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: May 13, 2021

Rachel Bottone, ITS Technician I, Ranch View Middle School
Rachel is one of the hardest working people at RVMS. She prepped all of our computers for students to take CMAS. Not only has she done that, she has also been working hard to ensure that the backend of CMAS runs smoothly. Also, prior to the lockdown in March, she made sure that all of the computers at RVMS were cleaned and ready to be distributed to students that needed them. She has also taken up our yearbook at RVMS and has done a tremendous job releasing it the past two years.
Nominated by Christine Romanello, Registrar, Ranch View Middle School

Phil Traister, Maintenance II, Operations & Maintenance East
Phil has worked in the district over 19 years. He always has a positive attitude and is always willing to help in anyway he can. He transfer to the Maintenance department two years ago. His backgrounds was doing irrigation in the grounds department. Because we have been short handed in Grounds department he has help out the last couple week charging irrigation systems in the district. Phil is also on-call with helping grounds when it snows running a plow truck during every storm because grounds is short handed. I can not say enough about his willingness to help. Phil is an asset to the district.
Nominated by Bill Fordyce, Director of Facilities

Deneen Ecker, Health Assistant, Eagle Ridge Elementary
Deneen has done an amazing job as my health assistant this year. This was her first year as a health assistant and she manages the health room like she has been doing it for years. She communicates so well with students, their families and all of our staff. This difficult year has run wonderfully thanks to all of her hard work. She does all of the contact tracing for our quarantines which often requires her to work at nights and on the weekends. She even comes in on her previously scheduled days off to do the contact tracing. She knows exactly what she's doing and makes it look so easy even thought I know it is not easy AT ALL. She would never say no to anything and is always happy to help.
Nominated by Liz McGowan, School Nurse Consultant, Eagle Ridge Elementary

Priscilla Gullekson, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Pine Lane Elementary
Priscilla’s patience and personal dedication to seeing a student succeed this year has been exceptional. She spends personal funds and personal time to meet a student’s needs. She has been exceptionally thoughtful to meet her coworker’s needs throughout this year as well.
Nominated by April Thompson, SSN Teacher, Pine Lane Elementary

Lauren Hormachea, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Pine Lane Elementary
Lauren’s assistance to step in and take on responsibilities as a substitute teacher for gen ed and the SSN classroom while still carrying out EA-IV duties for students has been a demonstration of going above and beyond to help her coworkers, students and school. She spends personal funds and personal time to meet a student’s needs. She has been exceptionally thoughtful to meet her coworker’s needs throughout this year as well.
Nominated by April Thompson, SSN Teacher, Pine Lane Elementary

Barb Morrill, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Pine Lane Elementary
Barb has placed her student needs and the school’s need above her own to rise above personal adversity and continue to meet the needs of students. She spends personal funds and personal time to meet a student’s needs. She has been exceptionally thoughtful to meet her coworker’s needs throughout this year as well.
Nominated by April Thompson, SSN Teacher, Pine Lane Elementary

Lizzie Smith, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Pine Lane Elementary
Lizzie’s ability to jump into a new role this year and demonstrate flexibility to rise to the needs of the school wherever more student support was needed has been exceptional. She has positively impacted the students she was hired to support as well as supporting the needs of other students in the classroom.
Nominated by April Thompson, SSN Teacher, Pine Lane Elementary

Maria Myrant, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Pine Lane Elementary
Maria’s assistance to step in and take on more responsibilities to help out with substitute teachers for gen ed while still carrying out EA-IV duties for students has been a demonstration of going above and beyond to help her coworkers, students and school. She has positively impacted the students she was hired to support as well as supporting the needs of other students in the classroom.
Nominated by April Thompson, SSN Teacher, Pine Lane Elementary

Linda Meyers, RTI/Gifted and Talented Coordinator, Eagle Ridge Elementary
Linda always goes above and beyond to support and encourage her team, her co-workers and especially the students she engages with. Linda has provided mentorship to new teachers to the building, she has developed and maintained our MTSS program for Tier 1 and Tier 2 interventions. She supports teachers with Read plans, ALPs, and testing. Linda never turns anyone away when they are seeking guidance that can enhance the success of students. Linda is a valuable asset to Eagle Ridge, her professionalism and dedication to the students, parents and staff is deserving of this recognition as a true ROCK STAR!
Nominated by Linda Lieber, Counselor, Eagle Ridge Elementary

Jen Romero, SPED Teacher - Moderate Needs, Buffalo Ridge Elementary
Jen is a rock star because she goes above and beyond for her students, team members, and parents. Jen constantly supports staff members, parents, and students by sharing her wealth of knowledge and excellent intervention skills. She cares deeply for everyone around her and demonstrates this on a daily basis. We are very fortunate to have her working for DCSD.
Nominated by Megan Isberg (Learning Specialist) and Elizabeth Genuario (OT), Buffalo Ridge Elementary

Terrane Seesoms, Nutrition Services / STEM Kitchen Manager, STEM School Highlands Ranch
My daughter was recently diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic. Terrance takes the time to email her everyday so she knows the lunch choices and will set aside her meal. Since she has the last of the school lunch periods, this ensures that she will have the proper amount of carbs when she doses her insulin. I can't imagine a more kind and caring individual and I am so happy that he has become a part of the STEM team. I never have to worry about my daughter's dietary needs.
Becky Hathaway, Learning Support Specialist, STEM School Highlands Ranch

Kerry Pirk, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Trailblazer Elementary
Kerry is an exceptional EA. She is so very hard working and always puts the students first in her mind. Her energy is boundless and despite all the pitfalls and weirdness of this year, Kerry's love for the students has never waivered. In fact, she wants to take them all home and feed them! Kerry has been a mainstay in our SSN room at TBE for over 15 years. She is a very strong advocate for the needs of the students in our SSN room and always goes the extra mile. One example of Kerry's awesomeness are her cooking lessons. Whether it dirt pudding, pancakes or ice cream, if you are hungry come to TBE on Friday mornings. Thank you Kerry for all you do for TBE students. During remote learning, she created cooking videos to share the students and their parents and she was amazing!
Nominated by Dianne Fulwider, Speech Therapist, Trailblazer Elementary

Sydni Stone, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Trailblazer Elementary
Sydni is one of those quiet, exceptional people working in the background. She always has a smile and a kind, encouraging word for the students she works with. She always makes good decisions and is our go-to expert on communication devices. She is an amazing team member and always so supportive of every student. Sydni has come full circle at TBE. She started out as an SLPAssistant INTERN in the SLP program and then was hired as an SLPA. She then came back to us as a highly trained SSN EA and has been doing great things ever since! This next fall, Sydni will be pursuing the last requirements of her graduate level degree in Special Education when she completes her student teaching at TBE! Sydni has been pursuing her graduate school degree while working both in our SSN program and in our BASE program after school. She is a HARD worker!
Nominated by Dianne Fulwider, Speech Therapist, Trailblazer Elementary

Angie Cheline, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Trailblazer Elementary
This is Angie's first year at Trailblazer and she has fit in so well with our team. Angie is so quiet but that just means she is observing and learning. She has found a love for our students and school. We so appreciate her willingness to be present, consistent and helpful. She never gets frazzled and she always has a sweet word to say about our friends even if they have yelled at her all day! Angie has done it all this year in her first year as an EA: hybrid, remote, in person and quarantine. Nothing can stop her now.
Nominated by Dianne Fulwider, Speech Therapist, Trailblazer Elementary

Sara Kahn, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Trailblazer Elementary
Sarah is a very hard worker. She is our only employee who is part time but she comes at the hardest part of the day- when our students are integrated in classes and LUNCH! Sarah must have the ability to tune out the noise and chaos of a school cafeteria. Sarah will be with us full time next year and we are so happy. Her consistency is much appreciate. Sarah is also so good about making sure that her team is represented at school and not forgotten. She stands up for her colleagues and uses her resources to ensure an even playing field. Sarah's consistency over the years makes her go above and beyond. This can be a hard quality to find in an SSN EA.
Nominated by Dianne Fulwider, Speech Therapist, Trailblazer Elementary

James Jordan, Substitute Teacher, Trailblazer Elementary
James has been the long-term substitute while our SSN teacher has been on medical and maternity leave. James decided to substitute while job hunting for an engineer job. Turns out, he is really awesome with kids! James truly found the love for some of the most challenging students- and not only that, he found ways to increase their learning, engagement and language. James was the science guy and would have small science lessons each week which were always based on students' high interests. I would often walk into the room and James was on the floor playing or reading with a student. We are so happy to have James as part of our team this year- once a Trailblazer always a Trailblazer! One day a student shouted, "I have to go to the hospital!". I suggested that he visit 'Dr James'. Without batting an eye, James invited to student to sit still and asked him where it hurt. James then "healed" the student by giving his knee and head a quick tap. The student stood up and went on his merry way. Miraculous!
Nominated by Dianne Fulwider, Speech Therapist, Trailblazer Elementary

Kelly Mihalik, CIPG Strategist, Cantril
Kelly has been so supportive of the electives this year, specifically music. She has worked to find great new technology and online platforms for us to use with our students during remote and hybrid learning and ensured that we had training available to learn how to best implement those tools quickly and successfully with our students. Kelly has also been working with music teachers around the district to address the learning loss that has come from COVID restrictions being in place. She is helping us work on plans to ensure that the performing arts continue to grow in our district as we navigate what our programs look like post-COVID. Kelly is willing to listen and work through ideas so the teachers are supported. She has been a bright light in the middle of a crazy year.
Alyssa McCollum, Orchestra Director, Legend High School

Jeffrey Orndorff, Dispatcher, Transportation, Castle Rock Terminal
Jeff manages driver and route schedules. We are short staffed and Jeff gets routes covered everyday. Recently we have drivers needing unexpected time off which makes his job even more challenging. Despite the added stress and workload Jeff is always professional and he makes the extra effort to cover routes. I so appreciate his attitude. He is calm and professional on the radio and on the phone. Jeffś job is stressful and unpredictable but he maintains a grateful and helpful attitude everyday. Thanks Jeff for all you do to cover routes and stay calm despite the chaos!
Nominated by Jennilyn Biery, Bus Driver, Castle Rock Terminal

Karen Lewis, Nurse, STEM School Highlands Ranch
Karen goes above and beyond every day to ensure that all students are safe at Stem. With all the cdc covid restrictions that are ever-changing, she has been amazing at contacting the parent's of students, contact tracing and following the proper protocol to ensure that each and every student and family is safe during quarantines and returning to school. Karen puts in many hours of hard, passionate work both during school hours and on weekends and evenings. She goes above and beyond every week to make sure every student is safe during this pandemic.
Nominated by Carol Knappich, High School Receptionist, STEM School Highlands Ranch

Rashmi Talwar, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Castle View High School
Rashmi has helped the ELD department tremendously this year. She has helped communicate home and explain cultural traditions. She has answered our phone calls and texts; spent many hours interpreting for us. She has joined meetings to help explain tasks and to clarify confusion. She is a godsend.
Nominated by Jeanne Johnson, ELD Teacher, Castle View High School

Lisa Fugit, School Nurse Lead, Nursing Department - Wilcox
These 3 ladies have given tirelessly of their time and efforts this entire school year. They have had to orient 16 new nurses along with covering schools and COVID. They have been stretched to the breaking point but have done their job with grace and unending dedication to our department. COVID has given them a second full time job this year and they have tackled it without complaint. I could not have done my job without the dedication and hard work of these 3 ladies. You all Rock!
Nominated by Celia Flanigan, Coordinator of Nursing, Wilcox

Mary Schmitt, School Nurse Lead, Nursing Department - Wilcox
These 3 ladies have given tirelessly of their time and efforts this entire school year. They have had to orient 16 new nurses along with covering schools and COVID. They have been stretched to the breaking point but have done their job with grace and unending dedication to our department. COVID has given them a second full time job this year and they have tackled it without complaint. I could not have done my job without the dedication and hard work of these 3 ladies. You all Rock!
Nominated by Celia Flanigan, Coordinator of Nursing, Wilcox

Mary Evensen, School Nurse Lead, Nursing Department - Wilcox
These 3 ladies have given tirelessly of their time and efforts this entire school year. They have had to orient 16 new nurses along with covering schools and COVID. They have been stretched to the breaking point but have done their job with grace and unending dedication to our department. COVID has given them a second full time job this year and they have tackled it without complaint. I could not have done my job without the dedication and hard work of these 3 ladies. You all Rock!
Nominated by Celia Flanigan, Coordinator of Nursing, Wilcox

Chris Lawson, Product Owner - District Enterprise Applications, West Support
Chris is a huge support to the DCSD licensed evaluation system. He is always ready to help with a task, with technical issues and with problem solving. His quick response time and attention to issues in our system make him a valuable part of our DCSD family. Chris recently went above and beyond by giving up an entire Saturday to support evaluation closeout and ensure that our evaluators had immediate support while completing their summative evaluations.
Nominated by Deanne Kirby, Director of Educator Effectiveness, Wilcox

Dawn Estes, Teacher - Grade 4, Roxborough Intermediate
Ms. Estes has worked with my daughter all year long to help her be successful, showing flexibility, grace, and patience, in spite of a very difficult year.
Nominated by Jason Parker, English Teacher, Douglas County High School

Tammy Lowe-Doty, Payroll Supervisor, West Support Center
Tammy is one of the best supervisors I have ever had the pleasure of working with. She is a great leader and always advocates for our team and helps us whenever and however she can. Tammy is one of the best supervisors I have ever had the pleasure of working with. She is a great leader and always advocates for our team and helps us whenever and however she can.
Nominated by Krista Sandquist, Payroll Specialist, West Support Center

Cathie Knutson, Teacher - Integrated Wellness, Mountain Ridge Middle School
Knutson has made such an impact on myself and another "new" teacher. She gives sound advice, someone who has experienced it all! She sympathizes, validates, and above all, motivates. It's going to be a sad day when she retires at the end of this year. She not only is a great teacher, but during lunch has kept us fed with her great meals! If you ever need a laugh, to vent, or a soundboard of good ideas, Knutson is your woman!
Nominated by Tyler Eatherton, Drama Teacher, Mountain Ridge Middle School

Marissa Scott, Teacher - Grade 5, Iron Horse Elementary
Marissa is such an amazing teacher and all of her students adore her. She is so supportive and such a great coworker. Although this year has been extra difficult with COVID, Marissa has worked through difficulties while leading a team of brand new teachers. She is a rockstar! This year has been extra challenging and Marissa has made such a strong impact to me and the community at Iron Horse. As a third year teacher, Marissa is the most veteran teacher on our team and has lead 2 first year teachers flawlessly. I am so grateful for Marissa and all her hard work!
Nominated by Alexandra Brockhagen, 5th Grade Teacher, Iron Horse Elementary

Kerry Burns, SPED Teacher - Speech Language Pathologist, Legend High School
Kerry Burns is a Rock Star by far. She services her speech students at Legend with such passion & creativity. She is full of energy and goes above and beyond to make sure her Speech students feel supported, successful, and respected. Speech Pathologists often get overlooked for their work with students, although they play a crucial crucial piece to the student's success. She is amazing with students and she is a wonderful co-worker to work alongside.
Shelly Boyd, Severe Special Needs Teacher, Legend High School

Jamie Hoffman, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Eagle Ridge Elementary ECE
Jamie has steeped into her new role with ease. She supports all children in her care. She consistently works with her students so well that her students have shown so much progress this year! She is an asset to our EC department! She goes over and beyond to support SSPs and her classroom ECI teacher daily with anything they need. She is easy to work with and is always willing to help support her preschool team.
Nominated by Monica Vazquez, ECSE/ EC Liaison, Eagle Ridge Elementary

Alissa O'Brien, Homebound Education Coordinator, eDCSD
Alissa is such an amazing professional. Every time I reach out to her she is able to come up with novel solutions to help me and my teams meet the needs of students and families. She puts kids first, she goes above and beyond to create support plans for students.
Nominated by Gilly Gilfoyle, Coordinator - SPED, Wilcox

Tarena DeDen, Instructional Assistant - Literacy, Cimarron Middle School
Tarena goes above and beyond on a daily basis doing whatever is needed to support our students with hearing loss. The students feel comfortable seeking her support when issues arise with their equipment or if they need accommodation support within the classroom setting. She truly cares and it shows in the amazing effort she puts forth everyday! She takes on tasks outside of her wheelhouse when needs arise. She is personable and takes on tasks such as fixing personal microphones and hearing aids to ensure student auditory access. She is flexible and not afraid to take risks to ensure student support!
Nominated by Chris Earley, SPED Teacher - Teacher of Deaf, Variable Locations

Anna Magle-Haberek, Middle School Director, STEM School Highlands Ranch
In the last year and a half Anna has transitioned from teacher to administrator. She started her work as an admin a month before the COVID shutdown and was still teaching her regular classes (including teaching health online). Since taking on her current position she has worked to fulfill the requirements of her own job and picked up additional duties from other positions as staffing changes required. Despite all the challenges of the last year she has always made time to support staff, nurture the needs of students, and work proactively with other administrators. Anna is amazing!
Nominated by Katie Hoffman, STEM School Highlands Ranch

Ann Fitch, Elementary Counselor, Gold Rush Elementary School
Ann has been invaluable in helping to train, organize and orient new elementary counselors to the district. Without her efforts, we would be in the dark ages! Ann is always available and willing to help. She is kind, smart and has an encyclopedic understanding of counseling and true expertise in elementary counseling that is exceedingly rare.
Nominated by Aaron Ragon, Lead Counselor, Wilcox

Maggie Asman, SPED Teacher - Moderate Needs Interventionist, Cimarron Middle School
Maggie puts forth amazing efforts when supporting our students with hearing loss. She has incredible communication skills with both students and staff members. She truly cares about our students and knows what they need to reach their full potential. When issues arise, Maggie does reaches out to collaborate and resolve the issue in a timely manner. Maggie has been known to take her own personal time to collaborate with other team members who also support our students with hearing loss to communicate student progress as well as to provide hearing assistive technology support to ensure our students have auditory access. She goes above and beyond on a daily basis and her efforts make a huge positive impact on our students success!
Nominated by Chris Earley, SPED Teacher - Teacher of Deaf, Variable locations

Jennifer O’Leary, Mild Moderate Needs Specialist, Pine Grove Elementary
Jen pours her heart, knowledge, and efforts into her students. She is kind and patient, and has a way of setting firm boundaries that that are also presented in a positive manner. Beyond her responsibilities to students, Jen has also volunteered or asked to be a part of several leadership roles. Due to health risks, our department had 2 members working remote until Spring Break. Jen assumed leadership responsibilities of our department and has been the “go to” person for questions, concerns, and issues related to special education. Without a doubt, she has been the anchor that has kept our department stable with her support!
Nominated by Michelle Huggins, Special Education Teacher, Pine Grove Elementary

Jill Fenton, SPED Teacher - Severe Needs, Highlands Ranch Transition Bridge Program
Jill is diligent and passionate with providing students with a learning environment that is safe, supportive, and facilitates sustainable healthy relationships. Jill continuously collaborates with her colleagues to make appropriate adjustments to her curriculum to continue to grow her lessons to be more meaningful and appropriate for her students. She embeds evidenced based interventions into each lesson to provide students with equitable opportunities to learn and apply the content of the lessons. She reinforces concepts taught by the related service providers and re-teaches and extends lessons that the related service providers instructed on during the week.
Nominated by Kristen Shannon, Speech Language Pathologist, Transition Bridge Program

David Doty, Kitchen Manager - High School, ThunderRidge High School
Not all super heroes wear capes, some wear aprons. David Doty is an employee rockstar in Nutrition Services. As a new kitchen manager at Thunderridge High School this past year, he has led our team to be one of the highest producing and most successful kitchens in the district. During the pandemic, he played a major role in streamlining and developing the process for packing, storing, and delivering thousands of remote meal bags to students and families in our community. During the pandemic, David has been a driving force of positivity and perseverance. His motto, “No problems, just solutions” has inspired our team to overcome new and different challenges to serving food under tightened COVID restrictions. Our team loves working for such a kind, good humored, hard working, efficient, and detail oriented boss. He’s the first one on site and the last to leave. He works right along side with our team as well as behind the scenes to make sure everything is running smoothly. He has also been the go-to guy in the district helping to fill in at other under staffed high schools in addition to fulfilling his own responsibilities. He is also just an all round gentleman/ great co-worker who takes the time to express gratitude and praise for each team member, and is thoughtful and considerate even under pressure. In his younger years, he may have played guitar in an awesome rock band, but now, today, he is still rocking it as an amazing DCSD Employee Rockstar!
Nominated by Laura Jones, Kitchen Assistant Manager, ThunderRidge High School

Dawn Kidd, Area Manager - Nutrition Services, DCSD Nutrition Services
She’s hard working, courteous and always helpful. She makes our jobs much more enjoyable and productive. She’s worked to help feed the kids working the summer programs fills in when people are short handed and is never terse or unkind.
Nominated by Lani Woodward, Kitchen Assistant, Academy Charter School

Kyla Jung, Teacher - Grade 3, Gold Rush Elementary
Kyla deeply cares for every single child in her class and works tirelessly to make sure their needs are met regardless of the challenge! Kyla's ability to differentiate instruction (small and whole group) goes unmatched. She has a wide range of learners in her room and still manages to meet the needs of every single kiddo. Her determination and perseverance are out of this world!
Nominated by Anonymous

Selena Pallas, Health Assistant, Sierra Middle School
Selena is new to her role this year and after completing her mandatory BOY of year training she quickly owned her role and worked to improve process and help things run smoothly even with all the obstacles we faced with Covid. She has consistently gone above and beyond all year long do a variety of self motivated projects to help streamline process where she saw a need and a solution. She is very motivated and has help me as the school RN navigate the crazy Covid year and helped developed systems that worked for Sierra Middle school including our teachers, staff, students, families and community. She is always looking for ways to make things work better. In addition to being proactive and taking on additional work to help things run smoothly she does she does an exemplary job as the health assistant at Sierra. She is knowledgable, helps to identify issues that need to be addressed, respectful to students and their privacy, remains calm and has developed an amazing rapport with the students. She is able to handle a variety of medical situations for which I have trained and delegated to her and is quick to recognize when she needs my assistance or involvement. Selena is always ready and willing to learn new things. She works well with talking to families and following up when appropriate. She is an excellent addition to DCSD and Sierra Middle School and in her first year has had a truly positive impact on our school and community. Selena goes above and beyond on a daily basis. When she see something that could be done better she develops a plan, creates working documents and works with me to alter them into the final form that will help things run smoothly at Sierra Middle School. To say she is proactive is an understatement as she is constantly looking for way to step in a help as well as improve process. With the ever changing guidelines around Covid this year she has stepped up and helped develop ways to keep track of the ever changing data collection and interventional needs of our school community. She is flexible and easy to work with in a collaborative manner. It would be hard to list all of the things she has been involved with creating or improving this year as there are so many ways she has taken initiative when she sees a need. She works efficiently and sometimes I am amazed at how many things she can quickly and accurately execute projects she is working on in the health room as well as the office. This has not been the easiest year for anyone and I would like to recognize Selena as her work ethic and attention to detail has been invaluable and impressive stepping into a challenging and new role as a new DCSD employee this past fall.
Nominated by Megan Glick, RN, Sierra Middle School

Lori Twehues, Science Teacher - High, SkyView Academy High School
It is my first year teaching, and Lori is my department head. She has been amazing at making me feel welcome and competent. She was always checking that I understood any forms that were coming my way, and what to expect during each phase of the year (finals, graduation, any duties I had). She was patient with all my questions and seemed to know what I would ask before it happened. She is so busy with all of her duties, but always made time for me. I am not sure I would have survived this first year, given all of it's abnormalities, without her support.
Nominated by Dena Christensen, HS Science Teacher, SkyView Academy

Amy Gallegos, Health Assistant, Cougar Run Elementary
Works hard with kids that require a lot of care and always has a smile on her face.
Nominated by Sarah Bull, Attendance Clerk, Cougar Run Elementary

Amy Gallegos, Health Assistant, Cougar Run Elementary
Always has a smile on her face and provides a welcoming environment for the children when they aren't feeling well.This year has been difficult, but especially for those in the health room Amy has never complained and has a smile and welcoming presence each and every day.
Nominated by Paige Krusoe, Attendance clerk, Cougar Run Elementary

Stephanie Ohlin, Kitchen Manager - Elementary, Legacy Point Elementary
Stephanie has done an incredible job in her first year as LPE kitchen manager, especially in light of all of the challenges this past year. She is very detailed oriented and stays on top of changing meal requirements/ orders/bagged meals etc. She ALWAYS greets students and school staff with friendly demeanor and can-do attitude.
Nominated by Valerie Moller, Kitchen Assistant, Legacy Point Elementary

Alison Smith, Professional Learning Specialist, Stone Mountain Elementary
Alison has been the foundation for all things curriculum at SME. In a year with new math and science curriculum, Alison has supported every teacher in our building. She's ensured PD, spent countless hours learning the programs, and has driven conversations around rigor and instructional strategies. In a year like this one, Alison has kept our staff afloat, progressing forward, and pushing their thinking about student learning. Alison is ALL IN for PLC work and helping our teachers move into collaborative teams that collectively work for all students. She has stayed the course, adjusted PD plans regularly to address needs, and has been an incredible, safe place for every staff member in our building. She raises the bar for everyone and makes us all better for our students.
Nominated by Katie Kruse, Assistant Principal, Stone Mountain Elementary

Wendi Melsheimer, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Saddle Ranch Elementary
Wendi is a life-changer. Her daily interactions with the students in the SSN environment not only impact the present, but possess the weight necessary to positively impress upon their futures. Students know that they are genuinely loved, and this love builds the foundation required for trust, compliance, growth, and risk-taking. Each day possesses new challenges and opportunities in our room, and Wendi consistently goes above and beyond, demonstrating passion, intelligence and determination, all-the-while anticipating student needs with seamless execution. But it is her kindness on top of her talent and energy that makes her a life-changer. Kindness can take many forms, but the best way to describe the kindness Wendi displays is to strip it down to its most basic form: Wendi constantly gives all of herself to her students regardless of circumstance, energy level, or reciprocation. She always sees the best in others and seeks the best for others. It is inspiring to work alongside her, and I believe I benefit both as an educator and friend from her example.
Nominated by Nicholas Meehan, SSN Teacher,Saddle Ranch Elementary

Maurice Carter, Building Engineer, Frontier Valley Elementary
Mr. Maurice, (as we all lovingly call him), is not JUST our building engineer. He works tirelessly on making our building beautiful and clean. He is constantly on the move repairing items and moving furniture. In the winter he is always here to clear the snow and get rid of the ice WAY before teachers or students arrive. He ALWAYS makes sure we have what we need, and always takes the time to say hello with a smile on his face. Mr. Maurice not only takes care of all of the teachers, their rooms, and ALL odds and ends throughout the day, but he always takes time to meet with students, play basketball or touch-football at recess, and even has run the Safety Patrol of 5 grade students who help him in the mornings get things going and help students get in the building in the morning. He is simply an AWESOME person to work with. We all LOVE our Mr. Maurice!!!!
Nominated by Destiny Thrasher, Kindergarten teacher, Frontier Valley Elementary

Nacolle Esposito, Human Resources Generalist, Human Resources Department
Nacolle is a Rock Star for many reasons! Her upbeat and positive attitude, whenever I call and need help, makes her a Super Rock Star! She is quick to respond and takes care of my needs usually before I can get off of the phone with her. Her support when I create job posts, have questions and need help is very valuable and much appreciated. Thanks for all you do Nacolle! Nacolle has gone above and beyond to answer my questions in regards to recruiting. She doesn't stop until she has an answer for me!
Nominated by Darlene Roussa, Administrative Specialist, O&M East Grounds Department

Kaylene Zehner, Teacher - Grade 4, Copper Mesa Elementary
Ms. Zehner has done an incredible job making this year as normal and worry-free for her students. She's created fun and interesting assignments and activities to keep her students engaged through the year. Ms. Zehner creates a calming atmosphere in her classroom. Given how stressful our lives have been this year, I greatly appreciate how she runs her classroom and teaches.
Nominated by Marisa Tomlinson, Substitute Teacher, Copper Mesa Elementary

Kendra Schurich, Teacher - Mathematics - High, Legend High School
Kendra always goes the extra mile for students and coworkers. She often stays late to help with various projects and students know they can reach out to her any time they need help. Her classroom is fun and exciting and as a result, her students love math! For the last two months, Kendra stepped in as Department Chair after some changes to the department. She has worked hard to connect with everyone in the department and make sure all of our needs are met.
Nominated by Rachel Langlois, Teacher, Legend High School





DCSD Employee Rockstars: April 15, 2021

Michelle Gasser, Grade 4 Teacher, STEM School Highlands Ranch
Mrs Gasser took on the role of teaching both third and fourth-grade students this year to prevent another STEM teacher from having their position cut. Midway through the year, Mrs Gasser took on the position of STEM's Professional Development Coordinator, while continuing in her role as teacher. She serves on numbers committees, include the School Accountability Committee, while also serving as a Coach, Logistics Leader and Student Council Advisor for Elementary School. Mrs Gasser has taken on more responsibility and tasks than any other teacher at STEM!
Nominated by Nicole Bostel, Communications Director, STEM School Highlands Ranch

Robert Hoornstra, Chief Operating Officer, STEM School Highlands Ranch
He’s always at STEM, working hard to make building improvements. He has overseen the PTECH building opening. He made sure the HVAC systems were updated. He has greatly improved the building’s security. Robert is always working to ensure staff and students have heat, safety and nice grounds. In addition to his daily duties, he manages the custodians. He works on building maintenance himself! He is very nice and gets to know the staff. Robert is always friendly and not many people know he’s the COO! He truly cares about STEM staff.
Nominated by Abbi Kaplan, Foreign Language Teacher - Chinese, STEM School Highlands Ranch

Connie Buechler, Health Assistant, Cresthill Middle School
Connie juggles so many roles and handles every thing thrown at her with calm and grace. I am so grateful to have her as my health assistant and I know the rest of the staff feels the same. Connie is currently working as our school health assistant, copy tech and attendance secretary. On top of all of this, she handles many other tasks that are asked of her. Connie adapts to all situations with a smile on her face.
Nominated by Denise Shore, School Nurse Consultant, Cresthill Middle School

Anselma Zamora, English Second Language Teacher, Rocky Heights Middle School
She is always positive and cheerful, and is helping ensure that DCSD communications are available in Spanish. Anselma translates many DCSD communications into Spanish. She is always willing to translate documents quickly, and does so with a cheerful demeanor. I appreciate her patience, willingness to make last minute edits, and availability day and night!
Nominated by Stacy Rader, Communications Officer, Wilcox

Tetiana Feltner, English Second Language Teacher, Mountain Ridge Middle School
She is helping make DCSD communications available in Russian. Tetiana translates many DCSD communications into Russian. She is always willing to translate documents quickly, and does so with a cheerful demeanor. I appreciate her patience, willingness to make last minute edits, and availability day and night!
Nominated by Stacy Rader, Communications Officer, Wilcox

Yawen Lien, Foreign Language Teacher - Chinese, Northridge Elementary
Yawen is making DCSD communications available in Chinese. Yawen translates many DCSD communications into Chinese. She is always willing to translate documents quickly, and does so with a cheerful demeanor. I appreciate her patience, willingness to make last minute edits, and availability day and night!
Nominated by Stacy Rader, Communications Officer, Wilcox

Kay Livingston, Building Engineer, Flagstone Elementary
Kay is always busy! She is constantly making sure that our building is clean and operating smoothly. She is constantly taking trash out, emptying recycling, sanitizing touch points around the building AND she does it all with a smile on her face. We are so fortunate to have Kay looking out for us. Our building design is not ideal for large snowstorms however Kay goes above and beyond to make sure our sidewalks and entry points are all clear and safe for staff and students to enter. She rides around on her tractor with a smile and a wave as we all are arriving in the morning after a big snowstorm. Thank you for all you do Kay!!
Nominated by Karen Allen, Reading Recovery/Reading Interventionist, Flagstone Elementary

Elizabeth Bates, Counselor, Trailblazer Elementary
She is a rock star because she goes the extra mile every day. She's kind and caring and always puts the students needs first. She has a calming presence and is all around amazing. She makes sure that any and all students that need a little extra attention or just reassurance gets it. She has created a safe space for all. She is a true asset to TBE.
Nominated by Heather Kramarczyk, Registrar, Trailblazer Elementary

Sheila Marino, Registrar, Renaissance Expeditionary Magnet School
Sheila is our front desk guru! She helps parents, she helps kids, she helps teachers.. .all with a smile on her face. She basically does 3 jobs in the time it takes most to do one job! Our school is a better place because of her! In a covid year, when parents aren't allowed in the building, Sheila makes countless trips outside in all kinds of weather to get kids to cars for early pick-up, to gather a forgotten item for a student and to simply answer questions for parents in person. She is absolutely a rock star!
Nominated by Dana Diedrich, Grade 2 Teacher, Renaissance Expeditionary Magnet School

Michael Santoyo, Bus Driver, Transportation West Terminal
Safe, impeccable driving record and excellent with children on his bus. As soon as Mike has finished his route, he jumps in the shop truck and delivers and picks up parts for all three terminals after which he is back in his bus to do his P.M. route.
Nominated by Allyn Perry, Educational Assistant - Transportation, West Terminal

Stacy Hough, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Legend High School
She is always willing to go the extra mile for the kids. She never hesitates to help when asked. I could never do my job without EA's like Stacy. Covering for teachers during IEP meetings, helping students in all their general education classes and so much more.
Nominated by Julie Hensley, SPED Teacher - Severe Needs, Legend High School

Karen Forbes, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Legend High School
Karen is always there to help no matter what the task. Karen never complains when new things are thrown at her or when we have to change meeting dates. Karen does everything at 150%. She gives her all in everything she does. She volunteers to help when and wherever there is a need.
Nominated by Suzanne Schlut, IEP & Assessment Specialist and Moderate Needs Interventionist, Legend High School

Diana Simpson, Principal, Ben Franklin Academy
Throughout the COVID year she has made sure that Staff, Students and Parents were getting the information that we needed to work through the daily struggles of dealing with a Pandemic. She works tirelessly through the week and weekends to get information out to our community even if school wasn't in session. She made sure that every safety precautions were met before bringing back students. Hallways that go one way, rooms sanitized after each class, classrooms sprayed with a bleach solution, lunches moved to classrooms but revolving so that students still get to go to lunchroom on certain days, hot lunches delivered to the classrooms, added recess spaces so that students can go outside with their cohorts and not be in the same area as other students. She is available to us 24/7 with any question we might have. If there is a student or staff exposure she is quick to let us all know and what steps have been taken. She has tried to keep things as normal as possible during in person school, and even when school was FT remote she made sure that students still had fun activities to join through ZOOM. When she was diagnosed with COVID she was quick to let the community know but she still continued to work from home and send out her weekly newsletter to parents and staff. At the end of last year, her father passed away the day prior to our outdoor, social distance, drive in graduation. She was still actively at the ceremony. To put it mildly she is our ROCK!
Nominated by Deb Williams, Library Specialist, Ben Franklin Academy

Christina Contreras, Custodian - Level 2, Castle View High School
Christina filled in at my school when I was hurt. She made her time here known with her extraordinary work ethic. She made my school her own and treated it like her own. She made simple changes, that make things easier for me in the future. I love that she went above and beyond. The Soaring Hawk Elementary community thanks you so much!! You're much appreciated!
Nominated by Craig Varriano, Building Engineer, Soaring Hawk Elementary

Cindy Evans, Educational Assistant - Transportation (SPED), East Transportation
As a TEA Cindy most certainly has many of the characteristics that makes a difference for the students that ride on her bus. What makes her a great TEA is - she is a strong communicator, listens well, amazingly engages with her students and demonstrates a great deal of empathy. It is most evident that her students feel valued and loved! This recognition is most important because Cindy leads by example and demonstrates a great deal of compassion for their students. I have utmost admiration for how she is genuinely involved with her students, and makes each one feel valued! I am grateful to work with such a spectacular employee!!!!
Nominated by Beth Micci, Transportation Trainer/Instructor, East Transportation

Wendy Larson, Educational Assistant - Transportation (SPED), East Transportation
Wendy Larson is a highly valued employee because as a TEA for transportation she demonstrates great teaching and leadership qualities for the students that ride her bus. This recognition is most important because Wendy leads by example and demonstrates a great deal of compassion for their students. Wendy has a route with a range of students from severe autism to students that are behaviorally challenging. She makes sure that she is involved with each one of them in such a way that they appreciate and respect her. She is simply an AMAZING TEA that should be recognized for her ever constant care/concerns for her students.
Nominated by Beth Micci, Transportation Trainer/Instructor, East Transportation

Tom Cassidy, Bus Driver - Transportation SPED - East, East Transportation
Tom is the route driver for a Special Needs run out of Parker's Terminal. He drives a route that has many challenges and manages to drive the bus safely. Even though he is driving he makes sure that he communicates well with his TEA and students. Not always a easy task when driving. Tom understands the importance of teamwork and leads by example. He is consistent daily in making sure that the route runs smoothly for the safety and well being for his students and TEA. His quality of care for his students and TEA should be recognized!!
Nominated by Beth Micci, Transportation Trainer/Instructor, East Transportation

Joel Boeckmann, ITS Techician II Device Support Lead, West Support Center
Joel and Evan have have both demonstrated a tremendous amount of flexibility and have been very responsive in light of an ever-changing situation with the 2021 spring state assessments. They have gone above and beyond to support testing for all of our students.
Nominated by Matt Reynolds, Chief Assessment & Data Officer, Wilcox

Evan Mellichampe, Device Operations Manager, West Support Center
Joel and Evan have have both demonstrated a tremendous amount of flexibility and have been very responsive in light of an ever-changing situation with the 2021 spring state assessments. They have gone above and beyond to support testing for all of our students.
Nominated by Matt Reynolds, Chief Assessment & Data Officer, Wilcox

Philip Ranford, Director of Academic Integrity, Wilcox
Phil has demonstrated a tremendous amount of flexibility and has been very responsive in light of an ever-changing situation with our 2021 spring state assessments. Phil has gone above and beyond to support testing for all of our students.
Nominated by Matt Reynolds, Chief Assessment & Data Officer, Wilcox

Sarah Gatewood, Teacher - Grade 5, Frontier Valley Elementary
Sarah's care for her students are unparalleled. She recently received a 2nd Master's Degree under the umbrella of differentiating for students, and it is highly apparent that she is applying this daily in her classroom. Not only does she make a difference in her classroom, she is a part of the MTSS team, and an active speaker at the CAGT conference each year.
Nominated by Becky Johnson, Teacher Grade 5, Frontier Valley Elementary

Amy Osborn, Technology Specialist, Meadow View Elementary
Amy has dedicated her career to being loyal and committed to Meadow View Elementary since 2001 and has helped hundreds of students and teachers thrive in the area of technology over the years. Amy not only helps students and staff learn how to implement technology into instruction, she has been a part of so many committees at MDVE. Recently, she helped renovate and restructure the library and currently she serves as SAC coordinator among other roles beyond her daily instruction.
Nominated by Becky Johnson, Teacher Grade 5, Frontier Valley Elementary


DCSD Employee Rockstars: March 9, 2021

Carolynn Kranse, Library Specialist, Clear Sky Elementary
Carolyn has gone above and beyond to try to still make our library functional for our students during these unprecedented times. Not only has she been helping with lunch recess and in Kindie classrooms, she’s also been providing a way for our students to be able to check out books and delivering them to their classrooms and still keeping our library sanitized and books quarantined after use.
Nominated by Fran McBee, Instructional Assistant - Health, Clear Sky Elementary

Kate Barnhart, School Nurse Consultant, Variable Locations
Kate is amazing. She always has the answers and if she doesn't she gets back to you. She is always always positive and is a joy to work with especially in this tumultuous time. Kate works weekend, after hours to help with COVID cases and how quarantine works. She is always patient, because I am SURE she gets asked the same questions over and over. She always helps out if ANYONE needs ANYTHING. She is a gem and we are lucky to have her at MVE!
Nominated by Kate Bufton, Teacher Grade 1, Mountain View Elementary

Angela Tucker, Professional Learning Specialist, Prairie Crossing Elementary
In her role as PLS she has been an integral part of creating an outstanding support system for our PLCs throughout our building. She supports our teams everyday by connecting us and providing support for our teaching and learning environments. She supports our students by helping to coordinate intervention and enrichment groups that she is directly involved in and has created a great team of support with our EAs. We can go to her with any question and she will take the time to answer or help us to find what we need. She supports through her own efforts in creating meaningful and thought provoking PD to help build us up, especially during this time. She also takes the time to listen and laugh with us. She supports the kids in our classroom each and everyday. She has helped us get through assessments, tough conversations with kids, students that need some down time. Helping us to be better collaborators with our SPED providers, GT teacher, and EAs. She connects us all, which gives us a wonderful place to work. Thank you Angela for ALL you do.
Nominated by Debi Elliott, Teacher - Grade 3, Prairie Crossing Elementary

Delceter Goosby, Kitchen Manager, Legend High School Nutrition Services
During these crazy times Delceter is always there! She is always looking out for our SSN students and shows them an abundance of kindness. We appreciate all she does for our students.
Nominated by Julie Hensley, SPED Teacher - Severe Needs, Legend High School

Kathy Holsapple, SPED teacher - Teacher of Deaf, Variable Locations
Kathy Holsapple is the hearing impaired teacher that visits our school. On a visit to our school I told her that I liked her see through smile masks. I told her one of our kitchen employees is deaf. She said she had extra smile masks in her car and gave me some to give to Carol Winter in our kitchen. Carol was so thrilled and appreciative. It has made it so much easier for her. Kathy gave her 3 smile masks for her and her family. She went way above and beyond to help Carol who lip reads. The masks make it so hard for her. Kathy really helped her with the see through smile masks.
Nominated by Anita Concialdi, Registrar, Cherokee Trail Elementary

Sara Nellis, SPED Teacher - IEP & Assessment Specialist, Legend High School
She works very hard with our Special Education team with so many moving parts.Whenever paperwork changes need to be made or a special request is made by a parent, she gets them done efficiently and in a timely manner. We can always count on her.
Nominated by Julie Hensley, SPED Teacher - Severe Needs, Legend High School

Dr. Kristine Hammond, SPED Teacher - Psychologist, Coyote Creek Elementary
Dr. Hammond is the most dedicated and supportive school psychologist. Dr. Hammond consistently supports students, families, and teachers through developing various school wide initiatives. She developed the Kindness Club which supports student leadership for kids to creatively reach out to others who may be struggling. She created a monthly calendar which provides students daily reminders on how to reach out and support others. Dr. Hammond is continuously supportive of our families and teachers by checking in regularly to see how she can help anyone in need. She is a gem and greatly appreciated in our building!
Nominated by Amy Sealock, SPED Teacher - Speech Language Pathologist, Coyote Creek Elementary

Daniel Smith, Educational Assistant - Transportation (SPED), Parker Terminal
Daniel always has a great attitude and a genuine care for his position as a TEA. He attended a presentation with us and did an outstanding job! Daniel came with the Safety Training Team to the Parker Bridge Program to present to their students possible career choices after they graduate with DCSD as a TEA with Transportation. He was very enthusiastic , professional with questions and answer session. He took the time to speak with each and every student that day and gave thoughtful feedback to them. He made the presentation a huge success for us!
Nominated by Nancy Storti, Transportation Trainer/Instructor, North Terminal

Daniel Smith, Educational Assistant - Transportation (SPED), Parker Terminal
On February 10th, 2021, Daniel Smith accompanied Nancy Storti and myself to Parker Bride Program. We were asked to come to the site and give a speech to their students about transportation job opportunities as an Transportation Educational Assistant. Daniel was asked to attend this meeting as he had graduated from Parker Bridge and is an excellent TEA for our district. Daniel answered all the questions asked by the students and the students who attended virtually. Daniel was very enthusiastic and didn't leave until all the questions were answered. As a former graduate of the Bridge Program, Daniel was able to give these students insight about job opportunities within our district.
Nominated by Theresa Webb, Transportation Trainer/Instructor, North Terminal

Melissa Mottinger, District Substitute, Ranch View Middle School
Melissa is one in a million! She always has a great attitude, no matter which class she subs for or how long the job. She is responsible, reliable, kind, and our staff and kids love her! She is a jack of all trades and we are so grateful she chooses to be with us! Melissa is a Ranch View Wolf through and through!
Nominated by Erin Isley, Coordinator - International Baccalaureate, Ranch View Middle School

Robin Ward, Kitchen Manager, Chaparral High School
A tremendous number of changes to the school lunch program have fallen on her shoulders these past months. Many have observed the dedication and effort put into prepacking a multitude of meal bags. The group project of prepacking meal bags has been repeated weekly including friendly banter, music and pride in its purpose. Impressing many with her management of a job of this scale. She is truly an amazing Rock Star.
Nominated by Linda Cherry, Clerical - Attendance, Chaparral High School


DCSD Employee Rockstars: January 21, 2021

Lisa De laPeña, Assistant Principal, Pioneer Elementary
Lisa has worked tirelessly throughout this covid school year. Her unstoppable actions have kept our school running smoothly, our staff and students happy, healthy (literally) and feeling cared about. You will rarely find Lisa sitting in her office or anywhere else! She is constantly on her feet somewhere in the building, putting out "fires", problem-solving with staff to prevent "fires", or zipping around the school just checking in to see how your day is going!
Nominated by Patty Maricle, 2nd Grade Teacher, Pioneer Elementary

Lesley Leighner, Registrar, Legend High School
She is always patient with a huge high school staff to get their grades in at the end of each semester. She is helpful and patient whenever we need something with our SSN program. Always willing to help. She is a wonderful person.
Nominated by Julie Hensley, SSN Teacher, Legend High School

Glenn Kirby, Electrician II - Journeyman, Operations & Maintenance West Bldg.
Glenn and his team have been working diligently to install our new SmartBoards at CVE. Unfortunately our new boards were damaged during delivery and did not work correctly. After taking down our old boards and trying to install the new boards, Glenn discovered the problem. He worked with our CRT and staff to ensure that our teachers had a working board when our students returned. Glenn went above and beyond to ensure our teachers had the necessary technology to begin in person teaching successfully. He even moved old boards back into classrooms temporarily. CVE would like to thank Glenn for his hard work and dedication to the students and staff at CVE and DCSD.
Nominated by Nancy Wortmann, Principal, Cherry Valley Elementary

Denise Mooney, Grade 5 Teacher, Redstone Elementary School
Denise Mooney is an amazing educator who goes above and beyond. She is both an amazing teammate and teacher who cares about students. As a teammate, she is proactive, keeps teammates in the loop, is flexible, receptive to feedback, and a strong communicator. As a teacher, she builds strong relationships with kids which makes them motivated to work with her. Her lessons are engaging and aligned to 5th grade standards and the kids enjoy doing the work. She takes care to differentiate for her kids and works to support ALL learners. Denise is the kind of teacher that everyone should wish to work with. She deserves to be identified as a rock star because she truly rocks at her job!
Nominated by Christina Courtney, Mild/Mod Learning Specialist, Redstone Elementary School

Will Hope, Custodian, Larkspur Elementary School
Will is outstanding! Not only does he do his job as a Custodian he is like a school counselor with the kids. He always takes the time to interact with the kids. Many times that means just listening. Will is really a team player. He is part of the fabric of the school. The kids love to see him and interact with him. He supports the kids, listens and provides great healing. Will goes way above and beyond what is expected of a custodian.
Nominated by Thomas Popken, Security Specialist, Douglas County High School

Nicole Lechman-Trujillo, Coordinator - SPED, Various Locations
When our SSN department needed support, Nicole was the first person to step up and help. She leads by example, and always puts kid's needs first. She is a true advocate for children with disabilities, and I feel blessed to have her on the TRHS team.
Nominated by Marshawn Yuhas, Dean, ThunderRidge High School

Robin Carmack, Team Lead - Personalized Learning - Significant Support Needs Program, Various Locations
Robin spent two weeks supporting our program when we were down several staff members. Robin got right to work with the kids, and was a very appreciated extra set of hands. We were so grateful for the extra support.
Nominated by Marshawn Yuhas, Dean, ThunderRidge High School

Jordan Bucknam, Math Teacher, Cimarron Middle School
Jordan is a teaching genius with an extraordinary passion for teaching. She has gone above and beyond making outstanding resources for a student who is facing difficulties attending school. Jordan shows so much care and personalization for her students.
Nominated by Sarah Hasler, Personalized Learning Specialist, Cimarron Middle School



DCSD Employee Rockstars: December 10, 2020

Chloe McCluskey, SPED Teacher - Moderate Needs, Fox Creek Elementary
Chloe has truly dedicated herself more than ever to giving her students the best possible hybrid experience this year. She works tirelessly to create meaningful connections, support classroom learning, and she communicates so well with the families she works with. Although this year has been challenging with hybrid learning and quarantine procedures, Chloe always has a positive, can-do attitude, and strives to make the most of her time with her students. Her dedication to Fox Creek and its community is inspiring.
Nominated by Jamie Bowman, 6th Grade eLearning, Fox Creek Elementary

Elizabeth Welz, Clerical - Secondary Schools, Highlands Ranch High School
Amazing organizational skills. Great personality. Positive outlook. This school year has been nothing but twist and turns. Elizabeth keeps our front office flowing smoothly. From helping our kids to finding coverage for teachers each day. All this is done with class and professionalism. She is a great asset to us here at the Ranch!
Nominated by Jay Berard, Campus Security Specialist, Highlands Ranch High School

Laura Wilson, School Social Worker, Castle Rock Middle School
Ms. Wilson continually goes above and beyond to create realistic and measurable learning opportunities for some of our most challenging students. She works with them in a way that respects where they are coming from and helps them see a positive way to move forward in difficult situations. Mrs. Wilson has worked diligently to help our center-based programs prepare for remote learning in order to provide the best possible situation for our students and staff.
Nominated by Kristine Streander, Dean, Castle Rock Middle School

Tina Gamard, Network Architect, North Star Academy
Tina exemplifies excellence in all she does. She works extra hours tirelessly and without complaint in order to keep the technology piece of in-person and remote learning seemless and working beautifully. She gives and gives and gives of her time and energy, all the while with a smile! We love Tina and just wanted you to know how amazingly skilled she is and how wonderfully generous she is! Kindly and happily giving her own time on weekends and Holidays and summer break! Keep everything running smoothly!
Nominated by Ann Marie Brna, Teacher, North Star Academy

Chris Cheline, Multimedia Producer, Communications
Chris goes above and beyond to get the best video for each story. He truly gets to know the people behind the story, why is the story being told, and how can he bring the story to light. Chris literally will lay on the ground to get the best angle and get he does this with a smile on his face, a warm heart, and he's a genuinely good person.
Nominated by Katie Lynch, Principal, Northridge Elementary



DCSD Employee Rockstars: November 12, 2020

Stephanie Crowe, Professional Learning Specialist, Sage Canyon Elementary
Stephanie truly cares so much about the staff, kids, and parents at Sage Canyon. I wouldn’t be the teacher I am today (my 3rd year) if it wasn’t for Stephanie helping coach me through induction and all of her support! Stephanie does simple acts of kindness, like leaving notes and candy in our mailboxes, that goes such a long way!
Nominated by Carolyn Floistad, 2nd Grade Teacher, Sage Canyon Elementary

Crystal Metzger, Counselor, Mountain Ridge Middle School
Crystal is always willing to go above and beyond for the sake of our students and staff. She always has students' best interest in mind, and is willing to put in the hard work to make sure our staff is performing at a level that is advantageous to our students and community. This past week, Crystal took on a large job in which she compiled and compared student data for not only her own caseload, but for the caseload of the two other in-person counselors in the building. This data will be used to make necessary adjustments improvements moving forward into quarter 2.
Nominated by Breeann Gibbons, Counselor, Mountain Ridge Middle School

Courtney Schubarth, Teacher - Grade 4, Sage Canyon Elementary
Courtney knows her students SO WELL on an individual basis. She works to make sure that she builds a connection with each of them, which is the most valuable thing for these kiddos right now. She pushes them to be the best they can be, all while being a ROCK STAR TEACHER. Courtney has my son in her class, and this year he is going through a few transitions. She has been his biggest advocate and cheerleader, and has gone above and beyond to both build a relationship with him and to rally around him. I am forever indebted to her!
Nominated by Sara Theriault, Teacher - Grade 5, Sage Canyon

Jen Holt, Kitchen Manager, Prairie Crossing Elementary
Jen is a great support for our school and community. She makes sure every kid is well fed and taken care of each day. She has gone above and beyond making our breakfast program easy and successful. I have watched Jen standing in the snow and rain already this year making sure the community has all the food they need for our kids and she has never once complained! She is amazing!!
Nominated by Carrie Rotherham, Principal, Prairie Crossing Elementary

Nicole Bostel, Director of Communications, STEM School Highlands Ranch
Last year, Mrs Johnson transitioned from being a faculty member to an administrator in seamless fashion. As our Director of K-12 left at the start of the school year, Mrs Johnson stepped into a new role without skipping a beat and has provided stability and energy during a time when everyone is stressed with COVID-related expectations. Her organizational skills are so impressive. She is always there for our students with addressing any of their MTSS needs, as well as being there to provide support for our staff members.
Nominated by Jenny Johnson, Interim Director of Student and Staff Support, STEM School Highlands Ranch

CJ (Craig) Varriano, Building Engineer, Soaring Hawk Elementary
CJ is more than a Rock Star. He IS Soaring Hawk’s most amazing SUPERHERO! CJ has an incredible work ethic, sense of responsibility for the health and safety of students and staff at Soaring Hawk Elementary, and pride for the building he oversees. In the easiest of times the role of a building engineer is a difficult role to fulfill at an elementary school. In these hardest of times, CJ, as sole building engineer, is undeniably exemplary. With his infectious smile, his thoroughness and attention to detail, and his flexibility and grace, CJ has taken great care of our building and people. Along with his custodial duties, he has been patient with things like moving furniture for the umpteenth time, and things like uninstalling and installing projectors for teachers. CJ cares for and has pride in our building and school community. He transformed the sterile environment in our cafeteria by bringing in color. He painted walls accenting our school’s colors and added tasteful wall decals of our school’s symbol/mascot. It is now a warm, cheerful space for our kiddos to enjoy and feel proud of where they go to school.
Nominated by Patty Casebier, Fourth Grade Math Teacher, Soaring Hawk Elementary

Lynn Trollope, SPED Teacher - Moderate Needs Interventionist, Ponderosa High School
Commitment to students, passionate about learning, and carries herself with a full dose of unwavering positivity! With fall testing in full swing, Lynn has committed to supporting students with accommodations in any and every way that she can. Lynn has given up multiple plan periods to administer SAT/PSAT preadministration sessions, has taken the time to personalize the proctor selection for students, and has gone above and beyond to communicate with students, teachers, and parents/guardians on an ongoing basis. Lynn's efforts truly make a difference and sets a high standard.
Nominated by Kristen Hogan, Assistant Principal, Ponderosa High School

Kasey Helgoth, Educational Assistant I, Prairie Crossing Elementary
Kasey is always positive, hardworking and is great with our sttudents. Kasey never lets anything stand in her way of taking care of our kids at Prairie Crossing! Knee replacement surgery didn't even slow her done--- she was out on the playground as soon as she could get there and was even jumping rope with the kids! We love having Kasey as part of our PCE family!
Nominated by Carrie Rotherham, Principal, Prairie Crossing Elementary

Devon Clarke, Building Engineer, Castle Rock Middle School
Devon is simply the best building engineer that I have ever worked with. Whether it is maintenance and repairs, or COVID cleaning, or setting up equipment, Devon does it all with care and class. There is getting the job done and then there is how Devon gets the job done. Devon goes over and above to create the best physical environment at CRMS. He spent the summer months, masked, gloved, and without AC painting, assembling new furniture and moving out old furniture. Not only is Devon’s work second to none, but he also takes time to get to know our students individually while monitoring the lunch line. We are very fortunate at CRMS to have Devon as our building engineer.
Nominated by Brenda Romanello, Music Instrumental Teacher, Castle Rock Middle School

Cindy Yoshida, Kitchen Assistant, Lone Tree Elementary
Cindy works hard and is very easy to work with. I never have to tell her what to do. She gets her stuff done and if she has free time she finds something else to do or cleans the kitchen. I love working with Cindy! Cindy go above and beyond every day, in everything she does! She thinks about the kids and how they would like things. She works hard every day! No matter what it is that needs to be done. With all the changes and shortages in food and drink, she never complains. Love working with her!
Nominated by Kitty Schoenherr, Kitchen Manager, Lone Tree Elementary

Terri Nelson, Application Support Specialist, Information Technology Department, Wilcox
Terri went above and beyond to help me fix my Infinite Campus (IC) attendance issues. She took the time to personally pull my ticket and was able to get me squared away in a quick and efficient manner! Terri personally called me and when I wasn't available worked with me after my site hours to get an IC attendance issue resolved. She had the knowledge and ability to get me back on my feet - and get some critical results updated! Thank you!
Nominated by Kate Bufton, Teacher - Grade 1, Mountain View Elementary

Katie Wilson, Sustainability Lead, Sedalia Elementary
Katie joined our school this year and has taken our Sustainability program to a new level! Her passion and energy for this life skill is inspiring and is contagious. Within the first week of school, she had not only developed a plan to rehabilitate our school gardens and chicken facilities, but she also started the work. She quickly recruited other staff members to help with the work and her leadership has made a dramatic difference in our school. Working with students in the cafeteria so they understand how to sort their waste has been equally impressive. Students are taking ownership of our school's impact on the Earth and you can see them studying the different sorting containers so they sort their products accurately. When the kids don't know where to put items, they are supported (not rescued) by Mrs. Wilson. Each year, everyone at Sedalia Elementary celebrates our Green Ribbon award by contributing to cleaning up an area in our community. With the restrictions schools face with transportation for field trips and cautions around social distancing, we had to start thinking differently. With Katie's leadership, our sustainability committee created a Green Ribbon celebration that focused on our school campus in a way that met all of the social distancing and safety requirements while also giving purpose to the celebration! Students and staff teamed up to clean up our campus, build structures and areas that will last a long time, and created a collaborative community effect that strengthens our school culture. Katie deserves to be recognized as a DCSD Rock Star and she represents a community of Rock Stars that are proud to have her at our school.
Nominated by Jeff Johnson, Principal, Sedalia Elementary

Stephanie O'Neill, Crisis Team Lead, Personalized Learning Mental Health
Stephanie is the lead for the Crisis Team for the District. She is available 24/7 to help schools and departments deal with crisis, She wears other hats as well, such as District consult for safety assessments. She always puts students and staff in crisis first. She is always looking to help her team learn how to be more effective. She always is looking to better herself in helping people through crisis. We have had a large number of crises, so far this year and it is only October. She greets everyone one with concern and comfort. Stephanie hears and sees people at some of the worst times in their life. She is so comforting and reassuring. She helps teach staff how to continue to support students and each other through the grief process. When she isn't dealing with a crisis she always has a smile on her face. Few people have the ability to work with crisis every day but I have known Stephanie for many years and she tells me how she just reminds herself of the people who have lost someone and if she can make a difference then it is worth it.
Nominated by Jill Dutton, Data Management Specialist - Mental Health, Wilcox

Kristi Robertson, Kitchen Manager, Cherokee Trail Elementary
Kristi's work, leadership and attitude during the last few month has been commendable. Our department has been on a whirlwind of changes in these last months of the pandemic as we bridge areas of service that could never have been expected. Kristi is one of those people that adds to solutions, ideas, and a "can do" attitude that exceeds expectations. As both a DCSD employee and parent, Kristi has seen all sides of the challenges that are faced during times of uncertainly. Her continual positive attitude and her personality which never takes "no" for an answer, has seen her school site and our department rise to all challlenges during emergency spring and summer feeding. She has been instrumental in developing our remote meal bag system and has helped lead coworkers and other sites in this new area. Her impact is not only within our department, but impacts our district and our community. I cannot think of a person more deserving of the DCSD Rock Star Award, and I thank her for never saying "no" to a challenge, and for being a pleasure to work with every step of the way!
Nominated by Joy Timlin, Area Manager, Nutrition Services

Theresa Carpenter, Administrative Assistant, Transportation West
Theresa is the heart and soul of Castle Rock Terminal. Everyday she comes in to work with the most positive attitude and eagerness to start the day. She supports our entire staff with integrity and I do not think I could of gotten through my first year as a supervisor without her vast knowledge of the inner workings of transportation. Theresa goes above and beyond on a daily basis for both her manager and for her fellow employees. She is reliable and always willing to step up to a challenge and help her fellow coworkers when they are in need. I could not of asked for a better coworker and friend to help our department get through all the chaos that goes on daily.
Nominated by Kayla Zehner, Supervisor, Transportation West

Jill Donnelly, High School Math Teacher, STEM School Highlands Ranch
Jill is incredible, even not during a pandemic. She is the most organized teacher I have ever met. Not only is she fully equipped to teach during an apocalypse, but she is willing and happy to share her organizational skills. She has been here for me for over 2 years now, and she has made these last few years amazing for me. You know she is a mark of a good teacher when you overhear students saying how much they love her math classes. During these uncertain times, it is imperative to evolve and keep up with the ever present changing. Jill has accomplished this unwaveringly. Everything from sharing her planning and grading tips and tricks (she is completely planned out the rest of the semester), to sharing her email templates for emails home. She is eloquent in her writing and every parent appreciates her positive letters home. She is always positive, which does not need to be said, but is a very rare and exquisite skill to possess. She cares so much about her students, she often is sending out surveys and verbally making sure everyone in her class is ok and taken care of. I can think of no one else who deserves this more than Jill Donnelly.
Nominated by Jason Gillett, High School Social Studies Teacher, STEM School Highlands Ranch

Jordyn Russo, SPED Teacher - Social Worker, STEM School Highlands Ranch
Jordyn is a kind and compassionate individual that makes time to assist her co-workers. She is effective and efficient in her work, which has allowed for her team to have a high level of trust in her and her services. Our students respect her and benefit greatly from her presence on our campus. She forms deep and lasting bonds with students, parents, and staff. Since the school shooting that occurred at STEM, Jordyn has arranged for therapy dogs to be on our campus any time we have a drill. She is also responsible for re-vamping our advisory program by implementing Sources of Strength.
Nominated by Kandace Lytle, College & Career Coordinator, STEM School Highlands Ranch

Jake Bott, ITS Technician I, West Support Center

He is absolutely phenomenal. He always goes above and beyond to resolve IT issues. Jake always smiles and is courteous, patient and personable. Jake uses his expertise to access the need and resolve the issues. Jake is "1" in a Million!
Nominated by T.J. Crawford, Workers Comp Case Manager, Wilcox

Audra Eggemeyer, Teacher - Grade 3, Redstone Elementary School

Audra is an amazing third grade teacher. She has such a strong understanding of evidence-based best teaching practices. Because of this knowledge, she is able to support students at every level of learning. Audra also is a kind, sweet, loving person who has a very warm demeanor that makes her a teacher kids can connect with. She is also a great collaborator with both her team and the special education team. I work with her and she is always open to ideas and she also gives me great ideas in return. I learn a lot from her. I think Audra is a rockstar who deserves to be recognized!
Nominated by Christina Courtney, SPED Teacher - Moderate Needs, Redstone Elementary School


DCSD Employee Rockstars: October 8, 2020

Leslie Sanner, School Nurse Consultant, Douglas County High School
Leslie's job has been extremely difficult due to Covid and she has handled all of it with professionalism and patience. She answers all questions with patience, contacts parents with follow up questions on student absences, works well beyond the school day with Covid-related issues, checks in with staff who need extra support or answers, maintains professionalism at all times and is a wealth of knowledge at this time.
Nominated by Angela Anderson, Counselor, Douglas County High School

Abby Brandi, Speech Language Pathologist, Sage Canyon Elementary
Abby is a new mom and puts in long hours and works SO hard for our students! She goes above and beyond everyday to support and help our kids in the building!
Nominated by Faryn Scarlett, SPED Teacher - Psychologist, Sage Canyon Elementary

Gina Chambers, Assistant Principal, Cresthill Middle School
Gina has spent countless hours in the evenings and on weekends painting office spaces, walls, stairwells, etc. because she wants our school to look welcoming for our students and community.
Nominated by Sid Rundle, Principal, Cresthill Middle School

Christine Funk, Dean - Middle, Sagewood Middle School
Chris kept the SGMS staff up and running while we were teaching remotely last spring. She kept us informed this summer, hosted numerous meetings at her home planning the 20-21 school year, and helped keep our spirits up during a challenging and uncertain time. She continues to go above and beyond for our entire staff. Chris has gone WAY above and beyond for our entire staff from the moment we went remote last spring and continues to do so. She checks on staff wellbeing regularly, answers, or finds the answers to all our questions and concerns incredibly quickly. Chris openly communicates district updates, changes, etc. and is genuinely concerned with how those, often daily changes, affect her staff. She listens, supports and encourages all of us, and is an incredible asset to our school.
Nominated by Amy Seiler, Art Teacher, Sagewood Middle School

Mari Farley, Assistant Principal, Legend High School
Mari put in countless hours in order to make several master schedules for our school and I, and our staff, appreciate her and her hard work. Working until the late-night hours for us and taking care of her alpha, she always finds a way to make it all work.
Nominated by Rebecca Chapman, English Teacher, Legend High School

Kerry Pirk, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Trailblazer Elementary
This has been a long time coming. What makes Kerry a "Rock Star" in one word: EVERYTHING! She has a heart of gold not only for her students but for all !!! She truly cares for each and every student, as if they were own children. She has never truly been recognized for the hard, devoted and dedicated work she has done for so many years. The kids love her and she would give her right arm for them. She has great appreciation and admiration for her supervisor Emily Ridgely who is just as wonderful as Kerry. There's no wonder why they make a spectacular team. Kerry is a star! Kerry goes above and beyond for all the reasons I mentioned. But more than anything Kerry is real, loving, amazing and giving to ALL ! She works hard every day and always puts her work, students and responsibilities first. Her students parents know that when they bring their child to school their children are in good, loving and safe hands with Kerry. What a great feeling and relief for parents. Trailblazer is a very lucky school to have Kerry. People with her kind and caring soul are hard to come by. I am so happy and grateful that I know her!
Nominated by Anonymous

Ashley Strong, SPED Teacher - Severe Needs, Douglas County High School
Ashley is always on the top of her game. She is a model teacher for SSN. Ashley manages large student numbers and assistants all while posed and prepared for any situation that may arise. Ashley is proactive instead of reactive in how she interacts with families and other professionals. Ashley has taken on the new challenges of Hybrid/elearning for students in SSN. Ashley has built an exemplar Canvas classroom for her students. Not only is the material there but it is fun and pleasing to look at. It is engaging and age respectful for her students. She is building accessible lessons in Canvas and quizzes within Google Forms so ALL of her students can learn no matter the platform-In person or online. Ashley finds new extensions and technologies and researches them on her own to find the best ways to help her students.
Nominated by Sara Rode, Assistive Technology Team Lead, SWAAAC

Jennifer Langford, English Teacher, ThunderRidge High School
Jenn took on the role of lead trainer for our transition to the Canvas LMS, where she worked all summer, and still gives many extra hours to help train and troubleshoot. Over the summer Jenn worked maybe 100 hours on helping our teachers get trained on Canvas, and now that school has started she is constantly meeting with and answering emails from our teachers who need help with Canvas. We would not be where we are without her above and beyond efforts.
Nominated by Dave Stickland, Professional Learning Specialist, ThunderRidge High School

Christina Levesque, Administrative Assistant, Wilcox
Christina inputs all the WIDA Screeners for the entire District and it takes hours, concentration, determination, and going back and forth from what we send her to IC. She goes above and beyond because she spends hours upon hours inputting data for all the schools. And she thoroughly checks her work and then gives the chance to look over our work collaboratively. :o) Her hard word is greatly appreciated. :o) Thank you for your hard work and determination to get the work completed by Oct. count. You're AWESOME!
Nominated by Barbara Bentley, ELD Specialist, Eagle Ridge Elementary

Jennifer Walsh, Spanish Teacher, Legend High School
I have known Mrs. Jennifer Walsh for almost 10 years now. She is the kindest, most patient, and creative person I have ever met and is the reason I decided to become a Spanish teacher as well. She always shows kindness and compassion to everyone she meets, including students and teachers. She takes time to help others and brightens others' days.
Kassidy Dunnigan, Spanish Teacher, Mesa Middle School

Amy Ulrickson, Transportation Scheduler, Transportation West
Due to Covid, the transportation scheduling department, lost 2 of our scheduling team to RIF, had to completely redo all routes from scratch to create social distancing on the bus by reducing maximum passengers from 77 to 25, and all of this had to be done from their homes via VPN. Amy, as our senior scheduler, had to work closely with management as the constant changes in direction for the district kept coming in. With a reduced team, Amy was tasked with leading the effort to completely reinvent every route in the district (249) with a new 5 mile boundary for High School and 2.5 mile boundary for elementary. At the same time, initiating the training of 2 coordinators in the Transfinder routing software and its implementation was required. Amy led the team in this effort as well. As this was going on, Transportation was implementing a new software package, Smart Tag, that interfaces with Transfinder to track all students, drivers, TEAs and buses, further tasking the scheduling team. Typically, under normal circumstances the full scheduling team has 6 weeks to accomplish normal route scheduling for the new year. From the time we got the final word on the direction the district would go, the team managed to pull all of these tasks through and have the routes ready for the new school year, in 3 weeks. Amy’s superior knowledge of the Routefinder program, her flexibility in very uncertain times, and her tireless efforts to lead the team through these difficult situations defines “above and beyond.”
Nominated by Lane Saunders, Assistant Manager, Transportation Applications

Andrea Kovach, Counselor, Mesa Middle School
Has been amazing. A great department lead and keeps things positive in a new year. Training two new people!
Nominated by Jessica Zimmerman, Counselor, Mesa Middle School

Becky Carson, Social Studies Teacher, Ranchview Middle School
Becky Carson is a rockstar on so many levels. She is constantly checking in to make sure staff have what they need, are aware of day to day changes, and feel valued and appreciated. She is an innovative educator and a leader in our building, having everyone’s best interest in mind and always assuming best intent. Becky Carson is one of the reasons Ranch View feels like family.
Nominated by Erin Isley, Coordinator - International Baccalaureate, Ranchview Middle School

Linda Cherry, Clerical - Attendance, Chaparral High School
Linda is the kindest and most helpful person I know. She has dealt with some very negative phone calls and she handles them with grace and kindness. Linda is constantly helping everyone and does so with a smile and humor.
Nominated by Andrea Vertner, Secretary to Athletics, Chaparral High School

Andrew Hood, Application Support Specialist, West Support Center
Andrew has patiently helped me twice over the past few days with login issues. He has a great demeanor and is knowledgeable. Andrew not only troubleshoots and figures out what the issue is at the moment, but digs deeper to figure out the root of the issue in hopes of it not recurring in the future.
Nominated by Courtney Hay, Counselor, Douglas County High School

Patti Vessa, Kitchen Manager, Eldorado Elementary
I am so impressed with Patti this year. She has been so flexible and supportive of all the changes and needs of our building. We have the largest number of families in the district picking up hybrid meals and she is so accommodating to our families. Thank you Patti!!!!
Nominated Julie Crawford, Principal, Eldorado

Kenneth Scriber, Software Engineer II, West Support Center
Kenny is always willing to help out whenever we need help with reporting. He worked for months with us to help automate imports for the new curriculum Hope is using, even after hours. He was always available to help work out the errors that came up and always did it with a smile (even remote I could tell). Without all of his work, the automated import into curriculum would not happen and students would have a delay on getting their online coursework. Especially in this time, this is not something that could be compromised and manual entry is too overwhelming. He has been such a pleasure to work with and I look forward to continuing with our partnership. When has he not? Most recent example- After all the work we have done, today it was noted that the end date in our rosters was off by a day. Kenny saved us hours of manual work by creating an import into IC to correct this for over 6000 lines. During count time especially, this was a true blessing!
Nominated by Heather O'Mara, Founder and CEO, HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op

Connie Crovetti, SPED Teacher - Moderate Needs Interventionist, Prairie Crossing Elementary
Connie is very flexible, team player and always willing to do what is best for a child. Supporting children in the building with high needs.
Nominated by Carrie Rotherham, Principal, Pairie Crossing Elementary

Lisa Busman, E-learning, Stone Mountain Elementary
Lisa is the very definition of hardworking, kind, friendly, and she is an amazing teacher. Lisa continues to keep all parents and providers in the loop with e-learning. She is flexible and always finds a way to support families and teachers. She has been of so much help to me in regards to supporting students in e-learning. She is positive and upbeat, never forgetting that while this year may be stressful, it's all about the students. I absolutely love Lisa and the kids that have her are so lucky!
Nominated by Christina Courtney, Mild/Mod Learning Specialist, Redstone Elementary


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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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 Ted Knight, Assistant Superintendent, 620 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock, Colorado, complianceofficer@dcsdk12.org, 303-387-0067. 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.