Employees were nominated by colleagues and each employee group had a separate committee made up of various roles to decide on the finalists and winners.
All employees of the year and finalists for each employee group will be recognized at the May 22 Board of Education meeting: 7 p.m. at 1500 E. 128th Ave, Thornton, CO 80241
2018-19 Classified Employee of the Year
Karen Spotts is the Library Media Technician at Skyview Elementary. Through her excellent work, she has become a technology coach, supporter of intervention, data collector and analyst, bookroom organizer and above all, a huge child supporter and motivator for staff and students. For the school's literacy night celebrating "One School, One Book," she even dressed up in a gorilla costume to pose for pictures with the students and their families! She's always willing to do anything to support the staff and community. “Skyview would be lost without Karen!” says a colleague, “She fills a little bit of everybody's shoes and she does it without hesitation.”
In addition to her normal duties, Karen organizes and collects data for the Waterford and Moby Max Intervention programs. She volunteers to arrive to school early so that students can come to the lab to do their interventions. Karen has become an impromptu counselor for many students who need breaks from their everyday classrooms. Teachers use spending time with Karen as a reward for students who reach behavior and academic goals. She even buys rewards for the students out of her own pocket. She works with our principal to evaluate the data, keeps teachers informed of growth and collaborates with teachers on interventions. The kids who go to Mrs. Spotts in the morning are making major strides in academic growth and always walk out of her class with smiles and a feeling of success.
Beyond job strengths, Karen is the most well-liked and approachable employee in the building. Every person in the building connects with Karen on a personal level. Whether it's her knowledge and expertise in health and wellness, her love of country music, or her experience as parent or caregiver to the elderly, she is described as the “hub of the school”.
We are all #FiveStarProud of Karen!
ELEVATE Strengths: Karen exemplifies Care, Collaboration, Engage, and Focus on Students.
2018-19 Certified Employee of the Year
Hilary Wimmer is the Career and Technical Education Instructional Leader, DECA Advisor and High School of Business coordinator at Mountain Range High School. Over the last 12 years, Hilary and her department have worked together to form the largest DECA program in the state of Colorado, with hundreds of state qualifying students.
As a teacher, Hilary has amazing connections with her kids. She has an engaging classroom where all students are welcome. She spends countless hours working with students outside of class to make sure they are prepared for presentations and job interviews. Her students continue to test well above the national average on their High School Business performance exams.
As a coordinator, Hilary has helped student leaders in the DECA program coordinate fundraisers to benefit children in hospice care. She has helped lead a school wide initiative to educate the students on the effects of Vaping through their “Escape the Vape” campaign. She uses her community connections to help students get internships and somehow she finds the time to write a grant or two. Hilary recently won a grant through Marriott that will allow our students to have access to industry guest speakers and education through virtual business. She is also a part of our district branding committee for the Career and Technical Education program and leads the district business/marketing curriculum team.
One story of how Hilary helps students is the time she got a bed donated for a student in need. Through a schoolwide holiday giving campaign, Hilary discovered a need for a bed for a student’s siblings. Hilary promptly contacted American Furniture Warehouse who generously donated a new bed. Seeing the student’s face when the bed was donated is a day Hilary’s colleagues will not forget. Hilary did not know the student prior to the day, but it didn’t stop her for caring and seeing a need that she was able to meet.
We are all #FiveStarProud of Hilary!
ELEVATE Strengths: Hilary exemplifies Care, Collaboration, Engage, Empower and Focus on Students.
>>See the video of surprising her in her classroom!
2018-19 Administrative Employee of the Year
Tracie Stauffer is the principal of Leroy Elementary and was nominated for her focus in three areas: academic, culture and relational.
While supporting student success begins with kids feeling safe and being available to receive instruction, it continues with academic intervention. Tracie looks at school achievement data with full understanding of needs and potential. She is realistic about strengths, needs, and paths to improvement that can be consistently and effectively implemented. An identified need has been reading growth, so Tracie implemented and participates in a staff reading session for 10 minutes each morning. All staff members, including her, meet with one student for 10 minutes each morning to listen to them read, encourage good reading strategies, and help build their skills. It has done a lot to develop a positive, caring school environment!
During observations, she praises successes and keeps feedback to actionable growth points. Tracie receives her own feedback as gracefully as she provides it. Her modeling of being open to new ideas is commendable and her reflective and thoughtful thinking are appreciated by staff.
Tracie also does tremendous work to support the social emotional learning of students. She meets daily with students where she genuinely listens to kids and their concerns. Students love role-playing with Tracie as she uses her thespian training to show possible positive ways to react to situations. Meeting with Mrs. Stauffer is a reward for students and they love it!
Tracie recognizes how special Leroy's culture is and nurtures and appreciates this dynamic. Climate and culture at Leroy is “second to none”. When walking into the school, the feeling is warm and inviting. Substitutes seek out administration to report how welcoming adults were to them. She talks about the culture during interviews and highlights it when interacting with teachers and staff in order to maintain it. She hosted an intermediate student panel with her staff to get student ideas on what was going well at Leroy and ways to make improvements. She focuses on celebrations with students through daily treasure box choices, positive phone calls home, ROAR Reward lunches, and grade-level monthly celebrations. Her monthly Coffee with the Principal engages and empowers parents to become more involved in our school and their child's education.
Tracie is a friend to all in the building, whether it be staff, students, or parents and lives the “family first” message daily. Tracie works very hard at developing relationships with students, especially those that struggle. She often eats lunch with a small group of students and encourages camaraderie among those students. She cares deeply and it shows through her actions and has a wonderful way of remembering what students, parents, and colleagues are going through in their personal lives.
Every day, Tracie joins classroom Connection Circles. Students discuss how they are demonstrating the Primary Years Programme (PYP) Attitude of the Month. One student per class is recognized each week by peers. They wear a medal with pride and Tracie makes sure to check with them about what actions they took to earn their medal. When care and respect have been broken, Tracie facilitates Restorative Circles where all voices are heard. Students discuss what harm was caused and what is needed to repair the harm. By allowing for expression of feelings and remediation of problems, students actively work toward their own resolution.
She is constantly pulled in many different directions and handles it with precision, decisions, and collaboration. She demands excellence, but always has a listening and understanding ear to whatever complications occur. She constantly puts students first, and where there is a need, she is there. It can be playground duty, indoor recess, or the lunch room. She fills any need that arises and is so willing to accommodate! She is one of the most cheerful, caring, and effective administrators.
We are all #FiveStarProud of Tracie!
ELEVATE Strengths: Tracie exemplifies Care, Collaboration, Empower, Engage, Focus on Students
Read more about the ELEVATE strengths of the district.