Our Board of Directors

Board Members 

Liza Coughlin, Co-Chair

Independent Consultant

Liza brings fourteen years of strategic planning experience to the board. Liza’s consulting experience has primarily been in the area of child and teen healthcare. She has led operational improvement projects that streamlined existing systems and guided strategic partnerships between major hospital networks.  Liza has experience analyzing programs and processes and understanding where and how to increase efficiencies. Liza received her B.A. in Economics from Northwestern University.


Mike Kotlarczyk, Co-Chair

Assistant Attorney General, Colorado Attorney General’s Office 

Mike Kotlarczyk is an Assistant Attorney General at the Colorado Department of Law. Prior to law school, Mike worked for an educational non-profit in Washington, D.C. In his current practice, Mike represents Colorado’s statewide elected officials in litigation and advises several state bodies. Before joining the Attorney General’s Office, Mike worked in private practice for a decade at two Denver-based law firms and worked as a judicial clerk for two federal judges. Mike received his B.A. in History and Political Science from Drake University, and his J.D. from Georgetown University.


Jessica Mace, Treasurer

Financial Consultant; Affiliate Faculty, Finance Department at Metropolitan State University

Jessica has spent the majority of her career in the financial services industry as a stock analyst with various Wall Street firms. With this, she brings over a decade of experience in financial statement analysis to the Board. Over the past few years, she has also taught at Metropolitan State University in Denver. She is an instructor for the Managerial Finance course and also taught workshops in Personal Finance for Student Success. Jessica received her B.A. in Economics and International Studies from Northwestern University and her MBA from Cornell University.



Vani Tangella, Secretary

Senior Project Manager, Early Milestones Colorado

Vani Tangella joined the Early Milestones team in 2017 and serves in the role of Senior Project Manager for LAUNCH Together, Planning to Prevent Child Maltreatment, and the CCCAP Contracted Slots Pilot. Her work in child maltreatment and family support is extensive, as she previously held the positions of Program Associate for Children and Family Futures and Change Leader Associate for the Prevention and Family Recovery Initiative, which was funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Duke Endowment.

Vani received her master of public health degree from California State University, Long Beach, as well as a bachelor of arts degree in public health policy from the University of California, Irvine. Vani completed the Buell Early Childhood Leadership Program, Cohort 12, in June 2020.


Monica Abrahams, Member & Former Chair

Independent Consultant

When Monica first heard about the plans for New Legacy Charter School, she was immediately drawn to its mission and vision of success for young families. She became involved in the start-up of the school as a member of the Health and Wellness Committee before joining the Board of Directors. Monica’s background includes working in health-focused philanthropic and nonprofit organizations, and she currently works as an independent consultant. Monica holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.


Jennifer Douglas, Member & New Legacy Founder


Brace Gibson, Member


Paul Heskin, Member


Shannon Langner, Member

Physician & Association Professor in Family Medicine, the University of Colorado

Shannon is a physician and Associate Professor in Family Medicine at The University of Colorado. She trains medical students and residents in medicine. Her area of expertise is maternal-child medical care and providing resources for populations in need. Her passion is connecting with patients and their communities. Shannon received her B.A. and M.D. from the University of Kansas and did her residency at the University of Colorado.


John McHugh, Member


David Meschke, Member


Angie Peluse, Member

Entrepreneur & CEO/Founder, Swimming Simply, Galileo Learning Colorado, and Aspen Root Strategy

Angie has over 15 years of experience in health and education-related organizations, and deeply believes that all young people should have the knowledge and skills to live healthy and productive lives.  She is currently the founder and CEO of several companies.  She has also been a K-12 teacher; a Division-I Swimming coach; a strategy & management consultant; and worked at other non-profits, focused on health and education.  She has an AB from Harvard College and an MA from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.  She lives in Stapleton with her husband and three girls.


Paula Smith, Member

Paula Smith, Vice President of Educational Services, Clayton 

Paula has more than 25 years of front-line experience working in Early Head Start and Head Start programs, passionately serving culturally diverse children from birth to age five and their families. Since joining Clayton, Paula has led and managed all aspects of education, health, mental health, early intervention, and child and family services to support school readiness and strengthen families. She has also directed and leveraged numerous community partnerships throughout the state, enhancing both quality of and access to early childhood care and education programs, particularly for underserved communities. Paula currently provides leadership and oversight of Clayton’s school-based, home-based, and community-based early childhood programs with an additional focus on strategic initiatives that include professional development and coaching throughout Colorado. Paula earned a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from Indiana University, and a master’s degree in early childhood studies, specializing in management, administration, and leadership, from Walden University.


Jenifer Tellez, Member


New Legacy’s governing board plays a significant role in advancing the school’s mission and vision by providing strategic direction, conducting academic and financial oversight, and securing adequate resources.

Our Board asserts much of its leadership through its policy-setting responsibilities. Board-level policies allow the school to operate effectively and efficiently in pursuit of its mission by establishing clear frameworks for the implementation of the school’s work. All powers of the Board lie in its collective action.

Our by-laws dictate that our board has 9-15 members with each member serving three-year terms. Terms are staggered so in any given year, three board seats are up for appointment or re-appointment. Board members are limited to serving three consecutive terms. NLCS has a policy requiring 100% of board members to either make a personally meaningful financial contribution or secure a contribution from another individual or organization.

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