Our Team of Directors
Jeremy R. Klassen
Jeremy has literally grown up serving seniors in a variety of ways. As a strategic leader, he brings a balance of first-hand knowledge of the industry and comprehensive problem solving to the role. He has held several positions within the Meridian Retirement Communities group, now managed by Brookdale Senior Living.
His career path started as a bingo caller and Easter Bunny, and led to Business Office Manager and finally to Executive Director, including oversight of more than one community. Since joining The Gardens, the residents have enjoyed his friendly, hospitable approach.
“Our purpose,” he says, “is to provide solutions and a helping hand to greatly enhance the lifestyle of our residents. I believe that it is important to strive for excellence, teamwork and the happiness of our staff and residents. My goal is to make The Gardens at Columbine a great place to live as well as a great place to work.”
Jeremy and his wife Kim live in Arvada with their two adorable beagles. They enjoy spending time with their large extended family and learning new things. They spend quite a bit of time preparing new recipes, dancing, boxing, hiking…and anything they can do outside.
Marci Gerke, L.P.N.
Assistant Executive Director
Marci has been a nurse at The Gardens since 2000. In addition to her Assistant Executive Director role, her other responsibilities include overseeing Health Services.
She is a Certified Senior Dementia Trainer and is also the Director of our Memory Care Residence. Marci has had experience in skilled nursing communities and hospitals before coming to The Gardens at Columbine.
Marci came to The Gardens in April of 2000, a month after the community opened. She started as a nurse, and was promoted to Health Services Director in 2005 and was recently appointed Assistant Executive Director. The residents, staff and families touch her heart every day. To Marci, The Gardens at Columbine is her second home. Marci and the health services staff, strive for excellence in caring for the residents each and every day.
She has made extensive strides in developing Memory Care and building a cohesive and caring staff who love and care for those residents. Marci’s other interests include scrapbooking, spending time with her family and Sudoku.
Sales & Marketing Director
Cyndy has extensive experience in sales, marketing, public relations, teaching, corporate speech coaching, event planning, voice-over, print modeling, and music and drama ministry.
After she graduated with a Speech and Drama Degree from Mount Union University, she conducted corporate training seminars and designed office workflow plans as a Xerox Corporation Systems representative. Her creative applications won corporate awards for increasing revenue. As a Realtor with a GRA designation she was awarded “Top Producer” for Baird and Warner Residential Real Estate Company in Illinois where she specialized in representing senior clients.
She began in sales for upscale Senior Living Communities at the Lakewood Meridian just after moving to Colorado. She served as the Community Sales Director for Atria Inn at Lakewood and before joining the team at The Gardens, was a Sales Counselor at Vi in Highlands Ranch, formerly known as Classic Residence by Hyatt.
Cyndy boasts that her position at The Gardens is her dream career opportunity. She received her Assisted Living Administrator’s License in June 2013 to gain more insight in the operations of Assisted Living. She also enjoys hiking, mountain biking, tennis, gardening, boating and entertaining and states: “My three children are the loves of my life and have made living near them in Colorado a phenomenal delight.”
Life Enrichment Director
Rebecca brings ten years of experience working with seniors in various capacities including: activity program development, care coordination and administrative roles. She received her Assisted Living Administrator’s license in 2013 in Denver prior to opening a stand-alone memory care community in Colorado Springs.
She has taught numerous courses on Alzheimer’s and Dementia-related topics over the last four years. Her creativity and love for seniors paired with her education in Sociology and Gerontology has served her well in her past and current roles. She has successfully coordinated fundraisers to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association earning a seat at the Champions’ fundraiser table with the president and CEO of the Association.
She developed a training program for caregivers and families to understand the complexity of Alzheimer’s and related dementias and traveled throughout the state as well as Nevada and Idaho to teach her course. She prides herself on the development and successful implementation of an engaging activity program she designed in the past and looks forward to further helping the programs at The Gardens to evolve.
Her heart beats for the joy she brings to the residents and families, through engaging activities, memorable events, and days filled with fun. She eagerly anticipates each new adventure and experience. Her personal interests include yoga, running, camping, hiking and arts and crafts.
Food & Beverage Director
Paul grew up in Brookfield, Wisconsin, and great food has been his passion since the age he learned to ride a bike. By age 9, he was mom’s little salad boy and kitchen helper. He learned basic knife skills and found that helping out in the kitchen was a really fun thing to do after school. He was talented in art, and discovered that food is an art of its own. Through high school he was a gymnast doing varsity rings and parallel bars, and was also on the ski team.
Chef Paul has been building a reputation in the restaurant industry since his first job with Applebee’s at age 18. He enjoyed a fulfilling chapter in his career over the span of 25 years, working as a chef for concepts like The Cheesecake Factory, Rock Bottom Brewery and Yard House. Paul moved to Colorado in 1999 to open the Cheesecake Factory in Boulder, and to pursue his dreams of living the high life by skiing the Rockies. He creates his own twist on food - bringing color, flavor and variety to his guests. Chef Paul enjoys mentoring our cooks, our friendly work environment, and most of all, satisfying our residents’ needs for delicious, nutritious food.
Human Resources Director
Candace has over 20 years of experience with managing Human Resources offices. Prior to joining the Gardens’ team in 1999, she worked in the hospitality industry at the corporate office for a restaurant chain. She found The Gardens, serendipitously, when a friend told her there was a Human Resources Director position available at a “start-up” Assisted Living Community in Littleton.
She is known for her compassion and genuine insight when qualifying prospects for career placement at The Gardens. Regardless the outcome of a candidate’s inquiry, Candace is able to conclude the meetings on a positive note with encouragement for their next steps.
Candace developed her Human Resources department before the doors opened for residents in 2000. She created the platform for a very successful HR model. Her continued training and research for best practices keeps the Gardens’ hiring process as one of the most user-friendly in the industry.
Her responsibilities are vast. The hiring process begins with her. There are five departments that require staffing. To assist the department directors she conducts the initial employee orientation. She has initiated new-hire programs which give new employees a chance to write reviews of the orientation and she arranges new hires to meet department directors for special lunches. There are two employees voted every month as “employee of the month”. Her department collects the ballots and announces the results at a monthly Resident Council meeting.
In addition to the hiring phase, Candace is responsible for processing payroll, coordinating the safety program, administering all the employee benefits programs, and complying with Workers’ Compensation.
Candace states: “The most satisfying part of what I do is that I am able to touch the lives of our seniors, as well as have a positive impact on the lives of our employees. Balancing those two important characteristics of my profession are both challenging and rewarding.”
Some of her other interests include spending quality time with her family and friends, reading, hiking, video production, scrapbooking and playing Wii with her daughter.