Executive Director, Colorado Department of Higher Education
Congratulatory comments to all 2020 CMC commencement ceremonies
Dr. Angie Paccione was appointed executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education by Gov. Jared Polis, assuming the role on Jan. 10, 2019, and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate Education Committee on Jan. 17, 2019.
Paccione has more than 20 years of experience in secondary and postsecondary education. She was a high school teacher, coach and administrator at Smoky Hill High School in the Cherry Creek School District before earning a Ph.D. in education and human resource studies from Colorado State University. There, she served on the CSU faculty for nine years as a teacher educator in the “Project Promise” program, a nationally recognized program of excellence in teacher preparation for mid-career professionals. She also conducted research in the teacher education field, examining educators’ life events that led them to become committed to issues of diversity and inclusion. Her findings informed a teacher preparation program and were later published in Teacher’s College Press, which has been cited in over 75 academic papers.
Paccione left higher education to pursue public service and was elected to two terms in the Colorado House of Representatives, rising to become House majority caucus chair. She served on the Education Committee during all four years in the legislature, helping guide the education environment for the state of Colorado. In 2006, she ran for U.S. Congress and came within 2.5% of unseating the incumbent.
From 2007 to her appointment as executive director, Paccione worked for Verus Global where she specialized in the areas of leadership development, diversity and inclusion, talent development and change management. She has worked with leaders from the shop floor to the C-suite in 40 countries and all 50 states. Paccione has also coauthored two books on leadership: “One Team: 10-minute Discussions that Activate Inspired Teamwork” and “Do Big Things: The Simple Steps Teams Can Take to Mobilize Hearts and Minds, and Make an Epic Impact.”
Growing up biracial in New York City, attending college in California and residing in Colorado, Paccione bridges many divides. She was raised to believe you can accomplish anything to which you set your mind, a philosophy that runs through her life’s accomplishments. Playing basketball at Stanford University and professionally in the 1980s, Paccione has developed a credo: that she’s as committed to your success as she is her own.
When she’s not working, Paccione can be found reading, traveling, enjoying theater and films or gardening. She counts her family and friends among her greatest blessings.