The Board

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Dwight Hicks, President and Past Vice President

Dwight Face IMG_0028Dwight Hicks is a Texas transplant to the Rocky Mountains having lived in both Colorado and Wyoming.  He has formal training is in Biology and Anthropology but he spent 25 years as an IT and Communications Consultant.  Dwight retired from the University of Wyoming in 2015 where he enjoyed advising Graduate as well Undergraduate students in their academic pursuits.  During all of his years in the IT world he had the pleasure of living in Puerto Vallarta, and Zapopan Jalisco, Mexico from 1988 to 1996 as well as spending time with family in Mexico City.  More recently, Dwight has devoted time substitute teaching in Jr. High and High school.  When not working, he loves spending time with his wife and teenage bi-lingual daughter.  One of his goals in life was to become bilingual.  He now reads, writes, and speaks Spanish fluently.  During summers, Dwight enjoys digging in the dirt looking for the secrets to life.   He also is an amateur radio operator (Ham), contacting other hams all over the world to understand more about our small planet.  On several occasionsDwight has participated in the teacher exchange programs that Partners supports.  Dwight explains that each time is an opportunity to learn a bit more about the world that we live in.  He feels that it is truly a privilege to be a part of Colorado Partners of the Americas as the camaraderie that members share will follow him for a lifetime.

Reed Pritchard, Vice President and Past Board Member

8ff616de-3078-4c40-9df6-7837c59d8fd1Reed Pritchard recently became a board member for the Colorado Chapter of Partners of the Americas.  Having spent two years as a member, he is excited to learn more about the Partners organization and is looking forward to expanding his participation in the organization.  His first big international experience was a 9 month college graduation trip sailing from Hawaii, to many of islands of the South Pacific including Kiribati, Samoa, Western Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, and over a year spent in Australia, and New Zealand.  Later he traveled to Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, England, France, Italy, and Greece.  On one of the trips to France, he spent three weeks with a friend and his bike following the adventures of the Tour de France.  Reed currently is focusing his efforts with his business, CO2 Forestry.  This company develops and promotes carbon credits, to value, protect and rebuild the global forest network and provide an easy and affordable way to reduce your carbon footprint. Reed states that “connecting through POA, with Iracambi Rainforest Research Center in Minas Gerais, Brazil has grown into a big part of our efforts to amplify the impact we seek to produce”.  He spent a week on site, visiting students from all over the world studying and volunteering there as well as participating in all manner of rainforest rehab efforts.  He is still struggling to learn Portuguese when he can.  When Reed and his wife do not have the “travel bug”, they enjoy volunteering with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) and training their new puppy, Gumbo, an 8 month old black lab-ish wild child. He still enjoys cycling, landscaping, and listening to live music.  The unique experiences connecting cultures at kitchen tables and riding the local bus is one of the reasons Reed is captivated by the Partners of the Americas program.

Patrick Gilliam, Secretary

Bio and photo coming soon

Marilyn Beattie, Treasurer

Marilyn Beattie Profile PhotoMarilyn Cramer Beattie, current Treasurer of the Colorado Chapter of the Partners of the Americas, began her foray into the International world when her parents took the Michigan family on a road trip to Nova Scotia and Quebec when she finished 7th grade.  Her studies in Latin and Spanish inspired her to become an exchange student between her junior and senior years in high school, landing her in southern Sweden with a delightful family.  One of her college majors was Spanish, which she taught for 4 years in the Milwaukee and Minneapolis areas. She chaperoned two groups of students to Spain.  For fun she studied Swedish at the Swedish Institute in Minneapolis. After moving to Colorado, she directed her energies to a 20-year connection at Greeley’s Dayspring Christian Academy, teaching and administration. She has been involved as the Office Manager in business with her husband, John, plus has served as President of local educational/social organizations, as a church elder, and as a participant/leader in three house building mission trips to Mexico.  Marilyn loves to read, scrapbook, travel, and climb the genealogy ladder.  Her 2014 goals are to celebrate not only Partners’ 50th Anniversary, but also, also her 50th Wedding Anniversary and 50th College Reunion at Albion College, in Michigan. She and John have a son, Scott, who lives in Indianapolis.  Marilyn would enjoy your messages at

Crystal Scolaro, Board Member

Bio and photo coming soon

Francis Wardle, Past President and Board Member

francis wardle profile picI grew up in a communal, international community in the beautiful border country between England and Wales. At 16 years-of-age I came with my family to America. After graduating from Penn State University, I moved to Taos, New Mexico, where I lived for three years, and then to Kansas City, Missouri, where I lived for 9 years. During those years I earned a masters degree and PhD. In 1978 I married my wife, Ruth, and we raised a family of four wonderful children. In 1982 the family moved to Denver, where we have lived ever since. I currently teach at two colleges, and write educational books and articles. I enjoy writing, photography, travel, and gardening.  I first became involved with Partners when Bryan Cooke (a member of our chapter) asked me to design and build a playground for a crèche in Sete Lagoas, MG, Brazil. Since then I have visited Brazil many times (some trips for Partners, others sponsored by educational organizations) and fallen in love with the country and its people. Much of what I have learned enriches my books and articles. I have been an active member of the Colorado/Minas Gerais chapter since that time, and also a member of the International Board from 2007 to 2013. I am currently Chair of the Board Development Committee of the International Board.

Teresa McNeill, Board Member

Teresa McNeill brings diversity, imagination, talent, and energy to
the Colorado Partners of the America Board. This retired nurse is not “retiring;” she dances,
sings, travels to distant lands (nine and counting), and still finds time for her family and service in organizations. This service includes running Native American Spiritual ceremonies and hosting guests from Brazil. Her Lakota and Hispanic heritage, along with speaking three languages, have combined to enable her to look at words and terms in new ways, helping friends to take another look, too. Teresa’s nursing profession brought various opportunities to teach in childbirth classes, in Head Start parenting classes, and in health education for migrant farm worker camps. Now she uses those talents as an educator to teach dance in Mexican and folkloric classes. No matter where she is or what she is doing, she brings a joyful spirit along with openness for ways to meet new friends and to learn from each other. Contact Teresa at

Mary Brennecke, Board Member

Dina London, Webmaster of Chapter Website and Social Media Platforms, Past Board Member

Dina London was an intern for us in 2016 helping our chapter with communication while working on her Professional Science Master’s in Environmental Geosciences.  Now she is a board member with our Colorado chapter as she works on her doctorate in Educational Studies at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC).  Before becoming a full-time graduate student, she had experiences ranging from teaching high school science, middle school science and math, and elementary school (1st, 2nd, and 5th) in Florida.  She worked in Baltimore City with a weatherization program helping homeowners lower their energy bills through energy retrofits and education.  She also spent two years with an AmeriCorps program in California mentoring youth grades K-12 after completing her Bachelor of Science at Juniata College in Pennsylvania.  Most of her college summers were filled with internships doing aquatic toxicology research with the Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program in Maryland (her home state).  One summer after college she served as the presidential intern at Alaska’s only aquarium.  In her free time she volunteers with environmental sustainability organizations at UNC and serves as an outreach member for the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG).  Dina and her husband, Jason, have traveled by car across most of America.  They hope to expand their international travels with their little one (expected to make a debut in April 2017).

Carol Brickley, Past Board Member

Carol Brickley was elected to the Colorado Partners of the Americas Board in 2017. Her membership in Partners, with her husband, Glenn (now deceased), began in 2015 when they hosted a visiting teacher from Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. However, Carol is not new to volunteerism. She grew up on a farm in Iowa and was active in 4H. Carol and her four sisters started singing together while children and still join their voices whenever they can. As a soprano with the Greeley Chorale, Carol sang around the world, touring Australia, China, and many countries in Europe. Among other places, she and Glenn traveled to Switzerland, Estonia, Holland, the Caribbean, Mexico, and even to Brazil before they ever heard of Partners. While in Colorado, Carol can be found in her garden, spending time with grandchildren, hiking, or, in winter months, skiing. Music to help others continues a part of
Carol’s life; in addition to the Chorale, she currently sings in church choir and conducts “sing-a-longs” at senior centers. A Habitat for Humanity project enabled Carol to serve in Nicaragua. In fact, if a synonym could be used for this retired elementary teacher, it could be “service” a word that describes well this devoted Partner, enjoying life in a variety of settings. Carol can be reached at

Betty Brown, Past Secretary

IMG_1170 (1)Betty Brown officially joined the organization in 2003; her work with Partners has been to befriend strangers by traveling to other lands and reciprocating the warmth received on these pilgrimages, including Vina Vieja, PERU, Iracambi Rainforest Research Center & Belo Horizonte, BRAZIL, and at International Conventions in BELIZE, COLOMBIA, and GUATEMALA. Betty and her husband, Roger, jokingly describe their most recent travel experience as being “the best trip ever” and have welcomed dozens of Brazilian Partners to their home. Co-Chairing the first WHATWORKS Regional Peer Learning Conference in 2013 brought Colorado Chapter recognition at the 2014 Convention and the second WW conference in Portland. Awards include receiving the 2007 Volunteer of the Year Award, at the International Conference in Ouro Preto, and, with Roger, the 2015 James Boren Lifetime Legacy recognition. She received the 2007 Volunteer of the Year Award, at the convention in Ouro Preto, BRAZIL a surprise and a complete and total honor: “As I accepted the award, I offered not only words of gratitude but acknowledged that while this award might have my name on it, it recognized the efforts of all in the Colorado Chapter. I still feel this way. No one person can handle the multitude of opportunities and responsibilities. One of the reasons I appreciate being a part of this volunteer organization is knowing that cooperation and collaboration are key to all of our endeavors.” List of previous service incorporate roles as Treasurer, Vice President, and Communication Chair, skills learned through Communication Studies degrees at the University of Northern Colorado. Born and raised in Kansas, with a family history at Kansas University, Betty remains a Jayhawk basketball fan, especially during March Madness.

Gylton Da Matta, Past Board Member

gylton de matta profile picDr. Gylton Da Matta is an  international sports science consultant, with expertise in talent development research in Sports Pedagogy and Kinesiology.  Dr. Da Matta has taught at the University of Wyoming, University of Northern Colorado, Georgia Southern University, Newberry College, Appalachian State University and at the University of South Carolina. Currently, Dr. Da Matta teaches coaching expertise at the Colorado State University, where he also coaches the Men’s Club volleyball team. He consults for players, coaches and parents from the Brazilian, Canadian, Danish, Greek Argentine Volleyball Federation and volunteers for USA  High Performance Volleyball. Dr. Da Matta is a three-time Brazilian National Champion as a setter and team captain. Since 1986, he has coached volleyball at all levels. In 2005 he coached the USAVb South Carolina Juniors/Bameso at the women’s volleyball National Championship team, winning the national title at the Open Division. Academically, Dr. Da Matta has published articles on Education, Sports Pedagogy and Coaching. As a practitioner  however, he has worked in the Olympic Development program in Brazilian volleyball developing several expert coaches and revealing three gold medalists Olympians.  Dr. Da Matta is a lecturer for the International Olympic Academy as well as a researcher on Olympic studies, sports sociology and applied technology. In 2013, Dr. Da Matta was a FIVB (International Volleyball Federation) delegate as technical development member for the U23 Men’s Volleyball World Championship in Brazil and also lectured at the International Eastern Asian Olympic Academy in Singapore on community Olympic development centers (Olympism in action at neighborhoods).  Dr. Da Matta is a founder of the Youth Sports Academy and the International Youth Olympic Sports Exchange (iYOSE) based in Fort Collins. Dr. Da Matta is originally from Brazil; he loves international education through study abroad programs and is married to Dr. Louise Jennings with whom he has a cool son, Alex!

Louise Jennings, Past Board Member

Louise Jennings bio picLouise Jennings is a Professor of Education at Colorado State University.  A Canadian-American, she researches effective teaching and learning practices for diverse learners, building on the work of Brasilian educator and philosopher, Paulo Freire.  She also works with her husband, Dr. Gylton Da Matta, to examine the role of teachers in creating democratic schooling practices in post-Authoritarian Brasil, and they have published and presented together on this topic.  Louise and Gylton also enjoy time with their wonderful bilingual son, Alex Jennings Da Matta, a middle schooler who plays on the Arsenal soccer team, composes music on his guitar, loves math, and is writing his second chapter book.  As a family, they love visiting family in Canada, Brasil, Arizona and Maryland whenever they can.

Erica Atchison, Past Board Member

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 12 EricaErica Atchison recently became a board member for the Colorado Chapter of Partners of the Americas.  Erica believes in the power of education as she is a teacher in Colorado and views Partners as a liaison for increasing education throughout the Americas.  Erica cherishes the things she has learned in her travels to Brazil, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Scotland, England, Portugal, Panama, Mexico, and Canada.  Her first trip to Brazil was to attend a conference about global education through the International Education & Resource Network (iEARN) program.  In her spare time, Erica loves skiing, hiking, scrap-booking, sewing, and reading.  She looks forward to advancing educational opportunities within Colorado and throughout the Americas.

Jan Brummond, Past Board Member (1952-2017)

jan brummond bio picJan Brummond was the Business Services Director for the Platte Valley School District in Kersey Colorado and oversees all of the facilities, grounds, food service, technology and transportation operations. In 2005, she joined the Colorado–Minas Gerais Partners and has held various leadership positions within the chapter, including Treasurer, Vice-President, and Membership Chair. Having served on a number of non-profit and philanthropic boards, Jan brings 40 years of financial management and community fundraising experience to the board. In her free time, Jan enjoyed quilting and watching her new grand children.

Stephen Waechter, Past President

steve waechter bio picI served as President of the Colorado Chapter of the Partners of the Americas, and have a been an active member of Partners since 2000. As a prominent classical guitarist, I have performed throughout North and South America since 1973. I have also been a financial advisor with Waddell & Reed since 1981 and specialize in Charitable Legacy and Planned Giving. My hobbies include fly fishing and downhill hill skiing.

DeAnnaKay Swetzig, Past Board Member

DeAnnaKay Swetzig Bio PicDeAnnaKay Swetzig has professional involvements that range from being a Support Manager in the Computer Industry to farming and ranching. She is a native of Colorado (a rare breed) and enthusiastically enjoys horses, raising cattle, the mountains, skiing, gardening, plus alternative health & wellness practices. In addition to serving as Treasurer and Board Member for the Colorado Chapter of the Partners of the Americas, she volunteers with Hospice, the American Cancer Society, and as a Board member for Greeley’s Union Colony Civic Center. She exemplifies Partners motto of “Connect – Serve – Change Lives.” As she understands one of the goals of Partners is to meet with business men and women within the local community, to bring about positive changes throughout our country and our Partner country (Brazil) in order to make a difference, through global consciousness. An always positive DeAnnaKay be reached by E-mail at

Co VanHerwaarden, Past Board Member

Co VanHerwaarden Profile PhotoCo VanHerwaarden brings extensive business and volunteerism experience to service on the Board for the Colorado Chapter of Partners of the Americas. He currently is Chair of the Colorado 100,000 Strong committee, which is working to promote student exchange programs.  His understanding of international relations is helped by his extensive travels and his ability to communicate in five languages. As a successful BMW and Chrysler dealer, he is no stranger to the world of finance. However, it was his interest in soccer and youth projects that first attracted him to the Partners organization. From racing down the ski slopes to racing cars, he remains eager for new challenges and adventures. Co can be reached by E-mail at

Bryan Cooke, Past President

Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 2.29.58 PMBryan Cooke left his hometown of Agra, India to attend Universities in Cambridge, Aligarh, London, Illinois and Texas.  In his educational and professional career, he focused on health promotion and education.  Special topics included HIV/AIDS Prevention, Polio eradication, and cardio-vascular risk factor reduction in children.  He is proud to share that one of his teams immunized over 60,000 children in one weekend.  Later, Bryan spent 35 years at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC).  He retired as a UNC Professor Emeritus of Public Health.  Bryan Cooke is a Past President of Colorado’s Chapter of Partners of the Americas, a member of Partners of the Americas International Board, member of the Greeley Rotary Club (GRC), lecturer, international grant facilitator, W.D. Farr Fellow, international Fulbright Fellow, and Professor Emeritus of Public Health from UNC.  Bryan and his wife, Carolyn, are Paul Harris Fellows.  Carolyn is a Charter Member and past President of the Greeley After Hours Rotary Club.

Lin Allen, Past President

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 8.27.22 PMGeographically, it has not been a straight trajectory from Idaho to Colorado for Dr. Lin Allen.  Lin’s first college credits were earned in an overseas European program the summer after high school graduation, studying Comparative Cultures and Governments.  Undergraduate work was completed at Idaho State University (near her home town), master’s work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.  Her focus has been on Speech and Communication with an emphasis on Heroes and Public Memory, Rhetorical Theory and Criticism, and Courtroom analysis.  Lin taught at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, for three years as a visiting assistant professor.  Professor Allen has been at the University of Northern Colorado since 1992.  Travels have included visits to numerous countries in Europe, to China, Greece, Japan, Taiwan, Canada, and Brazil!  Her volunteer experiences include work with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), the Board of Directors for the Colorado Chapter, and service as Chapter President beginning January 2012.  Lin credits both direct and indirect invitations to becoming a Partner crediting John F. Kennedy for his dreams and continued influence on the POA.

Luzia Salem Lisita, Past Minas Gerais Chapter President

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 10.42.30 AMLuzia Salem Lisita volunteered seventeen years of membership with the Minas Gerais Chapter of Partners of the Americas.  Roberto Brandao introduced her to the organization at a HIV conference, sponsored by the Partners health program.  Luzia was born and raised in the Belo Horizonte area.  She has a master’s degree in Public Health and completed her pediatric residency at the University of Minnesota.  She lived in Atlanta, Georgia while studying with the Center for Disease Control.  Besides the United States, she has traveled to Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, China, Russia, Mexico, Guatemala, and almost all of Europe.  She speaks English, French and Spanish in addition to her native Portuguese.  Luzia formerly worked in the city’s public health department.  In her free time she can be found swimming, going to movies, attending concerts, reading and dancing.  Luzia encourages MG members to visit their counterparts in the Colorado, a trip she has made four times.  She has also served as a host to countless numbers of Partners from the USA.  She believes that one of the main goals of POA is the integration of people of the Americas.  The “people-to- people” work keeps Luzia involved and is the main focus she uses when recruiting.  One of her cherished memories is hosting the POA international convention in the historic city of Ouro Preto in 2007.  Luzia welcomes new friends stating “my life is an open book” and jokes that the exception is the “pages which are glued together.”