Leaders

HOPE is managed by a team of experienced professionals who are dedicated to providing students a chance to succeed in academics and in life.

Heather O'Mara
Founder/CEO

With more than 20 years of experience across multiple fields, including education, technology, media and telecommunications, Heather O'Mara has a passion for K-12 and online education.

Ms. O'Mara takes an active role in HOPE's daily operations; including academics, technology and finance, as well as strategic planning and execution, including HOPE's charter contract and partnerships with the Douglas County School District. She enjoys working with community organizations, familiar with the culture and challenges faced by students, to expand educational opportunities. Ms. O'Mara is committed to providing students quality academic instruction by utilizing the benefits of online curriculum.

Prior to co-founding HOPE, Ms. O'Mara spent eight years at Jones International Ltd. As President of Jones Knowledge, she was responsible for facilitating the innovation and growth of one of the country's first online education businesses and encouraging high schools and universities to adopt online education. She also served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Jones Internet Channel, where she executed a content development license and acquisition strategy through relationships with cable television programmers and publishers.

Prior to Jones, Ms. O'Mara spent 10 years at Viacom Inc. as Vice President of Finance and International Operations. In addition, Ms. O'Mara was a CPA with audit and tax experience in the Emerging Business Services unit of Coopers & Lybrand. Ms. O'Mara earned her Bachelor of Science in Accounting and International Business from New York University in New York City.

Stephen C. Boston, MBA 
Vice President of Finance

Steve Boston overseas the HOPE process areas of accounting/finance, data management, human resources, technology support and nutrition services. Mr. Boston has more than 25 years of experience in operational roles from compliance to contract management, financial planning and analysis, human resource management, operations process improvement, program and project management, and sales operations management. He has worked in various sizes of organizations, including Fortune 500 firms, and industries ranging from banking, broadcasting, defense, healthcare and higher education.

Prior to HOPE, Mr. Boston spent 10 years at the Jones International companies. Duties there ranged from setting up the Program Management Office to a Sales Operations Department and managing the Compliance Office. Before his tenure at Jones, Mr. Boston spent several years at large organizations such as CoBank, ACB and Lockheed Martin in program management and financial controls.

Mr. Boston holds a MBA from the University of Colorado at Denver, a BBA with a concentration in Human Resources Management from the Anderson Schools of Management at the University of New Mexico, and was a former Project Management Professional. Mr. Boston has served on several non-profit board of directors in support of education and athletics. He is also an alumni member of the University of New Mexico Lobo Men’s’ Soccer Program.

Sharon Alexander-Holt
Interim Chief of Staff

Sharon Alexander-Holt has been involved with HOPE since its early years and led one of the first HOPE Learning Centers through Urban League of Metropolitan Denver. She joined HOPE in the Interim Chief of Staff role in September 2016. In this role, Ms. Holt works side-by-side with HOPE's Founder/CEO and is the lead strategic visionary for the organization, as well as helps oversee operations of the HOPE main office. Ms. Holt is excited about joining the team as she has seen first-hand how HOPE can make a difference in the lives of youth. 

Ms. Holt is a Denver native. She has nearly 30 years of experience in Foundation and non-profit work, diverse community relations, marketing, advertising, financial management and leadership. Some of the organizations she has been involved with include Crawford Broadcasting, Inc., First Data Corporation and Western Union Financial Services, Colorado Rockies Baseball Club and Hamilton Sweeney Advertising. Ms. Holt founded the First Data Western Union Foundation, now called the Western Union Foundation. She was honored in 2004 by Girl Scouts as a Woman of Distinction, is a graduate of the Greater Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce Leadership Denver Class 1991 and a Finalist for the Denver Business Journal Outstanding Women in Business award 2003. Ms. Holt has served on boards for her church, Denver Parks and Recreation, Five Points Media Center, DPS Alternative Education, Mountain States Employer Council, ACE Scholarships, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission and Southeast Business Partnership. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Minor in Mass Communications from Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga. 

HOPE Academic TeamHOPE’s Academic Team has decades of experience in education. They have worked in a variety school of settings, including traditional and non-traditional models. Each brings a passion for the work at hand and finding academic success for the students HOPE serves. 

  • Elementary School: Heidi Shaver and Laurie Griffith
  • Middle School: Christyn Holmes and Juli Nieto
  • High School/Student Services: Susan McAlonan, Ph.D. and Michael Udlock
  • Special Education: Paula Arduini, M.Ed.

Melanie Stone
Executive Director of Community Outreach 

As the Executive Director of Community Outreach, Melanie Stone and her team play a key role in supporting and advising HOPE's current and new Learning Center partners. Her department also oversees HOPE's athletics, activities and community events. These efforts ensure that HOPE is an integral part of the community and current and future HOPE students and their families remain engaged and build a stronger sense of school affiliation.

Ms. Stone first joined HOPE in 2006. She was selected in 2012 to lead the newly formed Activities and Athletics Department, which was created to meet the growing demand for student events. Prior to joining HOPE, Ms. Stone worked for 17 years in retail management. She earned her Bachelor's degree from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo.

Mark Swalley
Director of Admissions and Records

A veteran of Colorado private schools, Mark Swalley brings a wealth of educational and enrollment experience to his position as Director of Admissions and Records for HOPE. Mr. Swalley oversees the enrollment and records retention process for the entire HOPE student body, beginning with the initial application and continuing through the entirety of each student’s HOPE experience. 

Prior to HOPE, Mr. Swalley served the Denver Christian Schools for more than 30 years as a classroom teacher and athletic coach and for 16 years as high school principal. During his time at Denver Christian, Mr. Swalley was instrumental in starting the school’s technology program, helped to develop and implement several innovative curricular offerings and fostered a genuine sense of community among school stakeholders. 

Mr. Swalley earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Education and holds a Master’s degree in Administration, Supervision and Curriculum from the University of Colorado Denver. In 2003, he was named the Denver Broncos High School Coach of the Year and has served on the Colorado High School Coaches Association Football Committee.

Amanda Kalina
Communications Manager

Amanda Kalina joined HOPE at the end of May 2014 and oversees all communications, public relations and marketing projects. Prior to working at HOPE, Ms. Kalina served as Public Relations Director for Girl Scouts of Colorado where she spearheaded a variety of statewide public relations, marketing and communications activities to assist the organization meet their recruitment, retention and fundraising goals. Girl Scouts of Colorado's marketing and communications activities were nationally-recognized thanks, in part, to Ms. Kalina's leadership. One of the keys to Ms. Kalina's success was her ability to pursue opportunities that helped tell the Girl Scout story. Ms. Kalina's favorite part of her role at HOPE is working directly with the staff, students and families and sharing how they are helping HOPE deliver on its mission. Ms. Kalina holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is a member of the Public Relations Society of America.