Informed by years working with students and schools, Collinus is a trusted leader in the education landscape where she has worked to bridge the gap between policy and classroom practices to build diverse, welcoming spaces for all students.
Driven by a belief that health and racial equity are critical to our success as human beings, Collinus began her career as a middle school teacher before working with teacher education licensure candidates at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Later, at Aurora Public Schools, she served as the policy advisor to the superintendent’s office, evaluating policy, programs and leading special projects to implement equitable practices across the district. Projects included the development of the Aurora Public Schools Welcome Center, which provides services to immigrant and refugee families and helps students develop the skills necessary to be successful in the American education system.
As director of education at The Denver Foundation, she helped community leaders and educators maximize their impact and witnessed the ways community investments can either curb or exacerbate health and racial inequalities. At the Foundation since April 2020, Collinus leads our Children Move More and Healthy Schools priorities.
As a Denver South High School student, Collinus was a six-time All-American and seven-time Big 10 Champion shot-putter at the University of Illinois. Now a mother of three girls, she resides in Northeast Park Hill in the house where she grew up with eight siblings. However, she’s always kept a foot in her family’s homestead in rural Mississippi, too. Collinus says life is good when her physical, mental and spiritual well-being are in balance; she relies on a combination of exercise, gardening, music and returning to the South to re-center. When she’s not working, you’ll find her singing at churches and other venues across the metro area.
BA – Sociology and History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
M.ED – Curriculum and Instruction, University of Colorado Boulder