Meet the Board!

President: Scott R. Finholm

Scott teaches American History and American Government at Central High School in Grand Junction. He has been teaching social studies for 26 years. He was the K-12 social studies curriculum specialist for D51 Mesa County for three years, but has since returned to the classroom. Scott struggled as a student with a learning disability, and he has always valued working with students with learning challenges. Scott is passionate about improving the quality of education for students with learning differences. Scott holds a bachelor's degree in History from the University of Montana and he earned a master's degree in history through the Pace University-Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History. When not teaching, he loves running, biking, fly fishing, and cheering on his daughter's marching band.

Vice President: Jenny Pettit

Jenny is currently the K-12 Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator and Secondary Literacy Coordinator for St. Vrain Valley Schools in Longmont and spent 16 years prior to this position teaching 6-12 social studies. She has taught courses to current and pre-service teachers at CU Denver and Metropolitan State University in Denver. Curriculum development is one of Jenny’s passions, and she has published numerous books, articles, and resources on this topic. Jenny just received her doctorate in Educational Studies from UNC and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Economic Literacy Colorado. When not writing curriculum or supporting teachers, Jenny enjoys spending time with her husband and three children in the mountains of Colorado and traveling to different places around the world.

Cassie Moore, Secretary 

Cassie is currently a Social Studies Coordinator for Adams 12. She has taught since 2011, most recently teaching AP United States History and Government at Lakewood High School. She studied History and Psychology at the University of Rochester, where she went on to earn her Master’s in Social Studies and Inclusive Education. She recently finished a "for fun" Master's in American History through Pace/GLI. Prior to moving to Colorado in 2017, she worked in a rural district near Syracuse, NY, served on her local council, and worked on the test development committee for New York State during the Regents re-design. Cassie has served on the CCSS board since the fall of 2018. She has been helping to organize the CCSS conference since 2019 and was elected secretary in 2020. Cassie and her husband are parents to two wonderful young boys, Remi and Finn, and and have been really enjoying the adventures of parenthood. In their spare time, they enjoy mountain biking, hiking, backcountry skiing with their border collie, Scooch, and traveling - the best trips have been the Salkantay Trek in Peru, their honeymoon in the Azores, and the mountain biking world cup race in Fort William, Scotland.

Barbara Taylor, Treasurer

Barbara has taught Social Studies at Pomona High School in Arvada for 20 years. One of her greatest moments was turning the high school version of CCSS t Elizabeth Cordova on to U.S. history. Barbara's undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois-Champaign was in journalism and fueled her first career as a daily newspaper reporter. She just finished her second master's degree -- this one in American History -- thanks to the James Madison Memorial Fellowship. For fun (and sanity) she engages in an annual partnership with CU Law through the Marshall-Brennan Foundation and also joined the National Constitution Center Teacher Advisory Board. She delights in her kids, friends and neighbors.

CDE Liaison: Stephanie Hartman, Ph.D.

Stephanie is the Social Studies Content Specialist at the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), and has served on the CCSS board as CDE representative for the past 11 years. She is a member of the Standards and Instructional Support (SIS) Team whose duties include, among other things, providing support for the implementation of the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS). Stephanie has worked at the state level as a social studies content specialist for over 17 years. Her first state level job was with the Nevada Department of Education. Prior to that, Stephanie taught high school social studies for thirteen years in both Everett, WA and Reno, NV. She has also taught elementary and secondary education courses at the Metropolitan State University Denver and the University of Nevada Reno. Stephanie holds a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nevada Reno, as well as a master’s degree in Integrated Curriculum from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Social Studies from the University of Northern Colorado. For fun, Stephanie enjoys flyfishing, reading, scrapbooking, and hanging out with family and friends.

Higher Ed Representative: Kent Willmann

Kent Willmann spent 31 years preparing young citizens by teaching high school social studies in Longmont Colorado. He taught an integrated English/History class in which he used performance assessment extensively to reach all kind of kids. The next 10 years were devoted to developing the next generation of teachers at CU Boulder. Currently he works as a trainer and curriculum writer for the Colorado Municipal League's, Lessons on Local Government. Professional development in standards-based education, media literacy, local government and writing across the curriculum is part of his work with teachers. He has had dozens of student teachers and is currently a nationally calibrated edTPA scoring supervisor. A former Hoosier and longtime hoops fan, he loves NCAA tournament time. You can catch him in the morning riding his bike making photos of abandoned couches, in the afternoon working in the garden, and in the evening at the poker table (anybody want to play?)


Board Director and Past President: Elizabeth Milligan Cordova

Elizabeth is an adjunct professor of social studies at the University of Colorado Denver and works as the Program Manager for TEACH Colorado. She served as the CCSS President from 2018-2022, and has been on the board since 2009. She taught 8-12 grade social studies for thirteen years. Elizabeth holds a Masters of Arts from the Teachers' College at Columbia University, where she also completed her work as a James Madison fellow for the state of Colorado, and a Bachelor's Degree from Lake Forest College in Illinois. She loves to run, do yoga, and spend time with her wild one-year-old.

Chris Elnicki, Board Director

Chris Elnicki is a product of immigrants drawn to Colorado soil by opportunities to farm, ranch, and mine. He has 36 years of experience as an educator, servicing three districts and a wide range of learners, from preschoolers to adults. During the larger portions of this time, Chris was a 6-12 Social Studies Teacher and most recently supported the teachers and students of Cherry Creek Schools as their K-12 Social Studies Coordinator. He is a Past President of the Colorado Council for the Social Studies, Past President and current Outreach and Operations Coordinator for the National Social Studies Supervisors Association, the 2012 Colorado Social Studies Educator of the Year, a James Madison Memorial Fellow, and received his MA degree from the University of Colorado Denver in History and Political Science, with an emphasis on the Constitution, public land, and the West. He is married to a K-5 Grade Teacher and they have two adult children. Chris seeks out wilderness experiences during all seasons and finds great solace wading in streams, waving a stick, and exploring the aquatic world beneath the water’s surface. He is currently the Executive Director of the Colorado Center for Civic Learning and Engagement and has been a member of the CCSS board since 2000.

Anton Schulzki, Board Director and Past President

A social studies teacher since 1983, Anton has been teaching in the International Baccalaureate Program (IB) program at William J. Palmer High School in Colorado Springs since 1992. While a majority of his career at Palmer has been teaching in the IB program, he is the IB Middle Years coordinator for Palmer. Anton helps to sponsor the Gay-Straight-Trans Alliance at school and enjoys the diversity and history of the school. He has been a member of the CCSS board for the past 20 years and have served in a variety of capacities including president. Anton served as the National Council for the Social Studies president for the 2021-22 school year, and is the immediate past president of NCSS. When not teaching and leading, he loves white-water rafting, reading, cooking and bicycling. He is also a men's lacrosse official and officiates college, high school and youth lacrosse games.


Kara Casini, Board Director

Kara Casini hails originally from Chicago, Illinois. She attended Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois and graduated Summa Cum Laude with degrees in history and social science secondary education. While living in Illinois, Kara worked at the First Division Museum at Cantigny Park as a Public Program Coordinator/Museum Education then later left to teach AP US History, Advanced US History, and Sociology in the Chicago suburbs. In 2014, Kara and her husband left the hustle and bustle of Chicago and traded it in for the Rocky Mountains! Kara currently works within Cherry Creek School District at Eaglecrest High School teaching AP Human Geography and World History/World Geography. Professionally, Kara has presented her research at the Illinois State Historical Society Annual Symposium, the Council for American Studies Education Annual Conference, the Colorado Council for Social Studies Conference, and the National Council for Social Studies Conference! This past year, Kara wrote an AP Human Geography test bank for Colorado Geographic Alliance and it will later be offered for purchase through National Council for Geographic Education. Kara has her master’s degree in integrated curriculum with an emphasis in instructional leadership. She has been a board member of CCSS since September of 2017. She has served on the conference committee and represented CCSS as a House of Delegates member at the annual NCSS conference. In her spare time, Kara enjoys hiking, skiing, and spending time with her husband and their two year old Australian Shepherd named Kaia.

Christy Howard, Board Director

Board Director: Kristin Ayala

Kristin has been a middle school social studies teacher in Cherry Creek for 24 years, on the Colorado Council for the Social Studies since 2009,  and is the middle school representative on the National Council for the Social Studies. She loves to travel, but with two high school students of her own and 3 dogs that has not happened as much lately -- though she does run annual student trips to New York and Washington, DC. Hopefully some teacher institutes will be in her future! Kristin also serves as a building representative for the Cherry Creek Educator Association.  She is a National Board Certified Teacher and would love to chat about that if you are interested in certification!

Jessica Lamphere, Board Director

Jessica Lamphere is a clinical instructor in the College of Education at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, where she teaches social studies methods courses and works with pre-service teachers. Prior to that, Jessica taught third, fourth and sixth grade but most enjoyed teaching fourth grade social studies as part of a departmentalized team. She holds a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from UCCS and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends as well as traveling, running, and yoga.

Tom Keefe, Board Director

Tom holds an Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership, an M.A. in International Relations, and a M.A.T. in Social Studies Education, and a B.A. in History from Saint Joseph’s University. He has taught English, Religion, and History at a variety of 6-12 schools in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Colorado. He is currently an Associate Professor of Humanities at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design. Tom’s current research is on pedagogy and leadership, genocide education, and identity construction. His recent publications include “Race, Identity, and Choice: Black Voices on Liberia and the American Colonization Society” in The African American Experience: From Slavery to Liberation, and “Using Art to Trigger Memory, Intergenerational Learning, and Community” in the International Journal of Lifelong Learning in Art Education, Fake News in The Liminal: Interdisciplinary Journal of Technology in Education, and the paper “Genocide and the Native American Experience” presented at the University of North Carolina - Charlottesville conference Denial: The Final Stage of Genocide. He is also the recipient of the Philip J. Steele Distinguished Faculty Award.

Suzanne Neufield, Board Director

Suzanne Neufeld has been teaching social studies for 15 years in LPS and Jeffco. Her professional interests lie in curriculum and instruction, CLDE, Ed tech, literacy and teacher advocacy. In the classroom she has a passion for civic education, geography, historical inquiry, PBL and experiential learning. She has served on the CDE Standards Revision Committee, the LPS Restart remote learning committee, PLC steering committee, equity committee, and many years as an association rep for the teacher’s association. She currently teaches 8th grade early US History. She holds a BA from Grinnell College in political science and an MA in Secondary Social Studies Curriculum and Instruction from CU Boulder.

Sam Westerdale, Board Director

Sam is in her 11th year of teaching social studies at Rangeview High School in Aurora Public Schools in which she teaches African American Studies, Civics, U.S. History, & a CCA Concurrent Enrollment course in American Government. She is a team lead for RHS’ Equity Team, trains student teachers through MSU Denver, and is a co-sponsor for the school’s Comic Book & Graphic Novel Club. She received her Master’s degrees from the University of Colorado at Denver in Education & Human Development in 2017 and then in Political Science in 2021. She has attended numerous summer seminars over the years thanks to the Gilder Lehrman Institute, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and other social studies organizations which have enhanced her teaching practices for her classroom. She is the 2018 Colorado recipient for the James Madison Fellowship, a current member of the National Constitution Center’s Advisory Council, & was a member of the 2021-2022 Social Studies Standards Review Committee for High School U.S. History. In her spare time, Sam is a passionate bibliophile who also loves to hike, search out new coffee shops, and spend time with her husband and two cats, Tycho & Bernadette. 


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