Meet the Team


PEN embraces the broadest definition of engagement, which may develop as society grows in it’s understanding of parent engagement.


PEN values knowledge that is research-based, accessible to all parents, applicable to everyday life, and builds capacity across multiple contexts.


PEN commits to empowering families by providing relevant and meaningful tools and information that result in postive parenting strengths and skills.

Shelly Mahon

Executive Director, Board Chair

Shelly is passionate about supporting parents in navigating the challenging, emotional, and rewarding experience of having a loving, lasting relationship with their child. She hold a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies, with a minor in Prevention Science and specialties in adolescent development, program development and evaluation, and parent-child relationships. As the Executive Director, Shelly is responsible the oversight and direction of the organization, fundraising, advocacy, and managing external relationships and collaborations. Shelly believes that PEN provides a context in which parents can both celebrate their accomplishments and have constructive conversations when real issues arise. She has been with PEN since 2007, first as a parent volunteer, then as a consultant and board member. Shelly has been the Executive Director since Jan. 2015.

Paula Nelson

Co-Founder, Board Chair

Paula’s vision is to address the underlying issues impacting the health and well-being of youth and families, rather than employing a bandaid approach to problems. As a co-founder and a member of the initial task force addressing increased substance use issues in Boulder, Paula led efforts to establish PEN as a strength-based organization that capitalizes on family strengths and builds protective factors.  To Paula, this is at the core of PEN’s work.  Paula is also a co-founder and member of the HOPE Coalition of Boulder. She has served as a board of the Second Wind Fund of Boulder, been a PEN school team leader, and sat on SIT and PTOs at all school levels since 2001.

Kate Spector

Program Director, Board Member

Kate is passionate about helping first-generation students and families from the Latino community navigate the pathway to graduation, college admission, financial aid and career planning. She is trained as a licensed school counselor and served as the post-secondary counselor in the Adelante program serving first generation students in Boulder High School. Kate’s skills in research and content creation support the growth and coaching goals of PEN while ensuring the fidelity of PEN messaging.  She has supported PEN since 2003, serving as a PEN school leader and developing many of the programs PEN teams currently employ. She has also served on PTOs, SIT, and DPC since 2001.

Ed Johnson

Treasurer, Board Member
Ed has a Masters from MIT in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. He is currently the CTO and Co-founder of Goally a local company focused on developing high-tech tools for parents. Prior to joining PEN, Ed was a Partner, CFO, and Instructor at FunGram delivering STEM education to elementary and middle school children throughout Boulder Valley School District. He has lived in Colorado since 1998 and enjoys mountain biking and hiking with his wife and 2 young boys. Ed has served as the treasurer since 2016.

Rosabelle Rice

Translation & Interpretation, Board Member

Rosabelle believes that everyone should be valued, respected and seen as an individual. As the translation and interpretation representative for PEN, she is passionate about ensuring that our entire community has access to the support and services they need. Rosabelle is the acting of the Latino Advisory Board to the City of Lafayette, a Federally Certified Spanish Interpreter, and a Certified Medical Interpreter.  She manages interpreters and translators in over 20 languages for clients ranging in diversity from Immigrations and Naturalization Services, to Architectural and Medical firms in the Denver and Memphis area. She was a member of Escuela Bilinguel Site Improvement Team (SIT) from 2006-2008, advocating for Spanish speaking parents and helping ensure that interpretation was provided on an ongoing basis. She is past chair of the Parent Teacher Organization chair at Pioneer Bilingual Elementary, Lafayette.

Brianna Mahon

Social Media & Communications, Board Member

Don't Be Shy. Get In Touch.

If you are interested in working together, send us an inquiry and we will get back to you as soon as we can!
Contact Us