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Professional Development Consultants
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The League has partnered with highly-qualified consultants to offer a variety of professional development opportunities to our member schools. In the future, the League will be partnering with more highly effective school leaders and teachers across regions of Colorado as well as across school models to consult with our member schools. Please learn more about the consultants below.


Karen Bartlett, Consultant

Karen Bartlett is the founder of Ascension Energetics, a conscious leadership development company that supports innovative educational and nonprofit leaders in decreasing stress and leading with more intention and clarity to increase their impact.  Karen is also the Director of Programs at The Kite + Dart Group, a business development strategy company that helps impact-driven business owners authentically grow their businesses in ways that are aligned with their commitments.  In both ventures, Karen leverages her 25 years of experience in education, business and nonprofit activism. Karen is the facilitator for the League’s Conscious Educator Cohort. Shalelia Dillard, Consultant

Shalelia Dillard, Consultant

Shalelia Dillard is a Denver native and Daniels Fund Scholar who graduated from South High School in 2003. She received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor of Spanish from Hampton University. While completing her last year of college, she was working for Upward Bound and realized that she would be fulfilled by teaching. She received her alternative teacher certification in Special Education in Austin, Texas. From there, Shalelia taught high school math, sixth and eighth grade science and preschool. While attending Hampton her sophomore year, she envisioned a program to enrich students with their culture while improving their academia. From this concept, the St. Clair Drake Enrichment Program was born.

As a teacher for eleven years, her number one focus was to significantly impact her students by sharing her real-life circumstances while instilling pride and confidence. Shalelia is certified in special education and AP Science. Currently, she is a cohort member of the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado. She is also in the process of receiving a Masters in School Counseling at Seton Hall University.

Sabrina Hodges, Consultant


Specializing in Instructional Coaching, MTSS, SPED, Diagnostic Review and Improvement Planning, and Data Driven Instruction/Data Teams


Sabrina is a Colorado native with over 17 years of experience working in Colorado schools as a special education teacher, school social worker, administrator, instructional coach and consultant.


As the Director of Student Services, Sabrina developed and implemented special education and MTSS programming for a high-performing charter school network, managed six schools, and coached and evaluated over 20 special education teachers and 6 mental health providers. These practices resulted in some of the best academic growth in Colorado and highest special education MGPs in Denver Public Schools.


Since leaving this 5-year tenure for her independent consultancy, Sabrina has engaged in a myriad of support services including providing regular MTSS, special education and instructional coaching professional learning opportunities at the Colorado League of School Schools, assisting turnaround school design for Denver Public Schools, developing intake educational assessment practices and teacher training modules for the Colorado Division of Youth Corrections, and developing and coaching the implementation of academic and social emotional learning MTSS practices.



Aaron J. Griffen, Ph.D., Consultant

Aaron J. Griffen, Ph.D. is a K-12 Practitioner with over 20 years of experience in public and charter as a middle school English teacher and assistant principal in Houston, Texas, as a high school principal at in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and as Director of Diversity Equity and Inclusion for DSST Public Schools.

Throughout his career, he has worked exclusively and purposefully in Urban defined schools and districts. His experience includes working to provide equitable supports and outcomes for culturally different learners who receive Second Language Learner services, Special Education services, and Gifted and/or Talented services, including serving in schools that remain majority children of color and low Social Economic Status

(SES). As a researcher and scholar, Dr. Griffen serves on the programming committees for the Educating Children of Color Conference and the African American Youth Leadership Conference of Colorado Springs, Colorado and is Chair of School/University Partnerships for the American Educational Research Association – SIG – A Critical Examination of Race Ethnicity Class and Gender. He is an author, speaker

and panelist, with an active research interest and publishing agenda in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, Culturally Responsive Instructional Leadership, Multicultural Curriculum and Instruction, and Urban Policy and Analysis. For more information about Dr. Griffen visit him at and follow on Twitter @DrAaronJGriffen. 


Racheal Gurian, Consultant


Specializing in MTSS, SPED, Data Driven tier 1 and Tier 2 Academic and Social emotional Instruction, Comprehensive School Counseling, School Culture, and Community Mental Health and Advocacy


Rachael Gurian is passionate about supporting school communities that have two sticks and a stone to create a sustainable work environment. She is equally passionate about ensuring all Colorado students have access to learning and staff is  equipped with efficient and quality tools versus jargon and complex inputs.


Rachael’s background is braided with a long run of work in social emotional and instructional support in the field and as a school and central office special education leader, principal, counselor, and national consultant for over 20 years in Philadelphia, Baltimore, San Diego, and currently Denver. Rachael was formerly the lead partner for over 25 charter schools in Denver Public School for over six years.


Currently, Rachael guides teams on the development and sustainability on the ground models of MTSS in many schools across the country, serves as a school Charter School Support Initiative (CSSI) site review team member for the Colorado Department of Education, consults for SchoolWorks LLC in the areas of turn around, school counseling, and special education,and conducts MTSS and special education trainings for leaders for the Colorado League of Charter Schools.



Keri Melmed, Consultant

Keri Melmed has over 25 years of experience in education as both a classroom teacher and school leader. Since 2013 she has been the Executive Director at High Point Academy, a ECE-8 charter school. At High Point Academy, Keri has created a professional learning community and developed robust leadership teams that work together to ensure success for each student. Before High Point Academy, Keri was the Principal of a “start up, turn around” school in Far Northeast Denver. As Administrative Director at Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning, Keri lead a school known as a hub of innovation focusing on pedagogy and best practices. Keri graduated Magna Cum Laude in history from University of Colorado, Boulder and earned her Master of Arts degree in Education at Columbia University Teachers College. Keri's innovative approach and commitment to continuous improvement has enabled her to make a positive impact in the communities she serves.Keri is the co-facilitator for the League’s Leading for Change Network.   


Stephanie Mendrala, Consultant

Stephanie Mendrala is the Director of Professional Development at STEM School and Academy in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Stephanie is passionate about developing curriculum and classroom environments that are engaging and allow students the opportunity to fall in love with learning. For the past 8 years at STEM she has been integral in the development of personalized professional development and a peer instructional coaching program. As the Director of Professional Development she uses a focus on Student Centered and Transformational coaching to support and equip her teachers. Through these coaching cycles, she and her team of coaches guide teachers in identifying and implementing the STEM instructional approach. Stephanie is the facilitator for the League’s Student-Centered Coaching and PBL offerings.


Juliana Tapper, Math Consultant


Specializing in engaging math strategies, instructional coaching for secondary mathematics teachers, mathematics leadership coaching, and math in intervention and SPED

Juliana Tapper is an experienced classroom teacher, mentor, PLC facilitator, professional developer, and instructional coach. With urban classroom experience in multiple states as well as district level leadership, she is dedicated to improving the educational opportunities for all students and teachers. Juliana’s work focuses on collaborating with special education and general education math teachers to increase their confidence in the teaching of mathematics and to learn how to engage struggling learners at every level.

Juliana will be facilitating several workshops at the League’s office this spring. Also, if you are in need of on-site school support in the area of secondary math you may want to consider working with Juliana to offer PD workshops, implementation coaching, instructional coaching for secondary/SPED/intervention math teachers, or math leadership coaching for your department chairs, lead teachers, or network level math leaders.


Contact Kia Murray, Director of Academic Services, at 720-439-8316 or for more information about any of the above consultants.