The Association of Classified Employees will honor seven outstanding classified employees at a special banquet at 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 25, at the Fort Collins Senior Center. Winners were nominated by their colleagues in recognition of their dedication and commitment to the students of Poudre School District.
The banquet will honor five staff members selected as ACE Employees of the Year, and two staff members selected for the Brett Holm and Don Morford awards.
"These exceptional employees are positive role models who strive to identify with students and meet their needs," explained Katy Montoya, ACE President. "Demonstrating excellence on the job, they are innovative, enthusiastic people who take initiative, provide exceptional customer service and make significant contributions to students and staff."
Banquet tickets are $20 and are available through Wednesday, April 20, by contacting Sue Torres at 488-7502 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staff to be honored include:
Brett Holm Award: Lauren Roth has been selected by the PSD Transportation Department to receive the 2011-12 Brett Holm award. Lauren has worked six years in PSD.
"I have not been acquainted with anyone who has given as much to children as Lauren has," said Jean Johannsen, south terminal manager. "She has been an inspiration to many of us. Brett would have been proud to have Lauren receive this award."
Don Morford Award: Sherry Dickinson, head custodian at Polaris School of Expeditionary Learning, has been selected for the 2011-12 Don Morford custodial award. Sherry is credited for her positive attitude and strong work ethic.
“Sherry is adaptable, courteous and hard working…Sherry has been nothing but accommodating since we moved into her facility,” said Polaris Principal Joe Gawronski, in the nomination materials. “Her ability to manage and clean our facility is impressive as well. With our varying schedules and our multi-aged population there are many details to juggle throughout any given day, week or year. Sherry handles these challenges with grace while cleaning the facility with impeccable attention to detail.”
ACE Employees of the Year:
Laura Dusbabek, ELL Family Liason at Poudre High School, often acts more than just an interpreter for students and their families. She is a student’s advocate who monitors their progress in classes and helps them understand how things operate in the school and supports the family beyond the school setting. She gives a voice to the families she serves.
A nomination letter from Kathy Mackay, PHS assistant principal, highlighted Laura’s strengths, “Laura helps families feel more connected to our school. Her role of translating information into a family’s first language breaks down barriers and demonstrates respect…Diversity is something we value at Poudre. Laura is integral in celebrating that diversity and showing all families that we value their culture and language. Without amazing employees like Laura connecting parents to their student’s education, I can’t imagine that we would have as great of student achievement as we do.”
Chad Fisher, coordinator of enrichment/violin tutor at Laurel Elementary School of Arts and Technology, is credited with growing a unique, school violin arts-based program that is recognized across the district. Since he began teaching violin at Laurel in 2008, the program has grown from 50 to 175 students. Chad, who teaches 40 small group violin classes weekly, also took the initiative to start a Mandolin club, Fiddle Club and Blue Grass Club, which meet either before or after school. He is eager to do whatever is necessary to create a successful experience for his students, including adapting a violin for a special needs student so that he could play from his wheelchair.
“Chad truly enjoys working with children and teaching them to play violin and mandolin. He continually seeks ways to improve the program and teaching. During the summer of 2010 Chad attended a national Suzuki training and learned that Laurel’s program is unique and may be the only violin program in the nation that serves K-5 students during the school day at no cost,” said Tommie Sue Cox, Laurel principal. “He is an ambassador in the Fort Collins community, promoting arts in Poudre School District.”
Sue McPhaul, Integrated Services paraprofessional at Stove Prairie Elementary School has worked six years in PSD. Sue is a dedicated special education paraprofessional who creates and implements lessons geared toward state standards, as well as individual goals. In addition, she focuses on creating self-esteem and pride for every student that she works with and she developed an incentive-based program to motivate her students. Sue was a valuable contributor to a targeted-learning opportunity grant awarded to Stove Prairie, helping to develop and host a program for students who struggle with writing.
“Sue personally crafts the lessons for each of her students individually. She works with the certified staff, to ensure her lessons compliment the lessons in the general education classroom. She involves the students’ parents, so there is transparency in the education she provides. In addition, Sue is willing to adapt any lessons that do not reach her expectations,” said Nicole Ostroski, Stove Prairie teacher.
Erin Murray, office manager at Rocky Mountain High School, has worked 11 years for PSD and is heavily involved in several RMHS activities and service projects. She models exemplary customer service, organization, and quality leadership skills. Her initiatives include job cross-training so jobs are covered during absences, regular meetings to share upcoming items happening in Rocky’s world and encouraging special training to help staff develop RMHS classified employees so they could grow in their current role and also advance in their career.
“Erin has effectively fostered an amazing sense of teamwork throughout all of our classified staff. She sees the talent in people. Erin provides an environment where diverse people can become unified into a cohesive team,” said Tom Lopez, RMHS principal. “Erin develops through her personal modeling, a sincere, service-oriented, kindness to everyone approach to organizational professionalism and customer service. She takes pride in knowing what is happening in the building and how she may assist in efficiency, effectiveness, or simply give emotional support to whomever is leading an activity…Erin utilizes an array of successful approaches with staff, students, and parents.”
Maria Ortiz, enrichment coordinator at Irish and Putnam Elementary Schools and Lincoln Middle School, began her career in PSD as an Integrated Services paraprofessional at Irish, showing compassion while holding students accountable for the behavior and setting high standards for students. In addition to those duties, she also ran one of Irish’s first after-school programs, working with volunteers, parents, and city and district personnel in order to provide quality programs for students. This program has now grown to a tri-school partnership that includes Irish, Putnam and Lincoln and is funded by a competitive federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant. She manages this comprehensive after-school program that provides academic support, physical activity and healthy snacks to hundreds of students each year.
“Ms Ortiz is more than an educator for our students. She is an activitist; educating parents, teachers, principals and the community at large. She can captivate and motivate any audience from a classroom full of kids to a board room full of superintendents, mayors and council members, community and business leaders,” said Lindsey Walton, Irish principal. “She is meticulous in managing the 21st Century Learning Grant…Her leadership inspires me and she is a role model for me to be the best leader that I can be.”