Home » State Activities » State Coalitions » Colorado » Press Room » Press Releases

Press Releases


Colorado student takes reins thanks to personal finance class

Great-West awards 25 teachers across the state $5,000 grants to teach financial literacy

 GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo., May 8, 2012 – 17-year-old Samantha L. Vaughan had wanted a horse since she was a tot. But like a lot of households, Vaughan’s family couldn’t afford one. Thanks to a personal finance class Vaughan took at Arapahoe High School this past school year, she learned about setting goals and now owns Bubba, a 9-year-old tri-paint draft mix.

 “I had wanted a horse for as long as I can remember,” Vaughan said. By setting goals, Vaughan stayed focused on her plan to buy one. Her first step was to get a job and start saving. “I’m so grateful for the personal finance class. I’m more aware of how I spend the money I earn,” she said. “My biggest surprise was that if I plan out my goals, anything is possible.”

 Heather Greenwood taught the personal finance class Vaughan took as a junior. Greenwood was a 2011-2012 school year recipient of a $5,000 grant from Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company (Great-West) through the company’s Great-West Great-Teachers® program, a financial literacy grant initiative created in partnership with the Colorado Jump$tart Coalition. Great-West and Jump$tart introduced the grant initiative last year to promote financial education among students in Colorado’s P-12 schools. Since then, the company and nonprofit organization have encouraged teachers statewide to apply for a $5,000 grant. A team of Great-West and Jump$tart financial literacy experts reviews the applications and selects 25 grant winners each school year.

 Great-West and Jump$tart recently announced the 25 Colorado teachers who will receive $5,000 grants for the 2012-2013 school year. They are:

  • Amber Marsolek, Alpine Elementary School
  • Jason Cochrane, Ben Franklin Academy
  • Richard Trinkner, Boulder High School
  • Elaine Bradley, Cheyenne Wells High School
  • Dawn Thompson, Cottonwood Creek Elementary School
  • Philip Grindrod, Douglas County Student Support Center
  • Julie True, Eaton Elementary School
  • Jennifer Bradley, Ellis Elementary School
  • Kathy Pyrc, Governor's Ranch Elementary School
  • Pam Bartholomay, Jefferson County Department for Learning and Educational Achievement
  • Trecie Warner, Lois Lenski Elementary School
  • Jennifer Devlin, Madison Elementary School
  • Todd Lederman, Montessori Peaks Academy
  • Diane Gaston, Morey Middle School
  • Hilary Wimmer, Mountain Range High School
  • Amanda Anderson, Pioneer Elementary School
  • Melina LaPorte, Pioneer Elementary School
  • Jackie Drake and Kirsten Bloomfield, Pioneer Elementary School
  • Stephanie Crowe, Sage Canyon Elementary School
  • Genesee Lemon, Spangler Elementary School
  • John Ameen, Steamboat Springs High School
  • Laura Kannaka, Summit View Elementary School
  • Kerry Black, Thomas Jefferson High School
  • Loretta Gonzales, Thomas Jefferson High School
  • Tara Olivas, Turner Middle School

The grants are used to fund supplies, curriculum, technology, professional development, and/or initiate other financial education programs in the classroom.

 “As a financial services company, we see firsthand the importance of financial literacy,” said Mitchell Graye, president and chief executive officer of Great-West. “By assisting teachers with financial education programs in their classrooms, we can equip Colorado youth with the skills they need to achieve their financial goals.”

 CJ Juleff, executive director, Colorado Jump$tart Coalition, said, “The need for personal financial literacy has never been greater. We are proud to partner with Great-West to ensure educators have access to a variety of resources to implement quality personal finance programs in their classrooms.”

 Great-West will honor the 2012-2013 school year award recipients and their guests at a June 13 dinner at the University of Denver’s Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management.

 About Great-West

Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, headquartered in metro Denver, serves its customers through a range of group retirement savings products and services, individual retirement accounts, life insurance and annuities, and business-owned life insurance. It is an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco Inc. and “A Member of the Power Financial Corporation Group of Companies”®.

 About Colorado Jump$tart Coalition

Colorado Jump$tart Coalition, a nonprofit organization with 40 organizations and individuals representing business, government and education throughout Colorado, is focused on improving the personal financial literacy of Colorado youth. Colorado Jump$tart provides engaging and practical professional development for Colorado educators on a variety of financial literacy topics and actively raises the awareness of the need for personal financial literacy.



Lisa Gigax

Director, Corporate Communications


(303) 737-6290

Turn on JavaScript!


CJ Juleff

Executive Director

Colorado Jump$tart Coalition

(303) 910-5293

Turn on JavaScript!



Christina Frantz

Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility


(303) 737-1595

Turn on JavaScript!