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: 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

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!