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A Week at PEAK - Friday

A Week at PEAK - Friday

The PEAK Editorial Team presents: "A Week at PEAK" in which we will give you an extra special sneak PEAK into our new office space at 917 East Moreno Ave., spotlighting our incredible staff members and innovative projects! Stay tuned every day this week to meet a new member of our staff and hear about their journey to PEAK as well as their impact on families across Colorado.

In wrapping up our "Week at PEAK" series, please meet Deana Heisler! Deana is PEAK's Events Coordinator, responsible for organizing our national conference on Inclusive Education and other events. Read more to learn about Deana's path to the nonprofit sector AND how you can be a part of the 2019 PEAK Annual Conference on Inclusive Education!

Tell us about your career path in Event Coordinating.
My career path has been quite varied. I started out as an instructor in higher education, teaching marketing. I have a deep love for everything higher ed. and I have worked in several capacities as a career counselor, academic adviser, teacher, and the one position that probably led me to this job at PEAK is when I served as Director of the Student Union and Student Activities at Black Hills State University in South Dakota. There, I planned campus-wide events as well as advised student groups on how to execute their own successful events. I created manuals and training materials on event promotion, and it was great being able to help and support the students.

Why the transition to PEAK?
Part of working at the Student Union made me a strong advocate for inclusion because I worked with a lot of student groups like the [LGBT] Group and the African-American and Native American Student Associations. I also planned disability-awareness programming on campus, which made me passionate about social justice. At this point in my life, I wanted to hold a position that had great meaning for myself and the lives of others, and that led me to the nonprofit arena. I wanted to couple that with my skills in event planning to make a larger impact.

You are currently planning for the Annual Conference on Inclusive Education, which will take place February 14-15, 2019 at the Denver Renaissance Stapleton Hotel. Where are you in the planning process?
I have a schedule in place and a conference timeline. I'm currently in the middle of inviting presenters to be a part of the conference and creating a promotional plan in order to reach out to more families who can join us. I will begin to start looking at themes and graphics soon as well as fleshing out the budget.

What makes the Annual Conference special? Why should families and educators attend?
The conference gives hope and possibilities and frees people to dream who might not otherwise feel like they can. It helps build camaraderie among the disability community and it offers a plethora of ideas to educators; it shows educators that "the how" of inclusive education does not have to be difficult - that with simple changes, those with disabilities can benefit alongside all other kids in the classroom. It's about tweaking certain activities or approaches to create inclusive classrooms.

Where can I learn more about the Conference and register?
Our website will be the most up-to-date place to find information. If you want conference updates, we will also send out emails. Reach out to our office if you would like to be added to the email list. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter as information will be posted there as well.

Registration opens in October! Stay up-to-date with the latest news on our annual conference at: http://peakparent.org/conference_on_inclusive_education.

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