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Coalition Staff

Sasha Hutchings

Sasha Hutchings

she/her

Executive Director

Sasha Hutchings is thrilled to be part of 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 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.

To reach Sasha, email sashah@jeffcoctc.care.

Emily helps to coordinate many pieces of the Jeffco CTC coalition work including: 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!

To reach Emily, email emilym@jeffcoctc.care

Emily Merewether

Emily Merewether

she/her  

CTC Coordinator

Jeffco CTC is hiring a Youth Coordinator. We’d love to have you join our team!

Coalition Leadership

Debby Bower

Debby Bower

she/her/ella

Executive Committee Co-Chair

Debby Bower’s bio coming soon.

Dave Kollar

Dave Kollar

he/him

Executive Committee Co-Chair

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.

Jason Firestone

Jason Firestone

he/him

Out for Safe Spaces Workgroup Co-Chair

Having been raised in Buena Vista Colorado, Jason is proud to serve the great state of Colorado as a member of Jeffco Public Schools. Jason is a proud alumni of Adams State University. He began working in Jeffco Schools after graduating from Adams State in 2005. During his 17-year tenure in Jeffco, Jason has served as the Assistant Director of the Student Engagement Office, Manager of Dropout Prevention, Indian Education Coordinator, and a Indian Education Liaison. Before joining Jeffco Schools, Jason spent 7 years as the Manager of SL Smith Lumber in Leadville Colorado. Jason believes that Public Education is the linchpin of this great nation and that Jeffco students deserve the very best. His mission in life is to help ensure that EVERY child has an opportunity to thrive and discover their own unique pathway towards life success. 

Jacki Paone

Jacki Paone

she/her

Jeffco Teens Community Impact Workgroup Co-Chair

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).

Kelli Curl

Kelli Curl

she/her

Policy and Substance Availability Workgroup Chair

Kelli is a public health professional with expertise and experience in public health policy, health communications, reproductive and sexual health, communicable disease, tobacco prevention, emergency preparedness and response (EPR), maternal and infant health, and vaccine-preventable diseases. She currently serves as the Public Health Policy Advisor for Jefferson County Public Health where she coordinates department policy initiatives and proactively engages with public health policy opportunities and needs.

Padma Polepeddi

Padma Polepeddi

she/her

Jeffco Teens Community Impact Workgroup Co-Chair

Padma Polepeddi, Ph.D. is the Assistant Director of Public Services, Community Outreach at Jefferson County Public Library. Padma assists the Director of Public Services 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 offsite services. Padma is also responsible for strategies for services, operational details, direct implementation of strategic initiatives geared towards diversity, equity and inclusion, serving children and families, teens, adults, seniors, and underserved populations.

Fran Taffer

Fran Taffer

she/her

Data Workgroup Chair

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.

Kari Eckert

Kari Eckert

she/her

Social and Emotional Learning and Health Education Workgroup Chair

Kari Eckert is Robbie’s Mom and currently serves as Executive Director for Robbie’s Hope a nonprofit based out of Jefferson County, Colorado. Robbie’s Hope engages youth to change the conversations surrounding youth mental health in an effort to reduce teen suicide rates.  Prior to raising two beautiful kids she was Owner of Roberts-Eckert Funeral Home in Forest Lake, MN. She has a bachelor’s degree in Mortuary Science from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from North Dakota State University.

Joel Newton

Joel Newton

he/him
 
Twelve Talks Workgroup Chair
 

In 2012, Joel and his wife Hillary moved to Edgewater and enrolled their daughters at Lumberg Elementary School. As they learned more about the community, Joel realized a need for an organization that would connect local opportunities to local assets.  Joel is a graduate of Arapahoe High School, Taylor University and Denver Seminary and had over twelve years experience working with children, youth and families before starting Edgewater Collective. Joel is motivated by the opportunity to create systemic change so that all community members have an opportunity to thrive.

Holly Rapp

Holly Rapp

she/her
 
Out for Safe Spaces Workgroup Co-Chair
 

Holly is the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator for the Jefferson County Division of Children, Youth, Families & Adult Protection.  Holly has over ten years of experience in government with a focus on creating equitable & inclusive systems to serve all community members, especially those from historically-marginalized populations.  Holly has a Ph.D. in U.S. History from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she studied the history of racism & economic inequality.  Holly lives in Jefferson County with her partner Chad & their extremely-spoiled dog, Mary.

jefferson county communities that care logo

The Jefferson County Communities That Care (Jeffco CTC) Coalition is a project of the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center. Jeffco CTC was created, in part, with funding from the Coalitions Organizing for Prevention (COFP) grant program, through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), as well as the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The views, policies, and opinions expressed throughout this website are those of Jeffco CTC and do not necessarily reflect the official views of, nor an endorsement by, COFP, CDPHE, ONDCP, CDC/HHS, or the U.S.

 

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5610 Ward Road #300, Arvada, CO 80002