Melissa Graza Educational Coordinator/Instructor - Austin, TX
I’m Melissa Garza and I serve the Austin, Texas area as an Education Coordinator and Instructor. I am from the Rio Grande Valley and have roots in Nuevo Leon, Mexico where I frequently crossed the border growing up to juggle family commitments and school. After high school, I earned my Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) where I was fortunate to have a research mentor that saw potential in me when I often didn’t. Upon inspiration from my mentors and research projects, I continued to graduate school and earned my Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies at Texas State University with coursework concentrated in literacy development and self-authorship among first generation students.
Soon after, I earned my Master of Business Administration in International Business at UTRGV where I examined the social responsibility of Hispanic Serving Institutions. Today, I am pursuing my PhD in Developmental Education with a focus on comprehensive transition student support for bilingual/multilingual learners and education policy. Throughout my academic career, I have had the pleasure of leading positive change in equity through advising, teaching, and research in PK-20. My professional identity is rooted in my personal experience being a first generation student from a border town in South Texas with parents who immigrated to the U.S. to open doors in my future. I look forward to continuing mentoring and learning alongside SCD Enrichment Program students to help them open doors in their future too.
Stephaun "Mack" Gaddis Educational Coordinator/Instructor - Denver, CO
Hello my name is Stephaun "Mack" Gaddis and I serve as the Educational Instructor for SCD Enrichment Program. I am a Denver native and DPS Alumni. I attended both East High School and Colorado State University. At CSU I was fortunate enough to join the illustrious Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and currently support our Young Men of Alpha mentoring program. I've worked in many positions in DPS since graduation, including a Restorative Practices Coordinator at East High School and the Black Excellence Educational Counselor for North High School. Growing up I always was blessed to have mentors who made sure I believed in myself and had the resources to excel. That is why my philosophy became to always give back to my community the same way it did for me.
Shalelia is a Denver native and Daniels Fund Scholar who graduated from South High School in 2003. She received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor of Spanish from Hampton University. While completing her last year of college, she worked for Upward Bound and realized that she would be fulfilled by teaching. She received her alternative teacher certification in Special Education in Austin, Texas. From there, Shalelia taught high school math, preschool, sixth and eighth grade science, and private school. While attending Hampton her sophomore year, she envisioned a program to enrich students with their culture while improving their academia. From this concept, the St. Clair Drake Enrichment Program was born.
As a teacher for eleven years, her number one focus was to significantly impact her students by sharing her real-life circumstances while instilling pride and confidence. Since she was in high school, her priority has been to give back to the community. From volunteering for the homeless to coaching a community cheerleading team, her focus has been on making her community a better place. She is an alumnus of the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado. She is also in the process of receiving a Masters in School Counseling at Seton Hall University.
When Shalelia is not trying to make a difference in her community, she dedicates her time to her husband Joe and two boys, Jojo (12) and Elias (4). She is an artist who paints and quills and loves singing and listening to music. Shalelia was influenced by her past, experiences, professional experiences, and love for education and culture!
Christian Alexander Steward is a native of Denver Colorado. He attended Denver public schools. After performing poorly he decided to get his GED and attend college. He eventually received a Bachelors of Science in biology from the University of Colorado-Denver.
He has experienced most of his professional life through the lenses of community advocacy, entrepreneurship, and leadership. Some of these accomplishments include Americorps member, mentor, certified personal trainer, certified professional inspector, the Dr. king Jr 2018 Marade Commander.
Although Christian has these achievements it is not what he does that defines him, but why he does it. Christian is dedicated to building intentional relationships and promoting the idea of adversity being a catalyst of empowerment.
He is currently participating in the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado where the mission is to continuously improve the professional and social trajectory of minority leaders through effective leadership development.
Some of his favorite quotes include:
"Trust, but verify." - Ronald Regan
"An active person is an attractive person." - Unknown
"Be kind to your neighbor, but do not limit your kindness to your neighborhood." - CAS
Christina Studied Social Justice & Ethics; Peace Studies; Peace-Building; Conflict Resolution at Iliff School of Theology. She also studied Africana studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Christina possesses a passionate interest and commitment to advancing an intersectional analysis and understanding of the ways that race, gender, and class intersect. As a woman of color, she maintains that intersectionality is an endeavor to make anti-racist, anti-sexist, and anti-discrimination law perform rightfully. Christina in her spare time enjoys yoga.
Ashlee Wedgeworth is a manager at Mile High Behavioral Healthcare. She received a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Colorado at Denver in 2007 and her master’s degree in social work from the University of Denver in 2010. Ashlee specializes in substance use assessment and treatment and is currently a licensed addictions counselor (LAC) with the state of Colorado and recognized nationally as a master addictions counselor (MAC). She is also pursuing a license in clinical social work (LCSW). She has been in the behavioral health field since 2008 working with, advocating for and supporting individuals who struggle with mental health and substance use disorders.
Ashlee has worked in many levels of care, including residential treatment, outpatient treatment, case management and withdrawal management services with various populations such as adolescents, adults, and women and children. Almost half of her experience in the field has been in management roles and overseeing clinicians who provide direct care services to clients.
Ashlee has been a member of Urban League Young Professionals since 2018. The Urban League believes in community, service, economic empowerment and uplifting the next generation. Ashlee currently serves the Board of Directors as treasurer. She has extensive experience in management and overseeing company budget and program financials and brings this expertise to her role on the board.
Ashlee serves on the board for St. Clair Drake Enrichment Program, a nonprofit that provides mentoring support for students of color in advanced placement coursework. Through the St. Clair Drake Enrichment Program, Ashlee founded the Enrichment Scholarship Fund which will provide support, mentorship and small scholarships to students of color seeking higher education. Ashlee previously served as a board member for the Trauma and Resilience Center (formally the Denver Center for Crime Victims) from 2013 to 2014.
Ashlee is a 2018 fellow of the Urban Leadership Foundation, a program designed to help participants become more effective, well-rounded, influential leaders in the areas of business, politics and community leadership. She is a 2019 fellow of Impact Denver through the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation. She is also a 2019 fellow of the Chinook Fund Giving Project, a program that brings together individuals who are passionate about social change and want to strengthen their skills in fundraising, grant making, and community building.
Ashlee has 4 children and is committed to shaping and inspiring them to be leaders in their community. Her proudest moments are giving back to the very community that she grew up in, alongside her children. In May 2018 she completed the Colorado Family Leadership Training Institute with her children. Ashlee is actively involved in the schools that her children attend and helped to organize and form student council at her oldest daughter’s middle school. She currently serves as parent chair.
Ashlee is passionate about community, service and making an impact. She often supports her community by organizing and participating in collection drives, fundraisers and various service projects that will serve those who may be economically disadvantaged.