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Meet the DART Team

Introducing DART's Board Members and Highly Trained Instructors

Michele Dusenbery

Executive Director & Chair of the Board of Directors
Michele Dusenbery - DART executive director

Michele serves as Executive Director and Administrator for DART, Inc. As a founding Board member, her experience includes selling workplace violence training to business clients,

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working with schools and private organizations to provide DateSmart – Healthy Relationships and Teen Dating Abuse Prevention to 8th grade students.

She has been intricately involved in customization of curriculum to fit client needs. She has recruited and trained new instructors. Michele has also participated in fundraising activities and has been primarily responsible for grant writing.

Michele received a BA in Zoology from the University of New Hampshire in 1977. She then spent 22 years in the medical/dental field doing office work of every variety.

She studied the martial arts for 11 years and taught every age group. She developed and taught the children’s program for her karate school. Michele retired as a martial arts instructor with a rank of 2nd degree Black Belt.

Paul Dusenbery

Curriculum Director & Board Member
Paul Dusenbery (Curriculum Director & Board Member)

Paul is a Senior Educator Emeritus at the Space Science Institute. He has over twenty-five years’ experience developing formal and informal education programs.

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He has also led and participated in numerous professional development workshops for classroom and informal educators. He was the director of the STAR Library Network (STAR Net) from 2011- 2021.

Paul has a research background in space physics and received his Ph.D. in physics from the Univ. of New Hampshire and B.A. in physics from Whitman College. He is an expert in self-defense, having taught martial arts for 35 years.

In addition to running a martial arts school, he developed a successful personal safety program called Fight Back 101. He is a senior instructor and the lead curriculum developer for DART. He also serves on DART’s Board of Directors.

Mark Cohen

Legal Advisor & Board Member
Mark Cohen (Legal Advisor & Board Member)

Mark is a lawyer with 38 years of experience. He earned his law degree at the University of Colorado and earned an LL.M. at the University of Arkansas School of Law, where he also taught.

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Mark’s diverse legal career includes service as an Air Force Judge Advocate, Special Asst. U.S. Attorney, Municipal Judge for the City of Boulder, and chairperson of the editorial board of The Colorado Lawyer magazine.

He is an expert in the law of workplace violence and the law of self-defense. He wrote the workplace violence chapter in the Colorado Employment Law Handbook.

He also authored an article in The Colorado Lawyer on Effective Elements of a Workplace Violence Program. He wrote an article on the law of self-defense that was published in Inside Kung-Fu. His practice includes consulting with employers on workplace violence policies.

Mark earned a black belt in Shudokan karate and is a certified DART instructor. He provides valuable advice to DART on DART’s programs and legal issues and serves on its Board of Directors. Learn more about him on his website

In 2022, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis appointed Mark to the state’s Combative Sports Commission – formerly the Colorado Boxing Commission.

Melinda Malek

Lead Instructor & DateSmart Manager
Melinda Malek (Lead Instructor & DateSmart Manager)

Melinda has worked with DART since 2011. She is involved in many facets of the organization, from helping with workshop evaluation data entry to teaching.

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Melinda is a certified DART instructor and is the DateSmart manager and instructor for the middle school program.

She has helped edit & create new online platforms for DART’s WorkSmart and DateSmart curriculums and designs promotional flyers. Outside of DART she has been working with high schoolers for 16 years, co-leading and now leading a church youth group.

Melinda loves being crafty, is a Colorado native and went to school at Metropolitan State University.

Sierra Swearingen

Board Member
Sierra Swearingen (Board Member)

Sierra holds a B.A. in English and a B.F.A. in Fine Arts from the University of Colorado in 1995. She earned a J.D. from CU in 2006 and has been practicing law since 2007.

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She formed her own law firm and currently practices law in the fields of family law and small business matters. She’s a certified DART instructor (lead and assistant) and has worked for Mark Cohen at his law firm.

Tom Thompson

Board Member
Tom Thompson (Board Member)

Tom is the CEO of an intellectual property social media organization. In addition to a couple of decades of technology leadership.

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Tom has 20 years of non-profit service, nine years of military service, two master’s degrees and has lived and worked on four continents.

As a former Army Ranger, he has fought, when necessary, saved when called upon, and commissioned officers. He has promoted black belts, wedded couples, hired, mentored and taught hundreds, written songs, published books, and built businesses.

He helped develop DART’s business plan and curriculum and has taught some of the material. He was also a founding Board member.