Leaders

HOPE is managed by a team of experienced professionals who are dedicated to providing students a chance to succeed in academics and in life.

Heather O'Mara
Founder/CEO

With more than 20 years of experience across multiple fields, including education, technology, media and telecommunications, Heather O'Mara has a passion for K-12 and online education.

Ms. O'Mara takes an active role in HOPE's daily operations; including academics, technology and finance, as well as strategic planning and execution, including HOPE's charter contract and partnerships with the Douglas County School District. She enjoys working with community organizations, familiar with the culture and challenges faced by students, to expand educational opportunities. Ms. O'Mara is committed to providing students quality academic instruction by utilizing the benefits of online curriculum.

Prior to co-founding HOPE, Ms. O'Mara spent eight years at Jones International Ltd. As President of Jones Knowledge, she was responsible for facilitating the innovation and growth of one of the country's first online education businesses and encouraging high schools and universities to adopt online education. She also served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Jones Internet Channel, where she executed a content development license and acquisition strategy through relationships with cable television programmers and publishers.

Prior to Jones, Ms. O'Mara spent 10 years at Viacom Inc. as Vice President of Finance and International Operations. In addition, Ms. O'Mara was a CPA with audit and tax experience in the Emerging Business Services unit of Coopers & Lybrand. Ms. O'Mara earned her Bachelor of Science in Accounting and International Business from New York University in New York City.

Jenn Failer
Executive Director of Finance and Administration

Jenn Failer brings more than 20 years of experience in finance and accounting to the HOPE Online Learning Academy team. As Executive Director of Finance and Administration, she is responsible for overseeing the Human Resources department, Information Technology department, Nutrition Services department, and managing all aspects of financial activity at HOPE. She works closely with the CEO to plan and manage HOPE’s annual budget and maintain regulatory compliance.

Ms. Failer joins HOPE having served as Vice President of Finance at Rocky Mountain Scientific Laboratory (RMSL), where she was responsible for directing financial planning, budgeting, reporting, and leading and mentoring members of her department. She ascended to her position having worked as an accountant, controller, and project analyst for the organization and is the first person to sit on RMSL’s Executive Leadership Team as a non-owner.

Ms. Failer also brings considerable experience from her time at Signet Partners, a small business that provides real estate and financial asset advisory services to federal agencies and financial institutions. In her time at Signet Partners, she served in several roles that encompassed analysis, financial modeling, underwriting, and managing draw requests from a multimillion dollar court settlement.

Having learned bookkeeping from her grandmother at an early age, Ms. Failer began her career working for her family’s business, Core Elements. She was responsible for all accounting and budgeting for the company’s multiple locations.

Ms. Failer is a first-generation college student who holds a Master of Science in Finance in addition to a Bachelor of Science in Business, Emphasis in Accounting.


HOPE Academic TeamHOPE’s Academic Team has decades of experience in education. They have worked in a variety school of settings, including traditional and non-traditional models. Each brings a passion for the work at hand and finding academic success for the students HOPE serves. 

  • Denise Duran
  • Laurie Griffith
  • Christyn Holmes
  • Susan McAlonan, Ph.D. 
  • Desirae Seter

Melanie Stone
Executive Director of Community Engagement 

As the Executive Director of Community Outreach, Melanie Stone and her team play a key role in supporting and advising HOPE's current and new Learning Center partners. Her department also oversees HOPE's athletics, activities and community events. These efforts ensure that HOPE is an integral part of the community and current and future HOPE students and their families remain engaged and build a stronger sense of school affiliation.

Ms. Stone first joined HOPE in 2006. She was selected in 2012 to lead the newly formed Activities and Athletics Department, which was created to meet the growing demand for student events. Prior to joining HOPE, Ms. Stone worked for 17 years in retail management. She earned her Bachelor's degree from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo.