After nearly six years at Colorado Succeeds, I am departing onto the next adventure with excitement as Common Sense Institute’s new Colorado Executive Director. But, with any transition, it’s important to reflect on the many accomplishments achieved as part of one of Colorado’s most impactful teams.

I came to Colorado at the end of 2016, knowing only a few people. At each informational interview or coffee, I would hear the same thing: Check out Colorado Succeeds, something special is happening there. I was excited to meet the leadership team, was elated they had an opening, took a jump, and I’ve never looked back.

Navigating the Colorado Legislature and securing big wins by working closely with both Democrats and Republicans, Governors, and agency leaders has been a true honor. The ‘purplish’ landscape of Colorado is powerful and opens numerous windows of policy opportunity to push the system for learners. Before coming to Colorado, I had worked in Washington, DC at the federal policy level for over ten years. I had become somewhat skeptical of what was possible. Colorado proved me wrong.

It was such an honor of my career at Colorado Succeeds to have key roles in moving legislation forward with such strong legislators like Senator James Coleman, Rep. Barbara McLachlan, Rep. Julie McCluskie, Rep. Daneya Esgar, Senator Jeff Bridges, Rep. Tim Geitner, Rep. Shannon Bird, Senator Paul Lundeen, and many others. These leaders and many more are ready to find new ways to push the education system and invest in learners and innovative, experiential learning pathways. Thank you for your willingness to listen, to build bipartisan coalitions, and get big things across the finish line for learners.

  • Path4Ward
  • Career Development Incentive Fund
  • College Credit for Work Experience
  • A program freeing school districts and learners from seat time
  • Building a coalition to secure career-connected learning dollars
  • Building a coalition of over 30 business organizations supporting stimulus dollars towards postsecondary and workforce innovations

The wins, the team, the reputation wouldn’t be possible without a strategic visionary as the leader. Scott Laband is a leader that I’m truly honored to have learned from. Through a pandemic, the birth of children, and the loss of loved ones – I will be forever changed by such genuine, authentic, mission-oriented leadership to fundamentally change the public education system for the better. Likewise, for the opportunity to be mentored and supported by such a strong group of business leaders in the CS board of directors. I will be forever grateful. I consider you my friend, mentor, and tireless civic leader. Thank you for dedicating your time to the strategic direction of Colorado Succeeds. With this kind of board, I truly believe the sky is the limit.

To the full team at Colorado Succeeds, your management, communications, fundraising, government affairs, and general operations acumen is unparalleled in the Colorado nonprofit sector. This is the dream team, and I will miss working with you day-to-day.

This is not goodbye, but see you later. At Common Sense Institute Colorado, I look forward to continuing what we started. Let’s continue to focus on the radical middle, to educate policymakers on both sides of the aisle, and to ensure Colorado continues to lead the nation in pushing the limit of what’s possible through policy, and most importantly always focus on the needs of the learner/individual and not the system.

photo of
Kelly Caufield