2021 Honorees

Christine DeLeon

Christine, founder and CEO of Moonshot edVentures, a Denver-based nonprofit, believes in creating opportunities that allow leaders to reach their full potential. As Chief Executive Officer of Moonshot edVentures, Christine is responsible for surfacing and supporting a diverse set of leaders, representative of the communities they aim to serve, to design and launch the schools and programs of tomorrow in Metro Denver. Each year, Moonshot’s Fellowship provides fifteen to twenty underrepresented leaders, predominantly women and people of color, the opportunity to explore the idea of launching a school or program by supporting their leadership development, model design, and identifying the best pathway to launch. Moonshot operates the three-phased, part-time Fellowship to identify and develop local leaders, who come from the communities where they want to build their school or program, and ensure these ideas are co-created alongside programs, alongside students and families. Since 2017, Moonshot has worked with 48 Fellows over three cohorts. Christine has also facilitated community building focused on education entrepreneurship, via Startup Weekend EDU and the co-founding of the edGarage, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion, via a volunteer network of Talk To Action.

Christine’s previous experiences have provided her the knowledge and skills to build Moonshot edVentures into the organization it is today. Previously, she founded Education Pioneers’ first year-long fellowship. Her other previous experiences include roles with Summit Learning, Education Cities, Denver Public Schools, the Broad Foundation, and the Boston Consulting Group. She served as a Harvard Innovation Lab Fellow and is a trained facilitator of Intergroup Dialogues, structured to explore social group identity, conflict, community, and social justice. Christine is an inaugural cohort member of the Pahara Next Gen Fellowship, a Pahara Aspen Fellow, a 2019 Education Leaders of Color Boulder Fund recipient, as well as the recipient of the 2019 Sheila Bugdanowitz Award and 2020 A+ Colorado Sharpening Education Award.

Christine holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the University of Michigan and an Education Leadership Doctorate from Harvard University. She enjoys trail running, yoga, time with family, and lives with her husband, Ian, in Edgewater, Colorado.

Gianna Sullivan

Gianna’s career as a science communicator and project manager has a long trajectory of connecting students directly with authentic science and scientists to help youth break down barriers and see themselves in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) careers. Gianna is currently Director of Education with the Mobile Earth + Space Observatory, a mobile science lab that reaches into rural communities to provide deep access to scientists and scientific equipment. Additionally, she coordinates science programming at the University of Colorado, Boulder, engaging low income, minority, girls with science and engineering opportunities that excite and interest them to pursue higher education.
Gianna received the 2016 International Society for Technology in Education IVC Innovation Award demonstrating her significant contributions as a technology leader and collaborator in the world of Interactive Videoconferencing. Over 17 years in the Distance Learning, Educational Technology industry, she founded the Virtual Science Academy at Denver Museum of Nature & Science and led its growth to become a leading international distance-learning provider, winning state and national awards for eight consecutive years.
As part of the MakerBolder leadership team, Gianna coordinates STEAM Fest, the region’s largest Science & Arts festival event; is on the National Space Science & Technology Institute’s Board of Directors, and is a Board Emeritus for the Colorado Distance Learning Association and the Governor’s Office of Information Technology Distance Learning Task Force. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Ithaca College, New York; and a Master’s of Science from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Kathy Gebhardt

Quality public education for each and every student provides the cornerstone for our communities and our future. Advocating for quality educational opportunities has been Kathy’s work for more than two decades. Kathy believes that focusing on improving our schools transcends many of our differences, can unite us in a common goal, and can transform our communities.

Kathy’s work across the state has proven the transformational power of education. To improve the opportunities that our students have, Kathy’s work has focused on the inequities in funding our schools. Her first school finance case, Giardino v. State of Colorado, led to the establishment of the BEST program (Building Excellent Schools Today), which has resulted in a $2.5 billion investment in new and renovated schools across the state, with a focus on rural low-income districts. Many schools now can meet the challenges of providing 21st century education while also providing a reinvigorated center for the community.

Kathy is an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado School of Law, University of Colorado School of Education, and the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. She is a fellow with the National Education Policy Center.

Her service on boards reflects her passion for and commitment to public education. These boards include: the Immediate Past President of the Colorado Association of School Boards; vice president of the Boulder Valley School District Board of Education; Colorado Lawyers Committee board of directors; former Chair of the BEST board of directors (Building Excellent Schools Today); chair -elect of the Rural Trust and Community Schools; and Great Education Colorado board of directors and member elect to the National School Boards Association.

Kathy has received numerous awards for her advocacy on behalf of Colorado’s school children, including most recently the Champion of Education Justice Award from the Education Law Center and the policy maker award from Center for Green Schools and Green Schools National Network. She graduated from the University of Denver College of Law and Lewis and Clark College.

Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education (CAEE)

For the last 30 years, Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education (CAEE) has supported the many kinds of educators who teach concepts we all need to understand: how natural systems work, what we must do to interact responsibly with our environment, and how we can protect natural resources for future generations. CAEE is the largest network of environmental educators in Colorado whose members collectively serve over 800,000 learners each year and it is an affiliate of the North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE).

CAEE inspires educators, schools, and communities to impact conservation, K-12 education, social justice, positive youth development, and health and wellness. Together, CAEE is working to ensure that environmental and outdoor learning opportunities are not just nice to have, but they are a fundamental right of every Coloradan. Outdoor and environmental learning are helping to create the decision makers and environmental problem solvers of today and tomorrow.

CAEE is striving to ensure that everyone has access to high quality learning experiences by driving excellence in the field, offering professional development, celebrating excellence in environmental education through an annual awards program, and facilitating a NAAEE nationally accredited environmental education certification program for educators. CAEE is fostering collaboration by bringing together environmental educators from across the state to share ideas and innovations at two annual conferences. In addition, CAEE has been instrumental in mobilizing support for environmental education by helping pass the first state legislation for environmental and outdoor learning in Colorado in 2010, facilitating implementation of Colorado’s PreK-12 Environmental Education Plan, which was adopted by the State Board of Education in 2012, and working to develop a statewide collective evaluation process to demonstrate the power of environmental education in building healthier environments and communities.

As a nonprofit organization, CAEE is currently advancing through the vision and leadership of Katie Navin, executive director since 2009, governance by an engaged board of directors, and the vitality of numerous volunteer committees. Learn more about CAEE at www.caee.org.