES data system providing LACES support to all grantees, as well as completing the federal data reporting in the National Reporting System.

Glendy Belle Calderon

AEI Program Coordinator, Workforce Programs

Glendy comes from a colorful social services background. Her experiences range from work with early learners with developmental delays, families experiencing homelessness, healthcare, counseling, and career navigation in Adult Education. Glendy joined the AEI team in March of 2022, eager to expand accessibility and equitable opportunities for historically marginalized communities.

Glendy graduated with a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2019. This background informs her understanding of systems, their impact on populations served, and her commitment to social justice. Glendy escribe, lee y habla Español y le da la apreciada bienvenida a cualquier oportunidad para practicar.

Dr. Ally Garcia

Director of Adult Education Initiatives

Dr. Ally Garcia was born and raised in Pueblo, CO. Upon graduation from Pueblo West High School, she attended and earned an Associate of Arts degree from Pueblo Community College. From there, she made the move to Denver where she attended Metro State University of Denver and earned both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Special Education degrees.  She then, earned a Doctor of Education degree at the University of Denver. The emphasis of her studies is in policy analysis, educational access, and equity and social justice. 
She has taught Special Education classes for Denver Public Schools as a Behavioral Specialist and most recently left her position of 7.5 years at Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSUD), where she served as the Director of TRIO Student Support Services and Assistant Dean of the Center for Equity and Student Achievement (CESA). MSUD afforded her the wonderful opportunity to realize her personal mission of helping individuals gain access to a life of better possibilities through education, no matter the barrier. She strives for inclusive excellence, access, and equity for underrepresented and marginalized persons. 
She also currently serves as a board member for the Omar D. Blair Charter School, in which the academic success of students is of paramount importance. As a founding member of the United Women’s Fastpitch Coalition, she strives to promote opportunities for women athletes to have agency over their own sports activities. She also teaches Master and Doctoral level courses at the University of Denver in education policy, retention, equity, and social justice. This summer, she will also assist new, first-time college students, on how to navigate college systems and utilize strategies for academic success at MSUD.  
Her leisure time is best enjoyed reading, trying new restaurants, playing softball, or watching independent movies, and her beautiful Chow-Chow, Chewbacca.

Lacey Miller

AEI Program Coordinator, Distance Education and Digital Literacy

Lacey joined CDE’s Adult Education Initiatives team in September 2021. She is an Adult Education Program Coordinator, supporting adult education programs that receive federal grant funds. She also provides guidance to programs implementing distance learning.

Lacey has more than ten years of experience teaching English to adults in various educational settings both in and outside of the United States, including 5 years in China. She enjoys learning new things and is interested in digital literacy, instructional design, and workforce development. Outside of work, Lacey enjoys traveling and learning about different cultures, hiking, reading, and cooking. She plays a mean game of Scrabble.

Julie Nichols

Adult Education Consultant

Julie Nichols has been an educator for 36 years, beginning in Elementary Education and most recently spent 21 years as director of an adult education program affiliated with CDE's Office of Adult Education Initiatives (AEI) grant programs.  Julie has a BA in Elementary Education, MEd in Curriculum and Instruction with emphasis in Ethics, Equity and Justice, and a Post-MEd in Special Education. Having had the opportunity to teach all ages from pre-school to adults, Julie enjoys watching as students of all ages react to the realization that they have learned something new.  Julie joined the AEI team in December 2018 as a part-time Adult Education Consultant. She is excited to work with the AEI team and adult education programs across the state to facilitate opportunities for adult learners as they traverse the pathway to post-secondary education and/or careers.

Maddy Oaks

AEI Program Coordinator, Multilingual Learners

Madelyn (Maddy) Oaks joined CDE in April 2024 and works as an Adult Education Program Coordinator. Maddy earned her Master of Science degree in occupational therapy from The University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2016, and initially dedicated six years to working in the healthcare field. While she loved working as an occupational therapist and found meaning in helping patients return to their daily lives after injuries, her passion for large impact projects lead her to seek out opportunities at the state level. Maddy previously served as a project coordinator at the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE), where she focused on a statewide effort to elevate stackable credentials pathways in the healthcare field. She feels fortunate to have the opportunity to channel her passion for accessibility and education toward empowering Coloradans to navigate educational pathways that lead to meaningful employment. Outside of work, you'll likely find her leading a HIIT class at the local gym, exploring hiking trails, bargain shopping, traveling, or enjoying quality time with her husband, Joe.

Lilly Redford

AEI Office and Program Manager

Lilly joined CDE’s Adult Education Initiatives team in March 2024. She is the Program and Office Manager, providing administrative and operational support to the AEI team.

Previously, Lilly worked with multiple nonprofit organizations serving people experiencing homelessness in her hometown of Denver. She specializes in administrative and community engagement work and has a deep commitment to building equity within those spaces. When she’s not at work, she enjoys reading, natural dyeing and foraging, and spending time with her family.

Paul Stahlke

AEI Program Coordinator, Workforce Partnerships

Paul joined the Adult Education Initiatives team as an Adult Education Program Coordinator in April 2024. In addition to supporting applicants and grantees in the efforts to provide adult education in Colorado, Paul's work will focus primarily on establishing, strengthening, and maintaining workforce partnerships with AEI programming. 

Originally from Aurora, CO, Paul's journey with Adult Education began with ESL conversation partners in Beijing, China and has since expanded through experience as an English Teacher and Teacher Trainer in Siem Reap, Cambodia through the Peace Corps, as well as through teaching a 'University 101' course for undergrad students on academic probation at Indiana University. Before AEI, Paul most recently worked as an Internship Coordinator and Career Transition Counselor at Larimer County Economic and Workforce Development. In his free time, Paul likes to read, watch movies, play tennis, and hang out with his wife, their dog, their two cats, and their six chickens.

Dr. Michael Verderaime

AEI Program Coordinator, Access and Retention

Michael (Mike) Verderaime joined CDE in June 2024 and works in the Adult Education Initiatives Office focusing on access and retention. Mike earned his Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from The University of Missouri in 2020. Mike served in public education for over 15 years before transitioning into administration within the Colorado Community College System. Mike’s work with rural Colorado’s educational initiatives specifically tied to work-based learning, student pathways, and stackable credentials has ignited his passion for programmatic work at the state level.

Mike feels honored and fortunate for the opportunity to support our Colorado educational communities through access and retention. Outside of work, you can find Mike paddling, pedaling, skiing, fishing and just enjoying Colorado with his wife Kacey and their 3 boys: Salvatore, Enzo, and Giovanni.