Gates Fellowship - Gates Family Foundation
Here is an important announcement. Click here to learn more.


Senior executives in state and local government are under more pressure than ever to take on increasingly complex problems with fewer resources and a greater degree of public scrutiny. To find solutions, bring about change, and help people in organizations and communities face difficult challenges, public officials must strengthen their ability to exercise effective leadership in rapidly changing political and social environments.

2018 Gates Fellows at Harvard

2018 Gates Fellows at Harvard (Photo courtesy of Mary Coleman)

Since 1980, the Gates Family Foundation has partnered with Harvard University to send nearly 300 of Colorado’s civic leaders to the John F. Kennedy School of Government’s program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government. The fast-paced, three-week program brings together a diverse group of prominent public leaders to find solutions to the critically important challenges they face — and lead their public agencies and communities toward effective results.

Participants leave this program with new skills and strategies for tackling complex challenges and a new passion and sense of purpose for public service. The interactive classroom allows participants to share ideas and gain insight from one another as they develop their ability to exercise effective leadership in rapidly changing political and social environments.

Program Details

Eligibility: Individuals working in Colorado state and local governments — elected, appointed, and career officials — will find the program extremely valuable.

Selection: Candidates are interviewed by a panel of Gates fellowship alumni and other distinguished Colorado leaders assembled by the Foundation; nominations are sent to the Kennedy School admissions committee, which is responsible for awarding Gates Fellowships.

Costs: Harvard provides a discounted rate of $16,900 for Gates Fellows participating in the three-week residential program in Cambridge — which includes tuition, housing, curricular materials, and most meals. Gates Family Foundation pays $16,000 of the discounted tuition costs directly to Harvard. Fellows or their employers must fund the balance of $900.

For more information, contact Lisa Rucker at Gates (303) 722-1881 or Taylor Woods-Gauthier at Harvard (617) 496-9280.


Applications are open now through March 7 to attend Harvard’s 2023 sessions, scheduled for June 5 through June 23 and July 10 through July 28. Applicants may select either session.

To be considered for a Gates Fellowship, type “Gates” in response to the question “Who will be the financial sponsor of your participation?

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“It’s an intense program.”

“It opened my eyes to a world of perspectives.”

Hear Gates Fellows describe the summer program, the lessons from peers and Harvard instructors, and how the experience has benefited them long-term.

2022 Fellows

Note: Harvard’s 2020 and 2021 programs were cancelled due to COVID, so 2020 Gates Fellows attended the program in June 2022 along with Gates Fellows selected in spring 2022.

Ginger White Brunetti, Executive Director, Denver Arts & Venues
Liane Jollon, Executive Director, San Juan Basin Public Health
Shontel Lewis, Director District B, Regional Transportation District
Andrew Marsh, City Administrator, City of Idaho Springs
Kristin Stephens, County Commissioner, Larimer County
Anna Stout, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Grand Junction
Sean Strode, City Councilor, City of Rifle

Gates Fellowship 2018 Selection Committee. L-R: Chantal Unfug, Taylor Woods-Gauthier, Christopher Herndon, Joe Blake, Dan Gibbs, Tom Gougeon, Lisa Rucker

2020 Fellows

Evelyn Baker, Deputy Executive Director, Community Planning and Development, City and County of Denver
Kristin Bronson, City Attorney, City and County of Denver
Robin Brown, Vice President of Development, Colorado Mesa University/CEO of CMU Foundation
Hilary Cooper, Commissioner, San Miguel County
Shawn Gullixson, President Board of Education, Colorado Springs School District 11
Crestina Martinez, Chief of Staff, Colorado Governor’s Office
Bethleen McCall, Council Member, City of Yuma
Ben Tisdel, Commissioner, Ouray County

2019 Fellows

Yolanda Avila, Colorado Springs City Council, District 4
Jennifer Bacon, Denver Public Schools Board of Trustees, District 4
Greg Felt, Chaffee County Commissioner, District 2
Dominique Jackson, Colorado House of Representatives, Member, District 42 (Arapahoe)
John Messner, Gunnison County Commissioner, District 1
Rebecca Mitchell, Colorado Water Conservation Board, Director
Angelika Schroeder, Colorado Board of Education, Board Chair

2018 Fellows

James Burack, Director, Colorado Dept. of Revenue, Marijuana Enforcement Division
Richard Cimino, Commissioner, Grand County
Mary Coleman, School Board Member District 11, Colorado Springs
Kari Distefano, Town Manager, Town of Rico
Ernest House, Executive Director, Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs
Jovan Melton, State Representative Colorado General Assembly
Rachel Richards, Commissioner, Pitkin County
Amanda Schoultz, Senior Council Aide, City and County of Denver
Tom Strand, Councilman, Colorado Springs

2017 Fellows

Shailen Bhatt, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Transportation
Barbara Bynum, Commissioner, Colorado State Land Board, Division of Natural Resources
Crisanta Duran, Speaker of the House, Colorado General Assembly
Lisa Flores, School Board Member, District 5, Denver Public Schools
Christopher Hansen, State Representative, Colorado General Assembly
Lois Landgraf, State Representative, Colorado General Assembly
Rebecca McClellan, State Board of Education Member, Congressional District 6, Colorado Department of Education
Dominick Moreno, State Senator, Colorado Senate
Scott Vargo, County Manager, Summit County

2016 Fellows

James Eklund, Director, Colorado Water Conservation Board
John Kinkaid, County Commissioner, Moffat County
Jackie Lecce Miller, Director of Youth Programs, Great Outdoors Colorado
Lynn Padgett, County Commissioner, Ouray County
Ellen Roberts, President Pro Tempore, Colorado State Senate
Anita Seitz, Councilmember, City of Westminster
Sky Stuart, Senior Policy Advisor and Legislative Director, City and County of Denver

2015 Fellows

Aaron Huckstep, Mayor, Town of Crested Butte
Sallie Clark, County Commissioner, El Paso County/National Association of Counties
Rhonda Fields, State Representative, Colorado General Assembly
Veronica Figoli, Chief Officer Family and Community Engagement, Denver Public Schools
Tobin Follenweider, Deputy Director, Colorado State Board of Land Commissioners
Brittany Petersen, State Representative, Colorado General Assembly
Matt Sturgeon, City Manager, City of Rifle

2013 Fellows

Lynn Johnson, Executive Director, Jefferson County Human Services
Nancy Jackson, County Commissioner, Arapahoe County
Matt Jones, State Senator, Colorado General Assembly
Nicholas (Nick) Mitchell, Independent Monitor, City and County of Denver
Chris Nevitt, City Council Member, City and County of Denver
Janice Sinden, Chief of Staff, Office of Mayor Hancock, City and County of Denver
Mary Beth Susman, President, Denver City Council, City and County of Denver

2014 Fellows
Kathy Nesbitt, Personnel Director, State of Colorado
Katie Baldassar, President of the Board, Lake County School District
Mike Bordogna, County Commissioner, Lake County
Thomas Davidson, County Commissioner, Summit County
Kathryn Hill, Chief Operating Officer, History Colorado
April Montgomery, Program Director, Telluride Foundation
Jennifer Sobanet, Chief Operating Officer, Colorado Department of Higher Education
Larry Wolk, Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
2011 Fellows

Dan Gibbs, County Commissioner, Summit County
Scott Gessler, Secretary of State, State of Colorado
Elizabeth McCann, State Representative, Colorado General Assembly
Eric Hansen, County Commissioner, Adams County
John Kefalas, State Representative, Colorado General Assembly
Elaine Mariner, Director of Creative Industries, Office of Economic Development and International Trade, State of Colorado

2012 Fellows

Irene Aguilar, State Senator, Colorado State Senate
Christopher Herndon, City Council Member, District 8, City and County of Denver
Claire Levy, State Representative, Colorado General Assembly
John Lucero, Deputy Director, Office of Economic Development, City and County of Denver
Dan Pabon, State Representative, Colorado General Assembly
Christine Scanlan, Director of Legislative Affairs and Senior Education Policy Advisor, Colorado Governor’s Office
Larissa Chantal Unfug, County Administrator, Mesa County
Angela Williams, State Representative, Colorado General Assembly