Our Board of Directors
Monica Abrahams, Board Co-Chair
Monica Abrahams is a program officer at the Colorado Health Foundation, where she works to advance the Foundation’s grantmaking and other investments to promote healthy living in communities across the state of Colorado. A native of Colorado, Monica is committed to giving back to the community she calls home. Monica first served a member of the Health and Wellness Committee before transitioning to the Board of Directors for New Legacy. Monica is excited to deepen her commitment to New Legacy’s mission and vision of success for Aurora’s young families. Monica also coaches track and field with the City of Aurora and volunteers for Stanford University’s Office of Undergraduate Admission, where she participates in admissions outreach activities for prospective applicants in Metro Denver. Monica holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Biology from Stanford University and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
Kristin Schledorn, Co-Chair
Deputy Town Attorney, Town of Parker
Kristin Schledorn brings thirteen years of experience as a practicing attorney to the New Legacy Charter High School Board of Directors. She currently works for the City of Littleton as City Attorney. Prior to her work in Littleton, Kristin served as an associate counsel for Urban Villages, Inc. She also worked as an Assistant County Attorney for Jefferson County and as a business and real estate associate for Sherman & Howard, LLC. Kristin received a Juris Doctorate from Cornell Law School, and holds a Master of Science in Applied Research and Program Evaluation and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and International Studies, both from the University of Denver.
John Lyons, Vice-Chair
Grant Developer, Aurora Public Schools; English Instructor, Community College of Aurora; Founder and Director, Colorado Change Agents; EdD candidate at UCD
John works as a grant writer and developer for Aurora Public Schools (APS). In addition to his role with APS, he has been teaching English composition and creative writing courses at the Community College of Aurora since 2005. He is also the Founder and Director of a project-based learning nonprofit organization, Colorado Change Agents, which engages Aurora high school students with self-selected social impact projects. John completed three degrees at the University of Colorado at Denver – a B.A. in English, an M.A. in English literature, and a Master of Public Administration from the School of Public Affairs. John is a proud Denver native who lives in Park Hill with his wife, daughter, and various pets.
Mike Kotlarczyk, Treasurer
Mike Kotlarczyk is an attorney at the Denver-based law firm Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP. Prior to law school, Mike worked for an educational non-profit in Washington, D.C. In his current practice as a trial lawyer, Mike serves a wide range of clients, including non-profits, local businesses, and Fortune 100 companies. Mike also maintains an active pro bono practice and was one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case that won marriage equality in Colorado. Previously, Mike was a partner at Reilly Pozner LLP and has served 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.
Alison Monaghan, Secretary
Alison Monaghan has been volunteering on the Academic Committee at New Legacy Charter School since before the school was built and students arrived. Now that New Legacy is in its third year, she is honored to serve as a Board member and co-chair of the Academic Accountability Committee. In doing so, she continues to celebrate and recognize student and staff success while also focusing on increasing growth in all academic areas. She has served in the field of Education for over 20 years, most recently as a Learning Lab Facilitator and teaching intern coach at the Stanley Teacher Preparation Program (now Boettcher Teacher Residency). She holds a Professional Teacher License K-8, a Master of Arts Degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Colorado, Denver and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.
Sarah Bridich, Former Chair
Sarah brings fifteen years of education experience to the board, with the majority of that time being in a classroom. Sarah taught high school history in San Francisco, New York City, and the Denver-metro region. She spent the past two years as the Director of Advocacy and Outreach for Catapult School Leadership and is currently an education consultant. Sarah received her B.A. from Harvard University, her M.A. from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Denver.
Phil Cooke, Member
Operations Consultant, RS Consulting
Phil currently works as an operations consultant in the Denver area. Since leaving the high school classroom as a science teacher, Phil remains passionate about finding ways to make great education easier, in the service of those who benefit from it most. NLCS is building an educational foundation that will naturally incorporate the principles of great science education in the years to come. When he heard the vision for this program and using science as a tool to solve real-world problems, Phil committed to doing what’s necessary to ensure this school’s success. Along with NLCS success, comes two generations of students that would be most under-served by a traditional class environment (books and rote facts), and most helped by great education (application of scientific principles to 21st-century problems). Phil also runs a website for science teachers to share their best classroom activities and works in private industry in continuous improvement and engineering roles.
Liza Coughlin, Member
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.
Julissa Martinez, Member
New Legacy Alumna; College Student
Julissa is a New Legacy Alumni that attended in 2015 through 2017. She is currently a student at the Metropolitan State University of Denver and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social work. While becoming a social worker, she is setting forth in the field of child protective services to help children and adolescents in need to help take them out of harmful situations. she hopes to help make a difference in her community by helping teen moms pursue their goals while raising their children and setting great examples for their families.
Angie Peluse, Member
Chief of Regions, College Track
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 Vice President of Financial Strategy and Innovation at Teach for America. 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.
JH Sava, Member
Assistant Principal, Park Lane Elementary School (Aurora Public Schools)
Vani Tangella, Member
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.
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.