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 Rock Stars: November 18, 2021

Connie Buechler, Administrative Assistant, Special Education, Wilcox
Connie is new to our department and she has come in and taken on every challenge. She is eager to learn and jumps in with both feet. She has already set about to change the culture by hosting Halloween events, helping decorate our new office space. She is cheerful with a quick smile and a helping hand. She deals with a wide range of people and is always polite and friendly. She is an asset to the department
Nominated by Jill Dutton, Mental Health Data Manager Specialist, Wilcox


Erik Hagerman, Custodian, ThunderRidge High School / Operations & Maintenance
Erik came here for four days this week to cover day shifts. Three of our four day staff had to quarantine for Covid. He was so helpful and energetic in helping the school with its daily duties. I could really see all his efforts as I do all the night maintenance as I am short-staffed as well for the last year. Believe me, I noticed! Erik jumped right and did a lot of extra things to make it run smoothly this week, as well as regular tasks. His positive attitude and energy made everything look really good this week with the absence of most of our day staff. I really noticed his efforts as I do all the maintenance at night by myself as I am short-handed as well. He did some things for me that I didn’t even ask for help for as I am short-handed as well. Way to go, Erik!
Nominated by Eric Nydam, Building Engineer - Night, Highlands Ranch High School


Jessica Hunziker, Media Teacher, Castle View High School
Jessica did an amazing job coordinating the CV Media Students for the Castle View High School Board of Education Candidate Forum. The work Jessica does every day with the CV Media programs is outstanding, and her mentorship shined through in the professionalism of the students that led the forum.
Nominated by Nate Jones, Communications Manager, Wilcox


Shannon Johnson, School Nurse, Sedalia Elementary
Shannon works at two schools who serve a significant number of students who are considered at risk. Since the first day in her position, she has fully embraced each school, the uniqueness of each community, and continues to find ways to improve outcomes for kids, families, and staff at each school. In a time when so many school nurses are feeling the stress and enormous workload due to the pandemic, Shannon continues to find how leverage ways to positively impact her work environments. Recently, Sedalia Elementary ran out of snacks for students that had previously been provided by local businesses. Shannon quietly sent a Facebook post to family and friends across the U.S. asking if they would be willing to purchase snacks and have them sent to the school. On Monday, our office at Sedalia Elementary looked like an Amazon warehouse. We had stacks of boxes of snacks arriving from all parts of the United States. Food security for many families is an everyday issue and Shannon understands how satisfying food needs at school allows students to focus on the work in front of them. Shannon's dedication to the Sedalia community far exceeds the shared role she has at Sedalia. The small gesture of sending a request through Facebook has generated an outpouring of support and that act is the quintessential talent Shannon possesses. We are grateful to have Shannon on our team and appreciate her stewardship.
Nominated by Jeff Johnson, Principal, Sedalia Elementary


Cindy Jones, Administrative Assistant to the Principal, Legend High School
Cindy did an incredible job supporting and coordinating student meetings for the Legend High School Board of Education Candidate Forum. The event was a success in large part to her coordinating stage needs, keeping participants connected throughout the planning process, and ensuring the streaming team had everything they needed the night of the event.
Nominated by Nate Jones, Communications Manager, Wilcox


Tambria O'Brien, Administrative Assistant, Student Support Services, Wilcox
Tammy works tirelessly to ensure everyone is respected. She does her job seamlessly working with all stakeholders to meet their needs. She has filled in for others when there has been an absence. She does it all with a sense of humor and a smile on her face, even when she is carrying her own burdens. She makes everyone feel heard. She is the rock of our department. I have never known her not to have a smile on her face.
Nominated by Jill Dutton, Mental Health Data Manager Specialist, Wilcox


Debbey Quintana, Administrative Assistant to the Principal, ThunderRidge High School
Debbey did an incredible job supporting and coordinating student meetings for the ThunderRidge High School Board of Education Candidate Forum. Debbey ensured the participants staying in contact with the support team from DCSD and provided excellent logistical support for the event.
Nominated by Nate Jones, Communications Manager, Wilcox


Robert Scott, Theater Teacher, Castle View High School
Robert has been incredibly accommodating and supportive of all the DCSD events held at the CVHS theater during the first three months of the year. He has scheduled around these events with his theater classes and school plays, as well as providing lighting and AV support to the DCSD Communications Office. Robert has been instrumental in the success of these events and is an amazing ambassador for the Castle View High School community.
Nominated by Nate Jones, Communications Manager, Wilcox


Special Projects Crew - Ismael Caloca, Axel Lara and Tony Perez, Operations & Maintenance
This crew came to my school all this week to help me with daily maintenance things. I am short-staffed right now, doing the night maintenance by myself, and they really did a great job. What a blessing to see them here when they show up to help me! I’ve had a rough week with the passing of my father. Their great attitude and enthusiasm really made my week better since I am short-staffed and doing the building by myself. That crew is awesome!
Nominated by Eric Nydam, Building Engineer - Night, Highlands Ranch High School




DCSD Employee Rock Stars: October 14, 2021

Marilyn Harris, Administrative Assistant to Custodial Staffing, Operations & Maintenance
I had the pleasure of meeting Marilyn this year , due to unfortunate circumstances. However, I am thankful that I did because she has been such an amazing support person in working together over the past 3 months to get a new Building Engineer on board. She was instrumental in helping us get things completed throughout the summer, after the death of our Building Engineer. Marilyn has not only advocated for help for us, but she took on a great deal of the long search for a new Building Engineer and she did it with such positivity and grace. She's truly a Rock Star!!
Nominated by Gina Grimes, Principal, Saddle Ranch Elementary


Dr. Tiffany Regan, Strategist - CIPG, Cantril
Dr. Regan is such a fantastic human being. She always checks in on people. She is never too busy to answer a question, and is truly one of the most selfless individuals that I have ever met. Dr. Regan has helped provide resources where there weren't any before. She has provided me with insight and perspective on various topics. She is truly never too busy to help anyone. She has mailed me a book when I didn't have one that I needed for a class. She is willing to learn right beside you or is willing help find someone who has the answer to any questions that you might have that she doesn't have an answer to. She is a gem!
Nominated by Gianna Southard, SPED Teacher - Moderate Needs, Franktown Elementary


Troy Doyle, Shop Foreman / Fleet Management, East Transporation
Excellent management. Troy is a Rock Star because his leadership has created a great environment providing excellent service. Everyone there is kind, professional, and caring. Troy provides a leadership that results in exceptional service from his location.
Nominated by Jackie Herrington - EA-IV, Parker Bridge Transition


Lisa de la Peña, Assistant Principal, Pioneer Elementary School
Lisa goes above and beyond on a daily basis to support students at Pioneer Elementary. This past week she even supported one of the kindergarten teachers with trouble-shooting a student's hearing assistive technology. She helped one of our students with hearing loss to connect the personal microphone to their cochlear implants so that they could hear the computer audio which was needed for testing. She did not hesitate, but instead quickly jumped in to support this student. Her ongoing efforts are greatly appreciated.....Lisa is truly a Rock Star!!! Lisa goes above and beyond on a daily basis to support students at Pioneer Elementary. This past week she even supported one of the kindergarten teachers with trouble-shooting a student's hearing assistive technology. She helped one of our students with hearing loss to connect the personal microphone to their cochlear implants so that they could hear the computer audio which was needed for testing. She did not hesitate, but instead quickly jumped in to support this student. Her ongoing efforts are greatly appreciated.....Lisa is truly a Rock Star!!!
Nominated by Chris Earley, Teacher of Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Various Schools


Kyle Young, Building Engineer, Wilcox
Kyle has only been our Building Engineer at Wilcox for about one month, in that time, his work ethic is outstanding! Kyle always goes above and beyond. In the short time that he's been here, he has cleaned areas of the building that had never been cleaned before. He always has a positive attitude and is always willing to help when needed. He is truly an asset to Wilcox.
Nominated by Bridget Santoyo, Accountant, Wilcox


Deb DeLong, Technology Teacher, Cresthill Middle School
Deb is a source of energy for our entire campus and brings enthusiasm for everything that she does. She teaches multiple subjects and gladly incorporates campus information and needs into her work. Most recently, she has added content to support the SEL needs identified by counseling, academic content to develop and enhance reading/math skills, but also allow the school to build a community around a wide variety of student developed segments. The work that her students create allows Cresthill to be a family of learners. She is willing to help all and step in with technology. Deb is a true exemplar for other educators! Specifically, her assistance with technology and addressing immediate needs that our campus has is invaluable. She will quickly assign a student reporter or add a segment to the school news. I am brand new to the campus, and can see the power of her work ethic and positive attitude. She is invested in our students and staff. Just watch our CANN news show, and you will totally see the community she is helping to build.
Nominated by Erica Leu, Teacher Librarian, Cresthill Middle School


Sally Garrett, Receptionist, Wilcox
American Red Cross CPR was being taught on September 24th, during the PLC day. A participant came to the CPR class who had arranged for communication accommodations, unbeknown to the CPR instructors. He was notified on his way to class that his interpreter would not be available. Upon arrival to the class, he texted on his phone that he is deaf and mute. We went to the Wilcox receptionist, Sally Garrett, to see if she knew if anyone in the building knew sign language. Sally stated that she did and shared that signing is her first language! Sally graciously stepped up to translate the entire CPR course for him, with the instructor, so he could complete his CPR course! Sally asked if the course could be taught to this gentleman near her reception desk so she could still hear the phone and see the door, so she didn't leave her post abandoned. Not only is Sally incredibly talented, but she is also gracious enough to share her talent and assist another employee to fulfill his task. Sally is a Rock Star! She is the DCSD receptionist, but is also an interpreter for the deaf with her greatest gift helping others!
Nominated by Kelly Driver and Mary Schmitt, Nursing Services, Wilcox


Kyle Young, Building Engineer, Wilcox
Kyle is new to our building replacing our building engineer of many years who recently retired. Kyle is sociable, approachable and kind. He is constantly moving, very focused and very helpful. He definitely lets no grass grow beneath his feet as he takes on his new position. Did you recently see him with a machine cleaning our carpeted floors or vacuuming under desks without being asked? Did you know that he also looks out for the Wilcox employees by noticing and acting on things inside and outside of the building that most of us would not notice? He takes note and follows up for our safety. Thank you, Kyle!
Nominated by Pat Yamada, Benefits Specialist, Wilcox





DCSD Employee Rockstars: September 16, 2021

Mary Ann Hatlestad, Instructional Assistant - RTI Intervention, Roxborough Intermediate
Mary Ann has gone above and beyond in supporting our SPED team as we have had to adjust to new positions and staff being gone. She deserves way more than her hourly pay and has single-handedly kept our program afloat! Mary Ann has gone above and beyond in supporting our SPED team as we have had to adjust to new positions and staff being gone. She deserves way more than her hourly pay and has single-handedly kept our program afloat!
Nominated by Beth Collins, School Psychologist, Legacy Point Elementary

Amy Long, Building Engineer, Roxborough Intermediate
Amy has come to Legacy Point to serve staff and students in a way she has never done before. She has been learning all aspects of the Building Engineer position and she never skips a details. She is thorough and detail oriented and never misses or forgets a thing. Legacy Point has never looked so beautiful. What makes her truly exceptional is how she goes about her work; with a smile and a desire to serve all who walk through our halls. Thank you, Amy!
Nominated by Kristin Drury, Principal, Legacy Point Elementary

Karen Davis, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Castle Rock Middle School
Karen is one of the staples in our SSN program. The knowledge she brings along with a kind and caring attitude for our most important kids goes beyond measure.Regardless of the struggle to keep our program staffed, Karen shows up each day with a smile and a 110% effort to make sure our students have great days. On top of all that she is always looking for ways to make the staff happy. She is truly a rock star.
Nominated by Bernadette Pigeon, School Psychologist, Castle Rock Middle School

Allison Hawk, Assistant Principal, Eldorado Elementary
Allison is an Employee Rock Star because she has been an amazing resource to all new employees in our building. She conducts all of our induction meetings, answers hundreds of questions and has dance moves that are frequently on display, much to the student's, and staff's, delight! She whole-heartedly cares about the Eldorado Community and shows up everyday ready to do her best. Allison is cool under pressure and jumps in to help wherever she is needed. We are appreciative of her time and her efforts in making our transition to Eldorado Elementary a supportive and positive one! Thank you, Allison.
Nominated by Amy Hansen, Counselor, Eldorado Elementary


Patricia Yamada, Benefits Specialist, Wilcox
Pat and Chris are like the dynamic duo of Benefits. Their dedication to DCSD employees is unmeasurable. Benefits can be confusing and stressful. These two individuals work tirelessly to help staff understand and utilize the incredible benefits that DCSD offers. They work late into the night to ensure our staff is taken care of and feel supported. I rarely walk through the office when Pat and Chris are not on the phone walking someone through the websites of our benefit companies or helping a family find resources for a difficult situation. They handle the pressure and stress with a smile because they know that our staff needs that calming and solution-based attitude. I am proud to call them part of our HR Team!!
Nominated by Dion Killingsworth, Employee Relations Director, Wilcox

Chris Nash, Benefits Specialist, Wilcox
Pat and Chris are like the dynamic duo of Benefits. Their dedication to DCSD employees is unmeasurable. Benefits can be confusing and stressful. These two individuals work tirelessly to help staff understand and utilize the incredible benefits that DCSD offers. They work late into the night to ensure our staff is taken care of and feel supported. I rarely walk through the office when Pat and Chris are not on the phone walking someone through the websites of our benefit companies or helping a family find resources for a difficult situation. They handle the pressure and stress with a smile because they know that our staff needs that calming and solution-based attitude. I am proud to call them part of our HR Team!!
Nominated by Dion Killingsworth, Employee Relations Director, Wilcox

Greg Morehead, Carpenter, Operations and Maintenance
Greg is a true asset to DCSD. Greg can complete any request with skill and creativity. Parker Bridge would like to thank Greg for the dedication to students concerning their safety and success. Greg always responds quickly, cheerfully, and professionally whenever something comes up.
Nominated by Jackie Herrington, EA-IV, Parker Bridge Transition

Zach Nannestad, Environmental Health Manager, Operations and Maintenance
Zach is always available to assist schools and departments. Following heavy rains, Zach made himself available for nearly the entire Labor Day weekend to attend to building leaks and help ensure schools were up and running again.
Nominated by Richard Cosgrove, Chief Operation Officer, Wilcox

Michael Bakke, Strategic Sourcing Manager, Strategic Sourcing, West Support Center
Proactively going above and beyond to streamline processes. We had a vendor that was sending separate invoices for individual services with different dates, etc. It was cumbersome to track. Mike proactively reached out to the vendor and worked through a solution to streamline invoices into one resulting in reduced time and staffing resources. We really appreciate his help!!
Nominated by Stacy Rader, Communications Officer, Wilcox



DCSD Employee Rockstars: August 23, 2021

Michele Burnett, 5th Grade Teacher, Northeast Elementary School
Michele’s class was quarantined more times than any other class at school, yet she continued to outperform her peers. Michele is a leader and striver who excelled at advancing her students during the worst crisis in history.
Nominated by Corbett, Substitute Teacher, Mountain View and Northeast Elementary School

Rachel Dreiling, Human Resources Employment Supervisor, Wilcox
Rachel’s positive “can do” attitude inspired me to work harder for our students. Rachel and her team, like so many staff members in the District, worked tirelessly this year to overcome incredible odds to provide support for schools. This year of quarantines and remote learning has tested everyone’s ability to adjust and provide unwavering education for our students. Rachel worked weekends and holidays to ensure we covered as many vacancies as we could. Her team hired hundreds of substitutes. She helped create incentives and supplied trainings for our substitutes. Rachel played an integral part of the success that Douglas County Schools experienced in overcoming the challenges for the 2020-2021 school year.
Nominated by Dion Killingsworth, Employee Relations Director, Wilcox

Rachel Donnelly, Art Teacher, Highlands Ranch High School
Rachel did a collaborative art project with the 2nd graders at FCE in early 2019. She took their monster drawings and had her high school art students create stuffies based on their drawings. They are absolutely adorable! We have lots of pictures. Rachel went above and beyond because in the spring of 2020 we went fully remote, and her students were not able to finish the project. She had her 2021 students finish the project. Rachel reached out to me for the now 3rd grade class lists. She then had her students make a stuffie for the new 3rd grade kids who did not create a monster drawing in 2nd grade. When I was able to deliver the stuffies to the third graders they were so happy and the new students had huge smiles because they were included. The project was awesome and Rachel went above and beyond to complete it!
Nominated by PJ Fisher, Art Teacher, Fox Creek Elementary

Ashley Bidinger, English Teacher, Douglas County High School
I was working a security assignment when I saw a young student crying and having a bad day. I spoke to her for a minute but had to move on. I saw Ashley coming down the hall. I asked Ashley if she could spend some time with the student. She never hesitated. Ashley sat down with the young lady ( I have pictures) and spoke to her. After about 10 minutes the young lady got up with a smile on her face. Ashley took a few minutes to spend time with a distraught student. Ashley made a difference in the life of the young lady. Ashley took time out of her teaching assignmnet to spend time with a student in distress. Ashley was able to balance what is really important and when.
Nominated by Thomas Popken, Security, Douglas County High School

Paula De Ville, Central Enrollment Specialist, Student Data Services
Paula is always approaching her position with an amazing proactive attitude. No matter the situation she will always find a solution that best meets the needs of all parties involved. If she is unable to solve the issue, she never hesitates to reach out for assistance. This summer, Paula and her team processed over 1,100 new student registrations for the District. She worked nights and weekends to ensure that these students had a place to go on Monday, August 9, 2021. We really appreciate all the long hours that Paula put in to make this happen! She truly is a DCSD Rock Star!
Nominated by Philip G. Ranford, Director of Academic Integrity, Academic Systems

Bill Fordyce, Director of Facilities, Operations and Maintenance
His responsiveness to the needs of our schools. At the start of the school year we had a couple of chillers go out creating uncomfortable learning environments. Bill went above and beyond by working nights, weekends, etc. to coordinate service and repairs to get our classrooms cool as soon as possible. We appreciate his leadership and dedication to DCSD and its student and staff!
Nominated by Corey Wise, Superintendent, Wilcox

David Herrington, Maintenance Lead, Operations and Maintenance
Doing whatever it takes to keep our schools operating and creating comfortable learning environments for students. At the start of the school year we had chillers fail at a few schools creating hot, uncomfortable classrooms. Dave and his colleagues worked around the clock to find solutions and get the cooling up and running again as quickly as possible.
Nominated by Richard Cosgrove, COO, Operations and Maintenance

Bill Davis, Building Automation Systems Lead, Operations and Maintenance
Doing whatever it takes to keep our schools operating and creating comfortable learning environments for students. At the start of the school year we had chillers fail at a few schools creating hot, uncomfortable classrooms. Dave and his colleagues worked around the clock to find solutions and get the cooling up and running again as quickly as possible.
Nominated by Richard Cosgrove, COO, Operations and Maintenance

Jeff Houghtaling, Maintenance Lead, Operations and Maintenance
Doing whatever it takes to keep our schools operating and creating comfortable learning environments for students. At the start of the school year we had chillers fail at a few schools creating hot, uncomfortable classrooms. Dave and his colleagues worked around the clock to find solutions and get the cooling up and running again as quickly as possible.
Nominated by Richard Cosgrove, COO, Operations and Maintenance

Carlos Ayala, Building Engineer, Iron Horse Elementary
Carlos is our building engineer and brings passion and joy to his job every day. Carlos connects with every student and staff member and will drop what he is doing to meet the needs of others. His laugh and humor draw people to him! Our school had some challenges with wasps and small flooding. Carlos jumped in over the weekend to come to IHE to pump water and clean up classrooms. He also has worked endlessly to end our wasp problem so that our students, staff, and community are safe at school. He is amazing and we are so lucky to have him!
Nominated by Jenna Munoz, Principal, Iron Horse Elementary

Dawn Thomason, Secretary to Assistant Principal, Douglas County High School
Dawn over heard Security and other staff talking about the lack of room numbering and hall signs for emergency responders and students. Dawn took it upon herself to write up, laminate and install signs throughout the South building. Dawns self initiative will be very helpful day and day and very helpful in emergencies. Dawn was not told to do the signs and install them. She wasn't even asked to do them. She took the initiative and did her on her own.
Nominated by Tom Popken, Security, Douglas County High School

Jo Davis, Registrar, Sand Creek Elementary
Jo helped this summer with new student enrollment via Central Enrollment. She started each day with a willingness to help and learn. She was a relatively new registrar this summer but she assisted parents with all of their questions, called new families for missing information, and kept the rest of us laughing with a positive perspective when we were all feeling quite overwhelmed. Jo went above and beyond by working more than the expected hours and days to help make sure the summer enrollment team could enroll as many new and returning students prior to the first day of school.
Nominated by Paula De Ville, Central Enrollment Specialist, West Support Center

Aaron Bittler, Custodial Quality Control Leader, Operations & Maintenance
Aaron has had to take on a couple of different roles. Not only does he have to do the training for new employees when they are hired, he has also had to report to an elementary school every day since school started this year to provide custodial coverage because the custodial department has multiple openings. I want to thank Aaron for his hard work and positive attitude.
Nominated by Bill Fordyce, Director of Facilities, Operations & Maintenance

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