2024 Apple Award Winners

Apple awards 2024Apple Award Winners 2024

The Foundation for Douglas County Schools annually honors exceptional Douglas County School District educators and staff who are inspiring a love of learning in their students and trailblazing extraordinary innovation in our schools. Thousands of nominations are submitted every year. Just five receive an Apple Award. To read more and see all of the nominees, please visit the Foundation's website. 





Lauri at her desk

Classified Employee of the Year

Lauri Simington-Echer
Secretary to the Assistant Principal, Chaparral High School
Watch Laurie's video >>

Lauri Simington-Echer is the Classified Employee of the Year and also the Secretary to Assistant Principal Craig Bowman at Chaparral High School. Lauri is involved in almost every aspect of life at Chaparral. She is in charge of marketing the high school, managing communications to the families and students, and also helps to organize Sources of Strength. Lauri works diligently to create the best learning environment for the staff and the students and that is why she is the 2024 Classified Employee of the Year.


Michelle Lewis

Department Employee of the Year

Michelle Lewis
Gifted Education Team Lead
Watch Michelle's video >>

Michelle Lewis is the 2024 Department Employee of the Year and for good reason. Michelle travels all across the district to help identify students who have advanced potential in the arts. She uses many different strategies with students who may need extra support and one of the ways is through the use of games. The work Michelle is doing in DCSD classrooms is having a lasting impact here and across the country.

Jessica MasonElementary Educator of the Year

Jessica Mason
First Grade Teacher, North Star Academy
Watch Jessica's video >>

Jessica Mason is a first-grade teacher at North Star Academy and the 2024 Elementary Educator of the Year. She is known as a passionate, funny, and supportive educator and co-worker. Jessica’s love for working with the young learners can be seen and felt as soon as you walk into her classroom. She loves to sing and often incorporates movement and song into her lessons. Jessica takes great pride in helping her students develop a love for learning.


Damon LarsonSecondary Educator of the Year

Damon Larson
Librarian, Chaparral High School
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Damon Larson is the 2024 Secondary Educator of the Year and has been with Chaparral High School since the doors opened. He serves as a research coach and also a librarian. Damon is a friend to all the students at Chaparral and knows them by name. He works hard to make sure every student who walks into the library feels seen and acknowledged. If you need a book recommendation, help with a research project, or just someone to confide in, Damon is more than willing to give you his time.



Dr. Jenny BrownDistrict Administrator of the Year

Dr. Jenny Brown

Principal, Gold Rush Elementary School
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Dr. Jenny Brown, Principal of Gold Rush Elementary School, is the 2024 District Administrator of the Year. Dr. Brown has served her families and students for the past 12 years. She is rarely in her office and can often be found in the classrooms connecting and observing the students who attend her school. Dr. Brown is known as someone who leads by example and is willing to perform any task to help her staff and students. She knows all of her students by name and works tirelessly to be a part of every child’s education.

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In compliance with Titles VI & VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and Colorado law, the Douglas County School District RE-1 does not unlawfully discriminate against otherwise qualified students, employees, applicants for employment, or members of the public on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, religion, ancestry, or need for special education services. Discrimination against employees and applicants for employment based on age, genetic information, and conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth is also prohibited in accordance with state and/or federal law. Complaint procedures have been established for students, parents, employees, and members of the public. The School District's Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator to address complaints alleging sexual harassment under Title IX is Aaron Henderson, 620 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock, Colorado, [email protected], 303-387-0127.

Outside Agencies

Complaints regarding violations of Title VI, (race, national origin), Title IX (sex, gender), Section 504/ADA (handicap or disability), may be filed directly with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 1244 North Speer Blvd., Suite 310, Denver, CO 80204. Complaints regarding violations of Title VII (employment) and the ADEA (prohibiting age discrimination in employment) may be filed directly with the Federal Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 303 E. 17th Ave., Suite 510, Denver, CO 80202, or the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1050, Denver, CO 80202.


Special Education records which have been collected by Douglas County School District related to the identification, evaluation, educational placement, or the provision of special education in the district, must be maintained under state and federal laws for the period of five (5) years after special education services have ended for the student. Special education services end when the student is no longer eligible for services, graduates, or completes his/her educational program at age 21, or moves from the district. This notification is to inform parents/guardians and former students of Douglas County School District's intent to destroy the special education records of students who exited special education services as of June 30, 2016. These records will be destroyed in accordance with state law unless the parent/guardian or eligible (adult) student notifies the school district otherwise. After five years, the records are no longer useful to the district, but may be useful to the parent/guardian or former student in applying for social security benefits, rehabilitation services, college entrance, etc. The parent/guardian or eligible (adult) student may request a copy of the records by requesting the records at this link ( Douglas County School District Transcripts and Records Requests ).