Judy Solano is a retired public elementary school teacher of 27 years and a former Colorado State Representative who served as the Vice Chair of the House Education Committee and as an appointee to the Early Childhood Commission. During her eight-year tenure at the state legislature, Judy spoke out against the harmful effects of high-stakes standardized testing on students, teachers, and schools. She fought for greater access to preschool and kindergarten, and opposed the use of public tax dollars to for-profit charter schools and private education management organizations.
Manuel Solano is civil rights and consumer rights attorney in private practice. He was the former regional director of MALDEF (Mexican-America Legal Defense and Education Fund), former President of the Hispanic Bar Association, and a former professor at Metropolitan State University. Manuel has argued cases in front of Federal Court regarding segregation in the Denver Public School District.
Sue Windels is a retired public school teacher who began her career as Peace Corps volunteer in Central America in an in-service training program for unlicensed teachers. Upon returning to the USA, she worked for the Indian and Migrant Education Center providing individualized instruction to migrant children in local public schools. She also served as a Colorado State Senator, chairing the Senate Education Committee for 4 years of her final term. Sue then joined the staff of Congressman Jared Polis (now Governor of Colorado) as his Education Advocate. Now retired, she remains involved as a strong supporter of our public schools
Michael Merrifield was an award-winning, nationally recognized public school music teacher for 30 years. Upon retirement, he ran for Colorado State House of Representatives, where he served for eight years. For six of those years, he was chairman of the House Education Committee. In 2014, he was elected to the Colorado State Senate, where he served on the Senate Education Committee. Throughout his political career, Michael has been a passionate and strong advocate for PUBLIC education.
Evie Hudak, a former Colorado State Senator, is a well-known advocate for children, public education, and women’s rights, with a long history of active involvement in her community. She served in the State Senate from 2009-2013, during which time she served on several committees and commissions, including Senate Education Committee, where she was the Vice Chair and eventually the Chair. Before serving in the Senate, she spent 8 years as an elected member of the Colorado State Board of Education. Her background includes teaching at the secondary and college levels and coordinating programs in early childhood and voter outreach. Evie is an active member of PTA, Business and Professional Women, and League of Women Voters, as well as a number of other civic organizations.
Sue Marinelli was a public school reading specialist and classroom teacher for 31 years, teaching students from rural, urban, and suburban settings. She taught all different ages including students at a juvenile detention center. As a Jefferson County School Board member, Sue witnessed charter proposals that were corporate, religious, or ethnic based. Teachers were not required to have degrees and were paid far less. In 2010 Sue worked for the Lieutenant Governor championing Early Childhood Programs.
Vice Chair, A4PEP
Jo Ann Fujioka, Ph.D., Vice Chair, is a retired public school administrator with 30 years experience in Pre K-12 administration as School Nurse Supervisor and Special Education and Related Services Manager. She has, also, served as President for Phi Delta Kappa International, an advocacy organization for professional educators and as a Director At Large for the National Parent Teacher Association. Dr. Fujioka in her personal and professional life has been dedicated to the pursuit of equitable educational opportunities for all children regardless of their ethnicity, gender identification or economic status. She believes that every child has the right to a free, appropriate public education. This heart felt belief forms the basis for Dr. Fujioka joining the leadership team of ADVOCATES FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION POLICY to fight for equity in education for all of Colorado’s students.
Edward C. Krug, Ph.D., is a retired research scientist, counselor, Denver Public Schools (DPS) middle school teacher, and creator of an after-school program that achieved a 96 percent high school graduation rate for full program participants. He serves on many youth and education related non-profit organization boards in NW Denver. He has chaired all levels of school and district wide school improvement and accountability committees in the Cherry Creek School District and most recently has chaired the DPS District Accountability Committee for three years. His abiding interest is youth development and education with a research level focus on dyslexia and its counterpart – gifted and talented. Dr. Krug’s involvement in A4PEP is based on concern over destructive societal changes in education such as the rise of an invasive species into the field of public education, specifically, corporate created charter schools which are not accountable to the neighborhoods they break up as they feed on the public tax dollars. Another concern is the promotion of punitive high-stakes testing which does not measure the things that make a youth successful in life while at the same time facilitating the spread of the invasive species.