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Leadership Team

Among the superintendent's advisors is a team of district leaders relied on to discuss and determine action on critical issues facing the district. Every area of the district is represented in Cabinet.

Cabinet Leadership


Kathleen Askelson

Kathleen has been with Jeffco Public Schools financial services since 1999. Before becoming the Chief Financial Officer in September 2014, she was the Executive Director of Finance. Askelson came to the district from a finance position at a private, nationwide child care company. She is a certified public finance officer and is on the special review executive committee for the Government Finance Officers Association. Askelson was appointed and served two terms on the governor’s Government Accounting Advisory Committee and was a member of the Colorado Department of Education’s Financial Policy and Procedure Committee for 17 years.

The Finance Department provides strategic direction and leadership of the financial services organization within Jeffco Public Schools. Kathleen and her staff are responsible for maintaining a multi-year financial outlook, creating an annual budget and providing financial reporting in accordance with standards and state statutes. She oversees operational functions including accounting, budgeting, purchasing, disbursements, cash management, risk management, payroll and financial planning, analysis, and reporting.

Organizational Chart
Financial Services


David BellDavid was selected as the Chief Human Resources Officer in July 2018. He has held multiple human resources positions within Jeffco, most recently as the Director of Employment Services. David has more than 23 years of experience working in all facets of HR, 11 of those in Jeffco.

The Jeffco Public Schools HR department is responsible for the development and implementation of comprehensive systems, programs, processes, and procedures in the areas of employment, personnel record maintenance and record retention, job classifications and compensation, performance management and evaluation, benefits administration, recruitment onboarding, leave programs, substitute teacher programs, unemployment, and employee assistance programs. David also works with the district’s unions and serves as the lead negotiator with union officials. The department is currently working to implement strategies outlined in the Jeffco Generations Vision, including on-going work to recruit, hire, and retain talented, effective employees in all positions across our school district.

Organizational Chart
Human Resources


Steve BellSteve joined Jeffco Public Schools in May 2010. He previously worked in the investment banking industry. His job responsibilities included the oversight and management for the origination of municipal accounts. Steve is a 50-year resident of Jefferson County, attended Jeffco Public Schools, and is an Arvada High School graduate. He has been active in the Jeffco community, serving on civic organizations including St. Anthony Hospital Foundation, Jeffco Economic Development Corporation, the Arvada Chamber, and the Jefferson Education Foundation, where he served as president for two terms and then as a foundation trustee.

The Chief Operating Officer develops, directs and implements the district’s support services and provides general management of day-to-day operation of service divisions including Athletics & Activities, Food & Nutrition Services, Custodial Services, Environmental Services, Facilities Management, Planning Construction, Security & Emergency Management, and Student Transportation & Fleet Maintenance.

Organizational Chart
Business Operations


Chris EsserChris most recently served as the Deputy General Counsel before being appointed as the interim Chief Legal Counsel in February 2020. Chris first joined Jeffco Public Schools in 2014 and has served in multiple roles providing legal advice and representation in areas of employment, education, and governmental law. 

Originally from the Hawkeye State, Chris moved to Colorado to earn his juris doctorate from Denver University in 2010. Chris and his wife are Jeffco residents and proud parents of two Jeffco students. 

Chief Legal Counsel provides district-wide, general in-house legal support including leadership for compliance with federal, state, and local laws relating to staff, students, and the public. Chris and his team also represent the Board of Education and Superintendent concerning labor relations with employee organizations, employee relations, and the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) program.

Legal Counsel/Employee Relations


Matt FloresMatt has been in this position since May 2016. He previously worked as a classroom teacher and as an elementary, middle, and high school principal. He also worked for four years as the Jeffco Public Schools Executive Director of Curriculum & Instruction.

The Educational Research & Design Department is responsible for all programs that support teaching and learning. His team ensures that resources, tools, and training are readily available for staff to support the district’s vision and strategic plan. All state and district assessments are organized and facilitated through this department, as is early childhood education, Title I, choice programming, and student data privacy.

Organizational Chart
Educational Research/Design


Susan LeachDr. Susan Leach, formerly a Director of Special Education, was named Chief of Student Success as of July 1, 2019. Prior to Jeffco, she was with Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) in Jacksonville, FL for 12 years, the twentieth largest school system in the U.S. Her most recent position at DCPS was as Director of Exceptional Education and Student Services where she led a team of over 300 professionals who ensured that the approximately 20,000 students with disabilities in the district received the supports and services necessary to find success in the public school system. Dr. Leach is a licensed and certified school psychologist and previously served as the Supervisor of Psychological and Social Work Services, as well as a regional Special Education Supervisor and school psychologist. Her research interests are related to issues impacting public school students, particularly those marginalized by race and socioeconomic status 

The Chief Student Success Officer position is responsible for developing, directing and rolling out systems and programs to serve students and families who require educational, physical, and emotional support beyond standard programming. Susan provides leadership and management for the following departments: special education, gifted and talented, health services, homebound instruction, student services, healthy schools, and student engagement.

Organizational Chart
Student Success


Tom McDermottTom served as the Special Assistant to the Superintendent during a 10-month residency program through Harvard University’s Doctor of Education Leadership program in 2017-18. Tom earned his doctorate in Education Leadership from Harvard University in May 2018.

Originally, from Long Island, New York, Tom taught and led in traditional public and charter schools in Phoenix, Arizona and Brooklyn, New York. Tom later joined the Achievement Network as the Director of School Support in Boston.

He began as the Chief Strategy Officer on July 1, 2018, and oversees the Jeffco Generations Strategic Plan and the Superintendent’s strategic initiatives, including the Jeffco Innovation Acceleration Fund, Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, and a variety of Task Forces.

Strategic Plan


Brett MillerBrett started with Jeffco Public Schools in September 1988 and became Chief Technology Officer in 2007, then Chief Information Officer in 2014. Miller is a long-time Jeffco resident and a product of Jeffco schools. He worked in technology for a data processing firm in the oil industry before joining the district.

The Information Technology (IT) department and serves as the technology leader and innovator for Jeffco Public Schools, overseeing the district’s technology-related strategies and initiatives. Plans for the organization’s technology needs and addresses any tech-related problems.

Organizational Chart
Information Technology


Helen NealHelen has worked with five superintendents and many board members of Jeffco Public Schools since her hire in 1998. Prior to coming to Jeffco, she worked at executive levels of state and municipal government and fundraised for local non-profits. She was Public Information Officer for the City of Aurora city manager, mayor, and council, opened and managed the Access Aurora Office. Helen has worked for the Colorado Lt. Governor’s Office and Department of Local Affairs on special projects, the Economic Development Commission and the Colorado Film Commission. She and her spouse have two children who are Jeffco graduates.

The Chief of Staff manages actions and decisions impacting the Board of Education, Superintendent, and Cabinet, and advises and counsels district leadership to help the district provide clear, complete and accurate communication to external and internal audiences. Helen coordinates the Superintendent’s schedule, all content on Board and Superintendent webpages and in Board Docs — the platform for sharing public meeting documents. She also manages the board’s meetings, schedule, and agendas while serving as main staff support during their meetings.

Organizational Chart
Board of Education/Superintendent


Renee NicothodesOver the course of her 26-year career in education, Renee has served as elementary director of curriculum and instruction, principal supervisor, principal, instructional coach, and classroom teacher. Renee holds a Master of Arts in Education and a reading specialist credential from San Diego State University. Renee has a passion for working with at-risk student populations and advocating for equity and excellence in educational systems.

Renee oversees district elementary schools through achievement directors to increase student achievement, ensure quality school leadership, improve school effectiveness, inspire innovation and monitor safety. She partners with the chief academic officer and chief student success officer to oversee the rollout of all district targets, priorities, and strategies for Jeffco schools.

Organizational Chart
School Leadership


Tammy SchiffTammy joined Jeffco Public Schools in 2018 after serving as Chief Communications Officer at Eagle County Schools for nearly four years. Prior to her time with Eagle County Schools, Tammy spent over 30 years in domestic and international marketing, business strategy, communications, and field operations. She also worked in consulting and interim executive roles with numerous start-up technology ventures, higher education systems, and non-profits. Tammy is currently a board member with West Metro Chamber of Commerce, has served as president of the Colorado School Public Relations Association (COSPRA) and on various non-profit boards over her career. Tammy holds an MBA from Emory University, and received her BA from Tulane University.

The Chief Communications Officer provides leadership and strategic direction for all communications and community relations initiatives within Jeffco Public Schools. Tammy and her team are responsible for the development and delivery of internal and external communications including branding, publications, media relations, new media, video programming, and crisis communications, as well as coordinating family engagement programs, community outreach, and serving as district spokespersons to the media.

Organizational Chart
Communications Services


Kristopher SchuhKristopher has worked in education for 27 years.  He attended universities in Minnesota, Spain, and Colorado and earned degrees in U.S History, Spanish, Educational Counseling and Educational Administration.  He began his professional career in Wisconsin as a middle school teacher and moved to Colorado to teach and coach at J.K. Mullen High School.  During his 19 years in Jeffco, he has worked as a baseball and football coach, school counselor, induction coordinator, assistant principal, principal, and community superintendent.  His family is all Jeffco, as his wife is an elementary teacher and their daughters attend neighborhood schools.

Kristopher oversees all district middle, senior high, alternative and option schools through community superintendents to increase student achievement, ensure quality school leadership, improve school effectiveness, inspire innovation, develop healthy school culture, budget strategically and maintain a safe school environment.

Organizational Chart
School Leadership

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