Emerge Colorado Announces 2023 Educators Bootcamp

  • Jan 23, 2023
  • Emerge Colorado - Press Release

Friday, January 20, 2023
Contact: Lisa Calderón

Emerge Colorado Announces 2023 Educators Bootcamp

Denver, CO (January 20, 2023) – For the first time Emerge Colorado, the state’s premier training organization for Democratic women seeking public office will be conducting a training specifically designed for educators seeking to run for office at every level. To make it accessible for rural women, our training will be based in Denver but offered as a hybrid virtually.

The lineup of 15 candidates listed below were recruited from across Colorado, and were chosen through a competitive selection process. Some of these educators are new to politics, and some are already serving in official capacities. The women from this cohort will be joining a network of over 60 Colorado alumnae in elected and appointed positions, and nearly 5,000 powerful Democratic women across the country. 

“We are clearly seeing our school boards as the new battlegrounds for extreme conservatives to make in-roads since their path to statewide offices have been effectively blocked by the rising tide of Democratic voters and candidates. Through an expanded partnership with educators and unions, Emerge Colorado is ready to step up to the plate. We will equip classroom teachers and education champions with the tools they need to win hotly contested school board races in their communities.”


Emerge boot camps are designed especially for women who want to run for office in the upcoming election cycles. Trainings have been developed to give Democratic women the skills they need to turbocharge their campaigns. Top political strategists and trainers will teach attendees critical elements of campaigning.

The 2023 Educators Bootcamp cohort continues Dr.Calderón’s mission as it reflects the many diverse constituencies across Colorado:

  • 53% are women of color
  • 13% are first-generation Americans
  • 47% are outside of the Denver Metro Area
  • 53% are members of a Union


  • Angelica “Angel” Givler,  Democratic Candidate for Colorado Springs School Board

Angel is a member of the Colorado Springs Education Association, and has extensive experience working with the firefighters union. She is an educator in School District 11 and is running for the school board. 

  • Ashley Girodo, Alma County 

Ashely is an educator with extensive experience developing and connecting with local communities with refugees. She has been a liaison who supports the refugee community with housing, finance, food, transportation, and childcare. 

  • Cherie Garcia-Kuper, Centennial County

Cherie is a business owner and a pro-public education advocate for the past 18 years. She has volunteered in school board meetings, organized protests in support of teachers, and served on her PTA including as chair and president. She is a member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and the Elks Lodge.

Consuelo is a member of the Navajo Nation who was born and raised in the Front Range with strong ties to her grandparents and culture. She’s been deeply involved with the Summit School District for the past 10 years. She values cultural and linguistic diversity. She is actively involved with the School Accountability Committees (SAC), serves as a financial chair for Smart Bellies, has been a Membership Coordinator for Women of the Summit, and is planning on running for the School Board in Silverthorne.

  • Harmony Cummings, Denver County 

Founder of The Green House Connection Center, Harmony focuses on Environmental Justice issues. She works with the environmental community on addressing environmental racism and how it intersects throughout all justice movements. 

  • Jacqueline “Jackie”  Weiss, Lyons County 

Jacqueline believes in providing the best public education to all students and supporting teachers and school employees. She has been an educator for 12 years and has firsthand experience with how policies and school board actions affect learning and school culture.

  • Jennifer Muñoz, Lakewood

Jennifer is currently a student at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. She is enrolled in the social work program and wants to make a positive impact on underrepresented communities. 

  • Jovita Schiffer, Superior 

Jovita is an independent consultant and researcher who works for Boulder Valley School District as the Extended Learning and Community Programs Manager. She is creating programs to support underserved students, and their families, and wellness for teachers of color.

  • Melanie Potyondy, Democratic Candidate for Fort Collins City Council 

Melanie is a working mother, public educator, and mental health professional who works with youth. She supports and advocates for students and families who are struggling due to mental health, economic disparities, disabilities or who do not feel safe at school. 

  • Mirna Yepez-Smith, Lakewood 

Mirna is a bilingual educator in a Title 1 school who understands the effects that growing up in poverty can have on children. Mirna is also a union representative for Jefferson County Education Association. 

  • Queen’Esther Pompee, Denver

Queen’Esther is a college student leader who has a passion for politics and community change. She is studying how to transform systems to serve everyone equitably and plans to run for office after graduation.

Rhiannon Wenning, Lakewood

For 20 years Rhiannon has been a Social Studies teacher and has lifelong experience in the political field. At the age of 16, she represented Colorado at the National Young Leaders Conference in Washington DC and is an active member of her teacher’s union. 

Sierra Cucinelli, Gunnison

Sierra is the co-president of the Gunnison County Education Association. She supports local trail and environmental groups by volunteering or fundraising. She focuses on social and emotional learning through reading and group discussions. 

  • Tiffany Tasker, Aurora

With her Master’s Thesis, ‘Psychopathology of the Insomniac American Nightmare: Whiteness, Gentrification, and the Supposed American Dream in Five PointsTiffany has spent much of her research interviewing public figures regarding gentrification, redlining, and other discriminatory practices in Denver. She is currently studying the impacts of standardized testing in our schools around equity in funding. 

  • Valerie Vigil, Thornton

Valerie has been involved in the Adams County Democratic Party and the Colorado Democratic Party for over forty years. She has been a union representative in three schools and has worked with leadership to ensure that students and their families are treated fairly. 

Emerge Colorado is not only committed to women running for elected office but is also committed to building the infrastructure for them to succeed. “We do a disservice when we do not have the support structure in place for the women we train to run,” said Dr. Calderón. “That is why we are building the infrastructure with partners to support our graduates on the campaign trail and while they serve in office. Women deserve investment at every stage of their leadership.” 

For more information about Emerge Colorado, visit co.emergeamerica.org. 




Emerge Colorado is the state’s premier organization for recruiting and training Democratic women who are interested in running for public office. Emerge Colorado is a state affiliate of Emerge, which was founded in 2005, and has 27 affiliates across the country. In June, Emerge Colorado graduated its tenth class of women from the organization’s intensive training program. Currently, 60 Emerge Colorado alumnae serve in office and 29 alumnae won their primary elections and are on their local ballot this November.