Leadership Team

  Laura Myers - Head of School


Mrs. Laura Myers caught the “teaching” bug in a high school career exploration class 20+ years ago and has made a career in education ever since.  Mrs. Myers has had some amazing adventures in education, teaching in urban, suburban, rural, and even international schools.  Originally from Philadelphia, PA Mrs. Myers received her B.S. in education from Gwynedd-Mercy University, and received her M.S. degree in Exceptional Student Education from Lynn University two years later. In addition to teaching in the classroom, she has been an educational leader in Florida middle and high schools, as well as becoming the youngest adjunct professor at Indian River State College.  She is also a certified teacher trainer who has traveled the country helping teachers reach their students and tap into their strengths.  After a visit to Colorado this summer, Mrs. Myers and her family felt the call to move out west and she is so excited to be the new Head of School at CECA.     


Contact: laura.myers@coloradoearlycolleges.org

 Shirley Lia - Dean of Academics


Shirley Lia is the Dean of Academics at Colorado Early Colleges Aurora overseeing CTE, STEM, Math, Science, and Electives. Ms. Lia has a Bachelor’s Degrees in Education (Technological and Applied Studies) and Master’s Degree in Education (Educational Administration). Ms. Lia maintains a professional principal/teacher license and a Career and Technical Education (CTE) credential. Ms. Lia has a very diverse educational and employment background. Her experience includes six years in school leadership roles such as Assistant Principal (7-12), Summer School Principal (9-12), Restorative Practices Coordinator, Activities Coordinator, Department Supervisor, Teacher Evaluator, PLC Facilitator, and Team Leader. Her teaching experience includes 14 years in CTE roles K-12 and 3 years in 3rd grade. Experience in public, private, option, CTE, urban, and suburban schools in the United States and in international settings has broadened Ms. Lia's understanding and knowledge of the challenges and successes all educational settings may face today. Ms. Lia has a special appreciation and love for educational settings and, in particular, those in culturally diverse communities. Ms. Lia has and continues to thoroughly enjoy working with students of all ages.


Contact: shirley.lia@coloradoearlycolleges.org 

 Laura Schmitz - Dean of Academics

Laura Schmitz is the Dean of Academics at Colorado Early Colleges Aurora overseeing English, Humanities, and ELD. She is originally from St. Louis, Missouri and graduated from the University of Missouri Columbia with her Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary English Education. Ms. Schmitz moved to Colorado in 2012 and started her career in education at Aurora Public Schools teaching middle school Language Arts. She started working as a high school English Teacher at CECA when we opened in 2017. Ms. Schmitz has also been an Instructional Coach, Assessment Coordinator, MTSS Coordinator, and NHS Adviser for our campus. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, hiking, and traveling.

Contact: laura.schmitz@coloradoearlycolleges.org

 Patrick Longstreth - Dean of Students


Patrick earned his B.G.S. in General Studies at Indiana University and M.A. in Education Curriculum and Instruction at University of Phoenix.  In addition, he received his Associate Degree in Electronics Engineering Technology at ITT Technical Institute in Louisville, KY.  Patrick is also an accomplished and well-studied software developer with over thirty years of programming experience.  Patrick has an array of expertise, a jack of all trades so to speak.  Before moving into education, he served the Boulder County Sheriff’s Department and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office as a Deputy Sheriff.  He also was a Semiconductor Technician/engineer for Intel Corporation.  Patrick has well over 25 years of post-secondary education experience. He has developed and taught courses in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Solar Energy, Physics, Sustainability, Renewable Energy Technology and Criminal Justice. Over the course of his career in education he has served as an instructor, program director, associate dean, and academic dean, as well as a curriculum designer. Most recently, Patrick was the Academic Dean and then the Solar Program Director for the Ecotech Institute.


Contact: patrick.longstreth@coloradoearlycolleges.org 

 Pablo Correa - Dean of Admissions


Pablo Correa is the Dean of Admissions at CEC Aurora.  Mr. Correa is from Lima, Peru and moved to Denver with his family when he was 10 years old. He grew up in west Denver near Barnum Recreation Center.  He attended Colorado Christian University for his 1st and 2nd year.  He then transferred to University of Colorado at Denver and majored in International Relations.  He has been working with youth and teens since 2000, either through volunteer work or in his career.  A lot of his experience in schools came from his 7 1/2 yrs in Colorado Uplift and 1 1/2 years as a Dean at Compass Academy.  He LOVES spending time with his wife and 3 kids and coaching their soccer teams.  He also likes spending time in the outdoors, like whitewater rafting and hiking, and watching movies. 


Contact: pablo.correa@coloradoearlycolleges.org

 Mike McDonnell - Director of Campus Culture


Mike has been working with kids in education for over 15 years. I have a wife named Jenny and a daughter named Sophia. I love to watch football, play golf, and travel. 


Contact: mike.mcdonnell@coloradoearlycolleges.org