Meet the Staff

Lisa Weil, Executive Director

A graduate of Greeley Public Schools, the University of Colorado, and the Yale Law School, Lisa has been a public interest attorney and political consultant. She served as Policy Director and Chief Legal Counsel for former Governor Roy Romer, and as a Legislative Aide to former Senators Timothy Wirth and Bob Kerrey. She managed the first Congressional campaign of Representative Diana DeGette, and has served as a consultant on a wide variety of research and campaign projects. The mother of two (16 and 18), Weil was closely involved in the creation and passage of Amendment 23, and co-founded Great Education Colorado in 2005. email | twitter

Betsy Bevis, Director of Outreach

Betsy graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in Psychology and earned her Master’s in Social Work from Baylor University. She moved to Colorado halfway through her graduate degree and decided to stay in Denver post-graduation. After working in research and outreach departments of nonprofit organizations focusing on homelessness and poverty for several years, Betsy realized that inadequate education is a key factor in perpetuating the cycle of poverty. She has focused her efforts on Great Education’s movement of ensuring a quality education for all students in Colorado, with a special passion for those students who are economically challenged. In her spare time, Betsy enjoys hiking, climbing, reading and spending time with friends and family.  email

Mary McNeil Cheever, Community Liaison

A California native, Mary and her husband moved to Denver in 1987. Mary has a degree in History from Stanford University. Her work experience includes media planning and buying for an advertising agency, working for a financial advisor, and marketing American History Through Folksong CDs and songbooks for WEM Records. The mother of two daughters (now 20 and 23), Mary has spent many years as an active fundraiser, organizer and volunteer working on behalf of public schools. Mary currently serves on the board of Partners In Literacy and has volunteered for Great Education Colorado on and off since its inception. email

Angela Green Garland, Volunteer Coordinator

Angela is a Colorado transplant and native Nebraskan. She has a Master’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis. Angela has over 15 years of experience in working with and for non-profit agencies—from volunteers, to community to executive experience. Within her local school district, she along with several other parents started a district-wide committee to specifically address issues related to equity and the achievement gap. As a graduate of public schools, she is a fierce supporter of adequate funding. In her spare time, Angela enjoys reading and spending time with her family. email

Connie Ingram, Director of Operations

Connie moved to Colorado in 2003, after living in New York, Massachusetts and Texas. She holds a B.A. in Secondary Education from the University at Albany. Connie and her husband, David, have two sons (now 18 and 20) who are graduates of Colorado public schools. She volunteered in her children’s schools from the time they entered preschool and continues to volunteer with public education advocacy groups. email

Susan Meek, Director of Communications

With nearly 20 years experience in nonprofit, government and business, Susan has acquired a diverse skill set in communications, operations and strategy. After moving to Colorado 15 years ago, Susan focused her efforts primarily in serving K-12 education. Susan has a passion for ensuring all children have access to strong and thriving public schools and believes education has the power to transform lives and is our moral obligation to the next generation. As a mother of two high-school age daughters, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family. Susan has an MBA in Business Economics and Public Policy from George Washington University. email

Raissa Shafer, Finance

Raissa started working in education and the nonprofit sector over 15 years ago. She started out in the ESL classroom and moved on to curriculum development, program design, accreditation, and operations. She has worked with many education-oriented nonprofit organizations in Colorado and around the world. She holds a BA from The Colorado College and a Masters in Nonprofit Management from Regis University. Raissa is a classroom volunteer in the Colorado Refugee ESL program at the Emily Griffith School and sits on the advisory board of Our Front Porch L3C, an organization devoted to supporting long term disaster recovery. email

Lea Steed, Outreach Coordinator

Lea grew up in the Denver/Aurora area and was educated in the DPS and APS school system. She continued her education at the Community College of Denver and received a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from University of Northern Colorado. She will complete her Master’s in Reading Education by 2017. Lea has two beautiful teenage daughters who attend DPS schools. Her work at Great Education Colorado has taught her to never underestimate the power of grassroots organizing or the power of voice! email

Zacary J. Tardiff, Director of Development

Zacary has a diverse array of professional experiences including nearly 8 years as an administrator and professor at West Virginia University. He has also been involved with nonprofit organizations for more than 10 years, including serving as the President of Empty Bowls Monongalia in West Virginia.  Zacary and his wife, Abby (a native Coloradan), relocated to Colorado in mid-2016. Originally from New Jersey, Zacary is a two-time graduate of West Virginia University, most recently attaining an MBA from the WVU College of Business & Economics. Zacary is dedicated to building genuine, lasting relationships that will help Great Education Colorado continue to grow. He is passionate about ensuring that students throughout the state have access to high quality public education. In his free time, Zacary enjoys cooking, hiking, and spending time with his wife and two dogs, Luca and Denver. email | twitter

Steve Foster, Web Consultant

Steve is a former newspaper editor and designer with the Rocky Mountain News, Chicago Sun-Times and Longmont Times-Call. Since the closure of the Rocky in 2009, he has provided marketing, communications and web design and development for several clients including nonprofit and advocacy groups. Steve, a native of South Dakota, holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of South Dakota. He and his wife, Alexandra, have 4-year-old and 1-year-old daughters, both future students of Denver Public Schools. email | twitter