BOARD OF EDUCATION BIOS
2017 – 2021
Board of Education President Kyla Armstrong-Romero, Ph.D.
Kyla (Bradford) Armstrong-Romero, Ph.D. was born in Chicago, Illinois. She moved to Colorado at a young age and attended elementary school at Lansing Elementary School in Aurora and graduated from Overland High School. Dr. Armstrong-Romero graduated with honors from the University of Colorado at Denver in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish with a minor in Sociology. She studied abroad in Mendoza, Argentina, and later lived in Chihuahua, Mexico. She attended graduate school at Regis University, graduating with honors with a Master of Science degree in Criminology in 2012. In January 2017, Dr. Armstrong-Romero completed all requirements for her Ph.D. Program at Capella University. She graduated from the Ph.D. Human Services program with a 4.0 GPA and successfully defended and published her dissertation.
Dr. Armstrong-Romero lives in Aurora with her husband, eight year old “bonus” son, and three cats. She enjoys traveling, reading and spending time with family.
Dr. Armstrong-Romero currently works as the Second Judicial District Senate Bill 94 Director for the City and County of Denver. Senate Bill 94 provides alternatives to detention through funding and community supervision practices. She is also an Adjunct Faculty Professor at Colorado Technical University, teaching a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses.
Dr. Armstrong-Romero was appointed by Governor John Hickenlooper to the State Board of Accountancy in 2017. She also serves as a Commissioner on the Crime Prevention and Control Commission. Additionally, she served in various capacities on the following boards and committees: Colorado Black Women for Political Action, Juvenile Services Planning Committee, Aurora Kiwanis Club, Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative, and the Denver Youth Committee.
While completing her education, Dr. Armstrong-Romero worked as a counselor, advocate and social caseworker for children, adolescents, parents and victims of crime. She made it her personal mission to advocate and stand up for kids and families who may be labeled as 'disadvantaged'. In 2012, Dr. Armstrong-Romero was recognized as a Community Hero by Viva Colorado for her role as a Victim Advocate with the Aurora Police Department.
In 2017, Dr. Armstrong-Romero received an award from the Division of Youth Services for Significant Contributions in Juvenile Justice.
Board of Education Vice President Debra E. Gerkin
Debbie Gerkin’s entire teaching career took place in Aurora, including her tenure as principal of Crawford Elementary School. But that wasn’t the first time Crawford appeared in her family’s story — Debbie’s husband Phil Gerkin went to Crawford — and her husband’s mother went to Crawford! All three of Debbie’s daughters graduated from Gateway High School, and now two of her grandchildren are students at Aurora Quest K-8. Debbie’s husband taught in Aurora, and two of her daughters teach in Aurora now. In retirement, Debbie has worked as an instructional coach and mentor for new teachers in APS.
But education is not her only passion. Being bi-vocational, Debbie is also a clergywoman. For over 20 years, she has shared ministry with Fireside Christian Church, a Home Church for Metro Denver. Additionally, she is chairperson of the Committee on Ministerial Standing for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the Central Rocky Mountain Region, a group that nurtures and certifies seminary students and credentials clergy in the five-state region. She also serves on the region’s Clergy Ethics Committee.
And in her free time? Debbie loves to read, to quilt and to travel. She’s a member of the Rotary Club of Aurora and is learning how to play golf. Debbie has been married to Phil for 42 years. Together they have three grown children, five grandchildren and a yorkie-schnauzer mix named Cookie.
Debbie earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma, her Master of Divinity degree from the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, her Teacher Licensure from Regis College at Loretto Heights in Denver, and she completed her Educational Leadership and Policy Studies degree from the University of Colorado at Denver.
Board of Education Secretary Marques Ivey, J.D.
Marques A. Ivey is married to Stacey, an educator who currently teaches in the Adams County School District, and he is the father of three children, with two currently attending Vista PEAK Preparatory.
Mr. Ivey owns and operates his own law firm in Aurora and has done so for over 11 years. Prior to starting his law firm, he worked for a local civil defense firm and proudly served as a Deputy State Public Defender out of the Denver Trial Office.
Mr. Ivey currently serves as the APS Board Secretary. He is also a member of the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Board of Directors, serves as Vice President of Advocacy, Officer to the Board, and Chair of the Legislative Committee. Prior to being elected to the APS Board, he was the Chair of the Community Housing and Development Committee for the City of Aurora and Chair of the Minoru Yasui Volunteer Award Committee. Prior to these positions, Mr. Ivey has served as Chair of the Bylaw and Policy Committee and Chair of the Membership Committee for the National PTA. He has also served on the Board of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar-- where he is a Life Member-- Board of Directors for the Colorado PTA-- where he is also a Life Member-- the Colorado Lawyers for the Arts Board, and the Board for the Colorado Juvenile Defender Center.
Mr. Ivey was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana, where he graduated from Clay High School, and went on to attend and graduate from Indiana University, Bloomington, with a major in Criminal Justice and minor in History. Upon graduation from Indiana University, he immediately moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to attend Law School at the University of Tulsa, College of Law, where he graduated with a Doctor of Jurisprudence. Mr. Ivey is a professional musician and a fanatic Pittsburgh Steelers Fan!
Board of Education Treasurer Nichelle Ortiz
Nichelle Ortiz is the mother of two current Aurora Public Schools students and one APS alumnus. She is a Colorado native and has called Aurora home for the last 15 years. Nichelle has volunteered in APS classrooms for the past 10 years.
Nichelle graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver with a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition and Dietetics in 2013. She works for the University of Colorado Anschutz Campus as a Health Promotion Facilitator supporting early childhood education teachers and families with healthy eating and physical activities. Her life, in one way or another, has been spent inside the classroom and she looks forward to emboldening the work of APS as a Board member.
Nichelle brings valuable life experiences to the Board, having been a teen mother and the first in her family to attend college. Nichelle has an understanding of what it is to be a non-traditional student and what it means to take the unbeaten path but ultimately find your way in life.
Nichelle has been married to her husband Efrén Ortiz for 14 years. She enjoys cooking, traveling and learning about different cultures from all over the world. Nichelle is honored and humbled to serve the beautifully-diverse students and families of APS as a Board of Education Treasurer.
Board of Education Director Stephanie Mason
Stephanie Mason was born in Philadelphia to Frederick and Gwendolyn Gordon. She has been married for 41 years to Albert Mason, Jr. and blessed with two daughters, Gwendolyn Nicole Mason and Shatonya Lachelle Mason. She is also the grandmother of Jeremiah, a senior at Rangeview High School, and Janay, a Rangeview sophomore. Both Stephanie’s father and her husband are retired from the U.S. Air Force. During her time as an Air Force spouse, she served as president of the NCO (Non-Commissioned Officers) Wives Club.
Stephanie earned her Bachelor of Science. in Sociology with a Minor in Psychology from Black Hills State University in South Dakota, where she also was the Vice President of the Black Student Union. After graduation, she interned with the Department of Human Services as a Social Worker providing support and resource information for families. After her internship, she was hired by Girls Incorporated to advocate and provide resources for at-risk girls. She also volunteered for the Troubled Teens Girls Hotline.
In 1995, after Albert retired from the Air Force, they moved to Colorado, falling in love with the state after years of visiting Stephanie’s parents who moved here after her father's Air Force retirement. Aurora spoke to them, which is where they decided to settle with their daughters.
Stephanie's activism in the Aurora community includes being chosen as the Precinct Committee Person for the Colorado House of Representatives District 36 and later elected to the 1st Chair position for HD36. Through her parents and friends, she is a member of the Main Ingredients and Crafty Bunch, who are dedicated to supporting students with the mission of raising funds to grant scholarships to students entering college.
Stephanie's road to election as an Aurora School Board at-large member started when she visited the school her grandchildren were attending, Columbia Middle School. She involved herself in the Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO), helping to raise funds through activities and other community efforts to highlight Columbia. The following year she was elected President of the PTSO, which she held for more than three years. One of her major accomplishments as president was organizing the first campus tour of Metro State University for Columbia’s eighth-grade students. This is now a tradition at Columbia. She also partnered with another parent, Pat Davis, to create an after-school program called SAWS (Striving and Will Success) to assist middle school girls with low self-esteem and to empower and support them to succeed. Stephanie's demonstrated passion for community and youth grew her resolve and reputation as someone who gets things done. She was asked by the Aurora Education Association to run as a Board candidate...and won!
Her motto is: Our children are our living messages we send to a future we will never see.
Board of Education Director Kevin Cox
Kevin Cox is proud to serve the Aurora Public Schools community. He grew up as the youngest of three children raised by a single mother in Houston, TX. While in high school, Cox earned an honors engineering scholarship. However, due to difficult economic conditions, he started working after graduating from high school. Cox worked many jobs to help provide for his family. Eventually, he obtained his commercial driver’s license and has been a truck driver for 12 years.
Cox is passionate about ensuring that quality education is attainable for all students regardless of their backgrounds. He is also a strong supporter of career and technical education programs for students.
Cox moved to Colorado four years ago and lives in Aurora with his wife Katrice. He credits Katrice for inspiring him to run for the APS Board of Education.
Board of Education Director Vicki Reinhard
Vicki Reinhard was born at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. She moved to Aurora in 1987 with her husband, Tony, and two young sons as her husband changed jobs. The Reinhards have been residents of Aurora ever since, and Vicki has had continuous ties to Aurora Public Schools.
Vicki earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from Wayne State College, Nebraska, majoring in Social Sciences. Her teaching career began in Omaha, where she worked for one year as a district substitute and four and a half years as an eighth- grade Language Arts/Social Studies teacher at Lewis and Clark Junior High School. After moving to Aurora, Vicki worked as a substitute teacher in both the Cherry Creek School District and Aurora Public Schools, which allowed her some flexibility to be at home with her young sons.
Vicki worked as a counselor and teacher at Excelsior Youth Center in Aurora while pursuing an endorsement in Special Education at the University of Denver. Soon after completing this endorsement, she began working as an elementary special education teacher in APS at Kenton Elementary School, where she taught for 20 years, and then at Montview Elementary School, from where she retired in 2018. Vicki is a 25-year veteran teacher of APS and her career spanned 36 years! Working with and advocating for children has always been her passion.
Vicki has been married to Tony Reinhard for 37 years. Tony manages a construction supply branch in the Denver area. They are the parents of two sons, Tony and Donald, both Rangeview High School graduates. The Reinhards are also proud grandparents of three beautiful grandchildren: Ava, DJ, and Declan.
In her free time, Vicki enjoys reading, cooking, and traveling, especially to see family and try to keep up with their activities!