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Retirees honored for their service to DCSD, students

Retirees from Legend High School pose for a photo during ceremony.

HIGHLANDS RANCH – On Wednesday, May 10 leaders of the Douglas County School District took a moment to recognize the great contributions made by the nearly 80 people who are retiring from the district this school year.

During the ceremony, held in the commons of Mountain Vista High School, each retiree was recognized by Interim Superintendent Erin Kane and Chief Human Resources Officer Steve Colella and received a crystal star, engraved with their name.

The retirees ranged from only 1.5 years of service to more than three decades with the district.

CLICK HERE to see a list of the 2017 DCSD Retirees

Supporting students from cowtown to modern metropolis
Erin Kane, Colette Hohnbaum, Nancy Ingalls and Shelley Moats pose for a photo at retirement celebration.DCSD Intervention and Support Coordinator Dr. Colette Hohnbaum is one of three staff members that have been here for 33 years and has seen the great changes Douglas County has gone through during that time.

“It was very different back then. It was very rural,” Hohnbaum said. “Highlands Ranch [High School] opened, I think, the first year I was in District. Before that it was DC and Ponderosa.”

She recalls a time when she and another DCSD psychologist were headed to Pine Lane to give Gifted and Talented testing to students and were delayed by something out of the Old West.

“We literally had to wait for the cows to cross Lincoln Avenue. That was very, very different,” Hohnbaum said with a laugh.

Back in 1984, she began as a psychologist several schools.

“I worked at South, Sedalia, Larkspur and Plum Creek when it was an elementary school. I picked up Sand Creek and eventually Castle Rock Junior High," Hohnbaum said. “That is why I tell people when they complain, ‘I have no sympathy for you about having two schools [to cover].' I’ve had eight.”

She, however, considers herself a Grizzly at heart, after working at ThunderRidge High School and Ranch View for several years. Additionally, she served as a district coordinator twice, overseeing DCSD’s Crisis Team and intervention efforts.

No matter where she has been based, her focus has always been the kids and ensuring that they are cared for.

“There are a lot of balls up in the air. I’ve got to check on this student over here,” Hohnbaum said. “There was a mom who wanted to know when I was retiring because I had worked with her son through some difficult times. That mom had told Shelley [Moats, a fellow retiree from the Personalized Learning department,] that she feels I saved a life. Those are the things we work for – to see that change in a kid. Sometimes we lose sight of that.”

Couple prepares for retirement after launching innovative science and fire science programs at Rock Canyon
George and Kristi Piccone pose for a photo at retirement celebration.Rock Canyon High School Science Department Chair Kristi Piccone and her husband Rock Canyon High School Fire Science Chief George Piccone say they have a countdown app, helping them track how many days until they retire – and head to Arizona. That being said, both are bittersweet about leaving the school.

“I have had some days where I have felt very sad about leaving the kids. Rock Canyon kids are amazing,” Kristi Piccone said.

14 years ago, she was part of the core team that opened Rock Canyon.

“When I helped start Rock Canyon, [Former Principal] Dan [McMinimee] and I sat down and he asked, ‘what do you see? What is a vision for what Rock Canyon should be?’ I said, ‘being everything kids want so they are prepared for college, they are prepared for the next step. Having so many science options that kids can say— ‘I tried that’ or ‘that is not what I like,’" Kristi Piccone said.

She set out to create her dream science department, focused on the type of education that she wanted for every student.

“It is kids first. Be a kid magnet. Show them what the world has for them. Give them the idea that there is way more out there,” Kristi Piccone said. “[Over the years] I’ve spent a lot of time making sure that the people that we hired, were the people who had that same idea.”

Like a proud mother, she looks fondly at the team and what they’ve been able to accomplish.

“Shawny Fordham has been one of the most impressive ones to take my vision and run with it,” Kristi Piccone said. “Look at Dave [Ferguson]. The cool things that people have majored in that are chemistry-oriented, because of his love for chemistry. I could have never done that.”

“I started the spark and let them run with it,” Kristi said proudly.

Meanwhile, it is her husband, George Piccone, that has had the job of teaching kids how to put out sparks, in Rock Canyon’s innovative Fire Science program.

After working for the majority of his career as a fire fighter in Colorado Springs, George retired. To keep busy, he worked as an educational assistant in the school’s special education department, when Principal Andy Abner approached him with an idea that got him to put his fire hat back on.

“I retired once and I botched that retirement,” George Piccone said. “I got a job at Rock Canyon in the Special Education department, until Andy Abner and Dan McMinimee had this idea. Next thing I knew I was building this program.”

After six years, Rock Canyon’s Fire Science Program is top-notch. Students work regularly with local firefighters, learning how to do ice rescues, use Jaws of Life and put out fires – giving them a big advantage if they choose to pursue careers in the fire and rescue industry.

“It feels kind of weird to leave it, but I’m leaving it in good hands,” George Piccone said.

Both George and Kristi say what inspired them most over the years was a constant focus on kids.

“[Abner and McMinimee] would always say, ‘tell me why what you want to do is good for kids.' That is all they ever cared about,” Kristi Piccone said.

PHOTOS: Check out our 2017 Retirement Celebration Facebook Photo Album

2017 retirement party at Mountain Vista High School on May 10, 2017.

 

2017 DCSD Retirees

Name

Current Location

Years of Service

Patti Anoff

Rocky Heights Middle School

17

Janet Antonson

Acres Green Elementary

5.5

Janice Anttila

Saddle Ranch Elementary

23

Anna Balducki

Roxborough Primary

20.5

Marina Barrett

Castle View high School

11

Kristi Barta

Gold Rush Elementary

22

Jacqueline Bath

ThunderRidge High School

20

Charles Benedict

Cimarrron Middle School

6.5

Eric Berghorn

Daniel C. Oakes High School

4.5

Rebecca Biays

Strategic Sourcing

20

Deanne Boland

Rocky Heights Middle School

20

Peter Brown

Sedalia Elementary

17.5

Cara Clouston

South Ridge Elementary

7

Rhonda Cook

Arrowwood Elementary

20

Julie Davidson

Cougar Run Elementary

21

Lanita Davis

Rocky Heights Middle School

21

Dana Dew

Cresthill Middle School

17

Kimberly Eikenberg

Fox Creek Elementary

25

Margaret Emerson-Smith

Soaring Hawk Elementary

30

Michael Erickson

ThunderRidge High School

18.5

Donna Ferguson

ThunderRidge High School

18.5

Susan Ferguson

Eldorado Elementary

18

Kevin Gelroth

Castle Rock Middle School

30

Charlie Ghidotti

Iron Horse Elementary

5

Terri Gibbons

Clear Sky Elementary

13

Kathy Goerzen

Pine Lane Intermediate

12

Philip Grindrod

DC Student Support

17

Julie Hanley

Bear Canyon Elementary

14.5

Christine Harris 

Frontier Valley Elementary

31

Marybeth Henze

Renaissance Expeditionary Magnet School

15

Stephen Hinman

Chaparral High School

9

Margaret Hinson

Pioneer Elementary

12

Colette Hohnbaum

Health & Wellness

33

Beverly Holtzer

Gold Rush Elementary

10

Ann Horan

Coyote Creek Elementary

15.5

Janet Hurley

Gold Rush Elementary

30

Jack Job

Transportation

7

Carol Kendall

Acres Green Elementary

15

Debora Lasley

Chaparral High School

25.5

Nancy Lawson

Chaparral High School

15

Monica Mantegna

Sierra Middle School

5

Kim Massey

Transportation

25

William McCurley

Castle Rock Elementary

15

Thomas Mickey

Transportation

11.5

Joye Miller

Daniel C. Oakes

16.5

Shelley Moats

Shelley Moats

21

Denise Nockels

Mountain Ridge Middle School

14

Diane Nowakowski

Ranch View Middle School

14

Dorothy Ochsenbein

Ponderosa High School

31.5

Ann Orcutt

School Leadership

25

Ginger Ozzello

Cougar Run Elementary

5

Andrew Patch

Cougar Run Elementary

28

Kathryn Patten

Fox Creek Elementary

13

Dian Petersen

Northeast Elementary

22

George Piccone

Rock Canyon High School

5

Kristi Piccone

Rock Canyon High School

14

Dianne Prutch

Legend High School

12

Lynn Ricks

Fox Creek Elementary

17

Ann Roberts

Pine Grove Elementary

15

Girard Roundtree

Rock Canyon High School

12.6

Mary Rossi

Gold Rush Elementary

22

Elizabeth Saunders

Eagle Ridge Elementary

10

David Shugert

Sand Creek Elementary

29

Linda Siefford

Prarie Crossing Elementary

13.5

Susan Silverman

ThunderRidge High School

28

Christine Sims

Frontier Valley Elementary

23

Robert Simpson

Ponderosa High School

28

Sheryl Smith

Pine Lane Intermediate

21.5

Kurt Stroman

Legend High School

24

Katrina Vincent

Legend

10

Sharon Wamser

Transportation

2

Janet Williams

Rock Canyon

16

Angel Wolf

Fox Creek Elementary

33

Margaret Wood

Buffalo Ridge Elementary

27.5

Rebecca Woolums

Gold Rush Elementary

33

Bruce Wright

Highlands Ranch High School

21

John Zimmerman

Risk Management

10

May 15, 2017 | By rmbarber | Category:

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