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Values Awards

values awards

2020-21 AWARDEES

Congratulations to the winners of the District Values Awards for 2020-21! Read more about these awardees, along with an excerpt from their nominator on how they exemplified their specific value. There were over 150 nominees this year. Thank you to all these members of #TeamJeffco for making an impact in your school communities.

Entrepreneurial Spirit

Shere'Vere Walker
Teacher/Internship Director
Brady Exploration High School

Sherevere Walker"Shere'Vere has been instrumental in initiating and developing our Internship Program. She has made partnerships with over 150 business contacts to give students a huge variety of internships to choose from. Most of her students are offered well-paying jobs after the internships. Shere’Vere is a dynamic influential educational leader who challenges the status quo."






Becky Paschke 
Instrumental Music Director 
D'Evelyn Jr/Sr High School

Becky Paschke"Becky is an enthusiastic, creative, out-of-the-box thinker who epitomizes entrepreneurial spirit. Her work in securing an invitation, as one of only two high school marching bands in the nation, to perform for the 2021 Presidential Inauguration was a proud moment for our district. Additionally, once invited, Becky put together a magnificent performance in just two days to create a positive and memorable experience for her students."





Joshua Shellard  
Assistant Principal
Golden High School

Joshua Shellard"Josh is a problem solver, a collaborator, and model for civil discourse. He has been instrumental as the school scheduler to be able to create master schedules that fit the needs of all stakeholders. The past 11 months have provided countless obstacles for scheduling, and Josh has gracefully approached each hurdle with determination and innovation to provide the best outcome for students and staff."

Exemplary Performance

Julie Wilken
Health Services

Julie Wilken"When the pandemic hit, Julie Wilken stepped up in a very big way. By the time Jeffco went full remote in March, Julie was leading the entire district in establishing best practice safety protocols for all through her collaboration with partners to set guidelines, policies, systems of support, staff training, and reassurances. Her command of this unprecedented set of challenges that presented real safety risks to all staff, families and students was swift, competent, comprehensive and scientific, while also remaining inclusive and positive."


 Dana Heller 
Kindergarten Teacher
Thomson Elementary

Dana Heller"Dana has gone above and beyond this year to support her students. While phonics instruction is best done in-person so that you can see the shape of the mouth and placement of the tongue, wearing masks prevents that style from happening. Dana instead recorded all of her phonics lessons so her students could see her mouth movement. She thinks critically, inspires peers to dig deeper into what students need, and her passion for work and love for her students will prepare them for a bright future."





Alice Graves
Senior Training
Instructional Training
581 Conference Pl. & Ed Center

Alice Graves

"Every day Alice brings joy and a light spirit to her unique stand-alone position. Alice goes above and beyond in her work, tackling large surmounting technology tasks, and is always willing to help others with the smaller issues while remaining patient, kind, and supportive to the hundreds of staff members she encounters. Every time she’s been given a unique request, Alice has come back with something she had previously made or makes something in the moment to support our schools and families. Alice is effective, efficient, encouraging, and a priceless resource to Jeffco."


 Luke Dudley
3rd Grade Teacher
Stober Elementary

Luke Dudley

"Luke approaches his work with a fearless and flexible outlook – unafraid to try new instructional strategies and tools. He has not only been a leader, supporting others to learn the resources, but his work has seen his students see tremendous growth in reading. He is an enthusiast who embraces innovation and change, always finding new ways to engage his learners with technology, problem solving, and creative projects."







 Chris Isabell
Facilities Manager
Bear Creek High School

Chris Isabel

"Chris has worked tirelessly this year to safely prepare Bear Creek High School for students. He acts with integrity and leads his team by modeling dedication and teamwork. Whether he is coming in on a Sunday to fix a sprinkler break in a classroom or setting up a classroom for a new teacher, Chris supports his school in so many ways. If it's good for the kids, he's willing to help make it happen – even if it takes extra set up or clean up. We are lucky to have Chris as a dedicated member of Team Jeffco."



 Maria Parfenoff
Food Service Worker
Free Horizon Montessori

Maria Parfenoff

"Maria always has a positive attitude with her co-workers and everyone around her. She shows up on time each day ready to work with a positive attitude. She is always willing to help others and is a joy to work with."



 Angie Arbuckle
Attendance Secretary
Wheat Ridge High School

Angie Arbuckle

"Angie is an unsung hero in our school. Angie’s workload has increased dramatically since COVID hit, but she never complains. She creates spreadsheets, graphs, and charts after ideas are shared with her and brings them to fruition. Angie’s tireless efforts and all the “behind the scenes” work she does positively impacts the whole school community. Her juggling of numerous hats on an ever-changing daily basis is commendable."


Allison MacDonald
Everitt Middle School

Allison McDonald"Allison has a thoughtful way of compassionately dealing with every situation and truly values all people. Whether she is working with students, parents, teachers, or the community, she communicates with honesty and is always a person of her word. She goes out of her way to meet people at their level of understanding and engagement, and serves as the bridge between teachers, administration, and the community. Allison is highly respected by her peers and is the person that everyone in our Everitt community can count on."



 Cecily Klein
Curriculum & Instruction

Cecily Klein

"Cecily is a leader of great integrity. She walks her talk and models professional leadership in ways that provide clarity and cohesion to her colleagues. Cecily seeks the input and collaboration of others so that all are included in decision-making. She is an honorable colleague and teammate in all that she says and does."



 Karen Rufien
Special Education Teacher
Evergreen Middle School

Karen Rufien"Karen is one of the strongest advocates for all students, but in particular, those students who struggle with academics, social/emotional challenges, family circumstances, and more. Karen offers support, comfort, consistency, humor, and care, so that students feel safe to be at their worst and in return, she is often able to bring out their best. She is a fierce advocate – not only for these students, but for teachers. She supports in navigating systems and reports that may be new and unfamiliar, and partners with them to ensure the best academic opportunities and outcomes for both teachers and students alike." 


Michelle Colaizzi
Social Worker/Social Emotional Learning Specialist
Peiffer Elementary School 

Michelle Colaizzi"Peiffer’s school culture is greatly impacted by Michelle's deep accountability and commitment to our community. She has transformed and built capacity for how we implement universal SEL instruction in our building. Michelle co-plans and co-teaches weekly SEL lessons with our teachers and holds our hands as we take risks in our instruction. Her consistency and follow-through has built trusting working relationships among adults, students, and families alike."


Melissa Alvarez Lizano
Family Engagement Liaison
Rose Stein Elementary

Melissa Alvarez Lizano"Melissa (Meli) makes staff, students, and their families feel welcome, included, and valued as part of our educational community. During the trying times of the pandemic, Meli nurtured and established new community connections to provide resources to our underserved community. Meli is quick to take initiative and when she makes a connection to support our school you can count on her building a relationship that will endure. Our families trust Meli and her prowess in bilingual public relations is a tremendous asset for our school community."







Kelly Fox
Kindergarten Teacher
Rooney Ranch Elementary

Kelly Fox"Kelly volunteered to teach remote kindergarten this year. On her own, she connected with other kindergarten teachers across Jeffco creating their own collaborative team. She brings resources from this group back to the teachers at our school, as well as sharing ideas from our staff with them. Kelly’s commitment to collaboration and teamwork allowed her to positively impact the learning experience for kindergarteners at our school, as well as across the many schools she worked with."



Kristy (Kris) Johnson
Paraprofessional - Special Education Building Support
Standley Lake High School

Kristy (Kris) Johnson"Kris is always seeking ways to support teachers and students, and is often found before and after school helping students who need extra support, even if she doesn't get paid for those hours. Kris is willing to do whatever a teacher requests in the classes she supports and is very helpful in the classroom when engaging with students. She sends chat messages to kids reminding them of office hours and asks them to come in for help. Kris is such a gift as a para educator."



Brandy Velasquez
Bus Driver, Non-CDL Driver
South Transportation

Brandy Velasquez"Brandy's dedication to our department is impressive. She has been with Jeffco for almost 30 years and has been a driver, bus assistant, and now a Non-CDL Driver. Brandi has really stepped up to help in the absence of our lead trainer and taken the time to help keep everyone in compliance with First Aid and CPI. Her hard work and helpful attitude make her an amazing role model."









 Isabel Martinez
Health Clinic Aide
Doral Academy of Colorado

Isabel Martinez"Isabel is the definition of team player! She not only is our first line of contact in dealing with any kind of injury or sickness, she is also the first to step up and volunteer to help cover a class, help with lunches, or provide recess coverage. If a student is struggling emotionally or academically and needs help, Isabel is there to listen and talk to them and help process the situation."



Sydney Slifka
5th Grade Teacher
Westgate Elementary School

Sydney Slifka"Team Westgate is continually impressed with Sydney's quality of work and ability to juggle her duties of teaching along with being the building Area Rep (AR). Sydney not only taught remotely which she has done an incredible job with, but also has created ways to keep the community together during COVID to support and encourage one another. She also continues to participate in a variety of learning experiences (PhD program, professional development, JCEA, etc.) and shares her learning and innovative ideas with peers."

Valuing People

Jack Maher 

Multimedia Journalist 

Jack Maher"As the district videographer and storyteller, Jack brings to life the meaningful stories and daily lives of our schools, students, staff, and district. When people work with Jack on a video project, they know from the start that their feelings, concerns, and opinions matter. They trust him to make them “look good and sound good”, and get the story told right. Jack’s commitment to Jeffco is well-known and respected at all levels in the organization, yet it is the way he truly values people, the ones he works with, and those he doesn’t even know, that sets him apart."



Damien Lopez 
Family Engagement Liaison 
Jefferson Jr./Sr. High School

Damien Lopez"Damien Lopez is an incredible asset to the Jefferson Jr./Sr. High School community. Not only does he value and provide support to our families, he also values and supports the staff. He has gone out of his way to help many of us learn how to better meet the needs of our students at Jefferson - ensuring equity is always at the center of the work that we do. It is clear through every interaction that he believes in the respect and dignity of all individuals, regardless of who they are."


Michelle Clark 
Upper Elementary Teacher 
Compass Montessori Wheat Ridge

Michelle Clark"Michelle goes above and beyond to support her colleagues and students ensuring they have a welcoming space where they can feel heard and valued. Michelle has dedicated her time to leading our Compass Equity Committee for the past two years, teamed up with our secondary school's GSA to create an enrichment program called “Truly Me,” wherein all children are invited to gather to express themselves through art and fun projects with the help of GSA peer mentors, and headed up our "Share the Love" event this year allowing our children to give back to their community in meaningful ways."


Micah Porter
Associate Principal 
Warren Tech 

Micah Porter"Micah has been amazingly supportive to staff and students, he advocates for the unheard, he sees all sides of a situation, he challenges systems to create change, and honors tradition and developed practice. More than anything, he inspires and motivates everyone else to be the best version of themselves through support, compassion, empathy and accountability – which is a hard balance.
With the challenges of operating remotely and hybrid, Micah has gone above and beyond to reach out to each staff member individually to make sure they are heard and respected."


Melissa Karp
TOSA Instructional Support
Connections Learning Center

Melissa Karp"Melissa has taken a proactive lead in bringing professional development opportunities to staff to support everyone in self-care, growth, and collaboration. Connections is a unique environment with significant challenges and Melissa has changed the culture and climate in the building, which in turn benefits students. In her years of service for Jeffco as a teacher, coach, master teacher, and administrator, she consistently has embraced and supported all aspects of diversity in staff and students. Her ability to consider and present all perspectives throughout the decision-making process is remarkable."


Bracelle Peters
Digital Teacher Librarian
Witt Elementary

Bracelle Peters"Bracelle works to create positive relationships with students and staff on a daily basis. She makes others feel respected and valued, raising up both students and staff to their fullest potential. Bracelle
engages with all stakeholders to help our building run smoothly, both in-person and remote. She wears many hats! Not only is she the best librarian, tech teacher, instructional coach, and has multiple other school leadership roles – she is the most pleasant person!"

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