Vega Collegiate Academy was unanimously approved by the Aurora Public Schools District in 2015, and will begin serving 120 Kindergarten and Grade 5 students in August 2017. Vega Collegiate Academy will grow two additional grades each year, serving students in Kindergarten through Grade 8, upon expansion.
Vega Collegiate Academy was founded in 2015 through the BES Fellowship by Sara Taylor and Kathryn Mullins. The BES Fellowship - a rigorous, yearlong, comprehensive training program in charter school creation and leadership - has resulted in the establishment of over 60 schools in 20 cities in 12 states and the District of Columbia that serve as national models of superior performance. BES holds the core belief that academic performance drives every element of a school, including design, leadership, culture, decisions, and governance, and that accountability drives academic achievement.
Victor Amaya served in the Army National Guard for seven years, where he received a National Defense Medal, before moving to Denver to provide financial and accounting services to companies in the Denvermetro communities. Mr. Amaya founded his own accounting firm, ClearPath Accountants LLC, to better educate and aid small businesses in understanding financial statements, profitability and management of cash flow. Mr. Amaya is the former Treasurer of YouthBiz, and has served of the ALPFA Denver Chapter Board and the Colorado State Society of CPAs. Mr. Amaya earned a BS in Business Administration and Accounting and a Master of Accountancy from Colorado State University, Fort Collins. Mr. Amaya’s extensive finance and accounting background ensures VCA remains financially viable throughout all years of operation.
Cynden Amrose is the Development and External Relations Coordinator for the Charter School Growth Fund, responsible for securing $312 million for CSGF in the next five years. Ms. Amrose previously worked with the United States Peace Corps, teaching English at a secondary school in Melitopol, Ukraine. Ms. Amrose graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a B.A. in Political Science. Ms. Amrose’s development and fundraising experience ensures that VCA will meet all target fundraising goals.
John Bales currently serves as a Finance Attorney at Kutak Rock, LLC, following a career in the education sector. Serving as a high school Mathematics teacher in Denver Public Schools, and attaining the highest growth scores for his students in the state, Mr. Bales continued on to become an Investment Analyst with the Charter School Growth Fund. His strong background in education, finance, analysis, and legal practice provide rich insight into ensuring financial viability. Mr. Bales holds a BSBA in Statistics, MBA, from the University of Denver – Daniels College of Business, and a JD from the University of Notre Dame.
Hallie Caplan is an Instructor at DSST Public Schools. Prior to her work at DSST, Ms. Caplan was the State Operations and Educator Outreach Coordinator for Stand for Children, worked with Families For Excellent Schools as their Founding Director of Operations and worked as a Field Organizer for Democracy Builders. Ms. Caplan began her teaching career as a Teach for America corps member. Ms. Caplan graduated from Hofstra University with a B.A. in Sociology and Political Science, and later earned a Masters in Education from the University of Pennsylvania and a dual MPA-PNMP in Education and Policy from the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Ms. Caplan’s extensive educational background and academic knowledge ensures VCA maintains an accurate and appropriate academic dashboard.
Ryan Cobbins is the owner of Coffee at the Point, a community coffee shop in the heart of the Five Points district. Mr. Cobbins has been an active member of the Denver community, serving as a business manager at the Denver Children’s Home and at InsureMe prior to opening Coffee at the Point, and acting as a Boys Basketball Coach at Mullen High School for the past nine years. Mr. Cobbins earned a BS in Information Systems from Metropolitan State University of Denver and MBA in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.
Ann Collier joined the Charter School Growth Fund as Director of Communications in 2013. Prior to CSGF, Ms. Collier built and grew two educational initiatives in Denver: an after-school literacy program at Denver’s Manual High school, and the Denver Film Society’s city-wide summer arts education program. She has also spent time teaching, including at CSGF portfolio member STRIVE Prep and the Duke Talent Identification Program. Early in her career, she worked as a management consultant at Dalberg and McKinsey, and as a journalist in Hong Kong. Ms. Collier graduated with a BA in English from the University of North Carolina, where she was a Morehead Scholar.
Charlette Fleming has over 15 years of senior accountant management and leadership experience in the areas of sales, assessment, and finance and currently serves as a Senior Accounting Consultant for Axxess Connect. Ms. Fleming most recently oversaw the budget development, monitoring and planning for the $17M Veterans Administration Hospital (VA) contract. Ms. Fleming earned a BS from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge and a Project Management Certificated, with Distinction, from the University of California, Los Angeles. Ms. Fleming’s experience as a member of the Aurora community and her extensive accounting background ensures that VCA appropriately markets to the community for enrollment purposes, and maintains financial viability through the appropriate management of funds.
Adam Katz served a five-year tour in the United States Navy as a Russian Linguist and Signals Analyst before moving to Denver to provide financial and accounting services to companies such as Source Gas, MarkWest Energy Partners, and Assurity Financial Services. After losing his wife to a battle with breast cancer, Mr. Katz left his career as a CPA to found the Doreen Katz Memorial Cancer Fund to help children whose parents are fighting any form of cancer. Mr. Katz earned a BA in Accounting from Bryant University and Master’s of Science in Leadership and Organizational Studies from Colorado State University.
Christina Lippert currently serves as a Director of School Support with the Achievement Network where she coaches and develops school leaders across Colorado in using data and instructional best practices. Prior to joining ANet, Ms. Lippert coached teachers on all aspects of effective classroom instruction, planned professional development, engaged in system wide assessment design, and was a middle school history teacher. Ms. Lippert holds a BA in Political Science from McGill University and an MS in Childhood Education from Hunter College.
Miguel Lovato spent most of his professional career trying to change the life trajectory of disenfranchised populations. He has taught multiple subjects to middle and high school students; was the Executive Director of a local college prep program; and served as a mentor for high school students who would be the first in their families to go to college. Miguel has served on committees and boards of numerous education-related organizations including the founding boards two charter schools, a national education-reform advocacy organization, and the only statewide provider of supplemental online high school courses. Currently, Miguel manages a multi-million-dollar grant making budget for the Daniels Fund -- one of the largest private foundations in the region.
Mark Marshall brings over 28 years of experience in the building/development industry, with a specific focus on developing single-family and multi-family affordable housing units. Formerly a Captain with the United States Air Force, Mr. Marshall served in the Civil Engineering Squadron as a Base Architect and Community Planner, later transitioning into the role of Real Estate Director for the Urban Land Conservancy. Mr. Marshall earned a BA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University – Bloomington. Mr. Marshall’s governance and real estate experience ensure VCA is able to find and maintain an appropriate facility and effectively govern VCA.
Pamela Smith has over 20 years of higher education marketing and management and leadership in the areas of sales/admissions, operational assessment and efficiency improvement and marketing/advertising both domestic and international. Currently, she serves as the Executive Director of Marketing and Admissions for Colorado Heights University, a local university that serves American and International students from approximately 60 different countries and speaking 40 languages. Ms. Smith has a BS in Biology from the University of Utah, MBA from Texas A&M University, and MS in Computer Information Systems from the University of Phoenix.
Tarik Walker serves as a post-doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Colorado, Denver. Mr. Walker is an at-large representative for the National Student Medical Association, and currently serves as the Treasurer of the Colorado Public Health Association. With a focus on Educational Enrichment around the middle grade years, Mr. Walker has presented internationally on building student interest in health professional careers, including presentations at the prestigious Minority Research Program summer symposium at Brown University. Mr. Walker previously served on the board of Mile High Montessori. Mr. Walker graduated with a BS in Medicine from Morehouse College and earned a Masters of Public Health and Doctor of Medicine from Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Walker’s governance background and his involvement in the community ensure that VCA meets all governance requirements and effectively markets to the community.
Alana Weinerman is a Court Judicial Assistant for the Denver Probate Court. Ms. Weinerman previously worked at the Mi Casa Resource Center, where she facilitated group activities, discussions, and lesson plans regarding work readiness skills and provided support to clients in regard to communication, professionalism, and technical work skills. Ms. Weinerman has extensive community volunteer experience, interning with CASA Advocates for Children and Breakthrough Kent Denver. Ms. Weinerman earned a BA in Philosophy and Spanish from Bucknell University. Ms. Weinerman’s work within the Aurora community and her volunteer experience ensures that VCA effectively communicates with families during outreach.
Ryan Wimmer is the Owner of Wimmer Accounting, focusing on providing consulting and accounting services for start-up companies and non-profits in the Denver-metro communities. Mr. Wimmer has been an active member of the Denver community, working with the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, the Inovonics Corporation and Travelers Haven prior to opening Wimmer Accounting. Mr. Wimmer earned a BS in Accounting, with a Minor in Business Administration from Marist College. Mr. Wimmer’s finance background ensures that VCA remains financially viable.