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.
Vice Chair, A4PEP
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Eliza Hamrick is a retired Colorado high school history and government teacher of 33 years and a public education activist. She has received numerous teaching honors, including being named an instructor and Fellow for the Library of Congress, Colorado Never Be Forgotten Teacher of the Year, and the D.A.R. Colorado Teacher of the Year. Inspired by her mother, Eliza Carney, she has been a fierce advocate for public school students and teachers, earning her both the John Chase Award for political action, by the CEA; and the Adlai Stevenson Lifetime Achievement Award of the Arapahoe Democratic Party. Her advocacy led her to Estonia, representing the Deliberating in a Democracy program, where she worked with ethnic Russian and Estonian teachers and students. She has consulted and worked with a variety of civic education groups including: Social Studies Education Consortium, Colorado Digitization Project, Rocky Mountain PBS, and Center for Education, Law and Democracy. Most recently, she was a founding member of Teachers United for Immigrant Rights and is a national reader for the College Board.