Employee Rockstars

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 INSIGHTS, the DCSD employee newsletter, and receive a small gift from DCSD. 

Is there somebody you would like to recognize? Nominate them by clicking here!
(Note: Nominations are only accepted by DCSD Employees for DCSD Employees)

DCSD Employee Rockstars: September 10, 2020

Trena Hand, Principal, Renaissance Expeditionary Magnet School
Ms. Trena was hired as the principal of Renaissance Elementary in early August. In addition to leading awesome team building and getting to know the teachers, she has had to hire new teachers and lead entire elementary school in preparing for reentry with Covid-19. She has worked tirelessly, fielded parent concerns, and met continuous challenges in the past few weeks. All with a smile and great attitude! Ms. Trena continues to go above and beyond by working hard to keep the unique culture of our school while balancing the new standards of social distancing. She is showing the school community that her values align with ours and that means so much!
Nominated by Meaghan Vandeloo, Substitute Teacher, Renaissance Expeditionary Magnet School

Jeff Mlsna, Curriculum, Instruction & Professional Growth, Cantril
Jeff has led the charge with Canvas for the high schools. His ability to provide support to implementation teams and teachers has gone above and beyond. The hours they have dedicated have gone far beyond what is expected in their role and I imagine even more than they expected as well. Thank you for the emails, google meets, phone calls, chats, PD, and overall support you have shown to Douglas County High Schools so we have a great start of the year.
Nominated by Melissa Nansen, Professional Learning Specialist, Ponderosa High School

Corey Papastathis, Curriculum, Instruction & Professional Growth, Cantril
Corey has led the charge with Canvas for the high schools. His ability to provide support to implementation teams and teachers has gone above and beyond. The hours they have dedicated have gone far beyond what is expected in their role and I imagine even more than they expected as well. Thank you for the emails, google meets, phone calls, chats, PD, and overall support you have shown to Douglas County High Schools so we have a great start of the year.
Nominated by Melissa Nansen, Professional Learning Specialist, Ponderosa High School

Erin Carlson, Principal, South Ridge Elementary
Erin strives to create a workplace where employees feel cared for and valued. She is a great role model and leader. Erin consistently gives staff voice and supports them in any way she can. I am so very glad to work with her!
Nominated by Challeen Flick, 4th Grade Teacher, South Ridge Elementary

Gilbert Garza, Building Engineer, Stone Mountain Elementary
Gilbert is our Building Engineer and he is so amazing with the kids. Everyone loves Mr. Gilbert and he always has a kind word or funny comment for everyone in the school. Mr. Gilbert's kindness to the kids is always an example of how we should all be loving and kind.
Nominated by Jill Caven, Art Teacher, Stone Mountain Elementary

Dawn Inderbitzen, Educational Assistant IV, Fox Creek Elementary
She is incredible with the kids! She is always thinking of others and is ready to give her all at any given moment. She doesn’t just go out of her way for the kids, she is always ready to be there for her colleagues. Whether it’s a pep talk or some homemade salsa, she will always go the extra mile. She is truly amazing to work with!
Nominated by Jen Pfister, Educational Assistant IV, Fox Creek Elementary

Laura Brown, eLearning Teacher, Mesa Middle School
Laura has been a leader and total rockstar in the world of eLearning. She has already developed so many amazing ideas to keep her students engaged. Her flexibility and positive attitude set a fantastic example to all of us. While eLearning is new to all of us, she seems to have such a great handle on it already. I am thankful to have her as a friend and colleague!
Nominated by Niki Brock, eLearning Teacher, Mesa Middle School

Kelsey Shoultz, Assistant Principal, Sage Canyon Elementary
Kelsey makes strong and meaningful connections with staff and students and has led in a time of great uncertainty. Kelsey has gone above and beyond as the acting principal to ensure that the needs of our students, staff and community were met with the uncertain beginning of the new year. She has done so with grace, grit and a human connection that is real.
Nominated by Mandy Hill, Principal, Sage Canyon Elementary

Shannon Rodriguez, Registrar, Mountain Ridge Middle School
Shannon is quite possibly the best registrar in DCSD. During any regular year, she is able to make her job look easy with a friendly smile, contagious laugh, and the ability to help just about anyone at the drop of a hat. BUT THIS YEAR...I don't have the words to say what she's done to make it possible for the students to have their schedules on time, for teachers to have what they need to be successful with kids, and work hours upon hours to ensure that things went off with hardly a hiccup at the beginning of the school year. We are incredibly grateful to have such a wonderful person at MRMS!! She's the registrar during a pandemic... need I say more?
Nominated by Jen Cancino, STEM Teacher, Mountain Ridge Middle School

Kristie Barrett, ITS Technician I, Pine Lane Elementary
Kristie has worked tirelessly to get devices to our families. The whole COVID-19 crisis has been such a fluid situation since March and she has been able to adapt to meet the needs of both students and staff. Kristie has put in long hours to get everyone ready for hybrid and eLearning teaching.
Nominated by Priscilla Gullekson, Educational Assistant IV, Pine Lane Elementary

Chris Stairs, Principal, Pine Lane Elementary
Mr. Stairs has been able to keep us informed on the changes due to the COVID-19 crisis. He is our trusted leader and has worked hard to support our crew. There is no doubt that Mr. Stairs has spent many hours communicating to our our community, staff, and students on the roller coaster ride that we have had since the COVID-19 crisis has begun. He is an awesome motivator and he has been so supportive of our crew.
Nominated by Priscilla Gullekson, Educational Assistant IV, Pine Lane Elementary

Shawndra Fordham, Science Teacher, Rock Canyon High School
Shawndra has been a huge relief to my stress over the past weeks as we adjust to a new style of teaching. She has taken the lead on too many occasions to count, making my life easier. She has adjusted assignments to make them work with, now, on a shortened class period, arranging them so we have an on-line simulation for students so they can still experience the lab setting even though virtual. Most importantly, she asks how my day is going and how she can better support me. She is my Rock Star and I would not be the teacher today if it were not for her. In addition to the above for what she has done for me, she has welcomed new staff members to our department and assisted them with not only transitioning to a new school but a new way of teaching.
Nominated by Susanne Petri, Science Teacher, Rock Canyon High School

Marci Boatwright, Technology Specialist, Chaparral High School
Marci has worked extremely hard to make the start of school smoother with helping staff figure out Canvas and hybrid learning. Marci is constantly problem-solving technical issues, and is always willing to brainstorm ideas about how to make my instruction better. I truly appreciate her dedication to Chaparral, its students and staff. She goes the extra mile (and then some) every day.
Nominated by Angela Lang, Science Teacher, Chaparral High School

Sara Curto, Assistant Principal, Mountain Ridge Middle School
Sara has gone above and beyond in preparing for our year. Creating the master schedule, helping with the layout of the building, setting up clear communication for the teachers, documenting everything for students and parents in a beautiful and valuable way. Sara was even out in our "planters" before school at 6:30 one morning weeding! She is incredible and doing so much more than you can imagine. We would be lost without her!
Nominated by Natalie Sprigg, Math Teacher, Mountain Ridge Middle School

Laurie Troutman, Human Resources Generalist, Wilcox
Laurie is a Rock Star because she always responds to my emails and questions quickly and efficiently! She is patient and has shared her knowledge of Workday with me and taught me so much. She has gone above and beyond by being available and building relationships with those that she helps. I am successful in my role as Administrative Assistant in my department because of her support!
Nominated by Darlene Roussa, Administrative Assistant with Grounds, O&M East

Tara Johnson, Kitchen Manager, Mountain Ridge Middle School
She always made sure we had everything we needed to put together the lunches, also she made sure we had all the information and explain all the constant changes and updates.
Nominated by Viviana Echegaray, Kitchen Manager, STEM Elementary

Kayla Zehner, Supervisor - Transportation, West Transportation
Kayla has sweet caring personality. When you talk to her, just makes you a priority. She is always positive and has a positive way to look at each situation. She is helpful and supportive in every way. I wish we could clone her! Kayla has taken the downsizing of our team and pushes ahead full force to make the best out of a hard situation. She has made a difference to everyone at the Castle Rock Terminal!
Nominated by Holly Rolen, Transportation Trainer/Instructor, East Transportation

Kayla Zehner, Supervisor - Transportation, West Transportation
Castle Rock Terminal operates efficiently because of Kayla's aptitude to take on the many challenges we are facing at this time. As a trainer working here at Castle Rock terminal Kayla's encouraging positive attitude is what has made my job easier. If the situation is difficult or has no immediate solution she manages to find one. Kayla's work ethic encompasses valuing all her employees and as a role model shows the importance of empowering those who work with her. Kayla puts in many hours to make Castle Rock Terminal her work priority!
Nominated by Laura Beth Micci, Transportation Trainer/Instructor, East Transportation

Matthew Van Deusen, Director of Facilities, West Support Center 
Matt, along with his outstanding team, have efficiently coordinated obtaining and delivering appropriate PPE to all schools, departments and employees. Thanks to Matt and his team, my employees have what they need to safely return to providing audiology services to our students across the district. We literally could not do our jobs without the support we've received from Matt and his group of professionals.
Nominated by Jodi Heimer, Lead Audiologist, DCSD Audiology

Gina Cernyar, Grade K Teacher, Renaissance Expeditionary Magnet School 
Ms. Gina is an amazing educator who always steps up and gives 200%! Ms. Gina was preparing for her new role at our school when the need for a replacement kindergarten teacher presented itself. Ms. Gina has one week to prepare a classroom and get ready to teach Kindergarten for the first time. Not only did she put her dream job on hold but she took this challenge on when school will look so much different than ever before. Way to go Ms. Gina!
Nominated by Meaghan Vandeloo, Short-Term Substitute Teacher, Renaissance Expeditionary Magnet School 



DCSD Employee Rockstars: August 20, 2020

Nancy Storti, Transportation Trainer/Instructor, East Transportation
Theresa Webb, Transportation Trainer/Instructor, East Transportation
Elizhalee Cunniningham, Transportation Trainer/Instructor, East Transportation

We had a 2 day Route Operator training class to learn how to drive DCSD suburban vehicles to take SSN students on field trips. A 211 page document was provided a week before class and that made us feel overwhelmed and we were not sure if we made the right decision to do this. After being in the class for less than an hour Nancy, Theresa and Elizhalee put us at ease and made us feel comfortable and less stressed. They addressed every question we had and then some. They showed us how to inspect the vehicle before every trip and provide clear guidance. Nancy took us out and we each drove to all three transportation terminals to know how to get gas and maintenance on the vehicle when needed. We walked away from the training class feeling confident in transporting our SSN students on field trips. Nancy, Theresa and Elizhalee are fantastic ladies! A great team and truly show they love their jobs.
Nominated by Margarita Robinson-Rivera, Educational Assistant IV, Chaparral High School

Amy Moyle, Principal, Redstone Elementary
Redstone is so lucky to have Amy as a principal. Not only does she prioritize the health and wellness of students, she cares for her staff and families too. She has done an exceptional job in these uncertain times of making sure that Redstone is a safe place for learning. RSE is so lucky to have her as our leader. Amy continually works to make sure that families, students, and staff are safe and ready for learning. She stays up to date with procedures and communicates things clearly. She is flexible and loving. She is the best.
Nominated by Christina Courtney, Mild/Mod Learning Specialist

Gail Hollins, Assistant Principal, Redstone Elementary
Redstone is very lucky to have Gail as an assistant principal. Gail always attends to the details and makes sure that everyone is taken care of which includes students, families, and staff. She does an exceptional job making sure that protocols and routines are in place. She wants to make Redstone a safe place to learn for all. Gail is a strong communicator and never misses a beat. She works to make sure that Redstone is a safe place for learning during these uncertain times. She is one of the best administrators I know.
Nominated by Christina Courtney, Mild/Mod Learning Specialist

Mike Elder, Building Engineer, Redstone Elementary
Mike is Redstone's AMAZING building engineer. He has gone above and beyond by moving things in and out of classrooms, making sure that the building has what it needs to be safe, he works tirelessly to make sure that staff have what they need and does all of this with a smile. He is one of the hardest working people I know. He does everything with a smile and students and staff just love him. I am so happy to have him at Redstone.
Nominated by Christina Courtney, Mild/Mod Learning Specialist





DCSD Employee Rockstars: July 14, 2020

Kim Laterza, SPED Teacher - Severe Needs, Chaparral High School
During remote learning, who knew what it would be like but Kim and Kelsey made sure we had everything we needed to make it a success. Providing students IEP and assignments that keep EA’s and students busy. Plus, they were our DJ’s for Friday morning dance parties with the students. They are a great team and should be recognized for what they do. We are so lucky to have two caring SSN teachers at Chap. Kim and Kelsey really care about the students, parents and the EA’s. If you have any questions both are willing to address it at any time.
Nominated by Anonymous

Kelsey Anderson, SPED Teacher - Severe Needs, Chaparral High School
During remote learning, who knew what it would be like but Kim and Kelsey made sure we had everything we needed to make it a success. Providing students IEP and assignments that keep EA’s and students busy. Plus, they were our DJ’s for Friday morning dance parties with the students. They are a great team and should be recognized for what they do. We are so lucky to have two caring SSN teachers at Chap. Kim and Kelsey really care about the students, parents and the EA’s. If you have any questions both are willing to address it at any time.
Nominated by Anonymous

Diane Hedin Shuck Gray, Assistant Principal, Douglas County High School
Compassion! Diane really cares for the Studets at DCHS. She acts on her words and really reaches out to help. I was contacted by a Student from DCHS the other day. She is a Senior and had an Art Project that she wanted to get from school. Obviously she can't get in and no one is there. Being a Senior and the fact she will be off to the Naval Academy soon she couldn't wait to see what happenns the next school year. I had no way of helping her because I can't get into school. I contacted Diane and that was all it took. Diane understood the students issue. Contatcted the student and worked it out to get the artwork and get it to her. Diane did this on her own time as school was out for the year. This type of understanding of personal issues creates trust from the studnet body and parents. Diane is the best and her enthusiasm is infectious for the whole school.
Nominated by Thomas Popken, Security, Douglas County High School

Arja Hayse, Irrigation Technician, O&M East
Arja is kind, concerned with getting the job done right and takes time to explain things even though he is extremely busy. Arja was instrumental in setting up a new drip irrigation system for our low water garden at the HRHS entrance. I am a novice at drip irrigation and Arja helped me with the set up, layout, problem solving and visited the site multiple times until we got it right. He cares about the students and wanted to make sure that this student created garden was summer ready.
Nominated by Heather Berry, Science Teacher, Highlands Ranch High School

Chris Cheline, Multimedia Producer, Communications Dept / Wilcox
Chris and Nate attended all 14 high school graduation at EchoPark stadium this past June 2020 and worked tirelessly creating graduation information content for parents to view online. They work behind the scenes creating and filming the graduation livestreams for each school. They were at the stadiums no later than 7am Monday through Saturday and did not leave the stadium until after 9pm. And they were polite, kind, and had a great sense of humor throughout the entire process. By always being there for us through the entire process of the entire process of rescheduling graduations, communicating to our staff, families, and community members and providing the beautiful livestream editions of each high school's graduation. So wonderful to work with Nate and Chris.
Nominated by Derek Chaney, Director of Activities and Athletics, Wilcox

Nate Jones, Communications Manager, Communications Dept/Wilcox
Chris and Nate attended all 14 high school graduation at EchoPark stadium this past June 2020 and worked tirelessly creating graduation information content for parents to view online. They work behind the scenes creating and filming the graduation livestreams for each school. They were at the stadiums no later than 7am Monday through Saturday and did not leave the stadium until after 9pm. And they were polite, kind, and had a great sense of humor throughout the entire process. By always being there for us through the entire process of the entire process of rescheduling graduations, communicating to our staff, families, and community members and providing the beautiful livestream editions of each high school's graduation. So wonderful to work with Nate and Chris.
Nominated by Derek Chaney, Director of Activities and Athletics, Wilcox

Jorge Marquez and His Team, Custodial Manager, West Bldg A/O&M
Jorge went above and beyond helping prepare for graduations the week of June 21st. He and his team worked on the weekend and before and after every graduation santizing graduate chairs and bleachers and making sure the entire stadium was cleaned and ready for each graduation. Jorge and his team always have a "can-do" attitude and are always available to work on a moment's notice. It is a pleasure working with Jorge and his entire team. Positive attitude. Always will to do the extra work to make the graduation ceremonies clean and beautiful. Worked the weekend with no complaints at all. Worked after graduations to move everything back to storage and the schools. Jorge and his entire crew are one of the hardest working groups in the district.
Nominated by Derek Chaney, Director of Activities and Athletics, Wilcox



DCSD Employee Rockstars: May 6, 2020

Joseph Schubarth, Assistant Principal, Douglas County School District
Joe was notified of a critical incident involving one of our students. Joe was on his own time and dropped everything to ensure the safety and emotional well being of a student during a VERY emotional situation. Joe's comfort and professionalism helped the student overcome his grief and kept the District informed of critical information. Joe disregarded things in his own life while not at work and on a weekend to see to the safety of one of our students. Joe put the student FIRST!
Nominated by Thomas Popken, Security, Douglas County High School

Christy Lyle, School Counselor, Fox Creek Elementary
She is amazing !!! I have never worked with someone who truly cares for EACH and every student, staff member,parents and guardians. Her door is always open no matter how busy she is. She is always available with an open and ENORMOUS heart. There are no words to describe what Ms. Christy Lyle does and gives to Fox Creek Elementary Crew and Community. She has helped so many students , staff members, parents and guardians. There is really no end to her unselfish heart that I have never seen before.
Nominated by Anonymous

Sue Shepler, ITS Technician I, Cougar Run Elementary
Sue has gone above and beyond to make sure that students have the technology that they need to learn remotely. She has also made sure that teachers have what they need. Sue has dropped off technology at students' porches to make sure they have what they need. She has also dedicated her time to help teachers when they are not sure how to do something to teach virtually.
Nominated by Carla Holmes, First Grade Teacher, Cougar Run Elementary

Julie Naab, Administrative Assistant, eDCSD
Julie, is always there with a smile when students arrive to blended and since COVID-19 she has made sure the staff and students keep their spirits up and remain positive. Julie coordinated the drop off of the Senior Signs making sure that all 2020 graduates feel special! Thank you, Julie!
Nominated by Tari Gant, Professional Learning and Technology Support Specialist, eDCSD

Tiffany Scott, Benefits Leave Coordinator, Human Resources Dept at Wilcox
Tiffany is a ray of sunshine and easy to work with. Tiffany works very hard processing Leaves Request for the entire District. Tiffany always goes above and beyond in her position. Her position requires her to deal with confidential and sensitive situations. Tiffany always shows that she cares.
Nominated by T.J. Crawford, Workers Comp Case Manager, Human Resources Dept at Wilcox

Rocio Alonso, Cultural Liaison/Interpreter, Castle View High School
Rocio joined CVs ELD team this year, and she possesses this incredible spirit and tenacity our families appreciate, greatly respect, and rely on in times of need. She has strengthened our program and responsibility to our parents and their children. She is why engagement with remote learning still exists for some our most diverse language learners.
Nominated by Jeanne Johnson, English Second Language Teacher, Castle View High School

Donna Goodwin, Professional Learning Specialist, Highlands Ranch High School

As Remote Learning takes place, Donna has done an incredible job of encouraging her coworkers and providing multiple ways for them to engage students and use technology well. While others push technology for technology's sake, Donna knows that technology is a tool for great educators to use and is constantly unearthing new apps or websites so that teachers can do their jobs well and students can learn their material. She amazes me with her availability, knowledge, and empathy. She meets each teacher at their level: those who are hesitant and scared of technology, she finds easy access points and provides clear guidance while those who are tech wizards can always find a new way to use their technology to engage students, thanks to her!
Nominated by Brian Domokos, English Teacher, Highlands Ranch High School

Laura Trimarco, Teacher - Grade 2, Sage Canyon Elementary
Laura has fully embraced our new normal of remote learning with fantastic activities, resources, and daily connections to her students. Her passion and perseverant attitude has been a source of inspiration during these trying times. Completed a fully functional, academically relevant and engaging curriculum for her students on extremely short notice. She's adapted her process to accommodate needs(especially our shared students on IEP's). Positive attitude and adaptability have been an inspiration.
Nominated by Dan Kangley, Moderate Needs, Sage Canyon Elementary

Laura Wilson, School Social Worker, Castle Rock Middle School
She is finding unique and active ways to not only work with and Make sure her caseload of students are having their social and emotional needs met whole remote learning. She is mindful of our staff making sure our emotional well-being is taken under consideration. During remote learning she lead the EARRSZ grant team of our building to reach our most at risk students and find ways to engage them.
Nominated by Troy Schimek, School Counselor, Castle Rock Middle School

Andrea Smyth, Librarian, Eldorado Elementary
Andrea has made super cute, sophisticated virtual library times for the students. She is so fun and full of energy as she reaches out to the students virtually. She LOVES her job and when the building was open she could be heard from down the hall reading in various story voices to her students. Andrea has made a point to be a part of some Google Hangout calls to read stories, created virtual library story times, has worked super hard at the March Book Madness (Eldorado is still in 1st place!) and she just generally loves her job and the students.
Nominated by Jerri Puralewski - Instructional Assistant and ITS-1, Eldorado

Jay McGuffin, Music Instrumental Teacher, Castle View High School
Jay is one of the most friendly teachers I have ever worked with, which includes his welcoming attitude with his students - in orchestra, in our theatre productions, and those who are fortunate enough to have Jay as their advisement teacher. He works with students one on one, in small and big groups and manages to make everyone feel recognized and part of the ongoing work. I admire Jay for his welcoming atmosphere and his drive to help each and every student make improvements, artistically and personally. Jay dedicates many hours to his orchestra groups, but also works with our theatre, choirs, and bands to facilitate group productions that reach the highest quality. In our previous years' musical production, Jay has acting as pit director and draws in an amazing group of self-motivated performers to create beautiful accompaniment for all the performances. He is a great collaborator - taking many hours out of his regular teaching schedule to make sure our onstage productions are of the finest quality.
Nominated by Robert Scott, Theatre Teacher, Castle View High School

Marisa Varsos, Project Accountant, West Support Center
Since our Administrative Assistant moved several months ago Marisa has been a seemingly endless support for me and Daniel C. Oakes. Her willingness to help and provide guidance has really carried us through a time that would have been much more tumultuous without her assistance! Marisa is incredibly quick to respond to questions, she is always willing to help, and she has been there for us nearly every day for several months. She is the definition of Rock Star!
Nominated by Derek Fleshman, Principal, Daniel C. Oakes High School

Thomas Popken, Security, Douglas County High School
Joe was notified of a critical incident involving one of our students. Joe was on his own time and dropped everything to ensure the safety and emotional well being of a student during a VERY emotional situation. Joe's comfort and professionalism helped the student overcome his grief and kept the District informed of critical information. Joe disregarded things in his own life while not at work and on a weekend to see to the safety of one of our students. Joe put the student FIRST!
Nominated by Joseph Schubarth, Assistant Principal, Douglas County High School


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