Meet the Team

On August 11, 1982 we began as Stroh Resident Homes, serving 8 individuals with disabilities. New growth and changes occurred in 1997 when the agency ownership was passed on under the name Community Outreach, Inc. On January 1st, 2020 Melissa Albert and Tracy Brown who were long time employees purchased Community Outreach and the new agency Common Roots LLC was established.

Today we support over 100 people with disabilities to live, participate, and work more independently in their community. Several of these individuals live in their own homes with assistance from Common Roots staff, while others live in a host home with a person or a family in our community. In addition to our long history of providing quality, supportive homes for individuals, Common Roots also offers an employment services program to assist individuals with disabilities to get and keep meaningful jobs, as well as a community-based day program to help build strong connections with our community. Our day program service helps to teach and build positive interactions with those in our community as well as helping people explore new interests and activities. It is our endeavor to make a positive difference in the lives of people with disabilities.


Tracy Brown


Tracy is a native Coloradan and has lived in Colorado Springs since 2000. Since 2001, Tracy has been working with the agency in a variety of settings which has led her to the position of Executive Director.

Tracy graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Rehabilitative Services from the University of Northern Colorado. Previous work experience with adults with developmental disabilities includes: Residential Program Director, Case Management, Employment Consultant, and direct care in both group homes and well as a Host Home Provider. Tracy has managerial experience as an Assistant Director working with teenage girls in a residential treatment facility.

She also enjoys taking in all the amazing things this incredible state has to offer, such as hiking, camping, backpacking, and many other great outdoor adventures. She also has a strong love for travel, music, animals, and loves spending time with her family.

Tracy is excited about her position as the Executive Director and is committed to helping the agency continue to grow in order to meet the needs of individuals with Developmental Disabilities in our community.

Melissa Albert


Melissa has been a Registered Nurse for the agency since 1999 and is involved in the organization both as a nurse and a management team member. Melissa has been working with people with developmental disabilities for over 20 years.

Prior to completing her nursing degree, she worked in the field as an Employment Consultant, direct care staff in a group home, and Service Coordinator. Melissa completed her Bachelors of Science in Nursing Degree at the University of Colorado, Beth-El College of Nursing in 2000.

She has experience working in a hospital as a medical surgical nurse, as well as a telephone triage nurse for doctor’s offices. Melissa and her two girls, Mia and Kayden, are big fans of Colorado and all there is to do here.

Her favorite hobbies include enjoying the great outdoors hiking, camping, backpacking, and snowshoeing to name a few. Her favorite and often read books are about women’s rights and the hardships they face all over the world.

Melissa spent her childhood years living in several countries as a military child. Places overseas she has lived include Germany and Panama. Working to improve the quality of life for all people is her true passion!


Residential Division

Tina Simpson


Tina grew up in Pueblo West and pursued school finally obtaining her Accounting Degree from University of Phoenix in 2016. She comes to the agency after working as a bookkeeper for a grocery chain. She enjoys spending time with her 2 chiweenies Khloe and Karma and her 1 cat Buffy. Tina is always happy to attend concerts and spend time with friends. Playing board games and cards is a fun pastime for her.

Mary Gabaldon


Mary Gabaldon, Quality Assurance Coordinator, has been with the agency since 1999. She brings to her job 30 years of experience working with people who have developmental disabilities. When Mary was 15, she started volunteering in her mother’s Special Education class at Edison Elementary, where she found her calling.

She taught at Wasson High School in the Special Education department for 12 years. Born and raised in Colorado Springs she cannot imagine living anywhere else. Mary and her husband Ron enjoy glamping, fishing, and spending time with their beloved pup.

She is also a strong advocate for animal and human rights.

Katy Millhouse


Katy grew up in sunny Southern California as one of three children in her family. After graduating high school, she moved up to Northern California where she attended Sonoma State University, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in History in 2008.

Katy met her husband in the same year, and after she graduated, they moved to Colorado Springs which they now call home. Katy enjoys walking, hiking, traveling, and exploring new places with her husband, son, and dog.

Katy found her passion for helping others when she volunteered every summer at a camp when she was in high school, working with kids who were developmentally disabled and loved the experience. Katy joined the agency in December of 2009 as an administrative assistant and was promoted to Service Coordinator in October of 2012. She is excited about building her future with Common Roots.

Vanessa Archibald


Vanessa was born and raised in Colorado Springs. She started at the agency in 1999 and has worked with people with developmental disabilities for over 20 years. Vanessa graduated from USC in 2003 with her Bachelors in Social Work.

Vanessa has two children, a boy and a girl, with whom she loves spending time. She has taken dance classes for over fifteen years and enjoys the opportunity to dance. Vanessa and her family love camping, horseback riding, soaking in the hot springs, skiing, and being outside.

Vanessa appreciates a good laugh and listening to music. She also enjoys quiet time with good books of all varieties.

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Rachel Thompson


Rachel was born and raised in Southern California before making her way to Colorado Springs in 1992. Rachel started with Common Roots in 2017. Her past experience in leadership, and with serving the public, has made her a great addition to our team.
When she isn’t working, Rachel enjoys spending time with her daughter, Avery, and venturing out as often as possible to see what the State of Colorado has to offer. She also enjoys movies, a sunny patio with friends, and her dog, Mia.

Mackenzie McFeaters


I was born and raised in a small town in Pennsylvania where I lived until moving to Colorado Springs in 2020. I graduated from Kutztown University in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. After graduation, I began working in the I/DD field as a behavioral therapist. Once I moved to Colorado I worked as a case manager for a Community Centered Board in Denver before coming to work at Common Roots. In my free time I try to get outside as much as possible to hike, camp, and kayak. I also enjoy relaxing with a good book, hanging out with friends, and spending time with my fiancé and our pets.

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Tatiana Dixon


Tatiana was born and raised in Colorado.  She went to the University of Northern Colorado and got her degree in Special Education. Tatiana recently moved to Colorado Springs towards the end of 2022. Tatiana has a variety of work experience assisting adults with IDD before finding her place with Common Roots. In her free time, she loves to watch movies, tv shows, workout, hike, playing video games, and going bowling. She also enjoys spending time with her family, friends, boyfriend, and her fur babies.

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Employment Division

Karin Cowan


In 1997, Karin started working as the agency’s first Employment Consultant, helping people get and keep jobs in the community. She loves to see people learn new skills and work at jobs they enjoy.

She has over 25 years of experience working with people with disabilities in various capacities, including employment, case management, respite, and education. Karin has also managed a restaurant and taught school. She earned a B.S. at Stephen F. Austin State University.

Karin loves reading, stamping cards, baking, and playing games. She and her husband also enjoy providing a foster home to mother cats and their kittens.

Don Leavitt


Don’s dad was in the military for 33 years, which allowed Don to travel throughout Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Bavaria, and Austria while growing up. Through his travels, he learned to appreciate different cultures and different ways of life.

He learned at a young age to respect others, even though they are different from him. Don returned to the US and moved to Colorado in 1967. He got a degree in Business Administration from the University of Western Colorado. He spent many years working as a manager in the restaurant business, through which he learned that everyone likes to be respected and treated as an equal. As a manager, Don used his skills to direct and motivate people. He is able to look at employment from both the employer’s perspective, as well as the job seeker’s/employee’s perspective.

Don unwinds by doing yard work, caring for his flowers and lawn. He enjoys getting his hands dirty and appreciates the smell of fresh earth. His favorite hobbies are skiing and hiking. He found the love of his life in his wife Connie and has 2 grown children, Loren and Lucas.

Kelley Lyons


Kelley is truly a Colorado native, as her family has been in Colorado Springs for six generations.  She joined the Common Roots Team in 2021 after a long tenture as a school administration for a local charter high school.  Kelley has been involved with children, teens and adults with developmental disabilities and learning difficulties for several different companies to include group homes, home placements, and direct care.

When she’s not following her passion for helping people or volunteering she loves to travel with her husband and daughter to explore the beaches of Maui or hanging outside on her deck with her dogs watching all of her favorite Colorado sports team win.

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Tammy Thompson


Recently joining the Common Roots team in 2023, Tammy has always found her passion in serving her community and caring for others. Having spent her life caring for others and finding joy in their success. Tammy is thrilled to find a home with Common Roots, helping others find their joy and success.
After being born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa Tammy moved to Colorado Springs over 25 years ago and considers it home. Her family is her pride and joy in life. She stayed home to raise her three children, all grown now. She has spent her time since then loving on her two grandsons and is overjoyed with a granddaughter soon to arrive. During her free time, she loves being with her two dogs, Dottie and Gypsy, watching movies, and relaxing at home. She also takes full advantage of everything CO nature has to offer enjoying camping, hiking, and (very beginner) kayaking.
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Day Program Division