Meet Highlands Ranch HS Teacher Dennis Sierra

Meet Highlands Ranch HS Teacher Dennis Sierra
Posted on 12/06/2023

Highlands Ranch High School (HRHS) teacher Dennis Sierra entered the field of education through coaching. And as an educator, he often sees his role as a coach. 

Sierra majored in accounting at the University of Northern Colorado. There he took a coaching and officiating class that piqued his interest and led him to become a volunteer track coach at Columbine High School.

 “I loved it so much. I knew I had to become a teacher to be a coach,” Sierra said. 

Sierra was inspired by Dave Sanders, his track coach and business teacher when he was a student at Columbine. Sanders was the teacher who died during the Columbine High School shootings in 1999. 

Sierra embarked on a new journey and earned his teaching license at Metropolitan State University of Denver. He began his career in Las Vegas, NV, before returning to Colorado. Sierra joined DCSD after working in special education at Jeffco Public Schools.

As a CTE Business and Technology teacher, Sierra teaches Intro to PC Apps, a class where students can earn their Microsoft Office Specialist Associate certification. He also teaches Accounting, Business and Marketing Essentials, Personal Finance, Game Design, and Entrepreneurship. 

Sierra is keen on students learning practical skills now and in the future. That’s no surprise coming from someone who’s also a certified home inspector.

“I love the a-ha moments and watching students grow from freshmen into adults,” he said.

“In my personal finance class, a young woman whose parents were financially struggling said, ‘This class has made me feel like I can do this. I can make it.’ In some cases, this is the first time kids have had a frank discussion about money,” he said.

students“I love DCSD. I have a lot of autonomy, especially at HRHS. I hate missing work - I like the continuity.”

Like many teachers, Sierra takes on additional roles to help support students and enrich their high school experience. He is currently an assistant coach for esports. 

“We have 45-50 kids, and I think it’s the most diverse activity on campus, with students from various backgrounds. There’s also a unified team, the Mario Cart team. One of the highlights of my career was being able to letter a student on the unified team,” he said.

Sierra is also an advisor to the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club, a role he’s had for eight years. FBLA members do community service, compete in local and national competitions, and attend conferences. Sierra said the HRHS’s chapter recently stuffed backpacks with food for the holidays through a partnership with the Backpack Society.

“I still keep in contact with students. A former FBLA student works for Hershey and another works for PricewaterhouseCoopers. A 2020 graduate is attending the University of Denver and has an internship with KMPG,” he said. “This is the best job I’ve ever had. And we have the best administrative team with Principal Dr. Chris Page and Vice Principal Keri Stuebinger. I view them as coaches and mentors.”

Sierra said it’s a family-friendly environment at HRHS. He knows of a father and son and a mother and daughter who work at the school. 

Sierra’s wife Kimberly works there, too. She was formerly an educational assistant with the Significant Support Needs (SSN) program and now works in security. She also coaches esports teams and is a female chaperone for FBLA trips. 

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