PSD staff achievements: degrees, awards, presentations and more!

Congrats to staff on their accomplishments!

Degrees, certifications and accomplishments

  • Melissa Dalrymple, Timnath Elementary teacher, was selected as Rotary Teacher of the Month for September and honored at a Rotary breakfast in October.

  • Josanne Lucas, Fort Collins High School science teacher and track and field coach and Olympic athlete, became a United States citizen in August and was featured in this North Forty News article.

  • Heather KO, TOSA -FCHS and Futures Lab, recently earned a principal license through CSU Global.

  • Amanda Smith, assistant controller received her Masters of Science in Education in August 2019. 

    Cristi Thomas, FRHS special education teacher and coach, works with soccer players.
          Cristi Thomas with her team


  • Cristi Thomas, Fossil Ridge High School special education teacher, is the state coordinator and soccer coach for the TOPSoccer team through the Fort Collins Soccer Club. TOPSoccer is a community-based training and team program for young athletes with disabilities. The program provides learning and playing opportunities for children ages 4 and up who have been diagnosed with a disability. 



  • PSD Classified Leadership program: Several PSD classified staff recently graduated from the Classified Leadership program and presented their capstone projects to district staff and leadership at the Lincoln Center. Projects included proposals for the development of an extensive on-boarding program for classified staff, development of a career development mentoring program for classified staff, and development of a data collection program for Integrated Services' intensive teaching.
    PSD classified staff group who graduated from the Classified Leadership program.
               Classified Leadership class
    • Congratulations to these staff members: Christina Erickson, Wellness/Benefits Technician; Betsy Westberry, Data Analyst II in IT; Amanda Brantley, Wellness Coordinator; Jessica Ericson, Customer Support Specialist in Facilities; Stan Grant, IT Project Coordinator; Brad Randall, Web & Graphic Designer in Communications; David Murphy, Lead Technician in Outdoor Services; Laura Chandler, Dispatcher in Transportation; Brendan Willits, Planning Manager in Planning, Design and Construction; Donna Miller, special education paraprofessional at Rocky Mountain High School; Marnie Jones, Integrated Services Registered Behavior Technician

Honors and awards

  • Hayden Camp, Werner Elementary principal, was selected as the 2018-19 Distinguished Service Awards from the CAESP (Colorado Association of Elementary School Principals) at the CASE conference in July.  

  • Kelley Madden, RMHS counselor.
               Kelley Madden

    John Garner, Fossil Ridge High School technical theater director, has been selected the Colorado Theatre Education High School Educator of the Year by the Colorado State Thespians.


  • Kelley Madden, Rocky Mountain High School counselor, was selected as the 2019 High School Counselor of the Year by the Colorado School Counselor Association.  

  • Matt Gohl and Philip Primo, with PSD TV, received an Emmy from the Heartland Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The award was for the "Student Experience: Casey Kraft" video. They were also selected for an excellence award for the entire "Student Experience" video series from the Colorado Schools Public Relations Association

  • Amanda Brantley, district wellness manager, received the Governor's Award for Worksite Wellness, which recognized PSD as one of the healthiest places to work in Colorado. 

  • Nick Smosna of PSD Integrated Services
         Nick Smosna

    Alicia Stice, with PSD Communications, was selected for an excellence award for social media campaigns by the Colorado Schools Public Relations Association. 

  • Nick Smosna, Integrated Services assistant director, was selected as Educator of the Year by the City

    of Fort Collins Commission on Disability 2019 Community Recognition awards. Other nominees from PSD include:

    • Jeanne Abkarian, IEP system coordinator; DJ Sedey, enrich support TOSA; and Tracy Scholar, department technician - PSD Enrich team
    • Jackie Myers, Boltz Middle School special education paraprofessional II
    • Kathleen Scandary, Boltz Middle School teacher
  • Andrea Hollenbeck, Preston teacher, received a $500 Kayla Foundation grant to bring music therapists in to work with students with special needs. She was also selected as guest honor band conductor for the Adams County Middle School Honor Band.

    Lopez teacher Cathy Martin
       Cathy Martin
  • Kathy MacKay, Poudre High School principal, was asked to serve on the selection committee for the 2020 National School Counselor of the Year by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA).
  • Catherine Martin, Lopez Elementary teacher, was selected for the Colorado Council of Teachers of Mathematics 2019 Outstanding Mathematics Teacher award.

  • Christine Mathie, FCHS teacher, received the University of Chicago "Outstanding Educator of the Year" award. She was nominated by her students Lucius Gao and Isabel Layne. 

  • Stacy Poncelow, PSD grants coordinator, was nominated for the Colorado School Counselor Association Advocate of the Year award.


Presentations, publications and conferences

  • Meg Griffin and Melanie Potyondy, PSD school psychologists, were selected to present at the annual Colorado Society of School Psychologists conference in November. They will present on the impact of social media usage upon social connectedness.

  • Bethany Condon, Lauren Kiel and Cass Poncelow, PSD counselors, wrote a "Mental Health Matters" article featured in the October issue of American School Counselor magazine.

  • Cass Poncelow, PHS counselor, and Denny Bain, PHS teacher, and recent PHS graduates Blake Knipple and Whitney Buckendorf will present at the National Safe School Convening School Culture and Climate Symposium in Denver

  • Andrea Hollenbeck, Preston Middle School teacher, has been selected as a guest speaker for College Nafme (National Association of Music Education) and as a clinician at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Conference in Chicago in December. She will also be featured in the November edition of School Band Orchestra national magazine.

  • Sheala Henke, Bennett Elementary teacher, has published a children's book titled Painting Half The Sky, a middle-grade fantasy folktale retelling to be released in October. She will be a guest author at a neighborhood toy story day.

    PSD educators attend the DENSI conference.
      PSD educators at the DENSI conference.
  • Lindsay Holmes, Laura Schachet, and Becky Woodcox, PSD educators, were selected through a

    competitive application process to attend Discovery Education’s recent DEN Summer Institute. DENSI is an immersive, residential-style professional development experience where participants connect with a global community of educators and learn through seminars and workshops from keynote speakers, the Discovery Education team, and members of the Discovery Education Community.

  • Tom Schachet, Dawn Donahue, Kristy Zimich, Kasey Ross, and Rheo Zawadzki, outstanding team from the mountain schools, presented at InnEdCO2019. The presentation focused on strategies and tech tools that support personalized and blended learning for educators across Colorado. Check out materials from the presentation here.

    Participants at the InnEdCo2019 conference work in groups at tables.
         PSD educators design comedy clubs at InnEdCO19.
  • Kevin Murray, professional learning coordinator, presented a session on virtual reality using CoSpaces at InnEdCO19. The session was well attended by educators from across Colorado, including 12 PSD educators. Participants designed a comedy club scene, coded the comedian to tell a joke, and included sound effects like laugh tracks and applause. See some of the creations on twitter > #InnEdCOSpaces and get a peak at session materials (designed to be self guided) at
  • Debbie Holman and Joanna Clark, Wellington Middle School teachers, presented at InnEdCO19 at a snapshot poster session. They presented a poster on the passion projects that Wellington Middle School eighth-grade students work on throughout the year. Here's a link to the slides with a description of the project.