Clayton Early Learning Center Denver, Colo.

Character Formation in K-12 Education

Thursday, Jul. 18 9:30 a.m.



Today’s educators juggle many responsibilities. Between crowded classrooms, personalized learning plans, and the constant stream of papers to grade, it’s hard for teachers to keep up. Administrators wrestle with broader pressures like standardized testing, partisan school board debates, and school safety.

In today’s complex educational environment, how can we develop the hearts and minds of our students? Does character formation even have a place in pluralistic school settings?

Join Denver Institute on Thursday, July 18th, for a half-day workshop (9:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.) exploring principles and practices for character formation in K-12 education. Whether you are a teacher or administrator, in a public or private school setting, this workshop will connect your faith to tangible, teachable outcomes.

Leaders from Open Sky Education and the Character Formation Project will share their unique approach to teaching virtue in the classroom. Local innovators Collinus Newsome (Aurora Public Schools, Denver Foundation) and Jennifer Douglas (High Line Academy, New Legacy High School) will offer insight about character formation strategies in the Denver metro area.

Refresh your soul, connect with other Christian educators, and expand your mind at this encouraging gathering.

Coffee and lunch will be provided.


Ellen Bartling, Ph.D.

Character Formation Project

Ellen served in Wisconsin public schools for 32 years before joining Open Sky Education’s Character Formation Project in 2013. Her experience as a classroom teacher, district level director of curriculum, assessment, instruction and staff development, elementary principal, high school principal, and district superintendent brings to the project a depth of practical knowledge about the way students learn and school climate and culture are created. Throughout her career, Ellen collaborated with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the University of Wisconsin System, the Wisconsin Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and the Wisconsin Council for the Social Studies to increase educational experiences for students in global education, world languages, STEM, college and career preparation and character education. Ellen earned her bachelor’s from UW-Platteville, her master’s from Marian University and her doctorate in urban education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Jennifer Douglas

New Legacy Charter School

As Executive Director of New Legacy Charter School and one of the founders of Highline Academy, Jennifer has been one of  Denver’s most innovative charter school leaders. New Legacy, a school supporting teen parents, serves northwest Aurora, the region with the highest teen birth rate in the metro area. It provides the academic and social support mothers needs to complete their high school educations and build a foundation of learning for their children. Today, Jennifer advises schools and nonprofits nationwide through her consulting practice Right Hand Solutions. She has degrees from University of Colorado Denver and St. Olaf College.

Matthew Hoehner, D.Min.

Character Formation Project / Christ Community Lutheran School / Open Sky Education

For the last five years, Matt served as executive director of Open Sky Education’s St. Louis region. In this role, Matt is leading the development of a region of high performing EAGLE public charter schools and Compass Educational Programs. Matt also works with the Character Formation Project, serving schools and organizations across the nation and the world. He recently stepped into the Executive Director role at Christ Community Lutheran School. In addition to his role as an educational administrator, Matt served in church leadership as a pastor for fourteen years. He graduated from Concordia University, River Forest, and went on to Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, where he received a Master of Divinity, a Master of Sacred Theology, and a Doctor of Ministry in Cross-Cultural Leadership.

Collinus Newsome

The Denver Foundation

Collinus has spent her career helping students of any cultural or socio-economic background succeed academically. From her work as Policy Advisor to the Superintendent of Aurora Public Schools, one of the regions most diverse school districts, to her leadership as Director of Diversity at CU Boulder’s School of Education, Collinus has navigated the complexity of today’s educational systems. In her role as Director of Education at the Denver Foundation, Collinus leads a citywide conversation promoting classroom effectiveness, family engagement, and educational equity. She earned a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a Bachelors in Sociology from the University of Illinois


General Admission

Includes coffee and lunch

Thursday July 18 9:30 a.m.

$40.00 USD/Ticket


Student Discount

Includes coffee and lunch

Thursday July 18 9:30 a.m.

$30 USD/Ticket