Board of Directors Biographies
Bill Gustashaw holds a BA in Political Science and Criminal Justice and a MS of Special Education from Indiana University-Bloomington. After receiving teaching licensure, he taught elementary students with learning and behavior disabilities in Indianapolis, IN then moved to Alexandria, VA to teach secondary students with learning and behavior disabilities. While teaching in Alexandria, Bill was offered and accepted a scholarship to enroll in the PhD program in Special Education at the University of Virginia. During his graduate work, he taught education courses to pre-service teachers at the undergraduate and graduate levels at the University of Virginia and Texas Christian University. In 2006, he accepted a position as Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky where he served as Program Chair for the Learning and Behavior Disorders Program, taught undergraduate and graduate special education courses and supervised student teachers. Bill currently works as an Assistant Professor and lives in Parker, CO with his wife and four children.
University of Colorado Regent John Carson is an attorney in corporate practice in Greenwood Village, Colorado. A CU alumnus, he earned bachelor’s and law degrees at the University of Colorado Boulder and a tax law degree from Georgetown. Carson was President of the Douglas County Board of Education from 2009 to 2013, and served on the board beginning with his election in 2005. The Denver Post named him Top Education Thinker of 2012 for his work serving the state’s third-largest school district. Under Carson’s leadership the Board enacted one of the most sweeping school choice, market pay and pay for performance programs in America. Changes in Douglas County also included equal funding for charter schools, enhancement of the District’s resources for home school families, enactment of the Choice Scholarship Program – a school choice program allowing parents and students to use their education funding at private schools, and the expansion of the HOPE On-line learning academy charter school serving disadvantage students throughout Colorado. John previously served as Rocky Mountain Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) in the Administration of President George W. Bush (2001-2009). Prior to that, John worked for nearly 12 years on Capitol Hill in Washington DC serving as legal counsel for several members of Congress. He served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve from 1979-1985. John and his wife Eileen live in Highlands Ranch and have three children.
Jessica Thiessen holds a BS in Business Administration from Seton Hall University, MBA from Arizona State University, and Graduate Certificate in Decision Sciences from the University of Colorado. She has corporate finance experience in the industries of education assessment, consumer services, consumer packaged goods, and construction materials. These experiences developed skills in management, budgeting, process improvement, project management, and proposal development. She currently works as a finance director. Jessica is a founding family of Ben Franklin Academy, and volunteers with Destination ImagiNation. She lives with her husband and two children in Highlands Ranch.
Anne Rice is a freelance journalist and “work/stay”-at- home mom. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She has experience in the newspaper industry as a reporter, editor and photographer and has taught journalism as an adjunct faculty member at Metropolitan State University in Denver. Currently a freelance writer and editor, Anne lives in Highlands Ranch with her husband and two sons.