About Us

Horizontal, Gradient Emily Griffith Technical College Logo

Emily Griffith Technical College is the public, postsecondary and adult education arm of the Denver Public School system and is one of three area technical colleges in the Colorado Community College System. The college was founded in 1916 to offer educational opportunities for all who wish to learn. By providing students equal access to education and real-world opportunities, we strive to remove barriers in the education system.

Emily Griffith offers several areas of study including Career and Technical Education (CTE) certificate programs, with a hands-on learning focus, which includes Concurrent Enrollment opportunities for high school students. We also offer Apprenticeships to earn while you learn, English Language Acquisition to improve everyday language skills and prepare for further education or the workforce, GED, and Continuing Education courses.

Stained glass of Emily Griffith located in Denver's Capitol
Historical photo - Video Production students watch and edit footage in Denver, CO
Group of students smiling and laughing during Diversity Day
Historical photo - Emily Griffith Opportunity School building
Dental Assisting student smiles directly at camera in Denver, CO


“For all who wish to learn.”


Council on Occupational Education (COE)

Emily Griffith Technical College is accredited by the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education.

The Council on Occupational Education, based in Atlanta, Georgia, offers quality assurance services to postsecondary workforce education providers across the nation. Organized as a non-profit corporation, the mission of the Council is to assure quality and integrity in career and technical education. Services offered include institutional accreditation (recognized by the U.S. Department of Education), program quality reviews of states and workforce education providers, and informational services. For more information, please visit council.org.

Accreditation through the Council on Occupational Education provides assurances to faculty and staff, and our external business and industry partners, of rigorous instructional practice, access to high quality classrooms, shops, and labs, and a commitment to strong completion and placement rates. Accreditation is at the program level for Gainful Employment programs. Avocational progams/courses are neither accredited by the Council nor qualify students to receive Title IV financial aid (such as stand-alone ESL programs). Our partnership with the Council on Occupational Education enables us to maintain the highest standards of instruction and processes to best serve our students and our industry partners who hire our students.

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)

The Practical nursing program at Denver Public Schools is located in Denver, Colorado and is accredited by the: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) 3390 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 1400 Atlanta, GA 30326 (404) 975-5000. The most recent accreditation decision made by the ACEN Board of Commissioners for the Practical nursing program is continuing accreditation. View the public information disclosed by the ACEN regarding this program at http://www.acenursing.us/accreditedprograms/programSearch.htm.

ACEN supports the interests of nursing education, nursing practice, and the public by the functions of accreditation. Accreditation is a voluntary, peer-review, self-regulatory process by which non-governmental associations recognize educational institutions or programs that have been found to meet or exceed standards and criteria for educational quality. Accreditation also assists in the further improvement of the institutions or programs as related to resources invested, processes followed, and results achieved. The monitoring of certificate, diploma, and degree offerings is tied closely to state examination and licensing rules and to the oversight of preparation for work in the profession.

Additional Accreditations as Specified:

  • Apprenticeship and Related Instruction – Federal Bureau of Apprenticeship Training
  • Automotive Collision Repair Technology – Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)
  • Automotive Technician – Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)
  • Barber/Styling, Cosmetology – Colorado State Board of Barbers/Cosmetologists
  • Nurse Assisting – State Board of Nursing
  • Practical Nursing – State Board of Nursing

We were founded by education pioneer Emily Griffith, who envisaged a school where anyone, no matter their age or background, could get the education they needed to live a more “useful” life. She wanted to call this dream school, “Opportunity.”

Inspired by the parents of the children she taught early in her career, many who couldn’t speak English or read or write, Emily came to believe that education offered a pathway out of poverty.

When she opened the Opportunity School in 1916, she did so to provide first and second chances for “all who wish to learn.” It was one of the first trade schools in the country.

Since then, her Opportunity School has become Emily Griffith Technical College, a place where more than 2 million people have benefitted from Emily’s progressive idea that education should be accessible to all.

Emily’s Early Years

Emily Griffith was born on February 10th in the 1860s, in Cincinnati, Ohio. The eldest of four children, with a frail mother and impaired father, Emily went to work at an early age to help supplement the family income.

At 14, she started teaching in a sod schoolhouse in Broken Bow, Nebraska. It was here that she first discovered that many of her students’ parents did not know how to read, write or figure their bills. Many were immigrants and did not know English. 

These realizations made a profound impression on Emily. Her dream of a school for adults was born. She envisioned a place where students could attend classes day or night and receive as much education as they wanted or needed. In 1895, the Griffith family moved to Denver, Colorado. Denver Public Schools hired Emily and she continued to work for the school district until her retirement in 1933. 

Emily’s Dream

In 1915, as Emily helped with the Denver Post’s annual distribution of clothing to the poor, she shared her dream with the Post’s feature writer, Frances “Pinky” Wayne. “I want the age limit for admission lifted and classes so organized that a boy or girl working in a bakery, store, laundry, or any kind or shop, who has an hour or two to spare, may come to my school and study what he or she wants to learn to make life more useful. The same rule goes for older folks, too. I already have a name for the school. It is ‘Opportunity’.”

Frances Wayne was excited by Emily’s idea and began to write about it in the Denver Post. Soon talk of an Opportunity School was sweeping through Denver. The Denver Board of Education gave Emily the old, condemned Longfellow School located at 13th and Welton Streets. 

One September 9th, 1916, Emily’s dream became a reality. On the first day of classes, Emily personally greeted each student from the old roll top desk by the front door. She hoped for a few students; more than 1,400 registered in the first week. The school was open 13 hours a day, five days a week. Subjects included telegraphy, industrial millinery, typing, academic subjects, and English for those not born in the U.S. Emily’s philosophy, “for all who wish to learn”, remains as alive today as when she first opened the doors of the school which bears her name. 

Serving Soup

“A bowl of soup is served in the basement from 5:30-7:30. Free. This saves you time.”

This was written on a blackboard inside the entrance to the Opportunity School. For two years the soup was prepared at home by Emiy’s mother and carried to the school in a water pail by Emily and her sister, Florence. The custom began in response to a boy fainting in class one evening. Emily felt he fainted because he was hungry, and that if he was hungry, there were probably others who were as well. 

Later on, a wealthy woman arranged for meat to be delivered daily to the school. Florence arrived at 2 PM to prepare the evening’s soup. Two hundred bowls of soup were served each evening. Emily and Florence washed all the dishes themselves. Eventually, a woman was hired to do this. 

Changing Times

During World War I, the school trained soldiers in radio communications and civilians for special mathematics, drafting, tractor and ambulance driving, and gas engine work. New programs continued to be added after the war. They provided valuable assistance to Denver citizens during the depression. 

The school mobilized for a second time during World War II. Under the government’s War Production Board, the school operated around the clock, training more than 24,000 people for defense work. Separate departments in War Production training, food conservation, and victory gardening were established. 

Since then, the school has turned its efforts toward meeting technology demands of the 21st century. With new facilities and programs such as web development and cybersecurity, Emily Griffith Technical College is still preparing students for today’s workforce and tomorrow’s opportunities. 

Emily’s Death

Emily Griffith and her sister Florence were killed in their cabin in 1947. No motive or clues as to the murderer were ever proven. A former associate, Fred Lundy, was suspected of the killing. It was believed he might have been in love with Emily and performed a mercy killing. Florence, Emily’s sister, was unwell and an ever increasing burden on Emily. No one knows for sure, as Fred committed suicide a few weeks later. The crime remains unsolved. 

Emily’s Accomplishments and Legacy

  • From 1904 to 1908, Emily was deputy state superintendent of schools
  • From 1910 to 1912, Emily was deputy state superintendent of public instruction
  • In 1927, She founded # 9 Pearl Street, a residence for homeless boys; now the Emily Griffith Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • In 1976, Emily was honored at the Colorado State Capitol building for her contribution to Colorado history; she is the only woman
  • In 1985, She was inducted into Colorado Business Hall of Fame as well as the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame
  • In 2000, she was the recipient of Mayor Wellington Webb’s Millennium Award, selected as “Denver’s Most Useful Citizen”

The Denver Kiwanian gave Emily this tribute in 1946, “Under the inspiration of her spiritual vision and work, the Emily Griffith Technical College was founded ‘for all who wish to learn.’ Her heart, as large as humanity, her generous, creative spirit, quickened the soul of Denver to high achievements. Because of its power to inspire, we keep the memory of what she has done vivid. Because the way she pointed is now so clearly essential, we walk in it with increasing purpose.”

When visiting the Colorado capitol building, you will find Emily standing humbly in her stained glass window among all the men selected for their contributions to Colorado history. She was chosen for her impact upon the educational process, especially for adults. Her compassion, hard work, and vision made her a force able to change the futures of many.

Even after her death, Emily continues to earn accolades for what she accomplished. The Colorado Business Hall of Fame honored her as one of five people who “possess qualities of commitment, dedication and success to the business community and the state of Colorado”. She was the only woman in the group.

Learn More About Emily’s History

Adult Education and Language Learning Center 

Ryan Yates

Chris Kilmer
Associate Dean

Katherine Pham
CRESL Program Administrator

Jenny Kunches, Instructor and Career Pathways Specialist
M.A., Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education, University of Colorado – Denver
B.A., University of Colorado – Boulder

Diana Ord, Curriculum and Materials Coordinator
M.A., University of Colorado – Denver
B.A., Colorado State University


English Language Acquisition

Full-time Faculty

Mary Bocskovits, Instructor
MA, Trinity International University

Anne Gaspers, Instructor
M.A., Columbia University
B.A., University of Northern Colorado

Liz Hoelzle, Instructor
M.A., Teacher’s College, Columbia University
B.A., Concordia College

Kim Hosp, Instructor
M.A., University of Colorado – Denver

Connie Hwang, Instructor
M.S., Lesley University
B.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Gunilla Johnson, Instructor
B.A./M.A., University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Channing McAdams, Instructor
B.A./M.A., University of Oklahoma

Kevin Satterfield, Instructor
B.A., Metropolitan State University of Denver
B.A. Social Work, Colorado State University

Will Whitaker, Instructor
M.N.M., Regis University
B.A., University of North Carolina, Asheville (UNCA)

High School Equivalency

Full-time Faculty

Jacinda Lay, Instructor
MA, Colorado State University
BS, Colorado State University

Part-time Faculty

Diana Ord, Instructor
M.A., University of Colorado – Denver
B.A., Colorado State University

Rod Bennett, Instructor
TESOL and Culturally/Linguistically Diverse Education, University of Colorado
B.A. English Literature, Keene State College

Ronny Jacobo, Instructor
B.S. Psychology, University of Iowa

Karen Allred-Dennis, Instructor
TESOL Certification

Patricia Springer, Instructor
BA, University of New Mexico,

Dennis Rodgers, Instructor
MPA, Indiana University
M.A., Indiana University

Valerie Lunsted, Instructor
B.A. Michigan State University

Alena Sherma, Instructor
MA, University of Denver
BS, University of Colorado

Teresa Curtis, Instructor
MS, Colorado State University
BA, Fort Lewis College

Irina Berger, Instructor
MA, University of North Texas
BA, Kainar University, Kazakhstan

Michael Pearsall, Instructor
BA, University of Pittsburgh

Victoria Mullens, Instructor
MA, Sochi State University
MA, University of Denver

Sarita Parus, Instructor

Lena Shum, Instructor
MA, University of Colorado Denver
BA, Bethel University, St. Paul MN

Margaret Motz, Instructor
MA, Grand Canyon University

Darcie Sebasta, Instructor
MA, Colorado State University

Kathleen Mullens, Instructor
MA, University of British Columbia

Secil Abay, Instructor
BS, Kocaeli University

Dayana Juski, Instructor
MA, University of Colorado Denver
BA, Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Parana, Brazil

Irvin Pezhman
M.Sc Ed. Temple University
BA, University of Michigan

Lindsay Sandham
MA, University of Colorado Denver

Meggin LeVeaux
MA, Nova Southeastern University

Shae Isaacs
MA, University of Denver

Teresa Curtis
PhD, Liberty University

Xing Lucy Wang
MA, Tianjin Foreign Studies University,China

College of Creative Arts & Design

Sara Holzberlein
Dean & Director of Student-Run Businesses

Keith Wallace, Ph. D.
Associate Dean

Full-time Faculty

Marisol Espinoza, Instructor – Barbering
Certificate, Emily Griffith Technical College

Lymon Sneed, Instructor – Barbering
Certificate, Emily Griffith Techincal College

Dane Vickers, Instructor – Barbering
Certificate, Emily Griffith Technical College

Barbara Dudding, Instructor – Cosmetology
AA, Quincy Beauty Academy

Kelley Berzinskas, Instructor – Cosmetology
Licensed Cosmetologist, Artistic Beauty College

Valerie Barela, Instructor – Cosmetology
Licensed Cosmetologist, Artistic Beauty School 

Lisa Cruz, Instructor – Cosmetology

Timothy Inzano, Instructor – Culinary Arts
A.O.S., Culinary Institute of America

Lauren Bitz, Instructor – Esthetician
Certificate, Pickens Technical College

Heidi Eversley, Instructor – Multimedia and Video Production
M.A. Information and Learning Technology, University of Colorado-Denver
B.F.A, Colorado State University

Part-time Faculty

Shay Aguilar, Instructor – Barbering
Certificate, Emily Griffith Technical College

Kiley Baca, Instructor – Barbering
A.S. Degree, Cosmetology, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Barber Crossover Program, Emily Griffith Technical College

Derek “Rico” Fuller, Instructor – Barbering
Certificate, Emily Griffith Technical College

Timothy “Tyson” Keanum, Instructor – Cosmetology
Licensed Cosmetologist, Paul Mitchell The School

Katherine Kropp, Instructor – Cosmetology

Shirley Reinhardt, Instructor – Cosmetology
Licensed Cosmetologist, Empire Beauty College

Kristen Sipres, Instructor – Cosmetology
A.S. Accounting, Arapahoe Community College
Artistic Beauty College

Marcus Eng, Instructor – Culinary Arts
AS, Art Institute of Colorado

Christine Alarcon, Instructor – Massage Therapy

Angela Jensen, Instructor – Esthetician

College of Health Sciences & Administration

Marie Quinn, RN, BSN, MS
Dean & Director of Nursing

Patrice Muhammad
Associate Dean

Full-time Faculty

Roland Martinez, Instructor – Dental Assisting
A.A.S, Community College of Denver

Tonya Robinson, Instructor – Dental Assisting
Certificate, Emily Griffith Technical College

Lauren Law, Instructor – Nurse Assisting
RN, Columbia Hospital College of Nursing

Elisabeth Churchill-Fantz, Instructor – Medical Assisting
B.A., Columbia College
Certificate, Emily Griffith Technical College

Rachel Washington – Practical Nursing/Nurse Assisting
LPN, Decatur School of Nursing

Part-time Faculty

Sonia Berumen, Instructor – Practical Nursing
BSN, Nursing, Denver College of Nursing 

Virginia Buckley, Instructor – Practical Nursing
M.S. Nursing, University of Colorado

Shanise Jordan Casey, Instructor- Practical Nursing
MSN, Nursing, Regis University

Giuseppe Catanzaro

Martha Cross, Instructor – Practical Nursing
M.S. Nursing, Regis University

Mary Downing, Instructor – Practical Nursing  
CRNA, BSN, Nursing, University of Colorado

Simonique Grissom, Instructor – Practical Nursing  
FNP, MSN, Nursing, University of Colorado

Kristin Ryan, Instructor – Practical Nursing
B.S. Nursing, University of Phoenix

Michele Schnoor, Instructor – Nurse Assisting
B.S.N, Regis University 

Jerlinda Harper, Instructor – Practical Nursing
MSN, BSN, Denver School of Nursing

Peggy Korman, Instructor – Practical Nursing
CNM, APN, Nursing, New York University

Sarah Weller, Instructor – Practical Nursing
BSN, Chamberlain School of Nursing

Seifu Tulu, Instructor – Practical Nursing
MSN, University of Colorado

College of Trades, Industry & Professional Studies

Gideon Geisel, M. Ed.

Juan Pineda
Associate Dean

Full-time Faculty

Jeremy Barrera, Instructor – Automotive Collision Repair
Certificate, WyoTech

Greg Begun, Instructor – Automotive Service
ASE Certified Master, National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence

Ismael Esparza, Instructor – Automotive Service
Certificate, Emily Griffith Technical College

Steven Garcia, Instructor – Automotive Service
Automotive Mechanic Degree, Lincoln Tech

Ricardo Dena, Instructor – Computer Networking
A.A.S., El Paso Community College

Blake Madrid, Instructor – Construction Pre Apprenticeship
M.B.A., University of Phoenix

Matthew Langan, Instructor – HVAC
H & VA Supervisor License, City and County of Denver

Matthew McFadden, P.E., Instructor – Water Quality Management
M.S., University of Washington

Justin Maxheimer, Shop Tech – Welding 1
Certified Welder, AWS

Matthew Sartorio, Instructor – Welding 1
Certificate, Emily Griffith Technical College

Trina Tenorio, Instructor – Welding 1
Certificate, Emily Griffith Technical College

Part-time Faculty

Kelli Gile, Instructor – Accounting
BS, Business Administration, Adams State University

Eric Remelius, Instructor – CAD-BIM
B.S. Information Technology, Colorado State University

Joe Fiore, Shop Tech – Automotive Service
Certificate, Emily Griffith Technical College

Wesley Simone, Instructor – Automotive Service
Certificate, Emily Griffith Technical College

Main Campus:
1860 Lincoln St. 
Denver, CO 80203
Main Campus Parking:
Parking is limited around Emily Griffith Technical College Main Campus. Paid parking options are available in metered spots on the street and in area parking lots. Nearby lots have rates ranging from $5-$16 MAX. You can use BestParking to find a spot. 
Because of the limited availability of parking, we recommend using public transit if possible.

Branch Campus:
1205 Osage St.
Denver, CO 80204
Branch Campus Parking:
Parking is available onsite for students in programs housed at the Branch Campus. 

Multimedia and Video Production at Denver Community Media:
2101 Arapahoe St.
Denver, CO 80205
MVP Parking
Parking is available onsite for students in the Multimedia and Video Production program.


Land Acknowledgment:

Emily Griffith Technical College acknowledges our Indigenous relatives who have lived in and cared for this ancient Land from time immemorial. We acknowledge the close relationship that Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute and Natives of other tribal Nations continue to have with the waters, plants, and all moving things that call this Land home. We pledge our respect for those enduring Indigenous connections to the place we now call Colorado.

  • We are a public college that offers 19 career training certificate programs.
  • We are the only post-secondary institution in Denver Public Schools (DPS) serving adults. We serve concurrent enrollment high school students as well.
  • We are a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). More than 39% of our students are Hispanic.
  • Our campus includes three state-of-the-art facilities in easily accessible downtown Denver, close to public transportation.
  • We offer day and evening programs to fit your schedule.
  • We offer one of the lowest tuition rates in Colorado. Financial aid and scholarships are available to those who qualify.
  • Most students earn their certificate in less than a year and graduate without student loan debt.
  • We have some of the state’s highest completion and job placement rates for post-secondary education.
  • Students gain real work experience at our student-run businesses, which are open to the public. Our businesses include Emily’s Salon & Barbershop, Emily’s Café, Emily’s Massage and Emily’s Spa.
  • Students can transfer up to 45 credit hours to a Colorado community college.



Headshot of Executive Director, Randy Johnson


Executive Director

Headshot of Vice President of Instruction, Linda Van Doren


Vice President of Education

Headshot of Director of Finance and Operations, Erin Pepper


Vice President of Finance & Operations

Headshot of Vice President of Student Services, Tisha Chapman


Vice President of Student Services



Dean of Adult Education & Language Learning


Dean of Apprenticeship

Headshot of Dean, Sara Holzberlein


Dean of Creative Arts & Design

Headshot of Dean, Marie Quinn


Dean of Health Sciences & Administration and Director of Nursing

Headshot of Dean, Gideon Geisel


Dean of Trades, Industry & Professional Studies

At Emily Griffith Technical College, OUR STUDENTS...
Graduate with NO student loan debt
0 %
Complete their program
0 %
Find a job in a related field
0 %
Earn a license in their field
0 %

Preparing our students for today’s workforce and tomorrow’s opportunities.


Opportunities for all who wish to learn.


Emily Griffith Technical College is committed to excellence and diversity. Our quality educational institution accepts individuals as they are and assists them in becoming the best that they can be. Embracing this commitment, the school addresses the rapid pace of technological change and strives to be an innovative leader where change and creativity are celebrated. Emily Griffith strives to develop and maintain the best educational opportunities in the best educational environment possible.


At Emily Griffith, we strive everyday to live our core values and to share with all who wish to learn.

We strive to be an industry and education leader, to maintain an industry focus and perspective, and to promote technology-driven workforce development.

We strive to be leaders in community collaboration, to promote transparency and inclusiveness, and to embrace diversity and integrity.

We strive to utilize communication and teamwork, to always look for process improvement, to maintain program, department and employee accountability, and foster a culture of professional development.

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