- Colorado Springs School District 11
- Leadership Team
D11 LEADERSHIP TEAM
Dr. Michael Thomas, Superintendent
Devra Ashby, Chief Communications Officer
Devra K. Ashby, APR: Devra is a Colorado native and proudly serves as the Chief Communications Officer for Colorado Springs School District 11, the same district of which she is a graduate. She has served in this role for over a decade. She received her Bachelors degree in Media Management Communications from the University of Colorado, and her Master’s degree in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations from Southern New Hampshire University.
Prior to education communications, Devra worked in several communications and public relations fields. Beginning her career as a TV reporter and anchor, she sharpened her skills as a journalist and learned quickly about media relations. She has served as a public relations and communications specialist in the health care and local government industries, but coming from a family of educators, feels right at home in School District 11.
Devra has received several awards and recognitions including a National School Public Relations Association Gold Medallion Award, two National City-County Communications and Marketing Savvy awards, a Best of TV News Reporter Award from the Independent Newspaper, and many Colorado School Public Relations Association Awards of Excellence. Devra was thrilled to become accredited in public relations by the Public Relations Society of America in November 2011.
Phoebe Bailey, Assistant Superintendent, Personnel Support Services
Since 1994, Phoebe Bailey has served Colorado Springs School District 11 in numerous capacities to include lead classroom teacher, Instructional Data Coach, K12 Instructional Coach, federal grant Project Director, Director of Educator Effectiveness, and in her current role as Assistant Superintendent, Personnel Support Services. Additional D11 involvement includes, but is not limited to building representative, Superintendent’s Teacher Sounding Board, member, D11 Strategic Planning Committee, and member, D11 Math and Science Committees.
A 2016 recipient of the Colorado Springs Association of School Executives (CSASE) Service to Education Award, Phoebe has mentored and supervised many student teachers and educators locally, regionally and statewide.
Originally from Champaign, Illinois, Phoebe is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. She later obtained a Master of Arts degree in Human Resources Development from Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri.
Phoebe’s professional affiliations include the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE), Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE), Colorado Association of Black School Educators (CABSE) and the Urbanites Leading the Pikes Peak Region (ULPPR).
Phoebe is the proud Mom of two sons and a daughter and resides in Colorado Springs, where she continues to be an advocate for ALL children and a champion for public education.
LeAnn Slama, Chief of Staff
LeAnn M.Slama advises and supports the Superintendent on day-to-day matters and creates a culture of high expectations, which results in district efficiencies and improved school performance. LeAnn began her service to D11 in October of 2018.
Prior to working in D11, LeAnn was the project manager for a new initiative called ConnextMSP, which connects alumni of college and career readiness programs to local employers wanting to hire high-quality, diverse, young adults. The ConnextMSP initiative is supported by executive business leaders from the Itasca Project in Minneapolis-Saint Paul.
In addition to her business experience, LeAnn has an extensive background in K-12 education. LeAnn served in a variety of roles at Minneapolis Public Schools. She started in January 2010 as the district’s comprehensive arts and magnet school coordinator. In this role, LeAnn was a visionary leader who transformed arts education throughout MPS to include more engaging, technical instruction led by guest artists.
When she became project manager in 2012, LeAnn’s expertise and leadership helped shape strategy for special education, enrollment planning, and collaboration between MPS and other metro school districts. In 2015 she transitioned into the role of Chief of Staff and became a trusted advisor to the superintendent and executive leaders.
Before working for MPS, LeAnn served as assistant principal for the Main Street School of Performing Arts in Hopkins, MN, and as an American Sign Language teacher at Minnetonka High School. Having served as support staff, teacher, school leader and district administrator, LeAnn truly understands the struggles and opportunities at nearly every level of the school district.
LeAnn holds an associate of applied science degree in interpreting for the deaf and hard of hearing, a bachelor of arts degree in psychology, a master of arts degree in education and is currently working on a doctorate in educational leadership. She is also a licensed principal and certified Project Management Professional (PMP).
Sherry Kalbach - Interim Deputy Superintendent, Achievement, Learning & Leadership
Ms. Kalbach is a graduate of District 11, and alumni of Wasson High School, Irving Junior High School, and Wilson Elementary School. She earned a Bachelor's Degree in Social Sciences from the University of Southern Colorado, and a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado. Her teaching career began at the elementary level, and continued as a middle school language arts teacher. She served as an Assistant Principal and a Principal at the middle school level for ten years, and has led as an Executive Director since 2015. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, gardening, reading, and traveling.
Brian Cortez, Chief of Business Operational Services
Brian Cortez brings a depth of finance and business experience to K-12 education. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA), actively licensed in Colorado and Texas, he spent the past 15 years working for a Big 4 accounting firm, a Fortune 500 energy company, a multi-billion dollar real estate company and regional accounting firms.
Before joining Colorado Springs School District 11, Brian provided budget and finance leadership at Academy District 20. There, he successfully managed and accounted for $230 million of bond projects and a $500 million annual district-wide budget.
He is a member of several professional organizations, such as AICPA, COCPA, GFOA, and ASBO. He currently volunteers at Junior Achievement of Southern Colorado and is a mentor to local college students through the COCPA. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from Texas Tech University.
Brian resides in Colorado Springs School District 11 with his wife, Allison and two dogs.
David Khaliqi, Executive Director, Education Insights
David Khaliqi, Ph.D. is the Executive Director for Education Insights. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Colorado State University. After receiving his undergraduate degree David taught science and math for 12 years in a variety of locations from rural Colorado, South America, and Colorado Springs. David moved into higher education in 2007 as the founding director of the Center for STEM Education at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) where he worked with over 200 teachers and thousands of K12 students in STEM activities and workshops. In 2014 he became the Executive Director over the Pre-Collegiate Support and Success Center at UCCS working with first-generation and military families related to college readiness and concurrent enrollment opportunities. In 2014, David earned his doctorate from UCCS in Educational Leadership, Research, and Foundations studying the effect of physics education on math performance. He has presented and published on a variety of topics related to STEM education including scenario-based learning, early physics curricula, and effective teacher professional development. David has a passion for using data to inform high-quality teaching and learning practices.
John McCarron, Assistant Superintendent, Chief Information Officer
John W. McCarron provides vision and leadership for all District 11 information technology initiatives and functions. As CIO, John must partner with academic and administrative departments to improve student achievement, identify cost effective solutions, and improve supporting business processes. John is a technology geek with over 25 years of progressive experience and success in building and supporting best-in-class technology solutions, motivating staff, leading change initiatives, and optimizing processes in both private and public sectors. From 1994 to 2006, John called Hawaii home while working for AIG Insurance Company. The insurance business demanded the use of emerging technology and John joined the team when technology was quickly changing. John started in a very technical role as Network Administrator and quickly advanced to become Assistant Vice President. After leaving Hawaii to be closer to family in 2006, John shifted into post-secondary education as the Director of Technology and Information Resources for the College of Charleston. In this role, John helped maximize the value of existing technology investments and helped to develop long-term strategies. In 2008, John found his calling in K-12 education and joined Charleston County School District. As Chief Information Officer, John managed and supported daily operations of all technology systems achieving 99.9% uptime for all mission-critical services. He also led the Technology Modernization Project which invested $55 million to provide a 21st Century learning environment that ensured all 50,000 students had access to cutting-edge educational technology. John holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and earned a Master of Business Administration at the University of Hawaii.