Board of Directors

Highline Academy’s Board is comprised of parent/guardians and community members who share a commitment to policy governance and a specific commitment to Highline’s vision and mission.

To contact the Board, please send us an email.

Full Board Meeting Dates

Full Board Meeting Dates

Board meetings are held the third Monday of each month at 6:15pm, unless otherwise noted, and will alternate between the two schools. Parents and community members are encouraged to attend the monthly meetings. 

  • July 19, 2019 @ The Denver Foundation, 12:00pm
  • August 19, 2019 @ HANE, 6:15pm
  • September 23, 2019 @ TBD, 6:15pm
  • October 14, 2019 @ HASE, 6:15pm
  • November 8, 2019 @ HASE, 8:00am
  • December 6, 2019 @ HANE, 8:00am
  • January 27, 2020 @ HASE, 6:15pm
  • February – Training/Retreat – TBD
  • March 23, 2020 @ HANE, 6:15pm
  • April 20, 2020 @ HASE, 6:15pm
  • May – Training/Retreat – TBD
  • June 8, 2020 @ HANE, 6:15pm

Board of Directors

Brent Baribeau 
President (Parent)

Brent is an Account Supervisor at the Denver office of Saatchi & Saatchi. He is involved in all aspects of marketing for the Denver Toyota Dealers Association, including managing their partnerships with Denver Zoo, Denver Art Museum, The Colorado Rockies, The Denver Nuggets, The Colorado Avalanche and The Colorado Rapids. Brent is a graduate and die-hard fan of The University Of Michigan, where he earned his Business Administration degree with a focus in marketing and advertising. He enjoys playing wheelchair tennis and going on Colorado adventures with his wife and two boys. Brent’s core areas of expertise are in sponsorships, marketing and strategic planning.

Joe Whitfield
Vice President (Parent)

Joseph Whitfield is an attorney, community servant and dedicated family man who brings experience in law and a passion for helping others to the Highline Academy Board. A proud native of California’s Bay Area, Whitfield is a Deputy District Attorney for Colorado’s 18thJudicial District and he currently serves as President of the Sam Cary Bar Association, Colorado’s official black bar organization. A former executive board member for the National Black Prosecutors Association, Whitfield also heads the nominating and legal redress committees for the Aurora Branch of the NAACP. A proud husband and father to two jubilant and charismatic HANE students, Whitfield says his board service is inspired by his passion for Highline’s mission of equity in education, along with a deep-seeded desire to “give back” to the community. He currently serves on Highline’s Reach Up committee.

Eric Neumann
Treasurer (Parent)

Senior Accounting and Finance Executive who has held CFO and SVP positions in both private and public organizations spanning the media, technology and hospitality industries. He has co-led strategic initiatives with operating executives to find untapped value in organizations of all sizes. He has routinely presented accurate and reliable forecasts — as well as corporate strategy — to investors, research analysts, ratings agencies and boards. More recently, Eric was hired as CFO and tasked with the restructure of a company’s debt and equity positions.

Gina Schlieman
Director

Gina comes with expertise in charter school development, governance, and operations as former manager of Colorado’s Charter Schools Program, and many years of experience before that in education policy, in the U.S. and abroad. Gina currently serves as founding consultant for GPS Strategies Group, an education consulting firm specializing in charter schools support and guidance, education systems and school improvement, and education policy/research. Gina holds a B.A in Social Science, with a concentration in Secondary Education, from Biola University, and a M.S. in Social Policy and Planning from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Gina’s “free time” is spent with her three small children, and she enjoys music and travel.

James Coleman
Director (Parent)

James Coleman serves in the Colorado House of Representatives, representing House District 7. He is a native of Denver—having grown up in the Park Hill neighborhood and is currently living in Green Valley Ranch. His professional career has been dedicated to empowering families and engaging the community to improve the quality of life for Colorado residents. He has two children, both attending HANE, James Jr. and Naomi.

Kenny Smith
Director

Kenny brings over 15 years experience working in K-12 education systems across Colorado and nationally. Since moving to Colorado in 2008, his experience includes time at the Colorado Department of Education, Denver Public Schools and the Colorado Charter School Institute. Kenny is currently a Consultant at Education First, a national education strategy consulting firm. Kenny’s areas of expertise include data analysis and strategic and improvement planning.

Drew Kent
Director (Parent)

Drew has been in personnel management for 20 years, specializing in Transportation and Logistics, and has a degree in Computer Technology. He has also worked, and chaired volunteer boards through employers which focused on community involvement, as well as volunteer opportunities to help those in need through organizations such as Denver Rescue Mission, Food Bank of the Rockies, Urban Gardens, and many others. As a board member, he serves as a parent representative from the Northeast Campus, and believes in our mission to provide the highest standard of education to our students, as well as creating respected young members of our communities.

Ben Garey
Director

Ben is the Business Development Director of a large general contracting company dedicated to building exceptional schools, libraries, recreation centers, and similar community-focused projects. Throughout his career in field management, operational management, and corporate development, Ben has developed a deep and wide network across the architecture, engineering, and contracting contractor communities along the Front Range. As a resident of the HANE community, Ben was drawn to serve on the board by Highline’s outstanding reputation and mission. Ben strives for continuous growth in his teams, community, and career, continually inspiring those around him to reach higher. His experience in large-scale capital improvement projects, diverse portfolio of working with and managing teams, and long-term corporate planning brings a strong strategic background and unique outside perspective to Highline Academy.

Brandon Hellwig
Director

Christine Ferris 
Executive Director Highline Academy, Ex Officio

Christine Ferris M.S.ed. is a veteran educator who has worked in public, private, and charter schools since 1989. She founded and led Our Community School, a K-8 charter school in Los Angeles CA from 2005 to 2013. In 2009 the school was recognized as the charter school of the year in CA for their progress toward narrowing the achievement gap. Since moving to Denver in 2013, Ms. Ferris has worked as a consultant for several charter schools both locally and  nationally.  

Sarah Verni-Lau 
Principal Highline Academy Southeast, Ex Officio

Sarah Verni-Lau is the principal at Highline Academy Southeast. She has been with Highline for 11 years; serving the school first as an 8th grade language arts teacher for 7 years and more recently as an instructional coach and assistant principal. Sarah attended Loyola Marymount University where she received her undergraduate degree in English and Secondary Education and recently completed the ALPS cohort program, a joint Education Leadership Masters and Principal Licensure program, through the University of Colorado at Denver. 

Guerin Gray 
Principal Highline Academy Northeast, Ex Officio

Mr. Gray has been the principal of Highline Academy Northeast since June 2017. He earned his principal license and worked as an assistant principal in two DPS schools before joining Highline’s leadership team. Mr. Gray has 16 years of experience as an educator serving in many roles. Mr. Gray started his educational work at the Red Cloud Indian School as a fine arts teacher. He was also a Language Arts, Social Studies and Math teacher at Montclair Academy and a Language Arts teacher at Highline Academy Southeast, after which he went into the principal licensure program. Mr. Gray received his BA in English from the University of Notre Dame and is currently working on his Doctorate of Education from the University of Denver.

Board Policies & Procedures

For more information about Highline Academy Board policies and procedures, or for an application for Board service, click the links below.

Board Minutes

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

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