Ken Benson earned his BA in Economics and German from Colorado State University and his Masters in International Business from University of Auckland, New Zealand. Prior to teaching, Ken worked in both the technical and business side of several technology startups, and was President of a small artificial intelligence company in Boulder for 18 months. Ken has taught for 14 years, the last thirteen at Niwot High School. When he started at Niwot, he was offered a one-semester economics survey course to teach. He has since grown the offerings at Niwot to include 2 full-year Advanced Placement classes and 2 International Baccalaureate classes as well. Ken was awarded Niwot’s Educator of the Year in 2008. More recently, he received the Spotlight Award for Excellence in St Vrain Valley School District. He was one of only five educators to receive the award and the only high school teacher to be recognized. Ken sponsors the student-led Niwot High School Economics Club where his students teach elementary kids about the Circular Flow and where they Skype with best-selling author Charles Wheelan every year. Students lead weekly discussions about issues of the day and learn the real world virtues of micro-finance programs in the club. Ken has participated in economic study tours to South Africa and Peru. He has served as mentor teacher for ELC in several of its teacher training workshops. Finally, he was selected as the 2017 Koelbel Enterprising Teacher of the Year by ELC.
Donna Ecks - Doherty High School
Donna Ecks earned her BA from Colorado State University and her MA in curriculum and instruction from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. She is in her 21st year of teaching. Donna started her teaching career at St. Mary’s High School before moving to Doherty High School, where she has been for the last 18 years. In addition to teaching, Donna coached swimming and diving at both schools. Donna collaborates regularly with District 11 teachers on economic curriculum mapping and developing district assessments. Donna was also selected to collaborate on the first cut score development for the Economic Section of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exam. In 2006, she was selected to by the National Council of Economic Education (NCEE) to travel to Washington DC lobby for continuing funding for economic education. She has attended two international economic study tours, one to South Africa and the other Lithuania. In 2007, Donna received the Enterprising Teacher of the year award.
Autumn Githara - Lewis-Palmer Middle School
Autumn Githara earned her Master's Degree in Education from the University of Colorado in 2010, and started teaching at Lewis Palmer Middle School that same year. She graduated with honors and a BA in Anthropology and a minor in mathematics from UCCS in 1998. Autumn has been teaching since 2001, where she started in Colorado Springs School District 11. She is in her 8th year at Lewis Palmer and serves as a team leader, has taught both 7th grade Eastern Hemisphere and 8th grade American History, as well as 7th and 8th grade English. She also coordinates the school's National Geographic Bee competition. She has mentored several teachers through local teacher prep programs. Autumn is especially committed to bringing a hands-on approach to her teaching and is active in pursuing new ideas and methods with her students. During her spare time, she invests in as many professional development offerings as possible.
Kurt Gutschick - Valor Christian School
Kurt Gutschick received his Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Colorado State University. Upon completion of his studies, he worked for the U.S. Senate as a staff assistant to Senator Wayne Allard. Kurt completed his Master’s degree in School Leadership and Administration from Grand Canyon University in 2006. Kurt Gutschick joined the Valor faculty in 2010, where he started the AP Economics program, along with the Valor Society of Economic Studies, which is a student-run club that brings in a variety of different speakers of local, state, and national prominence. He is a member of the Advanced Economics Roundtable, a group of Colorado economics teachers who meet annually to share best practices, resources and ideas. In his spare time Kurt also advises numerous political campaigns at the local, state, and federal level.
Della Hoffman - Place Bridge Academy
Della Hoffman is a 6th grade Newcomer Teacher at Place Bridge Academy, a magnet school for refugees in Denver Public Schools. She works with a class of English Language Learners who have been in the country for two years or less. Prior to her work at Place, she worked for three years at the Delaware Council for Economic Education where she taught programs for teachers and students relating to economic education and personal financial literacy. While in Delaware, she earned a MA in Teaching Economic Education and Entrepreneurship. In her spare time, she is an avid Zumba enthusiast and instructor.
Charles Kastens - Independence Elementary School
Charles Kastens is currently a 4th grade teacher at Independence Elementary in the Cherry Creek School District. He has 19 years of classroom experience in the intermediate grade levels, the past 14 at Independence. Charles has become very engaged in teaching and sharing his knowledge of the PFL standards over the past several years. He has conducted professional development classes at the school and district levels, and has done multiple projects with CDE, including being part of the PFL Standards Revision Committee. Charles is married to his beautiful wife Christine, and has three amazing children
Jeff Kenefsky - Cheyenne Mountain High School
Jeff Kenefsky earned is BA from the University of Oregon and an MAT from Concordia University in Portland, Oregon. He developed the required economics course at Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado Springs where he has been teaching for 16 years. He was named 2017 Cheyenne Mountain High School Teacher of the Year. Jeff sits on the Southern Partnership Council for Economic Literacy Colorado where he helped develop "What Every Teacher and Student Should Know About The Economy", a class specifically aimed at promoting economic literacy. When not discussing the benefits of trade deficits, Jeff enjoys spending time with his family, the occasional stroll up the Manitou Incline, and finding new ways to cook and enjoy sweet potatoes.
Mike Paige - Cheyenne Mountain High School
bio coming soon
Sara Shackett - Lakewood High School
Sara Shackett has been teaching for eighteen years, spending the last fifteen years at Lakewood High School in Jefferson County. During that time, she’s taken twenty-one CCEE classes, has earned a Certificate in Secondary Economic Education through the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and has been honored as CCEE’s 2009 Enterprising Teacher of the Year. To add to those accolades, Sara was named the 2014 National Council for the Social Studies Teacher of the Year, a most prestigious national award with competition from hundreds of teachers across the country.
Sandy Stokely - retired, Denver Public Schools
Sandy Stokely has been a teacher in the Denver Public Schools for 26 years. She has taught grades pre-School through eighth. She has been active in the district as a grant writer, mentor, peer assistant, curriculum writer and professional developer. She serves as a liaison for Whiz Kids, mentoring tutors to support student achievement. She is on the board of CoTESOL, working with other teachers of second language students. She serves as a member of COGEF, enhancing instruction in geography. Sandy has won numerous awards including the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching, Distinguished Teacher of the Year for DPS, Jared Polis Award, Teacher of the Year for KRMA-PBS, Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholarship, National Teacher Trainer Institute Master Teacher and Hispanic and Asian Councils Teacher of the Year. Sandy's dedication and expertise are great assets she shares as a Master Teacher for Economic Literacy Colorado.
Richard Trinkner - Boulder High School
Richard Trinkner earned his BA from Pomona College and an MA from Stanford University. Richard has twenty years of teaching experience in six countries, and has taught at Boulder High School since 2005. While taking a break from teaching, he worked as a technical writer, software engineer, and finally as a business strategy consultant and IT research director at Gartner, Inc. He has served the College Board as an exam reader in Macroeconomics for two years and served the International Baccalaureate for many years as an exam reader in History and Theory of Knowledge. In 2008, Richard received Economic Literacy Colorado’s Enterprising Teacher of the Year Award. He coached state-champion Fed Challenge teams in 2008 and 2009, and led his 2008 team to the national finals, finishing in the top seven of over 1,000 teams. In 2013 his students won the Colorado Stock Market Experience competition and were state champions in the national Council for Economic Education’s Econ Challenge (AP/IB Division), finishing 19th in the nation. He was named the Colorado 2013 Stock Market Experience high-school teacher of the year. Richard lives in Boulder and enjoys cycling, jazz, cooking, bee-keeping, reading, backpacking, climbing fourteeners and home brewing.
Sherri Weber - Chatfield Senior High
Sherry Weber has been teaching economics for thirteen years at Chatfield Senior High in Jefferson County where she has taught for nineteen years. In addition to teaching Economics she also teaches AP Macroeconomics as well as U.S. Government. She has earned her Certificate in Secondary Economic Education from Economic Literacy Colorado as well as traveled to the Republic of South Africa in the summer of 2009 with the Council for Economic Education. In 2012 she was selected as Economic Literacy Colorado's Enterprising Teacher of the Year. When not teaching, Sherry enjoys spending time with her family, running and traveling. (rev. 9/14)
Economic Literacy Colorado is truly grateful to our generous donors