Meghan Klassen, M.Ed., is the Executive Director of the Anchor Center for Blind Children in Denver, a center serving children ages birth to 5 and their families. She earned her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Texas, and her undergraduate degree in journalism and marketing from Creighton University. As a Jesuit Volunteer, she spent one year as the Lead Teacher of a respite program for low-income families of children with disabilities. She then taught bilingual first grade at a Title One school in Austin while earning her teacher certification, and taught for more than five years in the inclusive Rise School preschool model, before becoming its Executive Director in 2011. She remained in that position for more than 8 years before joining the Anchor Center. A Denver native, Meghan is one of seven children. She and her educator husband, Matt, have two daughters. Meghan enjoys reading, running, yoga, traveling, and spending time in the mountains. She is a great advocate of inclusion, and is honored to serve on the CSDB Board.
Jessica Lee, PhD, is the parent of three young children—one of them is a deaf student at CSDB. Dr. Lee owns a consulting firm and does much of her work in DC and overseas. She is also a senior adjunct professor at Gallaudet University teaching anthropology. Dr. Lee was the first hearing person to graduate from the Deaf Studies program at Gallaudet University and won the George Veditz Award for Excellence in Graduate Studies. She’s a Fulbright Scholar and the recipient of funding from the National Science Foundation for her research on Deaf communities in Tanzania. If Jess had free time, she’d be camping with family, attempting to garden, and crocheting things her children will not wear. Jess earned her BA in Philosophy from University of Northern Colorado, an MA in Deaf Studies from Gallaudet University, and a PhD in Anthropology from University of Colorado at Boulder.
Pete Lee served 12 years in the Colorado Legislature, 8 years as the Colorado State Representative for House District 18, in Colorado Springs and 4 years as Senator for SD 11 He chaired the Senate and House Judiciary Committees and served on the Legal Services, Finance, Education Committee, Local Government, Transportation and Energy Committees. During his 12 years in the Legislature, he sponsored close to 200 bills, most receiving bipartisan support.
Pete graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University, attended the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and graduated from Akron, Ohio School of Law. Prior to election to the Colorado legislature, Pete worked for two fortune 500 sized corporations and practiced law, with an emphasis on business and criminal law, in Colorado Springs for 25 years. He has served on numerous local boards including the Pikes Peak Restorative Justice Council, AspenPointe Mental Health, NAACP, Citizens Project and Community Prep School.
Committed to transforming the criminal and juvenile justice systems, Pete sponsored four bills establishing comprehensive restorative justice policies and programs in Colorado’s adult and juvenile criminal justice systems, as well as in prisons and schools. In addition, Pete has sponsored bills to reform the Division of Youth Services, prohibiting the use of solitary confinement, ending incarceration for truancy, and reforming drug sentencing, parole, bail and criminal records expungement. He has also sponsored economic development bills by helping small business obtain access to capital, state contracts, apprenticeships, and job training programs.
He and his wife Lynn, a restorative justice facilitator and trainer, have lived in Colorado Springs for over 40 years where they raised their three children and are active outdoor enthusiasts, hiking and skiing the Colorado Rockies.
Michael Stone is an Entrepreneur/Author/Disability Advocate.
Raised in Chicago, Illinois, Michael moved to Colorado in 1997 for primarily lifestyle changes given a new found love and appreciation for the outdoors. In September of 2003, Michael was diagnosed with a retinal degenerative condition called retinitis pigmentosa that would eventually lead to blindness. As his eyesight continued into blindness, Michael began reducing his time in the Hospitality and Real Estate industry in an effort to embrace his disability.
Since moving to Colorado, Michael discovered his inner athlete and became an endurance athlete specifically as an Ironman triathlete, off-road triathlete, cyclist, runner and now as a nordic ski racer currently racing with the US ParaOlympic Nordic Development Team. Michael has made it a personal priority to advocate for people with disabilities.
Michael sits on the Board of Directors for the Center for People with Disabilities: A center for independent living that services nine counties in the State of Colorado. Additionally, he sits on the Board of Directors for Ignite Adaptive Sports based in Boulder, Colorado. Ignite handles all adaptive snow sports needs at The Eldora Mountain Resort. In addition, he is a National Trustee for the Foundation Fighting Blindness. He has recently agreed to sit on a task force for the Foundation Fighting Blindness committed to supporting greater accessibility for the blindness community.
Michael currently serves on the Colorado State Disability Finance Committee. In 2023 Michael has been appointed to the Board of Trustees for the Colorado School for Deaf and Blind as well as a recent appointment to the newly formed State of Colorado Disability Task Force.
Michael’s passions and hobbies in addition to being physically active include performing and composing music and various artwork specific to painting.
Teresa Raiford is a proud mother of 3 amazing teenagers, to include a son who attends the School for the Blind at CSDB. She serves as a board member for Royal Gorge Artist Association, is a member of the Canon City Noon Lion’s Club, an active volunteer her community, and literacy advocate. Teresa works summer festivals as a face painter and henna artist. She enjoys bicycling with her husband and children.
George is a 27-year Colorado resident with a BA in Secondary Education and an MA in Education Leadership. He's in the midst of a 38-year career in public education serving at all levels from classroom teacher to principal, central office administrator, and even 25 years as a Superintendent of Schools. He is currently a PERA retiree but allocates time to the Colorado Education Initiative as a Senior Partner, the Colorado School Finance Project as a Field Representative, the Canon City School District as Coordinator of Special Projects, and as a board member of Colorado's Capital Construction (BEST) Board.
Ida Wilding, a Deaf American Sign Language (ASL) Senior Instructor at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS) is currently pursuing her doctorate studies in the field of Deaf Education Leadership, Research, and Policies. Ida received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications with a minor in Journalism and her Master of Arts in Sign Language Education degree from Gallaudet University.
Gallaudet University, the world’s sole Liberal Arts University for the Deaf, is where Ida’s Deaf parents and 8 Deaf siblings, who are educators, attended college. It was her parents and siblings who paved the way for Ida to pursue her degrees in education. Ida’s extensive background compromises of employment at five different schools for the Deaf across the U.S. Her work and volunteer experience include being a coordinator for a Deaf-Blind program, case manager for Deaf individuals, curricula developer for Deaf-plus participants at a camp for Deaf youth, a Deaf youth ambassador, and an advocate for Deaf individuals’ rights. To achieve her passion of empowering Deaf children, Ida invests her time and energy towards enhancing Deaf children’s educational journey.
Ida can often be found at various Deaf community events engaged in conversation with community members. She currently resides in Colorado Springs and when time permits, she enjoys outdoor activities and working with her hands