“The ELK staff is highly trained and dedicated to providing high quality educational opportunities to our community. We are committed to working with ELK for this reason.”

- Tom Boasberg,
Denver Public Schools Superintendent


Loretta Pineda, Executive Director

Loretta grew up on a farm in Weld County that made her develop a great love and respect for the land and the people who work to keep Colorado special.  She earned her Bachelors of Art in Technical Journalism from Colorado State University before receiving certificates in Tufts University’s Citizen Participation Institution Coursework, and New York University’s Government Public Affairs Coursework. Prior to joining ELK, she devoted 33 year of service to the State of Colorado, Department of Natural Resources.

Loretta is a founding ELK Board member, and was also ELK’s 2011 Lifetime Legacy Award recipient.  She continues to serve on several Boards throughout the metro area, dedicated to enhancing Denver’s community and youth. She looks forward to enhancing the lives of ELK students and their families, with all of the heart and soul that is ELK!

Contact Loretta at lpineda@elkkids.org 

Kimberly WeissKimberly Weiss, Education Director

Kim received her Master of Arts in environmental education and conservation from Rowan University, in Glassboro, NJ in May 2004. Previously, she was an Angler Education Assistant for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Before moving to Colorado, Kim was a camp director for YMCA Camp Onyahsa in western New York. There she was responsible for directing all programs as well as supervising staff. As a part of her Masters thesis she developed a year-round environmental education program for Camp Onyahsa. She implemented the program during the summer of 2004. Kim maintains her First Aid/CPR for the professional rescuer certification.

Contact Kim at kweiss@elkkids.org or 303-291-7554.

Amy WrightAmy Wright, Associate Education Director

Born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, Amy received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Northern Arizona University. While pursuing her science degree, she began student teaching chemistry courses, and found her true passion—Science Education!  Over the years, she embarked upon the world of informal education and most recently was an Educator at the Children’s Museum of Denver. At the museum she focused on STEM curriculum and implemented the science program. She continually strives to be a good steward to our environment, and attributes her love for nature to her early experiences in the outdoors. She firmly believes that all children should have the opportunity to experience our natural world. When not teaching, she can often be found in the mountains with her two dogs, Zoe and Otis.

Contact Amy at awright@elkkids.org or 303-291-7147.

Amy WrightBen Gregory, Manager of Finance & Operations

A non-profit professional for over 18 years, Ben received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Averett University in Virginia.  In 2001, Ben moved to Colorado to continue his life-long passion for exploring the outdoors.  As Deputy Director for Colorado Conservation Voters, Ben worked to hold our state legislators and Governor accountable for their policy decisions while growing the political power of the environmental community.  In his free time, Ben enjoys photography, playing bass guitar, and filling his National Parks Passport with stamps.

Contact Ben at bgregory@elkkids.org or 303-291-7553.

Kristina OpreKristina Opre Gray, Corporate Relations & Marketing Director

After spending a year at UNC in Greeley CO, Kristina received her Bachelor of Art degree in Political Science from MSU Denver in 2011. From there, and after realizing that systemic change will never come from the top down, she enlisted in an assignment with the Corporation for National and Community Service's AmeriCorps VISTA program to do her part in fighting poverty and advocating for equality for all. Her incredibly positive experience as a VISTA solidified her dedication to living a life devoted to increasing opportunities for the far too often underserved. When she isn't busy roundhouse kicking poverty in the face, Kristina loves to dance, rollerblade and fish- but only when they're biting of course!

Contact Kristina at kopre@elkkids.org or 303-291-7502.

Justin Twist, Education Coordinator

Justin grew up in upstate New York where he spent his childhood days meandering through the woods and streams. He graduated in 2013 with a B.S in Environmental Science from Le Moyne College. Inspired to share nature with others, he has spent time teaching environmental education with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Shenandoah National Park, and McDowell Environmental Center. When not sharing what our awesome world has to teach us, Justin enjoys exploring new places and cultures, hiking, fly fishing, and reading. After completing a year of AmeriCorps VISTA service with ELK, Justin was hired on full-time to manage our summer Urban Ranger program, in addition to our Leaderships Corps!

Contact Justin at jtwist@elkkids.org

Taylor Ruffin, Education Coordinator

Taylor Ruffin grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and received his B.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology from University Wisconsin Stevens Point in 2015. While finishing his degree, he began teaching conservation education with the U.S. Forest Service in the Urban Connections program, where he was able to connect Milwaukee youth to the outdoors. Taylor moved to Colorado for the opportunity to work as an interpreter on Mt. Evans in the Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest and after that was an educator with Colorado Parks and Wildlife in the Schools in Outdoor Learning Environments program. He is excited to start working with ELK and continuing to provide stellar outdoor opportunities and experiences for Denver’s youth. In his off hours, Taylor enjoys hiking, foraging for edible plants and longboarding.

Contact Taylor at truffin@elkkids 

Christina Hoffman, Development Associate

Christina is a Denver native who attends Metropolitan University of Denver as a Communication Studies major. Channeling her passion for social justice, she has ten years of experience working for non-profit organizations. Her work with organizations range in focus from advocating for the homeless, scholarships for American Indian students, and access to health care in Colorado. When she isn’t studying or volunteering, she enjoys spending free time cooking, reading, and exploring the outdoor world with her husband and young son.

Contact Christina at choffman@elkkids.org or 303-291-7503