The Denver Urban Scholars has a team of experienced, highly dedicated staff working with our students and their families, mentors, teachers, and benefactors to ensure that students reach their full potential as both a student and a member of the community.
Patrick Byrne, MSW, MNM, PhD
Patrick is an advocate for at-risk youth, with a focus on improving secondary and post-secondary educational opportunities for disadvantaged students to optimize their career potential. He founded the Byrne Foundation (now Denver Urban Scholars) in 1995, developing the mentoring, volunteer and tutoring programs, as well as directing staff, and recruiting volunteers. Under his leadership, funding for Denver Urban Scholars has grown from $80,000 to over $750,000. Patrick obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communications from Gonzaga University, and received a Masters Degree in Non-Profit Management from Regis University. He completed his Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver in 2006 and in 2012 earned his PhD in Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Denver and Regis University.
Although Colleen Currie is new to the Denver Urban Scholars staff, she has helped the organization raise more than $500,000 in the last three years through the Golf Fiesta and The Class Act Auction and Dinner events. She is thrilled to support an organization with such high student success rates, strong and dedicated board of directors, and amazing team of caseworkers. Although originally from Minnesota (with an accent that sometimes slips through), Colleen has been supporting Colorado nonprofit organizations for more than twenty years, starting as an El Pomar Fellow. In her spare time she loves to garden, travel with her family and serve as a chauffeur for her active sons.
Barbara Decker, MSW
Capstones Program Lead
Barbara has spent much of her professional career working with students with disabilities at both the university and high school levels. She directed a comprehensive support program for students with learning disabilities and ADHD at a Denver high school. Previously she worked at the University of Denver’s Learning Effectiveness Program and taught at the Women’s College at DU. Barbara is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Denver. Barbara earned both her BA in Sociology and her Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver.
Kelly Scott, M.S.W.
Kelly was born and raised in Denver and is passionate about youth advocacy and building local community. She received her MSW from the University of Denver in 2011. She has worked in youth advocacy in many different capacities, including as an Educational Mental Health Worker at Mount Saint Vincent Home for Children; as an MSW Intern at SafeHouse Denver; and as an MSW Intern at American Humane Association.
During her free time, Kelly loves to do anything outdoors with her husband and Golden Retriever, Clementine, but can most often be found hiking, skiing, backpacking, doing yoga and running.
Christina Stimson, MNM
Accountant/Human Resources Manager
With more than ten years of experience in the nonprofit industry, Christina has worked teaching children in both NGO and nonprofit settings. She also has supported Fair Trade by working with artisans in the third world and marketing their hand-crafted products in the US. With a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management, Christina has a true passion for the industry.
Christina has more than five years of Accounting and HR experience. She has worked for many local nonprofits including radio, foundations, colleges and international nonprofits. She is also an experienced for-profit Accountant. Happy to be at home in the nonprofit industry, Christina appreciates and supports the mission of Denver Urban Scholars. When she is not working, you can find Christina traveling with her husband, hiking with her dogs or enjoying a fantastic afternoon with her daughter.
Reyna Gutierrez, MA
Reyna has been in the criminal justice field over five years, working with adults and families in Denver, Colorado. Her passion, dedication, and cultural ties to the urban community are strong. Her inspiration to work with at-risk youth came from her own personal trials and tribulations, which has led her to encourage and support education among disadvantaged youth.
Reyna is a recipient of the Daniels Fund Scholarship for Hispanics, which made it possible for her to graduate from Regis University with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology, with Cum Laude honors. She continued on with her education at Regis University to obtain a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology, with a certification in Criminal Analysis. Recently, she has been appointed as a member of the Liquor License Authority for the city in which she lives.
Nadine Bridges, MSW
Milestones Case Manager
Nadine has worked for Denver Urban Scholars for four years. In 2009, she interned as a co-facilitator for the Stepping Stones Middle School Program. Upon graduation, in 2010, she was hired as a full time case manager for their Milestones High School Program. In 2011, she was promoted to the position of Youth Development Coordinator. Nadine earned her Master’s of Social Work from the University of Denver along with a Certificate for Social Work with Latinos/as in 2010. She has dedicated herself to working with and advocating for under-served youth for the past 17 years. She has volunteered in Nicaragua with the Peace Corps in the youth development sector; started her own mentor program during her undergraduate years at the College of Charleston; and researched, designed, and taught Spanish at a charter school in South Carolina. In her free time, Nadine loves to spend time with her loving partner, line dance, cheer for her beloved Red Sox and New England Patriots as well as cook.
Sally Vizas, MSW
Milestones Case Manager
A former intern, Sally recently returned to Denver Urban Scholars as a full time Case Manager with the Milestones program. During her internship at DUS Sally worked with the middle school students in the Stepping Stones program. She has spent the last two years working at Colorado Youth at Risk, a mentoring organization in Denver, where she worked with students at Manual, East and George Washington High Schools. Sally received her Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver in 2012. Prior to returning to school she spent 5 years working in Development and Fundraising for Denver area nonprofits. Sally is a transplant from California but has finally grown accustomed to calling Colorado home after 13 years living in the Denver Metro area. In her spare time she enjoys cooking (but mostly eating), watching football, and travelling.
Tessa Tuetken, MSW
Milestones Case Manager
Tessa graduated from the University of Iowa with a BSW and the University of St. Thomas with an MSW. She started working with children with developmental disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder after moving to Hawaii in 2007 and continued that work when moving to Minneapolis, MN to pursue a graduate degree. After finishing her grad work she took the opportunity to teach English in Santiago, Chile for a year. Currently, she is completing a yoga teacher training and plans on teaching yoga classes in her free time.
Alexandra Wald, MSW
Stepping Stones Program Lead
Alex graduated from the University of Denver where she received her Masters degree in Social Work. Her greatest passion in life is empowering youth through establishing the necessary support structures for them to make positive choices and achieve success in life. Her previous professional experience includes developing and facilitating after-school based mentoring programs for youth at Kepner MS, Lincoln HS, and DCIS in Denver. She has worked in early childhood development as well as internationally in Colombia and Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH) developing and implementing educational programming for youth of all ages. When she is not at work, you can find her taking full advantage of the outdoors, such as snowboarding and hiking in the mountains with her dog Wilson.
Shenelle Roebuck, MSW
Stepping Stones Case Manager
Shenelle graduated from the University of Denver in 2010 with a Master’s degree in Social Work. Over that past five years, Shenelle has worked in outpatient, day treatment and residential treatment settings. She has experience working with adolescents with substance use, mental health disorders, educational and delinquency issues and their families. She is currently working on her clinical social work license and addiction counselor certification.
Martha Hunter, B.A.
Martha recently moved to the area and is thrilled to be on staff at the Denver Urban Scholars. Until this past September, Martha was living in Chattanooga, TN, where she received her undergraduate degree in English. She has held previous administrative experience through the athletics program at her alma mater. Since working with the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy as a grant research intern, Martha has had a passion for empowering youth through education. She has held various teaching and tutoring roles over the past several years, including her most recent work this summer as a teaching assistant for a creative writing class through Johns Hopkins summer programs. Although she unintentionally spends much of her free time getting lost in Denver, Martha also enjoys riding her bike, cooking, and writing poetry.