Recognizing Excellence in APS

Lisa Stucker

Aurora Public Schools is excited to see the APS 2020: Shaping the Future strategic plan coming to life across the district. Students, parents, staff and community members are going above and beyond to ensure APS students have the plans, skills and credentials they need to shape successful futures.

Each month, we celebrate great examples of this work in our P-20 Learning Communities. Following are highlights from Community S.

Lisa Stucker
Lansing Elementary School Assistant Principal Lisa Stucker (pictured right) spent her summer break creating a Parent Welcome Center. The center provides a place for parents to connect with staff, obtain resources such as food and clothing and even take ESL classes. Lisa wrote and received multiple grants to fund the project. Thanks to her vision and dedication, Lansing has more parent engagement than ever.

Barbara Holter
Iowa Elementary School kitchen manager Barbara Holter cares deeply for the children at her school. No matter how hectic her work day gets, she goes the extra mile to support students in any way needed.

Barbara utilizes her time in the cafeteria to teach students manners and respect and helps them build strong foundations for success. Outside of school, Barbara volunteers at Iowa’s Skate City nights where she is a favorite with students and families.

Breanne Determan
Century Elementary School Art teacher Breanne Determan plays a vital role in the school’s STEAM Enrichment program. Her work with students allows them to continue to exceed expectations. Breanna supported Century’s music teacher with creating the school’s first drama club and was also the encouragement behind two students whose artwork was selected for the city’s calendar.

Corey Wiggins
Social Studies teacher Corey Wiggins leads a Youth in Government program at Gateway High School. The program gives students an opportunity to participate in mock legislative sessions at the Colorado State Capitol. Students pass bills, challenge their constitutionality and work as members of the press. For the second consecutive year, Gateway had the largest group of students participate in the state.

Deborah Klepsch
Wheeling Elementary’s Deborah Klepsch is described as the backbone of her school. As the principal’s secretary, Deborah puts on multiple hats and supports all Wheeling teachers. She never wavers in her ability to support staff members and encourage students.  Much of Wheeling’s success this year can be attributed to her hard work and dedication.

Casey Callan and Timothy Klatt
Century Elementary School fourth- and fifth-grade teachers Casey Callan and Timothy Klatt established the school’s first ski club. The club provides students an opportunity to enjoy their first ski lessons on the beautiful slopes of Loveland.

Thanks to Casey and Tim’s efforts, students are able to engage in memorable learning experiences outside of the classroom.

Wendy Kickland
Iowa Elementary School Principal Secretary Wendy Kickland is someone who Iowa’s students, staff and parents know they can count on. She is always willing to assist with front door duty, cafeteria duty, student discipline, the Parent Teacher Organization, Skate City Nights, food drives and much more. Wendy also volunteers outside of the school and serves as a second lieutenant in the Civil Air Patrol.

Tricia Dutton Morato
Wheeling Elementary School Teaching Partner and IB Coordinator Tricia Morato makes a positive impact on students and staff every day. She leads data analysis; facilitates observation and feedback sessions; and co-plans and co-teaches in the classroom daily with an unwavering commitment to excellence.

Tricia is hailed by her colleagues as an invaluable resource to Wheeling’s turnaround work and supports APS' vision for 21st century learning.

Thomas Kielmeyer
Century Elementary School Music teacher Thomas Kielmeyer is a vital part of the school’s STEAM programming, as well. He founded Century’s first school choir and partnered with Century’s art teacher to create a drama club. Thomas goes above and beyond his regular job duties on a daily basis, all while maintaining a positive attitude.

Kelley McNalley
“Our kids need us to be on point every day!” This quote from Kelley McNalley, Wheeling Elementary School special education teacher and multi-tiered system of supports leader, is the unofficial motto of the school’s MTSS work and characterizes Kelley’s unwavering focus. Kelley helped build instructional equity, promoted a positive staff culture and is committed to her students’ growth goals. Her leadership led to the creation of an MTSS model that is being celebrated and studied across APS.

Desiree Jarimillo
Iowa Elementary School ELA teacher Desiree Jarimillo makes refugee students and families feel welcomed and supported. She is an amazing teacher who keeps in contact with many students, even after they leave the school. Her commitment to excellence upholds the APS 2020 core belief that a district with students at its center provides an adaptable and responsible foundation for learning.

Lora Decker
Gateway High School Activities & Athletics Secretary Lora Decker does a phenomenal job organizing the Shop with an Oly program. The program instills in students the importance of community service and helping those in need. In December, Lora partnered Gateway students with Jewell, Wheeling and Virginia Court elementary school students to host a fundraising event for families in need during the holidays. Students raised more than $8,000, which allowed over 80 families to enjoy a shopping spree.

Heidi Munger and Tina Jones
Iowa Elementary School kindergarten teacher Heidi Munger and first-grade teacher Tina Jones started the school’s annual Fun Run. The event, which is held at the end of each school year, attracts many community volunteers, exemplifying the APS 2020 core belief that community partnerships provide vital resources and opportunities for students and families.

Lesley Rhodes
Century Elementary School Social Worker Leslie Rhodes is a vital part of the school’s Affective Needs programming. Students adore Leslie, who is known to always have a positive attitude. She supports students both individually and in groups, while simultaneously supporting teachers with student behavior, social skills lessons and everything in between.