EARLY CHILDHOOD OPTIONS STAFF
LUCINDA BURNS, Executive Director
Lucinda began working at Early Childhood Options in 2000. For most of this time she been the Executive Director of this dynamic and growing organization. Prior to 2000, Lucinda was an adult educator, child care center director, preschool teacher and - when her children were very young - a family child care provider. Lucinda is a graduate of Colorado’s Buell Early Childhood Leadership Program and has completed her post- secondary education in early childhood special education and child development.
As the Executive Director of Early Childhood Options, Lucinda is actively engaged in community planning and resource development to leverage and increase local, regional and state investments in early childhood services. Lucinda feels continuously grateful to work with a strong and talented staff, and to be part of a community as deeply connected and supportive as Summit County. When not advocating for young children and families, Lucinda spends time with her family enjoying music, skiing and kayaking in the beautiful Rocky Mountains!
CATHERINE SCHAAF, Program Director
Catherine came to Summit County in 2006, after graduating college in New Hampshire. She began her career in Early Childhood Education as teacher at the Carriage House, then working at the FIRC as a Parent Educator. She has a decade of experience in the Early Childhood Education field between working at Carriage House, FIRC and Early Childhood Options. She is currently the Program Director for Early Childhood Options, where she oversees program implementation for Right Start and Summit PreK programs. She has a strong passion for ensuring that all young children in her community are valued, healthy and thriving.
Catherine enjoys spending her free time with her family, husband Michael, and two children William and Annabel, where they all get out and enjoy the wonderful activities that Summit County has to offer.
CARLY NIXON, Head Start Director
Carly works at Early Childhood Options as the the Head Start Director with the Summit Head Start 0-5 program. Born and raised in the flatlands of Lincoln Nebraska, Carly headed west in 2006 for mountains and adventure. She attended Colorado Christian University and got her Bachelor’s in Global Studies. After traveling and teaching abroad, she completed her Master’s in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education from CU Denver. For fun Carly enjoys hiking, camping, drinking coffee, snowboarding, and hanging with her dog Kayuh. She feels lucky to live in a beautiful place with such a diverse community. She continues to love being a part of the Summit County community.
Jennifer Young, Head Start 0-5 Program Services Coordinator
Jennifer Young and her husband moved to Colorado 2017 after living most of her life and raising their 3 sons in Iowa. There Jennifer owned/operated a family childcare home; in addition to being a workshop developer, national trainer/workshop presenter and mentor for other early education professionals. She attended Iowa State University acquiring a BLS early education and child development that includes certificates in Leadership Studies and Human Development & Family Studies. In her spare time Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family: skiing, mountain biking, climbing and hiking. As part of the community, Jennifer enjoys volunteering in the community with agencies whose focus is strengthening families and community relationships. TO ECO she brings her career goal of facilitating a strength-based focus for children’s caregivers to break debilitating generational cycles in an effort to elevate childhood experiences for better child and family outcomes.
DAMARYS PERALTA, Event Coordinator and Outreach
Damarys was born in Honduras. She graduated from Colegio del Espiritu Siglo with a Technical Bachelors in Tech support. Damarys moved to Colorado in 2014. She lives in Silverthorne and has two kids. Her pastimes include learning new things about the environment, dancing, playing soccer, watching movies with her kids, and spending times with her friends.
ADRIANA SALCIDO, Family Engagement Specialist
Adriana is originally from Chihuahua, Mexico. She moved to Colorado in 2000. She works as a Family Engagement Specialist for the Summit County Head Start 0-5 program. Adriana has an Associate’s Degree in General Studies from Colorado Mountain College. Adriana enjoys working with the Head Start families and enjoys spending time at the school and playing with the preschool kiddos. Adriana lives in Silverthorne. She is married and has a 6-year-old son, she also has a Chihuahua dog. In her free time, she goes skiing, swimming, hiking, kayaking, and camping.
Emily Schwier, Finance and Operations Manager
Emily has been in Summit County since 1998. She is originally from Columbus, Ohio and has a Bachelor's Degree in Business from The Ohio State University. She has been working at ECO in different roles off and on for over 13 years. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends doing all sorts of outdoor activities.
ALISON EARNEST, HR Shared Services Manager
Alison moved to Breckenridge in 1998 from Alabama seeking adventure and mountain life and is still here! She has a masters in Early Childhood Education and has served as the director at Little Red Schoolhouse, taught at Carriage House, Little Red and Breckenridge Elementary. She was a Pyramid Plus coach for a few years and is so excited to come full circle again with the amazing early childhood community here in Summit County. Alison is looking forward to working closely with the center directors and staff to enrich, retain and grow professionally.
In her free time Alison enjoys spending time with her husband Scott and kiddos Wyatt and Carson Grace and furry friend Jax. We love skiing, hiking, biking, camping and any activity on the water!
JESSEE BLUMENTRITT, Early Childhood Coach and Technical Assistant
Jessee is originally from Montgomery County Pennsylvania found her way to Summit County in 2012. She studied elementary education with an emphasis in reading at university of Northern Colorado in Greeley and graduated prior to moving to Summit County. Since then she has worked in the community as a lead infant teacher and Child Care manager at Vail resorts for Breckenridge over the course of five years. She then went on to work at Carriage House Early Learning Center as a Lead Infant/toddler teacher. Over the years she completed a Director's Certification through Colorado Mountain College as well as a Level IV credential. She is excited for her new role as Early Childhood Coach and Technical Assistant for Earlychildhood Options! She enjoys getting out and hiking with her dog Tex, traveling with her husband Jared, exploring museums, cooking and painting.
KIM THELLER, Early Childhood Professional Development Coordinator
Kimberly is originally from Ohio and found her way to Summit County in 2012. She has a B.S. in Elementary Education with a minor in Learning/Behavioral Disorders from Bowling Green State University. Her post graduate work was done at the University of Toledo where she earned a Master’s Degree and Education Specialist Degree in Educational Administration as well as her PhD in Educational Leadership with a minor in Educational Law. Kimberly has a Director’s Certificate and has a Level V credential. Prior to joining Early Childhood Options, Kimberly was the Director at Summit County Preschool in Frisco for 8 ½ years. She also teaches several Early Childhood courses for Colorado Mountain College including Career Technical Courses at Summit High School. She is excited for her new role as Professional Development Coordinator for Early Childhood Options! She enjoys skiing, cooking, biking, running with her dog, Kona, and traveling with her husband Eric