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How is ECS different? We’ve created an infographic that tells the story by showcasing our work in 2013.

ECS infographic



ECS Staff List (by department):

Policy Institutes:

President's Office
For all media inquiries, please contact Communications Specialist Brady Delander 303.299.3622 or
jeremy anderson Jeremy Anderson
Jeremy Anderson is the President of the Education Commission of the States. ECS was created by states for states in 1965 to track policy, translate research, provide unbiased advice and create opportunities for state education policymakers to learn from each other.  Jeremy has a strong public service record working with officials in Washington, D.C., with many governors and legislators in states and with education policy organizations around the country. Some of his accomplishments include providing strategic leadership on education policy design and implementation through projects with the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National Conference of State Legislators, and many other national policy organizations.  Jeremy has served in multiple policy and governmental affairs roles for Governors on state and national education initiatives and was directly involved in brokering the bipartisan passage of the largest K-12 funding investment in Kansas history to avert a shutdown of Kansas schools. Jeremy currently serves on the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences Board of Governors. Jeremy is serving as the eighth president of ECS since its establishment in 1965.

Telephone Number: 303.299.3624

antionette garcia Antionette Garcia
Executive Office Manager and State Relations Specialist
Antionette Garcia is a 16-year veteran of ECS. She manages the president’s activities and projects, and oversees the executive office work flow. She also serves as the point person for human resources functions and conducts key outreach as part of ECS’ state relations team. She has worked in nearly every ECS division over the years, including the finance administration unit and the Policy Studies and Program Area. Antionette also worked on special projects with the previous chief of staff. Her institutional knowledge about ECS’ history and her longstanding relationship with ECS commissioners are invaluable to the work of ECS today. She left ECS briefly in the 1990s to work as a project manager supporting the chief information officer at Qwest Communications. Antionette returned to ECS because she wanted to share her extensive knowledge and expertise about ECS with ECS commissioners, corporate partners, foundation officials and other education leaders.

Telephone Number: 303.299.3610
Fax Number: 303.296.8332
State Relations
tonette salazar Tonette Salazar
Director of State Relations
Tonette Salazar joined ECS in 2013 as the state relations director. Prior to joining ECS, Tonette formed Salazar & Associates, an independent lobbying and political consulting firm, in 2002. During her tenure, she focused on K-12 education and higher education issues, and successfully represented school districts, counselors, special education directors, career and technical educators, and community colleges on major education reform issues and significant financial restructuring. Prior to the creation of the firm, Tonette worked for the Colorado General Assembly in the Office of Legislative Legal Services and State Senate. She received her bachelor’s degree in political science and English from the University of Denver and her law degree from the University of Colorado. 

Telephone Number: 303.299.3638

lisa Lisa Guilfoile
State Relations Associate
Lisa Guilfoile, a former educator, joined ECS in 2008 as a project specialist for the National Center for Learning and Civic Engagement, where she worked to help state and district leaders promote, support and reward quality civic education and service-learning. She joined the State Relations division in 2015 and serves as a primary liaison to ECS commissioners to relay information, strengthen engagement and support them in their role as representative of the Education Commission of the States. She also assists with planning and coordinating ECS committee activities and maintaining interaction with ECS commissioners and staff. Lisa has 21 years of experience in education and holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Illinois State University.

Telephone Number: 303.299.3690
Accounting Department
matt padilla

Matt Padilla
Director, Budget and Operations
Matt Padilla joined Education Commission of the States in August 2015 and currently serves as the director of budget and operations. In this role, he oversees the organizations financial and operational activities. Prior, he spent time in similar leadership roles with The Center, Urban Peak and Children’s Hospital.  Matt holds a MBA from the University of Colorado, Denver.

Telephone:  303-299-3693

Janet Martin Janet Martin
Janet has more than 30 years of experience in professional office management and accounting. Prior to joining ECS, she worked for a transportation company in Irving, Tex., where she served as office manager and was later promoted to secretary/treasurer.

Telephone Number: 303.299.3660

john ivey John Ivey
Publications Distribution Coordinator
John Ivey is the publications/distribution coordinator for ECS and also the lead person in the Central Services department. John attended the University of Colorado, the University of Colorado Denver, and holds a bachelor's degree in business with an emphasis in e-business from the University of Phoenix. Prior to ECS, he worked for 15 years in the printing industry.

Telephone Number: 303.299.3692
Fax Number: 303.296.8332
john ivey Jolyn Ruybal
Administrative Assistant
Jolyn Ruybal joined ECS in September 2014. She brings more than 20 years of administrative experience providing high-quality, professional support to a diverse level of leaders that include emergency air transport, construction, oil and gas, banking and retail.  She received an associate degree from San Juan College in business management and marketing. Her previous experience allows her to assist the ECS team on special projects.

Telephone Number: 303.299.3625
Fax Number: 303.296.8332
amy skinner

Amy Skinner
Director of Communications
Amy Skinner joined ECS as the director of communications in September 2014. Prior to joining ECS she served as the director of communications with the Colorado Department of Education, where she was charged with supporting Colorado’s education goals and driving successful implementation of education reform efforts. Amy’s education experience also includes developing and executing communications and outreach strategies while working with Denver Public Schools. Her work has earned several awards for outstanding communication practices and has prompted various state and national organizations to seek her as a featured speaker for conferences and webinars.

Telephone: 303.299.3609
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kym bloom Kym Bloom
Print/Web Designer
Kym Bloom joined ECS in September 2005 as the print and web designer for the Communications Department. Kym has more than 17 years experience in graphic and web design and is also involved with the local art community. She holds a Master of Humanities degree from the University of Colorado Denver, where she was an adjunct professor in the fine arts department, and a bachelor's degree in film from Brigham Young University.

Telephone Number: 303.299.3612

Brady Delander Brady Delander
Communications Specialist
Brady Delander is a former journalist who joined ECS in 2011. As a communications specialist, he handles media relations, social media, internal communications, editing and website maintenance, among other responsibilities. Previously, he spent 15 years as a writer and editor for various print and online publications, including medical journals, major metropolitan newspapers and international professional sports news distributers. He received a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Northern Colorado.

Telephone Number: 303.299.3622

kate lams

Kate Lams
Communications and Social Media Strategist
Katie Lams joined ECS in 2015 as the communications and social media strategist. Prior to ECS, she was the communications and social media manager at the Colorado Department of Education, where she led the department’s social media strategy and supported implementation of education reform efforts. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Telephone Number: 303.299.3636

joanne wilkins

JoAnne Wilkins
Information Technology Developer
JoAnne Wilkins is responsible for designing and implementing databases and information systems in support of the ECS mission as well as maintaining and supporting existing software. She has over 30 years experience at ECS, and is a certified salesforce developer. Wilkins received her Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Oregon University.

Information Management and ECS Clearinghouse
jennifer thomsen Jennifer Thomsen
Knowledge and Research Manager/Policy Analyst
Jennifer Thomsen joined ECS as a researcher in December 2013. Prior to joining ECS, she spent 13 years working for the Colorado General Assembly, first in the Office of Legislative Legal Services as a legislative editor and then in the Legislative Council as a policy and research staffer focusing primarily on education issues. Her degree is in political science.

Telephone Number: 303.299.3633

Emily Workman

Emily Workman
Information Clearinghouse Manager/Policy Analyst
Emily Workman serves as the Manager of the Information Clearinghouse and a Policy Analyst focusing primarily on issues related to early childhood education. In addition, Emily is the ECS staff liaison for the Legislative Education Staff Network (LESN), which serves to strengthen the capabilities of legislative education staff to support legislative institutions and individual legislators in developing state laws and policy that support student success. Emily holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and business from Duke University as well as a master's degree in international and comparative social policy from the University of York in England.

Telephone Number: 303.299.3655

stephanie aragon

Stephanie Aragon
Stephanie Aragon joined ECS as a researcher in January 2015. Prior to joining ECS, she worked at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law as a program coordinator and faculty assistant. Stephanie holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Colorado at Boulder, as well as a master’s degree in public policy/education policy from the University of Denver.

Telephone Number: 303.299.3614


Carmen V. Fujinami
Library Technician
Carmen Fujinami manages the ECS Information Clearinghouse digital library. She locates, retrieves and processes educational documents from the Internet as requested by the various personnel in the ECS Clearinghouse. She also manages the ECS book library. Previously, she worked at ECS as a senior administrative associate and then returned as a part-time associate. In her spare time, she enjoys reading fiction, oil painting and embroidering on a high-tech sewing machine.

Telephone Number: 303.299.3654

michael griffith Michael Griffith
Senior Policy Analyst
Mike Griffith serves as the senior school finance analyst for ECS. He has worked in the field of school finance policy for the past 15 years with ECS, the consulting firm of Augenblick & Myers and the Michigan State Senate. His research has focused on the condition of state budgets, the adequacy and equity of state finance formulas, and promising practices in funding programs for high-need students. Mike is an expert resource to national news media and has been quoted more than 250 times by such outlets as CNN, Education Week, NBC Nightly News, National Public Radio and The New York Times. Mike holds a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University, a master's degree in public administration from The Ohio State University and a master's degree in education management from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.

Telephone Number: 303.299.3675

carol Carol Kreck
Carol Kreck, a researcher with ECS, previously served as its librarian. She is a former reporter at The Denver Post, where she was a feature writer before moving to the news side to cover children’s issues, education and the Denver Police Department. Her degree is in criminal justice.

Telephone Number: 303.299.6854

julie rowland Julie Rowland
Julie Rowland joined ECS in September 2014. Prior, she worked as an education researcher for Colorado State Sen. Nancy Todd and as a grant writer for Mile High Women’s Outreach Center. She earned her law degree and master’s degree in education policy from the Pennsylvania State University and is a Colorado licensed attorney. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English literature from St. Edward’s University. Julie has taught legal research and writing to attorneys from around the world, tutored immigrants in English and published on a wide variety of education topics.

Telephone Number: 303.299.3672

micah wixom Micah Ann Wixom
Policy Analyst
Micah Wixom joined ECS as a policy analyst in December 2013. Prior to joining ECS, she worked for the Legislative Counsel Bureau in Nevada in the Constituent Services Unit, where she helped legislators respond to constituent questions and concerns. She also worked as a volunteer coordinator for Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas and as a performance auditor for the Office of the Auditor General in Phoenix. She earned a bachelor's degree from Utah State University and a master’s degree in public administration from Brigham Young University.

Telephone Number: 303.299.3673

ECS Policy Institutes
Early Learning Institute
bruce atchinson Bruce Atchison
Executive Director of Policy and Operations and Director of Early Learning
Bruce Atchison is the director of the Early Learning Institute at ECS and is responsible for all of the early childhood initiatives. He brings more than 25 years of experience working in the field of early childhood. He was the chief of staff for Colorado Lt. Gov. Barbara O'Brien during Gov. Bill Ritter's administration, served as the executive vice president of the state’s child advocacy organization and as their lobbyist for three years, worked in Gov. Roy Romer's Policy Office as the Head Start state collaboration director and worked as the executive director of the Early Learning Partnership focused on preschool to kindergarten transitions. Additionally, Bruce worked for Denver Public Schools as the executive director of the Family Resource Schools, as director of the City of Boulder’s Children’s Services Division and as president and CEO of a private-nonprofit child care facility serving infants through preschool from primarily low-income single parent working families. Most importantly, he taught in kindergarten and early childhood classrooms for more than 10 years. He served on the faculty at the University of Denver in the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology as a child development specialist and was an instructor at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he taught child development. He has received the “Raising Colorado” award, been honored as the “Educator of the Year” and was designated as the “Volunteer of the Year” for his work with Head Start in Boulder County and The Children’s Hospital in Denver. Most recently, Bruce received the Edna Oliver Nancy Swank Early Childhood Lifetime Achievement Award.

Telephone Number: 303.299.3657

High School Policy Center and STEM Policy Center
jennifer dounay zinth Jennifer Dounay Zinth
Director of High School and STEM
Jennifer Dounay Zinth joined the ECS staff in 1997. Since 2005, she has managed the ECS High School Policy Center, a project to provide state policy information, analysis and research findings on a number of high school reform issues, including graduation requirements and high school assessments, graduation rates, P-16 and dual credit. She has been cited by numerous media outlets nationwide, including the New York Times, National Public Radio, Newsweek and the Washington Post, as well as by academic publications. A writer, Jennifer has served as the "Stateline" columnist for Phi Delta Kappan magazine, and has been published in Education Digest and the State Education Leader. She contributed a chapter to the book Promising Practices during High School, and an article to The Council of State Governments' 2009 Book of the States, both released in 2009.

Telephone Number: 303.299.3689
National Center for Learning and Civic Engagement
paul baumann Paul Baumann
Director of National Center for Learning and Civic Engagement
Paul Baumann is director of ECS’ National Center for Learning and Civic Engagement. He earned his Ph.D. in education policy from the University of Maryland (UMD)–College Park, where his research focused on issues of teacher quality, teacher education and teacher compensation. Prior to attending UMD, Paul taught vocal music for 10 years at a private high school in suburban Maryland and in the District of Columbia Public Schools. He was elected to two terms on the board of directors of the Organization of American Kodály Educators, a national professional association of music educators, and served as its secretary from 2002-07.
Telephone Number: 303.299.3608

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Jan Brennan
Project Specialist
Jan Brennan recently joined the National Center for Learning and Civic Engagement. She brings a strong background in public administration, arts education and social justice, including positions with the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs, Colorado Business for the Arts and the Gill Foundation’s Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado. Brennan most recently served as executive director of El Sistema Colorado, part of an international youth orchestra enrichment program. She is licensed as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children.

Telephone Number: 303.299.3661
Postsecondary and Workforce Development Institute
brian sponsler Brian A. Sponsler
Director of Postsecondary and Workforce Development
Brian A. Sponsler, Ed.D. is the director for the Postsecondary and Workforce Development Institute at the Education Commission of the States (ECS).  In his role, Brian oversees the strategic direction of the institute’s work,  manages the institute’s policy- research portfolio, and works to cultivate and maintain relationships with organizational funding partners, higher education policy researchers, policymakers and postsecondary administrators. Prior to joining ECS, Brian was the vice president for research and policy at NASPA, the leading professional association for the field of student affairs. Additionally, he served as associate director for research at the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), a leading higher education policy organization located in Washington, DC., and has held several campus-based professional roles. Brian’s research interests include college access for disenfranchised student populations, student development and success, college rankings, structural/ geographic impediments to college-going and policy-adoption theory. His policy research work has been financially supported by the Lumina Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Kresge Foundation, among others. Brian has published policy research briefs with the Institute for Higher Education Policy, The Center for American Progress, Excelencia in Education, the NASPA Research and Policy Institute, and has presented at major policy gatherings and academic conferences. Brian holds a doctorate in higher education administration from The George Washington University. 

Telephone Number: 303.299.3615

lexi anderson Lexi Anderson
Policy Analyst
Lexi Anderson joined ECS as a researcher in February 2014. Prior to joining ECS, Lexi worked as an academic advisor for 3 ½ years with undergraduate and graduate students. Lexi’s role at ECS includes working with Lumina Foundation on the Strategy Labs project, tracking enacted and pending legislation, creating trend reports and preparing legislative summaries. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Loyola University Chicago, her master’s degree in leadership in higher education from the University of St. Thomas and is working on her Ed.D. in higher education at the University of Denver.

Telephone Number: 303.299.3611

mary fulton Mary Fulton
Senior Project Manager/Policy Analyst
Mary Fulton is a policy analyst in the Postsecondary and Workforce Development Institute and focuses on issues related to remedial education, college readiness and completion, governance and accountability, and also serves as a generalist on higher education topics. Previously, she served as a K-12 generalist in the Information Clearinghouse. Mary was a lead staff member for the organization's No Child Left Behind work and arts education project, and was responsible for ECS' e-Clips. Throughout the 1990s, Mary served as the organization's school finance expert.

Telephone Number: 303.299.3679
zeke perez Zeke Perez Jr.
Zeke Perez joined ECS in September 2014 as a researcher in the Postsecondary and Workforce Development Institute. Prior, he was a government affairs fellow for the National Endowment for Financial Education and a government affairs intern at the City and County of Denver. He also served as a legislative aide in the Colorado State Senate for two years. He received his bachelor’s degree in public policy and political science from the University of Denver. He is pursuing a master’s degree in public policy at the University of Denver.

Telephone Number: 303.299.3639

sarah pingel Sarah Pingel
Policy Analyst
Sarah Pingel is a policy analyst in the Postsecondary and Workforce Development Institute at Education Commission of the States. In this role, she supports states by providing analysis tailored to student financial aid and college affordability policies. A data wonk at heart, she also prepares research, authors reports and organizes convenings designed to help policy leaders learn from one another. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder, a master’s degree from Bryn Mawr College and is currently completing her doctoral dissertation at the University of Denver. 

Telephone Number: 303.299.3695

lauren sisneros

Lauren Sisneros
Policy Analyst
Lauren Sisneros joined Education Commission of the States in August 2015 as a policy analyst in the Postsecondary and Workforce Development Institute. Prior, she worked for the Colorado Department of Higher Education’s Colorado Challenge Program and was placed at Metropolitan State University of Denver. In this role, she supervised a staff of college counselors and provided wrap-around services to scholarship students. She also worked for the Colorado General Assembly as a policy analyst and at Adams State College as an academic counselor. She earned a bachelor's degree in Business Management from Colorado State University-Pueblo and completed a master’s degree in Education and Human Resource Studies through Colorado State University in May 2015. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys spending time with her husband and two children exploring the outdoors of Colorado. 

Telephone: 303.299.3629

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