Staff Resources


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Nurzhan Ustemirov, MS
Board President

Mr. Ustemirov has both Bachelors and Masters Degrees; majoring in computer science and minoring in math and economics.  In addition, he is self-trained in the essentials of accounting and business. He has had numerous papers published in the area of high performance computing. Prior to joining IntelePeer as a senior software engineer, he worked at the Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory and for Ericsson Inc. In addition to his college degrees, Mr. Ustemirov completed his high school education with honors after receiving a coveted invitation into the nation’s top school with a full scholarship. During his high school years, he competed with distinction in state, national, and international competitions in Chemistry.

Mr. Ustemirov’s academic experience include: mentoring high school students for chemistry competitions, private tutoring, leading labs and recitation at university level, as well as teaching undergraduate courses at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. His teaching experience, vast knowledge of computer science, chemistry, math and economics makes him a tremendous asset as Chairperson and board member.

Barbara Whitfield
Board Member (Secretary)

Barb Whitfield is the Office Supervisor and Executive Assistant to the Director of Population Care and Prevention Services and the Executive Director for PPS, Nursing, and Geriatrics for the Kaiser Permanente Colorado Region. The department has a staff of 180 and oversees efforts to improve the health of members through chronic disease management, prevention programs and worksite health management, and builds tools such as registries and reminder systems to aid in this work. Barb is a graduate of Regis University, and majored in Marketing and Communications. She spends her free time with her husband Boogie and two grandsons Wanya and Tyson, ages 12 and 16, who are also students at Lotus School for Excellence.

Don Knapp

Don Knapp
Board Member

Don Knapp has been in the field of education since 1995, and he has been serving at a charter school in Colorado Springs since 2002. He began his love for teaching in high school when he had the opportunity to teach both math and science to elementary students. His undergraduate work was completed at the University of Wyoming with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Spanish. His graduate work was completed at the University of Phoenix. He has also spent time doing university work in Seville, Spain.
Over the years, Mr. Knapp has taught a large variety of subjects. He has taught self-contained classrooms from 3rd – 8th grades. He taught preschool-8th grade Spanish. He spent a year teaching elementary music, middle school P.E., Math, Reading, Writing, World Religions, Health, Art, and more. He has coached Math Olympiad, boys’ and girls’ basketball, boys’ and girls’ volleyball, and Future Problem Solvers.
Mr. Knapp enjoys basketball (playing, watching, and coaching), camping, hiking, skiing, and fishing.

Mustafa Ozkaynak, Ph.D.
Board Member

Dr. Ozkaynak is assistant professor at College of Nursing in University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Campus.  He completed his PhD at University of Wisconsin-Madison in Industrial and Systems Engineering. His research interests include cooperative work in health care delivery systems and health informatics. He is particularly interested in social and organizational consequences of health information technologies.
He is professionally active in higher education and educating health professionals for the best and safest care. As a parent, he is also interested in K-12 education and wants to see every school in the community providing high quality and individualized education that will address every children’s physical, emotional, cognitive and social development.

Marta Hernandez
Board Member

My name is Marta Hernandez, and am a recent graduate from Regis University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting.  This is my first year serving as a board member.  Lotus School of Excellence, is a great school and am proud to work alongside the other board members.  This is my son’s third year at Lotus School of Excellence.  This is a great opportunity to serve youth and their parents.