Current Fellows

2017 - 18 CEA Ambassador Fellows


Alma Arellano is currently a Family & Consumer Science teacher at Skyline High School in Longmont, CO. She received her B.S. in Home Economics Education from New Mexico State University. This is her 20th year in public education with 19 of those having been in Colorado. She is currently serving as a St. Vrain Valley Education Association Building Rep, CEA delegate and has attended the NEA RA as a delegate for 2 of the last 3 years. She participates in several areas of leadership in her building community, she is the Family & Consumer Science department head, FCCLA Advisor, teacher accountability representative for her building, and a member of the 9th grade transition team, School Accountability Committee member as well as district advisory council member.


Derrick Belanger teaches 8th grade Special Education in the Adams 12 Five Star School District at Century Middle School in Thornton, Colorado. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a BA in English Teaching and a MAT in Secondary Education. Mr. Belanger serves as Secretary of the District Twelve Education Association and is the Association Representative at Century Middle School. Mr. Belanger has also been elected as a delegate to the CEA and NEA Delegate Assemblies.


Gretchen Bitner is a teacher at Penrose Elementary in Colorado Springs School D11. Her current role as Project Based Learning Coordinator, allows her to coach both students and staff through the implementation of 21st Century competencies and inquiry-based systems. In addition, Gretchen serves as the media coordinator and plays an active role with the Penrose Rebranding team. Her leadership roles include CSEA Morale Rep., EPC Scholarship Chair, and Teachers for Educational Reform Liaison. Gretchen’s credentials include a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Colorado, MA in Leadership and Policy from the University of Texas, and an MA in Curriculum and Development, also from the University of Texas.


Yolanda Calderón is a Colorado native who teaches K-5 General Music at Wheeling Elementary in Aurora, Colorado. Ms. Calderón has served as an Association Representative in her building and was recently elected the Vice President of the Aurora Education Association. Ms. Calderon holds a Bachelor of Music Performance and a Bachelor of Music Education from Metropolitan State University of Denver.


Rachel Connell is currently working at Hayden School District in Hayden, Colorado. She is a secondary Spanish teacher, as well as the district ELL and GT Coordinator. In the past, Rachel served as secretary and vice president of a local association (FTEA) and is now participating in local activities with HEA (Hayden Education Association), and hoping to do more at the local and state level. She has a BA in Spanish and Secondary Education from Colorado State University, an MaEd in Curriculum and Instruction, from University of Phoenix, and her doctoral degree (EDD) in Educational Leadership from University of Phoenix.


Sean Davis is a passionate, equity driven Special Education teacher at South High School in Denver, Colorado. He received a BA from the University of Denver in International Studies and an MA in Adolescent Special Education from Hunter College. He was a 2013 Teach for America Corps Member in New York City and has spent the last four years teaching, fighting for, and providing a voice for the most underrepresented students. Last year, as a Colorado Educator Voice Fellow, Sean learned to elevate his voice as an educator by reflecting on current events in an education blog, hosting state Representatives at his school, submitting written testimony against unjust policy proposals, and meeting with local stakeholders to fight for an amendment to an inclusive history in schools’ bill.


Robert Donovan is currently employed at Risley International Academy of Innovation in Pueblo, Colorado. In addition to being an 8th grade Social Studies teacher, Robert coaches basketball and soccer and diligently strives toward exposing his students to learning opportunities outside the classroom by partnering with various community organizations. Working with his local, he insures school wide dissemination of pertinent information by routinely meeting with chapter associates. Robert graduated from Colorado State University - Fort Collins with a BA in History and is currently taking classes toward a MPA with a certificate in nonprofit funding development at the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs.

male blank.jpg

Patrick Hogarty is entering his 12th year as a Social Studies teacher and his 3rd at Edna and John W. Mosley in Aurora, Colorado. He is responsible for educating 170 students on topics that directly impact students’ lives every day. Patrick has taken on leadership roles in his local and state union. This past year, Patrick served as a CEA elected Delegate, participated in GLUE training and was a member of the Early Career Educators seminar in Washington D.C. At the local level, Patrick was a candidate for Vice President of the union and is spearheading the inaugural Early Career Educator support program known as STAR (Supporting, Training, Advocating, Retaining). Patrick has a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Queens College, a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from Molloy College and a second Master’s Degree in School Administration from the College of St. Rose.


Matt Koziol works at Northridge High School in Greeley where he has taught Biology, Science Research Techniques, Engineering, and other science and STEM courses over the past four years. He also serves on the STEM Advisory board for the school and is an active member of the Greeley Education Association. Matt has a B.A. in History, a B.S. in Biological Sciences, and a M.A. in Science Teaching, all from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is currently a doctoral student working on his Ed.D. in Educational Studies at the University of Northern Colorado.


Shannon Peterson is an English Language Acquisition Specialist for Cherry Creek Schools. She teaches at Eastridge Elementary in Aurora, where 43 different languages are spoken. This is Shannon's fifteenth year in the district. In addition to teaching, Shannon is her building's Association Representative for the Cherry Creek Education Association. She received a B.A. In journalism and a B.S. Ed. from the University of North Dakota and a M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado Denver.


Erica Rewey is a veteran Language and Literature teacher at Palmer High School in Colorado Springs. She also coordinates Link Crew and is a Student Council sponsor. As an association representative and board member of the Colorado Springs Education Association, Erica has been actively involved in local elections as well as lobbying at the state level for critical issues in public education including standardized testing, teacher evaluations, and funding. She earned both her BA in English and MAT with an emphasis in Southwest Studies from Colorado College.


Alex Wentz teaches at South High School with Denver Public Schools where she teaches Integrated Math 2 and Honors Precalculus. Her other roles there include serving on the Collaborative School Committee, supporting the Culture Team, and working as a coach for the Girls Lacrosse Team. Alex is a member of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association SUN Team, supporting the connection between DCTA’s bargaining team and building members at South. She is also an active union representative in her building. She has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, emphasis in Secondary Education from Grand Valley State University.


Kathy Zaleski currently teaches 9th and 10th grade Social Studies at Northglenn High School in Adams 12. Along with teaching, she also facilitates multiple courses and trainings around using restorative practices in schools around Colorado and for her district. Kathy has a BS in Secondary Education - Social Studies from Indiana University and a MA from University of Arizona in Language, Reading, and Culture.