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Board of Directors and Files » 2019 Candidates for the Board of Directors

2019 Candidates for the Board of Directors

Candidates for the 2019-2020 Board of Directors


Jacob Briggs

Christopher McNeal

Dan Obenhaus

Lauren Roybal

Michaelle Selcke

Eden Siebersma

Michelle Zeles-Hahn


A meet and greet will take place on April 9th at 6pm.  Please join us to visit with the candidates before the election.  The election will take place electronically, sent to the email registered with the school.  The ballot will be open from April 8th through 14th.  Winners will be announced April 15th.

Each candidate is asked to submit a 5-sentence bio and answer the following questions:
  1. What makes Westgate’s mission and vision meaningful to you and your family?
  2. Why are you interested in serving on the Westgate Board of Directors? What are your perceptions about the needs of the school from a governance perspective? 
  3. What area(s) would you be most interested in working on (i.e., finance/budget, events, fundraising, recruitment, legal, building improvements, school accountability, policy, etc.), and what skills and experience do you have that would allow you to be successful in these endeavors?
  4. What is your availability to attend regular board meetings and contribute additional time to board-related activities?
Jacob Briggs
My name is Jacob Briggs. I have been in the 9-1-1 industry for over 10 years in various roles, including dispatching police for the City and and County of Denver, Training 9-1-1 across the county, Project leadership, IT, and both project and personnel Management. This experience has taught me to manage both stressful and large scale incidents and projects with a sense of urgency and laser like attention to detail. In my current role, I manage a team of thirteen 9-1-1 field engineers across four states and over 20 9-1-1 centers, ensuring these 9-1-1 systems stay functional, projects are within scope, and ensuring the P&L is favorably maintained. Most importantly however, I am a father of 5 including twin babies and they’re all still alive and healthy! :)
  1.  My wife and I have always valued creativity, exploration, and community over the rigid text book education model. We both instill critical thinking, independence, and the value of questioning in our children. To me, the mission and vision of Westgate aligns with this modality of thought and encourages children to explore and experience the fun that learning should be.
  2. I wish to server on the board as I have a deep desire to become more involved, proactive, and impactful in Westgates continued success. 
  3. I am most interested in policy development. I’ve been involved in public safety for over 10 years and policy is something that is deeply entrenched in that field. Having written policy and procedures for numerous public safety roles, positions, software manufacturers and processes, I feel uniquely qualified in this area.
  4. I have high availability for this important endeavor.
Christopher McNeal
I moved to Colorado in my early teens and attended Jeffco Public Schools from Middle School through High School. I received my liberal art degree in Honolulu, HI where I met my wife, Jennifer. We moved back to Colorado to finish my accounting degree at Metro State and were also blessed with our two children, Veda and Grayson. In the past 10 years I have: worked in management as a Beverage Director for a few of the top restaurants in DC, tax preparation for individuals and small business owners,  produced and directed a documentary for PBS in Colorado and most recently I work in Sales & Finance for Rickenbaugh INFINITI in Dacono, CO. I love to travel, play guitar, study philosophy, snowboard and attend wine tastings. 
  1. When my wife Jennifer and I were considering our move back to Colorado, we wanted to make sure that our children were able to attend a school that places a priority on a less traditional class environment that also has a strong emphasis on focusing on our daughter's G&T needs. We were fortunate to come from a public school in Anne Arundel County, MD that has the same community school feel and follows many those principles that we hold in the highest regard for our children's education. Now in our second year as parents in the Westgate Community, we appreciate the effort and dedication the faculty provides for the school, not to mention the hours that volunteers come in to support the educators.
  2. It is my belief to do as much to support the needs of my community as well as the education of the children in the community. As a Member of the Board of Directors, I believe the greatest duty is to listen to the parents with an open mind, be as transparent as possible while working with the other members to make decisions in the most fiscally sound manner. Investments in safety and security are a top priority as well as supporting the financial needs of the faculty. Excellence in education starts with securing and keeping the best teachers at Westgate, which translates to assessing financial and recruitment policies that have worked in the past (as well as those that have not!).
  3. My strongest area of expertise is finance and accounting. I have my degree in Accounting from Metro State with 28 additional credits in business consulting, management and tax law. Since graduation, I have held positions in management in a few of the top restaurants in the DC area, using my background to budget for events and forecast sales goals for the fiscal year. I also have an extensive background in tax preparation and financing with my current position as Supporting F&I Manager for Rickenbaugh INFINITI in Dacono, Colorado. I have also actively participated in political campaigns in the past, knocking on doors and holding fundraisers. 
  4. Tuesday evenings, as well as Fridays/Sunday, are always available for me to attend meetings. I do work 40 hours a week and I am in a sales position, so I am kept away at times but if I know I have a commitment, I am only 20 minutes away and place a priority for any meetings.
Dan Obenhaus

I’m a parent of two amazing and very different kid, my son Zachary started at Westgate in 2010 as a seventh grader he has high functioning autism and a is twice exceptional student, my daughter Maggie is thrilled to be entering the high school program this fall and has been at Westgate since first grade.  Maggie is very involved at Westgate with Odyssey of the Mind, Best Robotics and theatrical productions, I do everything to support her in all these endeavors. I’ve been a scout leader since 2007 in my sons Cub Scout pack/ Boy Scout troop as a Scout Master and am currently a co-leader of my daughters Girl Scout troop, through these service organization I have learned a lot about working with others for the good of groups of children. I’m a career project manager and have very strong organizational and communication skill that would serve Westgate well as a member of the board of directors. I’m excited for the opportunity to take on a new and bigger role with our school and feel my perspective as both a Westgate parent for 9 years and the parent of a soon-to-be high schooler would be of value to the students of Westgate. 

  1. The small school concept and community that Westgate builds has been great for my family.  The structure of Westgate with placing children in the correct level for academic success has been perfect for my children.  
  2. As a parent that has had kids at Westgate for 9 years. I would like to be more involved with our school and this role seems like the next step. Westgate has come along way in our time here, I feel we can build on the progress we’ve made and would like to assistance with that . 
  3. The areas that interest me the most are new policies and building improvements. As a career project manager working in both the construction and design of theatres, studios and themed entertainment spaces and the son of a self employed handyman I have a strong understanding of how to plan and implement complicated projects. As a part the management team at my company I work on new policies and procedures frequently. 
  4. With my youngest going into high school I generally have pretty good availability, however I do travel for work occasionally.
Lauren Roybal
My name is Lauren Roybal and I have been working with preschool aged children since September of 1999. I currently hold my Director Certification in Early Childhood Education and I am Montessori certified teacher for ages 2 ½ to 6 years old. I also have a B.A. in Psychology from University of Northern Colorado. I have been married for almost 10 years and have two wonderful children. Our oldest, Zachary, attends Westgate and is in 1st grade. Our youngest, Ashlynn, attends Forest Park Montessori school where I work as well.
  1. Westgate’s mission and vision is meaningful to my family because it is a smaller community, where everyone knows your name. It also supports my son coming from a Montessori background. I feel it supports that each child is an individual and that they do not learn in the same way or at the same level as the child that is sitting next them. I also enjoy the fact that the children are in mixed age groups and are learning from one another and supporting each other’s learning.
  2. I feel that I’m an active parent who wants the best possible educational experience for children, including my own children. I’m also the quiet parent who is heard when I need to be. I am calm, flexible, and easy to get along with. My perception of the board’s objectives is to help the school maintain the mission and vision of the school, while keeping the small community. Also, to support the staff and Administration in continuing to provide the excellent education of our children.
  3. I would be interested in working on school events, building improvements, and school accountability. I feel that I would be able to help out in different ways because I am not afraid to get involved and enjoy helping when and where I’m needed. I have the ability to make sure various things are on the right track to be finished at different times.
  4. I am able to attend regular board meetings in the evening and able to help on weekends. As a family, we generally attend most of the spirit nights and would be available to attend other activities as well.
Michaelle Selcke
My name is Michaelle Selcke, I have lived in Colorado for the past 16 years. I am originally from Massachusetts near Boston. I retired from the Army after 20 years of both full time active duty and reserve status working as an Occupational Therapist. I served in Iraq for one of those years and was awarded a Bronze Star. I have worked as an Occupational Therapist in all areas and all ages. I am currently a pediatric home health OT serving kids in our local community. I have a Masters of Science in Health Care Management from Troy State University. I have a Bachelor's of Science in Criminal Justice and Psychology from Westfield State in Massachusetts and a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from Dominican College in New York. My husband and I live in Thornton with our two teenage boys currently in 8th and 10th grade. Our son in the 10th grade has attended Westgate since 7th grade.
  1. When looking at Westgate's Mission and Vision the words that stand out the most to me are small, innovative, less traditional, community centered, social and personal. These are qualities that I believe are the forefront of helping guide and mold our students into becoming successful, contributing members of our community.
  2. I am interested on serving this Board to bring a perspective for the older student population.
  3. My areas of interest are open to the needs of the Board and of Westgate. When looking at the question and the examples I feel building improvements may be of interest to me.
  4. If selected to join, I will make my schedule open for Tuesday's meetings, and additional meeting that are preassigned.
Eden Siebersma
Eden Siebersma has had her children, a 4th grader and a 7th grader, at Westgate since 2011, and has been volunteering every year since that time. Eden studied Biology and Elementary Education at Metro State. Eden has previously held administrative and book keeping positions in healthcare, service and educational institutions. Eden is currently a substitute para for special needs children at Adams 12, as well as a professional florist. Eden is committed to Westgate and the community approach to seeing it's full potential.
  1. My family and I came to Westgate seeking a school that would nurture kindness and teach our children based on their individual learning needs. The Mission and Vision statements have changed slightly since we began, but our faith in the school has not. I love our school and our community. Teaching children based on the individual is a concept I love to share with others and feel blessed be a part of.
  2. I am interested in being on the Board of Directors because I would love to be able to help support the success of our school and our students. I have always believed in our mission and would love to be a part of our continuing momentum. I would like to use my experience and love of our school to help make decisions that would be best for our community as a whole, and feel that new ideas and prospective are key to moving forward.
  3. I would be most interested in working on building improvements, school accountability, and policy. I have the experience of having been at Westgate for 8 years, as well as working in many other schools in the district. I am interested in learning more about policy, and understanding more about our accountability.
  4. I am available Mondays after 6pm, and every other evening of the week most of the time.
Michelle Zeles-Hahn
Michelle is in her third year on the Westgate Board of Directors. Her education achievements include a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering (University of Colorado Boulder) and a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees in biomedical engineering (University of Denver).  After receiving her degrees, she went on to teach engineering courses at both the Colorado School of Mines and the University of Denver to all levels of undergraduates. After the birth of her second child, Michelle became a domestic engineer (i.e., stay-at-home mom). In her spare time, Michelle is also an appointed National figure skating judge and travels the country judging figure skating events. Michelle and her husband have two children attending Westgate Community School, one in 3rd grade and one in 1st grade.
  1. Westgate’s unique mission and vision are everything to my family and the reason we are so passionate about this school. The small setting is important for children to feel heard and accepted. Have you ever seen the beginning of each morning at Westgate with the high school teachers greeting every single student as they come down the stairs by name? Did you know that younger pods start their day off in circle and everyone’s name is said aloud every single day?! But being small doesn’t mean we are isolated, in fact, it is quite the opposite. We pride ourselves on being members of the community through kindness cards, community cleanup, and various service projects, to name just a few. Our creative and collaborative coursework builds engaged thinkers that are able to work alongside others in addition to finding solutions “outside the box.” The fact we get to do all of this in a non-traditional setting is the icing on the cake. There is no textbook curriculum that every teacher has to follow and every student has to take. Our teachers get to be masters of their own craft and find new and engaging ways to educated students. The lack of homework for the lower grades allows our children to play and be active after school, something vital to our focus on whole child education.
  2. Currently, I am the president of the board and working to harden board processes and policies for our maturing school. Our school has grown considerably during the past 10 years and we are now entering a period of detailed refinement. There are small things we can do to make our school even better, stronger, and a leader among other charter schools. With my first term behind me, I want to focus this final term on finishing up projects already in the works and help perfect board processes to ensure strong leadership.
  3. I have been involved with events and fundraising committee for many years and this year I have been our district liaison on two committees. The experience working with Adams 12 has been invaluable and I would love to continue my work there. The climate in education policy is ever changing and our school needs to maintain our shining example of a great, successful charter school.
  4. I currently attend all board meetings and have scheduled my family’s activities around the meetings. I love to volunteer my time at the school and help in any way possible. I attend most school sponsored events and enjoy engaging in our community.