Kristin Klopfenstein, Director

A noted economist, Kristin Klopfenstein most recently served as founding Executive Director of the Education Innovation Institute at the University of Northern Colorado. The Institute was established by the Colorado General Assembly to leverage applied research to solve practical problems in educational reform.

Prior to joining UNC, Kristin was interim director of the Education Research Center at the University of Texas, Dallas, a state repository for educational data. She also served as an associate professor of economics at Texas Christian University. She earned her doctorate in Economics from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and her undergraduate degree from George Washington University.


Elysia Clemens, Deputy Director

Elysia is an expert in adolescent mental health, K-12 education, research design, and alignment of systems that serve children and families. She has a successful track record serving as a principal investigator on federal, state and philanthropically funded research grants. Her applied research experience spans from developing interventions and assessment tools to multi-site randomized control trials.

Prior to joining the Colorado Lab, Elysia was a tenured, full professor at the University of Northern Colorado. While serving as a faculty member, she partnered with the state of Colorado to link child welfare and education administrative data to inform educational stability policy for youth in foster care. She developed innovative technology to improve monitoring implementation fidelity for clinical interventions.

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Whitney LeBoeuf, Director of Data Integration and Analytics

Whitney is an expert in social policy research and data sharing, having worked with the well-known national group Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (AISP) at the University of Pennsylvania. As Director of Data Integration and Analytics for the Colorado Lab, she will be working with partners at all levels of state government to foster interagency data sharing for research to inform program and policy improvement.

Prior to joining the Colorado Lab, Whitney worked with both University of Colorado Boulder School of Education and University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education as a Senior Research Associate. She earned her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in Education Policy, and has a Masters degree in Quantitative Research Methods from the University of Denver Morgridge College of Education. Her undergraduate degree is in Communications, earned at Northwestern University.


John Hokkanen, Senior Data Management and Integration Scientist

John Hokkanen is a data scientist with many years of experience in merging datasets, analytics, and statistical modeling. John has worked in both the private sector (banking, law) and public sector (Dept. of Health and Human Services) in addition to being an entrepreneur.


Alison Sheesley, Staff Researcher 

Alison Sheesley is a writer and researcher who is passionate about bridging the gap between research and practice. She is skilled in developing comprehensive reports and presentations addressing a variety of complex health, education, and social sciences topics. As a licensed professional counselor, she is particularly knowledgeable about the mental health field. She earned her PhD from the University of Northern Colorado in counselor education and supervision and has a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from Loyola University New Orleans. Alison’s undergraduate degree is in political science from Tulane University.

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Shannon Willis, Office Manager

Shannon brings with her extensive skills in the software industry and in project coordination. She most recently served as a Software Application Administrator for MARRS Services in Los Angeles, and prior to this worked in document control, procurement, and project delivery for companies in the Phoenix area. She earner her bachelor’s degree from Southeast Missouri State University.

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