Office of School Safety
Chris is a Pennsylvania native and former public school teacher, private school administrator, psychotherapist and trainer with over 30 years experience working with youth, professionals and parents in schools, private practice and victim serving agencies. Her undergraduate degrees are in psychology and education and she earned her Master of Science degree in counseling and human relations from Villanova University. Chris has taught at the pre-school and elementary school levels.
Chris has trained professionals on such issues as violence prevention, school-based crisis response, adolescent trauma, sexual harassment and misconduct, suicide intervention, and mandated reporting of child abuse. She is the former training coordinator for the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance (COVA) and has taught victim studies at the University of Northern Colorado. Chris has training from the US Department of Homeland Security, the Boston Trauma Center, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation.
Manager of the School Safety Resource Center
Margaret Ochoa, J.D., worked as an Assistant County Attorney in Jefferson County, Colorado. She was primarily responsible for dependency and neglect proceedings, and advised the Department of Social Services in every aspect of child protection. In her role as Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Specialist, she provides resources for school personnel, parents and students to identify, prevent, and respond to sexual abuse and assault. She earned her law degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, as well as her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism.
Grants Unit Manager
Charli is a South Carolina native who joined the Office of School Safety from the Department of Homeland Security, Grants Management Office. With over 10 years of experience in grant administration with expertise across the lifecycle of an award, Charli has extensive knowledge in federal, state, and private grants and grant processes. She earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science from the College of Charleston, and her Master of Public Health from Grand Canyon University.
Colorado School Safety Resource Center
Manager of the School Safety Resource Center
Emergency Response Outreach Consultant
Brad Stiles is a Colorado native, having lived in different communities along the Front Range and foothills areas. Brad served for 8 years in the U.S. Army as a Military Policeman, performing a range of duties from patrol supervisor and squad leader to tactics instructor. After combat deployments to the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, all from Ft. Hood, TX, Brad returned home in 2006, joining the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office as a Deputy Sheriff. During his time with the Sheriff's Office, Brad was able to complete a B. A. in Criminal Justice, as well as a M.A. in Emergency and Disaster Management, from American Military University.
During his employment with Jefferson County, Brad was selected to serve as a Field Training Instructor, a Crime Scene Technician, as a member of the Honor Guard, as an Academy Instructor and as a member of Mobile Field Force Team 6, utilized during crowd control situations. Brad was also selected to become a member of the Jefferson County Incident Management Team (Type 3), serving in the Plans section as a fully trained Resource Unit Leader and Status Check/In Recorder. Brad was deployed with the JEFFCO IMT for the Lower North Fork Fire, the Bluebell Fire and the Colorado Floods of 2013.
School Outreach Consultant
Lea was born and raised in the Denver metro area and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado, her Masters in Social Work from Colorado State University, her postgraduate certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy, and her Masters in Educational Leadership from Regis University. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and holds her SSP and principal's license. Prior to working in schools, Lea worked with adolescents with eating disorders in a hospital setting and as an intake child protection caseworker.
In the school setting, Lea worked as a district social worker in a small, urban district outside of Denver and then as a district administrator in a large district in Chula Vista, California where she oversaw the creation of the school social work and internship program within her region, as well as specific district-wide programs to focus on the academic and social emotional needs of students in the foster care system. Upon her return to Colorado, she worked as a district administrator, overseeing all levels of social emotional services and support. Lea is passionate about community voice and interagency collaboration in the educational and social-emotional realms of schools.
Outside of work, Lea has four kids and a partner who keep her very busy. She enjoys reading, running (slowly), and all things coffee.
Regional Training Consultant (Northwest - Colorado)
Kati Garner, is a Florida native but moved to Colorado Springs when she was 10. After graduating high school, she attended the University of Wyoming and obtained a Bachelor's degree in Secondary Education Social Studies. Kati taught high school history for 3 years in Southwest Kansas before obtaining her Masters of Education in School Counseling and Licensed Professional Counseling from Southwestern Oklahoma State University. After working as a School Counselor in Southwest Kansas for 6 years, Kati returned to Colorado in 2016 and joined the counseling staff at Grand Junction High School.
She most recently worked as the Mental Health and Crisis Coordinator for Mesa County Valley School District 51 in Grand Junction where she oversaw threat assessments, bullying, suicide risk assessments, crisis response and acted as the districts Safe2Tell representative. Kati is a National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Prepared Certified Trainer and a Mental Health First Aid Certified Trainer.
Kati is available to review, assist in selecting, develop and provide physical and psychological safety resources and training to school personnel in the Northwestern Region of the state.
Regional Training Consultant (Southeast - Colorado)
Kelly Addington was born and raised in Southeastern Colorado and returned after a few short stints in Northern Colorado, New Mexico, and Georgia. She received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Northern Colorado and her teaching endorsement from Adams State College in Alamosa. She taught secondary Science, Physical Education, and secondary Language Arts over a period of 16 years before obtaining her master’s degree in School Counseling from Adams State University. After working as a school counselor for six years at La Junta Jr/Sr High School, she began a career as a School Health Professional with Santa Fe Trail BOCES, servicing multiple school districts in Southeastern Colorado with the implementation of social/emotional and substance use preventative education to students, staff, and families. Kelly is also a certified Mental Health First Aid Trainer.
As the Southeast Regional Training Consultant for the CSSRC, she is available to meet the needs of school personnel assisting in preventing, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from all types of emergencies and crisis situations. She can help provide resources and training to foster a safe and positive environment for schools. Her training repertoire includes:
- Youth Mental Health First Aid
- PREPaRE I & II
- Handle With Care
Kelly is available to review, assist in selecting, develop and provide physical and psychological safety resources and training to school personnel in the Southeastern Region of the state.
Regional Training Consultant (Eastern - Colorado)
Mike Vagher, is a Colorado native who grew up in Cedar Rapids, IA. After graduating high school, he attended Buena Vista University and obtained a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. He then moved back to Colorado to teach physical education at Lake County Schools in Leadville, CO. Mike taught PE for 3 years before obtaining his Masters of Education in Educational Leadership from Adams State University. In his fifteen years of experience in education, he has been a classroom teacher, athletic coach, instructional coach, assistant principal, athletic director, administrator, principal, Title IX coordinator, director of safety/security, chief operations officer, and superintendent. He most recently worked as the Superintendent of Cheyenne County School District where he oversaw operations and policy implementation for the district.
As the Eastern Regional Training Consultant for the CSSRC, he is available to meet the needs of school personnel assisting in preventing, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from all types of emergencies and crisis situations. He can help provide resources and training to foster a safe and positive environment for schools.
Mike is available to review, assist in selecting, develop and provide physical and psychological safety resources and training to school personnel in the Eastern Region of the state.
Melissa Rubeo joined the Center in February 2017 from the Department of Regulatory Agencies. She provides a wide variety of general support for the Center and staff, including ordering of office resources, planning for meetings and trainings, creating materials, maintaining communication with the Listserv members, and supporting the Center's fiscal accountability through budgetary management.
Benjamin Cosso joined the OSS in August 2023 after wrapping up a temporary assignment with CDPS as a Web Accessibility Specialist. He comes with a background in management, web development and digital media, with over 6 years of experience in New York City. He obtained a Bachelor's in Media Studies & Emerging Media from the City University of New York, and a Master's in Journalism from the University of Law and Political Science of Aix-Marseille, France.