Colorado Economic Recovery and Accountability

Co-Chair Bios

Jeanette Cornier is currently Assistant Commissioner of Education and is responsible for the Colorado Department of Education's Office of Teaching and Learning. Cornier provides leadership for the state's school and district improvement efforts, academic content support and early childhood initiatives. She is involved in the statewide revision and implementation of Colorado's content and teacher preparation standards, and has contributed to the development of a statewide system of accountability and support focused on raising student achievement and closing achievement gaps.


Cornier has been involved in educational leadership for many years as a state level consultant, school administrator, professional developer, teacher and instructional coach.

Nina Lopez serves as director of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) at the Colorado Department of Education. Prior to coming to CDE in May 2009, Lopez served as Vice President of Strategy and Operations for the Colorado Children's Campaign, providing overall organizational oversight as well as direct supervision of the policy team. She has worked in K-12 education policy since 2003, first as director of external affairs for the Colorado League of Charter Schools and more recently as policy director for the Donnell-Kay Foundation. Lopez also co-chaired the education committee for Gov. Bill Ritter's transition team.

Prior to 2003, Lopez practiced corporate law for nine years. Lopez volunteers as Vice President of the Board of Directors for KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy, a Denver charter school. She also has served as the school's board president. She is member of the board of directors for Blue Sky Bridge, a children's advocacy center serving child victims of sexual abuse in Boulder County. She also is a scholarship committee member for the Reisher Scholars Program through the Denver Foundation.

Monte Moses served as superintendent of the Cherry Creek School District for nine years until stepping down at the end of December, 2008. As superintendent, he was voted Colorado Superintendent of the Year in 2004 by his peers. He went on to win the award for National Superintendent of the Year in 2005, sponsored by the American Association of School Administrators.

At the time that the award was presented, Cherry Creek School District was the third largest district in the state, serving 46,000 students. During his tenure as superintendent, the district passed three bond elections and met the challenges of increased state and federal accountability. The district is known as one of the best in the nation for educational excellence, closing the achievement gap and high student performance.


Before serving as superintendent, Moses was deputy superintendent in Cherry Creek for eight years. Prior to that, he was a principal in Littleton Public Schools.


Jo O'Brien is currently the assistant commissioner for the Colorado Department of Education's Unit of Standards and Assessments. With extensive professional experience with national education policy and learning results, she is actively leading a statewide review of the Colorado's 13 academic content areas. The revised standards will be nationally and internationally competitive and include 21st century skills and postsecondary and workforce readiness competencies. Following the standards revision, O'Brien will head the project to update the Colorado Student Assessment Program.


O'Brien is a member of the board of directors with the Colorado Science, Technology, Engineering and Math committee. Prior to joining the Colorado Department of Education, O'Brien was a director of education with the Kentucky Department of Education specializing in learning results. As a vice president of educational affairs with the Chicago Tribune company she worked with districts nationwide on literacy efforts.


Annette Quintana is the chief executive officer of Istonish, an award-winning provider of information technology services and consulting. Based in Denver, Istonish employs more than 400 people in Colorado and other states. Istonish has earned the Family Business Award from the Denver Business Journal, Minority Business of the Year from the Denver Chamber of Commerce and the General Mills Corporate Services Minority Partner of the Year Award, among many others.


Quintana is a dedicated community partner, having served on the board of directors for the State of Colorado Minority Business Office Commission and the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Named Business Woman of the Year by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, as well as Entrepreneur of the Year for the Rocky Mountain Region by Ernst & Young, LLP, Quintana is an active member of both the Denver business and public service communities.


Jesus Salazar is a senior manager with Credera, a technology services and consulting company. Salazar is a certified Microsoft professional and holds a seat on Microsoft's Office 14 Developer Advisory Council. Salazar holds a bachelor's of science degree in math and computer science and a master's of science degree in engineering and technology management, both from the Colorado School of Mines in Golden.


George Sparks has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science since November, 2004. His position demonstrates his stated commitment to science, education and non-profit organizations.


He has worked intensively with Denver Public Schools. His has served as a member of Mayor John Hickenlooper's Early Childhood Education Leadership Team and Gov. Bill Ritter's P-20 Education Coordinating Council. Mayor Hickenlooper's team, created in 2004, is comprised of local business and non-profit leaders dedicated to furthering early childhood education in Denver. Gov. Ritter's council was founded in 2007 with the goals of easing transitions at all levels of education and creating an education system that will prepare students for the 21st century.


Sparks has served on the board a number of Colorado organizations, including University of Colorado at Boulder's President's Leadership Class, Colorado MESA, Colorado Forum, the Public Education and Business Coalition, Colorado Bright Beginnings and the Colorado Advisory Council of the Trust for Public Lands.


Sparks previously worked for Northstone Group, Hewlett-Packard and Agilent Technologies.

Richard Wenning serves as Associate Commissioner at the Colorado Department of Education. He heads the development of public policy and the design and implementation of Colorado's educational accountability system, including the Colorado Growth Model. Prior to joining CDE, Wenning was vice president for quality and accountability at the Colorado League of Charter Schools. Wenning also served as an executive on loan to the superintendent of Denver Public Schools, where he focused on strengthening the district's performance management practices.

Wenning was senior vice president for new school services at New American Schools, where he led a consulting practice focused on new school development and educational accountability systems. Wenning also served as senior policy advisor to the chief executive officer at District of Columbia Public Schools during the school district's takeover by Congress. While at DCPS, he headed its offices of intergovernmental affairs and educational accountability and was responsible for implementation of charter school legislation enacted by Congress.