Keith King, former Colorado senator and founder/administrator for Colorado Early Colleges (CEC), was among several Colorado educators recognized by The Education Center (TheEduCtr) Friday, March 3 for their high standards of excellence in education.
TheEduCtr presented King with its Friend of the Salute Award, which goes to an "outstanding individual of any race who has dedicated their life to inspire and motivate the underserved minority students, parents, and people of color in Colorado." King was honored during TheEduCtr's annual Salute to Excellence in Education Awards Gala in Denver that honors minority educators including, teachers, principals, administrators, school librarians and social workers for outstanding contributions in their respective fields of work.
“I am honored and deeply humbled to be included among the educators recognized at this year’s Excellence in Education ceremony,” King said. “As educators, we dedicate so many hours of the day to ensuring that our students receive world-class education in a safe, encouraging environment. Having the chance to interact with so many educators from across the state of Colorado was a true highlight for me.”
TheEduCtr Founder Dr. Annette Sills-Brown said she holds the annual event to recognize people of color and those who partner with minority communities. She said King has gone “above and beyond” to reach out to diverse communities.
“Mr. King has brought a program to Parker and the surrounding communities that will benefit students and their families for years to come,” said Alex Tuel, Ed.D., Colorado Early Colleges Parker Head of School. “The chance to earn anywhere between 30-60 college credits or an associate degree, never take a remedial course, and the opportunity to bypass taking out loans is truly a gift. I know I can speak for the CEC Parker staff and the community in saying, Mr. King -- thank you!”
While King’s contribution to education spans decades, his work as founder and administrator of CEC over the past ten years has elevated education opportunities for all students, regardless of background or skill level. CEC's network of charter high schools offers Colorado students the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and an Associate degree—for free. Since 2007, CEC has saved Colorado students and families more than $11 million in tuition, fees, and books, with students having earned more than 73,000 college credits.
The network has also seen:
· More than 1,100 students graduate with some college credits
· More than 320 students have graduated with a complete associate degree
· Four students earn a Bachelor’s Degree
CEC Director of Cultural Transformation Melinda Joy Mingo, Ph.D., nominated King for the award for his continued dedication to fostering student success.
“Keith exemplifies a heart for instilling hope in students beyond themselves,” Mingo said. “He has impacted all students across race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, etc. throughout his years in education and in the legislature. I was very happy to nominate him and was elated that he was chosen to receive one of the Friend of the Salute awards.”
CEC schools are currently located in Colorado Springs, Parker and Fort Collins, with its newest school opening in Aurora this August. King and the CEC administration are working closely with Aurora community partners to engage with and enroll at-risk students in the area and present an opportunity for first generation Aurora students to earn their college degree without the burden of student loans or debt.
Including students already enrolled at CECA, all four campuses will collectively have 2,400 students enrolled this fall, a 700 percent growth since inception.
King is looking forward to offering the early college program to students in the Aurora area.
“The rising cost of higher education and fear of incurring student debt shouldn't keep students back from achieving their dreams,” King said. “We believe that any student, regardless of background or past educational experiences, can succeed in our program. We have seen incredible success stories come out of our schools. It’s amazing what kids can accomplish when you give them the opportunity to succeed. I am grateful for the Education Center and its tireless efforts to recognize the great work that Colorado educators.”
About Colorado Early Colleges
Colorado Early Colleges is a network of charter schools located across the Front Range of Colorado. There are four schools in the network, located in Colorado Springs, Parker and Ft Collins, with its newest school opening in Aurora in August. CEC schools provide tuition-free public education that enables all students, regardless of background, to get an associate degree in high school for free. The network’s 2016 graduating class of 350 students produced nearly 140 associate degrees and one Bachelor’s Degree. Learn more here: http://www.coloradoearlycolleges.org/