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Submitted by Karen Fisher
After more than 18 years as a parent leader and volunteer in the Cherry Creek School District, Karen Fisher has announced her candidacy for the District E seat on the Board of Education.
“It’s the right time to combine my school, community and professional experience to make a meaningful difference for all students,” Fisher said. “There’s no more important work than preparing students to succeed in tomorrow’s economy and to participate as fully functioning members of society. As a school board member, it will be my job to set a strategic direction so all students graduate from our high schools ready for college and their careers.”
Fisher’s experience spans school, district and community levels. She has led elementary, middle and high school accountability committees to close student achievement gaps. She also has served on district-wide boards and committees, such as Citizens for Cherry Creek Schools, which helped to pass the $25 million budget and $125 million bond election last November.
In March, the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation honored Fisher and her husband Bill with the 2013 Champions of Education award for their long-time service and dedication to Cherry Creek Schools and public education. Three of their six children currently attend district schools. The other three are graduates of the Cherry Creek School District.
“Students and families deserve informed, dedicated and accessible school board members who can help to navigate what’s next for Colorado’s public schools,” Fisher said. “The Cherry Creek School District is a high performing system, and we’ll need to evolve to stay on top. As a school board member, it will be a priority to listen to students, parents and educators and to make sure students learn relevant skills they need to succeed, teachers and principals get training and tools they need to be effective, and schools are safe places for students to learn and teachers to teach.”
Fisher serves on the executive boards of two groups that support the school district—the Parents’ Council of Cherry Creek Schools and the nonprofit Community Asset Project. She also serves on two community nonprofit boards – Friends for Families First and the Fine Arts Foundation.
Her professional expertise is in finance, budgeting and corporate lending.
For more information visit www.KarenFisherSchoolBoard.com.
Election Day is Nov. 5.
On April 26, state Sen. Linda Newell, D-Littleton, paid tribute to Olympian Missy Franklin on the Colorado Senate floor. The senator said, in part: “From her academic and athletic excellence at Regis Jesuit High School and culminating in representing the United States at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, where Missy set six Olympic records, three world records and came home with four Olympic gold medals. Missy is not only an inspiration to Coloradans and Americans, but to athletes and young women everywhere. This woman looks so good without makeup!”Photo courtesy of Colorado State Senate Majority Office
Casey Lloyd, Bridget Zerr, Alicia Chambers and Raquel Isenhart
By Glory Weisberg
The Cherry Creek Schools are indeed “Dedicated to Excellence” and on April 25 the District and Parents Council honored its volunteers, those who serve without pay throughout the year in a variety of ways.
Superintendent Mary Chesley got a standing ovation and spent the evening of her birthday on the stage at the DTC Hyatt, whispering kind words to each adult and posing with the volunteers she so obviously admires. Many of those honorees donate their time to the schools their children attend, others, some grandparents, others just truly dedicated to the district.
“The children so need you volunteers there one day a week and the children look for you on that one day and when they see you walk in they smile,” Chesley said. She will be missed after she retires at the end of the school year.
The Wendy DeBell Exceptional Volunteer Award held its eighth dinner with DeBell and school board President Jennifer Churchfield announcing honorees names and handing out the awards, posing for Joe Sachman, who volunteered to capture the images of each award group to provide an image they will cherish and have truly earned. Kathryn Moody earned her third Exceptional Volunteer award at the dinner. She serves at Cherokee Trail High School.
Jennifer Churchfield, Wade and Jada Dixon
Wade Dixon volunteers at Peakview Elementary and he and his wife Randi volunteer together at Thunder Ridge Middle School as well. They are credited with supporting the PASS team, (Partnership for Academically Success Students).
The honorees and the schools where they volunteer:
Guy Mitchell, Antelope Ridge; Marques and Heather Johnson, Arrowhead; Michele Killgore, Aspen Crossing; Connie Plumleigh, Belleview; Paula Carver, Black Forest Hills; Charity Rubottom, Buffalo Trail; Victoria Cantor, Campus MS; Leisa Cashman Trujillo, Canyon Creek; Lynn Lacy, Challenge; Andrea Evashevski, Cherry Creek Academy; Joan Kinney, Cherry Creek HS; Allison Dodge, Cherry Hills Village; Gabriela Lacerda, Cimarron; Jellie Gauthier, Cottonwood Creek; Patricia and Richard Gasowski, Coyote Hills; Ann Julan, Creekside, Therese Mentzer, Dakota Valley; Melissa Medina and Eric Winkler, Dry Creek; Dwayne Williams, Eaglecrest HS; Kathy Bigson, Eastridge; Tim Weber, Falcon Creek; Tracey Theofiledes, Fox Hollow; Jen Collins, Fox Ridge MS; Deena Rowe, Grandview HS; Alicia Chambers, Greenwood; Jennie Christenson, Heritage; Sheryl Hinton, High Plains; Charles DeHaas, Highline.
Gena Butler, Holly Hills and Holly Ridge Primary; Susan Holter, Homestead; Vickie Khalil, Horizon MS; Bridget Marion, Independence; Ann Schwartz, Indian Ridge; Sherry Carby, Laredo MS; Kasandra Warren, Liberty MS; Sharon Weatherford, Meadow Point; Melissa Quesenberry, Mission Viejo; Marché Heath, Overland HS; Wade Dixon, Peakview; Rita Scohera, Pine Ridge; Lynda Jones, Polton; Rhetta Shead, Ponderosa; Page Ross, Prairie MS; Tamara Aitm’Barek and Cory First, Red Hawk Ridge; Lynn Sheffield, Rolling Hills; Nannette Almon; Sagebrush, Kourtney Rimbert, Sky Vista; Hillary Robben, Smoky Hill HS; Johanna Hoover, Summit; Susan Brunk, Sunrise; Randi and Wade Dixon, Thunder Ridge MS; Joette Martin, Timberline; David Bednarz, Trails West; Nancy Hensley, Village East; Monica Danfelser, Walnut Hills; Julie Bildstein, West MS and Lynne Sommer, Willow Creek.
In addition to this list there are also volunteers serving on the Board of Education, Long-Range Facility Planning Committee, CAP Board, PIN Executive Board, Cherry Creek Schools Foundation, Community Legislative Network, Parents Council, Gifted and Talented Advisory Council, Accountability Committee, Medical Advisory Board, Multicultural Advisory Council and the Special Education Advisory Committee.
Sherri Casas, Greg and Joan Kinney, and Dr. Patra Watana
Jim O’Brien, Hillary and Michael Robben, and Dave Willman
Wendy DeBell and Mary Chesney
Incoming Superintendent Harry Bull, out-going Superintendent Mary Chesley and CCSF Board President Greg Berger.
By Jan Wondra
The career of Cherry Creek Schools Superintendent Mary Chesley, who will retire in June, was celebrated with well-deserved fanfare at an April 18 reception, held at Smokey Hill High School. The send-off was a relative who’s-who of Cherry Creek Schools that included teachers, principals, school board members, former superintendents and Cherry Creek Foundation board members. The great love held for Superintendent Chesley was evident throughout the room, with people streaming into the cafeteria space from all directions, bringing flowers, balloons and an overflowing basket with cards.
“It is overwhelming at times,” said incoming Superintendent Harry Bull, “to be the person who follows Mary Chesley. But this is the same thing she said about following Superintendent Monty Moses. It is also the highest honor, and I have had six months in which to transition.”
The room burst into laughter as he added, “She is always saying to me, ‘Harry, come with me…’”
Members of the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation gather to honor retiring Superintendent Chesley: back row: Tracy Sheuffler, Lori Snyder, Michele Beserra, Brad Broyhill, Mark Peters, Rhetta Swead and front row: Judy Altenberg and Weslie Crimsburg.
“Mary Chesley has inspired all of us,” said School Board President Jennifer Churchill. “She has seen us through fiscal crisis, a pandemic threat, a discrimination suit, a continuing drive for school achievement…and through it all, she has navigated with confidence. Our twin goals of equity and excellence have been well-served. Mary, it is your extraordinary ability to connect with people that make people feel seen, heard and valued. For you, Mary, it isn’t 50,000 students. It is 50,000 stories.”
Chesley has served 23 years with the district. She began as an elementary school teacher at Willow Creek Elementary, moving on to principal, then to increasing levels of responsibility within CCSD. She assumed the role of superintendent from Dr. Monty Moses in 2009. Her watch has seen the most serious economic conditions of the past 60 years; during which time the district absorbed $40 million in budget cuts. In response, she spearheaded a $99 million bond issue. Last November, she oversaw a $25 million mill-levy override that will restore the earlier funding cuts, helping to fund technology and building renovations.
The district’s schools have done well on her watch. Some 95 percent of Cherry Creek schools meet the highest accreditation levels, with the remainder achieving the second-highest level. State test scores also showed above average growth. Her focus has included an emphasis on professional development of teaching professionals. The Cherry Creek Schools Foundation has announced the formation of the Mary Chesley Professional Development Fund. Its purpose will be to create a legacy to ensure an effective teacher in every classroom and the funds raised will be used for all types of professional development.
Eric Flor, honored in March as Cherry Creek Schools 2013 Catherine Canny Educator of the Year, said, “What makes Mary, Mary?” He answered it with a long list of attributes, returning again and again to her hallmark sense of humor. “It has shone through the integrity and honesty which she brought to her position.”
Cherry Creek Schools principals join the retirement celebration: Kim Kenyon, principal of Homestead Elementary; Randy Karr, principal of Smokey Hill High School; and Carla Stearns, principal of Liberty Middle School.
Chesley, who for a moment appeared overcome with emotion as she took the podium for comments, admitted while she is normally prepared with Power Point presentations and quips, she was temporarily without ideas about what to say at her retirement event. She quickly recovered her legendary sense of humor.
“I say when you’re stuck, go to your values,” Chesley said. “My most important value has been my daughters. This job is a very big deal. But it does not touch what it has meant to me to be your mom.
“I never expected to be doing this job. I learned that it doesn’t matter what you have planned. Cherry Creek has a plan for every one of you. In Cherry Creek, we lean in to people. We don’t love things, we love people. I think that’s it; Cherry Creek isn’t a thing, it’s a whole bunch of people. Working in this district is not a mystique, it’s a family.”
Retiring Cherry Creek Schools Superintendent Mary Chesley, is joined by incoming Superintendent Dr. Harry Bull, former Superintendent Dr. Monty Moses and former Cherry Creek School Board member Gerald Weaver.
Jill Henden (center), interim executive director of the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation, with CCSF Judy Altenberg and Lori Snyder
Cherry Creek Schools Superintendent Mary Chesley is joined by members of her family at her retirement party on April 18 at Smoky Hill High School: son-in-law Chris Wells, daughter Katheryn Wells, daughter Meghan Lamping (holding Sydney Lamping, )Superintendent Chesley, and grandsons Andrew and Austin Wells. Photos by Jan Wondra
Kent Denver’s No. 20 – Caroline Schlegel tosses the ball into the net scoring a goal in the first half of a lacrosse match with crosstown rival Colorado Academy. Photos by Tom Barry
By Tom Barry
April 26 was a rare dry and warm afternoon for high school sports after six straight weeks of cold and snow on the ground. A small amount of the white accumulation could be seen at the south end of the main field mixed with black and green AstroTurf pieces, as Justin DeSorrento Memorial Field had been scrapped after a snow storm four days prior.
Kent Denver’s sports complex was busy with two events filling up adjacent parking lots. Kent’s girls lacrosse team was playing their crosstown rival, Colorado Academy, in a match that proved to be lively especially in the end.
Kent came into the game being undefeated in statewide competition. They had lost three close games previously to out of state teams, including two matches while on a spring break trip, losing to two top 20 nationally ranked teams. This relatively small private school with about 450 high school students typically competes in 2A to 5A sports with top 5A level larger schools in lacrosse and other sports, including Cherry Creek High School, which has 4,000 students.
The Sun Devils maintained the lead in the first half as most of the offensive action occurred around the Mustangs goalie. Both teams set up plays and passed the yellow ball well between teammates. The girls communicated between one another while wearing large mouth guards devising plays called in from the coaches on the sidelines.
Kent girls lacrosse team in white worked together in this play to make a goal in a close match up with Colorado Academy, April 26.
Chrissy Frederick, Kent’s head coach, along with her assistants Danielle Kachulis and Lauren Woodman, advised the players from the west sidelines. All of the coaches played competitive lacrosse in college.
Each choreographed move was executed well as the lacrosse players spent most of the game time at the respective ends of the field near the goal.
In this fast moving game both teams scored numerous goals. The Mustangs won most of the draws after goals – similar to a tip off in basketball. However, CA was unable to capitalize on the brief offensive possessions, as Kent would capture the ball.
Late in the game CA had resurgence and made some quick goals coming close to tying their long-time rivals. A nervous mom of a Kent player remarked, “I have to pace now,” as she traipsed at the south end of the field.
In the last few minutes of the game, two Kent players were given “yellow cards” for fouls and received penalty time, having to sit out for the remainder of the game. This enabled CA a full quad of 10 players on the field plus a goalie. However, the Sun Devils successfully went into a stall – effectively playing keep away from the Mustangs and winning this competitive match 19 to 15.
The girls’ varsity lacrosse team from Kent Denver poses for a photo after a win against Colorado Academy. Chris Frederick, the head coach, is on the right.
Kent’s Caroline Schlegel No. 20 stands with lacrosse teammate and close friend Catherine Ellis No .19. Both girls will go on to play college lacrosse. Photo by Tom Barry
Kent Denver’s highly competitive girls lacrosse team has caught the eye of college teams and their recruiters from throughout the country.
This year, the Sun Devils will have three seniors going on to play competitive lacrosse at the college level – two players to Division 1 schools and another to a Division 3 team.
Kent’s Caroline Schlegel, a mid-fielder on the team, will attend University of California, Berkeley on a scholarship. She will leave in mid-August to practice with the team and prepare for classes.
“So far, so good,” said Schlegel, “We have a really strong team and have a lot of young and fast players.”
Schlegel maintains a 3.6 GPA. She said she occasionally works out with her friend Missy Franklin and that they share the same trainer at Steadman Hawkins. The two girls will attend Cal together.
Catherine Ellis, an attacker with the Sun Devils team, will play lacrosse for Cornell, an Ivy League school. She intends to study business, economics and finance before declaring a major. Ellis has a 3.6 GPA.
Ellis played field hockey throughout her four years in high school. She proudly recalls playing lacrosse since she was 8 years old. This Greenwood Village resident played for the Cherry Creek Indians in her early days.
“I would not go anywhere else but Kent,” said Ellis. “The people, the teachers and coaches and the community as a whole are very supportive of each other.”
Emma Sveen will be playing lacrosse at Wesleyan College in Macon, Ga., and will play competitively in their Division 3 program.
Jim Hillary, celebrating his 50th birthday, stands with his sons No. 16 Peter, who plays for Colorado Academy, and Mark No. 13, who plays for Kent Denver. The sons’ teams had played a baseball game against one another April 26 and asked their mom Anne to sew both shirts together as a gift. Jim is wearing the shirt. Photo by Tom Barry
On April 26, Jim Hillary attended the junior varsity baseball game at Kent Denver. He was there to celebrate his 50th birthday with his family. Jim was in a unique position as he was supporting both of his sons and their respective teams.
In the second inning, his wife Anne suddenly remembered she had a gift for him from both of his sons, Peter, a sophomore at Colorado Academy, and Mark, a freshman at Kent Denver. Jim opened up the box and to his delight was a T-shirt with the fronts of both schools sewn together by Anne.
“Much to my surprise, I found a shirt the front of which is red with a CA logo and the back of which has a Kent Denver Sun Devil on it,” said Jim. “My wife meticulously sewed the two halves together.”
Kent had 24 players and Colorado Academy only had 10. In the hard fought game, Peter went 4 for 4 with a homerun, two doubles, a single and 7 RBIs, Jim said. Mark only had one at bat where he smashed a double over his brother’s head. The outcome of the game is less meaningful than the meaning the Hillary family had at the game.
This Cherry Hills resident proudly wore the birthday shirt through the rest of the game that Kent won 17 to 11. Mark attended Kent Denver and decided it was time for a change- since kindergarten, as he has loved competing with his older brother.
Jim Hillary is faithful to his sons front and back
By Peter Jones
Five students have been suspended – two facing expulsion hearings – after a handgun was found last week at Campus Middle School in Greenwood Village.
The small-caliber weapon was discovered in a student’s binder on April 23 after school officials received a tip that the student may have brought drug paraphernalia to Campus, said Tustin Amole, spokeswoman for Cherry Creek Schools.
“When we looked in, we found the handgun, which was unloaded,” she said. “We didn’t find any ammunition. No one had been threatened with it.”
Although no lockdown was required, Greenwood Village Police were called to the scene and an automated phone call was sent to parents.
All five students under suspension are boys.
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