Our Board

Board Role and Purpose

The City and County of Denver worked with community partners to create a nonprofit organization, the Denver College Success Corporation, to provide oversight of the Denver College Affordability program.

 

The Denver College Success Corporation is a 501(c)3 organization that will receive and allocate funds, which will be used to reimburse various nonprofit organizations that provide tuition grants and support services to students. The corporation will determine annual award amounts, reimbursement protocols, as well as organization and student eligibility requirements.

 

PLEASE NOTE: The Denver College Affordability Fund provides tuition grants directly to eligible nonprofit organizations, not directly to students

Meet the team

Akasha Absher

April 2019 - May 2020

Akasha Absher is the Chief Consulting Officer for Syntrinsic Investment Counsel, a national investment consulting firm exclusively focused on nonprofit organizations and philanthropic private clients. Akasha leads the firm’s efforts to create enduring strategic partnerships with clients and craft best in class stewardship platforms. 

She also is the Principal for Syntrinsic Social Capital, which provides impact strategy engagement, investment manager selection, deal advisory services, and acts as a connector, educator, convener, facilitator, and contributor to the broader ecosystem.

Akasha’s background includes investment consulting, investment banking, fixed income trading, risk management and nonprofit leadership, which gives her a unique blend of expertise and experience to work with clients to invest all resources with mission and business strategy. Prior to joining Syntrinsic, she spent many years as a portfolio manager and research analyst at Lucidus Capital Partners and Caxton Associates. Prior to that, she was VP and senior publishing analyst at JP Morgan.

Akasha earned her BA in Finance from Clark Atlanta University and her MBA from the Ross Business School at the University of Michigan. In 2017 and 2018, Akasha was awarded DBJ’s Who’s Who in Impact Investing in the Rocky Mountain Region.

Akasha currently is serving as a Board Member of The Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, the Denver College Success Corporation, the Colorado Charter Facility Solutions, and is a Board of Advisors Member of Colorado Succeeds.

Angela Cobián

April 2019 - May 2022

Angela Cobián is a first-generation Mexican-American from southwest Denver. Cobián was elected in November 2017 to represent her community of District 2 as the youngest ever board member on the Denver Board of Education. The first in her family to graduate from college, Angela Cobián graduated with a Bachelors in Political Science and a Minor in Spanish in 2011 from Colorado College. Angela then taught 2nd and 3rd grade Literacy for English Language Acquisition-Spanish students in Denver Public Schools. Cobián concurrently earned a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado-Denver. In 2013, Cobián was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to consult with the NGO Ensena por Mexico on program development for student-led social change initiatives, as well as teach English at the National Pedagogical University in Mexico City. Upon returning from Mexico, Cobián began her career as a community organizer. As a Bilingual Community Organizer with Together Colorado, she co-led school and congregation-based organizing with parents and parishioners, working on immigration and education issues. Angela continues her work in collective action as a Director of Organizing Strategy with Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE). In recognition of her work in the community, Cobián was awarded the Denver Foundation’s Swanee Hunt Emerging Leader Award in 2017.

In her volunteer time, Angela is a member of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), a board member of the Colorado Youth Congress, member of The Colorado College Alumni and Students of Color Association, and a Denver College Success Corporation board member. Outside of work and volunteering, Cobián enjoys reading, politics, history, listening to jazz and cumbia-punk music, and is a frequent visitor at the Denver Art Museum.

Mark Goodman

April 2019 - May 2021

Mark Goodman is a results-driven executive with experience in global brand development, building and rebuilding brand operations within consumer-driven retail, food and financial service industries. He has held significant leadership positions, including key roles at Fortune 1 and 50 companies: Walmart/Sam’s Club (EVP, Chief Marketing Officer) and McDonald’s (Corp. VP, U.S. Brand & Strategy).

Over the last decade, Mr. Goodman has been an active investor, operator and adviser to mid-cap companies in the consumer, product and service sectors.  Mr. Goodman currently serves as Chairman and CEO of the Colorado Nut Holding Company.  In addition, he serves as the Global Chief Marketing Advisor for Vistage Worldwide, Inc. the world’s largest CEO membership organization.

Mr. Goodman was appointed to the board of directors for Pinnacol Assurance Insurance and was unanimously confirmed by the Colorado State Senate in 2015.  In addition, Mr. Goodman serves as a board director for Bellco Credit Union. Most recently, Mr. Goodman was appointed to the board of directors for the Denver College Success Corporation.  Previously, Mr. Goodman has served on boards of the Denver Scholarship Foundation, Downtown Denver Economic Committee and the University of Denver sub-committee for athletic affairs.

Mr. Goodman is passionate about the role of higher education in helping people from all walks of life become successful in their chosen field of interest. Mr. Goodman has been active in supporting educational institutions on a national basis over the last several years.  Currently, he serves on the board of trustees at Xavier University of Louisiana where he chairs the Development Committee and Tufts University.  He has served on the board of directors for St. Louis University School of Business, St. Louis, Missouri, Livingstone College Salisbury, North Carolina, History Makers, Chicago, Illinois, Eton Academy, Birmingham, Michigan, Cal State Dominquez Hills School of Business.  

He holds a master's degrees in philosophy and logic from Tufts University and a bachelor’s degree from the College of Wooster.  Mr. Goodman also is the recipient of an honorary doctorate degree from Livingstone College. Mr. Goodman and his family reside in Denver, Colorado. 

Chris Herndon

April 2019 - May 2022

Councilman Chris Herndon represents District 8 on the Denver City Council. His district includes Park Hill, Stapleton and portions of Montbello and East Colfax.

Chris graduated from The United States Military Academy at West Point and served nearly seven years in the U.S. Army, including deployments to Kosovo and Iraq. He transitioned to management roles in the private sector before running for office to serve the people of Northeast Denver.

Chris holds a master’s degree in management from Webster University, a Master of Public Administration from the University of Colorado Denver and a certificate in executive leadership from Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government. He was recognized as one of the Denver Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, named Rookie of the Year by 5280 Magazine and honored as one of Denver Urban Spectrum’s African Americans Who Make a Difference. He is the founder of Northeast Denver Leadership Week and serves on a number of community boards.

Chris and his wife Genia live in Stapleton with their daughter and son.

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John Kechriotis

April 2019 - May 2020

John Kechriotis most recently served as general counsel and manager for Zoma Holdings, LLC, a family business office in Denver, Colorado from August 2013 – January 2018.  In this capacity, John led all aspects of managing real property, investment, legal diligence, political activities, aviation assets, and management of personnel.

 

John Kechriotis served as General Counsel for the Denver Public Schools from November 2006 through July 2013 as part of the initial school district reform efforts under Michael Bennet.  As General Counsel, John was the chief legal officer of the Denver Public Schools, and legal counsel to the Board of Education and Superintendent (serving in the Michael F. Bennet, and Thomas Boasberg administrations).

 

Prior to serving as Denver Public Schools General Counsel, John was a partner at the law firm of Kennedy, Childs & Fogg, P.C where he practiced civil litigation with a focus on professional malpractice and commercial litigation defense (2000-2006).  Prior to private practice, John was an Assistant State Attorney prosecuting criminal matters (1995–2000).   Mr. Kechriotis graduated from the University of Illinois in 1990 and the University of Denver, College of Law in 1994. 

 

John served as a Board Trustee to the Denver Public Schools Retirement System (DPSRS) from 2008-2009 and successfully transitioned the merger of DPSRS into the Colorado Public Employees Retirement System (Colorado PERA) in 2010.  John has engaged in a variety of public service activities, including service on advisory committees and boards throughout his career, including past positions on the Board of Governors of the Colorado Bar Association, Co-Chairman of Denver Bar Association Education Committee, Board of Trustees for the Denver Children’s Advocacy Center, Board of Trustees for the Graland Country Day School, and Board of Trustees for Compass Academy Charter School.

 

John resides in Denver, Colorado with his wife, Maureen, and two children, Alex (16) and Kate (13).

Stephen Kurtz

April 2019 - May 2022

Kurtz currently serves as Chairman & CEO of MuscleSound, Inc. MuscleSound uses non-invasive ultrasound and software to measure MuscleHealth. As a CPA, he has spent most of his career in accounting and finance, specializing in negotiation, structuring and tax planning for mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and leveraged buyouts. He was president of Shenkin Kurtz Baker & Co. from 1978-2001 and sold the company to CBIZ, Inc.In addition to his work at MuscleSound®, Kurtz is the managing member of Kurtz Financial, LLC - a private equity firm that specializes in merger and acquisition advisory services, restructuring and turnarounds. He is currently a member or has served on various local and national boards, including Wells Fargo Bank Community Board, CIBER, Inc., Pembrook Mining Corp., HealthOne and LaSalle Exploration Corp. Additionally, Kurtz was one of the original partners in the Colorado Rockies Baseball Club, where he helped form the team when the club initially came to Denver in 1991. He has served on many charitable boards including Denver Scholarship Foundation, Chair of Rose Medical Center and first Chair of Rose Community Foundation.  Kurtz is a native Denverite and attended George Washington HS and received his BSBA from Babson College in Wellesley Park, Mass.

Theresa Peña

April 2019 - May 2021

Theresa Peña has an extensive career in the public and private sector.  She is currently working for Denver Public Schools as regional coordinator of outreach and engagement for the Food and Nutrition Services team. Prior to joining DPS Theresa worked with Hunger Free Colorado, the Colorado Children’s Campaign and the City of Denver.  Theresa was elected to the Denver Public School Board of Education as an at-large representative in November 2003 and was reelected in November 2007 for a second four-year term.  Before serving on the DPS Board Theresa worked for IBM and US WEST where she had a successful career in marketing, human resources, operations and finance.

Theresa is a Denver native.  She is a graduate of Pomona College where she received a BA in sociology and Cornell University where she received her MBA with a concentration in finance and marketing.  Theresa has two children, both graduates of Denver Public Schools, and her husband is a veterinary ophthalmologist.   She is a former board member of the Denver Scholarship Foundation, the Public Education Business Coalition, the Denver Preschool Program, the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado, the Mayor’s Latino Advisory Council, the Colorado Community College System and currently serves on the board of A+ Colorado.