Denise Nichols: Forging Lasting Connections

Denise Nichols: Forging Lasting Connections
Posted on 11/20/2023

When you meet Denise Nichols, it’s evident how much she enjoys working in DCSD’s BASE program and forming relationships with staff and DCSD families. Denise started her career with DCSD as a program aide at Summit View Elementary. She transitioned to the role of assistant manager of the Before and After School Enterprise (BASE) program at Acres Green Elementary (AGE) and was then promoted to BASE manager. There she enjoyed working with the staff and AGE families for nearly 20 years. BASE is an on-site, school-age childcare program for students ages five through 13 years old. 

Now in her seventh year as a BASE area manager, Denise oversees 13 BASE programs at schools throughout the district. Along with hiring staff and conducting safety and security trainings, she visits her schools monthly to check in on the program. Denise does miss the daily routine of connecting with students. 

“I'm still here every day for kids, it’s just now in a different capacity,” she said. “There’s no other job that makes you feel like a rock star when you walk through the door. Kids are so happy for that adult connection!”

The connections she makes with her students and families are lasting. While managing the BASE program at AGE, Denise got to know a single mom who was raising four children. Now, all her kids are serving in the military and one of them came to visit Denise before leaving for boot camp. A former BASE student who is now in middle school recently shared with Denise that she is doing well in school only because Denise helped her with homework years ago. It’s these encounters that remind Denise of the importance of her work and the positive influence she has on children.

When working with staff Denise says it’s the soft skills that really matter.

"The ability to listen to staff and offer suggestions is very important. I view my position as a support role for managers. I’m helping leaders grow,” she said. “I want to make them feel supported and cared for.” 

With Denise’s years of experience managing a BASE program, she knows firsthand the challenges that staff face. 

“It’s easy to put myself in their shoes because I WAS in their shoes for years,” she said. 

Denise shared a story about a BASE manager who calls Denise on her way home from work every evening to “debrief” and to get things off her chest so that when she gets home, she can unplug from work. That’s just an example of the kind of above-and-beyond duties that Denise takes in stride. DCSD has 10 male BASE managers and one was a DCSD Apple Award nominee. Denise said having male role models for this age group is very important.

BASE staff are DCSD employees who take the required Licensing Colorado School Age Training and participate in many of the same training opportunities at their school and through DCSD. 

“We can also attend professional conferences and the fact that Superintendent Erin Kane supports this is great,” said Denise. “The growth opportunity is fantastic for BASE staff who are interested in advancing their career.” 

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2024 SchoolMessenger Corporation. All rights reserved.

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 ).