Staff

Juan Pérez Sáez (he/him/él)

Executive Director
Hablo Español Juan has dedicated his personal and professional life to conservation, advocacy, environmental education, and stewardship. While building community and creating opportunities for many others to connect with the outdoors. With more than 15 years of experience in this field, Juan was most recently working for The Wilderness Society (TWS) as the Senior Manager for Strategic Partnerships. Juan has worked for several nonprofit organizations in Latin America and the United States, as well as the U.S. Federal Government. He was also a Fulbright Scholar between 2012-2014. Before moving to Colorado, Juan was the National Coordinator for the Million Hectares Alliance in Panama. Juan led a multimillion-dollar public-private partnership. He also led the first ever National Reforestation Day in his home country; this event mobilized in its first year more than 15,000 people on a single day. Juan has a Bachelor of Engineering in Environmental Management from the University of Panama, and a Master of Science in Environment and Natural Resources from The Ohio State University. Juan is actively engaged with his community by playing a leading role as a National Board Member for the Next 100 Coalition, a board Vice-Chair for the Cottonwood Institute and in his role as a Commissioner for The Governor’s Commission for Community Service in Colorado. 

Kimberly Weiss (she/her)

Associate Director

Kim received her Master of Arts in environmental education and conservation from Rowan University, in Glassboro, NJ in May 2004. Kim has worked at Environmental Learning for Kids since 2005, gaining experience in all aspects of the organization from leading camping trips to writing grants. She is passionate about advancing youth and nature-based learning. Her current philosophy is to foster a community of young people that grow and challenge each other to become better teachers, community members, and humans in general. Outside of the office, Kim enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids, running them from activity to activity, live music, and being with friends.

Kristina Gray (she/her)

Corporate Relations & Marketing Director

Kristina received her Bachelor of Art degree in Political Science from MSU Denver in 2011. She has been a part of the nonprofit sector for over 10 years. She is an alumnus of the Corporation for National and Community Service’s AmeriCorps VISTA program and the Hispanic Chamber Foundation’s Aspiring Leaders Program, Class of 2017. Kristina spends her free time advocating for justice and equity for all of Colorado’s youth & families, and going on adventures with her husband and young daughter.

Christina Hoffman (she/her)

Development Director

Christina is a Denver native who has channeled her passion for social justice since 2005 while working for non-profit organizations. An MSU Denver graduate majoring in Gender Studies and Communications, along with being a Nonprofit Pathway Scholar certified in Nonprofit Management, her work has ranged in focus from advocating for the homeless, scholarships for American Indian students, and access to health care in Colorado. She’s been a part of the ELK family since 2016 and enjoys work that gets kids outside and excited about science and nature. When she isn’t studying, she enjoys spending free time cooking, reading, and exploring the outdoor world with her husband and children.

Amy Wright (she/her)

Education Director

Born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, Amy received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Northern Arizona University. While pursuing her science degree, she began student teaching chemistry courses, and found her true passion—Science Education! Over the past decade, she has dedicated her career to informal education and has a passion for working with youth and families in the outdoors. She has proudly worked with ELK since 2013 and has led countless camping, hiking, fishing trips, and more. She continually strives to be a good steward of our environment and attributes her love for nature to her early experiences in the outdoors. She firmly believes that every person should have the opportunity to connect and experience the great outdoors! When not teaching, she can often be found in the mountains with her three dogs, Zoe, Otis, and Rocky.

Jada Bonner

Jada Bonner (they/them)

Manager of Finance and Operations

Jada Bonner was born and raised in Denver and earned a B.S. in Finance from Regis University and an M.S. in Environmental Policy and Management with a concentration in Energy and Sustainability. Jada committed to the women’s lacrosse team at Regis during their 4-year program and continues their involvement with the sport through volunteer coaching with Denver City Lax. Jada found a sacredness in nature on backpacking trips with Big City Mountaineers as a chaperone. They believe humans should not only work towards rebuilding their connection with nature, but protect this interdependence through sustainable development and youth education. When not working, Jada builds their inner and outer community through yoga, meditation, poetry, dancing, volunteering and laughter.

Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK)

Justin Twist (he/him)

Education Coordinator

Having the privilege of outdoor access as a child, Justin spent his childhood meandering through the woods and streams in Upstate New York, Indigenous land of the Haudenosaunee. Justin graduated in 2013 with a B.S in Environmental Science and earned an M.S degree in Teaching and Learning in 2017. Inspired to connect young people to nature, he has spent time teaching environmental education in various states and agencies. Justin has been with Environmental Learning for Kids since 2015 and continues to witness the transformative effects of relationships and mentoring in the outdoors. Outside of work Justin enjoys gardening and growing plants, fly fishing, and reading.

Sam Gilmore (she/her)

Education Coordinator

Born in Denver, Sam is a Montbello resident and ELK alumni. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in History with minors in Environmental Science and Leadership Studies from the University of Denver where her areas of focus were environmental history and outdoor recreation and interpretation. Sam is an active member of the Montbello and Denver communities and works in community planning and organizing. Since 2016 she has worked for Environmental Learning for Kids in the Urban Ranger program helping connect youth and families to nature and outdoor recreation. Sam is an avid reader, hiker, angler, and houseplant enthusiast.

Jeremy Sifuentes (he/him)

Education Coordinator

Raised in Los Fresnos, TX, Jeremy received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from UT San Antonio. While pursuing his degree, Jeremy found passion in inspiring youth, community advocacy, and connecting with the outdoors. After school, his work ranged from volunteer coordination, organizing grassroots campaigns to strengthening access to parks with the National Park Service. He then moved to Denver and served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in 2020. Throughout that time, he discovered the beauty of Colorado and its relationship to a happier/healthier life. During his free time, Jeremy likes to play basketball, cook meals, run trails, sing karaoke, play board games, watch anime, and attend concerts!

Rayven Irons (she/her)

Development Associate

Rayven is from Colorado Springs, Colorado where she attended, and taught classes at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS). She graduated from UCCS with a Master of Arts in Organizational Communication. She believes that representation matters, and that kids from all walks of life should have the opportunity to discover and explore their world. When she is not working, Rayven enjoys spending time with family, exploring and hiking, traveling, going to the movies, and reading.

Ronika Kone (she/her)

Student Coordinator

Ronika Kone is a Sophomore at Community College of Aurora on a full ride scholarship. She has been a part of Environmental Learning for Kids since 2016. She worked with ELK as an Urban Ranger for three years, and she was recently promoted to a Student Coordinator. Ronika thrives in educating urban youth in natural resources and outdoor recreation. The outdoors is special to her because it has been a place where she can breathe, learn, and find home where it is. Ronika has been part of the Montbello community for 18 years.

Urban Rangers

Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK)

Xitlaly Avitia (she/they)

Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK)

Nadia Brooks (she/her)

Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK)

Claudia Carrillo (she/her)

Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK)

Giselle Chavez (she/her)

Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK)

Paris Davis (she/her)

Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK)

Juan Huizar (he/him)

Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK)

Brandon Irons (he/him)

Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK)

Daisy Medera (she/her)

Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK)

Israel Ngalame (he/him)

Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK)

Verenice Rodriguez (she/her)

Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK)

Gloria Terrazaz (she/her)