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 THINK, 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: February 21, 2019

Joanie Thompson, Math Teacher, Cimarron Middle School 

Joanie is an integral member of our 6th grade PLC. Every year she leads our 6th grade team in a business day fair and invites our community to visit. Joanie is a life saver with the placement of our incoming 6th graders. I did not realize how much work goes into giving our Colts the best math experience until this year. Thanks Joanie!

Nominated by Baochau Thomas, Math Teacher, Cimarron Middle School

Shanequa Baker, 6th Grade Teacher, Meadow View Elementary
She's a jewel/multifaceted. Eight years as an educator in this district. Organized, able to multi-task, connects with kids and community. I marvel at "how she does it". A mom (for college/high school/elem aged girls). An elementary teacher. A wife. A head coach. And a friend, daughter, sister... And she usually presents each day with a smile, or at least some smart remark that will make her colleagues smile.

Nominated by Patty Casebier, Teacher, Meadow View Elementary

Cindy Shugart, Severe Special Needs, Mountain View Elementary
Cindy is an amazing teacher. She (amongst other things) has modified books for her students so they can use their talker devices to learn how to read. She has 2 second graders currently reading on their own! She gives her kids a voice - whereas they may not have one. She never runs out of patience, even on the rough days, and she took time out of her day to support one of her students as that student went to another school to give a presentation. Cindy is amazing.

Nominated by Kate Bufton, Specials Teacher, Mountain View Elementary


DCSD Employee Rockstars: February 7, 2019

Micki Shaar, Severe Special Needs Teacher, Sedalia Elementary

Micki is our leader in our SSN department. She has been at Sedalia Elementary for more than a decade. Her team of EAs supports a wide spectrum of students with significant disabilities and she leads them with grace, confidence, humility, generosity, and vision. The EAs know she is their advocate, their biggest admirer, and also their most determined leader. Micki holds her group to high expectations and they love her for all her leadership attributes. As a teacher, students adore Mrs. Shaar. They have the healthiest relationships where students know they have to work hard and they want to please Mrs. Shaar every day. Disappointing Mrs. Shaar is one of the harshest consequences students in her program face. However, the disappoint is created from the love and confidence Micki has for her kids. She sees the potential in all kids and guides them to a pathway toward success. Other teachers in our school see the magic Micki uses with students and admire her determination and outcomes.

Nominated by Jeff Johnson, Principal, Sedalia Elementary

Gen Bennett, Business/Marketing Teacher, ThunderRidge High School

Gen Bennett is one of the hardest working teachers in our district. She runs both the DECA and FBLA clubs at TRHS, is the business department chair, on the IB committee, and mentors new teachers in her department. She is also on the State Board for DECA. Gen is a highly qualified, nationally credentialed teacher who teaches Concurrent Enrollment classes through ACC as well as teaches the IB Business class. She embraces every opportunity and pushes herself to always do more! Her capacity for work is amazing!

Nominated by Katie Kruse, Assistant Principal, Stone Mountain Elementary

DCSD Employee Rockstars: January 28, 2019

Melanie Cronican, Severe Special Needs Teacher, Meadow View Elementary

She is devoted to her students and always goes above and beyond to make sure they succeed. She stays after school to plan new learning activities for new ways to get the student excited about learning. 

Susanne Petri, Science Teacher, Rock Canyon High School

Susanne has taken on teaching biotechnology and biotech research. She works hard on the team and contributes to the department. Susanne comes in on weekends and stays late so students can do research. She is planning a summer trip with students to the BIO interational Convention in Philadelphia and she helped start the first chapter of Science National Honor Society at RCHS. She always goes above and beyond for her students and works long hours to make sure the experience students get is the absolute best. She deserves recognition for her amazing work for RCHS students.

Nominated by Shawndra Fordham, Biotechnology Teacher, Rock Canyon High School

Kristy Heckman, Physical Education Teacher, Stone Mountain Elementary

Whitney sees each student as an individual and takes the time to teach to their own individual level of ability. She teaches teamwork and how to compete while having fun. She goes to their sports games and events to support their interests. She teaches Elementary but still goes to her old students' games as they move on.

Nominated by Jill Caven

Randy Huff, Physical Education Teacher, Assistant Football and Track Coach, Ponderosa High School

I think what makes a teacher's impact evident is the number of students that come back to visit. To tell that educator what a positive impact they have had on their life. I have been in education and coaching for almost 20 years. I have never been around a colleague who has SO MANY ex-students and athletes come back to say hello. It is amazing and a true testament to what an impact Randy had on his PE students and also his athletes. Randy shows a selfless dedication and work ethic in the classroom and on the athletic fields. He treats all students with genuine compassion and desire to see them be their best- whether that is the non-athlete who is trying to improve their personal wellness, or the star Defensive Linemen who is trying to earn a football scholarship. I hope my children have a chance to be taught or coached by Randy.

Nominated by Jaron Cohen, PE Teacher, Head Varsity Football Coach, Ponderosa High School

Joel Boeckmann, ITS Technician II, DCSD West Support Center

If you have any IT issues , Joel is always willing to help. Joel came in to BRE, probably, before 6:00am to set up my new computer and dual monitor set-up. The 2 monitors were mounted and my new computer was operational before I came in to the office at 7:15am.

Nominated by Linae Schakel, Administrative Assistance, Buffalo Ridge Elementary

DCSD Employee Rockstars: January 4, 2019

Deb Warr, Principal, Castle Rock Elementary

Dr. Warr's leadership skills are superior. Her love for the community, children and her staff shines through to all. Dr. Warr makes sure that all of her families are cared for and looked after. She cares for her staff as well. She always involves the community to volunteer within our school.

Nominated by Christy Obialero, Kindergarten Teacher, Castle Rock Elementary

Melissa England, 8th Grade Teacher, Renaissance Secondary School

These two teachers come in every day and give 110% for students. They take the time to get to know the whole student and provide opportunities for student voice. They go above and beyond by giving students an opportunity for an authentic audience by ensuring they were showcased at the Castle Rock Library and also helping to put together a showcase of learning for our most recent 8th grade expedition. They bring a smile and a positive attitude every day!

Nominated by Donna Guerin, Renaissance Secondary School

Alexa Masters, 8th Grade Teacher, Renaissance Secondary School

These two teachers come in every day and give 110% for students. They take the time to get to know the whole student and provide opportunities for student voice. They go above and beyond by giving students an opportunity for an authentic audience by ensuring they were showcased at the Castle Rock Library and also helping to put together a showcase of learning for our most recent 8th grade expedition. They bring a smile and a positive attitude every day!

Nominated by Donna Guerin, Renaissance Secondary School

Christine Murphy, Administrative Assistant to the Principal, Trailblazer Elementary School

Christine Murphy is always working so hard, answering questions and jumping in any time anyone needs anything. She is a true asset to TBE! She is a wealth of knowledge and works well with others. Chris is always taking on extra assignments, picking up where people left off and completing all tasks with an amazing attitude and willingness to help. She is amazing!

Nominated by Heather Kramarczyk, Registrar, Trailblazer Elementary

Kimmy Tate, Educational Assistant IV Severe Needs, Plum Creek Academy

Kimmy is a HUGE support for our Dual Diagnosis students. She has innovative ideas, is consistent with the programming, and cares for them so well! We have a student transitioning back to her neighborhood school and Kimmy has gone with her EVERY day for the last 5 weeks to make sure she transitions well and is successful! It is always a win to see our students return to their neighborhood school and Kimmy is integral in this students success!

Nominated by Emily Nickerson, Dual Diagnosis Teacher, Plum Creek Academy

Tom Trengen, Operations & Maintenance North

Tom goes above and beyond daily with first-class wallpaper repairs throughout the district. He also lends a hand to other trades including roofing and custodial. Tom always takes the time to train the less experienced carpenters in wallpaper and drywall repairs. He is willing to lend a hand in cleaning up messes around the shop and lending a hand with other trades.

Nominated by Anonymous

Richard Saby, Custodian Building Engineer, Clear Sky Elementary

Rich has been working countless hours due to our contracted night custodial crew quitting. Rich comes in super early and doesn't leave until late into the evening to make sure that our building and classrooms are cleaned for the current day as well as the following day! He is truly our building hero!

Nominated by Marilyn Mercer, Moderate Needs Interventionist, Clear Sky Elementary

Heidi Johnson, 3rd Grade Teacher, Eldorado Elementary

Heidi is the best possible teammate and always has your back. She is an amazing teacher and loves to collaborate and teach our team new things. She is especially tech savvy and shares all her knowledge and new finds with other teachers. Heidi brings so much love to our building. She truly cares about the entire community. Heidi has personally helped me during some medical issues by taking all of stress and worry about missing school off of my plate. She is such a nurturing person and we are all blessed to work with her.

Nominated by Anne Taylor, 3rd Grade Teacher, Eldorado Elementary

Deb Tawzer, Technology/Engineering Teacher, Legend High School

Deb and Ed are some of the most amazing Technology and Engineering teachers as well as TSA Advisers in our county, state and nation! They go above and beyond for students and colleagues. Deb and Ed designed and organized the only TSA District Competition in the state. There were over 350 DCSD students from Legend, Castle View, Highlands Ranch High School, and Mountain Vista High School that were able to compete in over 40 events at the Arapahoe County Fair Grounds on Tuesday, December 11, 2018. Deb and Ed did an amazing job of logistics and planning for the day, including having industry and community member volunteers as judges for the events, and lunch for all participants. It was an amazing day for DCSD students to showcase their talents because of these two amazing DCSD teachers!

Nominated by Kent Allison, Technology/Engineering Teacher and TSA Adviser, Mountain Vista High School

Ed Watterson, Technology/Engineering Teacher, Legend High School

Deb and Ed are some of the most amazing Technology and Engineering teachers as well as TSA Advisers in our county, state and nation! They go above and beyond for students and colleagues. Deb and Ed designed and organized the only TSA District Competition in the state. There were over 350 DCSD students from Legend, Castle View, Highlands Ranch High School, and Mountain Vista High School that were able to compete in over 40 events at the Arapahoe County Fair Grounds on Tuesday, December 11, 2018. Deb and Ed did an amazing job of logistics and planning for the day, including having industry and community member volunteers as judges for the events, and lunch for all participants. It was an amazing day for DCSD students to showcase their talents because of these two amazing DCSD teachers!

Nominated by Kent Allison, Technology/Engineering Teacher and TSA Adviser, Mountain Vista High School

Carrie Denman, Librarian, Legend High School

Carrie leads a lesson for my SSN Language Arts class. The lessons are always creative, dynamic and well planned. The students love going to the library and working with Ms. Denman each week. Sometimes teachers shy away from working with my students as it can be difficult to plan for them. However, Ms. Denman never even missed a beat and her lessons are incredible!

Nominated by Julie Hensley, Severe Needs Teacher, Legend High School

DCSD Employee Rockstars: December 10, 2018

Lynn Runge, Payroll Assistant, West Support

Lynn is accessible, professional, and helpful when handling a payroll/benefits question that I was having trouble getting resolved. I had been having trouble resolving a payroll/benefit question when Lynn happened to be the one who answered the phone one day as I was trying to find someone who could resolve my issue. Even though my question did not fall into Lynn's area of responsibility, she stuck with it, helping me find someone who could resolve it. This took several calls. Each time I reached out to Lynn, she answered her phone, and was always willing to listen to my concerns and tried to find someone who could resolve them. Her patience, resourcefulness, and willingness to help were such a relief. I was really impressed with how willing she was to try to help me find someone who could answer my questions. She could have easily said it wasn't her area and referred me on. She understood that I was already frustrated, and she stuck with me until she found someone who could resolve it. Her professionalism is impressive and reassuring.

Nominated by Carolyn Ford, Teacher, Chaparral High School

Thomas Ullrich, Bus Driver, West Transportation

He’ll say it’s just his job, but Tom keeps all the staff and transportation computers running. No matter how dumb the question is, he will always help with a smile. His students love him on his route and the parents are very grateful that they finally have a relationship with the driver that cares about the kids.

Nominated by Dawn Ullrich, Transportation

Tim Ottmann, Principal, Ponderosa High School

Tim took over as principal last January. Since then, the morale of our school has been so positive. The teachers and staff feel more supported and it just feels like a family. Tim has been amazing as our leader and I am so thankful to be able to work with him to make Ponderosa the best school ever. Tim has made sure to let each staff member know when they are doing great things. He not only dedicates his time to staff, but he is dedicated to the Mustang students. It is an honor to work with him and be able to be excited about going to work every day.

Nominated by Allison Fabrizio, Significant Support Needs teacher, Ponderosa High School

Debbie Petrillo, Librarian, Flagstone Elementary

“Ms. P.” is a very kind and caring person that goes above and beyond everyday to make our school library a great place for our students to go to. She is always willing to find materials for teachers as well as give her time in any way that is needed. She is a pleasure to talk to and a great influence on our children. Twice a year Ms. P. puts on an amazing book fair that is truly a highlight for our school. She spends countless hours planning for and making these fairs happen. I truly believe Ms. P.’s book fairs will be remembered by many students as one of their favorite parts of their elementary experience.

Nominated by Karen Allen, Kindergarten Teacher, Flagstone Elementary

Alice Boutilier, First Grade Teacher, Castle Rock Elementary

Alice is an amazing teacher. She is caring towards her students and her co-workers. She is always doing what is best for her students. She is thoughtful in her planning. She has established a culture in her class that represents respectful community environment. We are so lucky to have her in this district and at Castle Rock Elementary! Alice works hard to plan out thoughtful lessons that honors diversity and differentiation. She goes above and beyond to ensure her children have success in her classroom.

Nominated by Anonymous

Kristina Cordes, Accounting Specialist, Operations & Maintenance

Rock Star doesn't begin to describe Kristina. She always has a fun and cheerful attitude with our team. Kristina seems to always have the answer to inquiries that I have with O&M and Grounds. She's smart, hard working, funny and will help out unselfishly wherever needed. Our office would not be the same without her. Thank you, Kristina, for all your help and for just being you, Rock Star extraordinaire!

Nominated by Anonymous

Carol Jensen, Copy Tech, Chaparral High School

Carol runs the copy room at Chaparral High School and she is the ultimate professional. She is conscientious and understands the impact that her job has in the classroom, so she strives to give attention to every request. There is a process for making copy requests, but inevitably last minute items come up. Carol rearranges the jobs and accommodates everyone in the friendliest manner. She greets everyone with a smile and makes the copy room a welcoming place. Carol is part mind-reader and part magician with her job and we are so lucky to have her at Chaparral!

Nominated by Lauri Simington-Echer, AP Secretary, Chaparral High School

Will Brooks, Drama Teacher, Highlands Ranch High School

Tireless dedication to students. He gives up much of his summer, and most of his year works 11-12 hour days. He's constantly striving to make his theatre program better and more accessible to more students. Will has created a culture of acceptance, tolerance, and love.

Nominated by Doyle Hanks, English Teacher, Highlands Ranch High School

Nick Ahrens, Math Teacher, Cimarron Middle School

Nick is a great addition to our 8th grade math PLC here at CIMS. Our students are benefitting from all the brilliant ideas he has implemented this year. Our math department is also enjoying his computer and tech expertise in designing more effective and efficient ways to gather and collect data. Glad you became a COLT! Nick unified the 7th and 8th grade math PLCs by initializing and creating a growth measurement system to analyze student assessment data.

Nominated by Baochau Thomas, Teacher, Cimarron Middle School

Johanna Davey, Program Manager - Before and After School Enterprise, Flagstone Elementary

Johanna plans so many fun and educational experiences for her kids, but before every winter break, she makes sure to plan some type of event for her kids to participate in that supports or donates to our local community - teaching kids the true meaning of this special time of year! Johanna is our BASE director and goes above and beyond to make the children feel welcomed and cared for in her program.

Nominated by Amy Duelm, 5th Grade Teacher, Flagstone Elementary

Ron Bruns, Carpenter, Operations & Maintenance

Ron used his expert carpentry skills to modify our storage shed to fit a newly acquired ATV we are able to use for snow removal. Our door on our shed was too small and he was able to make modifications to the shed, increasing the size of the door and making it so we could store the ATV indoors. Ron jumped right in without hesitation to meet our needs. He was excited about being able to help us out and our building engineer, leading him to be able to clear snow safely and efficiently for our next storm. His professionalism, friendly demeanor, and skilled craftsmanship have made our school a better place.

Nominated by John Veit, Principal, Buffalo Ridge Elementary

DCSD Employee Rockstars: November 27, 2018

Bill Thompson, Warehouse Delivery, DCSD Warehouse

When the Accounts Payable check folding machine broke, Bill took the initiative to get it fixed for us. When a part wasn't to be found he worked with others in the District to have one made and then installed the part for us. Our machine is up and running because of Bill. He is AWESOME! Thank you, Bill !

Nominated by the Accounts Payable Department

Kent Allison, Technology Teacher, Mountain Vista High School

When the Accounts Payable check folding machine broke, Kent turned it into a teachable moment. He worked with a Mountain Vista High School student to design and make a new part using a 3D printer. Thank you Ken for taking the initiative, the part is working perfectly. You're a Rock Star.

Nominated by the Accounts Payable Department

Katy Kollasch, Assistant Principal, Douglas County High School

Katy has brought an infectious joy and positivity to DCHS! She is extremely professional, yet genuine in her work with students and staff, alike. I have heard how Katy interacts with students, who may be in the office for a negative reason, in such a way that encourages them to try harder, do better, and I often hear them comment as they leave, "I really like Ms. Kollasch." She is creating a wonderful climate and culture!

Nominated by Shannon Moudy, Bookkeeper at Douglas County High School

Dawn Thomasen, Assistant Principal Administrative Assistant,
Douglas County High School

She is our school mentor and she does everything in her power to make sure everyone is happy & that every question is answered. She has the most positive attitude all the time and never makes anyone feel unwelcome when they come into the South building.

Nominated by Anonymous

Fran McBee, Health Teacher, Clear Sky Elementary

Fran is there for anyone and runs miles for our students and staff. Not only has she revamped our Health program, but has started a Disney Club and other various volunteer opportunities at Clear Sky. She is B.I.S.O.N Strong. Fran helps endlessly with our two choirs, runs part of the musical with ticketing, calendars, field trips and more. She helps the cafeteria ladies with holiday decorations and goes the mile for any teacher who may need anything, even when she is busy with her own classes. Again, she is B.I.S.O.N Strong!

Nominated by Beth Dome, Music Teacher

Janell Mills, Chaparral High School

Janell Mills works tirelessly to meet the technological needs of the students and staff at Chaparral. She takes initiative in anticipating possible problems and developing solutions to make instruction and learning seamless. Regardless of the time of day or day of the week, Janell meets each challenge with positivity. I recently purchased laptops for student work, and even though Janell was leaving for a family trip, she made sure to contact district peers to be sure that the computers were properly imaged with software and ready to go while she was out of the building.

Nominated by Laura Sierra, Chaparral High School

William (Bill) O'Conner, Night Lead Custodian, Chaparral High School

Bill is a key member in making the Rental Office program successful. He communicates to our office if he has concerns and/or questions. Bill is always giving our Renters, excellent customer service. This is on top of his nightly duties that he has at Chaparral High School. In the month of October, the Rental Office received not one, but two phone calls from renters who rented Chaparral High School this Fall. Both organizations, had nothing but praise and kinds words about Bill. We appreciate Bill and his outstanding customer service, he gives to the DCSD rentals at Chaparral High School. Cheers to Bill!

Nominated by Kay Livingstone, Facility Use Coordinator

DCSD Employee Rockstars: November 12, 2018

Stephanie Adams, 7th Grade Math Teacher, Cimarron Middle School

Stephanie is an integral member of our 7th grade math PLC. She is an expert at incorporating performance tasks into our curriculum and teaching kids to look at the world with a mathematical eye. Not only does she contribute her expertise to our department, but she also coaches volleyball and cosponsors student council.

Nominated by Baochau Thomas, Math Teacher


Kenzie McManus, World Language Spanish Teacher, Cimarron Middle School

Kenzie is always willing to go the extra mile, she is a fantastic Spanish teacher and amazing colleague. Collaboration is a strong suit of Kenzie's because she is always willing to adapt lessons to fit multiple subject as well as volunteer her time to choreograph for the school plays and musicals, attend meetings when colleagues are unable to, and share any information that she feels could strengthen a colleague's class.

Nominated by Terese Quartier, World Language French Teacher

Chris Yaryan, Science Teacher, Castle View High School

Mr. Yaryan is beloved by students and staff. He welcomes all into his classroom and makes consistent efforts to get to know his students and how they learn. Students want to come into Mr. Yaryan's classroom even when they don't have a class with him and he encourages all to come in, learn and inquire. Thank you, Mr. Yaryan! Recently attending PD with special education staff, continuing to learn and grow.

Nominated by Laurie Ditterline, IEP and Assessment Specialist

Meredith Chicklas, Science Teacher, Castle View High School

Ms. Chicklas relates to students on a personal level. She has fun with them, jokes with them and makes every student know they are "seen" and have a responsibility to engage in the classroom. She is continually learning and growing and genuinely wants to be the best she can for her students. Recently attended a special education training in order to best meet the needs of all students in her classes.

Nominated by Laurie Ditterline, IEP and Assessment Specialist

Mac Linehan, DCSD Bus Driver

I just wanted to give a Shout Out to Mr. Mac, route 29 bus driver. this is the first year my kids are riding the bus, and Mr. Mac has given them an enjoyable bus experience. He is always on time and always has a smile on his face. Thanks, Mr Mac for getting our kids to and from school safely!! Keep up the great work!

Nominated by Mandy Fawcett, Parent


DCSD Employee Rockstars: October 29, 2018

Imelda Ortiz, Kitchen Manager, Heritage Elementary

She never complains about anything. Always has a smile on her face and puts the needs of our students first. Leading by example. Positive attitude in all situations. Cooperative co worker and let's the EA's do their job while in the cafeteria. Heritage is lucky to have such a fine person working for the school and district.

Nominated by Sandy Davis

Meghan Ofer, Principal, Roxborough Intermediate

Meghan always supports her staff in a professional manner. She encourages us to take risks and to try new things to challenge the status quo to better serve students. Meghan has utilized her coaching skills to create an incredible school culture here at RXI.

Nominated by Beth Collins, School Psychologist


Tobias Vigil, Security Guard, Mountain Vista High School

Tobias has been instrumental over the years in helping to solve issues when it comes to security issues at the school. For example we had 2 computer that where delivered to the school and then went missing. the district and local IT staff looked for weeks all over the school. the then brought it to our attention and with in 30 min tobias was able to find out when it was delivered and then find out what room it was located in by mistake. This is just a average day for Tobias.

Nominated by George Gardner, Lead Security Officer


Darrell Meredith, Principal, Sierra Middle School

Mr. Darrell Meredith is able to maintain the big picture in a dynamic environment. He is thoughtful and keeps the School's vision at the forefront of decisions. Several students have described their interactions with him as feeling safe and that he is willing to make changes when needed. One student commented that he likes his organization. Another student relayed that he apologizes when he makes a mistake and that meant a lot to this student. He looks for ways to support students and staff in innovative ways. His support for staff's progress is unwavering.

Nominated by M Quirk, Science Teacher

April Byrne, Preschool SLP, Eldorado Preschool A&B

April is the type of person that bring a smile to your face! Her gentle, kind and supportive approach with her preschoolers, their parents/guardians and her teammates is invaluable. She successfully helps to create a positive classroom and team culture. In addition, April is a consummate professional who is dedicated to her craft and to building up others who are new to SLP and/or ECE. As in previous years, this year, April is again a CFY Supervisor to one of our new SLPs. Over the years, I've gotten great feedback from those that she supervises. However, one thing that makes April a standout is her positivity. She takes time out of her busy day to share with me the strengths that she sees in others. This not only brightens my day, but it is instrumental in helping that person to grow as a professional!

Nominated by Leigh Quintana, ECE Coordinator


DCSD Employee Rockstars: October 16, 2018

Cheryl Lutz, Instructional Assistant, Arrowwood Elementary

Cheryl always has a smile on her face. She has taken on our Classified Mentor position and has been stellar with communication and creativity. She wants to improve our school by developing and celebrating our classified staff. She attended Outdoor Ed with our sixth graders. She has taken several staff dev. courses. She will do whatever it takes to be sure our students are taken care of everyday. She greets everyone at our front door every morning.

Nominated by Linda Chadwick, Principal

Dr. Steven Fleet, IB Coordinator & Philosophy Teacher, Douglas County High School

This soft spoken teacher of philosophy relates so well to ALL our students. He was chosen to give commencement speech May 2018 and has grown the IB program at DCHS for the last 20 years. He is well respected in the Rocky Mt IB region and is a great boss. Superb teacher. Dr. Fleet comes in early or stays late to meet with any student for any reason. He also teaches a Wed night class at DCHS and is fully invested in all things having to do with students. He goes beyond to be sure they have the right classes to match their career goals. He is also a role model.

Nominated by Kathy Kramer, IB Administration Assistant

Marika "MO" Olsen, Librarian, Douglas County High School

Mo is loved by everyone since she gives her all to her staff and students and the teachers. She is fun. She is approachable. She maintains an interesting library media center with so much to see, do, eat! She also teaches research skills to students to help them in their HS and College career. She is a model, modern librarian within our District with very high standards and a role model to all. The first week of school she gave all staff a bag of microwave popcorn to invite them to "pop in" to the library. During Sept she waged a campaign to help ALL DCHS students get public library cards. She and her staff sell food to the students to make sure their brain is ready to learn and this helps them raise money for items in the library that the budget does not cover. She is resourceful and fun! Approachable for students and staff alike. She always goes the extra mile.

Nominated by Kathy Kramer, IB Administration Assistant

Barb Paulson, Educational Assistant 4, Fox Creek Elementary

Barb goes above and beyond everyday at school. She makes sure that her assigned student is well taken care of for success at school. She is also an amazing support to our department in general. She is always ready to jump in when needed. Barb supports the overall needs of the Moderate Needs Department by willing to jump into help, support her teachers emotionally and she is hilarious. She always keeps us smiling even in tough situations.

Nominated by Sonya Churchill, Moderate Needs Teacher
and Debra Deininger, Moderate Needs Teacher

Lani Woodward, Kitchen Assistant, Clear Sky Elementary

Lani has been a kitchen assistant here at CSE for 4 years. On a daily basis makes it a point to make sure that the students have a great experience in the cafe. She always steps up when necessary and always does it with a smile. She works really hard to learn all of the steps needed to back up the manager while still doing her daily job.

Nominated by Theresa Boltz

Jennifer McGraw, Educational Assistant, Cloverleaf Enrichment School

Jen has tremendous initiative and a willingness to do anything she can to support our students and staff. She often works with students in the classroom, most often the kindergarten classroom. Jen is a student advocate. She identifies students who may need extra support and then seeks to provide it, supporting students but also supporting teachers and ultimately supporting parents. Jen is our de facto Social committee “chair” - acknowledging birthdays, organizing meals, - doing the little things that are so critical to build community among our staff. Jen provides important playground supervision, supervising the playground regularly and proactively coming up with solutions to challenges that arise during this time. (Example - setting up a process by which students eat first before they are excused to the playground.) . Jen is tremendous at looking around for what needs to be done and looking for ways that things can be improved. She is open and eager to learn. She possesses a willingness to do the “dirty work” that goes with elementary education (cleaning up vomit). She finds creative solutions to whatever problem has developed.

Nominated by Tony Winger, Principal
and Chrystal Miller, Coordinator

Linda VanConett, Administrative Assistant to Principal, Sierra Middle School

Linda is a force for positivity at Sierra Middle School. Since taking on the new role of administrative assistant to the principal she has helped to redesign the staff lounge(a huge boost to staff morale), implemented systems for improved organization, and gone out of her way to meet the needs of all Sierra employees in a timely way. Linda is a leader among our classified staff and has taken steps to make sure the culture of our front office is welcoming and professional when parents and other community members arrive at SMS. Most recently, Linda saved the day for many of our teams around field trips. Our bookkeeper resigned leaving a gap in the system that put some of our field trips in jeopardy. Linda stepped into a role outside of her position and made sure that all of the field trips went off without a hitch benefiting the learning of Sierra students.

Nominated by Sadie Levine, PLS

Nicole Worsham, Science Teacher, Sierra Middle School

Nicole is is dedicated to sharing her love of science with her students. She has enthusiasm in her classroom and finds many ways to engage students in the scientific method. She is committed to her own learning and challenges herself through being a part of the district science-cohort. Again putting in extra time and effort to refine her own teaching practice to benefit her students and department. In addition to being an outstanding Science teacher, Nicole is also one of our fearless student council representatives. She is a true "spirit" leader at Sierra and supports teachers and students in building a positive school culture through the work she does with our Sierra Student Leadership Team.

Nominated by Sadie Levine, PLS

Kevin DeCristino, ACE Program Teacher, Rock Canyon High School

Kevin and his students in the ACE program at RCHS do amazing work. They are thorough, professional and have amazing skill and attention to detail. Kevin worked with me back and forth to get the right material, thickness and color for the door nameplates I needed for our new staff. It's not an easy task to replicate in a 20 year old building, but he did it. Kevin worked with me back and forth to get the right material, thickness and color for the door nameplates I needed for our new staff. It's not an easy task to replicate in a 20 year old building, but he did it. The cost was very reasonable too. Thanks Kevin and the ACE students!

Nominated by Martha Crawford, Administrative Assistant of Sagewood Middle School

DCSD Employee Rockstars: September 24, 2018

Brittany Pritts, Math Department, Cimarron Middle School

Brittany always has a smile on her face ready to engage kids in her math class every day. This year, she has gone above and beyond by cosponsoring our Chi Alpha Mu Math Club after school. Thank you for bringing your positivity and creativity to our math department. You rock!

Nominated by Baochau Thomas, Math Teacher

Theresa Boltz, Kitchen Manager, Clear Sky Elementary School

Theresa went out of her way to help with a 3rd grade safety walk through our school kitchen to show the kids the safety things we do in the kitchen to be safe. Not only did she go out of her way to help with these tours she was also getting ready for our celebration of Colorado Proud day. She is always going above and beyond to make our school great! We also worked together to help our young Kindies learn their lunch numbers, and we coordinated together so I could add it to be being safe in Health.

Nominated by Fran McBee, IA Health

Billie Pope, General Education Teacher, Renaissance Expeditionary Magnet School

One day I was working after school with a group of students outside of my grade level. I had the opportunity to get to know quite a few students that I had not met previously. Two of the students spoke highly of Ms. Pope and her teaching style. These 6th grade students were gushing about Ms. Pope's ability to not only build caring relationships with her students, but also how she met their individual learning needs. Ms. Pope helps her students recognize their learning styles and needs. She encourages students to be reflective and caring towards one another. She makes each student feel loved and cared for when they enter our school. We are so lucky to have her!

Nominated by Gina Taylor, IA Health

Meagan Cooper, Administrator Support, Douglas County High School

Meagan always has a smile on her face!! She is always kind, thoughtful, respectful and patient in her interactions with parents and students. I don't have the words to truly express what an asset she is to DCHS. It is honestly a shame that our district cannot hire more people like her!!! She is a Rock Star at communicating with others and making each person feel as though they and their situation are the most important thing at the moment!! She is truly remarkable!!! There is not one specific day or time where this applies!!! Meagan consistently goes above and beyond when interacting with the kids and the parents that come in!! DCHS is so lucky to have her on staff!!! I can only hope that others are letting her know what a treasure she is to their school and community!

Nominated by Anonymous DCSD Parent and Employee

Cathy Russell, Athletic Coordinator/Secretary, Mountain Ridge Middle School

As a new AD, I have asked a lot of questions and poked my nose in EVERYTHING around the office trying to learn and see how we can do things better. Cathy has been patient, she trained me, and when she didn't know the answer she went out of her way to find it. She's put in extra hours every week, on her own time, to make sure the needs of the school and the students are met, and she's smiled the whole time. She deserves a little extra recognition for her extra hard work in getting this year started smoothly. She has gone above and beyond in the sheer amount of extra work she's had to put in. There have been several occasions that without her extra work in the evenings and weekends, would have meant cancelling events because of situations out of our control. She gracefully stepped in every time and filled the need. She's a Rock Star!

Nominated by Lucas Reeves, Athletic Director and Teacher


DCSD Employee Rockstars: September 10, 2018

John Veit, Principal, Buffalo Ridge Elementary School

BRE turned 20 this year and the PTO along with the school had a brick engraving program to celebrate the students, parents, faculty and staff. The brick-laying program commenced this July and John was instrumental in making this happen, without him, the bricks would still be on the pallet. From planning the space, getting materials , ordering rock and more bricks and laying over 1100 bricks with a few parent volunteers John took the lead and made it happen. BRE is proud to have him as our principal and there is a brick to prove it!

Nominated by Jen Munro

Kayla Zehner, Business Field Trip Coordinator, Larkspur Elementary School

Kayla has always been wonderful with communication and assistance whenever I have needed help with field trip requests. This week, in particular, she has gone above and beyond in helping me secure transportation for Outdoor Ed. We had run into some snafus with scheduling and no available buses, and Kayla was able to work her magic to accommodate reschedules and changing requests. She did so with professionalism and grace, and even some laughter! Thank you so much, Kayla, for all you do for all of us, but especially me! You truly are a ROCK STAR!

Nominated by Kelly Manley

Heather Bellovary, RN

Congratulations for passing the National Board Certification exam and becoming a Nationally Certified School Nurse! Heather spent her time studying for this national exam, and has shown that she is among the top in her field. The practice she's shown in our schools exemplifies her excellence! Please congratulate Heather on this stellar accomplishment!

Nominated by Celia Flanigan

Kelly Driver, RN

Congratulations for passing the National Board Certification exam and becoming a Nationally Certified School Nurse! Kelly spent her time studying for this national exam, and has shown that she is among the top in her field. The practice she's shown in our schools exemplifies her excellence! Please congratulate Kelly on this stellar accomplishment!

Nominated by Celia Flanigan

Amy Guillen, RN

Congratulations for passing the National Board Certification exam and becoming a Nationally Certified School Nurse! Amy spent her time studying for this national exam, and has shown that she is among the top in her field. The practice she's shown in our schools exemplifies her excellence! Please congratulate Amy on this stellar accomplishment!

Nominated by Celia Flanigan

Mary Schmitt, RN

Congratulations for passing the National Board Certification exam and becoming a Nationally Certified School Nurse! Mary spent her time studying for this national exam, and has shown that she is among the top in her field. The practice she's shown in our schools exemplifies her excellence! Please congratulate Mary on this stellar accomplishment!

Nominated by Celia Flanigan


DCSD Employee Rockstars: May 21, 2018

Lisa de la Pena, Assistant Principal, Pioneer Elementary

Lisa is new to Pioneer this year and has quickly become indispensable! She is always quick to help problem solve issues and works to stay ahead of issues. Her knowledge of technology and her organization have helped all of the teachers up their classroom technology work with students. We all love Lisa and are glad she is a Pioneer Timberwolf!

Nominated by Rebecca Shields

Misty Durante, First Grade Teacher, Sand Creek Elementary

Not only does Misty do a great job meeting the needs of her diverse learning environment, but she also takes the lead with the Sand Creek Green Team. Recently she juggled her teaching duties and Green Team Duties to facilitate and coordinate some building improvements in collaboration with the SCE PTO. She juggled getting the multiple quotes, handling walk-throughs with vendors, and completing the multiple building modification forms. Without Misty, our school would not be moving forward with these projects in the timely manner we are able to! Thanks Misty for all you do for SCE!

Anonymous Nomination

Lisa Kipp, 8th Grade Math Teacher, Caspian Team, Cimarron Middle School

Lisa holds students to the highest of expectations. She provides opportunities for students to own their learning through voice and choice and provides constructive feedback to grow their mindset. She is a wonderful addition to out 8th grade PLC this year and we look forward to her ideas for next year! Thanks for being a ROCKSTAR COLT!

Nominated by Baochau Thomas

DCSD Employee Rockstars: April 23, 2018

Katie Hassett, Math Teacher, CiMS Math Department

Katie masterfully balances her classroom duties and many leadership positions within our building. She generates the best ideas for authentic learning--evident in the excitement and engagement shown by our 7th grade students. Her brilliance is the bedrock of our 7th grade PLC.

Nominated by Baochau Thomas

Katherine Drake, P.E teacher, American Academy

Katherine is a true rock star, always has the biggest smile to her, always willing to help everyone.

Nominated by Ana Brekke- Patti Rodriguez

Melissa Seltzer, Office Manager, American Academy - Lincoln Meadows

Melissa is amazing. She handles anything thrown at her with grace and professionalism. Always going above and beyond for the good of the students and staff.

Nominated by Patti Rodriguez

Kathy Klancic, Administrative Assistant, Prairie Crossing Elementary

Kathy is the most awesome person! She is always happy and willing to go the extra mile for people. She is bombarded with a million questions in the morning and always answers with a smile.

She is the BEST to work with.

Anonymous Nomination

Randi Smiertelny, Gifted and Talented Interventionist, Trailblazer

Randi is absolutely amazing! She is our rock. She is resourceful, hard-working, purposeful, dedicated, intelligent, compassionate, forward-thinking, motivated, and relational. She has been a key staff member at TBE for over a decade. Students and parents seek out Randi and want her to support their child. She has an amazing reputation as being a loving and student-centered educator that puts children first. Randi loves Trailblazer and Trailblazer loves Randi!

Nominated by JULIE c CRAWFORD

Lisa Ostravich, SSN EA, Saddle Ranch Elementary

Lisa goes above and beyond with all students that need sensory breaks or emotional regulation. She makes sure that students are in a safe place when they are feeling anxious, angry, sad or "in the yellow or red zones". She teaches them coping strategies, and helps them to use these strategies in the classroom. Lisa is always willing to help in any situation, no matter how challenging. We truly would be lost without her.

Nominated by Evelyn O'Dwyer

Julie Crawford, Assistant Principal, Trailblazer Elementary

Julie has been a major support both professionally and personally, and welcomed me to our school with open arms. She is extremely approachable, allows us freedom to grow, but is also a great support if needed. The relationships she has built with students and staff is astounding.

Nominated by Becky Walker

Ryan Repplinger, DCSD Executive Chef, Nutrition Services

Ryan catered the World Cultures Festival at SkyView Academy. He came up with a creative menu for the event that featured six different dishes to encompass a world cuisine experience. The kitchen staff were all so nice and hard working. There were about 300 attendees at this event and Ryan and his crew did a great job cooking and serving everyone. People loved the food and complimented the whole experience. 

Nominated by Terrie MacDonald

DCSD Employee Rockstars: March 26, 2018

Michelle Beebe, EA 1, Heritage

Michelle comes in each day with a smile on her face and ready to help where needed. She is loved by the staff!

Nominated by Sandy Davis

Erin Kellerman , Program Manager, Roxborough Primary BASE

Erin is an incredible supervisor that is laser focused on both the success of our BASE program as well as the growth of our employees. She is a selfless leader and deserves to be recognized for her amazing leadership skills!

Nominated by Amanda Roper

Leah McCullar, 6th Grade Math Teacher, Cimarron Middle School

Leah's professionalism and pursuit of excellence goes unrivaled in our math department. She can always be counted on to ask the tough questions and guide us in the right direction. She is unrelenting in providing the best education possible for our 6th grade students. She is the ROCKSTAR lead of our 6th grade PLC!

Nominated by Baochau Thomas

Kelsey Carillo, 4th grade teacher, Legacy Point Elementary School

Kelsey is truly a magnificent teacher. She is very inspiring and is always bringing her A game to school. She is always trying to better herself as a teacher by attending anything and everything from book clubs, to PD's and other trainings. I am able to walk into her classroom and get a brand new idea for my own each time. She always puts her students first and since I am a first year teacher, she has been such an amazing resource. She absolutely stands out among the rest. Her dedication to teaching is hard to match and I hope she knows it is not just one teacher who recognizes it, but many.

Nominated by Christina Mooney

EA's, Fox Creek Elementary: Chris Parziale, Alie Deering, Dina Mamunes, Tara Pallis, Sylvia Schow, LoriAnne Billingham, Rhonda Barker, Barb Polson, Andrea Mathews, Kim Ballard, Dawn Inderbitzen, Linda Allis, Susie Sundstrom, Janet Place, and Jennifer Newnham

The Classified EAs at Fox Creek are truly amazing women. They are so sweet, helpful, loving, flexible and all around AMAZING !!! They work as a team! They treat all EAs, all staff and children with respect and love. There is no animosity or ever any hard feelings. It’s a pleasure to come to work everyday and be a part of such a wonderful Team and Staff because they too are AMAZING !

Anonymous Nomination

Steve Huntingdale, Teacher, Highlands Ranch High School

Steve organized a school wide career day at HRHS. He worked to create a meaningful experience where students learned resume writing skills, had a chance to learn from community members employed in various fields and even had the opportunity to gain summer employment. In addition to bringing this event to HRHS, Steve continually works to challenge his students by engaging in a variety of projects. Steve is respected highly by both his students and co-workers.

Nominated by Heather Berry

Chelsey Mallory, 2nd Grade Teacher, Flagstone Elementary

Chelsey is a rockstar because she goes above and beyond to met the needs of each student, even those who may not be in the General Education classroom most of the day. She consistently shows her students that she cares about each of them. She teaches her students how to care and appreciate one another. Chelsey always has new ways to grab her students attention so they never get bored!

Nominated by Wendy Lewis

Donna Estrada, First Grade Teacher, World Compass Academy

Donna exemplifies both a creative passion for teaching her students and an enduring patience for the challenges they bring each day. She works tirelessly to ensure that her students leave home with a smile on their faces, and she brings a great deal of inspiration and encouragement to those who have the honor of working with her.

Nominated by Emily Chan

Michele Stewart, Little Cougar Pre-K Director, Cougar Run Elementary

Michele is a truly wonderful asset for the Cougar Run Learning Community. She is model leader and program manager. Her dedication to the students, staff and parents of Cougar Run's Little Cougar Pre-K program has made this a model program for our school district. Michele works tirelessly to make each and every day a unique and fun learning experience for the students and an equally positive working environment for staff We appreciate all Michele does for this program and our school. 

Nominated by John Gutierrez

Glenn Kirby, Electrician, O&M

Yesterday, the 20th of February, I was asked to go help shovel snow at Wilcox, and Cantril. While shoveling snow at Cantril, I received a call from a fellow employee, and in the brief conversation that was had, this individual asked what I was doing. He immediately said to me, "I'm on my way", and showed up within 10 minutes, to help me with my responsibilities I had there at Cantril. He didn't ask if I needed help, or if anyone else was there helping me, which, by the way, there was not. I believe it's important to recognize people, that go out of their way, to help others, when help is needed. This is the kind of Employee I'm happy to work with, today, and in the future.

Nominated by Kevin Weise

Heidi Geiger , First and Second Grade Teacher, Larkspur Elementary

Heidi has taken on a new teaching position this year and has worked hard in learning new standards and new curriculum. With some challenging dynamics in her classroom she has ROCKED it this year. She is always found enhancing the best in all of her students and we are blessed to have her.

Nominated by Jen Oldham

Alyson Reynolds, Library Media Specialist, Rock Ridge Elementary

Alyson not only ensures that students and staff are effective users of ideas and information, she also empowers our students to be critical thinkers, enthusiastic readers, skillful researchers, and ethical users of information! She thrives on her consistent collaboration with classroom teachers & specialists to help design and implement lessons and units of inquiry. She takes great pride in assessing student learning and her instructional effectiveness. She is a wealth of information and a priceless asset to our learning community!

Nominated by Pam Gutierrez

Andrea McNamara, Principal Secretary, Cougar Run Elementary

Andrea is an incredible asset to Cougar Run Elementary and to DCSD. She does an exceptional job of supporting the leadership team in the day to day operations of the school. Andrea is always positive and upbeat and her great attitude is contagious. Andrea provides excellent customer service and makes each stakeholder's experience at the school a great one. Andrea helps make Cougar Run a great place to work and learn. 

Nominated by John Gutierrez

Patti Rodriguez, Office Manager, American Academy Motsenbocker

Patti is always helping all the employees, she has an amazing heart and always looking to help all of us in some way.

Nominated by Ana Brekke

Jana Schleusner, Director of Finance, Financial Services

Jana Schleusner was able to assist The Foundation for Douglas County Schools to get the information and data together so that the annual audit of The Foundation could be completed. Jana assisted The Foundation in defining the reports and data that was required and assisted in working with The Foundation's External Auditors to complete the annual audit. The Foundation's new executive director learned what reports to pull and how to prepare all of the back-up and will be able to manage the audit in the future. In addition, because of this collaboration, Jana will be able to provide professional support each year to The Foundation related to their audit saving the Foundation outsourced dollars to buy the additional support.

Nominated by Bonnie Betz

Meaghan Sullivan, Executive Director, The Foundation for Douglas County Schools

Meaghan Sullivan was able to assist DCSD's Financial Services Department in resolving a “Crowd Funding” question asked of us by teachers and principals throughout the District. “Go Fund Me” pages have been used over the past two years or so by staff members to gather donations for their classrooms or schools. The crowd funding organization charges up to 8% to administer this program. Meaghan has come up with a solution to provide a better opportunity for all teachers and schools and at a better price (4% from 8%) plus eliminates any concern about internal control and clarifies that money raised in this manner to benefit a school classroom will provide the equipment or stuff to the school and the classroom – not to the teacher. This program is presently being piloted in DCSD.

Nominated by Bonnie Betz

DCSD Employee Rockstars: February 20, 2018

Kelly Parsons, Second Grade Teacher, Larkspur Elementary

Kelly Parsons is in her third year of teaching at LES. We pride ourselves in teaching the whole child which leads us on a journey of a healthy mind and body. Ms. Parsons incorporates daily wellness activities such as yoga, push ups, crunches etc. to ensure students grow a healthy mindset in this life long journey. Thank you for being an LES Rock Star!

Nominated by Jen Oldham

Breanne Determan, Art Teacher, Eagle Ridge Elementary

Bre has been an amazing addition to ERE this year. She brings so much joy to her work every day. I am nominating her now because she recently helped our PTA create an incredible scene for our Community Bingo Night by having every student design underwater creatures to decorate the walls of our gym. It took a ton of time, coordination and patience to create these almost 600 creatures and Bre did it without hesitation, along with helping to hang them all the day of the event! The kids were thrilled to see their work up there for everyone to see. We appreciate you, Bre!

Nominated by Amy LaComb

Becky Mamula, Registrar, Mountain View Elementary

Due to a family emergency, she was the only one in our office last week - she enrolled 3 new students last week. Additionally, she single-handedly completed registrations for the 2018-19 school year, as well as ran the entire front office: health room, answered phones/emails, new families, parent drop-offs (things forgotten by kids) and handled our Principal's schedule and calendar. All the time, she was planning our Annual Kindergarten Informational Night/Open House. 

Nominated by Kate Bufton

Stephanie Brink, Assistant Principal, South Ridge Elementary

Stephanie has been an instrumental part of the South Ridge administrative team for five years. She has a passion for education that is evident in everything that she does for the students and staff of South Ridge. The relationships that she builds and fosters with the students as well as helping with the implementation of the Tree House has helped to decrease student discipline office referrals of the past couple of years. She has been an instrumental part in the school's professional development in guided reading this school year, already resulting in over 70% of the student population making significant growth over the first semester. Stephanie has a heart for the students and staff as she loves what she does. Daily Stephanie is seen smiling as she interacts with the South Ridge community. She is a positive leader and influence for all those that are lucky to have interactions with her!

Nominated by Erin Carlson

Cindy Howery, Educational Assistant, Lone Tree Elementary

Cindy truly cares about all of the kids she works with. When she helps out in our grade level she knows exactly what we want the kids to be doing and how to help them be successful. Cindy pops in during her free time and helps us tidy our rooms, sharpen pencils, and spend extra time with kids. She is truly a gift to get to work with.

Nominated by Kristi Feret

Julie C Crawford, Assistant Principal, Trailblazer Elementary School

Julie makes Trailblazer Elementary School a better place each and every day. Her passion for children and for learning are evident in her relationships with our students, our staff and our community. Julie goes out of her way to make sure that our school is a place where teachers can teach and kids can learn. She has a wealth of resources at her fingertips and what she does not know, she will find out and share with parents and colleagues. Julie is a strong leader - she regularly reflects on her practice and works hard to be her best no matter how hard a situation becomes. Kids love her, teachers love her, and parents love her. Julie is an irreplaceable gem and our school would not be the same without her.

Nominated by Deanne Kirby

Joel Johnston, Social Studies Teacher, Eagle Academy

Joel makes every student's day a bit brighter by greeting them each and everyday at the entrance to Eagle Academy. It is amazing to hear, from the students themselves, how much this means to them. To have someone stop and check in with them, showing them that they matter. His presence in our school is important and felt. They students respect that he pushes them academically, but they also know that he cares about them. 

Nominated by Maria Hopkins

Jairo Avila, Building Engineer, Prairie Crossing Elementary

Jairo is a hardworking team player that continuously goes above and beyond to take care of PCE. There is no job request too big or too small and he always responds quickly. His positive attitude and dedication to our school community is inspiring to everyone.

Nominated by Carrie Rotherham

Mike Reilly, Systems Analyst , I.T.

I'm not sure there are words to express my appreciation for Mike's customer service. He is always patient and willing to help. Not only is he an incredible resource to my department -- he has been a critical resource for our schools. Thanks Mike for all you do!

Nominated by Stacy Rader

Cindy Howery, Educational Assistant, Lone Tree Elementary

Cindy is truly passionate about making a difference in children's lives. She always puts needs of kids first, goes above and beyond when helping teachers, kids and the school. She has excellent communication to be sure we're on the "same page." She learns rules, procedures and curriculum to maintain consistency between EA and teacher. She's happy and positive, is excellent at behavior management, takes her job seriously and cares about well-being/safety of students, and she is my friend ;)

Nominated by Shannon Arro

Sarah Plagge, Principal's Secretary, South Ridge Elementary

Debbie Hogan, Nicole Farnett, and Sarah Plagge head up our Agriculture and Garden Clubs. All three are outstanding classified employees who dedicate their free time to ensuring that our kids have access to student-driven extra-curricular activities. They daily brighten the days of our students through opportunities to exercise responsibility and choice. Our kids are happy and involved in school, thanks to this incredible team!

Nominated by Stephanie Brink

Debbie Hogan, Registrar, South Ridge Elementary

Debbie Hogan, Nicole Farnett, and Sarah Plagge head up our Agriculture and Garden Clubs. All three are outstanding classified employees who dedicate their free time to ensuring that our kids have access to student-driven extra-curricular activities. They daily brighten the days of our students through opportunities to exercise responsibility and choice. Our kids are happy and involved in school, thanks to this incredible team!

Nominated by Stephanie Brink

Nicole Farnett, SSN EA IV, South Ridge Elementary

Debbie Hogan, Nicole Farnett, and Sarah Plagge head up our Agriculture and Garden Clubs. All three are outstanding classified employees who dedicate their free time to ensuring that our kids have access to student-driven extra-curricular activities. They daily brighten the days of our students through opportunities to exercise responsibility and choice. Our kids are happy and involved in school, thanks to this incredible team!

Nominated by Stephanie Brink

Amy Lundstra, Special Education, ThunderRidge High School

During 2018 Wish Week at ThunderRidge High School, Mrs. Lunstra led an outstanding Unified basketball game against Arapahoe High School. Her students participated in the basketball game and in the poms performance, and were supported by staff and the ThunderRidge student body. This event was uplifting and inspiring for all who attended. Thank you for all you do for Douglas County students!

Nominated by Nancy Ingalls

Ashley Harhigh, Learning Specialist, ThunderRidge High School

During 2018 Wish Week at ThunderRidge High School, Ms. Harhigh led an outstanding Unified basketball game against Arapahoe High School. Her students participated in the basketball game and in the poms performance, and were supported by staff and the ThunderRidge student body. This event was uplifting and inspiring for all who attended. Thank you for all you do for Douglas County students!

Nominated by Nancy Ingalls

Ryan Berninzoni, Operations Manager - Grounds, Operations and Maintenance

Ryan recently went above and beyond by helping Cherry Valley Elementary access some much needed snow removal equipment. Ryan's compassion and dedication to assisting this school (and serving our children) was extremely heartwarming. Ryan is the definition of a Rock Star!

Nominated by Dr. Steven Cook

DCSD Employee Rockstars: January 22, 2018

Melissa Canino, Teacher, American Academy

Melissa Canino is an amazing lead teacher and person. She works so incredibly hard to make sure that our team is successful. Melissa lends an incredible amount of her time and hard work to mentor the 2nd grade teachers at American Academy. On top of that, she makes an effort to develop relationships with each of her students. She loves her students and does everything she can to ensure their success.

Ann Steers, Art Teacher, Global Village Academy

Ann dedicates herself to her school and the students in everything she does. She is the life link to our International days. She provides all the Art work and guidance for all the International Days once a month. She volunteers many hours to make sure that student learn about each country and the artists from those countries every month. As a former Kindergarten teacher she provides valuable coaching and guidance to the staff and her input is always given in a positive manner. Ann is truly a valued member of the Global Village Team and we appreciate all that she does.

DCSD Employee Rockstars: January 8, 2018

Ericka Palomera, Transportation Educational Assistant, Castle Rock Transportation Department

Ericka graciously volunteered to assist with Back to School Night at South Street Elementary. As transportation employees, she as not well versed in the systems needed to enroll students in school. However, with the 25%-30% Spanish speaking community that attends the school, Ericka was able to walk them them getting many student enrolled using the District's registration tool Express Check-in. Her efforts increased the school's registration that day before school started from 452 to 514. I can't thank her enough for the “Team” attitude she displayed. Thanks for leading the charge.

Luz De Lourdes Juvera-Vallejo, Transportation Professional Driver, Castle Rock Transportation Department

The day before school started at South Ridge Elementary School, the principal contacted Transportation requesting our assistance with their back to school to assist parent with student registration and answering last minute transportation question. Though it was not her specialty, LuLu stepped-up to the plate and assisted 42 parents (majority ESL families) with student enrollment by interpreting for them so they could use the DCSD's Express Check-In application. She walked them through the process from beginning to end. Because of her diligence, The DCSD Transportation Department would like to recognize her as Rock Star Nominee.

Connie Avila, Transportation Educational Assistant, Castle Rock Transportation Department

Connie eagerly jumped at the opportunity to assist South Ridge Elementary School with Back to School Night by translating for the ESL population that attends the school. She greeted the parents at the door and was able to direct them in the right direction to get their student(s) enrolled for school. Her efforts were a direct result of the increased enrollment by 42 students. Additionally, her actions speak directly to the Transportation Services Mission of “effectively utilizing available resources that enhance student achievement through World Class Education.” Connie, YOU ROCK!

Kelli Mueller, Laura Phillips & Natalie Smith, School Nurses, Health/Nursing services

Kelli, Laura & Natalie passed their National Board exam for school nurses and are now Nationally Certified School Nurses! Congratulations on this accomplishment! If you see one of these Rock Stars- give them a high-five for successfully meeting the requirements and becoming nationally certified in their field of practice!

Lauren Inson, Severe Needs EA, Timber Trail Elementary

Lauren is new to our school this year but she fits in like a seasoned professional. Lauren is young and energetic and always jumps right in when needed. She never says no and can read a situation as it is happening and reacts before being asked. She is a great addition to Timber Trail and we are so fortunate to have her on board.

Alejandra Montoya, Bus Driver, Transportation

Ale has worked with DCSD for numerous years. She started out at CRE in the Kitchen and then became a Driver. Alejandra did GenEd for several years, but SPED is where she has really thrived and enjoys her students that she transports. She always goes above and beyond and I would like to acknowledge all her years of hard work.

Felicia Phelan, First Grade Teacher, Coyote Creek Elementary

Felicia is such a great lead teacher and mentors the other two teachers so well. She is collaborative, kind, positive, builds amazing relationships with her students and families, and is such a joy to be around. Felicia is kind to everyone and is leading a cohort for the district that many of our teachers signed up for as she is well respected in the building.

Troy Stembel, School Resource Officer, Sage Canyon Elementary

We started the school year with a little kindergartener who was scared to even see a police car in the school parking lot and Officer Stembel has become best buddies with him. Officer Stembel started by having lunch with this student each day and going out to recess with him. He even helped him get props for a police officer Halloween costume. Office Stembel missed lunch one day so he made sure to come in so he could read to and see this student. Office Stembel has gone above and beyond in making this student feel safe and creating a friendship with a student that really needed a safe and secure adult in his life.

Teresa Boltz, Cafeteria Manager, Clear Sky Elementary

Teresa takes a lot of pride in her job and is very invested in Clear Sky as a whole school. She expressed interest in being a part of a first grade project to use cooking to learn about the changing states of matter, helped organize the culmination event where the first graders made Thanksgiving pies, stayed after her work day ended to be available to our students, staff and volunteers. She knows the names of our students and greets them in the cafeteria, she makes an effort to get to know other staff members in the school, even though it is not part of her job duties. She even volunteers on some school committees on her own time. Our school is better because of Teresa working here.

Drew Sowell, ITS Technician I, Device Operations

Drew started with us on the first of November. In a single month, he has successfully closed out close to 90 repair requests and has effectively learned our ticketing system and repair process like a seasoned pro. He’s been phenomenal. Great attitude and very patient with our staff.

Tonya Gerondale, SPED EA, Cantril Preschool

Tonya goes over and beyond to support all students in her classes. She fully supports all of the specialists and works diligently with her SPED students taking data, purposefully engaging with her learners, and collaboratively works with her team in a professional manner. She is an asset to the Cantril Preschool Multidisciplinary team.

Donna Goodwin, PLS, Highlands Ranch High School

Donna is an all around outstanding individual. She manages to answers everybody's questions at the same time. She is always looking for new and exciting ways to help teachers develop professionally and increase our schools moral. She is always there to support us, no matter what the issue or the time of day. She is truly a remarkable human and i'm not sure how new teachers would survive without her.

Jen Kendall, Librarian/Media Center, Library/Media Center

Jen always, always plans great lessons for the kids when they come to their library time. She will plan with us to connect with what the kids are learning. She has a great understanding for what kids enjoy reading and is helpful in finding ‘just right’ books for our kids. She also provides our classrooms with books we need for our content area lessons and also books if we are teaching a particular lesson or reading strategy. You ask and she delivers! She is a rockstar everyday!

Bekah Welte, Teacher/Social Studies Lead/Link Crew Coordinator, Castle View High School

Bekah continually goes above and beyond to foster excitement for learning and student leadership. She not only teaches History, Econ, and AP Macroeconomics, but she also created a leadership class and assists with Castle View Student Government. On top of everything else, she has implemented Link Crew – an international freshman transition program, and acts as CV's union representative. She helps all students and faculty members feel included and important at Castle View! Submit Photo: https://www.dcsdk12.org/sites/default/files/webform/bekah-welte.jpg

Nicole Stephens, Dean of Students, Douglas County High School

Nicole is new to us this year and new to the role of Dean of Students. She has jumped right in and been an incredible asset to our school. She works tirelessly on behalf of all the students here at DCHS and never shrugs away from a challenge. I've been impressed with her poise and grace through difficult situations and an endless stream of energy and dedication. Submit Photo: https://www.dcsdk12.org/sites/default/files/webform/N%20Stephens.jpg

Lori Black, Teacher, Lone Tree Elementary

Lori Black is one of the most amazing teachers with whom I have had the pleasure of working. She is kind beyond anything I have ever seen. She goes out of her way to connect with each child.

Cherif Mezni, Lead Afternoon Custodian, Ponderosa High School

Cherif has worked at Ponderosa for 14 years. He is extremely loyal, hard working, personable, and the ultimate team player. He is often short-staffed, but still manages to get his work done without complaining. He works extremely hard to make sure everyone is taken care of at Ponderosa!

Allie Thuene, Special Education Teacher, Bridge

Allie consistently goes above and beyond to provide our students with job opportunities, true living skills and community outings. Often, there is no roadmap to teach adults everything they need to know to grow and to continue beyond their high school experience. However, Allie's enthusiasm, creativity and leadership create an environment of success.

Twyla Morton, 1st Grade Teacher, Iron Horse Elementary

Twyla is a passionate, dedicated and well-respected teacher in our school. When I transferred to Iron Horse from Pioneer, Twyla was the first person to introduce herself and make me feel welcomed into my new school community. I collaborate with her weekly on numerous things and she always brightens my day. When walking through the halls, it is obvious that our students enjoy her presence and light up when they see her. It is a joy to work with someone who is not only positive and uplifting but truly loves what they do.

Bridget Santoyo, Accountant- Personalized Learning, Personalized Learning

Bridget is so committed to doing an excellent job every day! She is professional, efficient, and very thorough. The best part about working with Bridget is her kind and positive nature. She makes coming to work very enjoyable!

Andrea Vertner, Athletic Secretary, Chaparral High School

Andrea goes above and beyond in her duties! She is a fabulous multi-tasker and works tirelessly to get the job done. She greets each student with a smile and a great sense of humor. The amount of time her job requires should take two people, but Andrea gets it done with no complaints. She is a pleasure to work with and an asset to Chaparral High School.

Jen Murdock, Assistant Principal, Buffalo Ridge Elementary

Jen does an incredible job with staff and students at all times. She puts all needs before her own. She makes sure staff, students, parents and community members are always cared for when dealing with any situation that involves school whether it's during the school day or out of school hours. She deserves much more recognition than she will ever receive!!

Patti Vessa, Kitchen Manager, Eldorado Elementary

Patti is the epitome of the word ‘professional’. It is clear to see that she loves her job, she sets high standards for herself and her team, and she wants to provide the very best level of service for her customers, the students, every day! Patti is constantly cheerful. She greets every child with warmth and knows each of their personalities by heart. She goes above and beyond to meet the needs of students that have specific dietary requirements and her communication with staff and families is outstanding. Patti shares her personal passion for cooking and baking with our staff on a regular basis. We always look forward to the special treats she prepares and hope that she will be able to fulfill her desire to start a baking club at our school in the future. Patti's organization, creativity, and flexibility are perfect for such a demanding position. We could not imagine our building without her delightful disposition and her remarkable compassion and support for those around her. Eldorado is so thankful for Patti Vessa!

Katie McCann, 8th Grade Math Teacher, Cimarron Middle School

Katie is the foundation of our 8th grade math PLC. We value her ideas and insights into teaching and learning and the students love her as a classroom teacher and a coach. Thanks for being a rock star anchor in our daily activities and long range planning!