The School of Nursing Full-Time Faculty

Annette Cannon, PhD, MA, RN, MSN 

Dr. Cannon holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Metropolitan State College of Denver, a Master’s of Science in Nursing and Nursing Leadership from Grand Canyon University School of Nursing, a Master’s of Art in Business from the University of Phoenix, and a doctor of Philosophy in Healthcare Administration from Kennedy Western University. She specializes in Psychiatric Nursing and the Internationally Educated Nurse. 

Dr. Cannon is a Board Member of Sigma Theta Tau – Alpha Kappa Chapter, serving as the Information Technology/Website Chair for over 15 years. She is a member of the American Nurses Association and Colorado Nurses Association.  Dr. Cannon has been recognized in Nurse Week and Colorado Nurse publications for her work with HIPAA, International Nurses, and various Educational Programs. She maintains a patient/family education website for mental health information.  She has been a presenter for the International Bilingual Nurses Alliance and the ATI National Education Summit.  She is a past Nightingale Nominee and holds several Instructor Certifications.

Dr. Cannon serves on the Governing Board for Dignity Home Health and Hospice, is an Advisory Board Member for Kaplan University, an active member of the CPEU Committee (CNE committee), Nurse Professional Practice Issues Committee, and Nurse Faculty Education Group, 9 Health Fair, and participates in Legislative activities. Dr. Cannon helps support two local business that care for youth and homeless families, Colfax Community Network and 5280 Movement.

Steve Keiser, MSN, RN, CNE

Steve Keiser holds a BSN and an MSN from the University of Phoenix. He has over 23 years of nursing experience in Med-Surg, oncology, triage, staff development, nursing education and forensic nursing.  He holds a certification in nursing education and has taught didactic and clinical courses at the community college and university level. 

He is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, ANA and NLN and currently teaches fundamental, medical/surgical and capstone courses at the School of Nursing at Platt College.  He has been a Nightingale Award Nominee, recipient of the Platt College President’s Award. 

Maria Kneusel, MSN, RN

Maria Kneusel graduated from Marquette University in 1988 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. She obtained her Masters of Science in Nursing Education from Gonzaga University in 2012. Maria also holds a Masters in Healthcare Ethics from Creighton University. She is currently completing her Doctorate of Nursing Practice at Duquesne University. Additionally, Maria is certified in student mentoring through the Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence.

Maria has worked in the medical-surgical and critical care fields. She transitioned to community health in 2010 and most recently worked in the areas of Corporate Wellness and Home Care. Maria has also worked as a freelance nursing writer and course designer. She has authored numerous continuing education courses for nurses and nurse aides on topics ranging from communication skills to cardiac conditions. She has also authored book content on providing culturally-congruent care to Latino clients. Most recently, Maria created curriculum for the Colorado Rural and Frontier Public Health Nurse Residency program. She is also main author and editor of Encounter, Platt’s Public Health Nursing newsletter.

A native of Puerto Rico, Maria is an active member of the Denver chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses where she serves as its current president. Maria is also a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association, the Association of Public Health Nurses, and the Association of Public Health Nurse Educators. In her role as a Community Health instructor, Maria designs clinical experiences specifically aimed at helping students become culturally competent in the care of Latino patients. Her professional interests include the dignified care of vulnerable populations, creating collaboration between nurses and Community Health Workers, and Catholic bioethics. Maria’s DNP dissertation project involves training Community Health Workers to provide peer support to monolingual Latino clients who are managing heart failure at home.

Fran Ricker, MSN, RN

Fran Ricker joins Platt nursing faculty with a strong history of involvement in nursing leadership roles and with a broad clinical and nursing management background. She attended the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque for her BSN.  She has an MSN from the University of Colorado in Health Systems Leadership/Health Policy Analysis and Design. She teaches nursing leadership, cultural diversity, and clinical skills courses at Platt College.  

Ms. Ricker’s passion for advocacy is demonstrated in her prior role as Executive Director for Colorado Nurses Association from 2007 -2013. She has been a leader in advocacy issues for the nursing profession in Colorado including during the most recent Sunset of the Nurse Practice in 2009. She led the association’s efforts to negotiate an alternative model for prescriptive authority for Advanced Practice Nurses in Colorado in conjunction with regulatory agencies and Colorado Medical Society.  She served as the executive oversight for advocacy, regulatory, and policy issues during her years with the association. For two years she also served as a nursing professional lobbyist for Colorado Nurses Association.  During this time she was the recipient one year of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners State Advocacy Award.  She has served on many policy and health care workgroups  including – Colorado Workforce Collaborative, 9 Health Fair Medical Advisory Board (2007-2009), Advisory Council – Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence, among others. She Co-Chaired a planning committee for a state legislated research study on nursing involvement in decision making for several years.   She has presented to diverse audiences on nursing advocacy and policy issues, including many presentations to nursing students.

She has served in numerous leadership roles for nursing organizations – Past President Rocky Mountain Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates, Past President Colorado Federation of Nursing Organizations, former legislative chair – Colorado Nurses Association, current member Colorado Organization of Nurse Leaders, member American Nurses Association.  

Ms. Ricker has a broad clinical nursing background – having worked in critical care over twelve years, med/surg, home health, endoscopy, nursing management, operating room/perioperative, and association management roles.  In her most recent clinical role, she served as Director of Endoscopy/GI Services/Pulmonary Lab for Rose Medical Center for five years.  She has approximately ten years’ experience in managing gastroenterology-endoscopy labs and has prior certifications in critical care and gastroenterology nursing.

Her outside interests include political advocacy, knitting, quilting, and reading. She has an active interest in animal rights issues/advocacy. She is married with two grown children, and a new family member – a sweet rescue dog, named Dudley.

Karen Riley, MSN, RN

Karen Riley obtained her initial Associates Degree in Nursing from Iowa Lakes Community College in Emmetsburg, Iowa. She then when on to complete her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City Iowa with a Master’s Degree in Nursing Education from Gonzaga University in Spokane Washington.

Karen joins Platt College as full time faculty with a special emphasis in Maternal Child Health and Obstetrical Nursing. Her experience ranges from high-risk antepartum, all the way through to providing home visits with high-risk populations during the postpartum and early childhood years.

Ms. Riley is also a nurse entrepreneur and is the founding owner of Caring 4 Kids Nurse Consulting, llc. During this time she has provided services to programs, children and families as they enter into licensed childcare and school age programs. Her work with the role of the nurse in the child care setting has allowed her to be a reviewer on several publications from the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education as well as testifying before the Colorado Division of Childcare related to proposed rule changes.

Ms. Riley is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, AWHONN- Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses. The Colorado and National Associations of School Nurses, and Co-founding member of Childcare Health Consultants of Colorado.

Robert Trenholm, MSN, RN

Robert Trenholm serves as the Platt College, Simulation Laboratory Coordinator. He has over two decades of nursing experience. During this time, he has primarily focused on nursing education and is an experienced instructor in the academic, clinical, and laboratory learning environments. While serving in these roles, Robert has also gained a wide variety of experience in such nursing practice settings as Perioperative, Informatics, and Geriatrics, to name a few.

Over the past four years, Robert has given much of his time to providing educational presentations for faith based and community groups which focus on helping family caregivers better understand behavioral health issues such as dementia, depression, and delirium in the older adult. 

Robert holds a Master’s Degree in Nursing Education from Jacksonville University, and is Board Certified in three nursing specialty areas. Additionally, he is currently working on a Doctoral Degree in Nursing Administration at the University of North Florida.  When he is away from work and school, Robert enjoys spending time with his wife, hiking, biking, snowboarding, and camping.

The School of Nursing Full-Time Foundational Liberal Arts and Sciences Faculty

K. Rives Binford, MSMHA, BS

Rives Binford graduated from the University of Colorado Denver Campus with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology with an emphasis on Neuroscience. She went on to graduate from the Anschutz Medical Campus with a Master's of Science in Modern Human Anatomy in 2015. She has since taught Anatomy and Physiology at educational institutions around Denver including Metropolitan State University of Denver and now the School of Nursing at Platt College.

Rives lives in Denver with her two cats and two dogs. Anatomy is her passion and she is delighted to share her interest in the human body with the next generation of health care practitioners.

Rachel Leistikow, PhD

Dr. Leistikow is a full time faculty member in the Department of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Platt College. She teaches general science course such as microbiology, chemistry and nutrition. Dr. Leistikow received her BA in Biology from Reed College in Portland, Oregon before completing her PhD in microbiology in 2012 at the University of Colorado Anschutz Campus. For her dissertation, she studied Tuberculosis and metabolic adaptations made by the tubercle bacilli during inhibited respiration. She is a member of the American Society for Microbiology. Her hobbies include beach volleyball and mountain biking.

Seth Thomas, MA

Seth Thomas is the Faculty Coordinator of Foundational Liberal Arts at Platt College. He teaches English Composition, Literature, Humanities, Speech, and Interpersonal Communications. Mr. Thomas has an undergraduate degree in English and a graduate degree in Creative Writing. Before joining Platt College, he worked as a copywriter and editor for online advertising agencies and additionally, as an instructor at community colleges. Mr. Thomas has also volunteered as an English as a Second Language Instructor as well as a tutor for at-risk children. In his free time, he enjoys writing, cooking, traveling, and becoming rather lost on one of his many bicycles. 

The School of Nursing Full-Time Staff

Allen Calderon, BSHCA, MSHI

Allen Calderon joined Platt College in June 2014 as a Simulation Lab Technician.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration from College America, where he worked while attending college in  the registrar’s office.  He holds a Master of Science in Healthcare Informatics from Independence University. His background in medicine, education, and love for technology brought him to Platt College, where he creates immersive simulation environments with high fidelity simulators (and through lower fidelity mixing and painting) for students to gain experience performing many different procedures in a variety of situations.  In addition to preparing simulated scenarios, Allen also ensures both students and faculty have supplies needed for successful simulation and lab experiences.

After school hours, Allen is an obsessive sports fan and takes every opportunity to play a game of hockey.  He has been involved in a number of volunteer activities, including the Landmines Project (which contributed the largest ever donation from high school students) and in kindergarten classrooms.

Sharon Tugume, BSN

Sharon Tugume serves as the College's Clinical Placement Coordinator. Sharon joined Platt College as a simulation lab technician in October 2014. Prior to her role at Platt College, she worked as a care giver at various long term care facilities in addition to home care assistance with the elderly and disabled. Sharon graduated from the school of Nursing at Platt College in September 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

She loves cooking and organizing functions/events like weddings, birthday parties, and anniversaries in her free time. She hopes to start her own event management business one day. Sharon also volunteers for different religious related organizations and the multiple sclerosis walk every year.