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Meet Our Team

Carlos Jiménez

Chief Executive Officer

Carlos is Peak Education’s Chief Executive Officer. He was drawn to Peak Education by the opportunity to build on the track record of success with Harrison School District 2 students as well as the possibility of increasing college opportunities for students from across the city.

A graduate of Colorado College from a low-income, first generation background, Carlos has developed a passion for guiding students through the application process, especially those who are  first-generation college students. He began his career as an Admission Counselor and Assistant Director of admission, in charge of underrepresented recruitment, at Colorado College (CC) in the summer of 2004. He worked for CC until the fall of 2010 when he was selected to oversee first-year outreach and recruitment at Colorado State University –Fort Collins (CSU), where he found working at a state flagship school and Land Grant institution to be both a privilege and an incredible opportunity. Using experience gained from a leadership position at CSU, Carlos was invited to become the Director of Admission at Colorado College in 2014 and continued to serve in that role until the summer of 2019.     

 

He has held several leadership roles in admission counseling professional organizations including a term as President of the Rocky Mountain Association for College Admission Counseling (RMACAC), chairing the national Member Relations Committee for the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), co-chairing the NACAC Hispanic/Latino Special Interest Group and serving as a member of the faculty of the College Board Summer Admission Institute. He currently serves as a board member of Atlas Prep as well as the Joseph Henry Edmondson Foundation. He is a state appointed Advisory Board Member of Pikes Peak Community College and serves on the Western Regional Advisory Board for Cambridge International.

Since graduating from Colorado College with a B.A. in History and Political Science, Carlos has completed an M.A. in Student Affairs and Higher Education at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs and is currently pursuing an Education Doctorate in Organizational Leadership and Change through the University of Southern California.

(719)232-3218 | Carlos@peakedu.org

Vennita Browning

Director of Programs

Vennita has been the Program Director for Peak Education since August 2005.  In this position, she is, in effect, our Chief Relationship Officer, maintaining and strengthening our connections with each Peak Education Scholar and family. Her experience as a single mother of three boys, all of whom are college graduates, has given her unique insight into the daily struggles of low-income families served by Peak Education.     

 

Vennita moved to Colorado Springs in 1986 from California after graduating with a B.A. in Mass Communications with an emphasis in radio and television from the University of LaVerne in LaVerne, California.

Before coming to Peak Education, Vennita worked with the Girl Scouts Wagon Wheel Council for 13 years as a Membership and Marketing Specialist. She recruited, trained and supervised leaders and marketed the Girl Scout program to girls in the Greater Colorado Springs area and surrounding counties. She developed successful outreach programs in low income and underserved areas of the council.

In addition to her work with the Girl Scouts, she served on the board of the Community Partnership for Child Development (CPCD), and finished her second term as a board member as the African American Youth Leadership Conference (AAYLC).  In addition, she is in her tenth year as a mentor with the Sachs Foundation’s “Elevated” program, which empowers students to achieve excellence in postsecondary education.

Claudia De Santiago

Director of Development

In September of 2023, Claudia joined Peak Education as the Director of Development, bringing with her a wealth of experience and expertise. With over a decade of dedicated community service, conflict resolution, and guidance under her belt, Claudia has developed a versatile skill set that has proven to be invaluable on various international platforms. Her extensive involvement in the non-profit industry has not only made her a proficient communicator but also an expert at building and nurturing relationships with individuals from diverse backgrounds.

 

Claudia's primary objective at Peak Education is to diversify the organization's funding sources. She aims to achieve this by forging connections with new donors and networks that are currently disconnected from the organization.

 

Claudia graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Middle Eastern studies, she also holds minors in Political Science, Sustainability, and Arabic. Additionally, Claudia obtained an Associate in Business Administration from Crowder College in 2012, further solidifying her knowledge and expertise in the field.

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Jessica DeSantis-Berg

Salesforce Specialist, Basecamp College Counselor, & Consultant

Jessica DeSantis-Berg is a counselor and consultant with Basecamp after an 18-year career in higher education admissions. As an undergraduate student, she studied business and economics (marketing) and Spanish at Lehigh University (PA). After admissions roles at Caldwell College (NJ) and Capital Institute of Technology (MD), she returned to Lehigh where she remained for the next 16 years. For 11 of those years, she built relationships in Colorado as part of her work to increase representation from Western states.

Throughout her college admissions career, Jessica contributed to a variety of areas—including file review, information systems, merit selection, and marketing. Additionally, she has been an active member of the admission counseling network, presenting at the Rocky Mountain Association for College Admission Counseling (RMACAC), Hawai’i Association of College Admission Counseling (HACAC), and the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) conferences, among others.

 

Jessica earned a Master’s of Art in Environmental Policy Design in 2013. In 2021, she left her role as a member of the admissions senior leadership team. Working within an organization that is dedicated to increasing opportunities for students from all backgrounds is the perfect fit for Jessica. She is passionate about access and equity, and enjoys sharing insight into the intricacies of the college admissions process. 

Tam Doane

College & Financial Aid Advisor

Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, Colorado Springs has been home to Tam since 1999. She has dedicated over fifteen years to removing financial barriers for those who wish to pursue higher education. Tam works with Sierra and Harrison High School students to complete the FAFSA/CASFA and apply for scholarships. Before joining the Peak Education team, Tam worked with El Pomar Foundation and UCCS.  She holds a Master’s degree in Counseling and Human Services.

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Tabitha Hart

Communications and Marketing Director

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Jasmine Rainey

Director of Access and Success

​Jasmine is a graduate of Colorado State University. She comes from a low-income, first-generation background, which contributed to her passion of empowering and helping students from similar backgrounds. Jasmine was a recipient of the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and became the first DSF scholar to work for the organization. During her time at DSF from 2011 until May 2020, she served in a variety of roles, working as a TRIO advisor, a college advisor and later as a lead advisor who supervised and guided other advisors. Through her work she has assisted hundreds of students across the Denver Public Schools district, helping them gain access to higher education and obtain financial aid to support their plans. She has developed core college success programming, increased college enrollment rates at various high schools, led community trainings and presentations, and much more.

In addition to her passion for college access, Jasmine is pursuing her counseling degree to increase her ability to holistically impact students.

Pedro Ramírez

Senior Director for Strategic Initiatives

Pedro's higher education experience spans over 15 years in enrollment management, academic success, and student affairs. The past decade plus has been dedicated to college admissions, where he's worked at a variety of institutions to increase the quality and quantity of traditionally underrepresented students for matriculation.

 

Prior to arriving at Peak Education, Pedro served as the Associate Director for Outreach & Access at Colorado College. 

Born and raised in California's San Joaquin Valley, Pedro received his B.A. from the University of California, Irvine, and his M.Ed. from the University of Texas at Austin. In his free time, he enjoys going on hikes with his wife Krista and son Leo, learning a new recipe, and enjoying SF Giants baseball. 

Francis J. Roberson

Associate Director for High School Programs & College Success

Francis moved to the Colorado Springs area in 2021 to continue his teaching career at one of the state’s priority improvement schools. After helping some of our area’s most underserved students realize college matriculation, Francis decided to take the next steps in his career journey with Peak Ed.  

Francis comes to Peak Education with 15 years of in-classroom experience at the high school level, teaching a variety of courses such as AVID, AP Literature & Composition, and Concurrent Enrollment Psychology, just to name a few. He has also served as a school leader and has worked on curriculum writing and professional development teams. Francis has been nominated “Teacher of the Year” on each campus he has taught, winning the honor three out of four times. He has also been recognized by education associations, student associations, and community associations, such as the Rotary Club of Colorado Springs, for his work with students. 

Francis earned his B.A. in History from the University of Houston. Because of his personal experience with the college preparation and admissions process, Francis has first-hand knowledge of some of the barriers that have traditionally existed on the road to college success. He desires to live out his passion of bringing the potential for college admissions and success to every student. 

Gabriela Silva

Assistant Program Director for Concurrent Enrollment with Pikes Peak State College

Gabriela is a recent addition to the Peak Education team. Prior to joining Peak Education, Gabriela served as an ACE teaching fellow in Northern California. During her time there she taught social studies and created the inaugural ethnic studies curriculum. Gabriela developed her passion for working with students while in college, serving as the director of a free standardized test prep and college counseling organization dedicated to working with students in the Chicago area. As the proud granddaughter of Mexican and Chilean immigrants, Gabriela has seen the life altering impact access to education can have. Gabriela is dedicated to expanding access to education and is excited to do so at Peak Education.  

Gabriela graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in Political Science and Comparative Race/Ethnic Studies in 2021. She completed her Master's degree in education at the University of Notre Dame in 2023. In her free time Gabriela enjoys baking, spending time with friends, and travelling.  

Nancy Whitley

Basecamp College Counselor

Nancy recently moved to Colorado Springs from Dallas, Texas, where she was Director of College Guidance at a private, college preparatory high school. Prior to that she served at Vail Christian High School as English Department Chair and Director of Academic and College Guidance. As a career educator, Nancy graduated from Baylor University (BS in ED, 1984; MS in ED, 1985) and now holds several professional memberships, including with National Association for College and Admission Counseling (NACAC), The Rocky Mountain Association for College Admission Counseling (RMACAC), and the Colorado Council on High School/College Relations.

Most recently, Nancy achieved certification as a Highlands Certified Consultant, undergoing intensive training on how to understand and interpret the results of the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB) so as to help students take stock of their natural talents and abilities in pursuing a college, field of study, and subsequent career that aligns with their strengths and passions.

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