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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: 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


DCSD Employee Rockstars: March 19, 2020

Kay Livingston, Building Engineer, Flagstone Elementary School
Kay is a Rock Star because of her commitment to her job and the people she works with. She took this position mid year and hasn't seemed to miss a step! She's jumped in and made a huge positive impact on our school. Kay goes above and beyond daily! She's always willing to help, anyone at any time. She has taken the time to get to know the students and stops to help where ever she can!
Nominated by Wendy Lewis, Educational Assistant IV, Flagstone Elementary

Sherry Dowling, Program Manager - Before and After School Enterprise, Gold Rush Elementary
She is willing to help when needed by anyone who needs help and also will volunteer help when she sees a need. She has volunteered for so many things for the BASE department. She had created and implemented our BASE site for BASE staff. She continues to maintain it. She volunteers her expertise to other site managers when needed. When she sees a need she is does it. She is willing to share staff to other BASE programs in this rough atmosphere of staffing. She continues to help with a smile and positive attitude.
Nominated by Robin Roberts, Program Manager - Before and After School Enterprise, Iron Horse Elementary


Tyler Eatherton, Drama Teacher, Mountain Ridge Middle School
Tyler has the best relationships with his students. You can see that they trust and like him, as well as respecting him as an educator. Mr. Eatherton has changed our school for the better! Tyler has worked almost double his regular hours for the past three weeks preparing our school’s musical, and all his hard work was totally worth it. The show was amazing, the kids had an awesome time, and everyone in the audience was so impressed.
Nominated by Natalie Wren, Music Teacher, Mountain Ridge Middle School

Natalie Wren, Music Teacher, Mountain Ridge Middle School
Natalie has connected with her students on a level different than other educators. She is truly an asset to MRMS. Natalie has just finished helping me with the spring musical. This was quite a high undertaking; as we stayed late for two weeks (until 7PM). She was consistent in maintain energy during the day and after school. I appreciate her dedication to raising the bar of the arts programs at MRMS. She is a great educator and a great friend.
Nominated by Tyler Eatherton, Drama Teacher, Mountain Ridge Middle School

Melissa Bishop, Music Teacher, Pioneer Elementary
Melissa goes above and beyond for the students at Pioneer. She rewrote a very outdated Colorado History Music Program script for our 4th grade students. She then collaborated with our 4th grade teachers to teach our students the content. They created a musical performance for our families.
Nominated by Lisa de la Pena, Assistant Principal, Pioneer Elementary

Christine Murphy, Administrative Assistant, Trailblazer Elementary
Chris has been at TBE many years in a few different roles. She is professional in her position on a daily basis and approachable at all times. The office is a busy place in any school. TBE's office is constantly "hopping". Whether it is day to day routines or "surprise" situations that occur, Chris doesn't miss a beat by being supportive to all staff all the time.
Nominated by Randi L. Smiertelny, GT Facilitator, Trailblazer Elementary

Linda VanConett, Administrative Assistant, Sierra Middle School
Mrs. VanConett is always one step ahead of the things that keep a school front office running successfully. She often takes on additional duties and responsibilities to support the school and staff. Mrs. VanConett never hesitates to show support and help to anyone who comes into the office. Thank you Mrs. VanConett!
Nominated by Megan Quirk, Dean, Sierra Middle School



DCSD Employee Rockstars: March 5, 2020

Lucas Reeves, Dean of Students, Mountain Ridge Middle School
We are incredibly lucky to have Lucas as our Dean at MRMS. Lucas goes out of his way to help students, and because of this he has a great connection with them. He holds them accountable to be their very best selves, but is the first to laugh and joke with them. He is great listener when staff go to him for question or to ask for new ideas on how to support/encourage/hold students accountable. He doesn't give up on students, and won't let his fellow staff members either.
Nominated by Kristy Johnsen, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Mountain Ridge Middle School

Morgan Stone, SPED Teacher - Moderate Needs, Mountain Ridge Middle School
Morgan has a way of authentically connecting with her students that is absolutely critical to so many of our students in SPED. She has a maturity and wisdom that is far beyond her years, and yet she has vast amounts of energy to share with students in innovative ways. We are very lucky to have Morgan at MRMS! Morgan's response, when faced with difficult students, is to keep trying, keep reaching out to other staff, keep problem-solving.
Nominated by Kristy Johnsen, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Mountain Ridge Middle School

Kacey Helgoth, Educational Assistant I, Prairie Crossing Elementary
She is a hard worker who always puts the kids first.
Nominated by Anonymous

Dawn Thomason, Secretary to Assistant Principal, Douglas County High School
Dawn has worked in DCSD for 24 years and she is someone who is truly the backbone of our school. She knows so much of the history and is always working to make high school a great experience for our students. She dresses up for our Homecoming and Wish Week spirit days, she helps decorate the building, shares positive messages and is truly my right hand man. She is so under-recognized because so many have come to rely on her to get the job done. She is the key to our Huskie of the Quarter event that celebrates students and staff. From helping to organize the breakfast to creating the invitations and then printing all of the nominees certificates in about 48 hours is truly amazing...all while greeting parents, students and staff with a friendly smile and a servant attitude. Dawn has jumped in to support me in my role as the Activities Director and anytime I want to do something (this year I became the building's Staff Wellness Champ) and I have orchestrated many events (walktober, Thankfulness Leaves, Take Time for You Tea are just a few) and she is always on board to help me get those implemented. They are not part of her job description but she is always there ready and willing to do whatever to support me and this staff. She is truly invaluable and even when we are possibly going to have inclement weather she will invite me to stay at her house so I don't have to make the commute to Colorado Springs. Dawn is the epitome of servant leader and she has committed herself and her time to this District and DCHS is blessed that she has stayed in her position as long as she has. I can't even begin to repay her for all she does to support me.
Nominated by Diane Shuck-Gray, Assistant Principal/Activities Director, Douglas County High School

Jessica Kinsey, Teacher - Health, Mesa Middle School
Jessica has been our Dept. Lead this year and has help 3 new teachers in the wellness and Mesa middle school feel welcome, part of team, part of the building, and the Mesa family. Jessica is a leader who is very knowledgable, experienced, and leads by example. Jessica has spent countless hours in school before and after helping the new teacher and other teachers with planning, teaching strategies, creating assessments.
Nominated by Lance Schoenwald, Teacher - Physical Education, Mesa Middle School

Kristen Harvey, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Coyote Creek Elementary
Kristen is such a great SSN EA. She really cares about these students, advocates for their needs, and is so kind and patient with them. She is a team player who works collaboratively with her team to benefit all of these high needs kids. Kristen has attended all of the outings that the speech therapist has set up for the SSN students and has been a part of connecting with their families at these events. This is really going above and beyond when you go to these events outside of school hours, on your own time.
Nominated by Gigi Whalen, Principal, Coyote Creek Elementary

Julie Lederfine, Registrar/Health Assistant, Coyote Creek Elementary
Julie is always willing to help everyone, welcomes our parents, students and guests into the building, is kind and positive, and takes care of our health room needs as well. Julie is always willing to do whatever it takes to get things done. She is kind and helpful, and a great "face" for our school as she's the first person people interact with when they get to CCE. We are lucky to have her!!
Nominated by Gigi Whalen, Principal, Coyote Creek Elementary



DCSD Employee Rockstars: February 20, 2020

Jenna Fulton, Third Grade Teacher, Mammoth Heights Elementary
Mrs. Fulton is a ROCK STAR Teacher! She serves on MHE's Building Leadership Team and Positive Ambassador Crew. Her students have shown tremendous growth in reading this year. Mrs. Fulton is willing to take risks and try new strategies in effort to meet the needs of her students and do what's best for kids. Mrs. Fulton volunteered to model a 3rd grade Ready Math Lesson for MHE families at our Pizza & Pi(e) Family Math Night. She also attended the February Board Meeting to share her thoughts about piloting Ready Math and the benefits that she has seen as a teacher.
Nominated by Brittnie Coveney, Assistant Principal, Mammoth Heights Elementary

Emily George (Mayo), Fourth Grade Teacher, Mammoth Heights Elementary
Ms. George is a ROCK STAR teacher! She serves on the Positive Ambassador Crew and is a teacher leader at Mammoth Heights. Ms. George volunteered to teach a model Ready Math Lesson for families at our Pizza & Pi(e) Family Math Night. She also attended the February Board Work Session to share her thoughts and experiences in piloting Ready Math and the growth she's seen in our students.
Nominated by Brittnie Coveney, Assistant Principal, Mammoth Heights Elementary

Brad Odice, English Teacher, Highlands Ranch High School
Brad is extremely kind and patient. He leads our student senators by example and helps facilitate and bring to life all of the community events that make Highlands Ranch HS such a great place to work. Brad goes out of his way on a daily basis to build lasting relationships with students and staff. He always has a kind word for others even with the additional stress he faces leading our student leaders. From homecoming to Wish Week- he brings heart to HRHS.
Nominated by Sadie R. Levine, Literacy Specialist, Highlands Ranch High School

Stacy Hill, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Coyote Creek Elementary
Stacy is a new SSN aide this year and she is so dedicated to our student needs. Stacy is kind, dedicated, so supportive of our students, and a great team player in the SSN department. We are so lucky to have her. Stacy is willing to advocate for her students when needed as they are our most vulnerable students and it's critical that the adults that support for them advocate for their needs.
Nominated by Gigi Whalen, Principal, Coyote Creek Elementary

Christie Moon, Educational Assistant I, Coyote Creek Elementary
Christie is amazing. She is our copy room person, does lunch duty, and helps in classrooms. She is kind, helpful, goes above and beyond, and is so reliable. She is great with kids and support our teaching staff in many ways. Christie is willing to help where ever she is needed, she will adjust her schedule when possible to help in different capacities, and always comes in with a smile on her face and ready to get things done. We are lucky to have her at CCE!
Nominated by Gigi Whalen, Principal, Coyote Creek Elementary



DCSD Employee Rockstars: February 4, 2020

Amber Mauk, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Sand Creek Elementary
Amber is truly a Rockstar on our team, and I do not know what we would do without her. She has an amazing ability to connect with the kids, and they absolutely LOVE their Ms. Amber. Amber goes above and beyond when contributing and planning our thematic units. She asks about the students' needs, and then takes those needs into account when coming up with ideas for her table activities. Amber always takes on more than her share of the workload just to make sure that everything is in place for the students.
Nominated by Jennifer Fritz, SPED Teacher - ECE Occupational Therapist, Sand Creek Elementary

James White, Security Officer, Wilcox
James is always willing to do anything for anyone. But the way he helps out when he's scheduled for board meetings is so appreciated. At board meetings, James is willing to jump in and help with the coordination of the staff and student recognitions. But at the January 21 meeting he went above and beyond by helping our student quartet get set up just outside of the board room for a performance. He then helped us coordinate where our two student groups should go while they waited to be recognized during the board meeting. At some meetings we have a ton of students and their families in attendance for the recognitions and it's not always easy to manage. The fact that James will jump in and help and doesn't get frustrated about the crowds makes him a Rockstar!
Nominated by Stacy Rader, Communications Officer, Wilcox

Kerry Burns, SPED Teacher - Speech Language Pathologist, Legend High School
Kerry is a very hard-working person who is always looking for ways to make speech a fun experience for her students. She is a very caring and fun colleague to work with. Being the only one working in speech in a school can be difficult as you have no one to bounce ideas off of. Kerry doesn't let this detract her from helping the Legend students achieve their goals.
Nominated by Julie Hensley, SPED Teacher - Severe Needs, Legend High School

Katie Groves, Mathematics Teacher, Ranch View Middle School
Katie has an ongoing excitement for math and innovative practices! Katie has jumped into researching, evaluating, and applying our new math curriculum with gusto! She embraces new methods and is eager to share them with others. Thanks for the positive energy and leadership!!
Nominated by Erin Isley, Coordinator - International Baccalaureate, Ranch View Middle School

Pam Reynolds, SPED Teacher - Moderate Needs, Mountain Ridge Middle School
She's wonderful! Pam is always willing to go above and beyond for our SPED students. She comes in early to help students be successful on their assignments in all classes. She is well respected by all. She is on multiple committees that are focused on making our school a better place. She comes in early to help students with homework, studying and organization. She is always positive!
Nominated by Heather Schelt, STEM Teacher, Mountain Ridge Middle School

Lesley Leighner, Registrar, Legend High School
Lesley Leighner has been the best help to me as an ESL teacher. We have a lovely partnership because Lesley is an expert in her field, is superbly organized, and is always willing to help. Being new to this school 3 years ago, I had many questions because of my ESL students, and Lesley always gave me her time. I love you Lesley! In addition to being the first face our Legend families see, Lesley's dedication to this school and her willingness to help teachers and staff with a variety of registration needs makes Lesley stand out. I look forward to working with Lesley for years to come.
Nominated by Rebecca Chapman, English Teacher, Legend High School

Debbi Dottavio, Administrative Assistant, Coyote Creek Elementary
Debbi runs the school and takes care of everyone - kids, parents, teachers and admin. She's amazing and has been at the school for 20 years. We could not live without her. Debbi will do whatever it takes to get things done. She works nights, weekends, responds all the time to the needs of others.
Nominated by Gigi Whalen, Principal, Coyote Creek

Katie Rietsch, Program Manager - Before and After School Enterprise, Trailblazer Elementary
Katie is so friendly and welcoming. She is always making sure our kids are safe but still treated with respect. She tries her hardest to make people feel comfortable around her. She is really good at taking the initiative and constantly goes above and beyond her job title. Students, parents, and staff alike all love her because of her welcoming attitude. Good luck to Katie at her new home at Trailblazer. Sage Canyon misses you greatly!!
Nominated by Hollie Blanchard, Program Manager, Sage Canyon Elementary

Olga Gintchin, Coordinator - School Medicaid Reimbursement Program, Wilcox
Olga has hit the ground running when she came onboard as the Coordinator. Her enthusiasm and positive attitude has been a great attribute to the Program. She was able to get 5 more nurses approved to hire which greatly improves the health and wellness of our students.
Nominated by Nalene Pecore, School Reimbursement Medicaid Program, Wilcox



DCSD Employee Rockstars: January 23, 2020

Natalie Sprigg, Math Teacher, Mountain Ridge Middle School
Natalie always finds a way to motivate her students with fun and interesting explorations in math. She has a kind and engaging demeanor that makes each and every student comfortable in her classroom. When they feel as welcome as they do, the math feels so much easier. Not only does Natalie go above and beyond in the classroom, but she is always attempting to rally the staff in various ways. For example, she puts together different fitness challenges to help us stay accountable. She also loves to bake cakes and bring them in for special occasions.
Nominated by Karen Sprafke, STEM Teacher, Mountain Ridge Middle School

Haley LaTourette, SPED Teacher - Moderate Needs, Mountain Ridge Middle School
Haley is an incredible team leader. She's essential to the success of our team. From organizing our meetings, communicating with families, sharing important information, assisting in the classroom. She is a phenomenal teacher, planning differentiated lessons and assisting all teammates in differentiating and meeting the accommodations for students with IEPs. She works with the Interact Club, and is one of the coaches of Unified Sports. She goes above and beyond in everything she does.
Nominated by Natalie Sprigg, Math Teacher, Mountain Ridge Middle School

Susan Kamberos, Sara Cupp, Jo Davis, Front Office Staff, Sand Creek Elementary
Our front office staff are all Rock Stars! They inspire and spoil our staff with treats and theme days. For example, in November, each Thursday was a "Thankful Thursday" with special treats and inspirations for the whole staff. There are often surprises in the staff lounge or mailboxes. They take care of us as well as all of our students!
Nominated by Kristina Hatcher, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Sand Creek Elementary

Casey Whitehurst and Melissa Reister, Sand Creek Administration, Sand Creek Elementary
Our front office staff are all Rock Stars! They inspire and spoil our staff with treats and theme days. For example, in November, each Thursday was a "Thankful Thursday" with special treats and inspirations for the whole staff. There are often surprises in the staff lounge or mailboxes. They take care of us as well as all of our students!
Nominated by Kristina Hatcher, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Sand Creek Elementary

Morgan Freel, Secretary to Assistant Principal, Douglas County High School
Morgan is a very hard worker and fun to be around. She is always willing to do whatever it takes, many times filling in for Security when we are short handed. Morgan is always looking for ways to do things bteter or improve service to the kids and/or staff. Morgan took her time to research and write up a proposal to allow students to have their own parking spots and be able to decorate them. She researched with other schools and collaborated with our own staff before submitting the proposal.
Nominated by Tom Popken, Campus Security Specialist, Douglas County High School

Joel Boeckmann, ITS Technician II - Device Support Lead, West Support Center
Joel is an outstanding support for the administration of state and federally mandated testing. When there is an IT need not only does his response come in a timely manner but the troubleshooting, attention to detail to resolve the issue, test runs to address the fix and follow-up communication are immediate with an attention to details. We appreciate all he contributes to a successful testing window and thank him for a job well-done!
Nominated by Kelly Kirkpatrick, District Assessment Coordinator, Wilcox



DCSD Employee Rockstars: January 2, 2019

Beth Griffiths, Brad Wiidakas, James Kelly, Tom Beal, Carolyn Volk, Barb Superka, Michael Bruss,Warren Hanson, Team Summit & Team Legend Teachers, Cresthill Middle School
CMS sponsored a spare change drive to support DCSD McKinney Vento Students. Over $1,800 was raised ad largely by two teams of students whose teachers went above and beyond to encourage their student's generosity. These teachers explained the importance of giving back and supporting our community when times are tough. Their encouragement of this spare change drive took on a life of its own. The greatest donations were not in large bills, but truly in change that so many of us take for granted. What an invaluable lesson for our students! It would not have been possible without the teacher's support and example of generosity for others that truly inspired the students of these teams to give so generously. These teams of teachers took a spare change drive to the next level which will directly impact our very own Douglas County families in need. How great is that!
Nominated by Megan Tran, Counselor For Prevention, Cresthill Middle School

Karen Foster, Library Assistant, Legend High School
Karen Foster has been such an amazing help to our school during this difficult time for us. Our Copy Room Assistant had a sudden death in her family and Karen stepped-up and took on her role. Finals is the busiest time for making copies and Karen has been amazing. Karen has an amazing and warm personality and always helps us when we are in need. Thank you Karen Foster!
Nominated by Rebecca Chapman, English Teacher, Legend High School

Jacob Linnabary, Building Engineer, Legacy Point Elementary
Jacob is an exceptional member of the Legacy Point community. When students are eating alone, he makes a point of seeking them out and talking to them. Additionally, he leads our announcement team by writing and helping students practice reading them. Jacob also developed and implemented a flag team. He does his job with a calm and positive demeanor. Students and staff adore and appreciate him and his willingness to do whatever is needed.
Nominated by Kristin Drury, Principal, Legacy Point Elementary

Somer Hogan, Counselor, Highlands Ranch High School
Somer Hogan is in the middle of her third school year with HRHS. In that time, she has become a vital member of our counseling team. With a positive outlook and sunny disposition, Somer makes a positive impact on everyone she encounters. Somer went above and beyond during the month of December spearheading our Giving Tree initiative by coordinating with other counselors and staff on top of her day-to-day responsibilities. The Giving Tree that Somer coordinated fulfilled the wishes of nine Falcon families in need, raising $1123.50 in cash and $410.00 in gift cards providing gifts/needed items to 38 family members. Somer is valued member of the HRHS community!
Nominated by Melissa Muniz, Secretary to Counseling Office, Highlands Ranch High School


 

DCSD Employee Rockstars: December 19, 2019

Heather Golden, Counselor, Castle View High School
Heather has a huge passion for CVHS and our students. She is a tremendous advocate for her students and provides them with the tools to overcome obstacles and to pursue their passions. As our department lead, she provides the group with great training and plays the role of liason to our other stakeholders in the school. Heather sits on several committees in the school that provide leadership and vision for our path forward at CVHS. With the addition of 5 new counselors, Heather was tasked with training the team to learn school and district procedures as well as our school culture. Heather has spend countless hours organizing a seemless transition for our new team. She has scheduled their training and experiences to line up with the needs of the school year. By doing so she has not overwhelmed our rookies and has built up their confidence in just a few months. She is a great team leader, momma bear, coach, and friend to all.
Nominated by Ryan Hollingshead, Assistant Principal, Castle View High School

Angela Lowell, English Teacher, Mountain Vista High School
Ms. Lowell connects with students with all her heart and helps them to do their very best everyday. She goes out of her way to connect with the families of her student to create the kind of wrap around care all that makes a lasting difference in a student's life. She personally calls parents to inform them of what is going on with students and gives concrete and actionable ways that they can support their students. Ms. Lowell will go out of her way to work with students to not just get an assignment done, but to grow as thinkers.
Nominated by Kristy Johnsen, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Mountain Ridge Middle School

Joe Lewton, Physical Education Teacher, Mountain Ridge Middle School
Joe has the rare gift of being able to see the good in others and authentically celebrate everyone around him. Joe went out of his way to nominate several of his fellow staff members at MRMS for Apple Awards. He always find something positive about students and staff. We are very lucky to have him here at MRMS.
Nominated by Kristy Johnsen, Educational Assistant IV - Severe Needs, Mountain Ridge Middle School

Amber Cromwell, SPED Teacher-ECE Teacher, Roxborough Primary School
Amber is such a positive, patient, caring and thorough individual. These qualities sure do come in handy when supporting her students, families and teammates through situations that are often complex, emotional and time-sensitive, too. At the beginning of the year, when supporting a new teammate to get fully on-boarded, Amber dedicated the majority of a Friday afternoon to support this teammate and get it done. Wow, Amber did not need to do that, but it was much appreciated by her teammate and me! In addition, throughout this school year, Amber has been integral in proactively seeking out feedback & support to further increase her and her team's ability to develop compliant and quality IEP processes. Amber truly is a Rock Star through & through - thank you, Amber for all you do!
Nominated by Leigh Quintana, Early Childhood Education Coordinator, ECE Department

Tim Smith, Science Teacher, SkyView Academy
Tim Smith will be moving away to Washington after this school year. He's been at our school for many years. Many years ago, a student nominated him for a Rock Star Award. He received a mug from the nomination and he recently told me the mug broke but that it was the best thing he ever got from a student (meaning, the nomination) because it meant a lot to him. As he walks out the door, I'd like to perhaps honor him again. He has grown as a human being. In the time I have worked with him, he has come to better support all students, with varying levels of challenges. He has intellect, drive, he's honest with dealing with challenges and willing to work through difficult moments. One of his students wrote, "Mr. Smith is the high school Biology and Honors Biology teacher at Skyview Academy and he truly represents what it means to go that extra step for his students. He stays at school over weekends, breaks, and summer if a student ever needs help with a project or anything. He supports his students in classes so much with study sessions, personal help, and overall creating a great working environment for his students in all of his classes. Though I have only been a student of his for 4 months now, he has helped me more than any teacher ever has. He has assisted me in researching on the South Platte River for my honors biology project on a Sunday, and he has met with me on several occasions to help me with my project. Also, Mr. Smith takes hours out of his day every Saturday to help all his students in a “Science Club” in his classroom and helps them with anything they need help with." A parent recently said, "Mr. Smith is a professional teacher. He can listen and understand students at the same time he has a talent to explain his subject. He is friend for his students. We are really lucky to have him as our kids teacher." He established the science department in our school, he became the dept. chair and then a Teacher Lead. He moves mountains for our science honors program, assisting students find internships and partnerships, coming in most weekends to help students in the lab or with research, and he spends most of the summer doing the same. Along side his department, they started a science program this past summer.
Nominated by Linda August, Assistant Principal, SkyView Academy


 

DCSD Employee Rockstars: December 5, 2019

Valerie Oss, Business Manager - BASE, West Support Center
Valerie is a force of nature, she is able to keep her eyes on the bigger picture while helping any BASE staff that need assistance in the day to day operations. She is able to come up with answers, and invests time in learning everything she could possibly know that will effect our BASE programs. Specifically, Valerie is always able and willing to assist with questions and respond in a professional and kind way. Her response time is amazing when you think of the workload that she manages and she always makes you feel like you are important and heard. Thank you Valerie, for being so amazing – all the time.
Nominated by Sherry Dowling, BASE Manager, Gold Rush Elementary

Hayley Harder, Kindergarten Teacher, Trailblazer Elementary School
Hayley is new with our school and has done such an amazing job learning a new school, always smiling and taking whatever or whomever comes her with a positive attitude! She is a true asset to our school. Hayley has done an outstanding job with a very difficult student that does not speak very much English and is new to our country. She approaches each task with professionalism and pride.
Nominated by Heather Kramarczyk, Registrar, Trailblazer Elementary

Sandy Maresh, Executive Assistant to the Chief Operations Officer, Wilcox
Sandy is incredibly organized and dedicated and ensures anything she is tasked with is done in a timely and efficient manner. Sandy went above and beyond in organizing a dinner for newly elected officials in Douglas County. Every election year, a different government organization in the county is tasked with hosting a dinner to welcome newly elected leaders. Sandy's efforts ensured that the event went smoothly and that DCSD was represented greatly with other agencies in Douglas County.
Nominated by Nate Jones, Communications Manager, Wilcox

Stacy Blaylock, Communications Coordinator, Wilcox
Stacy pays great attention to detail and has a great creative mind that ensures a special and personalized touch comes with everything she's tasked with. She brings a great attitude to work every single day. Stacy went above and beyond in organizing a dinner for newly elected officials in Douglas County. Every election year, a different government organization in the county is tasked with hosting a dinner to welcome newly elected leaders. Stacy was a great help in making sure every elected official at the dinner felt welcomed and taken care of- making sure that every attendee walked away with a positive view on the school district and our employees. Stacy put in a great deal of work to make sure the event was a success, and it would not have been the same without her great collaboration and enthusiasm.
Nominated by Nate Jones, Communications Manager, Wilcox


DCSD Employee Rockstars: November 20, 2019

Dave Klinderman, Physical Education Teacher, Mountain Ridge Middle
Dave is incredibly dedicated to his job and the school and the MRMS community. One of the things that stands out to me about Dave, beyond his teamwork, his teaching, and his committment to kids, is that he comes early on snowy days and helps the custodial staff shovel /plow the campus. Dave will also volunteer for traffic duty or crosswalk duty when we are short staffed in our security department. Nominated by Natalie Sprigg, Math Teacher, Mountain Ridge Middle School

Mandy Hill, Principal, Sage Canyon Elementary
Mandy is so amazing. She is supportive and caring towards all employees. Mandy goes above and beyond everyday. She always has an open door and always looks for the positive in every situation. She is a pleasure to work for!
Nominated by Faryn Scarlett, School Psychologist, Sage Canyon Elementary

Villi Coffee, BASE Program Aide, Iron Horse Elementary
Villi works at our BASE program and is also a senior at Legend. He comes in on his off blocks to volunteer in classrooms and aspires to be a teacher and work with kids. He is truly amazing. Villi spends his off blocks volunteering at IHE and working with kids. He always comes in with a smile and a positive attitude. IHE's staff refrigerator went out and Mr. Villi went above and beyond to get a replacement. He is always looking out for others and is an amazing person.
Nominated by Sarah Mitzel, 2nd Grade Teacher, Iron Horse Elementary

Kathy Davis, SPED Teacher - IEP Assessment Specialist, Cimarron Middle School
Kathy works with every student and their families to ensure that our IEP process is running smoothly and families and staff come together for the best interest of students. She does an outstanding job facilitating complicated meetings, and staying solutions focused! Kathy has gone above and beyond by never hesitating to reach out to a family and support with the complicated IEP proccess. Parents know they can talk to her and they are reassured by her flexible and supportive style. She is always honest in a kind way- and works hard to build up others around her!
Nominated by Sarah Hasler, Professional Learning Specialist, Cimarron Middle School

Cindy Berndt, Music Teacher, Stone Mountain Elementary
Cindy just joined the specials team at SME this fall and has gone above and beyond to create a program that the students are totally owning. She has over 70 kids in choir and is teaching ukulele's and is also teaching band. The students love music now and get so excited to walk in each week to see what they are learning next. SME has had several music teachers in the past years so when Cindy came she revamped the whole program and embedded herself in the culture at SME.
Nominated by Jill Caven, Art Teacher, Stone Mountain Elementary

Jake Bott, IT Technician, West Support Center
He is so patient, kind and always willing to help. Jake is ALWAYS willing to help, no matter how big or small. He has been a ROCK STAR with the computer refresh for Personalized Learning and Sped. We have worked as a team and have knocked this refresh out of the ball park.
Nominated by Bridget Santoyo, Accountant, Personalized Learning Department

TJ Braun, SPED Teacher - Affective Needs, Castle Rock Middle School
Even in the most difficult situations, TJ prioritizes the students he works with and every day does everything he can to make sure each student gets the support they need. While navigating each students' unique and individual needs, he creates an environment where each student feels seen, heard and cared for in the most genuine way. His ability to build relationships within a trauma informed approach for both students and families is greatly appreciated and admired.
Nominated by Laura Wilson, Social Worker, Castle Rock Middle School

Kristine Streander, Administrative Dean, Castle Rock Middle School
Kristine emphasizes and encourages the importance of making sure each students' needs are met. She is often the go to for difficult situations as her vast knowledge and expertise in many areas, especially Special Education, are an asset to our staff. Kristine not only cares for students, but also the staff in our school. She goes out of her way to make sure staff are cared for, heard and supported. She is a great listener and works with us to address needs and problems that arise in a practical and solution focused approach.
Nominated by Laura Wilson, Social Worker, Castle Rock Middle School

Jennifer Ware, Math Teacher, Legend High School
Jennifer is always going the extra mile for her students. She opens her doors to assist them daily before school hours and during her free time. She creates learning experience that are challenging and engaging and that apply to real life situations. She is a great collaborator and willing to work with her colleagues and goes the extra mile in planning and executing projects. Jen is a fun person to be around.
Nominated by Suzanne Escobaosa, World Language Teacher, Legend High School

Nancy Wensuc, Intervention Specialist, Sedalia Elementary School
Nancy is always willing to go above and beyond for students and teachers. In addition to teaching full time, Nancy also instructs Orton-Gillingham classes for the district. Recently, she was asked to help with a dyslexia simulation for staff members at a school in Highlands Ranch. She showed up very early in the morning and did a fabulous job working with the staff. This was all before putting in a full day of teaching. She is truly a treasure!
Nominated by Tiffany Regan, Literacy Strategist and Dyslexia Contact, Cantril

Rachel Clem, Social Studies Teacher, Cimarron Middle School
These two ladies were amazing middle school debate coaches this fall! They put on a tournament for 45 middle schools to compete in parliamentary debate, hosted, arranged concessions, organized rooms, and answered questions. They gave up weekend time with their own families to help our students have an unforgettable experience showcasing their academic strengths. These women were so incredibly committed to offering this experience for our kids, we are so grateful!
Nominated by Natalie Sprigg, Math Teacher, Mountain Ridge Middle School

Calley Rademacher, Social Studies Teacher, Cimarron Middle School
These two ladies were amazing middle school debate coaches this fall! They put on a tournament for 45 middle schools to compete in parliamentary debate, hosted, arranged concessions, organized rooms, and answered questions. They gave up weekend time with their own families to help our students have an unforgettable experience showcasing their academic strengths. These women were so incredibly committed to offering this experience for our kids, we are so grateful!
Nominated by Natalie Sprigg, Math Teacher, Mountain Ridge Middle School

 



DCSD Employee Rockstars: November 4, 2019

Randi Smiertelny, Instructional Assistant - Gifted & Talented, Trailblazer Elementary
When my son comes home all he talks about is math. We were in the car this weekend and he was talking about school. He told me that Mrs. Smiertelny is better than he ever expected. My son's typical response to "how was your day" is "fine". That has all changed now that he is in 6th grade and with Mrs. Smiertelny. His level of conversation, excitement to learn, and connection he has made with Mrs. Smiertelny has been amazing to watch as a parent. Mrs. Smiertelny is an interventionist, so technically not a certified teacher but she is one of the best teachers at TBE.
Julie Crawford, Eldorado Principal

Jennifer Macintyre, SPED Teacher - Speech Language Pathologist, Chaparral High School
This is Jennifer's second year in the district and has taken her position as the CHS Speech Language Pathologist to the next level. She completes her regular job tasks but then goes above and beyond for students that use Augmentative Alternative Communication. Jennifer has created individual AAC plans for her students. She makes sure the SSN room staff is trained and takes time to go to the classroom to model and troubleshoot devices even when its not her scheduled time. Jennifer has started implementing vocabulary lessons for her students that specifically focus on AAC. Jennifer includes the parents in these discussions and makes sure that everyone involved is part of the team.
Sara Rode, Assistive Technology Team Lead, SWAAAC

Katy Nicholls, SPED Teacher - Social Worker, Legend High School
Katy cares very deeply for the wellness of our students. She is constantly looking to help our programs become better in order to serve our students better. She is knowledgeable and has a gentle but firm way in handling situations with families and students.
Julie Hensley, Severe Special Needs Teacher, Legend High School

Delana Hoogeboom, Registrar, Castle View High School
Delana works a crazy amount to stay up with her heavy workload. Delana not only gets things done, she has a great attitude about it, even when faced with angry or frustrated parents.
Marnie Lansdown, Counseling Secretary, Castle View High School

Chris Lawson, IT Project Manager, Information Technology - West Support Center
Chris is very responsive with any issues with CITE in InspirED. He gets issues resolved within hours and is always patient and kind. He has helped many of PCE teachers with setting CITE 6 assessments. And offered to meet with the PCE Admin team on setting and modifying our CITE 6 model to avoid future issues. He's made the CITE process smoother for entire staff.
Kim Bennett, Asst. Principal, Prairie Crossing Elementary

Jose Seranno, Custodian, Mountain Ridge Middle School
Jose is incredible. He's been at MRMS for well over 10 years, has been dedicated and hard working at all times. He comes in incredibly early to remove snow and get the building ready for the staff, on snow days, regular days, ANY day. He leads his team well, and the building, that is nearly 20 years old, is in fantastic condition. Jose is here on weekends to open the building for special events. He greets everyone with a smile! Jose is incredibly efficient, following through on tasks and checklists nearly immediately. We are so lucky to have him!
Natalie Sprigg, Math Teacher, Mountain Ridge Middle School

Kelse Johnson, Counselor for Prevention, Mountain Ridge Middle School
Kelse has jumped in to the MRMS community with both feet! She is an incredibly active team member, contributing to, and creating, more activities to build the MRMS community. Kelse resurrected the MRMS sunshine committee and within the first two weeks had recognized and consoled at least 6 staff members. She has made efforts to organize going-away parties, birthday celebrations, and other special occassion recognitions. In her role as our C4P coordinator she has started a Twitter hashtag for our school, and a character to help inspire the students to participate in Sources of Strength activities. She sends a weekly newsletter to our staff with training opportunities, student incentives, parent classes, and plans for the future. She leads parent book studies, staff lunch & learn sessions, and student groups. She's phenomenal.
Natalie Sprigg, Math Teacher, Mountain Ridge Middle School

Molly Gnaegy, Trailblazer Elementary Principal
Her leadership style and go with the flow attitude always with a smile on her face. Molly stepped in last year as an interim principal in January 2019 when Dr. Deanne Kirby moved to a different position within the district. She sensed that our school felt like "home" and applied for the principal position, which wasn't her intent when she took on the interim position. She got the job and hasn't missed a beat since. She works countless hours to make our school as best as it can be for students, staff and the community. Everything about her is above and beyond. She stands out because she picked up where Dr. Kirby left off and has continued to move TBE forward with the work she and everyone at TBE puts in daily. Above and Beyond are only 2 words that describe Molly.
Randi L. Smiertelny, Instructional Assistant - Gifted & Talented, Trailblazer Elementary

Katie Sodaro-Jensen, Trailblazer Elementary Assistant Principal
Katie joined TBE in the beginning of the 2018/2019 school year when Julie Crawford moved to Eldorado as their new principal. Katie was learning the ropes at TBE with Dr. Kirby and then 2nd semester with Molly Gnaegy. She hasn't missed a beat with all the transitions that have come her way, while continuing to move forward at TBE with students, staff and the community. What isn't rock star about that?! Her continued flexibility without missing a beat and keeping a ship on course and beyond. She's been at TBE less than a year and a half and has worked with 2 different principals. "Versatility." Her relationships with students and staff has flourished.
Randi L. Smiertelny, Instructional Assistant - Gifted & Talented, Trailblazer Elementary

Jennie Streightiff, Clerical - Attendance, Ponderosa High School
A week of snow, parent calls, leaving early, 100's of messages on absence line. Handled with professionalism! Amazing job!
Colleen Barber, Clerical - Attendance, Ponderosa

Tim Clark, Educational Assistant, Summit View Elementary
Tim is hard-working and cares about the staff and students. He works long hours with a smile on his face all while dealing with 6th-graders. I know that my team would struggle without him! He does whatever is asked of him by anyone in the building from recess duty with 1st-graders to lunch room monitor with 4th-graders. He works with students and he keeps me and my team organized. I adore Tim Clark and appreciate all that he does!
Marni Gusich, 6th Grade Teacher, Summit View



DCSD Employee Rockstars: October 24, 2019

Mary Brown, SPED Bridge Teacher, Highlands Ranch Bridge
Mary started out our new Bridge year trying to train two new teachers, help hire new EAIV and she had a new baby over the summer. She goes above and beyond for her students by finding ways to make each and every student feel successful and special. She supports all staff in continuing to improve relationships with students and giving the opportunity for staff to brainstorm solutions so that all students and staff needs are met. She inspires us every day with her dedication to her job. She creates community resources and acts as a powerful liaison between students goals , staff and the district.
Zanna Broussard, Career Coach

Eric Cupp, IT Repair Shop Supervisor, IT Department
He goes out of his way to make sure you have all needs met. Eric went above and beyond to get the Foundation iPads quickly turned around so we could use them at our inaugural Gala. The Foundation did a silent auction and needed them for the night and he made it happen.
Ashley Sommers, Executive Director, The Foundation for Douglas County Schools

Evan Mellichampe, Desktop Operations Manager, IT Department
Evan helped ensure the Foundation would have a successful first auction by making sure we had iPads to use the night of our inaugural Gala.
Ashley Sommers, Executive Director, The Foundation for Douglas County Schools

Fran Torres Woolnough, ESL Coordinator, Chaparral High School
Fran Woolnough's vision for the ESL program at Chaparral has guided our school to create a place of inclusivity and celebration for English learning students and their families. Beyond her tireless work to challenge and enrich the lives of her students, she shares strategies to use in the classroom for any student who may be struggling. Now more than ever, children of all ages crave a sense of belonging; a place of acceptance. Fran is the bridge for emerging bilingual students, as well as their siblings and parents, welcoming them into the Chaparral community with respect, dignity and honor. Not only has she fostered a program of inclusivity and educational growth, but she brings our ESL families together with an event of music, cuisine, dancing and art that celebrates their heritage and culture. Thank you, Fran!
Laura Sierra, Teacher, Chaparral High School


 

DCSD Employee Rockstars: Sept 27, 2019

Sean Durkop, Bus Driver, East Transportation
Mr. Durkop knows all of his riders by name and greets them as they board his bus each day. He maintains a safe and positive bus environment. At the end of each week, he brings the kids a sweet treat (candy, cookie, lollipop). This brightens their day. In his words, "I like them to end their school week with something sweet from me." What a treat he is for our students.
Caitlin House, Literacy Specialist, Clear Sky Elementary

Lynnette Fields, BASE Manager, Heritage Elementary
Lynnette came over to help at my BASE site on very short notice to help open up Pioneer BASE. We literally had one person and she came over to help us out at 6:30am. She is a Rock Star in my book!!! She has her own program to worry about but she is such a great and kind person that she was willing to go out of her way and make sure that our program remained in ratio on a day when State had it's annual visit with our site.
Brett Peters, BASE Manager, Pioneer Elementary


Jamie Isner, Licensed Substitute Program Manager, Wilcox
Jamie, is easy to work with, prompt in response, always willing to assist with staff at school level. Personal style and dedication to handling the sub office.
Colleen Barber, Receptionist/Library, Ponderosa High School

Mary Evensen, Registered Nurse, Mountain Vista High School
Mary recently took and passed her National Board Exam for school nurses. She is now a Nationally Board Certified School Nurse! Mary spent many hours preparing for this National Board Exam.
Celia Flanigan, Coordinator of Nursing Services, Wilcox

Amanda Stenkamp, Registered Nurse, Chaparral High School
Amanda spent many hours preparing for her National Board Exam. She is now a Nationally Board Certified School Nurse! Congratulations on passing your National Board exam.
Celia Flanigan, Coordinator of Nursing Services, Wilcox

Kristie Husby, Administrative Assistant, Career and Technology Education
Her superior work ethic, always ready to help with a smile on her face! She is a kind and caring person. She is always there to help and answer questions no matter what time of the day or what day of the week. I admire her knowledge and professionalism.
Suzy McDaniel, Administrative Assistant, Wilcox

Sharon Ballard, Transportation - Parker Terminal (East)
I am nominating her based off of feedback we received from a parent. This is an excerpt:
I wanted to reach out to you and tell you how much my wife Amy and I greatly appreciate her! She consistently goes above and beyond to take care of the children on her bus. She is patient, kind and considerate, and I have personally witnessed her genuinely caring for the kids that she transports. I've seen her explaining the importance of crossing the street safely when exiting the bus, as well as making sure the kids are careful when approaching the entry steps. She is never in a rush to get the kids on their way, and it is clear to me that she truly loves children and takes a personal interest in their well being. As a father I greatly appreciate how she treats my kids, and as a police officer (working for 10 years in school resources) I can tell you I've never encountered a better bus driver than Sharon. She really sets the standard by which all drivers should aspire to meet. I wanted you to know what a great asset she is to your organization, and what a great person to have caring for my children. Please recognize Sharon accordingly and let her know what an outstanding job she is doing!!
Shannon Vieira, Administrative Assistant, Transportation



DCSD Employee Rockstars: Sept 13, 2019

Megan Whisler, School Nurse Consultant
Megan has gone over and above to help me and my classroom staff with some students I have with significant medical needs. She checks in on us frequently, is constantly double checking and updating our medical information binder as needed, and she contacts parents without hesitation. She also follows up with us and with parents about any issues that arise throughout the school day. Megan makes the medical needs of our students much more manageable because of all the assistance and support she provides us! Megan has called me and returned calls from me after school hours when I have had an issue, she stays in constant contact with the parents of some of our more medically involved students, and she is constantly checking in on us to make sure we have whatever we need.
Trista Charlton, SPED Teacher - Severe Needs, Bridge Program


Dan Eichenberg, Building Engineer, Mountain View Elementary
Dan always sees problems and fixes them - he makes the school a better place one day at a time. We are SO lucky to have him! There are so many things - lately, he installed a water filter in the staff kitchen so we could replace the costly old one and get filtered water at a fraction of the price! WOW - thanks Dan!!!
Kate Bufton, Communications Manager, Mountain View Elementary


Stephanie Oberley, Administrative Assistant, Security
Stephanie is always quick to respond and incredibly helpful. She always pitches in when needed. Communications and Security recently partnered to distribute SRP magnets for parents to DCSD schools. When the shipment arrived (all 1,400 pounds!), Stephanie jumped right in and organized the distribution process to schools. She is an incredible partner!
Paula Hans, Public Information Officer, Communications Dept


Lyndell Dunn, Fifth Grade Teacher, Ben Franklin Academy
Lyndell is very organized and meticulous. She is always in a good mood and gets the job complete. She is the leader of the fifth grade this year and I appreciate her beyond words. Lyndell is always doing for others and puts the needs of each student before her own.
Katelyn Mashburn, Fifth Grade Teacher, Ben Franklin Academy


Jamie Isner, HR Generalist, Human Resources Dept
When you hear the name Jamie Isner, ROCK STAR always comes to mind. Jamie goes above and beyond ALWAYS! She cares about her stakeholders and solves any issues with Aesop in a flash. Whenever I need help with a sub issue, she is on top of it.
Bridget Santoyo, Accountant, West Support Center


Kelly DeVol, Administrative Assistant, School Leadership
Kelly is incredibly customer service focused -- she always smiles and spreads cheer and never seems to lose her cool under pressure. At a recent offsite meeting, Kelly found a set of keys. When no one claimed them - instead of turning them into the lost and found...she saw the keys had a library tag. She went to the library to scan the tag so that she could find and notify the rightful owner. This is just an example of how Kelly will always go above and beyond to help her colleagues.
Stacy Rader, Communications Officer



DCSD Employee Rockstars: Sept 3, 2019

Eduardo Guardado, Building Engineer, Ponderosa High School
Sr. Employees who act as mentors to the at risk kids in our school-great job! They meet with students and staff to listen to needs and help with things like tutors to improve grades- to help them pass classes and get to graduation! Tenacity plus kindness!
Kristin Drury, Principal, Legacy Point Elementary


Bill Kramer, Bill Crow, Ed Blanchard, Senior Mentors, Douglas County High School
When PHS was having construction and carpet replaced throughout the summer, he not only had to move everything out of rooms at PHS, but was also covering LPE when our BE was out. He helped with all aspects of summer work and supervised some of the construction that was occurring here. He is patient and helpful when mentoring his staff. We appreciate and thank you, Eduardo!
Kathy Kramer, DCHS IB Program, Douglas County High School


Becky Smith, Bookkeeper/Health Assistant, Franktown Elementary
Miss Becky is our very own Mary Poppins. There is nothing she cannot handle with a smile and a calmness that is so admired. We had a health crisis with a severe needs student. Miss Becky not only handled the situation like a champ but remained so calm that no one knew anything was wrong. She takes care of everyone as if they were her own including staff.
Rheanna Haislet, Music Dept, Franktown Elementary


Kate Bufton, Russian Language & World Cultures Teacher / Communications Manager, Mountain View Elementary
Kate is the only Russian language teacher in DCSD, she has developed this curriculum from the ground up, while also efficiently managing the school's communications department. Kate is currently completing her alternative licensure program, Leading her division as a Leader in the Building Leadership Team, and is the School Representative for the SAC. She's also a Lt Col in the USAF Reserve and a mother of twins! Kate is continually using her expertise to develop Mountain View into a leading school within DCSD. Her ability to work both as a Specials Teacher in Russian Language and World Cultures, as well as manage Communications for MVE is more than a full time job. She has been selected to a leadership position in the Building Leadership Team all the while excelling in the completion of her alternative license program. Kate is a founding member of the Mountain View led effort called the "Cub Crawl" that is responsible for collaboratively fundraising scholarships throughout the Ponderosa Feeder School community. She is the teacher representative for the SAC this year, and also initiated a multiyear sustainable garden for students. This garden yields fresh vegetables for the school cafeteria. In the summer months, she works as a Pilot in the USAF Reserves and uses this experience to enhance the global awareness of her students in the World Cultures curriculum. That's a Rock Star Employee!
Corbett Bufton, Substitute Teacher, Mountain View Elementary


Aaron Ragon, Lead Counselor, Wilcox
Aaron has taken on a role that never existed and built it into a system of support, structure, compassion and team work. He is a fearless leader that takes on anything and always delivers. I don't know how our counseling group would exist with out him steering the ship. Aaron created a bootcamp for our 80 new counselors at the beginning of this school year, trained them in multiple systems preparing them for their job aheads. He is continuing year long PD for all counselors with invaluable resources and ideas. He leads a group of hundreds of counselor - but finds ways to make this large community feel small, valued and honored. He connects with EVERYONE and goes above and beyond for anyone who may need support, a shoulder to cry on, resources - you name it. Not only is Aaron an invaluable leader for this district - he is simply put, an amazing human being.
Ann Fitch, Counselor, Gold Rush Elementary


James Allen, Electrician, Operations & Maintenance Dept
Jamie is so helpful and knowledgeable! He always is available to help when needed. Jamie has such a great attitude, always. We so appreciate his commitment to every school he helps.
Debbey Quintana, Admin Assistant, ThunderRidge High School


Amy Moyle, Principal, Redstone Elementary
Amy is a principal who consistently cares about students and staff. She makes sure that BOTH groups are supported at all times. She has an open door policy, she is a great listener, and she has a kind heart. She is also not afraid to speak up and help when those are in need. She is the type of principal that everyone wants to have. I am so grateful for her. Amy being a continual cheerleader, advocate, and champion for our building in trying to get more support for students with special needs is amazing. She speaks up for the kids but also the staff. Amy is also so kind and humble. Words cannot be expressed into how her remarks of praise make a student or a teacher's day. Redstone is so lucky to have her as our fearless leader.
Christina Courtney, Redstone Elementary


Craig Mahood, Social Studies Teacher, Castle View High School
Craig is a strong, quiet leader who cares about students. He has volunteered to sonsor numerous clubs and always provides a safe place for students to be themselves. Additionally, his expertise in his content is unmatched. He is always willing to learn from others and share his innovative and challenging ideas. Craig is the sponsor of multiple student clubs already, yet has volunteered to take on some new ones. He is constantly working to improve his classes and his own level of expertise to best serve his students.
Bekah Welte, Social Studies Teacher, Castle View High School


Ellen Muscato, Improvement Planning & Data Specialist, Wilcox
Ellen works tirelessly with RVMS staff to facilitate discussions that have led to a public show of academic excellence. With her support, we have become a school that prioritizes data and best instructional practices. Ellen's enthusiasm is inspiring. As mentor and coach she empowers others while providing resources and encouraging words. She has been an invaluable member of our team over the past year.
Erin Isley, PLS, Ranch View Middle School


Kris Wagner, Home Education Coordinator, Choice Programming
Kris Wagner wears many hats within Choice Programming for DCSD. As the Home Education Coordinator, Kris supports all of our families who choose to homeschool their children, providing guidance, processing paperwork, and monitoring compliance with state requirements. Kris also is the registrar for Cloverleaf Enrichment School, providing the first point of contact for those considering this DCSD home education enrichment opportunity and keeping tabs on enrollment changes year round. Kris oversees the selection, purchase and distribution of home school curriculum for more than 300 students who enroll at Cloverleaf. Many people may not be aware that home school families enrolled in Cloverleaf may choose from a variety of free curriculum options to support their home education. Kris and her team works closely with parents to distribute over 18,000 books each fall, then oversee the return of these books each summer (before checking them out again just weeks later). Whew! Kris and her team are definitely rock stars!
Tony Winger, Principal, Cloverleaf Enrichment School




DCSD Employee Rockstars: August 21, 2019

Bret Knickerbocker, Building Engineer, Mammoth Heights Elementary

I am nominating Bret Knickerbocker for his kindness and going out of his way to welcome a new staff member into the building. Mr. Knickerbocker welcomed me into my new school by helping me move into a new classroom, making sure that I had all the classroom items I needed from tables, to chairs, to cubbies. He found everything I needed to help get my classroom ready for students. He is kind, caring and always has a smile on his face. He takes great pride in his work and goes out of his way to make sure everyone has everything they need! He also takes great pride in his building and is always ready to help out the faculty. Thanks for all you do Mr. Bret to make Mammoth Heights an amazing place.
Nominated by Twyla Morton, Mammoth Heights Elementary


 

DCSD Employee Rockstars: June 20, 2019

Jamie Isner, Substitute Program Manager, Wilcox

Jamie is extremely supportive, helpful and knowledgeable. She is supportive and knows the answers, and if she doesn't she searches and gets back to you quickly and efficiently. She is always happy and positive and makes everyone feel like a "ROCK STAR!" Jamie has been my cheerleader and supporter as I worked as a district substitute, while in the pursuit of a new school home. I love her positivity and encouragement and she is not only a ROCK STAR employee but has become a great friend!
Nominated by Twyla Morton, Mammoth Heights Elementary


Lucas Conner, Controls Technician, Operations and Maintenance

Luke volunteers to be on call after hours to make sure all the buildings are running for all after hours activities. He takes emergency calls anytime of night. He is an asset to DCSD. His willingness to help others and his caring for the students.
Nominated by Larry Herrington, Controls Technician


Giuliana Battaglioli, Administrative Assistant/Registrar/Bookkeeper, Eagle Academy

Giuliana is the pulse and essence of all we value at Eagle. At Eagle Academy, we pride ourselves as a school that has a family atmoshere and feel, and much goes into setting the stage for this. Giluinana is, many times, the first person you hear or see when contacting Eagle and she is the motar that holds all that we value together. Her pleasant and always helpful nature helps new students and parents gain a sense of calm as they start on a new pathway. Giuliana is a unique employee in that she is not only the Administrative Assistant to myself and the AP but she is also the Registrar and handles all the building Finance as well. These roles are normally handled by up to three employees but Giuliana embraces this daily challenge with style and grace. Giuliana is truly the definition of a Rock Star and we are so fortunate to have her as part of the Eagle Academy family.
Nominated by Jeff Broeker, Principal, Eagle Academy


Irene Apostolopoulos, Admin Assistant to Principal, Ranch View Middle School

Irene joined our Ranch View Team well into the school year and had some very big shoes to fill. She jumped in with both feet, helping keep things running smoothly while addressing changes that would benefit our school. She is kind, supportive, thoughtful, detail oriented, and not afraid to take risks. There are many days when it feels like she has been at Ranch View forever...what a compliment. We are so grateful for you Irene! Irene has not skipped a beat during the transition into her new role. There was fear that so many rituals and cultural pieces would be forgotten as we all know what a key role this job is in our school. Irene has surpassed our expectations!
Nominated by Erin Isley, Personalized Learning Specialist, Ranch View Middle School


Human Resources Solutions Team:
Michelle Yunck, Alyssa Scrivens, Marci Mittan, Pat Yamada, Nacolle Esposito, Glenda Rhea, Laurie Troutman, Leslie Julian


As a team or individuals, they have always helped me get candidates on-boarded when they've applied close to the class start date. With the driver and TEA shortages, I could not have done it without them. You are true ROCK STARS! The individualized support they are always willing to offer when I call, IM, or come by. They are a great team and should be recognized for what they do.
Nominated by Maurice Toole, Transportation Supervisor, Castle Rock Terminal

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Douglas County School District Nondiscrimination Notice: The Douglas County School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, religion, national origin, ancestry, creed, age, marital status, genetic information, or physical characteristics, disability or need for special education services in admissions, access to, treatment of, or employment in educational programs or activities. The School District’s Compliance Officer is Ted Knight, Assistant Superintendent, 620 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock, Colorado, complianceofficer@studioideate.com, 303-387-0067. Complaint procedures have been established for students, parents, employees and members of the public.