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The Mike A. Leprino Free Enterprise Fellowship

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Mike Leprino

The Mike A. Leprino Free Enterprise Fellowship was established by Laura Leprino and Matthew Leprino in honor of the late Mike A. Leprino, who was a pillar in the Denver community. The son of Italian immigrants, he was a banker, developer and community servant. Some of the greatest treasures and neighborhoods in our state were built and funded by Mike. He gave back relentlessly to his state and country, something that he also instilled in each of his children. No greater defender of free enterprise and the American dream, Mike is someone who from humble beginnings built an enviable legacy in Colorado. Thanks to Mike A. Leprino’s legacy, we can all take a lesson in hard work, the entrepreneurial spirit, and the power of free enterprise. The Mike A. Leprino Fellowship will focus on issues reflected in the values and accomplishments of this former pillar of the community.

The Mike A. Leprino Fellowship will select one individual to examine free enterprise issues facing the state of Colorado. In addition, the fellow will create an annual Free Enterprise Report, a transparency and accountability report on the fiscal health of Colorado. The report will serve as a comprehensive planning document that exists outside of the executive branch and legislative committees.

Brenda Bautsch Dickhoner

2021 Mike Leprino Free Enterprise Fellow

Dr. Brenda Bautsch Dickhoner

Brenda Bautsch Dickhoner has spent the last decade working in education policy at the national and state level. Most recently, at the Colorado Department of Education, she developed and implemented policies to ensure all students have access to a high-quality education. Highlights of Brenda’s work include helping Colorado’s Commissioner and the State Board of Education determine actions to take to improve the state’s lowest-performing schools and districts. She supported the Education Leadership Council in crafting a nonpartisan, statewide vision and strategic plan for Colorado. Brenda also successfully drove the adoption of state legislation to bolster supports and accountability for schools.

Prior to CDE, Brenda served as an expert for the Colorado Department of Higher Education on research and policy related to college access and success. She began her career at the National Conference of State Legislatures where she advised state legislators in numerous states on education policy.

Brenda earned a Ph.D. in Public Policy at the University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs and studied political science as an undergraduate at Duke University. She and her husband live in Denver with their two young boys.

Learn more about the 2021 Mike Leprino Free Enterprise Fellow here.