YESS Institute Board Members

Anne-Marie Braga

Anne-Marie Braga has worked at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for over a decade to improve the health and well-being of children, youth and families across the state. Currently, she oversees a variety of initiatives aimed to improve programs, practices and policies related to maternal wellness; early childhood; youth and young adults; community engagement; and health equity. In her previous life, she dedicated over 10 years as a case manager in rural Arkansas; provided counseling and service learning activities to inner-city youth in New York City; and managed early childhood programs in both New York and Colorado. She believes whole-heartedly in taking a strengths-based approach and consistently work with youth and families to improve the systems that impact their lives. Anne-Marie has received a variety of state and national awards for her work and holds a Masters of Science degree in Social Work from Columbia University.

Jerry Adamek

Jerry Adamek is President of FNF Associates, a Denver-based Juvenile Justice Consulting firm, which he established in 1998, shortly after retiring as the director of Colorado’s Division of Youth Corrections.  During his state tenure, the nationally-recognized Ridge View Academy became operational.  He began working with high-risk youth in 1966 as a counselor in the Upward Bound Program before teaching  and coaching in public schools.  This was all prior to joining the 18th Judicial District Juvenile Court system as a Probation Officer and director of the Arapahoe Youth Detention Center.  Mr. Adamek, a Colorado native, holds a BA degree from Regis University and a Masters degree in Criminal Justice from University of Colorado.  He remains active with several local and national youth-serving boards and has worked closely for the past 15 years with Rite of Passage, a leader in providing services to troubled youth.  His wife, Cindy, is a retired  Registered Nurse from the Denver VA.  They have two adult children, four grandchildren, plus three dachshunds, and travel the world frequently.

 Kerri Booth, Esq., Board Chair

Kerri is the Assistant County Attorney for the Adams County Attorney’s Office. She specializes in the areas of real estate law, litigation and corporate compliance. She is active in the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations with specific involvement in the Denver Bar Association Young Lawyers Division.  Ms. Booth was involved in the Colorado Bar Association’s Pilot Project Mentoring Program; this program is quickly becoming a benchmark for attorney mentoring programs in the U.S. She received a Juris Doctorate from Western State University College of Law in Southern California and is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara where she holds a Bachelor’s of Arts degree. While at UCSB, she majored in Law and Society where she studied the social effect of law on society and society on the development of law and policy.

Diane Bassett, Ph.D.

Diane is a Professor Emerita in the School of Special Education at the University of Northern Colorado. She has taught general and special education in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary institutions, and in both public and private schools. Dr. Bassett is the co-author of four books that center on student self-determination, effective services for students with mild/moderate disabilities, and efficacy-based transition practices. She is a past President of the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT) and is also honored to have received the prestigious Oliver P. Kolstoe award from DCDT for her work in transition. At UNC, she has been awarded the Provost’s Award for Excellent Teaching in Graduate Education, the College of Education Outstanding Scholar Award, and the Outstanding Service Award, among others. Dr. Bassett’s professional interests include working with adolescents and adults of all abilities, student empowerment, school reform, and program development. Her personal interests include travel, skiing, biking, reading great literature, and digging in the dirt.

Jason Clark

Jason is the site director for College Track-Aurora. He has an MA in Higher Education from the University of Denver and a BA in Romance Languages and Literature from Colorado College. Originally from Spanish Harlem in New York City, he has been in Colorado for 15 years. Jason previously worked as the director of admissions & outreach at the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Education, as a college advisor and retention manager for the Denver Scholarship Foundation, and as a high school Spanish teacher in Colorado Springs. As a first-generation college student, Jason is passionate about college access, equity and success.

Joél Contreras

Joél worked in the Information Technology area of pension fund giant TIAA-CREF for nearly 19 years!  He played significant roles in almost every area of the company’s technology division including Database Management System, Network Infrastructure, Project Management, Disaster Recovery, and Systems Programming.   In 1995, he was selected as one of two IT managers to help expand TIAA-CREF’s business operations from New York City to Denver, Colorado.  Together with his wife (Giovanna), Joél started a language interpretation and translation company in 2004.  The company, named Cesco (pronounced “Chesco”) Linguistic Services, Inc., has become a viable local entity contracting hundreds of local language professionals. Joél was formerly the part owner as well as the President and CEO of an online foreign language learning company called Learning Like Crazy, Inc. He also serves as Board Chair of ExecConnect and the Connect Denver Foundation.

Monica Reger Williams, Treasurer

Monica is a Vice President of Support Services at FirstBank, where she oversees the bank’s Fraud Prevention and Branch Operations areas. Monica has been with FirstBank for six years, two of which were spent as a loan officer, and the others as a manager of various sales and operational departments.  Monica brings experience in finances, business administration, project management and personnel management. She also serves on the Colorado Bureau of Investigations Identity Theft and Financial Fraud Board and is a member of the Rocky Mountain chapter of the International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators (IAFCI).  She has been involved with a number of Denver-area non-profits including Samaritan House, Wild Plum Center, Junior Achievement, Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity. Monica graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration.  In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, snowboarding and traveling.

Cherie Summers

Cherie is the Assistant Dean in the Department of Engineering at CU Boulder.  She has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Colorado-Boulder.  Before starting her own company, Cherie spent 17 years in the chemical industry, doing consulting and sales for leading chemical companies, where she received a total of 8 industry awards for top performance, leadership and excellence.  Cherie has volunteer experience with The Humane Society, Junior League of St. Paul and Comitis Crisis Center of Aurora.  Her passion is to be a role model for her kids, by helping to empower other young children and support them in reaching their educational goals.  In her free time, Cherie can be found with her family, skiing, hiking or traveling.

 Nance Maguire, Ed.D.

Nancy is a Co-founder and the Executive Director of Excelsior Academy in San Diego, California.  She earned her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Kansas in General Education, Special Education, and Spanish.  Her Master’s Degree was taken at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley in the fields of Learning Disabilities and Social/Emotional Disorders.  Nance sat for her Doctorate at the University of San Diego in Educational Leadership. Her field experience as a teacher ranges from public to private education; general to special education at all grade levels- including bilingual special education; and post-secondary education at the University of California San Diego, Point Loma Nazarene University, and other community colleges in San Diego.  Her work with children has earned her awards in teaching excellence, community outreach, and advocacy for the needs of special students.  As an educational consultant, she has worked in Canada, Mexico, and several states in the United States sharing knowledge and best practices in special and general education programs. Her personal interests include spending time with family and friends, traveling, sports, reading, learning, and enjoying life!

Jermyn Davis

Jermyn Davis is currently a Management Consultant for Deloitte Consulting, LLP in Denver, Colorado where he focuses on higher education transformation. Prior to Deloitte, Jermyn was Chief of Staff to the President at Colorado College. In that role he oversaw the daily functions of the office of the president, including developing strategic initiatives, serving as liaison between senior administrators and other external constituents, and representing the president on various college committees. He graduated from Wake Forest University with a BA in Chinese Studies and Political Science.