It takes teamwork – teachers reflect during Teacher Appreciation Week

From kindergarteners on their first day to high school seniors ready to graduate, teachers play an enormous role in inspiring, challenging, and guiding students throughout their academic careers. 

We acknowledge not only the invaluable contributions of these individuals but the collective effort it takes. Teaching is not a solitary endeavor; it requires teamwork to ignite curiosity and shape students into wonderful learners and incredible human beings.  

As we reflect on Teacher Appreciation Week, please take a moment to see incredible teachers and teamwork throughout schools in Poudre School District. 


Learning and growing together 

Putnam Elementary School's kindergarten teachers Brittany Coy, Sarah Davis, and Colleen Sumner     

Putnam Elementary kindergarten teachers Brittany Coy, Sarah Davis and Colleen Sumner

The kindergarten teachers at Putnam Elementary School all moved to this grade level together three years ago. Since then, they have formed a strong team. 

Individually, they bring different skill sets and experiences, but together, their favorite part about teaching this age level is seeing the exponential growth of students throughout the year. 

"I think at the elementary level, you're building that foundation for them and getting them excited about learning, so that's why I chose elementary," said Brittany Coy.   

Coy began her teaching career at Putnam after returning to school for education. She originally started in administration for higher education but switched because of her passion for the subject and the difference it can make for people.  

Kindergarteners learn many skills throughout the year, and it can be easy to forget how far students have come, especially in the day-to-day.  

After 18 years in PSD with experience in teaching and as a paraprofessional, Sarah Davis says seeing this trajectory change in students is magical.  

"I’m in teaching to change the trajectory of society," she said. "Changing the lives of people (for the better) who need it the most is pretty powerful."  

Adding to that, Colleen Sumners, the kindergarten interventionist, says that watching students grow and take ownership of their learning is her reason for teaching. Even as a child, Sumners knew that she always wanted to be a teacher, and once she started in PSD, she has been here ever since. 

Student success is crucial, and as an interventionist, Sumners enjoys "putting together the puzzle" behind ways they can change their instruction to meet the needs of every student who walks in the door.  

Overall, this team acknowledges that so much of how they grow as teachers takes many different people, and they appreciate the entire team that makes up Putnam Elementary School. Still, there is something special about the bond these teachers have formed.  

"Starting as a team and learning as a team has allowed us to grow in a way that I don't know is always there," said Sumners. "Everyone is willing to come to the table and meet the needs of the students in front of us."  


Teamwork to help students succeed

Leslie Husted, Spanish teacher at Kinard Middle School 

Kinard Middle School Spanish teacher Leslie Husted

 After taking 12 years off from teaching high school Spanish, Leslie Husted returned to teaching in a new environment at Kinard Middle School. 

“I was always afraid of middle school, but man once you get here, I just have this love for middle school,” she said. “(Students) still have a little bit of elementary in them before they get off to high school and are willing to try pretty much anything that you want to challenge them with, and it has kept me young too.”  

Husted found inspiration from her mother, who was her high school Spanish teacher. Although she thought she would eventually do something in the medical field, she realized how teaching could be a profession for her in college. 

“I love helping people and showing them that they’re capable of so much more than they think they are,” Husted said. 

Her favorite moments in her Spanish 1A, 1B, and Spanish 2 classes are seeing students' “light bulb” moments, where she can tell they are engaged, participating, and interested in their work. 

Middle school students are still figuring out so much about themselves, and the four-person world language team at Kinard has one goal: how do we best help our students? 

Kinard Middle School World Language team
Kinard Middle School World Language team

From day one, Husted, Jillian Drobnick, Amanda Moerbe, and Sarah Socolofsky have worked hard to build a solid team, finding each other’s strengths and challenging themselves to make one another better educators.   

"I love my job and it helps so much when you love the people you work with,” Husted said. “I couldn’t do this job half as effectively without my team because they’re making me so much better than me by myself. There are so many amazing teams here at Kinard.”  


Building connections in a strong community

Jenn Mitchell, English teacher at Wellington Middle-High School   


Wellington Middle-High School English teacher Jenn Mitchell

For Jenn Mitchell at Wellington Middle-High School, the reason she began teaching is different from why she is still in the profession after 17 years. 

Mitchell’s love for the content, specifically reading and talking about books, encouraged her to begin teaching English. Over time, she has found that watching students grow, build relationships, and celebrate their successes keeps her coming back.  

“On a day-to-day level, it’s just kids are funny," she said. “They’re weird and delightful in so many ways, and when things get really difficult with teaching, I find that if I can just remember to enjoy the humans around me because they’re delightful, then that keeps me going.”  

There is a moment when students become aware of their learning and can take pride in that work. Mitchell's favorite part of teaching is that reflection piece when students can see their progress. 

After working in three different high schools, Mitchell joined WMHS in its opening year and is grateful for the team focus they have at the school. She said that is something she sees the district value overall. 

Not only does the high school team have a strong community, but they are also working to build connections across the building to learn from their colleagues teaching middle school, and many, including Mitchell, have found this valuable. 

“Not only do we get a chance to share ideas, but we get to share perspectives and what works for us," Mitchell said. “You cannot do this work without a team, it’s just too much.”