Ability Connection Colorado, Inc.

When you donate to Ability Connection Colorado, your gift ensures we can continue to support thousands of Coloradans through inclusive education, pathways to employment, and family support programs, allowing individuals with disabilities and other life challenges to thrive.

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Kim-Nichelle Rivera, Lead Coordinator of EMPOWER Colorado
Start Date: 2019

Certified to teach Youth Mental Health First Aid through USA Mental Health First Aid.

Chip Weir, Director of Research, Evaluation and Grants,
Start Date: 2017

Chip Weir, PhD, MPH, is a graduate of the University of South Florida and the University of Utah. He holds graduate degrees in Clinical and Social Psychology and a Masters in Public Health. Dr. Weir has over 15 years of experience conducting research and evaluation activities from both psychological and public health perspectives and has developed a great deal of experience in conducting a wide range of community based research activities across a variety of target populations. Dr. Weir has also served as the lead evaluator for numerous local, state and federally funded projects within governmental, university and non-profit organizations. Dr. Weir works closely with leadership and program staff to identify areas for grant writing and research opportunities to develop and conduct program evaluation activities to support the effective implementation of ACCO programs.

Diana Geisler, Coaching and Professional Learning Director
Start Date: 2012

Diana L. Geisler, Ph.D, Coaching and Professional Learning Director for Creative Options, is a graduate of Texas Woman's University with a Ph.D. in Reading Education and a M.A. in Bilingual Education and of the University of North Texas with a B.A. in Elementary Education. She is a bilingual teacher of young bilinguals, a teacher of teachers, and an emerging researcher and author. Dr. Geisler's research centers on language and literacy acquisition of young bilingual and bi-dialectal children in the United States with an emphasis on Spanish-English bilinguals. She is particularly interested in issues related to the interrelationship between oracy and literacy. Dr. Geisler currently works as an independent consultant and a Director of Integrated Coaching for Creative Options.

Judith I Ham, President and CEO
Start Date: 1993

President and CEO of Ability Connection Colorado
• Responsible for all agency programs
• Celebrating 25 years with ACCO
• Continues to drive transformation of ACCO
• Pioneering efforts that assist individuals with disabilities as they seek employment
• Increased the Early Childhood Education program eight fold
• Strategic vision for Statewide Family Support Programs that serves over 46,000 Coloradans
• Dynamic participation in local, regional and national committees related to Disabilities, Early Childhood Education, Youth and Employment

Dana Neal, VP of Human Resources
Start Date: 2017

Dana Neal, VP of Human Resources, graduated from the University of Phoenix with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and a Certificate in Human Resources Management. She is currently certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources by the Society of Human Resources Management. Mrs. Neal has been with CP of Colorado for 20 years in a variety of capacities and has served as Director since 1997. Under her leadership, CP of Colorado has grown from 50 to 154 employees.

Syed Ahmed, Chief Financial Officer
Start Date:

Syed Ahmed, MBA,CPA
● Joined ACCO as CFO in 1998
● Early accounting career in oil and gas as well as hospitals and healthcare.
● MBA from the University of Central Oklahoma
● Under his fiscal leadership, the organization has grown from an annual budget of 5.6M to over 8M
● Manages accounting staff of 2 FTE's
● Expertise in asset management, cost analysis control, statistical and financial management, decision making and is proficient in managing operational and capital budgets

Jennifer Peitzmeier, VP of Operations
Start Date: 2017

• Joined ACCO in 1997
• Manages facilities, contracting and maintenance
. Oversight of Creative Options Operations Director, who manages Site and other Coordinators
• Responsible for all policies and procedures, accreditation, safety, and documentation, tracking, resolution and follow up for all risk-related occurrences/activities, such as Workmen's Comp, police and fire department calls, emergencies, reports for the Risk Management Committee, etc.
• Serves on the Health Advisory Committee and has administered all Full Day Programs to assure that licensing, quality and HSEHS requirements and performance standards are met
• Serves as the Agency Trainer for Orientation, Confidentiality, Safety, Incident Reporting and Abuse and Neglect
Oversees the management of Creative Options' Family Services, Developmental Services, and Health Services
• Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and Special Education

Sara Solano, Lead Coordinator of the Guardianship Alliance of Colorado
Start Date: 2012

Has extensive knowledge in both guardianship and legal issues.
Coordinates the only such program in Colorado
Previous Experience:
• 8 years as Deputy Registrar/Supervisor for Denver Probate Court
• Paralegal to a high profile Criminal attorney
• Paralegal in Adams County Social Services Department dealing with dependency/neglect and child support cases

Lisa Franklin, Lead Coordinator of Parent to Parent of Colorado,
Start Date: 2013

Lisa Schwartz Franklin, Lead Coordinator for Parent to Parent of Colorado joined Parent to Parent following a 32 year career in special education, where she worked with children ages birth to 21 with special needs and their families. Ms. Franklin has worked as a special education teacher, program coordinator, and administrator. Ms. Franklin has a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary and Special Education, a Master's Degree in Public Administration and certification as an Infant/Toddler Specialist and Director of Special Education. She was one of the first teachers in Colorado to achieve National Board Certification as an Exceptional Needs Specialist. She served on the Colorado Special Education Advisory Committee for 7 years and as a co-chairperson and on the Colorado Interagency Coordinating Council for 3 years. These experiences have been valuable in reinforcing her belief that families and professionals working together can accomplish great things!

Heather Hyatt-Montoya, Lead Coordinator of the Infantile Scoliosis Outreach Program
Start Date: 2005

• Founder and Lead Coordinator of the Infantile Scoliosis Outreach Program (ISOP)
• Advocates for Mehta Casting Method, a noninvasive, curative treatment alternative for progressive infantile scoliosis (PIS)
• Facilitates hands-on training for surgeons, physicians and healthcare professionals in proper application of Mehta Casts
• Supports fund raisers in different states with parents' help
• Advises families regarding treatment options for PIS
• Maintains an educational website accessed by thousands

Jan Davies, Lead Coordinator of the Faith in Action Program
Start Date: 1997

Jan Davies, Lead Coordinator of Faith in Action, has a bachelor's in chemistry/biology; a masters in elementary education; and a doctorate in science/special education from Ball State University, Indiana. She is a parent of two sons with autism and a husband with epilepsy since childhood. She has taught school on all levels, from1st grade, and with colleges and universities. Jan's specialties are teacher training in how to teach science and how to teach students with special needs. She has given presentations during National Science Teacher Association (NSTA) conventions on the national level and received awards for her teaching and has served as the NSTA's President of Science for Students with Disabilities. Jan has worked with the local school district in homeschooling her two sons and training others in how to home school students with special needs and with local Faith Communities in inclusion of students with special needs. Jan helped start the Faith in Action program in 1997 and has helped shape the program to assist seniors and other family members with a disability in accessing their community. She has volunteers from several Faith Communities, who provide transportation to doctor, hospital, and medical appointments, as well as, trips related to all Activities of Daily Living. She has been with Ability Connection Colorado for 18 years.

Chris Jensen, Senior Staff
Start Date: 1998

Chris Jensen is the IT along with related Special ProjectsDirector

Mark McNett, Senior Staff
Start Date: 1986

Mark McNett is the Graphic Arts Director for Ability Connection Colorado.

Judy Trimble, Senior Staff
Start Date: 2001

Judy Trimble is the Special Projects Director for Ability Connection Colorado. Formerly the CEO of the Rose Foundation and of a large OB-GYN Medical practice, current reponsibilities include the following: Writing grants and related reports; Organizing and following up board meetings; Monitoring all public documents before release; Developing and confirming internal reports; Providing a variety of Creative Options and other program support services; Responding to or re-routing all organization website e-mails; Creating/Assisting the President and CEO in meeting a variety of requirements and requests.

Terri Armstrong, Director of Special Events
Start Date:

• Responsible for the planning and execution of special events, including recruitment of event participants, volunteers and sponsors
• Develops corporate sponsor relations
• Manages event budgets and reports
• Maintains all donor stewardship efforts


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Term Length:
4 years
Term Limit:
12 years
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Nonprofit completed the Colorado Nonprofit Association's Excellence in Principles & Practices Recognition Program?



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