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Adams 12 Five Star Schools, in partnership with the District Twelve Educators Association (DTEA) and the Classified School Employees' Association (CSEA), announce the employees of the year for the Five Star District! We are proud of every employee in our community and excited to announce those who colleagues have been designated as going above and beyond for student success.

From teachers to custodians, principals to counselors, the many different roles and responsibilities of Five Star employees ELEVATE student success in every classroom, every day


All district employees were invited to nominate colleagues at will. Nominations involved answering questions regarding how the nominee fulfills our mission and vision, and goes above and beyond to ELEVATE student success. To determine winners, each award category had a separate committee made up of staff from various roles to decide on the finalists and winners. 

  • Strengths in Action Award: Employees, family or community members who exemplify one of our ELEVATE strengths in an extraordinary way: care, collaboration, empower, engage or focus on students.
  • Classified: Operational staff such as office staff, custodians, nutritional services, etc.
  • Certified: Staff who are licensed in their field such as teachers and counselors, etc. 
  • Administration: School and district leadership such as principals and district staff, etc. 
  • Substitutes: Classified and Certified substitutes (guest teachers) across the district
  • Diversity and Equity Award: A staff members who provides exceptional leadership and outstanding commitment to the advancement of excellence through diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
  • Volunteers of the Year: A volunteer at the school or district level.

Strengths in Action Awards

Week of April 18-22

The “Strengths in Action” awards recognize Five Star employees and community members who exemplifies one of our ELEVATE strengths in an extraordinary way: care, collaboration, empower, engage or focus on students.


CARE: Jennifer Shumate, Social-Emotional Learning Specialist, Hillcrest Elementary

COLLABORATION: Angelica Wineland, Emergency Preparedness Manager, ESC

EMPOWER: Jennifer Krautler, Instructional Coach, Riverdale Elementary

ENGAGE: Phillip Gover, Native American Youth Advocate, ESC

FOCUS ON STUDENTS: Danielle Esa, Second Grade Teacher, Stukey Elementary

Classified Employee of the Year

Week of April 25-29


Suzanne (Suzie) Vega-Bradley, Office Manager, STEM Launch
Read why she won!

Certified Employee of the Year

Week of May 2-6


Nicole Diaz, Early Childhood Special Education Teacher, Arapahoe Ridge Elementary
Read why she won!

Administrative Employee of the Year

Week of May 9-13


Brian Shanahan, Assistant Principal, Rocky Top Middle
Read why he won!

Substitute/Guest Teacher of the Year

Week of May 16

Winner: Sholeh Mani, Thornton High School and Horizon High School

Read why she won!

Volunteer of the Year (Parent or Community Member)

Week of May 16

Winner: Lieutenant Tracy Post, FutureForward at Washington Square

Read why she won!

Diversity & Equity Champion

Week of May 16

Winner: Sary Portillo, Newcomer Youth and Family Advocate

Read why she won!