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Our Board

Executive Committee & Officers

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Rick Gillit

President

Rick joined the Board of Peak Education in 2019. He has always been drawn to organizations that seek to uplift youth, giving them opportunities to achieve more than they might have on their own. Toward that end, he recently served on the Board of Atlas Preparatory School, and was the Board Treasurer for Bizkids, an organization which helps young people understand and launch entrepreneurial ventures.  A successful entrepreneur himself, Rick has owned his own insurance company for the past three years. Prior to that, he worked in finance and wealth management for over 16 years. 

 

The child of two immigrant parents who served in the Air Force, Rick grew up largely in the Denver area, graduating from Englewood High School, and pursued postsecondary education at Lee University in Tennessee, where he earned his AA degree before a lack of funding required him to return home.

Aside from Atlas and Bizkids, Rick has contributed his time and expertise to many other community organizations, including Citizen-Soldier, which helps bridge the gap between military and civilian life. Additionally has served as Committee Chair for the Pikes Peak Rodeo, Mutton-busting competition, and was elected to Chair the the Pikes Peak Regional Building Committee for six years.

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Todd Matia

Vice President

Todd has an educator’s background having taught Pre-engineering, Math, Computer Science and Design. He served as a teacher leader in the School of Design at Sand Creek High School in District 49 and taught at many prestigious universities around the nation, including Duke, University of Minnesota, Milwaukee School of Engineering, and Iowa State. 

While teaching, Todd started a web-based educational program geared at teaching right-brained, creative thinkers to do algebra. He left full time teaching in 2016 to pursue a business opportunity in the marketing and community development space. Todd currently serves as a fiduciary Investment Advisor for Harvey Investment Management.

He is passionate about kids, and helping the to achieve success at their highest potential and calling.

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Porschae Brown

Secretary

Porschae Chitmon-Turner grew up in Colorado Springs and is an alumnae of Peak Education. She considers Colorado Springs her home and loves having the mountains as her backdrop for inspiration. As a Colorado native, she attended Harrison High School which is where she now works as an English, Film and Literature and Yearbook teacher. She is in her 6th year of teaching and enjoys how much teaching includes learning from students.

She graduated from Colorado College with a B.A. in English and recently received her M.A in English from Arizona State University. Porschae is an avid reader and dog lover. She is passionate about seeing students succeed and reach their full potential. Porschae is also a mentor for a college mentor program called Elevated. This program seeks to provide African American students a road map for their future. She is also an alum of Peak Education.

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Cassie Gannett

Treasurer

Cassie has been involved with Peak Education for the last five years. Her passion for equity in education and creating equitable opportunities for higher education led her to work with Peak Education.

   

Cassie is an assistant principal at Stratmoor Hills Elementary School in Harrison School District 2 in southeastern Colorado Springs. She has spent the majority of her career in District 2 where she worked as a high school math teacher and Instructional Coordinator for Secondary mathematics. Dr. Gannett has over 20 years of experience in education including K-12, community college, and university work. Cassie is a Colorado native who returned to her home state after earning a degree in education from the University of Kansas. Her pursuit of knowledge continued at Regis University where she earned a Masters of Liberal Arts and Sciences with a focus on English as a Second Language. She earned a Ph.D. from the University of Denver with a dissertation focus on equitable math education.

   

Outside of work and education, Dr. Gannett has been involved in a number community organizations. She has been a Regional Representative and Treasurer for the Colorado Council of Teachers of Mathematics for the last nine years. In addition, she has been a member and volunteer for the following organizations; Colorado Math Leaders, Junior Achievement, TESSA, and Newborn Hope.  In addition, Dr. Gannett was appointed to the Commission by Gov. Hickenlooper in 2016 to serve through July 1, 2020 as an unaffiliated resident of the 5th Congressional District.

Members

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Carrie McKee

Carrie currently serves as the Vice President of Regional Innovation Centers at Rocky Mountain PBS. Prior to her current position, she held several leadership roles at local area nonprofits including as the President and CEO of Junior Achievement of Southern Colorado, Executive Vice President of Pikes Peak United Way (where she learned about Peak Education for the first time) and an Area Director at Young Life. She attended University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she studied Speech/Communication and played on the 1994 national basketball championship team.

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Sylvia Mendez

Sylvia joined the Peak Education Board in 2022 to actualize her mission of ensuring higher education is accessible to all who desire to further their educational pursuits. She is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Leadership, Research, and Foundations in the College of Education at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Sylvia’s research interests center on creating optimal higher education policies and practices that advance faculty careers and student success, as well as the schooling experiences of Mexican-descent youth in the mid-20th century. She is engaged in several National Science Foundation-sponsored projects focused on broadening participation and faculty success in STEM academia. She teaches foundations and research courses in the Inclusive Early Childhood Education BI program, Inclusive Elementary Education BA program, Leadership MA programs, and the Educational Leadership, Research, and Policy PhD program.

Noelle Paiement

Noelle Paiement works at El Pomar Foundation as a 1st Year Fellow, Noelle serves as Program Associate for Fellowship Alumni Relations, Forum for Civic Advancement, and Sally Beck Fund. She also supports the Northwest and Central Peaks regions.


Noelle is a Colorado Springs native. She graduated from Colorado Mesa University in 2023 with a bachelor’s in business administration and a concentration in Hospitality Management. During college, she interned for the Grand Valley Equine Assisted Learning Center and was tasked with planning and executing several fundraising initiatives. She also served as Vice President of the Student Ambassador Program where she oversaw a program of 30 students while supporting the efforts of the CMU Admissions Office and helping prospective students find their next steps. In addition, Noelle studied abroad in Cordoba, Spain for a month and a half, where she practiced Spanish, lived like a local, and experienced other cultures throughout Europe.

 

In her free time, Noelle loves skiing, hiking, playing pick-up volleyball, thrifting, and binge-watching Friends or Seinfeld.

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Evelyn Spencer

Evelyn came to Colorado Springs because of her family's military service, but she has stayed because of how the community made it her home. 

 

Evelyn is an Account Manager in one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in North America where she is skilled in commodity risk management, asset optimization, and relationship management. She was set on a success-oriented path early on in life through Carmel Middle School, Sierra High School, and Colorado Technical University where she graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration and an MBA in Project Management.

 

Evelyn is an active member of the Colorado Women in Oil & Gas Association and Women's Energy Network, which provides resources to women working in all aspects of the energy industry. She has also held leadership roles with the Colorado Springs Rising Professionals, where she chaired the Mentorship Committee and co-chaired the Sports and Culture committee. Evelyn has also served as chair of the Awards Committee for Boy Scouts of America. 

 

Throughout her career, Evelyn encountered many individuals who invested in her professional and educational success. She knows firsthand how important it is to have champions come alongside our students to support them in each of their journeys, and that is why she is passionate about serving Peak Education and the broader community that helped guide her to ensure that all students have access to every opportunity possible.

 

 

Davis Tutt

Davis Tutt works for the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation as the Director of Sports Tourism and Olympic Engagement where he is responsible for leading the Sports Commission pillar of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation. In this position, he works to identify national and international sports events compatible with Colorado Springs and complete bids to secure those events in our City - all with the aim of growing Sports Tourism in Olympic City USA.

He previously served as the Director of Operations at the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation, overseeing the Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off (the largest annual event held in Colorado Springs, attracting over 200,000 to the City over two and a half days and a 10-year running winner of The Best of the Springs Favorite Local Festival), The Broadmoor Winter Polo Classic, and the Colorado Springs Summer Fest/Winter Fest (formerly the downtown Olympic and Paralympic Celebrations).

Outside of the Sports Corp and Peak Education, Davis serves as a member of the Fountain Valley School Board of Trustees, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College Museum Subcommittee, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum Board, and the Board President of the Colorado Springs Youth Sports/El Pomar Youth Sports Park. He currently lives in Colorado Springs with his wife where they spend time cruising around town on their bikes, enjoying the outdoors, and playing golf...a lot of golf.

 

Co-Founders

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Dr. H. Dalton Conner

A pioneering periodontal surgeon now retired, Dr. Dalton launched Peak Education in 1997 along with co-founder Steven U. Mullens an outreach program helping boys and girls in Southeast Colorado Springs escape lives where violence and drugs too often kept youth from graduating from high school and pursuing postsecondary education. Begun as a scholarship initiative Peak Education quickly transformed into a comprehensive set of programs focused on college and career readiness; leadership development; family engagement; and community connection. Dalton’s overarching aspiration from the beginning has been “to prevent talent from being wasted."

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Steven U. Mullens

As a co-founder of Peak Education, Steve brought to our mission his love of books and a deep belief in literacy and educational opportunity as essential to building lives of possibility. It was this that energized his commitment to our scholars and families more than anything else. He served on the Peak Education board from its inception until his passing in June 2015. A well-respected attorney, Steve came to Colorado Springs in 1974 and established himself as one of the leading practitioners in workers compensation law in Colorado. Peak Education remains grateful for his leadership, the inspiration he provided and his expectation that when each of our scholars achieves their educational goals, they will find ways to give back to those who follow in their footsteps.

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