Board of Education Recognitions

Outstanding Accomplishments

2019-20 School Year


  • CDE 2019 award schools



  • John Garner, Fossil Ridge High School teacher, Colorado High School Theater Educator of the Year
  • Cathy Martin, Lopez Elementary teacher, Colorado Council of Teachers of Mathematics 2019 Outstanding Mathematics Teacher



  • Kelley Madden, Rocky Mountain High School counselor, Colorado High School Counselor of the Year
  • Colorado State University partnership and support for PSD


  • Amanda Brantley, district wellness manager, Governor's Award for Worksite Wellness
  • PSD Teacher Externship program community partners
  • CSU Supply Our Students partners



Communications awards:

  • Emmy Award for Matt Gohl and Phillip Primo with PSD TV
  • Colorado School Public Relations Awards for Alicia Stice, Matt Gohl and Phillip Primo


2018-19 School Year

June 11

  • Outstanding academic scholars from the Class of 2019
  • Spring 2019 athletic state champions
  • Wellington Middle School - AVID Site of Distinction
  • PSD Insight graduates



May 14

  • 2019 Trailblazer School of the Year - Preston Middle School
  • 2019 Dale Yost Teacher and Coach of the Year - Conrad Crist, FCHS
  • Association of Classified Employees of the Year awardees
  • Mary Hull Integrated Services awardees


April 9

  • Winter athletic state and national champions (swimming, wrestling, spirit squad)
  • Colorado 5A Cross Country Ski Coach of the Year - Coach Kyle Steitz
  • PSD Spelling Bee Winner - Haley Kendall, Liberty Common School


March 12

  • 2019 Outstanding New Family and Consumer Sciences Professional - Ashley Acuff, Fort Collins High School teacher


February 12

The Board of Education recognized the directors of music ensembles selected to perform at the Colorado Music Educators Association (CMEA) Conference. They also recognized community partners who help support music education in PSD.  

CMEA selections: 
•    FCHS A Cappella  - Kaitlin Miles, director
•    The Men of Kinard and Preston - Jean Johnson, Preston director; and Scott Wheeler, Kinard director
•    PHS Jazz Band 1 - Corry Petersen, director
•    RMHS Echoes - Elizabeth Hohweiler, director
•    RMHS Prima Voce - Chris Thompson, director

Community Music Partners recognized:
•    Bohemian Foundation - Riley Phipps and Cheryl Zimlich
•    The Kayla Foundation - Lisa and Eric Adsit
•    The Kristie Stajduhar Music Fund - Mike and Carol Stajduhar



January 8

The Board of Education recognized the Fossil Ridge High School Marching Band 5A 2019 State Champions and PSD schools that received Colorado Department of Education awards.

John Irwin Schools of Excellence Award – The John Irwin Schools of Excellence award recognizes schools that demonstrate excellent academic achievement. On the school performance framework used by the state to evaluate schools, these schools exceed expectations on the indicator for academic achievement over three years. 
•    Bacon Elementary
•    Bennett Elementary
•    Bethke Elementary
•    Dunn Elementary
•    Fossil Ridge High School
•    Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School
•    Kruse Elementary
•    Liberty Common Elementary 
•    Liberty Common High School
•    Livermore Elementary
•    McGraw Elementary
•    PSD Global Academy
•    Tavelli Elementary
•    Traut Core Knowledge Elementary
•    Werner Elementary
•    Zach Elementary

High School Academic Growth Award –  Liberty Common High School (Principal Torgun Lovely will be there); This award recognizes high schools that show the highest levels of students’ academic growth in state assessments. 

Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Awards -  The Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award is given to schools that demonstrate excellent student growth. On the school performance framework used by the state to evaluate schools, these schools exceed expectations on the indicator related to longitudinal academic growth over three years.
•    Harris Bilingual Elementary
•    Livermore Elementary, 
•    Red Feather Lakes Elementary
•    Traut Core Knowledge Elementary

Colorado Centers of Excellence Award  –  Putnam Elementary 
This CDE award celebrates schools with the highest rates of student growth in schools in which at least 75 percent of students are considered at-risk. Putnam was one of just 15 schools in the state to receive this award.


December 11

Fall high school athletic state champions and coaches were recognized. 

  • 5A Boys Golf Team State Champions: Fossil Ridge High School Boys Golf Team
  • 5A Boys Golf Individual 2018 State Champion and CHSSA Player of the Year:  Dillon Stewart, Fossil Ridge High School
  • 5A Boys Golf CHSSA Coaches of the Year: Andy Stevens and Jamie Menefee, Fossil Ridge High School
  • 5A Boys #4 Doubles Tennis State Champions: Brady Elliot and John Shelby, Fossil Ridge High School



November 13

National Blue Ribbon Schools, 2018 Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership and CASE Rookie Principal of the Year were recognized for their selection.

Aisha Thomas, Zach Elementary principal - 2018 Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership

Alissa Poduska, Shepardson Elementary principal - CASE Rookie Principal of the Year

National Blue Ribbon Schools - Zach and Tavelli Elementary Schools


October 9

PSD Language, Culture and Equity Family Liaisons were recognized for their "promising practices" by the Colorado Department of Education's Office of Family-School Partnerships. Family liaisons and their promising practice:

  • Alessandra Vassaux – Improving Latino Parent Involvement through Home Visits
  • Veronica Carrillo - Noche de CienciasKarina Autenrieth - Newcomer Celebration
  • Alejandra Orozco - Club HouseMarcela Santamaria & Eric Schmitz - Beating the Summer Slide Package
  • Laura Dusbabek & Aloha Arceo - Visiting our Families
  • Amany Elkahwagy - Parenting Partners
  • Araceli Lopez - Math and Literacy Game Night
  • Aracelli Green - Middle School Transition Informational Meeting
  • Manal Hafiz - Financial Aid and FAFSA Night and Dunn ELL Parent Engagement Night (ELD information/access CMAC night)


September 11

Supply Our Students partnerships: Great appreciation was extended to community organizations and businesses that participated in the "Supply Our Students" drive, collecting needed back-to-school items for students.

Organizations and supporters:

  • Colorado State University: School is Cool program
  • OtterCares Foundation “Pack2School” program
  • Realities for Children Annual School Supply Drive
  • Volunteers of America Northern Colorado 
  • Intel 


August 14

The Board of Education recognized the PSD Mac the Bus partners and PSD Externship partners in August. 

​Mac the Bus Partners - The Tavelli Elementary MAC Bus project has been successful thanks to the support of the PSD Foundation, their anonymous donor, and the contributions and hard work of many community members, including:​

  • Saunders Heath Construction - Dan Dirksen and Dave Sandlin
  • Intel - Kris Soltis
  • Kaiser Permanente - Dawn Paepke
  • BC Interiors - Scott Cooper
  • RB+B Architects - Casey Adler
  • PSD Foundation - Gary Rogers
  • Mohawk Flooring - Bob Cox
  • Jet Marketing - Jackie O’Hara 
  • Tavelli Elementary School - Christine Hendricks, principal, and Shirley Woods, assistant principal

PSD Teacher Externship Program gives high school teachers opportunities to work with local businesses to learn about careers and employment opportunities. Insights are shared with students to better prepare them for success after graduation. ​The Externship program is supported by the PSD Foundation and the PSD Human Resources Department and managed by the Partnership Office.​

PSD 2018 Externship Partners:

  • Poudre Fire Authority - Madeline Noblett
  • Columbine Health Systems - Joyce Saffel
  • CSU Admissions - Timalyn O’Neill and Heather Daniels
  • RB+B Architects - Casey Adler
  • UC Health - Brooke Floerke
  • Woodward - Amy McNaughton


2017-18 School Year

June 12

Colorado Science Olympiad Champions - Preston Middle School and Fossil Ridge High School teams

Athletic State Champions Spring 2018

•    State #1 Single Girls State Tennis Champion Ky Ecton, Poudre High School

•    State Shot Put and Discuss Champion Gabby, Rocky Mountain High

•    State Long Jump Champion Micaylon Moore, Fort Collins High

•    State Triple Jump Champion Allam Bushara, Fort Collins High

•    State 100 Fly Champion, State 200 IM Champion and Swimmer of the Year Danny Kovac, Fossil Ridge High School

•    State 100 Free Champion Matt Geraghty, Fossil Ridge High School 

PSD Insight  Program - participants: Casey Adler, Annie Berndt, Rebekah Harvey, Rebekah Karasko, Christa Keivan, Sara Wilson, Lisa Laake, Derra Larsen, Kathryn Nichols, Stephen Pursley, Carmen Rule, Lauren Smiley, Holly Tarry, Danielle Thomas, Celeste Warf, Katie Watkins, Elizabeth Winn and Kristi Zambrano.



May 8 

Master FCCLA Advisor - Kelsey Mauch, RMHS Family and Consumer Sciences teacher and FCCLA advisor

Ocean Science Bowl and Science Bowl Champions - Fort Collins High School team

Boettcher Scholars  -
Jay Chandra, Fossil Ridge High School
Anuja Gore, Fort Collins High School
Shreya Pandit, Fossil Ridge High School
Maddison Schink, Poudre High School
Chelsea Wang, Fossil Ridge High School

Daniels Fund Scholars- 
Laura Rencher, Liberty Common High School
Grace Wankelman, Poudre High School



April 10

Outstanding community partner - Colorado State University

Colorado State Chess Association Scholastic State Championships – Ridgeview Classical School Chess Team (K-8)
Alexander Marsh
Jack Nauman
Aiden Sirotkine
Damian Yanez
Daniel Yanez

Coach Gunnar Anderson 



March 20

Outstanding community partner - ARC

PSD spelling bee winner - Rahul Ghosh, Kinard Middle School

Preston Science Bowl state champions - Dustin Mock (8th), Ethan Lin (8th), Lucas Mellinger (8th), Sophie Wang (7th), Jackson Dryg (6th) and Coach Logan Burke

Fort Collins High School History Bowl/Bee state champions - Brooke Kron, Henry Cafaro (placed first in the individual junior varsity event), Luka Robenalt (placed first in the individual varsity event), Lincoln Brandt, Doug Ringer and Coach Connor Payne


Athletic awards:

5A Wrestling State Champion 145 lb and  5A Wrestling Coach of the Year: Jacob Greenwood, Poudre High School and Barret Golyer, PHS coach

4A Girls Swimming Individual State Champion: 100 Butterfly and 100 backstroke - Audrey Reimer, Fort Collins High School 

5A Girls Swimming State Champions: State Team Champions - Fossil Ridge High School Girls Swim Team
200 Free FRHS Relay Team State Champions – Andrea Niemann, Coleen Gillilan, Caraline Baker, Madeline Mason
200 Medley FRHS Relay Team State Champions – Kylee Alons, Bayley Stewart, Zoe Bartel, Coleen Gillilan
400 Freestyle FRHS Relay Team State Champions – Kylee Alons, Bayley Stewart, Zoe Bartel, Caraline Baker
5A Individual State Champion Winners:
50 Freestyle and 100 Freestyle – Kylee Alons, FRHS
100 Backstroke – Bayley Stewart, FRHS
200 Individual Medley and 100 Breaststroke– Zoe Bartel, FRHS
200 Freestyle and 100 Butterfly – Coleen Gillilan, FRHS


February 13

National School Counselor of the Year finalist (selected by American School Counselors Association) Cassie Poncelow, Poudre High School

National Board of Professional Teaching Standards Certification
Poudre High School math teachers Elissa Pitts, Kristine Bibbey and Marcia Lewis 

Community program for supporting PSD students
Center for Family Outreach 

  • Laurie Klith, executive director
  • Avie Strand –President
  • Kendra Johnson Board member
  • Charlie Carter Board member
  • Tom List Board member
  • Megan Verros staff
  • Rachel Kelly staff
  • Heidi Borrego staff


CDE award winning schools were recognized by the Board. 

Putnam Elementary was awarded a Centers of Excellence award for excellent academic achievement. Read the success story here. 

Governor’s Distinguished Improvement awards are given to schools that demonstrate excellent student growth. PSD schools selected for this award include: Bacon, Harris, Livermore, McGraw, Mountain Sage, O’Dea, Riffenburgh, Shepardson, Traut, Werner, Zach Elementary schools.

John Irwin Schools of Excellence awards recognize schools that demonstrate excellent academic achievement. PSD schools selected for this award include: Bacon, Bennett, Bethke, Dunn, Livermore, Kruse, McGraw, Red Feather Lakes, Traut, Werner and Zach Elementary Schools; Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School; Fossil Ridge High School; Liberty Common Charter School; and the Fort Collins Montessori school.



November 14

Several music educators were recognized November 14 for recent honors and two community programs for their caring support of students. 

Music Honors

Ensembles selected to perform at the Colorado Music Educators Association conference in January:

  • Boltz MS Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Melissa Claeys
  • FCHS Tower Orchestra under the direction of John Hermanson 
  • RMHS Rocky Mountain Singers under the direction of Elizabeth Hohweiler
  • RMHS Rocky Mountain Winds under the direction of Scott Schlup

Colorado American String Teachers Association Teacher of the Year award winner: Loni Obluda, Lesher Middle School teacher

Selection to perform at the Music for All National Concert Band Festival: Kinard’s Symphonic Band under direction of Mike Perez 

Community programs for supporting PSD students:

Project Smile & Vision Program (with Lion’s Club) - attendees:

  • Bill See
  • Pat Reid
  • Ron Lautzenheiser
  • Jeannie Craft
  • Faye Lockner – Lions Club, Valuable Volunteer
  • Carole Kitchell – Lions Club, Chair of KidSight at Fort Collins Lions
  • Melody Bettenhausen – Lions Club President.

Coats and Boots Program - attendees:

  • Don Butler



October 10

A Fort Collins High School teacher who received a state award and two community partners were recognized. .

Outstanding Teacher of the Year: Fort Collins High School math teacher Chris Suppes was recognized for being selected as an Outstanding Teacher of the Year by the Colorado Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Community Partnerships: Book Trust and the McBackpack program were recognized for their caring and valuable support of PSD students.



September 12

A bilingual educator receiving a state award and several community partners for their school supply drives were honored. 

CABE Educational Leader of the Year: Daniel Gallegos, of the PSD Language, Culture and Equity department, was recognized for being selected as the Educational Leader of the Year by the Colorado Association for Bilingual Education.

Supply Our Students partnerships: Great appreciation was extended to community organizations and businesses that participated in the "Supply Our Students" drive, collecting needed back-to-school items for students.

Organizations and supporters:

  • Kathy Phifer, CSU’s School Is Cool program
  • Kris and Don Soltis, both with Intel’s Employee Giving                                        
  • Serena Robb, Realities for Children                                                                    
  • David Williams, OtterCares Pack2School program                                         
  • Heather Gregory, Volunteers of America
  • Andrew Davies, Volunteers of America (not able to attend)
  • Shelly Lynch, CSU’s School Is Cool program (not able to attend)
  • Toni Mbowe, Front Range Village’s Stuff the Bus (not able to attend)
  • Gary Rogers, OtterCares Pack2School program (not able to attend)