Celeste Thurman Archer, Executive Director

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Celeste is a constant on the education reform scene. She founded and was volunteer director of Women for Education. In Governor John Hickenlooper's first term as mayor of Denver, he appointed Celeste to the Early Childhood Education Commission.

During a brief stint in Little Rock, Arkansas, Celeste taught at Historic Little Rock Central High School where she was appointed Teacher-Ranger-Teacher by The National Park Service Foundation, serving at The Little Rock Central National Historic Site. She was named by The Clinton Foundation as a Presidential Timeline National Archives Scholar for 2012.

Upon returning to Denver, Celeste founded the Colorado Student Leaders Institute, an affiliate of the National Conference of Governor's Schools. In 2014, Celeste was named a Director for CU Denver National History Day.

Prior to education, Celeste enjoyed a successful career in the fundraising & event planning business. She is married to Shawn Archer. They have a son who is a budding activist and athlete. Celeste received a B.A. in History from Principia College and a M.A. in Secondary Education, specializing in urban students, from The University of Texas.

Kayla Gabehart, Associate Director 

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Kayla is a Colorado Native and grew up on the Eastern Plains. She earned BA degrees in psychology and history, as well as an MA in environmental and economic history from the University of Colorado Denver. She has been with COSLI since its inaugural summer institute.

Kayla is also the Associate Director of National History Day in Colorado, an organization she began volunteering for her freshmen year of college. National History Day sparked her passion for education through non-profit outreach, and she has been working in the field ever since. She believes that the best way to empower young people is to equip them with skills, knowledge, and resources to succeed not just in college, but in the post-secondary world. 

In her free time, Kayla enjoys reading, acrylic painting, hiking, yoga, and spending time with her fiancé and puppy.

Current Boards and Governance

Executive Board:

Brian Yates, Chair.  ED, Harrison School District.

Carl Einhaus.  Colorado Department of Higher Education.   

Oscar Felix. Executive Director of Access Center, Colorado State University.   

Stephanie Flynn James, PhD, MBA. Regis University.      

Brian Hill. Asst. Superintendent, Mesa County Valley SD-51                         

Jennifer Hufman.  Dolores Public Schools.

Marina Kokotovic.  Colorado Department of Education.

Elizabeth Palmquist. EAMP Consulting.

Paul Teske, PhD.  University of Colorado Denver.

Skip Thurman. Communications Consultant.

Michelle Tucker. Rampart High School, Colorado Springs.



George Sparks, Chairperson, Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Susan Kiely, Founding Chairperson, Women With a Cause.

Eric Anderson, SE2.

General John J. Barry, Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum.

Diane Carlson-Robinson, SMART Colorado.

Chrissy Faraci, Faraci Government Relations.

Stephanie Flynn-James, MBA, PhD, Regis University.

Honorable Heidi Ganahl, University of Colorado Regent.

Representative Chris Hansen, Colorado State Representative, Denver.

Jason Hanson, History Colorado Center.

Matt Kaspari, Principal, Kaspo Inc.  

Honorable Jack Kroll, University of Colorado Regent.

Pamela Jansma, PhD, University of Colorado Denver.

Rich Martinez, Young Americans Bank.

Susan Miller, Jefferson County Association for Gifted Children.

Nora Neureiter, Zoeller Consulting.

Elizabeth Palmquist, EAMP Consulting.

Honorable Theresa Pena, Denver Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services.

Luke Ragland, ReadyCo.

Honorable Anne Rowe, Denver Public Schools Board of Education, President.

Darren Spreeuw, PhD, Ratio Wealth Group.

Paul Teske, PhD, University of Colorado Denver.

Skip Thurman, Communications Consultant.

Senator Nancy Todd, Colorado State Senator, Aurora.

John Valdez, Tava-Wu-Cuttum.

Elizabeth Whitehead, Children's Hospital Colorado.

Representative Jim Wilson, Colorado State Representative, Salida.

Brian Yates, ED, Harrison School District.