Eliza was born into a family of public servants. Eliza’s mother, Eliza Carney, was an award-winning hunger and healthcare activist and Eliza’s father, James Carney, was a dedicated teacher for over 30 years.
Eliza was drawn to education from an early age, dedicating herself to the profession. She attended the University of Arizona on a cross-country and track and field scholarship; she was a high school All-American in cross-country and a collegiate All-American in Track and Field. Eliza moved to Colorado after college and taught history and government at Overland High School for over 32 years.
She has been happily married to her husband, Mike, an Air Force veteran, for 33 years. Mike and Eliza have raised two wonderful children, both graduates of the Cherry Creek School District, and they recently became grandparents. Eliza has lived, worked, and raised a family in this area for most of her life.
Teaching is a calling, and Eliza worked tirelessly for her students, peers, and the Cherry Creek School District community. She helped to organize teachers and community members to go door to door for every bond and mill race in CCSD since 1988. She also organized teachers and community members to support pro-public education candidates for the state legislature and for CCSD’s Board of Education over the decades. Keeping the CCSD community strong and supporting our students, teachers and families, has been a driving force in Eliza’s life.
Eliza also has been called to mentor teachers both nationally and internationally. She was a Library of Congress Fellow and consultant and often went to Washington, DC to educate selected teachers on the Library of Congress’ American Memory Collection. Eliza was also sent to the country of Estonia to create a bond between education systems and collaborate with ethnic Estonian and Russian students and teachers to craft lessons on the First Amendment and democracy.
Eliza has received numerous teaching awards and honors including OHS National Honor Society Teacher of the Year, OHS Teacher of the Year, Daughters of the American Revolution Colorado Teacher of the Year, and the Never be Forgotten Teacher of the Year (in honor of Dave Sanders, the teacher slain at Columbine).
Eliza has also consulted for and worked with a variety of civic education groups, including the Constitutional Rights Foundation, Colorado Social Studies Education Consortium, the Colorado Digitization Project, Rocky Mountain PBS, and the Center for Education, Law and Democracy. Eliza is a current College Board reader for the Advanced Placement United History national exam.
Eliza has dedicated herself to empowering all students, families, and community members to have a voice in society, and the support and resources needed to succeed. She was a founding member of Teachers United for Immigrant Rights, which advocates for and conducts trainings for immigrant students and families. Eliza has also been active in reaching out to thousands of vulnerable individuals and families and registering them for vaccines, while also working at countless vaccine clinics sponsored by the Colorado Vaccine Equity Taskforce, that has vaccinated tens of thousands of our community members.
Eliza has been a fierce advocate for public schools over the decades, which has earned her numerous accolades, including the John Chase Award for political action statewide, and the Adlai Stevenson Award for lifetime achievement. Eliza has been active with the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, Colorado Schools Resist, and the American Friends Service Committee. She has also testified on numerous occasions at the capitol on behalf of students, teachers, education funding, and immigrant rights.
Eliza is dedicated to being a steadfast advocate for the needs of the House District 61 community.