Executive Committee Members
Dave is currently the Director of the Student Engagement Office for Jefferson County Public Schools. He oversees programming related to Dropout Prevention and Re-engagement, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Substance Misuse Intervention, and Title VI. Dave possesses a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Colorado and a Bachelor of Special Studies with majors in Psychology and Sociology from Cornell College. He participates in several multi-agency committees in Jeffco and is excited in particular about the initiatives of Jeffco’s Communities that Care Coalition and is hopeful that this work will achieve our vision of Jefferson County as a thriving, healthy & safe community for our youth. He is a father of two wonderful human beings he is raising in Jeffco with his fantastic wife Carrie. Dave was recognized as a Public Health Champion in 2017.
Fran Taffer, MPH, works for Jeffco Public Schools as the Healthy Schools and Employee Wellness Coordinator. In her role with the schools, she oversees the district wellness policy and works with schools to make the healthy choice the easy choice for students and staff. Fran has a degree in Public Health and over 10 years of experience in the field of education. She is the mom of two young boys and lives in wonderful Golden, CO.
Jacki Paone, APR, retired as County Director for Colorado State University (CSU) Extension after 9 years of service. She continues to volunteer in Extension and Jeffco CTC activities. Other experience includes: serving as Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality Teaching in Denver, as well as serving as Executive Director of the Erie County (NY) Association of School Boards. She is accredited in Public Relations (APR), has a Masters in Communications from the University of New York at Buffalo and received her undergraduate degree from Nazareth College of Rochester (NY).
Charmaine Brittain, MSW, PhD, Director, Practice Innovation for Butler Center for Families at the University of Denver. Dr. Brittain has worked extensively over the past two decades throughout the United States to improve training, organizational effectiveness, and implementation and to strengthen professional development for human service professionals. At the Butler Institute for Families, she serves as lead on multiple projects, including consulting with child welfare agencies on organizational and workforce development, managing training projects on a range of topics and approaches, overseeing practice improvement projects, and developing professional educational materials.
Padma Polepeddi, Ph.D., Assistant Director of Library Experience at Jefferson County Public Library. Padma started her journey in the world of public libraries as a library volunteer when she arrived as an immigrant from India to the United States, thirty years ago. Padma has 25 year of cumulative experience working in public libraries in various roles. In her current role of Assistant Director of Library Experience, she is responsible for strategies for services, operational details, direct implementation of strategic initiatives related to diversity and inclusion, services geared towards serving children and families, teens, adults, seniors, and underserved populations and assists the Director of Libraries in the administration and operation of services at Arvada Library, Edgewater Library, Lakewood Library, Standley Lake Library, Wheat Ridge Library and Library To You services with the Bookmobile, Home Services, Mail-delivery services and alternative services delivery. Padma is passionate about empowering underserved and underrepresented community groups through her professional and personal endeavors. Padma has a Masters in English from India, and doctorate degree in Library and Information Science from Emporia State University.
Lorrie Odom, MD, has the privilege of having participated in Jefferson County CTC since its inception in 2017 and feels honored to be involved with such an impactful collaborative approach to improving the lives of youth in this county. Following her retirement after a 37-year fulfilling career as a Pediatric Oncologist/Hematologist, Lorrie has devoted much of her time to pursuing a second passion, that of advocating for youth wellness, safety, and equity. She volunteers with many organizations dedicated to this goal, such as Jeffco Public Schools Health Advisory Council, Immunize Colorado Policy Committee, Colorado School Safety Resource Center Advisory Board, Smart Colorado Advisory Council, Triad Health in Early Childhood Collective, Tri-County Suicide Prevention Coalition, Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) Tobacco Free Jeffco Alliance, JCPH Food Policy Council and Equity Subcommittee, and Colorado PTA and Jeffco PTA, where she chairs the Health, Wellness, and Safety Committee.
Jason Firestone bio coming soon!
Tracy Selph is a former classroom teacher who is committed to advocating for our underserved and marginalized communities. She is currently the Director of the Jeffco Safe Schools Coalition (JSSCo), an organization that she co-founded in 2017. JSSCo works to foster safer and more inclusive learning spaces while centering the voices and experiences of our LGBTQIA2S+ youth, families, and educators. In addition, she is a certified GLSEN trainer and advocates for families in schools & the District, counsels families, mentors caregivers, organizes safe space programming for youth, lobbies at the CO Legislature, and supports GSA programming in schools. Tracy also leads trainings around Family School Partnership and Inclusive Practices for Educators and Administrators. As well, she is very active in local and state coalitions and is passionate about Social Justice, Equity in Education & Health services, and Youth Empowerment. She is also a mama to two amazing kiddos, the best dog ever, and enjoys playing outdoors.
Jeffco CTC needs and wants voices with lots of different perspectives and community connects to be part of our work. One way we work toward this goal is through having sector representatives that are connected to their sector, will help advocate within their sector for our coalition’s prioritizes, and who can serve as community role models.
Yun Craddock – Youth
Lorrie Odom – Parent
John Armstrong – Business
Mark Spiroff – Media
David Kollar – Schools
Padma Polepeddi – Youth Serving Org.
Kathy Smith – Religious or Fraternal Org.
Maggi Crabb – Law Enforcement
Tom Hughes – Civic/Volunteer Groups
Sam Taylor – Healthcare Professionals
Sara Embrey – State, Local, Tribal Gov.
Michael Miller – Other Substance Abuse Org.
Jefferson County Communities That Cares Coalition has, as Key Leaders of CTC, the members of Jeffco Connections.
The Jeffco CTC Key Leaders Board meets immediately following the Jeffco Connections’ August and February meetings, and as needed. Agendas and handouts for these meetings will be posted on this website. Additionally, Key Leaders are invited to our annual Youth Voices event in April. All Key leaders are also invited to attend any Jeffco CTC workgroup or community board meetings.
Jeffco Connections (JC) is the 1451 Collaborative Management Program (CMP) in Jefferson County and is a partnership of 22 family-serving agencies and local jurisdictions (PDF) with set policies, procedures and bylaws. JC gathers each month and meetings are open to the public. Find out more here and here.
The Communities That Care framework suggests a Key Leaders board consisting of community leaders who are able to make or influence policy and budgetary decisions in the community.
Key Leaders meeting notes can be accessed here.
Sasha Hutchings is thrilled to be joining the Jeffco CTC Team! Sasha comes to Jeffco CTC having most recently been the Managing Director of Phamaly Theatre Company, a disability-affirmative theatre company in Denver, Colorado.
Sasha has devoted her career to the nonprofit and public service sectors because people and their stories are her passion. She has worked extensively with marginalized communities, survivors of interpersonal violence, and disenfranchised youth and their families, striving to empower and give voice to those who are so often silenced. Sasha’s career has included being the Director of the Denver Victim Services and Advocacy Network at the Denver District Attorney’s Office; the Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Victim Law Center; the Assistant Director of Seeds of Hope Charitable Trust; teaching at an inner-city school in Boston, Massachusetts; and working at the Edwin F. Mandel Legal Aid Clinic in Chicago, Illinois. She received her master’s degree from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago and her bachelor’s degree from Fairfield University.
When Sasha is not working, she can be found enjoying Colorado, spending gratuitous time in bookstores, laughing at the absurdities of life, or hanging out with her furry friends.
Emily helps to coordinate many pieces of the Jeffco CTC coalition work including: www.jeffcoteens.org, social media, and promoting prosocial opportunities and positive social norming messages to youth across Jefferson County.
She has previous experience as a COVID-19 Case Investigator, Data Collector for the national BRFSS survey project, a Domestic Violence Survivor’s Advocate with Family Tree, and as a sexual assault victim’s advocate with Moving to End Sexual Assault. She has a bachelor of arts degree in neuroscience and psychology and a certificate in public health from the University of Colorado Boulder. She is also a certified QPR Trainer and is a lifelong resident of Jefferson County.
In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her dogs, cross country skiing, trail running, and eating new foods!
Emily Merewether (she/hers)
Marlene served as a Jeffco CTC youth leader over the summer prior to her junior year, and was a youth intern for two years prior to that. During her time with CTC, she produced a RAYS video, hosted a town hall segment on gender bias, hosted another town hall segment on communication between youth and adults, attended multiple trainings (including on LGBTQIA+ issues and CADCA) and was interviewed for a television segment on suicide prevention in young people.
Additionally, Marlene has presented to local leaders, congress people, and community members with passion and conviction.
Marlene is a strong and outspoken advocate for communities with intersectional identities and speaks fluent Spanish.
Bio coming soon!