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: 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

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