Bonnie J. Walters, M.A. Ed.
After spending 30 years in public education, Bonnie Walters is founder and Executive Director of The Evaluation Center in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver. She is responsible for the oversight of all active evaluation projects as well as the administration of The Evaluation Center. Bonnie is also on the teaching faculty in the School of Education and Human Development.
A native of Colorado, Bonnie began her career in the San Luis Valley as an elementary teacher. Since that time, Bonnie has had the opportunity to view education from a variety of perspectives including six years as a classroom teacher; five years in the central office, five years as Associate Director of the Colorado Partnership for Educational Renewal, and sixteen years as a building principal at all three levels.
Bonnie has been involved in program and project evaluation in nearly all of her administrative positions. As Director of Curriculum and Instruction in Denver Public Schools, Bonnie was involved in two major initiatives–SCALE (System-wide Change for All Leaders and Educators), a grant funded by the National Science Foundation, and a Teaching American History Project, funded by the U.S. Office of Education. Bonnie worked closely with University of Wisconsin, Madison evaluators as part of her work with the SCALE grant and with an external evaluator for the Teaching American History Project.
At the Colorado Partnership for Educational Renewal, Bonnie’s work focused on many different levels of program and project evaluation. She developed criteria for selecting Partner Schools and was co-writer of six successful grant proposals. Bonnie also worked closely with a team of evaluators contracted to evaluate the Colorado Partnership. In a special program supported by the National Network for Educational Renewal, Bonnie participated as a Leadership Associate at the Institute for Educational Inquiry in Seattle; she and the Associate Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Colorado State University conducted an inquiry project on Democratic Schooling. She also conducted partner school Site Professor evaluations for the School of Education at UCD.
Bonnie holds Degrees from Adams State College (B.A. in Psychology and Education; and M.A. Education) and a K-12 Principal’s License from the University of Denver. In addition, she has done graduate work at Colorado State University, Brigham Young University, and the University of New Hampshire. She is currently pursuing her Master Evaluator’s Certificate from The Evaluators’ Institute, George Washington University.
In her free time, Bonnie enjoys spending time outdoors along a river or stream fly fishing. Bonnie has two West Highland Terriers that provide her with live entertainment regularly. Bonnie also enjoys golfing, traveling, good books, great wine, and good friends.
Susan Connors, Ph.D.
Dr. Connors currently serves as an Associate Director and Senior Evaluator at The Evaluation Center. In this role, she has served or is currently serving as project leader for education-focused program evaluations for clients including the University of Colorado College of Nursing, NxtGEN (a Teacher Quality Partnership grant to CU-Denver), three National Institutes of Health grants to the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences, Denver Public Schools, Goodwill Denver, Colorado Department of Education, Pueblo City Schools, and other projects.
Prior to joining The Evaluation Center, Dr. Connors spent 30 years as a Teacher and Counselor in Adams 12 School District. Additionally, she served as test coordinator for national and state assessments, data analyst, and an evaluator for North Central Association. She served as a college coach for the Daniels Fund College Scholarship Program and as a mentor/trainer for other grant awardees for the National Education Association.
Dr. Connors’ goals in evaluation work are to involve participants in all steps of the evaluation process and to advance the understanding of evaluation for both program leaders and future evaluation practitioners. She is especially interested in providing credible and actionable evaluation data to leaders of programs who are working to increase the access of under-served populations to quality education and healthcare.
Dr. Connors holds degrees from Creighton University (B.A. in English and History) and the University of Colorado Denver (M.A. in Guidance & Counseling and Ph.D. in Educational Leadership).
When Susan is away from The Evaluation Center, she loves spending time with her granddaughter, planning and cooking for family celebrations, and traveling.
Jeffrey Proctor, M.B.A.
Jeff is currently a Business Manager and Evaluation Specialist with The Evaluation Center. In his current roles, Jeff provides internal support to The Evaluation Center in the areas of marketing, operations, and strategic planning. In his role as an Evaluation Specialist, Jeff provides evaluative services to a wide range of projects including the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, the University of Colorado Center for International Business Education and Research, and Goodwill Denver.
Prior to joining The Evaluation Center, Jeff worked in a wide variety of industries, including healthcare, entertainment, and retail. Most recently, he worked for one of Colorado’s largest healthcare providers where he provided logistic and marketing support.
Jeff’s evaluation interests include business, non-profit, and healthcare related projects. He enjoys quantitative data analysis, process analysis/improvement, and designing innovative methods to present evaluation findings to diverse stakeholders.
Jeff holds degrees from Colorado State University (BA in Business Administration, Concentration: Marketing) and the University of Colorado Denver (Master of Business Administration, Concentrations: Decisions Sciences and Managing for Sustainability).
When Jeff is away from the office he enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, fishing, skiing, and boating with his friends, family, and two dogs. Jeff is also an avid fan of the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies.
Tracey O’Brien, MPA
Tracey serves as a Senior Evaluator at the Evaluation Center. She is a Colorado native who over the last 20 years has led a number of initiatives to improve the evaluation strategies of human service organizations generally, and organizations serving homeless populations specifically.
Tracey’s work in the field of housing and homelessness spans projects such as the Statewide Point-In-Time Homeless study; developing research strategies to illustrate Urban Peak’s impact on Colorado’s homeless youth; and research of Discriminatory Predatory Lending Practices for the Colorado Civil Rights Division. Since 2007, she has been the lead in organizing the collection of Denver Metropolitan area homeless data which included participation on advisory committees, designing and field-testing survey instruments, developing training materials, planning logistics, training agency staff and volunteers, analyzing data, and the preparation and editing of reports of findings and recommendations.
Additionally, Tracey has a keen interest and extensive experience evaluating education programs. She has conducted work in the early childhood arena such as the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECE) Needs Assessment for the Piton Foundation; evaluation of the early intervention programs for Colorado Bright Beginnings, and of Parents as Teachers (PAT) and Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) for the Colorado Parent and Child Foundation. She has also conducted program evaluation for various K-12 initiatives such as the dropout prevention programs for the Engagement Centers and Credit Recovery programs through Denver Public Schools; online learning program for the Colorado Department of Education; and an assessment for statewide integrated ECE data system for the Head Start State Collaboration office. Most recently, she completed a complex Child Care Market Rate Survey study for the Colorado Department of Human Services.
Most recently, Tracey has focused on the field of public health. She is currently leading a three-year, statewide, multi-level tobacco education and prevention program evaluation. This is a collaborative project with the Colorado School of Public Health Community Epidemiology & Program Evaluation Group (CEPEG) to assist program grantees in designing and implementing evaluation of tobacco control program activities conducted with Amendment 35 grant funding during FY2016-2018.
Tracey is a loving mom to a millennial. She enjoys cooking and nurturing her family, friends and animals. Her dream is to one day own a donkey and a tiny house on a big farm.
Jennifer Esala, Ph.D.
Dr. Esala serves as a Senior Evaluator for The Evaluation Center. She brings a decade of experience conducting evaluation and research with a focus on medical systems, mental health, human rights, and evaluation capacity building. Dr. Esala’s research and evaluation work has been published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, Symbolic Interaction Journal, Deviant Behavior Journal, and Qualitative Sociology Review. She currently serves as a lead evaluator for the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI).
Prior to joining The Evaluation Center in 2017, Dr. Esala oversaw the evaluation of capacity building initiatives at the Center for Victims of Torture, the largest torture treatment center in the U.S. In this role, she has led multiple large scale, complex evaluations and research studies. For instance, Dr. Esala led the evaluation of a three year mental health capacity building project – with organizational partners in East Africa, Southern Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. As a component of this project, she also oversaw, supported, and published a paper based on a randomized controlled trial conducted in Cambodia that used multi-level modelling to assess the effectiveness of a culturally adapted mental health intervention. Dr. Esala also conducted evaluation and research at The OMNI Institute in Denver, The Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire, and as an independent evaluator.
Dr. Esala’s work has consistently focused on health and illness among vulnerable populations and in low resource contexts. As a sociologist, she is particularly interested in societal, cultural, and organizational factors that influence health and illness, while also carefully attending to individual and subjective experiences and expertise. Dr. Esala is a mixed-methods researcher who draws on a wide range of methodological approaches in order to best answer evaluation questions. As a an evaluator with deep cross-cultural experience in evaluation capacity building, Dr. Esala is also attentive to matching evaluation approaches to organizational and program needs, capacities, and aspirations.
Dr. Esala received her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of New Hampshire with a concentration in health and illness.
When Dr. Esala is away from The Evaluation Center, she enjoys hiking with her dog, reading novels, and simply spending time with her family.
Christine Velez, M.A.
Senior Evaluation Specialist
Christine Velez is a Senior Evaluation Specialist with more than 21 years of experience in program evaluation. For most of her career, Christine’s work and interests have been focused on housing, education and work with vulnerable populations. For ten years, she was part of the team that managed and implemented the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) program for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). She currently serves as the project lead for an evaluation and capacity building contract with Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver that examines the long term impact of Habitat homeownership.
Early in her career, Christine was part of the team that conducted the Assessment of the Community Consolidated Child Care Pilot Program which was the precursor to the Colorado Early Childhood Councils. Her continued work in early childhood education has included Head Start Community Needs Assessments; three Mile High United Way Early Literacy Social Innovation Fund (SIF) evaluations; and evaluations for the Parents as Teachers (PAT) Program and the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program. Her most recent contribution includes the 2015 Colorado Child Care Market Rate Survey.
Christine’s areas of expertise include designing and managing databases, synthesizing and analyzing quantitative data, and geographic mapping. She has analyzed and mapped complex administrative data sets including U.S. Census, HUD and Colorado Department of Health and Human Services and worked as part of the team that collected and analyzed data on the State of Colorado’s Personal Responsibility and Employment Program. She has produced thematic maps that informed policy discussion for several projects including U.S. Congressional debates on Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization.
Christine is a native Spanish speaker who has worked with monolingual Spanish speakers from a number of different countries. She routinely translates instruments from English to Spanish and conducts focus groups and interviews in Spanish. She also coordinated and worked as a translator for the U.S.-Nicaragua Housing Policy Leadership Forum.
Christine holds degrees from St. Joseph’s College (B.A. in Human Relations) and Michigan State University (M.A. in Sociology); and is a member of the Colorado Translators Association.
In her free time, she likes to play softball, run, travel, and have fun with family and friends.
Bridget Nuechterlein, M.A.
Senior Evaluation Specialist
Bridget is currently an Evaluation Specialist with the Evaluation Center. She provides assistance with quantitative and qualitative data collection, management, and analysis for a variety of projects within the center.
Prior to joining the Evaluation Center, Bridget worked as a program evaluation specialist at the Office of Inclusion and Outreach at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. The Office of Inclusion and Outreach promotes several different educational opportunities to underrepresented and underserved populations.
Bridget’s experience as a graduate student, program evaluation specialist, and business consultant, has given her the opportunity to cultivate a wide understanding of data collection methodologies, data analysis techniques, and evaluation design. She is passionate about the story behind the statistics and is particularly interested in educational and health disparities. She believes that evaluation is one of many tools that can be used to increase the effectiveness and impacts of educational programs and interventions.
Bridget holds degrees from University of Colorado Denver (M.A. in Educational Psychology, Concentration: Research and Evaluation) and Christian Brothers University (B.A., Psychology).
In her free time, Bridget enjoys everything Colorado has to offer. You can find her spending time with her family, hiking, wake-boarding, playing sports (e.g., tennis, volleyball), snowboarding, and traveling.
Peter Rumbach, M.P.A.
Peter is an Evaluation Specialist with The Evaluation Center who provides evaluation services in a variety of project areas, including public health and medical education. Peter believes program evaluation encourages organizations to develop learning cultures, make evidence-based decisions, and strive for continual quality improvement. He enjoys being out in the community working face-to-face with clients to increase the use and understanding of evaluation. Peter is most adept at collaborating with communities to build their evaluation capacity via in-person and web-based evaluation trainings, producing user-friendly evaluation products, and finding innovative ways promote evaluation utilization.
Prior to beginning his post-graduate studies, Peter worked for eight and a half years in the education field, including nearly four years as an instructor and student counselor in an adult, English language school, two years as an Education volunteer with the United States Peace Corps in Thailand, and two years as a preschool teacher. In addition to his work in education, he also served as an HIV/AIDS resource volunteer with the Peace Corps. He brings this passion and experience to his work at the Evaluation Center.
In addition to the work with communities, Peter appreciates dedicating time to delve deeply into content areas and best practices in evaluation via literature reviews and professional training. He is highly skilled in quantitative and qualitative data collection methods and analysis, and applying innovative technologies for data presentation.
He received a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado – Denver and holds a B.A. in Humanities from the University of Colorado – Boulder.
He has a keen interest in international travel and work, having been to over 15 countries outside the U.S. He also loves all the great outdoor Colorado activities, including snowboarding and backpacking.
Erica Clarke, M.A.
Erica is currently an Evaluation Specialist at The Evaluation Center. She brings to the team experience in coalition evaluation, community-based participatory research, and evaluating public health programs. She is passionate about employing a participatory approach to evaluation and values engaging stakeholders early in evaluation planning in order to develop their buy-in and increase utilization of evaluation results for decision-making and program improvement.
Prior to joining The Evaluation Center in 2015, she worked for nine years evaluating hospital and health center based interventions and programs at the Center for Community Health Improvement at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. There she also gained experience working with community-based coalitions doing prevention work in the areas of underage drinking, opioid misuse and overdose and obesity. She has experience working with a wide variety of stakeholders across multiple health issues.
Erica earned her Master’s Degree in Psychology in at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
When not at the office, she enjoys spending time with her family in Colorado’s beautiful landscape.
Shuyuan is a graduate student at The University of Colorado Denver. She is currently in the final semester of her Master degree program in the the School of Education and Human Development where she is pursuing a concentration in Research and Evaluation. She is currently completing her practicum with The Evaluation Center. In this capacity, she assistants with data collection, management, and analysis for a variety of evaluation projects. Shuyuan is also a graduate assistant at the CU Denver School of Public Affairs. In that capacity, she helps to collect and analyze the qualitative data for an international research project involved three countries.
Prior to CU Denver, Shuyuan earned a BA in Applied Psychology from Guangxi Teachers Education University in China. She is very interested in cultural diversity and adaptation, and other related issues in education.
In her free time, she enjoys watching movies and spending time with her family.
Liz Sweitzer, M.A.
Liz Sweitzer is an Evaluation Specialist with The Evaluation Center. She provides evaluation services such as quantitative and qualitative data collection, data analysis, and project planning for several clients. She is particularly interested in how evaluation can improve and support efforts in community based-participatory research, translational sciences, community engagement, and education.
Her graduate work included program evaluation, data analysis for the American Pediatric Association, volunteering for the Harm Reduction Action Center of Denver, and serving as a Resource Specialist for United Way.
Liz holds a Master of Arts in Medical Anthropology from University of Colorado Denver and a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from University of Asheville North Carolina. Her previous research includes cultural impacts on biomedical acceptability and decision making practices and governing structures within intentional communities.
In her free time, Liz loves traveling, performance art, board games, and her parrot Dali.
Allyssa is an Evaluation Coordinator and the newest member of the team. She brings several years of experience providing administrative support, coordinating evaluation activities and fulfilling reporting requirements for community based projects. She provides direct professional support to specific evaluation projects as well supporting the internal administrative operations of The Evaluation Center.
Prior to joining The Evaluation Center, Allyssa worked as a youth specialist at Community Reach Center, a local mental health center. In this position, she worked directly with school-aged youth facilitating prevention education classes and collected youth data through surveys and focus groups. She brings this passion for engaging youth to her work at The Evaluation Center.
Allyssa holds a B.A. in Sociology from Regis University. A Denver native, she loves to be outdoors and explore beautiful Colorado. In her free time, Allyssa enjoys spending time with family, friends, and running with her dog, Nuke.
Amreen N. Thompson, MEd
Graduate Student Assistant
Amreen is a graduate assistant with The Evaluation Center. She provides assistance with data collection, management, and analysis on several projects.
Amreen is a graduate student in the school of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver. Her doctoral research interest involves looking at the roles that Learning Assistants play in STEM classrooms, and at the development of their metacognitive awareness in teaching and learning.
Before moving to Colorado, Amreen was high school Science teacher in West Sussex, England.
Amreen enjoys traveling and hiking in her spare time.
Emily Costello, MSW
Graduate Student Assistant
Emily is a graduate student assistant with The Evaluation Center, specializing on public health-focused projects and grants. Emily assists with data collection, management, and analysis, as well as community coalition work and meetings.
Emily is currently a Master of Public Health candidate with the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Denver’s Anschutz Medical Campus, with a concentration in Community and Behavioral Health Sciences. Her research interests include health equity, health disparities, substance use and abuse, tobacco and cessation efforts, social determinants of health, and social justice in public health. After graduation, Emily hopes to pursue community-level health programming and coordination that attends to the growing substance abuse epidemic in the United States.
Prior to moving to Denver to pursue her MPH, Emily worked in Austin, Texas as an Assessment Specialist with the University of Texas Austin. Previously, she received both her Master of Social Work and her B.A in Political Science from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. During her time in New Orleans she worked in a number of exciting offices including the Louisiana Public Health Institute, The Office of the Mayor, a non-profit law firm, and the Center for Public Service through Tulane University.
In her free time, Emily enjoys exploring the unending beauty Colorado has to offer, hanging out with her dog, Tipi, and friends, as well as traveling back to her native east coast to enjoy time with family at the beach.
Graduate Student Assistant
Tamra is a graduate assistant with The Evaluation Center. She provides assistance with data collection, management, and analysis on several projects.
Tamra is currently a graduate student in the Master of Social Science program at the University of Colorado – Denver but started her masters degree in International Development at the University of Denver. Her interests lie in the socio-economic impact that food, dietary habits and nutrition practices have on academic progress across cultures, with a specific focus on sub-Saharan Africa. This passion was ignited from her community health and nutrition work with the Peace Corps in Zambia.
In her free time, Tamra enjoys travelling and exploring new cultures and cuisines with her four-year-old son.