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DCSD Rock Stars

DCSD Rock Star

DCSD Rock Stars is a program created that recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments and outstanding work of DCSD employees.  Nominated by District leaders, managers, and peers, ‘Rock Stars’ are recognized in THINK, the DCSD employee newsletter, and receive a small gift from DCSD. 

Is there somebody you would like to recognize? Nominate them by clicking here!


DCSD Employee Rockstars: May 21, 2018

Lisa de la Pena, Assistant Principal, Pioneer Elementary

Lisa is new to Pioneer this year and has quickly become indispensable! She is always quick to help problem solve issues and works to stay ahead of issues. Her knowledge of technology and her organization have helped all of the teachers up their classroom technology work with students. We all love Lisa and are glad she is a Pioneer Timberwolf!

Nominated by Rebecca Shields


Misty Durante, First Grade Teacher, Sand Creek Elementary

Not only does Misty do a great job meeting the needs of her diverse learning environment, but she also takes the lead with the Sand Creek Green Team. Recently she juggled her teaching duties and Green Team Duties to facilitate and coordinate some building improvements in collaboration with the SCE PTO. She juggled getting the multiple quotes, handling walk-throughs with vendors, and completing the multiple building modification forms. Without Misty, our school would not be moving forward with these projects in the timely manner we are able to! Thanks Misty for all you do for SCE!

Anonymous Nomination


Lisa Kipp, 8th Grade Math Teacher, Caspian Team, Cimarron Middle School

Lisa holds students to the highest of expectations. She provides opportunities for students to own their learning through voice and choice and provides constructive feedback to grow their mindset. She is a wonderful addition to out 8th grade PLC this year and we look forward to her ideas for next year! Thanks for being a ROCKSTAR COLT!

Nominated by Baochau Thomas


DCSD Employee Rockstars: April 23, 2018

Katie Hassett, Math Teacher, CiMS Math Department

Katie masterfully balances her classroom duties and many leadership positions within our building. She generates the best ideas for authentic learning--evident in the excitement and engagement shown by our 7th grade students. Her brilliance is the bedrock of our 7th grade PLC.

Nominated by Baochau Thomas


Katherine Drake, P.E teacher, American Academy

Katherine is a true rock star, always has the biggest smile to her, always willing to help everyone.

Nominated by Ana Brekke- Patti Rodriguez


Melissa Seltzer, Office Manager, American Academy - Lincoln Meadows

Melissa is amazing. She handles anything thrown at her with grace and professionalism. Always going above and beyond for the good of the students and staff.

Nominated by Patti Rodriguez


Kathy Klancic, Administrative Assistant, Prairie Crossing Elementary

Kathy is the most awesome person!  She is always happy and willing to go the extra mile for people.  She is bombarded with a million questions in the morning and always answers with a smile.

She is the BEST to work with.

Anonymous Nomination


Randi Smiertelny, Gifted and Talented Interventionist, Trailblazer

Randi is absolutely amazing! She is our rock. She is resourceful, hard-working, purposeful, dedicated, intelligent, compassionate, forward-thinking, motivated, and relational. She has been a key staff member at TBE for over a decade. Students and parents seek out Randi and want her to support their child. She has an amazing reputation as being a loving and student-centered educator that puts children first. Randi loves Trailblazer and Trailblazer loves Randi!

Nominated by JULIE c CRAWFORD


Lisa Ostravich, SSN EA, Saddle Ranch Elementary

Lisa goes above and beyond with all students that need sensory breaks or emotional regulation. She makes sure that students are in a safe place when they are feeling anxious, angry, sad or "in the yellow or red zones". She teaches them coping strategies, and helps them to use these strategies in the classroom. Lisa is always willing to help in any situation, no matter how challenging. We truly would be lost without her.

Nominated by Evelyn O'Dwyer


Julie Crawford, Assistant Principal, Trailblazer Elementary

Julie has been a major support both professionally and personally, and welcomed me to our school with open arms. She is extremely approachable, allows us freedom to grow, but is also a great support if needed. The relationships she has built with students and staff is astounding.

Nominated by Becky Walker


Ryan Repplinger, DCSD Executive Chef, Nutrition Services

Ryan catered the World Cultures Festival at SkyView Academy. He came up with a creative menu for the event that featured six different dishes to encompass a world cuisine experience. The kitchen staff were all so nice and hard working. There were about 300 attendees at this event and Ryan and his crew did a great job cooking and serving everyone. People loved the food and complimented the whole experience. 

Nominated by Terrie MacDonald


DCSD Employee Rockstars: March 26, 2018

Michelle Beebe, EA 1, Heritage

Michelle comes in each day with a smile on her face and ready to help where needed.  She is loved by the staff!

Nominated by Sandy Davis


Erin Kellerman , Program Manager, Roxborough Primary BASE

Erin is an incredible supervisor that is laser focused on both the success of our BASE program as well as the growth of our employees. She is a selfless leader and deserves to be recognized for her amazing leadership skills!

Nominated by Amanda Roper


Leah McCullar, 6th Grade Math Teacher, Cimarron Middle School

Leah's professionalism and pursuit of excellence goes unrivaled in our math department. She can always be counted on to ask the tough questions and guide us in the right direction. She is unrelenting in providing the best education possible for our 6th grade students. She is the ROCKSTAR lead of our 6th grade PLC!

Nominated by Baochau Thomas


Kelsey Carillo, 4th grade teacher, Legacy Point Elementary School

Kelsey is truly a magnificent teacher. She is very inspiring and is always bringing her A game to school. She is always trying to better herself as a teacher by attending anything and everything from book clubs, to PD's and other trainings. I am able to walk into her classroom and get a brand new idea for my own each time. She always puts her students first and since I am a first year teacher, she has been such an amazing resource. She absolutely stands out among the rest. Her dedication to teaching is hard to match and I hope she knows it is not just one teacher who recognizes it, but many.

Nominated by Christina Mooney


EA's, Fox Creek Elementary: Chris Parziale, Alie Deering, Dina Mamunes, Tara Pallis, Sylvia Schow, LoriAnne Billingham, Rhonda Barker, Barb Polson, Andrea Mathews, Kim Ballard, Dawn Inderbitzen, Linda Allis, Susie Sundstrom, Janet Place, and Jennifer Newnham

The Classified EAs at Fox Creek are truly amazing women. They are so sweet, helpful, loving, flexible and all around AMAZING !!! They work as a team! They treat all EAs, all staff and children with respect and love. There is no animosity or ever any hard feelings. It’s a pleasure to come to work everyday and be a part of such a wonderful Team and Staff because they too are AMAZING !

Anonymous Nomination


Steve Huntingdale, Teacher, Highlands Ranch High School

Steve organized a school wide career day at HRHS.  He worked to create a meaningful experience where students learned resume writing skills, had  a chance to learn from community members employed in various fields and even had the opportunity to gain summer employment.  In addition to bringing this event to HRHS, Steve continually works to challenge his students by engaging in a variety of projects.  Steve is respected highly by both his students and co-workers.

Nominated by Heather Berry


Chelsey Mallory, 2nd Grade Teacher, Flagstone Elementary

Chelsey is a rockstar because she goes above and beyond to met the needs of each student, even those who may not be in the General Education classroom most of the day.  She consistently shows her students that she cares about each of them.  She teaches her students how to care and appreciate one another.  Chelsey always has new ways to grab her students attention so they never get bored!

Nominated by Wendy Lewis


Donna Estrada, First Grade Teacher, World Compass Academy

Donna exemplifies both a creative passion for teaching her students and an enduring patience for the challenges they bring each day. She works tirelessly to ensure that her students leave home with a smile on their faces, and she brings a great deal of inspiration and encouragement to those who have the honor of working with her.

Nominated by Emily Chan


Michele Stewart, Little Cougar Pre-K Director, Cougar Run Elementary

Michele is a truly wonderful asset for the Cougar Run Learning Community. She is model leader and program manager.  Her dedication to the students, staff and parents of Cougar Run's Little Cougar Pre-K program has made this a model program for our school district.  Michele works tirelessly to make each and every day a unique and fun learning experience for the students and an equally positive working environment for staff  We appreciate all Michele does for this program and our school. 

Nominated by John Gutierrez


Glenn Kirby, Electrician, O&M

Yesterday, the 20th of February, I was asked to go help shovel snow at Wilcox, and Cantril. While shoveling snow at Cantril, I received a call from a fellow employee, and in the brief  conversation that was had, this individual asked what I was doing. He immediately said to me, "I'm on my way", and showed up within 10 minutes, to help me with my responsibilities I had there at Cantril. He didn't ask if I needed help, or if anyone else was there helping me, which, by the way, there was not. I believe it's important to recognize people, that go out of their way, to help others, when help is needed. This is the kind of Employee I'm happy to work with, today, and in the future.

Nominated by Kevin Weise


Heidi Geiger , First and Second Grade Teacher, Larkspur Elementary

Heidi has taken on a new teaching position this year and has worked hard in learning new standards and new curriculum. With some challenging dynamics in her classroom she has ROCKED it this year. She is always found enhancing the best in all of her students and we are blessed to have her.

Nominated by Jen Oldham


Alyson Reynolds, Library Media Specialist, Rock Ridge Elementary

Alyson not only ensures that students and staff are effective users of ideas and information, she also empowers our students to be critical thinkers, enthusiastic readers, skillful researchers, and ethical users of information!  She thrives on her consistent collaboration with classroom teachers & specialists to help design and implement lessons and units of inquiry.  She takes great pride in assessing student learning and her instructional effectiveness. She is a wealth of information and a priceless asset to our learning community!

Nominated by Pam Gutierrez


Andrea McNamara, Principal Secretary, Cougar Run Elementary

Andrea is an incredible asset to Cougar Run Elementary and to DCSD.  She does an exceptional job of supporting the leadership team in the day to day operations of the school.  Andrea is always positive and upbeat and her great attitude is contagious. Andrea provides excellent customer service and makes each stakeholder's experience at the school a great one.  Andrea helps make Cougar Run a great place to work and learn. 

Nominated by John Gutierrez


Patti Rodriguez, Office Manager, American Academy Motsenbocker

Patti is always helping all the employees, she has an amazing heart and always looking to help all of us in some way.

Nominated by Ana Brekke


Jana Schleusner, Director of Finance, Financial Services

Jana Schleusner was able to assist The Foundation for Douglas County Schools to get the information and data together so that the annual audit of The Foundation could be completed. Jana assisted The Foundation in defining the reports and data that was required and assisted in working with The Foundation's External Auditors to complete the annual audit.  The Foundation's new executive director learned what reports to pull and how to prepare all of the back-up and will be able to manage the audit in the future.  In addition, because of this collaboration, Jana will be able to provide professional support each year to The Foundation related to their audit saving the Foundation outsourced dollars to buy the additional support.

Nominated by Bonnie Betz


Meaghan Sullivan, Executive Director, The Foundation for Douglas County Schools

Meaghan Sullivan was able to assist DCSD's Financial Services Department in resolving a “Crowd Funding” question asked of us by teachers and principals throughout the District.  “Go Fund Me” pages have been used over the past two years or so by staff members to gather donations for their classrooms or schools.  The crowd funding organization charges up to 8% to administer this program.  Meaghan has come up with a solution to provide a better opportunity for all teachers and schools and at a better price (4% from 8%) plus eliminates any concern about internal control and clarifies that money raised in this manner to benefit a school classroom will provide the equipment or stuff to the school and the classroom – not to the teacher.  This program is presently being piloted in DCSD.

Nominated by Bonnie Betz


DCSD Employee Rockstars: February 20, 2018

Kelly Parsons, Second Grade Teacher, Larkspur Elementary

Kelly Parsons is in her third year of teaching at LES. We pride ourselves in teaching the whole child which leads us on a journey of a healthy mind and body. Ms. Parsons incorporates daily wellness activities such as yoga, push ups, crunches etc. to ensure students grow a healthy mindset in this life long journey. Thank you for being an LES Rock Star!

Nominated by Jen Oldham


Breanne Determan, Art Teacher, Eagle Ridge Elementary

Bre has been an amazing addition to ERE this year.  She brings so much joy to her work every day.  I am nominating her now because she recently helped our PTA create an incredible scene for our Community Bingo Night by having every student design underwater creatures to decorate the walls of our gym.  It took a ton of time, coordination and patience to create these almost 600 creatures and Bre did it without hesitation, along with helping to hang them all the day of the event!  The kids were thrilled to see their work up there for everyone to see.  We appreciate you, Bre!

Nominated by Amy LaComb


Becky Mamula, Registrar, Mountain View Elementary

Due to a family emergency, she was the only one in our office last week - she enrolled 3 new students last week.  Additionally, she single-handedly completed registrations for the 2018-19 school year, as well as ran the entire front office:  health room, answered phones/emails, new families, parent drop-offs (things forgotten by kids) and handled our Principal's schedule and calendar.  All the time, she was planning our Annual Kindergarten Informational Night/Open House. 

Nominated by Kate Bufton


Stephanie Brink, Assistant Principal, South Ridge Elementary

Stephanie has been an instrumental part of the South Ridge administrative team for five years. She has a passion for education that is evident in everything that she does for the students and staff of South Ridge. The relationships that she builds and fosters with the students as well as helping with the implementation of the Tree House has helped to decrease student discipline office referrals of the past couple of years. She has been an instrumental part in the school's professional development in guided reading this school year, already resulting in over 70% of the student population making significant growth over the first semester. Stephanie has a heart for the students and staff as she loves what she does. Daily Stephanie is seen smiling as she interacts with the South Ridge community. She is a positive leader and influence for all those that are lucky to have interactions with her!

Nominated by Erin Carlson


Cindy Howery, Educational Assistant, Lone Tree Elementary

Cindy truly cares about all of the kids she works with. When she helps out in our grade level she knows exactly what we want the kids to  be doing and how to help them be successful. Cindy pops in during her free time and helps us tidy our rooms, sharpen pencils, and spend extra time with kids. She is truly a gift to get to work with.

Nominated by Kristi Feret


Julie C Crawford, Assistant Principal, Trailblazer Elementary School

Julie makes Trailblazer Elementary School a better place each and every day. Her passion for children and for learning are evident in her relationships with our students, our staff and our community. Julie goes out of her way to make sure that our school is a place where teachers can teach and kids can learn. She has a wealth of resources at her fingertips and what she does not know, she will find out and share with parents and colleagues. Julie is a strong leader - she regularly reflects on her practice and works hard to be her best no matter how hard a situation becomes. Kids love her, teachers love her, and parents love her. Julie is an irreplaceable gem and our school would not be the same without her.

Nominated by Deanne Kirby


Joel Johnston, Social Studies Teacher, Eagle Academy

Joel makes every student's day a bit brighter by greeting them each and everyday at the entrance to Eagle Academy.  It is amazing to hear, from the students themselves, how much this means to them.  To have someone stop and check in with them, showing them that they matter.  His presence in our school is important and felt.  They students respect that he pushes them academically, but they also know that he cares about them. 

Nominated by Maria Hopkins


Jairo Avila, Building Engineer, Prairie Crossing Elementary

Jairo is a hardworking team player that continuously goes above and beyond to take care of PCE.  There is no job request too big or too small and he always responds quickly.  His positive attitude and dedication to our school community is inspiring to everyone.

Nominated by Carrie Rotherham


Mike Reilly, Systems Analyst , I.T.

I'm not sure there are words to express my appreciation for Mike's customer service. He is always patient and willing to help. Not only is he an incredible resource to my department -- he has been a critical resource for our schools. Thanks Mike for all you do!

Nominated by Stacy Rader


Cindy Howery, Educational Assistant, Lone Tree Elementary

Cindy is truly passionate about making a difference in children's lives. She always puts needs of kids first, goes above and beyond when helping teachers, kids and the school. She has excellent communication to be sure we're on the "same page."  She learns rules, procedures and curriculum to maintain consistency between EA and teacher. She's happy and positive, is excellent at behavior management, takes her job seriously and cares about well-being/safety of students, and she is my friend ;)

Nominated by Shannon Arro


Sarah Plagge, Principal's Secretary, South Ridge Elementary

Debbie Hogan, Nicole Farnett, and Sarah Plagge head up our Agriculture and Garden Clubs. All three are outstanding classified employees who dedicate their free time to ensuring that our kids have access to student-driven extra-curricular activities. They daily brighten the days of our students through opportunities to exercise responsibility and choice. Our kids are happy and involved in school, thanks to this incredible team!

Nominated by Stephanie Brink


Debbie Hogan, Registrar, South Ridge Elementary

Debbie Hogan, Nicole Farnett, and Sarah Plagge head up our Agriculture and Garden Clubs. All three are outstanding classified employees who dedicate their free time to ensuring that our kids have access to student-driven extra-curricular activities. They daily brighten the days of our students through opportunities to exercise responsibility and choice. Our kids are happy and involved in school, thanks to this incredible team!

Nominated by Stephanie Brink


Nicole Farnett, SSN EA IV, South Ridge Elementary

Debbie Hogan, Nicole Farnett, and Sarah Plagge head up our Agriculture and Garden Clubs. All three are outstanding classified employees who dedicate their free time to ensuring that our kids have access to student-driven extra-curricular activities. They daily brighten the days of our students through opportunities to exercise responsibility and choice. Our kids are happy and involved in school, thanks to this incredible team!

Nominated by Stephanie Brink


Amy Lundstra, Special Education, ThunderRidge High School

During 2018 Wish Week at ThunderRidge High School, Mrs. Lunstra led an outstanding Unified basketball game against Arapahoe High School. Her students participated in the basketball game and in the poms performance, and were supported by staff and the ThunderRidge student body. This event was uplifting and inspiring for all who attended. Thank you for all you do for Douglas County students!

Nominated by Nancy Ingalls


Ashley Harhigh, Learning Specialist, ThunderRidge High School

During 2018 Wish Week at ThunderRidge High School, Ms. Harhigh led an outstanding Unified basketball game against Arapahoe High School. Her students participated in the basketball game and in the poms performance, and were supported by staff and the ThunderRidge student body. This event was uplifting and inspiring for all who attended. Thank you for all you do for Douglas County students!

Nominated by Nancy Ingalls


Ryan Berninzoni, Operations Manager - Grounds, Operations and Maintenance

Ryan recently went above and beyond by helping Cherry Valley Elementary access some much needed snow removal equipment. Ryan's compassion and dedication to assisting this school (and serving our children) was extremely heartwarming. Ryan is the definition of a Rock Star!

Nominated by Dr. Steven Cook


DCSD Employee Rockstars: January 22, 2018

Melissa Canino,  Teacher, American Academy

Melissa Canino is an amazing lead teacher and person. She works so incredibly hard to make sure that our team is successful. Melissa lends an incredible amount of her time and hard work to mentor the 2nd grade teachers at American Academy. On top of that, she makes an effort to develop relationships with each of her students. She loves her students and does everything she can to ensure their success.


Ann Steers, Art Teacher, Global Village Academy

Ann dedicates herself to her school and the students in everything she does. She is the life link to our International days. She provides all the Art work and guidance for all the International Days once a month. She volunteers many hours to make sure that student learn about each country and the artists from those countries every month. As a former Kindergarten teacher she provides valuable coaching and guidance to the staff and her input is always given in a positive manner. Ann is truly a valued member of the Global Village Team and we appreciate all that she does.


DCSD Employee Rockstars: January 8, 2018

Ericka Palomera, Transportation Educational Assistant, Castle Rock Transportation Department

Ericka graciously volunteered to assist with Back to School Night at South Street Elementary. As transportation employees, she as not well versed in the systems needed to enroll students in school. However, with the 25%-30% Spanish speaking community that attends the school, Ericka was able to walk them them getting many student enrolled using the District's registration tool Express Check-in. Her efforts increased the school's registration that day before school started from 452 to 514. I can't thank her enough for the “Team” attitude she displayed. Thanks for leading the charge.


Luz De Lourdes Juvera-Vallejo, Transportation Professional Driver, Castle Rock Transportation Department

The day before school started at South Ridge Elementary School, the principal contacted Transportation requesting our assistance with their back to school to assist parent with student registration and answering last minute transportation question. Though it was not her specialty, LuLu stepped-up to the plate and assisted 42 parents (majority ESL families) with student enrollment by interpreting for them so they could use the DCSD's Express Check-In application. She walked them through the process from beginning to end. Because of her diligence, The DCSD Transportation Department would like to recognize her as Rock Star Nominee.


Connie Avila, Transportation Educational Assistant, Castle Rock Transportation Department

Connie eagerly jumped at the opportunity to assist South Ridge Elementary School with Back to School Night by translating for the ESL population that attends the school. She greeted the parents at the door and was able to direct them in the right direction to get their student(s) enrolled for school. Her efforts were a direct result of the increased enrollment by 42 students. Additionally, her actions speak directly to the Transportation Services Mission of “effectively utilizing available resources that enhance student achievement through World Class Education.” Connie, YOU ROCK!


Kelli Mueller, Laura Phillips & Natalie Smith, School Nurses, Health/Nursing services

Kelli, Laura & Natalie passed their National Board exam for school nurses and are now Nationally Certified School Nurses! Congratulations on this accomplishment! If you see one of these Rock Stars- give them a high-five for successfully meeting the requirements and becoming nationally certified in their field of practice!


Lauren Inson, Severe Needs EA, Timber Trail Elementary

Lauren is new to our school this year but she fits in like a seasoned professional. Lauren is young and energetic and always jumps right in when needed. She never says no and can read a situation as it is happening and reacts before being asked. She is a great addition to Timber Trail and we are so fortunate to have her on board.


Alejandra Montoya, Bus Driver, Transportation

Ale has worked with DCSD for numerous years. She started out at CRE in the Kitchen and then became a Driver. Alejandra did GenEd for several years, but SPED is where she has really thrived and enjoys her students that she transports. She always goes above and beyond and I would like to acknowledge all her years of hard work.


Felicia Phelan, First Grade Teacher,  Coyote Creek Elementary

Felicia is such a great lead teacher and mentors the other two teachers so well. She is collaborative, kind, positive, builds amazing relationships with her students and families, and is such a joy to be around. Felicia is kind to everyone and is leading a cohort for the district that many of our teachers signed up for as she is well respected in the building.


Troy Stembel, School Resource Officer, Sage Canyon Elementary

We started the school year with a little kindergartener who was scared to even see a police car in the school parking lot and Officer Stembel has become best buddies with him. Officer Stembel started by having lunch with this student each day and going out to recess with him. He even helped him get props for a police officer Halloween costume. Office Stembel missed lunch one day so he made sure to come in so he could read to and see this student. Office Stembel has gone above and beyond in making this student feel safe and creating a friendship with a student that really needed a safe and secure adult in his life.


Teresa Boltz, Cafeteria Manager, Clear Sky Elementary

Teresa takes a lot of pride in her job and is very invested in Clear Sky as a whole school. She expressed interest in being a part of a first grade project to use cooking to learn about the changing states of matter, helped organize the culmination event where the first graders made Thanksgiving pies, stayed after her work day ended to be available to our students, staff and volunteers. She knows the names of our students and greets them in the cafeteria, she makes an effort to get to know other staff members in the school, even though it is not part of her job duties. She even volunteers on some school committees on her own time. Our school is better because of Teresa working here.


Drew Sowell, ITS Technician I, Device Operations

Drew started with us on the first of November. In a single month, he has successfully closed out close to 90 repair requests and has effectively learned our ticketing system and repair process like a seasoned pro. He’s been phenomenal. Great attitude and very patient with our staff.


Tonya Gerondale, SPED EA, Cantril Preschool

Tonya goes over and beyond to support all students in her classes. She fully supports all of the specialists and works diligently with her SPED students taking data, purposefully engaging with her learners, and collaboratively works with her team in a professional manner. She is an asset to the Cantril Preschool Multidisciplinary team.


Donna Goodwin, PLS, Highlands Ranch High School

Donna is an all around outstanding individual. She manages to answers everybody's questions at the same time. She is always looking for new and exciting ways to help teachers develop professionally and increase our schools moral. She is always there to support us, no matter what the issue or the time of day. She is truly a remarkable human and i'm not sure how new teachers would survive without her.


Jen Kendall, Librarian/Media Center, Library/Media Center

Jen always, always plans great lessons for the kids when they come to their library time. She will plan with us to connect with what the kids are learning. She has a great understanding for what kids enjoy reading and is helpful in finding ‘just right’ books for our kids. She also provides our classrooms with books we need for our content area lessons and also books if we are teaching a particular lesson or reading strategy. You ask and she delivers! She is a rockstar everyday!


Bekah Welte, Teacher/Social Studies Lead/Link Crew Coordinator, Castle View High School

Bekah continually goes above and beyond to foster excitement for learning and student leadership. She not only teaches History, Econ, and AP Macroeconomics, but she also created a leadership class and assists with Castle View Student Government. On top of everything else, she has implemented Link Crew – an international freshman transition program, and acts as CV's union representative. She helps all students and faculty members feel included and important at Castle View! Submit Photo:


Nicole Stephens, Dean of Students, Douglas County High School

Nicole is new to us this year and new to the role of Dean of Students. She has jumped right in and been an incredible asset to our school. She works tirelessly on behalf of all the students here at DCHS and never shrugs away from a challenge. I've been impressed with her poise and grace through difficult situations and an endless stream of energy and dedication. Submit Photo:


Lori Black, Teacher, Lone Tree Elementary

Lori Black is one of the most amazing teachers with whom I have had the pleasure of working. She is kind beyond anything I have ever seen. She goes out of her way to connect with each child.


Cherif Mezni, Lead Afternoon Custodian, Ponderosa High School

Cherif has worked at Ponderosa for 14 years. He is extremely loyal, hard working, personable, and the ultimate team player. He is often short-staffed, but still manages to get his work done without complaining. He works extremely hard to make sure everyone is taken care of at Ponderosa!


Allie Thuene, Special Education Teacher, Bridge

Allie consistently goes above and beyond to provide our students with job opportunities, true living skills and community outings. Often, there is no roadmap to teach adults everything they need to know to grow and to continue beyond their high school experience. However, Allie's enthusiasm, creativity and leadership create an environment of success.


Twyla Morton, 1st Grade Teacher, Iron Horse Elementary

Twyla is a passionate, dedicated and well-respected teacher in our school. When I transferred to Iron Horse from Pioneer, Twyla was the first person to introduce herself and make me feel welcomed into my new school community. I collaborate with her weekly on numerous things and she always brightens my day. When walking through the halls, it is obvious that our students enjoy her presence and light up when they see her. It is a joy to work with someone who is not only positive and uplifting but truly loves what they do.


Bridget Santoyo, Accountant- Personalized Learning, Personalized Learning

Bridget is so committed to doing an excellent job every day! She is professional, efficient, and very thorough. The best part about working with Bridget is her kind and positive nature. She makes coming to work very enjoyable!


Andrea Vertner, Athletic Secretary, Chaparral High School

Andrea goes above and beyond in her duties! She is a fabulous multi-tasker and works tirelessly to get the job done. She greets each student with a smile and a great sense of humor. The amount of time her job requires should take two people, but Andrea gets it done with no complaints. She is a pleasure to work with and an asset to Chaparral High School.


Jen Murdock, Assistant Principal, Buffalo Ridge Elementary

Jen does an incredible job with staff and students at all times. She puts all needs before her own. She makes sure staff, students, parents and community members are always cared for when dealing with any situation that involves school whether it's during the school day or out of school hours. She deserves much more recognition than she will ever receive!!


Patti Vessa, Kitchen Manager, Eldorado Elementary

Patti is the epitome of the word ‘professional’. It is clear to see that she loves her job, she sets high standards for herself and her team, and she wants to provide the very best level of service for her customers, the students, every day! Patti is constantly cheerful. She greets every child with warmth and knows each of their personalities by heart. She goes above and beyond to meet the needs of students that have specific dietary requirements and her communication with staff and families is outstanding. Patti shares her personal passion for cooking and baking with our staff on a regular basis. We always look forward to the special treats she prepares and hope that she will be able to fulfill her desire to start a baking club at our school in the future. Patti's organization, creativity, and flexibility are perfect for such a demanding position. We could not imagine our building without her delightful disposition and her remarkable compassion and support for those around her. Eldorado is so thankful for Patti Vessa!


Katie McCann, 8th Grade Math Teacher, Cimarron Middle School

Katie is the foundation of our 8th grade math PLC. We value her ideas and insights into teaching and learning and the students love her as a classroom teacher and a coach. Thanks for being a rock star anchor in our daily activities and long range planning!


DCSD Employee Rockstars: May 1, 2017

SED Team, Sand Creek Elementary School 

This team works hard with some of the more challenging students. They show caring, patience, and resiliency in some of the toughest moments when their students need them the most. They are always clearly communicating and have support for each other. Each member is vital to the success they have had as a group. 

Hallie Winschuh, ELA Teacher, Mesa Middle School

Hallie has been a constant support for myself and the other new teacher on our team. Her continued leadership and attention to detail ensures that everything runs smoothly for our team. In addition, she is always looking to do something amazing with our students in terms of lessons, like reading a book in a day by having each group read one chapter. 


Denise Ruthenbeck, Grant Accountant, Business Services 

Denise is always willing to pitch in and lend a hand when asked. She is so dedicated to her job and she handles so many tasks at one time. Such a great heart and easy to work with. 


DCSD Employee Rockstars: April 17, 2017

Bridget Santoyo, Accountant, Personalized Learning

Bridget is so competent in what she does and she does it with a smile. She is always willing to help and often goes out of her way if needed. I am always amazed with her organization and thoroughness and she is a joy to work with!!!


Amber Jachetta, SSN Educational Assistant, Timber Trail Elementary

Amber is the epitome of excellence and is an exemplary employee of Douglas County School District. Easily put…she “gets it”! Her skills surpass any and all specialists I have encountered. She continuously goes above and beyond to support students with cognitive impairments, as well as every student in our school! Her innate ability to continuously challenge students allows them to continue to grow into their full potential. Amber easily sees the vision I have set for our students and works diligently to make this vision a reality. Douglas County schools need more employees like Amber, she is truly, TRULY one in a million!


Linda Conway, Director, Innovation & Design Center

Linda Conway is the leader of our team of six serving all schools and all libraries across the District. She is a woman of amazing energy and talents and has turned our District Library Media Center into an Innovation and Design Center that is visited from folks across the state because of her leading edge ideas. She and Marci Milius speak at national conferences to present their work on Learning Environment Design and we offer such an array of creative resources from books, eBooks, Digital Resources, Computer Science Technology (robots) and much more. We even have a sewing and embroidery machine to “sew electric” computer pieces into clothes. Her passion is to make learning the best and most interesting it can be for all students and to support our library staff and teachers across the District. 


DCSD Employee Rockstars: April 3, 2017

Heather Golden, Counselor, Castle View High School

Heather has implemented a robust Climate and Culture Program at Castle View. She has created a survey for all staff and students to take and has collaborated with her fellow Mental Health Teammates in making positive changes on our campus. Some of the programs include: Mental Health Week, Freshman Seminars and Staff Development.


Don Rauh, Woodshop Teacher, Ponderosa High School

Here is a GREAT Article about how Don has gone the extra mile to help his students. In this particular case, he changed a student’s life.


Melynda Sprockett, Health Assistant/Copy Room Assistant, Douglas County High School

Melynda goes above and beyond in every was possible in helping students in the health room. Always putting on a happy and helpful face even if it's the fourth time she's seen them that day. She always has her running shoes on for emergencies and never complains about anything that comes her way. The copy room has been a much more cohesive place, since she started this last year, as we have two building and she's always willing to walk copies over to the South building. We're ultra-happy that her son will be starting at DCHS in the Fall as a freshman and couldn't be happier with her as an employee and a friend.


Dori Kellams, Clerical/Bookkeeper, Arrowwood Elementary

On Friday, Mar. 10th, one of our EA's was not feeling well with a high heart rate and some pain. It was Dori's quick response in contacting our school nurse, calling 911, and grabbing the AED, just in case. 911 did arrive, Dori provided all necessary details, and our EA made it to the hospital. He did, in fact, have a heart attack but underwent surgery and is doing fine. She potentially saved his life by her quick response and actions! 


DCSD Employee Rockstars: March 6, 2017

Ann Rhinehart, Eighth-Grade Social Studies Teacher, Ranch View Middle School

Ann ALWAYS puts kids first. She pays attention to the closest need of each student and shapes her curriculum, her interaction, and her interventions around the individual needs of the students. Ann teaches and leads with love and it shows in everything she says and does. I'm honored to work with her each day.


Heather Groff, Gifted Talented Teacher, Roxborough Primary

Heather is the GT teacher at RXP, but took on an additional role as the GT lead for our feeder. We give our teachers so much and at times it feels like teachers are just “surviving”. Our school is a declining enrollment school and a highly impacted school. In order to keep class sizes low, we had to reduce our GT certified teacher position and hire a classified GT support to help facilitate interventions and support differentiation. We could have not provided the support to our students in the GT program without the support and guidance of Heather. She goes above and beyond for a school that is not even her school. She responds to me right away. She not only offers guidance to me and our teachers, but is willing to take the time (often outside of work hours) to offer her time and expertise with the gifted learner. I am blown away by her dedication to our district. She is so knowledgeable of how to support the gifted learner and how to support general teachers. She is absolutely amazing!


Allison Porter, Secretary of Athletics, Ponderosa High School

Allison is extremely intelligent and dependable, and works very hard making sure all the details surrounding athletics is taken care of. She takes personal ownership of important decisions and communication among coaches. She is the backbone of the Ponderosa athletic department!


Bernadette Welle, Transactional Accounting System Specialist, Accounts and Accounts Payable

Bernadette always responds quickly, kindly, and is efficient with all of her correspondence. She pays close attention to detail and always is willing to go out of her way to assist. I'm sure she has an overwhelming job keeping track of all of us but continually treats everyone with the highest respect.


Grace Sims, Athletic Trainer, Rock Canyon High School

Grace is a shining star. She is an amazing role model for her students. Her care and concern about each one of them is evident in all that she does. My daughter experienced an emergency in her class. Not only did Grace, support her, she demonstrated to the class how important it was to take care of each other. She rallied the class to advocate to the administration for additional safety equipment. That's just one example of why she deserves “Rock Star” status. She also coached the Rock Canyon/ Chaparral team in the Athletic Training Competition, always encouraging them. Her care and concern, academically and personally, was so evident through her connections with her students. She is an asset to Rock Canyon and DCSD. 


DCSD Employee Rockstars: February 22, 2017

LeeAnn Westfall, Sustainability Manager, Operations and Maintenance

LeeAnn is a DCSD Rockstar! Her leadership and upbeat spirit are admirable and contagious. She’s fun and has an obvious passion for life! She consistently gets the best out of her employees while encouraging us to have a positive attitude while focusing on the tasks at hand. LeeAnn is compassionate and kind and always encourages open communication with her team. Furthermore, her creativity is inspirational to those around her and she is a pivotal aspect of the operations and maintenance team! 


David Burns, Building Engineer, Flagstone Elementary

David has been the long term substitute while our custodian is out on leave. He goes above and beyond every day to make sure things are running smoothly in our building. He is an extremely hard worker and never complains about the work that he is asked to do. He has even completed several projects for us that we have been unable to complete the past couple of years. We sincerely appreciate how much he does while our custodian is out on leave.


Erin (Heather) Carroll, Dean of Students, Fox Creek Elementary

Heather goes above and beyond the role of Dean/Assistant Principal. She is there for any student that needs support and helps students sort through interpersonal or personal problems. She lends advice and gives guidance to staff in a kind and compassionate manner that allows staff to flourish and better develop his or her professional skill. Heather also gives personal recognition to others for the work that he or she performs that makes one feel and believe there is value in what you do for the school and profession.


Beverly Liebchen, SPED teacher, Wildcat Mountain Elementary

Bev works with some of the district's most behaviorally-challenging kids every day. She effectively manages her students' social-emotional needs while ensuring they receive the academic support necessary for learning. She engages in collaboration with a wide range of grade level teachers, other SPED staff, parents, and out of district personnel. She does all of this with grace, intuition, and a welcome sense of humor.


Jenn Ford, Building Engineer, Cherry Valley Elementary

Jenn isn't just the building engineer she's a jack of all trades. Janitor, lunch room assistant and much more. She goes above and beyond for kids and staff of Cherry Valley. The bus drivers thank her every day for keeping the sidewalks clear & salted at the school. Even at 6:00 am she's always got a smile. She's definitely not an average employee she's Cherry Valleys Rock Star! Thanks Jenn for all you do!


Wendy Lewis, Educational Assistant, Flagstone Elementary

Wendy has been at the school for many years and always has the students best interest at heart. She is a natural leader and goes above and beyond her job duties and expectations to help our special needs students succeed. She is a great mentor and is always open to new ideas that she can add to her overflowing toolbox of skills.


Kelly Manley, Principal's Secretary, Larkspur Elementary

Kelly is so helpful to everyone in the Larkspur community. She is always willing and able to provide answers, assistance, and encouragement to our students and staff. Kelly is the go to person for community and school communication. We are fortunate to have Kelly's warm smile and bounding enthusiasm here at Larkspur! Thanks Kelly; we appreciate you!


Jason Becker Irrigation Groundskeeper, Operations and Maintenance  

Jason has such a hard work ethic and a positive attitude. We are lucky to have him.


Terri Nelson, Registrar, Cimarron Middle School

Terri Nelson has been my mentor. She is incredibly knowledgeable regarding all registrar responsibilities. Even though I know she is extremely busy herself, she has patiently guided me through tasks and procedures. Terri is always a phone call or email away. I cannot say enough about her wealth of knowledge and ability. I know that I am not the only person she has quietly assisted during her many years as a Douglas County Employee. She is simply the best!!


Laura Carey, Registrar, Castle Rock Middle School

Laura goes above and beyond in her registrar job. She welcomes new students, pairs them with new friends and continues to check on them within the following weeks. Laura continues to be amazing building new schedules, working on the 2017-2018 scheduling and doing it all with a beautiful smile. She is an amazing person to work with and she makes everyone's job easier. 




DCSD Employee Rockstars: February 6, 2017

Christy Smith, Registrar, Buffalo Ridge Elementary

Christy has been there for all of us from the very beginning. As a new employee, it is awesome to have some one assist you at the drop of a hat and be as kind and caring the entire time. She walks you through issues and listens to you as you express newbie frustrations. She is the best, If I could give her more I would!! Thank you!! And that is not enough :)


Yvette Brown, Dean, Academy Charter School

Dean Brown’s strengths are her ability as a leader and the relationships she develops with her teachers, students, and their families. With her guidance, Academy Charter School continues to strive for academic excellence. In addition, Dean Brown’s amalgamation of teaching excellence, administrative skills and community building comes “packaged” in a wonderfully friendly, witty, sincere and caring human being. Her personality is delightful. She is sensitive, flexible, respected and admired by students, parents, teachers, and colleagues alike. She is a true Rock Star!!


Shane Foust, Assistant Principal, Academy Charter School

Shane Foust has a great understanding of how students’ learn and how to help teachers reach all students’ potential. His strengths lie in his ability to help teachers see the whole student. He develops a rapport with students and their parents. He understands teaching and can readily relate to teachers. He promotes a school environment of rigor and excellence while understanding differentiation of needs and abilities. He understands the importance of modifications and accommodations of some students but still keeps the bar high for academic success.


Nancy Irvin, RTI/GT/504 Coordinator, Ranch View Middle School 

Nancy is someone who goes above and beyond her job responsibilities every day. She not only facilitates intervention groups for struggling students throughout the week during lunch, but she manages and communicates staff recognition through weekly Howl awards, she acts on our Sunshine Committee to help struggling staff members, and she is constantly meeting with students, staff, and parents to problem-solve with how we can help each student. We are so fortunate to have her and for all the hats she wears.


DCSD Employee Rockstars: January 23, 2017

Ann Braccia, SPED Educational Assistant, Sage Canyon Elementary

Ann puts kids first, constantly. She always makes every child feel extremely loved and cared for and always goes above and beyond. Ann is always positive and does her best to implement the district's policies. She comes in with a smile on her face every single day (which usually lasts about 11 hours for her).


Brenda Knight, Instructional Assistant Supervisor, Academy Charter School

Brenda Knight is a valuable employee who can be counted on at any time. She goes above and beyond her typical job description and responsibilities. Her strong work ethic is evident in every task she performs. Brenda works well with both students and their parents. She is willing to hear suggestions as well as complaints from parents and staff with an open heart. Academy Charter School would not be as successful without the support of Brenda and her staff. They are the unsung heroes of ACS who do not receive enough recognition for their accomplishments and hard work.



Amanda Kalina, Communications Manager, HOPE Online Learning Academy

Amanda Kalina is a cheerleader! Amanda has a can do, will do, and does get the job done, kind of attitude! She takes her job seriously and is very passionate about the students in our school. The minute an event is over, Amanda is already posting or disseminating any photos or information that communicates the story to the public, and within our 26 Learning Centers. Amanda goes beyond the call-of-duty, and when there are inclement weather conditions that need to be communicated to the staff, Amanda is making sure we are properly informed whether she is in town or out of town, she makes sure we are covered. She has a positive attitude, and a great working relationship with the staff, DCSD, media representatives and HOPE clientele. Amanda Kalina ensures that HOPE has their best foot forward!


Deric Hodges, Building Engineer, Sedalia Elementary

Deric, is well known around the district in the most admired and loving way. His joking, hard exterior can't fool anyone here at Sedalia Elem. There is absolutely nothing he would not do for anyone in this building, even if he “says” he doesn't have the time or gives you one of his looks like "you want me to do what!). He always makes it happen! We are all lucky he chooses to stick with this tiny little school. Thank you Deric, you are appreciated.


Sherri Carlson, Admin Dean/Response to Intervention, Iron Horse Elementary & Cherokee Trail Elementary

Sherri is an amazing employee! She is balancing the demands and needs of two schools, leaders, and teachers effortlessly and effectively. Sherri has been integral in the development of our literacy plan and supporting staff in developing their skills to support students. Thank you for all you do!


DCSD Employee Rockstars: January 9, 2017

Siri Morken, School Nurse Consultant, DCSD Nursing

Siri took the National Board Exam and is now a nationally certified School Nurse. Siri is one of about only 80 school nurses state-wide to achieve her Board Certification. Congratulations Siri!


Denine Kysar, Buyer, Strategic Sourcing and Contract Management

Denine is always doing that one more “thing” to move the organization forward. Whether it's going out of her way to get a purchase order processed, providing coverage for her teammates, or playing detective to find the answer a fellow employee needs. Denine is always one I can count on to get the job done.


Tim Smith, Biology Teacher, SkyView Academy

Tim is a master at creating excitement and inquiry in science students at SkyView Academy. Besides teaching his regular class load, every year he guides 10-15 students in developing sophisticated science projects that are ultimately submitted to the Colorado State Science Fair. This requires numerous hours above and beyond his teaching responsibilities. Last year Tim's students won numerous awards at the Colorado State Science Fair.


Francesca Wilder, Assistant Principal, Arrowwood and Sand Creek Elementary

Your openness and willingness to teach others is beyond measure. Thank you for your help in this time of transition.


Katie Stasiak, Teacher, Acres Green Elementary

Katie is an innovative first grade teacher. This year, she is implementing interactive science and social studies activities in her literacy block. For example, students are building communities, creating with sand and sorting rocks. The students love these activities and are learning as they explore. 


DCSD Employee Rockstars: December 12, 2016

Eileen Culbreth, Educational Assistant, Prairie Crossing Elementary School

Eileen is the hardest working person I know! She comes in every day with a smile, asking everyone how she can help them. She uses her break and lunch time to help with additional projects and even takes things home to finish. Eileen makes learning for the kids engaging, while still holding them to high expectations. She always puts children first and makes her reading groups so much fun! Kiddos learn short vowels and blends by bowling, sorting toys or making a craft. She is an incredible support to the teachers as well, always going above and beyond! Her heart is genuine and her laugh is infectious. She makes everyone – kiddos and adults- feel special.


Donna Baty, Occupational Therapist, Rock Ridge Elementary

Donna strives to go above and beyond what is expected in the classroom. She has great rapport with her teammates and students. Donna is always looking for ways to improve and to offer ideas and strategies for implementation in the classroom. She encourages students to be the best they can be!! Donna has teamed up with and is collaborating with Special Olympics and Rock Ridge Preschool to offer a yearlong all-inclusive program called Young Athletes. This program will encourage leadership skills, builds character, and provides opportunities to participate in lifelong physical activities. Donna is an asset to Early Childhood Education and to the District! 



Zach Davis, Fleet Mechanic, Transportation Fleet Maintenance

I would like to nominate Zach Davis for this award for his unselfish and dedicated service to Douglas County Schools while serving as a Fleet Mechanic for Transportation Fleet Maintenance. Zach’s accomplishments are without question of the highest caliber. In June of 2016, Zach competed against thirty other technicians across Colorado and Wyoming during the annual Colorado State Pupil Transportation Association (CSPTA) and took first place in a hands on competition. This identified Zach as the best maintenance technician in the state of Colorado and Wyoming. Winning the CSPTA gave Zach the opportunity to compete at the highest level in Kansas City this November. Only the top technicians in every state are invited to compete at the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT). Zach finished fourth overall against 21 other technicians to be named best in the nation. To finish and be placed in the top 5% of the best technicians in the nation is an incredible honor. Zach Davis represented himself and Douglas County at not only a state level this past June but the national level with honor and distinction.


Casey Turnbaugh, Dean of Students, Douglas County High School

Casey does a great job in his role as Dean of Students because he is such a caring person and truly wants the best for all our students. He handles discipline matters with compassion and at the same time is able to be firm with the students when needed. I truly believe he has a special gift to be able to utilize both skill sets and still be effective in his role. He is the epitome of a TEAM player and goes above and beyond to help out whenever and wherever needed.



Shelly Boyd, SSN Teacher, Legend High School

Shelley goes above and beyond, on a daily basis to keep our parents informed on what is going on for our SSN students. She also is very integral in the Unified Sports program for our students. She gives 110% of herself to make our students H.S. years positive and productive.


Mary Page, Principal, Plum Creek Academy

Mary is the epitome of Rock and Star! She is our school's rock and firm foundation when things seem to be difficult. Mary is our stability to take the time to ensure that each student and staff member is individually taken care of not in a “one size fits all” model but a “what size fits you” approach and it is not only successful but proves to build a positive culture. Mary is also our Star because she pushes us to reach for higher and brighter! She herself is furthering her education and encourages all to reach their full potential. Whether it be, professional development for employees or encouraging life skills for our Dual Diagnosis students, Mary is the Star that keeps us shining bright. She truly is the epitome of a ROCKSTAR!!!!


Darrell Meredith Principal Sierra Middle School

We are so grateful to have Darrell as our Principal. He has led us through some tough times this year and has helped to repair the morale at our school. He truly embodies the spirit of our school and is our fearless leader. Thank you Darrell for all that you do! 


DCSD Employee Rockstars: November 21, 2016

DCSD School Nurse Consultant, Peggy Brown, Nominated for Statewide School Nurse of the Year

Peggy Brown, DCSD School Nurse Consultant was one of 3 finalists for the state School Nurse of the Year Award earlier this month at the Colorado Association of School Nurses annual conference. Peggy has been a nurse with DCSD for 17 years. She is dedicated to the health & wellness of all students & staff. Peggy teaches CPR /First Aid and babysitting classes to students. She is a Trainer of Trainers for CPR/ First Aid and has been instrumental to the DCSD system in addressing the need for CPR certification for our staff. Peggy is a wonderful asset to our DCSD School Nurse Consultant group and to the district as a whole. Congratulations Peggy on this great honor. We are so proud of you!



DCSD Employee Rockstars: November 7, 2016

Roberta McDonough, Forth-grade teacher, South Ridge Elementary School

Roberta worked with our student leadership to build a Student Council that is dreaming big and making beautiful things happen at South Ridge. They are driven to empower students to brainstorm ideas and to make these ideas happen. Our Student Council, in their first month of impact, has implemented creative student ideas to make Red Ribbon Week a meaningful experience for our student body, initiated a drive to provide affordable artificial limbs to amputees in South America, and prepared for our annual community Fall Festival.


Challeen Flick, Sixth-grade teacher, South Ridge Elementary

Challeen worked with our student leadership to build a Student Council that is dreaming big and making beautiful things happen at South Ridge. They are driven to empower students to brainstorm ideas and to make these ideas happen. Our Student Council, in their first month of impact, has implemented creative student ideas to make Red Ribbon Week a meaningful experience for our student body, initiated a drive to provide affordable artificial limbs to amputees in South America, and prepared for our annual community Fall Festival.


Brittnie Coveney Fifth-grade teacher, South Ridge Elementary

Brittnie worked with our student leadership to build a Student Council that is dreaming big and making beautiful things happen at South Ridge. They are driven to empower students to brainstorm ideas and to make these ideas happen. Our Student Council, in their first month of impact, has implemented creative student ideas to make Red Ribbon Week a meaningful experience for our student body, initiated a drive to provide affordable artificial limbs to amputees in South America, and prepared for our annual community Fall Festival.


Yvonne Jellison, Principal Secretary, Castle Rock Middle School

Yvonne “Jelli” is such a great asset to our school. She is full of love, patience, kindness and a can do attitude. We don't know what we would do without her.


Scottie Martin, Learning Specialist, Rock Ridge Elementary

Scottie is an incredible learning specialist and leader at Rock Ridge Elementary. Her devotion and dedication to her students is evident on a daily basis. Scottie never hesitates to take the initiative in supporting student needs. She is also a resource and support for teachers in our building and has taken on the MTSS process for students in need at the primary level. She is one of the hardest working teachers that I know. Her rapport with teachers and parents is a great example to all of us!


Cory Pettee, Campus Security Specialist, Ponderosa High School

Cory transferred from the Ponderosa HS Special Education Department as a Para Educator. He continues to build relationships and gain respect from the student body and staff. Cory is the point of contact for the Special Education Department which keeps him busy, but he is never without a smile and willingness to help all within the building. He is a part of an integral and unified security team and strives to improve his tactics every day. He serves as a role model to the entire school and teaches our students to behave like young adults and to be responsible in and out of school.




Debra Tiernan, Security Specialist, Ponderosa High School

Debra serves as a role models for our students in how to conduct themselves as young adults and as responsible individuals in and out of school. She is always promoting individual student responsibility in our school and has a great personality that demonstrates interpersonal skills that relate well with students, staff, administration, and parents. 


Dawn Clarke, Interventionist, Legacy Point Elementary

Dawn works tirelessly to data dig with teachers to help them support their students, as well as works extremely hard to find interventions that meet the needs of students. She is passionate about students and is always sharing ideas with the staff members of Legacy Point Elementary. Finally, Dawn always has a smile on her face and helps make LPE a fabulous place to be!


Martha Cisneros, Second Language Translator, South Ridge Elementary

Martha Cisneros has been part of DCSD since for over 9 years and part of the South Ridge family for over 6 years as an integral part of our school and Castle Rock community. Martha is the main point of contact for our Spanish speaking families at South Ridge, and continues to support them throughout their extended years in middle school and high school. On a daily basis, Martha communicates with families to set up community services, assist with students and family needs, as well as be a resource for teachers and staff to help in keeping open and clear communication with our second language families. Martha also connects with the families in the community on a regular basis and has such positive relationships that even after students leave South Ridge, families still reach out to Martha for a variety of help and assistance.


DCSD Employee Rockstars: October 24, 2016

Michele Ramos, Literacy Interventionist, Trailblazer Elementary School

Michele’s position is a classified interventionist and not only does she step up to the role she was hired for but she quickly took her position to the next level. She has started our Dibels BURST Intervention program and with her love of literacy and her dedication to our most needy students- we have seen so much growth in such a short time! It just goes to show that the NUMBER 1 thing we can do for our students is put the right people in front of them. We are so lucky to have Michele at Trailblazer. She works so hard and is always helping our students and staff.


Stephanie Braden, Speech Language Pathologist, Gold Rush Elementary

Steph always goes above and beyond to support her students and coworkers. She is a mastermind at communication with staff and students as well as a determined problem-solver. She leads by example each and every day and instills strategies in her students which allows them to reach their full potential and will enhance their future success!


Roxanne Derks, Application Support Specialist, Professional Development Dept.

Roxanne is a Rock Star because she goes above and beyond in her role as Application Support Specialist. Whenever I am having difficulty with getting classes organized or set up, Roxanne is the first name that pops into my head. She is someone that I know I can count on to get the job done. Her responses are always positive and helpful. We are lucky to have her at DCSD!


Kathy Hakim, Administrative Assistant, Early Childhood Care Center South – Preschool

Kathy Hakim remembers every student's name and greets them with a smile, a high five or a hug while they are coming into class or as they leave for the day. She makes every child feel special and loved. As the Building Manger she schedules and supervises fire drills, lock down/out drills. She plans playground upgrades and maintenance, helps to plan trainings, celebrations, so many things that we take for granted and does all of it while keeping us in compliance with licensing and on budget!! An amazing task!!



Erin Brown, Severe Needs Teacher, Mammoth Heights Elementary

Erin Brown is an example of World Class Education for our students with significant needs. Sometimes differentiating instruction for our student that receive SSN support is a tricky business. Erin has it figured out!! All of her students participate in all academic areas at their own speed. Erin and her team of exceptional Educational Assistants use Assistive Technology (First Author software, switches, eye gaze frames, and low tech writing flip charts) to give each of her students access to GVCs and EEO Standards. Every single student in her class is writing and reading every day!! Way to go Mammoth Heights SSN Department! You have high expectations for students and they are rising to the challenge!


Sadie Levine, Professional Learning Specialist, Sierra Middle School

Sadie is a kind, caring and giving individual. She goes out of her way to help you, acknowledge achievements, willing to listen. Sadie is always putting others before herself. She is an amazing person who deserves to be recognized for all she does, but usually without a “Thank you” from those around her.


Chris Goldsberry, Educational Assistant, Fox Creek Elementary

The Franklin College Athletic department inducted Chris Goldsberry, a former student-athlete into its Athletic Hall of Fame. Goldsberry, was a standout on the court in basketball and volleyball from 1979 through 1983 seasons. 



2015-2016 DCSD Rockstars

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May 16, 2016 - Victoria WinslowAsst. Principal, Mountain Ridge Middle School: "In addition to all Victoria's responsibilities she has taken on the responsibility of facilitator of all testing here at MRMS.  She has been very conscientious to insure all  computers & wireless are working to their fullest capacity and schedule students so that they know where they need to be.   She also works with the parent community for those wanting their students to opt out. Thanks for acknowledging her!!!"

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May 16, 2016 - Tim RyckmanTechnology Teacher, Rocky Heights Middle School: "Tim is a true Rock Star.  Our 5th Feature film is about to debut May 21st at RHMS and Tim has been the driving force behind this project.  Tim not only gave up his Fall Break to film 95% of the film, he has spent the past 9 months editing, coordinating tech kids on editing, planning a premiere and doing his normal job.  Tim is a pillar of our staff, community, and a teacher kids adore.  He puts on film festivals, facilitates award winning yearbooks and manages our daily Nighthawk News with over 100 news anchors per year.  Tim is an inspiration to me, a veteran teacher of 20 years and to all he teaches.  Congrats to our Rock Star at Rocky Heights, Tim Ryckman!!!"

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May 16, 2016 - Stephanie YeagleRegistrar/Assistant to the Principal, Redstone Elementary: "Stephanie is an absolute joy to work with! She is the first contact visitors and new families meet when they walk through the door. She represents Redstone well with her cheerful disposition and friendly manner to all. If you are having a bad day, she can lift your spirits and put you in a good mood. She knows every student by name and can tell what class they are in. I short, she is AMAZING, and that's why she is a Rock Star!"

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May 16, 2016 - Stephanie BulawaSchool Social Worker, Sierra Middle School: "Stephanie Bulawa has been an amazing part of my growth at Sierra Middle School.  Stephanie always puts students first and have a passion and love for what she does.  She has a huge heart.  She does amazing things for the crisis team as well.  Stephanie is a true leader, and works so well with others.  She shows true compassion for students and collaborates well with others.  Stephanie is able to drop everything she is doing to help students and staff.  Stephanie is a true rockstar and it shows in her work."

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May 16, 2016 - Sandra TombreAssistant Principal, Coyote Creek Elementary: "Sandy is a real asset to the Coyote Creek community. She is a true professional and always there to support the school and it's community in every way she can. Sandy's devotion and efforts are so appreciated!"


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May 16, 2016 - Russell LoucksCurriculum Coordinator, World Class Education: "Russell Loucks has been a great help and inspiration to Sierra Middle School as we move on to the new and exciting adventure of offering iLab to 8th grade students.  What makes Russell a rock star is his ability to find humor and humanity in even the most difficult situations.  Additionally, he is willing to share his thinking, experience, and resources which has led to true collaboration.  At Sierra, we are grateful to have Russell working with us to improve SMS for students and teachers alike."

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May 16, 2016 - Rebecca PattersonAP Secretary, Ponderosa High School: "Becky spent countless hours preparing for testing week (all in the same week) for all of the State Mandated Tests.  This would be a demanding task if spread out over a period of time and she organized it all in 1 week.  With numerous daily questions from parents, Becky always responded in a timely manner with professionalism and courtesy.  She is a champ!"

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May 16, 2016 - Paula ZwemkeBASE Director: "She is an effective leader because she a wonderful example of an effective leader that has inspired her staff to be the best they can be.  She has gained the loyalty and trust of the BASE department.  She also inspires creativity and collaboration within her department.  Why is this special?  BASE tends to be a program within the district is is not seen or thought of even though we make a positive impact on families and students.  Her strong leadership has made our BASE program become a positive voice for the district to its stakeholders-the parents and students."

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May 16, 2016 - Paul Packer, Dan Reynolds, Terry BrownellerOperations & Maintenance: "3 of the friendliest guys, with so many schools and all doors and locks. Always pleasant and easy to work with! Thank you for what you do for all schools."

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May 16, 2016 - Nancy WildeLanguage Arts teacher, Mountain Ridge Middle School: "Nancy Wilde is a consummate professional who always expects her students to demonstrate rigor in their thinking and learning. Every year Nancy has the students memorize and perform scenes from Shakespeare that they perform for their peers and parents. The students enjoy the experience and develop an appreciation for Shakespeare that is rare in a 7th grader. I think these qualities among others make Nancy a Rock Star."

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May 16, 2016 - Matt TernusLong-term math sub, Eagle Academy & Castle View High School "Matt Ternus did an excellent job filling in a long term sub job at Eagle, our night HS in DCSD. He leaves Eagle for an opportunity at CVHS and they are lucky to have him. Eagle students expect quality instruction along with compassion and a foundation of friendship - he nailed it."

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May 16, 2016 - Mary Chesla, Jan Avant, Sharie Travis, Mimi Ernst, Human Resources & Personalized Learning: "All four of these ladies have helped me ensure that we hire exceptional Occupational Therapists throughout my 7 years as the OT Lead for DCSD. They have always answered my questions and assisted me in a timely manner to obtain the highest quality candidates to fill the "hard to fill" position of Occupational Therapist. As I step down from the position of OT lead, I want to thank the four of you for your assistance over the years."

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May 16, 2016 - Jon Catto, SSN teacher, Cresthill Middle School: "Mr. Catto has the most upbeat attitude each school day.  The students enjoy his humor and he's always making someone smile!  He's a dedicated teacher who completely understands what it takes to make an SSN department successful.  His team works very well together (because of him ) and that in turn provides for even more successes for the students.  In my opinion he goes above and beyond expectations.  A day doesn't go by without plenty of laughter, learning, smiles and celebrations of the students."

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May 16, 2016 - Jill ModesittVisual Arts Teacher, Legend High School: "Jill is not only an excellent mentor, she is a fantastic educator. She inspires and challenges students with her questions and "what if" scenarios. She guides them to look inward and to focus on intention and message. Her calm demeanor is grounding for her students and coworkers. She is a taste of zen in the middle of a hectic school day."

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May 16, 2016 - Heather CarrollDean of Students, Fox Creek Elementary:

"1. Heather is always available to help at any time and is a tremendous support to the entire staff of FCE.

2. Heather goes out of her way to be encouraging and supportive. No task is too small for her.

3. Even although this is the first year with her in the Dean of Students position, she has driven and supported the PARCC and MAPs testing, without a hitch and facilitated a stress-free testing period. 

4. Heather truly listens to your each and every concern.

5. I am proud to work with her."

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May 16, 2016 - Elisa LerewModerate Needs teacher, Sierra Middle School: "Elisa Lerew has worked tirelessly to support her students, her department and Sierra throughout the busy spring months.  She has attentively poured over our new schedule to ensure that we provide the learning opportunities necessary to meet the needs of all students.  Through out the testing season Elisa has also proactively worked to organize her department and communicate with core and elective teachers as to where each student needed to be for testing.  Her initiative and attention to detail make Elisa Lerew a Rock Star at Sierra Middle School.  Thank you, Elisa!"

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May 16, 2016 - Cindy JonesAdministrative Assistant to the Director of High Schools:
"Cindy has a very large job working with high school discipline.  She has such a positive attitude and no matter what is going on, she treats all the parents and school staff with such respect.  She works with all the high school administrative assistants and helps when we need assistance.  She will drop what she is doing and make us feel like our issue is top priority when she is juggling many issues. She is our rock star!"
"Cindy is an exceptional person! She leads by example and is a tremendous resource when information is needed. She continually goes above and beyond and is always a friendly voice on the the other end of the line.  Cindy's knowledge of processes and procedures is truly invaluable and her professionalism in all situations is highly commendable."
"Cindy is a very caring individual. She is available for questions, research, and any support needed by schools. When we don't know where to turn or who to call for a circumstance, Cindy will find out and let us know.  Cindy is a "step up" kind of person who is willing to help schools out when they have suffered the loss of a student or staff member, when they are short-handed, or when there is any unusual event taking place. She has a calming effect when she is explaining things and is very knowledgeable in what she shares. The southern girl called Cindy Jones is definitely a shining Rock Star in my book."
"Cindy gives tirelessly to all she serves within DCSD every day. She promotes a positive atmosphere and encourages others to always be their best at all times. She is an amazing example of kindness, generosity and caring. Cindy is a true gift to DCSD. Cindy denotes a ROCK STAR attitude in all she does. She will drop everything to help someone in need."
"Cindy supports all DCSD high schools in so many areas (expulsions, suspensions, discipline, parent phone calls, etc.) This also includes supporting schools in the loss of a student or staff member. She wears many hats and is always willing to help us when we call.  She is amazing!"
"Cindy is amazing at her job!  Often, she is the "front line" for high schools, fielding and diffusing complaints and/or problems with "ninja-like" skills. We (high schools) wouldn't know what to do without her!  She is a true Rock Star!"
"Cindy constantly goes out of her way to support and encourage the Administrative Assistants. She wears many hats and remains positive, even when she's under great stress. We appreciate her warmth and genuine caring and she always makes us feel valued. DCSD is a better place because of her!"

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May 16, 2016 - Brett Marker4th Grade teacher, Heritage Elementary: "Mr. Marker engages his students in well-rounded learning with all the latest and greatest. His classroom set up allows for creative and critical thinking, collaboration, and innovation! He is open-minded, fair and tireless!!!!"

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May 16, 2016 - Aubrey JakowskiHealth Assistant, Douglas County High School: "Aubrey absolutely and unconditionally treats each and every person that enters her health room with kindness, respect and dignity.  Students specifically seek her out because they trust her.  She exemplifies the traits that we teach our students here at DC!  She ROCKS!!!"

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May 16, 2016 - Allison HarperDispatcher: "During the recent Spring Break one of our Track and Field meets was rescheduled a few times do to the inclement weather. Each time I contacted Allison to let her know of another possible change, she was very courteous and understanding in dealing with the situation. I wasn't able to notify her of a final date until late Saturday, however, Allison promptly called me the first thing Monday morning to let me know our bus was ready to go! She is definitely a "ROCK STAR" in my opinion!"

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May 3, 2016 - Tara StalkerInnovation Specialist, Northeast Elementary: "Tara has embraced the idea of an Innovation Lab at Northeast since its inception. She is a risk taker, a team player, and someone who thrives given a challenge. Her persistent creativity and idea generation pushes the NE team to greater heights, allowing us to see what is possible. She trusts students and works tirelessly to provide them AWESOME opportunities."

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May 3, 2016 - Stephanie DuffySchool Psychologist, Northeast Elementary: "Stephanie plays a vital role in establishing a rich culture of safety at Northeast. She works diligently and deliberately to restore harm after crisis and works pro-actively to meet student needs. She does this by holding student-specific skill groups, pushing into classrooms, collaborating with families, and providing insight and expertise to the school leadership team. She brings joy and care to the NE community. Thank you Stephanie for all you do to make NE AWESOME. "

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May 3, 2016 - Jenn FordBuilding Engineer, Cherry Valley: "Jenn Ford is our building engineer at Cherry Valley. She arrives at work at 5:30am to open the gates to our parking lot so the HighSchool and Middle School buses can pick up kids! She ensures that our school is clean and ready for students since we have no night cleaning crew at CVE. Jenn takes great pride in our school and works diligently to make sure classrooms are clean and our hallways look perfect. This summer, she took it upon herself to repaint our bathrooms, the hallway in our mobile classroom and built shelving for the students to hang their coats. She constantly strives to keep our sidewalks safe and free from the rocks from the playground. During snow days, she arrives at 3am in order to be sure sideways are passable and our staff and students can make it to their classes. Jenn is a dedicated employee who takes such great pride in our school. She is a rock star!"

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May 3, 2016 - Heather Boyer-MartinezSED Teacher, Sand Creek Elementary: "Heather is new this year with our district but has shown that she is a great fit for our school SED program. She is so easy to work with and strives to be a good team leader for our SED team. Heather is a great communicator and always seems to know the best thing to do and say in any given situation. She is humble and a great example to our staff and students. She is great with the students and has succeeded in making them feel success and comfort at our school. She is a great educator and friend to all of us. "

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May 3, 2016 - Jennifer KendallLibrarian, Prairie Crossing Elementary: "Jennifer Kendall goes above and so far beyond what anyone would expect. She works with students one-on-one to find the perfect books, pulls books for teachers and is very resourceful how she finds needed books. She creates learning activities that are fun and engaging for students to further foster their love of books and reading. Jen has made the library an amazingly inviting hub of our school where students, teachers, parents, and the community all feel welcomed. She does this all with a warm smile. She is truly a gem and an important part of the PCE community."

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May 3, 2016 - Claudia Weller, Educational Assistant & Crossing Guard, Roxborough Intermediate: "Claudia goes above and beyond her call of duty each and every day! Claudia noticed a student in the community, who usually gets dropped off at school, walking to school alone. Claudia notified the front office to make sure that the student got to class okay. Turns out there was a mix up with the student's schedule that day and the parent called in to make sure their child got to school safely as well. This is just a small example of all of the amazing things Claudia does for our community! Thanks Claudia!"

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May 3, 2016 - Karin Dix, 3rd grade teacher, Northeast Elementary: "Karin works tirelessly to create meaningful opportunities for students. She involves the community in her classroom. Karin is creative and inspires others. She is Rock Star because she is able to give honest, valuable feedback in a strength based way to both students and colleagues."

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May 3, 2016 - Jackie Walker, Special Ed Moderate Needs Teacher, Eldorado Elementary: "I have worked with Jackie over the years, and she is a dedicated special education teacher. She always goes above and beyond to enrich the lives of students who face challenging times in school. Her quiet demeanor doesn't attract the accolades she is so deserving of. She has helped so many children become successful over the many years she's worked in the district. Jackie is truly a Rock Star!"

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May 3, 2016 - Dina Mamunes, Educational Assistant, Trailblazer Elementary: "Dina is an amazing EA. She puts your needs over hers. She doesn't just help in my classroom she helps in everyones classroom. She does whatever is needed to help teachers and students have a successful day. She steps in where ever and when ever. The students love her. She cares about everyone. I am lucky to have Dina as a friend and EA. She is a Rock Star!!!"

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May 3, 2016 - Jane Lenz, SSN Teacher, Timber Trail Elementary: "Jane is an absolute ROCK STAR for so many reasons! She is such a devoted teacher and so caring to the kiddos with whom she works. She is an advocate for her students, a compassionate partner with her families, and such a joyful person to have in our building. Jane works tirelessly with limited resources, and we're so fortunate to have her as our SSN teacher!"

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May 3, 2016 - Heather Boyer-Martinez, SED Teacher, Sand Creek Elementary: "Heather is new to our district and our school and has been a great influence for good for our students and staff. She is consistent, confident, and empathetic to her student's and EA's team needs. She is a great advocate, supporter, and representative, for our students, class, school, and district. She goes above and beyond to resolve conflict, strengthen relationships, and overcome obstacles. She helps our team run as a well-oiled machine and is honest and empathetic in her approach."

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May 3, 2016 - Ann Halcromb, Counselor, Mesa Middle School: "Ann Halcromb is always thinking about other people around her. It doesn't matter if it's students or other teachers, she will do whatever she can to brighten other's day. I'm grateful to work with caring coworkers like Ann. "

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May 3, 2016 - Jana Coufal, Language Arts Teacher, Sierra Middle School: "Jana's innovative spirit has spurred her team to take risks and try new things. She has worked with her team to develop an 80/20 model in the classroom. The team, Vail/Osprey, has structured a significant amount of time to give students the opportunity to hone their 21st century skills study while delving into their own passions and interests. The team's "20 time" has proven to be a beehive of excitement and learning. Jana and her team have also pushed their middle school students look for ways they can personally assert positive influence at school, in the community and globally. Great work, Jana! We appreciate your leadership and investment."

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April 18, 2016 - Beth Dome, Music Teacher, Clear Sky Elementary: "Not only is she an amazing specials teacher, but she also heads up the student choir with about 100 students, as well as directs the schools musical. This year's production is Disney's Lion King Junior, which is not an easy show. Her love for students and music is so inspiring."

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April 18, 2016 - Gail Rendon, RTI Specialist at Northeast Elementary: "Gail wears several hats in our building and works hard to ensure the best interest of teachers and students alike. Her door is literally and figuratively always open for questions and concerns. She always greets students and staff with a smile and approaches challenging situations with a positive attitude. Thanks for your leadership and support, Gail!"

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April 18, 2016 - Bruce WellerControls Technician in Operations and Maintenance: "Bruce is always going above and beyond to make sure the schools are running at their best, creating the best learning environment for our kids and staff. Another one of Bruce's daily goals is to conserve energy so we can have more money to put back into the classrooms. Bruce is always helping others learn and be more productive in the operations department, making for a great place to work."
"He is always thinking about others and doing everything he can to make the district be the best that it can be. He goes above by creating instructional power points to help others understand what the controls department is capable of, and helping to train fellow employees at things he excels in. Bruce is a leader and a friend to all those around him. Just working with Bruce makes you want to give your best every day!"

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April 4, 2016 - Polly PoindexterRegistrar at Rock Canyon High School: "Polly continually goes above and beyond her duties as a registrar to make students, staff and the parent community feel welcomed and cared for. She creates an atmosphere of team spirit, always showcasing the achievements of Rock Canyon and what makes this school community so special. There is not an area in this school she hasn't looked to highlight or improve in her role as registrar. She adds such a personal flare and creative touch to everything she does. She truly is a Rock Star!"

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April 4, 2016 - Stephanie MeurerTeacher Librarian at Sierra Middle School: "Stephanie is one of the most productive and supportive staff members at Sierra. Not only does she provide instructional and technology support to all Sierra's staff, but she also supports students through her work with NJHS, the 30 Book Challenge, 3D print club, and countless other learning opportunities. This morning, the main hall at Sierra was covered with a homemade Valentines for each student in the school. Thanks to Stephanie's support of NJHS- this heart warming made every student at Sierra feel truly welcome."

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April 4, 2016 - Laurie TroutmanEmployment Specialist with Nutrition Services: "Laurie keeps our kitchens running when there are people out for sickness, vacations and other reasons. She starts early every morning to make sure our kitchens are staffed by calling subs and placing them where they are needed. It's not an easy job by any means! She also deals with new hires and all of Nutrition Services employment issues! She's our Rock Star!!!."

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February 8, 2016 - Doylene Gorham, Bookkeeper at Highlands Ranch High School: "Doylene is the glue that holds our school together. She manages teachers and classified staff in a manner that keeps all staff feeling fulfilled, listened to, empowered, and just overall cared for. She is patient and kind with parents and is always there for the students who come to her window. She is what makes Highlands Ranch High School great and I am proud to be her coworker."

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February 8, 2016 - Carol Livingston, Ponderosa Nutrition Services staff: "Carol is one of the main reasons we now go in everyday, when we're going through the line and she always is so happy and funny joking with us. It is the first time I've had a 'Favorite Lunch Lady' since grade school. She is so cool and always asks us about our day and remembers our sandwich order every day. She makes my day so much better. She always tells us we have a pretty smile, compliments what I'm wearing when i'm always feeling insecure and jokes with me until i smile. Thank you Carol!!!! We all 'heart' you!!"

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February 8, 2016 - Natalie Friedman, Drama teacher at Mesa Middle School, has done seemingly everything this year to help students communicate with one another and create incredible memories of their middle school experience. Natalie has taken on both the yearbook and broadcast classes, she has gone above and beyond to collaborate with the arts department in various productions, and has managed several publicity projects for students in the school. Her numerous contributions help Mesa Middle School in countless ways because her actions have made a positive impact on every single student in the building.

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January 25, 2016 - Angela Dunnigan, Meadow View Elementary BASE Director, took responsibility for assisting four other BASE programs through the accreditation process. She did everything she could to help them succeed. Angela did this because she is an upstanding person and wants all BASE programs to do better. She is what we want in our district. She is a Rock Star!

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January 25, 2016 - Kellie J. Frasersmith, Facilities Use Coordinator, is currently in charge of the rentals at over 30 DCSD schools and a Stadium. When her co-worker is not there, Kellie handles all the rentals at all the schools. Kellie's strongest strength is the way she can deal with the public. She can always make all of our clients laugh, and with today's world, laughing is so therapeutic. For all the building engineers, she can always calm them down if they have a bad day or a not so good experience with a rental. Her relationship with all her point of contacts at her over 30 schools is also an awesome one. She cares for each and every one of her “Peeps” at the schools. Her co-worker considers herself lucky that she has such an awesome co-worker to work with. "There isn't a day where I dread coming into work. I look forward to seeing Kellie each and every work day and I miss her dearly when she is out sick or on vacation. She is my other half, and I consider myself lucky to enjoy my co-worker, and friend, Kellie."

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January 25, 2016 - Nicole Stephens, Reading Specialist at South Ridge Elementary, has made such an impact with her kids, with her colleagues, and with her community in just a few short years. She started Student Council, helps with Math Olympiads, and is an intramural coach. She also has taken many district courses, is part of the leadership team, and so much more. Her colleagues are inspired by her dedication and passion that she brings to this school! 

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January 25, 2016 - Kira Cannon, Math Coach/Interventionist at South Ridge Elementary, is the definition of selfless. She spends countless hours teaching, coaching, volunteering and supporting the growth of South Ridge students not only academically but personally as well. Kira coaches basketball after school on top of co-leading Math Olympiads and Student Council. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't feel honored to call her a teammate. She is truly one of the best!

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January 19, 2016 - Brian GillSpecials/P.E. teacher at Fox Creek Elementary, designs PE lessons that engage all ages at FCE. He is a leader in his Specials Department in developing and refining Expeditionary Learning units for his classes. Even more so, Mr. Gill shows the importance of fitness with his kids, working with them five days a week..

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January 19, 2016Ron WoodSpecial Education Coordinator for all Highlands Ranch elementary schools, works tirelessly to work with school teams and parents to meet the unique needs of each individual student. His dedication to finding a reasonable solution and educating all he interacts with ensures every student has the opportunity to succeed, no matter what their disability. Parents and staff alike know Ron will find the answer and will go above and beyond to ensure teams and parents are able to work collaboratively to deliver high quality programming and services to our students with special needs.


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December 14, 2015 - Samantha ByrneModerate Needs teacher at Northeast Elementary School, contributes so much passion, patience, hard work and diligence for students. She goes above and beyond her job title to support and be an advocate for all students, not just the ones that are "hers." As busy as she is, she will always put her needs aside in order to help out another staff member.

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December 14, 2015 - Rachel Dreiling, is always very pleasant when on the HR Customer Care line. She goes out of her way to help with any questions or issues that I call about. Most recently, I needed a report for an application that our PLS was completing. Rachel explained that she did not have access to that information, but that she would find someone who could get it. I had exactly what our PLS needed in 48 hours!!! As stressful as it must be in HR, you would never know it by speaking with Rachel. She always sounds as if she has a smile on her face ~ and it comes across in everything she does! You ROCK, Rachel!
May 16, 2016: "Rachel is always so knowledgeable and willing to help.  During the hiring process, Rachel has gone above and beyond by providing the type of assistance that is needed for the school-site staffing.  She is timely and friendly, even with our repeated questions!  We could not get through this time of the year with her!  Thank you Rachel!"

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December 7, 2015 - Cindy Harris, Attendance at Sagewood Middle School, is always smiling and friendly. She is very helpful in answering any or all questions. Very easy to talk to.

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December 7, 2015 - Rachel Brown, Language Arts teacher at Mesa Middle School, continually goes above and beyond to do what is best for students. This year, Rachel is incorporating Design Thinking in to her classroom, in addition to being a part of the CWRA assessment group. Rachel also collaborated with teachers at Mesa to create the curriculum for Mesa's Enrichment time based on student and teacher feedback. Last year, Rachel scaffolded her units to end her year by completely collaborating with her class to develop the unit, assessments, etc. Lastly, Rachel is working with colleagues at Ranchview and Mary Murphy to have her students work through a community service project. Mrs. Brown is simply amazing!!!

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December 7, 2015 - Nancy Root, Campus Security Officer at Sierra Middle School, does a tremendous job keeping our students and staff safe on a daily basis at Sierra Middle School. She proactively looks for potential vulnerabilities, creatively seeks solutions, and notifies the appropriate people to make things happen. She also presents a friendly and warm face for anyone coming into the building and is knowledgeable in pointing in the right direction depending on the purpose of their visit. Nancy is a rock star!!!

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November 30, 2015 - Diane Leonard, Audiology Tech Assistant, is facing her third bout of cancer in 7 years. During it all, she continues to work during her treatments with an attitude of "I will still want to work and help our team". She is courageous. Kind. Giving. We love her and salute her dedication to others. Thanks Diane.

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November 30, 2015 - Laura Albertson, Registrar at Coyote Creek Elementary greets every student and family member who enters the building with a smile! Her patience is undeniable! As a "first person" impression to Coyote Creek, she is a ROCKSTAR!!!

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November 30, 2015 - Nicole Jones, Educational Assistant at Clear Sky Elementary, works with a 6th grade student in a 1 to 1 environment when the student can not handle the demands of the classroom. This in itself is not an easy undertaking. In addition to this however, she also helps with math class students beyond her 1 to 1. She also helps monitor the 6th graders in the lunch room and out at brain breaks. The whole time, she is positive and will do whatever she can to make the lives of others even just a smidgeon better. We are so very lucky to have someone with her work ethic, determination and attitude at Clear Sky.


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November 16, 2015 - Megan Mergl, fourth grade teacher at Roxborough Intermediate School, has gone above and beyond to service the needs of ALL students in her classroom. She is quick to collaborate with specialists and provide timely information to them. She is innovative in her thinking and how to best meet student needs. Megan always strives to do what is best for kids.

You Rock iconNovember 16, 2015 - Terri Bryant, Principal's Secretary and Office Manager at Sierra Middle School, rocks everyday because she works through any challenge with a smile. She goes out of her way to make everyone at Sierra feel welcome and supported.


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November 16, 2015 - Craig Harvey, Security Officer at Mountain Ridge Middle School, is always helping students with any problem. He always has a smile for students, staff, and parents. He coaches basketball and football and teaches his athletes to be good at winning and losing. He is constantly coming up with ideas to make our school a safe and fun place to be. 

You Rock iconNovember 16, 2015 - Mandi Zimmerman, the math department Chair at Rock Canyon High School, provides excellence in instruction, encompassing  her teaching style for all types of learners. She does this by creatively employing student collaboration in groups, utilizing a variety of learning tools to encourage critical thinking, and communicating clearly. Mandi's students enjoy her chosen methods of acquiring content understanding to the point that even the students in RC's lowest level algebra have called her class fun. Establishing rapport with her students ranks at the top of her priority list because she values each one of them as individuals and contributors to the betterment of America. In addition to chairing the math department and encouraging excellence in the entire math staff, Mandi extends that high expectation to her sponsorship of Student Council and a new leadership club at RC.

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November 9, 2015 – Juan Avila, the building engineer at Saddle Ranch Elementary School, is an amazing support to all people at the school, and he does so with a smile on his face. He takes pride in the building and it shows. He is always willing and eager to help anyone he can. He goes above and beyond and puts student safety as his first concern. His positive attitude and strong work ethic make him a gem in the building. We are so grateful for Juan!


2014-2015 DCSD Rockstars

May 28, 2015 – Brian Cortez, the building engineer at Eagle Ridge Elementary School, is a kind-hearted person who always accept the challenges that the Special Education department throws his way, and he does it with a smile. We appreciate him so much and we want him to know how special he is to us! Thank you Brian!


May 21, 2015 – At Ponderosa High School, Campus Security Specialist Leonard Govea has a great team and he leads them well; they know their job and work well with staff and students. They communicate well with one another and they are the eyes of the building.

May 14 2015 – I have never seen anyone work as hard as Lisa Sharp, the registrar at Sagewood Middle School. She welcomes every parent and child with open arms. She makes them feel so warm and invited. Lisa demonstrates so well our values as a school and our strong belief in making every child feel safe, welcome, accepted and challenged. She works as long and as hard as she needs to to get the job done. If there is something she doesn't know the answer to or doesn't understand she will search it out until she finds the answer. She is kind to everyone, helpful, generous and has only kind words to say about everyone. She is a work horse. I think she is amazing and everything I strive to be. If there is an employee that reflects everything that a Douglas County employee should be, it would be Lisa Sharpe.

May 7, 2015 – Early Childhood Education Coordinator Leigh Quintana always listens and hears my issues and responds. Although she has a busy schedule, she takes time to meet with me and support me in any way that she can. Leigh is a positive and supportive leader and I know that she is a rock star!

April 29, 2015 – As a relatively new employee to Plum Creek Academy, and having the opportunity to work closely with Administrative Assistant Pam Fairley, I am amazed and astounded by the dedication, patience and perseverance Pam shows on a daily basis. She is helpful to everyone...employees, students, transportation, etc. Pam is ALWAYS on top of her game. She wears many hats here at Plum Creek. It is amazing to watch the dedication and love Pam gives on a continuous basis!

April 23, 2015 – Energy Manager Mike Duncan has an amazing amount of knowledge in his area of expertise! He is always available to educate us or to work on a problem that will affect the school district or the department. His knowledge base is unreal... he truly understands the concept of energy and he can share the knowledge, going into detail as needed. He constantly works with the team to overcome any obstacles that pertain to energy – gas, electric and water. He is a great team player and we love having him on the Facilities team!

April 16, 2015 – A member of the Health Services department, Rosa Kilcullen does an excellent job conducting vision screening for students, and following up to assist if the student has resources to receive glasses. In addition to her job requirements, Rosa collects used eye glasses and those not claimed in lost and found. She gives them to the Lion's Club from DCSD each year to be donated to under-privileged children. Rosa has been doing this for over 5 years and collects approximately 125 pairs of glasses each year.

April 9, 2015 – I have worked with many building engineers and head custodians, but few have the dedication and flexibiliy that Harald Bjerga has. Harald is the building engineer at Legend High School. He rarely takes time off, works extra hours to make sure every department at Legend is comfortable and takes care of projects that have been in limbo from the previous year. He is a new addition to Douglas County, but it feels like he has been part of the District for years. For me personally, Harald is always quick to respond and help me with any needs I have for the theater space. A work order had been misplaced in transition between Building Managers to replace the house lights in the Theater, and Harald went out of his way to make sure that he got the amazing electrical crew here so we had a fully lit house for opening night. He is amazing, and we are so lucky to have him.

March 19, 2015 – Traci Heffron, the principal's secretary at Legacy Point Elementary School is ALWAYS kind to staff, students, and families. It is such a pleasant part of my day to drop into the office to clock in/out, pick up mail, or make copies. She really went to bat for me when my assignment changed; she helped to make certain I got my paycheck!

March 11, 2015 – Occupational Therapist Assistant Genelle Joseph has gone above and beyond in leading the occupational therapists (OTs) at Frontier Valley Elementary School, and supporting our students. She has developed Google form data collection templates and assisted numerous OTs with using these forms to document student progress. Thanks to Genelle, 90% of our OTs have moved from paper to online data collection. Genelle also created our OT website, which houses resources for students and staff. Thanks so much Genelle!

March 5, 2015 – I wanted to take a minute after our first day of testing to celebrate the incredible work that IT Tech Evan Mellichampe put into making Gold Rush Elementary's deployment a success. He went above and beyond my expectations by providing both phone and email support. With the time that Evan put into GRE ahead of time, I'm happy to report that our first day of testing was a huge success. We had two little glitches in the morning session and two glitches in the afternoon session, but Evan had prepared me to be able to troubleshoot each problem and get the students back into testing within 5 minutes.

February 26, 2015 – This is Cara Fiske's first year as an audiologist in DCSD. She is young, energetic and jumped right in, learning about a big caseload of children, covering 20 different schools. Cara treats everyone like valued colleagues and is so gracious and nice to work with. We know her students love her as much as we do! She has made our job easier by being part of the team, rolling up her sleeves and being there at every school screening. Her laughter is contagious and she never complains about anything!

February 19, 2015 – Ann Orcutt, the administrative assistant in the Athletics and Activities department, is that "go to" person when you need a question answered or a policy explained. She always answers her phone, and the best part is when Ann doesn't know the answer to a question, she will find out. Ann never gives a person's name and expects you to give them a call. She will go to task and get the answer. I always appreciate her effort and willingness to go the extra mile!

February 12, 2015 – Stephanie Baker, an Educational Assistant at Larkspur Elementary School, is a rock star for so many reasons! The epitome of a team player, Stephanie is always ready to jump in and help whenever, whereever and however she's needed. She truly cares about each and every person who is connected to Larkspur Elementary. Stephanie started out as a parent volunteer at our school when six of her seven children attended the school. She became so passionate about our school, she chose to devote her time and career to Larkspur. Stephanie goes out of her way to make both students and faculty feel cared for and special, often leaving little notes, cards or kind words for those around her. We are blessed to have her as part of our family!

February 5, 2015 – Cathy Wilson and Rochelle Sheffield, who work in the office at Sedalia Elementary School, provide personalized service for all staff, children, parents, and community members. They always take the time to answer questions, greet parents, take care of our sick kids, and support teachers in many ways. These gals always have a smile on their face. When talking with Cathy or Rochelle, everyone feels special. These gals provide the best of the best in stake holder service! Thank you ladies!

January 29, 2015 – Laurie DeGeorge is the Kitchen Manager at Ranch View Middle School and Plum Creek Academy. Her main focus is always the needs of her students and staff. She recognizes individual concerns and takes on the challenges of specializing the needs of each person that she touches. She is never afraid to face a challenge, no matter how big or small. She seems to work effortlessly when it comes to customer service! Thanks to Laurie for caring about each day, each student, and each staff member!

January 22, 2015 – Special Education Coordinator Jennifer Templeton has given her all to ensure staff and administrators are fully trained in the Enrich IEP system and Section 504 programming. In addition, she has spent countless hours, often beyond her work day, to ensure individual staff members have the training they need to be successful with the Enrich program, and to write compliant and comprehensive IEP plans that are student focused and service oriented. Way to go Jennifer! 

January 15, 2015 – Legend High School Assistant Principal Staci Batterson devotes herself to students each day. She works tirelessly to provide support and encouragement to all students. She recently facilitated a girls conference that featured 16 workshops and two keynote speakers – a huge undertaking! She is dedicated to helping students be the best they can be, district-wide.

January 8, 2015 – Kristina Cordes, a planner and scheduler in the Facilities department, comes in everyday with a positive attitude and is always willing to help me out! Thanks for your reliability and refreshing attitude.

December 18, 2014 – Administrative Secretary to the Principal and Registrar Sandy Davis is the heart of Heritage Elementary School! She always has a smile for everyone; staff, students, and parents. She is never too busy to be courteous, kind, and help with whatever anyone might need. More importantly, she does so with a smile! No matter what the situation, she remains calm, cool, collected, and caring.

December 11, 2014 – Katie Hwang always has a positive attitude, an incredibly good work ethic and she strives to do her best in all of her endeavors. This past summer and fall, Katie was integral in getting the Early Childhood department technology purchase inventoried and programmed. In addition, she went above and beyond in helping to create and provide the necessary training. Katie also supports our teams that have students with significant challenging behaviors, and she assists in the technical assistance and support for Teaching Strategies GOLD. Katie's dedication to students, families and our department is amazing – we couldn't do half of what we do without great people like Katie!

December 4, 2014 – Administrative Assistant Lisa Kuta has been an incredible resource for me as I learn the ropes at Saddle Ranch Elementary School. She meets each challenge with a great attitude, a smile and is always ready to pitch in and help with anything. She welcomes all with a great outlook; she truly wants Saddle Ranch to be a place unlike any other. Lisa is a great team player!

November 20, 2014 – Leah Wyckoff has many accomplishments, including Colorado Director for the National Association of School Nurses, author of many publications on diabetes and nursing models, and teacher of nationally recognized programs regarding diabetes. She collaborated with the Barbara Davis Center to compose diabetes guidelines that all school nurses in Colorado follow. Her most valuable contribution to DCSD is her work as Diabetes Resource Nurse. This role requires many hours of study and a final certification from the Colorado Department of Education. Leah works with students and their families to increase understanding of this lifelong condition, and provide techniques for controlling diabetes. She does all of this with a beautiful smile for everyone. Leah is truly a shinning star.

November 13, 2014 – Amy Kopp at South Ridge Elementary School has the most amazing way of reaching out to our most challenging children. Her gentle spirit and demeanor works wonders with our kiddos, who often times don't have the ability to speak for themselves. Mrs. Kopp has the patience and understanding under some of the most difficult situations, using her skills to give a voice to those who have none. I am amazed daily at the wonderful things she does.

November 6, 2014 – It is a joy to work with Jennifer Talley at Flagstone Elementary School. Jennifer is a hard worker and no matter how many times she gets interrupted she always has a smile on her face. Jennifer has thrown herself into the secretary role and is doing a awesome job. Flagstone is so fortunate to have a wonderful person manage the front office.

October 9, 2014 – Jan Avant is an outstanding employee in the Human Resources department. Her calm and pleasant attitude is always their to help when my frustration can be peaking. I sincerely appreciate her knowledge of Taleo and the exceptional customer service she provides.

September 18, 2014 – We are so grateful for the incredible service that we have received from Mina Parthasarathy and Charles Henrikson in the IT department. They have been invaluable to us as we return to the use of Infinite Campus and are willing to answer our long lists of questions. We are impressed with them and the entire Douglas County IT team and their dedication to excellence!

September 11, 2014 – Erik Prouty and Amy Corr for their work on the World Class Target review and the World Class Target revisions. Particpants in the process took notice of their contributions!

September 4, 2014 – Barb Stander is a buyer in the Purchasing department. Barb was nominated for Rock Star recognition by an administrator who commented about Barb's level of professionalism. "Her level of customer service was exemplary in spite of a very stressful timeframe."

August 28, 2014 – Joann Lee, Cheryl DeCristino and Vivienne Alvarez jumped in to ensure that the Business Services department had everything ready for the beginning of the 2014-15 school year. Their willingness to assist in areas outside of their normal job duties resulted in excellent service for schools and administrative offices.

August 21, 2014 – Assessment and Data Specialist Denine Jimmerson has provided stellar support to school staffers–even during her vacation! "Denine has so much expertise and can speak assessment in a language that makes sense to a wide audience. She is smart, genuine, funny and personable."

August 14, 2014 – Janet VanZant and Cindy Kim, both members of the IT team, did a fantastic job with setting up the computers for the Skype interviews. They did a great job of managing technology, time schedules and multiple speakers.

August 14, 2014 – Joan Morey is an Assistant Principal at Ranch View Middle School. She did a “superb” job of welcoming students to the new year and kicking off the school year.

August 14, 2014 – Sue Thompson is a lead on the SchoolMessenger implementation to schools. Sue has worked tirelessly at ensuring attendance staff at every school has been fully trained. She has coordinated a large amount of manual effort to provide many schools custom schedules for sending attendance calls at their convenience, as compared to being locked down to one standard scheduled attendance call batch. Leading up to the start of the school year this week, Sue ensured our vendor delivered on all project requirements in order for critical attendance calls to be performed starting Monday. In addition, Sue has handled exception requests to the process from many schools with patience and an phenomenal "can-do" attitude without hesitation. Our schools, and especially our attendance clerks, are incredibly fortunate to have Sue at the helm of making sure parents receive absence notification promptly and accurately.

August 7, 2014 – Stephanie Kawamura is a gifted education classroom teacher in the Discovery Program at Pine Lane Intermediate. Kawamura has been recognized as a state finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) award. The PAEMST is the nation's highest honor for teachers of mathematics and science. As a state finalist, her name has been sent to Washington, DC for consideration for the national award. Ms. Kawamura will be recognized at the Colorado Association of Science Teachers conference in November. Read story: Elementary teacher recognized for leadersihp in science education.

August 7, 2014 – Brandon Petersen is part of the Center for Professional Development team. Throughout the summer, Petersen has gone above and beyond to help facilitate professional development opportunities for teachers and leaders, improve learning tools, and generally support all of the efforts of the office.

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