America Succeeds Team

America Succeeds Team
C. Tim Taylor: Co-founder and President

Tim Taylor is the Co-Founder and President of America Succeeds, bringing a unique background of executive, nonprofit, and public policy experience to the organization. Prior to launching America Succeeds, he served as the founding President of Colorado Succeeds.

Tim began his career on Capitol Hill as a Senior Legislative Assistant to Congressman Saxby Chambliss (GA). After relocating to Colorado in 1998, he served as an independent political consultant, Director of Public Relations and Government Affairs for the Colorado Health Care Association, and founder of Open Fairways—a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk and underprivileged children through the game of golf and its core values of honor, etiquette, and respect.

Tim is a fellow of the 14th class of the Aspen- Pahara Education Fellowship and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. He was named one of Getting Smart’s “60 People Shaping the Future of K-12 Education”, has appeared on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, and served as a critical reader for the upcoming Good to Great and K-12 Education monograph by author Jim Collins.

Tim is a graduate of Randolph-Macon College in Virginia and earned a Master’s degree in International Affairs from The George Washington University. He is an avid outdoorsman and live music junkie. Tim lives in Denver, Colorado, with his wife Clare, son Macon, daughter Ellie and a Boykin Spaniel.

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Lauren Cole: Vice President of Strategy and Operations

Lauren Cole is the Vice President of Strategy and Operations at America Succeeds, responsible for overseeing operational, administrative, programmatic, and accounting systems for the organization.

A graduate of Cornell University, Lauren majored in Development Sociology, minored in both education and business, and graduated with honors. Prior to attending Cornell, she served as a corps member with City Year Boston, where she worked to improve school attendance and literacy and developed a passion for improving outcomes and opportunities for all students.

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Chynna Cowart: Communications Manager

Chynna Cowart is the Communications Manager at America Succeeds, responsible for developing content and implementing communication strategies and tactics to support America Succeeds’ portfolio of work.

She graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Narrative Studies, a multidisciplinary degree that ranged from the study of storytelling and English to communications and media. Here, she also received a minor in Screenwriting.

After graduating, Chynna moved back to Colorado to cultivate and foster her skills as a communicator and marketer. Since then, she has gained ample experience in internal and external communications, content and brand marketing, and public relations by working for tech startups, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and as a freelancer for local businesses.

Outside of work, she enjoys live shows and comedy, being a part of the Denver musical theatre community, filmmaking, and exploring the outdoors with her dog.

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Eric Lerum: Chief Operating Officer

Eric Lerum is the Chief Operating Officer at America Succeeds, responsible for ensuring the organization meets its goals and maximizes its impact as it grows the network of business-led advocacy partners.

Eric brings deep experience in strategic planning, partnership development, and policy analysis, having advised policymakers and state and organizational leaders for over 15 years. Prior to joining America Succeeds, he led the policy efforts at StudentsFirst as the VP of National Policy, building a team of policy and legislative analysts with expertise across a broad agenda, including teacher quality, school choice, and governance reform. Before StudentsFirst, Eric served as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Education for the District of Columbia, where he played a lead role in local school reform efforts, including the mayoral takeover of the school system and D.C.’s successful Race to the Top application. He has also held positions as the Legislative Counsel to the D.C. Council’s education committee and as a Policy Analyst for the D.C. Board of Education.

Eric is a graduate of The Ohio State University and the Washington College of Law at American University, where he developed his passion for public education and youth justice while teaching constitutional literacy to high school students in Washington, D.C.

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Emilee Ramseur: Policy and Programs Analyst

Emilee Ramseur is the Policy and Programs Analyst at America Succeeds, responsible for policy research and analysis, as well as programming and network support.

Emilee started at America Succeeds first as a Policy and Research Fellow and then as a Communications and Development Coordinator, working on a variety of policy issues and developing her interest in strengthening the education system.

Emilee is a graduate of the University of Missouri, where she majored in Political Science and minored in business administration. She is currently working toward her Master’s degree in Public Administration at the University of Colorado-Denver.

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Stephanie Short: Vice President of Partnerships

Stephanie Short is the Vice President of Partnerships at America Succeeds, responsible for supporting the organization’s corporate partnerships, fundraising, network growth, and national communications initiatives.

Stephanie began her career working in a variety of Colorado technology startups and as a small business marketing consultant. She has since gained extensive experience in strategic communications working for nonprofits and membership organizations. Prior to joining America Succeeds, Stephanie served as Director of Marketing for Catch It In Time, a non-profit raising awareness for the early detection of cancer, and as Staff Liaison for Economic Development and Public Policy at South Metro Denver Chamber, where she played a critical role in advancing the organization’s policy priorities, advocating on behalf of the business community, and coordinating events and conferences.

Stephanie is a graduate of Metropolitan State University of Denver, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Marketing. She is in the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce Impact and Influence leadership class of 2020. She also serves on the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Board and as co-chair of Education Pioneers’ Denver Alumni Board. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys volunteering with Reading Partners Colorado, getting outside to enjoy the beautiful Rocky Mountains, and cooking with family and friends.

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America Succeeds Team Values

We mean business.

Work hard. Play hard. Change the world.

Be in service.

Act like an owner.

Be a great problem solver.

Board of Directors

America Succeeds’ Board of Directors is a prominent group of business, civic, and education leaders passionate about improving public education.

Zachary T. Neumeyer: Co-founder & Board Member

Zachary T. Neumeyer is a businessman and civic leader. In business, he serves as the Chairman of Sage Hospitality and Vice Chair of Mobile Accord. He is or has been an investor and board member of companies in the technology, communications, manufacturing, senior housing, banking, and service industries. He works on education reform in Colorado and nationally. Sage Hospitality has invested over $2.5 billion in hospitality assets and manages 75 hotels across America, employing over 7,500 people.

Mr. Neumeyer has focused his civic activities on education reform, working to ensure that every child in America has access to an excellent education to achieve their potential. Mr. Neumeyer is Founding Board Chair of Teach For America Colorado, serves on the TFA National Council, and is Founder and past Board Chair of Colorado Succeeds. He is Co-Founder of America Succeeds, a board member of Colorado Children’s Campaign, and an active supporter of the Charter School Growth Fund. Mr. Neumeyer has served on behalf of numerous state commissions and councils of Colorado Governor’s Hickenlooper, Ritter, and Owens. Mr. Neumeyer has been actively involved in early childhood development as a philanthropist and leader. Mr. Neumeyer was one of the founders of the Denver PreSchool Program, and was recognized by the Colorado Children’s Campaign as one of the 20 most influential Coloradans for Children’s welfare.

Mr. Neumeyer is a past trustee of the University of Denver and has taught at Cornell University, University of Colorado, Harvard University and The University of Denver. He is a graduate of Cornell University, and lives in Colorado with his wife Amy. He and Amy are the proud parents of sons Max and Joseph.

Tony Lewis: Board Chair

Tony Lewis over the last decade has helped push for innovative and high performing schools, introduced healthy food for students and worked to reform the state’s school finance system. Prior to the Donnell-Kay Foundation, he was Director of Capital Planning and Director of Development with the Colorado Outward Bound School, an experience he says shaped his approach to the world. Tony sits on a number of boards and advisory boards, including the governor-appointed Charter School Institute board, the University of Colorado at Denver’s School of Public Affairs, Facing History and Ourselves, dZi Foundation, Get Smart Schools and Venture Prep.

He also has a passion for science and the environment; Tony has served as a Program Specialist for the Environmental Protection Agency in San Francisco, where he was in charge of policy, planning, and implementation of wetland regulations in the Central Valley and northern California. He also earned his B.S. in forest management science from Colorado State University and holds a master’s degree in international studies from the University of Denver.

A Colorado native, Tony lives south of Lyons, Colorado, with his family, honeybees, and chickens. He’s a climber at heart and leads a couple of foreign excursions a year, along with his personal ice, rock, and mountain climbing trips.

Casey Cortese: Executive Board Member

Casey Cortese is an entrepreneurial leader with an extensive background in philanthropy, experiential marketing and event management. As the Managing Director for Charles Schwab Community Services and Charles Schwab Foundation, she champions the firm’s philanthropic efforts, overseeing the day to day operations of the Foundation as well as their deep employee community engagement initiatives.

Prior to this, Ms. Cortese led her own brand engagement firm, The Sweet Spot Agency, LLC, where she helped both businesses and nonprofit organizations create deeper and more effective customer engagement and brand activation strategies.

Earlier Ms. Cortese acted as Vice President of Marketing for Transamerica’s Active Lifestyle unit. In this capacity she developed and implemented integrated marketing plans and strategic partnerships for advancing a new direct to consumer business.

Casey also spent 15 years with Janus Capital Group. As Vice President of Experiential Marketing, Ms. Cortese set the strategic direction for the firm’s national sponsorship and community relations initiatives, as well as client events. In support of the firm’s growth strategies she constructed and activated a diverse portfolio of partnerships with iconic brands such as IRONMAN®, Life Time Fitness, Competitor Group, Warren Miller Films, Jazz Aspen, Cherry Creek Arts Festival, and more. As part of her duties she held the prestigious role as president of The Janus Foundation, guiding the firm’s philanthropic efforts centered on advancing public education.

Throughout her career Casey has worked with a diverse range of community organizations, and currently sits on the national board of directors of Jump$tart Coalition, and the advisory committee for Women for Tri. Her past board involvement includes a mayoral appointment to the Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships, and board roles with B:CIVIC, Colorado Succeeds, Junior Achievement of the Rocky Mountain Region, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado, Colorado Ballet, the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts, Curious Theatre Company, and the Colorado Festivals and Events Association.

Ms. Cortese is responsible for the creation of many award-winning sponsorship and community programs, most notably the Janus Charity Challenge, which raised nearly $55 million for hundreds of charities through the sport of triathlon.

In her free time, Casey is passionate about travel, running and dance. Casey’s biggest personal accomplishment is the Triple 7 Quest, where in 2015 she completed seven half-marathons and one full marathon on seven continents in 11 consecutive days to benefit Girls on the Run of the Rockies.

Jamie Candee: Board Member

Jamie Candee leads Edmentum’s strategic vision and long-term growth as President, CEO, and Board Director. She has served as CEO of Edmentum since 2017, and has extensive experience in education technology, private equity, and policy. Edmentum is a global education leader, delivering research-based digital curriculum, assessments for learning, and quality educational consulting. With over 60 years of experience, Edmentum is both a pioneer in online teaching and learning solutions and is continually committed to making it easier for educators to individualize learning for every student.

As CEO, Jamie is focused on ensuring that Edmentum programs and services empower teachers with the digital curriculum and assessments for learning they need to personalize instruction and create equitable learning opportunities for all students. Her vision is to ensure Edmentum programs are aligned to every teacher’s instructional strategies and demonstrate evidence of growth and learning. Leading with an educator first approach, Jamie ensures that teachers and students are always top-of-mind – from development through implementation of their Edmentum programs.

Jamie lives by the credo of doing well by doing good. In 2018, Jamie founded Edmentum’s We Can Learn foundation. We Can Learn is committed to making a meaningful impact in education through philanthropic giving and service, that supports equitable and innovative learning opportunities. Since its inception, We Can Learn has supported the development of a school in Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Uganda, partnered with multiple local and national organizations, and provided support to over 10,000 children.

Jamie is an active member of her community, providing mentorship, speaking, and leading through a variety of volunteer opportunities and board memberships. Jamie has spoken or been quoted on leadership, education, technology, finance, and professional development in The New York Times, Forbes, Today, ASU+GSV, and AASA. Jamie is on the Board of Trustees for Visitation School, and she sits on the board of directors for Project Success and Learning Tree International. Additionally, Jamie has been recognized by various industry-leading organizations for her leadership including the Minnesota Business Magazine, Ernst & Young, The Software Report, and EdTech Digest. Jamie holds a Master of Business Administration from Bethel University and a Bachelor of Science in political science from the University of Wisconsin.

David Dimmett: Board Member

Dr. David Dimmett currently serves as the Executive Vice President and Chief Impact Officer at Project Lead the Way, where he has been since 2011. In these roles, David focuses on strategies and relationships that drive PLTW opportunities for more students in more communities throughout the U.S. With a focus on equity and access, David and the Impact Team support PLTW’s mission through research, government relations, policy, advancement, and strategic partnerships. David previously led PLTW’s Engagement Team in direct support of schools and school districts in all 50 States.

Prior to joining PLTW, David served as the Chief Academic Officer of the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation in Southwest Indiana. David was instrumental in leading innovation and unprecedented improvements in student achievement. With a focus on increasing opportunities for students, David facilitated the curriculum and instruction for the district, developed strategic partnerships, and implemented several innovative school models including Early College High School and New Tech Institute using the Project Lead The Way Engineering program.

David earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies as well as an MS in Curriculum and Instruction and BA in English from Indiana University. He also earned a Master of Business Operational Excellence from Ohio State University’s Fisher College.

David’s early professional experiences were shaped by work in schools England and Germany. David and his wife, Holly, met as first year teachers. David also served several years as a building administrator. All three of their children have been PLTW students.

Jason Gaulden: Board Member

Jason Gaulden is Chief Executive Officer of Untapped Potential Project—a network of career and technical high schools under development, with its first school opening in Chicago. The mission is to bridge the gap between student skills and employer needs—creating excellent career opportunities for students while solving talent and workforce shortages for businesses.

Prior to this role, he served as Vice President of Partnerships for America Succeeds, where he co-authored The Age of Agility: Education Pathways for the Future of Work, which examines the rapidly changing nature of education-to-workforce pathways.

Jason also founded Gaulden Group LLC, a consulting firm specializing in strategy, communications, and fundraising services. He drew upon more than fifteen years of professional experience in various roles: executive leadership, philanthropy, marketing, fund development, and nonprofit management and governance.

Before his consulting practice, Jason served as Program Officer at Daniels Fund, which followed his role as Senior Fellow at El Pomar Foundation, two of the largest philanthropies in the Rocky Mountain region.

Jason is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology. He also served two terms as Chair of the University’s Alumni Board.

Aimee Guidera: Board Member

Aimee Rogstad Guidera is a strategic consultant helping organizations align their efforts and investments to improve student learning and outcomes. Aimee most recently was the Founder, President and CEO of the Data Quality Campaign (DQC), a national, nonprofit organization leading the effort to empower educators, students, parents, and policymakers with the information they need to make the best decisions to improve student outcomes. Aimee believes that information has the power to transform education to ensure every child in this country is prepared for success in college and career.

A respected thought leader in education, Aimee was named one of ​TIME’s 12 Education Activists of 2012​. She has also been cited as an expert on education policy and the value of education data by publications such as Business Week, NPR, and Education Week. Aimee is a ​Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow​ and an alumna of the Institute for Educational Leadership’s ​Education Policy Fellowship Program​. One of her career highlights has been having DQC named as ​The Washingtonian’s​ ​Best Places to Work​. She serves on the board of directors of the Institute for Educational Leadership, the Policy Innovators in Education Network, Minnesota Comeback, and the Friends of the Hennepin County (Minnesota) Library. Aimee is also the Senior Warden of St. Martin’s by the Lake Episcopal Church.

Before founding DQC, Aimee served as the director of the Washington, DC, office of the National Center for Educational Achievement. She previously served as vice president and chief of staff for the National Alliance of Business (NAB), worked in the education division of the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices, and taught for the Japanese Ministry of Education.

Aimee received her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and earned a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Aimee and her husband, Bill, are the parents of two school-age daughters. She is an active supporter of her daughters’ public school and has served as a classroom volunteer, parent-teacher organization leader, and advisory committee member. Aimee believes that parents, students, and teachers need to be equally strong legs of the stool of academic success.

Gerard Robinson: Board Member

Gerard Robinson is currently a Fellow of Practice at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. He previously served as Commissioner of Education for the State of Florida and Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Virginia. His other leadership roles have included Executive Director of the Center for Advancing Opportunity and Director and President of the Black Alliance for Educational Options. Robinson also was a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He is co-editor of Education for Liberation: The Politics of Promise and Reform Inside and Beyond America’s Prisons (2019) and Education Savings Accounts: The New Frontier in School Choice (2017). In addition, he co-hosts The Learning Curve: National Education Podcast. Robinson has been published or quoted in AEI Ideas, Gallup News, Newsweek, The Hedgehog Review, the Hill, the New York Times, the Washington Examiner, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and US News & World Report. He earned a BA and EdM from Harvard University and an AA from El Camino Community College.