PPAGS is an affiliate of the Colorado Association for Gifted Students.  We serve a population of approximately 1 million people in the Pikes Peak Region by providing partnerships and connections, education, support, and advocacy for gifted and talented individuals. 

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Executive Leadership Team

Sarah Lavezzo


Sarah Lavezzo is the founder and director of Ascend Micro School - a K-6 modern one-room schoolhouse in Colorado Springs. She also currently serves in the role of President of the Pikes Peak Association for Gifted Students and has been enthusiastically guiding gifted learners for the past 8 years. Additionally, she has co-authored several curriculums for the United States Institute of Peace and Heartwork. She is passionate about learner-driven education, global education, and empowering children to use their unique gifts to make a positive impact in their communities and world. She is the mom of a profoundly gifted daughter and loves to build community with other parents and support them in their journeys. You can reach her at sarah@ascendmicroschool.com.

Molly Worner



Molly Worner is the parent of two identified gifted students. A licensed Gifted Educational Specialist, she works as a Gifted Resource teacher in Colorado Springs District 11, and currently serves as the treasurer on the PPAGS Board.

A former consulting presenter for the Colorado Department of Education on issues for Twice-Exceptional students, her interests focus on the social and emotional needs of all gifted children. Molly is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented and the Presidential Scholars Program Teacher Recognition Award from United States Department of Education.


Mark Hess

Past President

Mark Hess is in his 33rd year in education and is the Gifted Programs Specialist in Colorado Springs School District 11. He is a board member of the Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented and co-chair of the Special Populations Committee.  Mark is also a member of SENG’s Editorial and Research Committee as well as Past-President of the Pikes Peak Association for Gifted Students.  Mark presents at national and state gifted conferences throughout the west. His articles have appeared in SENG and NAGC publications.  As Portable Gifted and Talented, he leads in-services, has published 200+ units specifically designed for gifted learners, and three Social-Emotional curriculum books are due to be published by Prufrock Press, spring 2021.

Teresa Brown


Teresa Brown is serving gifted students in the Pikes Peak region as the Dean of Student Support at Academy for Advanced and Creative Learning and the coordinator for its Center for Gifted Resources. Over the past 14 years, she has had the opportunity to advocate for the needs of gifted children as a conference and workshop presenter AAE Fellow, parent book club facilitator, and teacher coach.  She has presented at several state level conferences including CAGT, CCIRA, and even Denver ComicCon as an advocate for gifted students. "Gifted is who they are, not what they produce." is the driving statement behind her work with students, families, and educators.

Elizabeth Busler



Elizabeth Busler has taught Language Arts at Eagleview Middle School in Academy School District 20 for the past twelve years. To better meet the needs of students with giftedness in the verbal-linguistic areas, she co-created her building’s Advanced Language Arts curricula for 7th and 8th grade students.  As a gifted learner herself, Elizabeth values providing challenge and choice for her students, often suggesting that teachers, “Say ‘yes’ and then figure out the details” to support student-driven learning.  Elizabeth is the mother of two gifted daughters and has been the secretary of PPAGS for one year.

Board Members

Kristin Balsick

Michael Chamberlin

Holli Burns

Erica Saravis

Jennifer Wakeen

Kelly Hughes