Meet the Team

Meet the Outreach Team

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Twyla Esquibel, director of outreach 

Since October 2022, Twyla Esquibel has lead the Outreach Team to support and train school districts, workforce centers, correctional facilities, adults, students, families, foster youth and other stakeholders on college admissions, enrollment, scholarships, financial education, My Colorado Journey, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and the Colorado Application for State Financial Aid (CASFA). She has been with the Department for 17 years in various roles, and most recently as program coordinator for My Colorado Journey and Outreach. Twyla was born and raised in Denver. She is a Manual High School graduate and attended the Community College of Denver. In her spare time, Twyla enjoys spending time with her family and friends. 



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Annie Ngo, outreach navigator

Prior to joining the department, Annie worked in early childhood education and served various roles in higher education. She has also worked with CSU's TRIO Upward Bound Program as well as with student programming at the University of Denver and Metropolitan State University. Annie is passionate about integrating evidence-based practices when working with diverse communities. 

Annie received her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies at Colorado State University and her Master of Arts degree in Higher Education at the University of Denver. She is excited to work with the department where she is able to further her interests in public policy. On her free time, she loves going to professional sporting events (go Denver Nuggets), going to Disneyland, and trying new local restaurants.



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Sarah Collette, FAFSA coordinator

Sarah is originally from Kansas, but lived in Colorado for quite a few years now. She earned a bachelor's degree in sociology at Fort Hays State University and a master's degree in management from CSU Global.

She is a financial aid professional with 15 years of experience in higher education and financial aid. Most recently, Sarah worked at CU Boulder as an assistant to the financial aid director and prior to that, Front Range Community College and Everest College as a student facing financial aid advisor for many years. She enjoys working with a diverse population of students and helping them to navigate the financial aid process and reach their educational goals. Sarah is also very passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion work and strives to continue learning and growing as a professional with a DEI lens. She lives in Thornton with her husband and four children. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys paddleboarding and going to the lake, cooking, traveling, watching sports, and spending time with family.  


Meet the Foster Care Student Navigators

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Violeta Apodaca, foster care student navigator

Violeta is a proud first-generation Latina who graduated from Colorado State University. She has many years of experience working in multi-ethnic and multi-cultural environments, supporting Colorado learners with their postsecondary journey. She is an ICAP champion and a Meaningful Career Conversationalist. She enjoys being with her family and friends ad being involved with the community.

Violeta volunteers for many organizations, including the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado and the Colorado Council on High School/College Relations. She is the Executive Board Vice President of Adelante Mujer, Inc., a member of the Colorado Concurrent Enrollment Advisory Board and a member of the Secondary, Postsecondary, and Work-Based Learning Integration Task Force. Violeta looks forward to working with our foster care youth and supporting them through their postsecondary journey.


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Teresa Fowler, foster care student navigator

Teresa is very excited to take on this new position and is deeply committed to improving the lives of students in foster care. Her most recent experience has been directly supporting middle and high school students who have child welfare involvement by providing trauma-informed case management, mentorship, advocacy, and counseling regarding postsecondary plans, including education and career goal setting—all to empower youth toward academic success.  

Teresa earned a bachelor’s degree in family and child sciences from Florida State University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of South Carolina and is also a licensed clinical social worker in Colorado. Teresa is originally from Florida but is grateful to call Colorado home since 2016. In her free time, Teresa loves traveling and discovering new places, drinking coffee, trying new foods, and spending time with her husband, daughter, and sweet pup!


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Phyllis Gebre-Michael, foster care student navigator

Phyllis Gebre-Michael is thrilled to rejoin CDHE.  Originally from Wesel, Germany, Phyllis has lived in Colorado on and off for the past 20 years. Her father’s military career originally brought her to Colorado, and it allowed her the opportunity to live and travel abroad extensively.  Phyllis earned a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communications with an emphasis in Broadcast Journalism from the Metropolitan State University of Denver and a master’s degree in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Linguistics from the City University of New York at Brooklyn College.   She loves working with students from all backgrounds and it brings her great joy to see them reaching their full potential.  Phyllis has many years of experience advising, mentoring, and teaching students locally and internationally, including Japan and Ethiopia.  In her most recent position, she worked at CDHE as a Pre-Collegiate Advisor with the Gear Up Program in Aurora Public Schools.  She also worked at the University of Colorado at Denver, Colorado State University-Global Campus, and Metropolitan State University of Denver helping students reach their post-secondary goals.  Phyllis currently resides in Centennial with her husband and twin daughters, Alem and Asmeret.  In her spare time, she loves traveling, trying new foods, baking cakes, and watching foreign movies.


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Shannon Walsh, foster care student navigator

Shannon is a former school social worker with experience in serving the diverse needs of students through trauma-informed practices, special education, and mental health advocacy. Her calling is to educate, engage and empower others by providing equitable access to the tools needed to effectively reach their goals. Like many Coloradans, Shannon enjoys spending time outside hiking, camping, or just basking in the sun. She also loves to cook and spend time with loved ones and is particularly happy when the two overlap. Shannon is thrilled to be part of the movement to bridge the educational gap for youth in the foster system!