PSD Honors and Awards

PSD is a top-performing school district, consistently recognized nationally and at the state level for student, staff and district excellence.

Students achieve in the classroom and with extra-curricular activities. Within the past three years:

  • 6 students were selected as Boettcher Scholars
  • 8 students were selected as Daniels Fund Scholars
  • 42 students were selected as National Merit Scholar Finalists
  • 3 students were selected as National Hispanic Recognition Scholars
  • 1 student was selected as a Presidential Scholar
  • Numerous students became state champions in science, history, and knowledge bowls, as well as in speech, debate, theater, and music
  • Several student athletes became state champions in cross country, track and field, swimming, baseball, and gymnastics

PSD has passionate teachers who excel!

  • Numerous PSD teachers and administrators have been selected as Colorado teachers or administrators of the year in their designated fields.
  • PSD is home to four U.S.D.E. National Blue Ribbon schools for their high achievement among students.
  • Three PSD schools are designated U.S.D.E. National Green Ribbon schools for their commitment to health and sustainability.
  • PSD has been named a Gold Leader each year since 2009 for district sustainability accomplishments.
  • Several PSD schools have been recognized by the Colorado Department of Education with academic excellence awards that include the John Irwin Excellence awards and the Governor's Distinguished Improvement awards.

Prestigious and noteworthy awards are listed below:

2016-17 School Year 

  • More than 1,600 seniors graduated in the Class of 2017 in eight ceremonies throughout the district! May 2017

Outstanding scholarship students - 

Boettcher Scholar - Naitra Ramchander, PHS (The Boettcher Scholarship, sponsored by the Denver-based Boettcher Foundation, is a merit-based scholarship available to Colorado graduating seniors who provide service to community and school, and are in the top 5 percent of their class, receive top scores on college entrance exams, display leadership, and demonstrate character. Only 40 scholarships are offered in the state.)

Daniels Fund Scholars: Jamie Bonjour, FRHS, Taelor Hansen, PHS, Christy Perry, PHS (The Daniels Scholarship is awarded to PSD seniors who have demonstrated strong character and a determination to succeed in life.)

National Hispanic Recognition Scholars: Taylor Truijillo, FRHS; Trinity Tate Young, LCHS; Xavier Edgren, RMHS (The National Hispanic Recognition Scholar honor, awarded by the College Board, recognizes the top 5,000 Hispanic/Latino students out of 250,000 who take the PSAT during their junior year.)

National Merit Scholar Finalists: Nicholas Lin, FRHS; Johnny Lammons, FRHS; Dallin Crawford, FRHS; David Perkins, FRHS; Madeline Pettine, FRHS; Lucas Ray, FRHS; Caylie Cox, LCHS; Jacob Hempel-Costello, LCHS; Matthew Iverson, LCHS; Bretta Lichtenwalner, LCHS; David Rohrbaugh, LCHS; Benjamin Seiple, LCHS; Ariel Roy, PHS; Noelle Boyton, RMHS; Russ Huang, RMHS; Brandon Northrop, RMHS   (National Merit Scholars score in the top 1% academically among Colorado seniors. Scholars may win two types of National Merit Scholarships: a one-time $2,500 award or a corporate-sponsored achievement scholarship. National Merit Scholars earned this elite designation through a two-year testing and application process.)


  • ​​​​Wayne Moddelmog, Rocky Mountain High School Athletic Director, was named Athletic Director of the Year by the Colorado Athletics Directors Association. - May 2017


  • A record number of district teams qualified for Odyssey of the Mind World Finals, a creative problem-solving competition. PSD elementary schools teams earned 8 out of 10 available spots for Colorado teams, and PSD middle school teams earned 5 out of 10 Colorado spots.  Teams represent these schools: McGraw IB World Elementary,  Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School, Traut Core Knowledge Elementary, Bennet IB World Elementary, Lincoln Middle School, Beattie Elementary and Bethke Elementary.
  • Poudre High School had the fourth highest number of students taking concurrent enrollment classes in the state last year, according to a report by the CDE. April 2017
  • Amanda Manley, Rocky Mountain High School math teacher, received the Colorado Council of Teachers (CCTM) 2016 Mathematics Teaching Award. 
  • Four schools were named Healthy School Champions by the Colorado Education Initiative for their success in creating healthy environments. Excellence awards went to Beattie and Irish elementary schools; Promising School awards went to Shepardson and Dunn elementary schools. March 2017
  • Fourteen schools were selected for the CDE's 2016 John Irwin Schools of Excellence award, which recognizes schools that demonstrate excellent academic achievement. The awardees include: Bennett, Bethke, Dunn, Livermore, McGraw, Red Feather Lakes, Tavelli, Traut, Werner and Zach elementary schools; Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School; Fossil Ridge High School; Liberty Common Charter School; and the PSD Global Academy. February 2017
  • Nine schools were selected for the CDE's 2016 Colorado Governor's Distinguished Improvement awards. They include: Bacon, Bennett, Dunn, Red Feather Lakes, Riffenburgh, Tavelli and Zach elementary schools; Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School; and the PSD Global Academy.  February 2017
  • PSD received two district-wide awards:  the ELPA Excellence award (for high academic achievement among English language learners) and the Green Ribbon Sustainability award (for exemplary efforts in sustainability). February 2017
  • PSD retired music educator Linda Hall, who taught at Irish Elementary and Webber Middle School, was inducted into the Colorado Music Educators Association Hall of Fame. January 2017
  • Lesher Middle School's Advanced Chamber Orchestra and Preston Middle School's Symphonic Band were selected to perform at the annual Colorado Music Educators Association Conference. January 2017
  • Wellington Middle School has been re-validated as an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) National Demonstration School through Fall 2019. They have held the title since 2013, and in 2015 earned the AVID School-wide Site of Distinction, the highest level of certification the international nonprofit offers.
  • PSD's on-time graduation rate increased by 2.8%, from 78.6% in 2015 to 81.4% in 2016.  Statewide, the graduation rate increased from 77.35 in 2015 to 78.9% in 2016. January 2017
  • Poudre High School school counselor Cassie Poncelow was named Colorado Counselor of the Year by the Colorado School Counseling Association. November 2016
  • Fossil Ridge High School was designated as a Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) school by the American School Counselor Association. The RAMP designation recognizes schools that deliver a comprehensive, data-driven school counseling program and an exemplary educational environment. October 2016
  • PSD students out performed the state on spring testing: The percentage of students who met expectations exceeded the state on all science and social studies tests and in 14 of the 16 ELA and math tests. Elementary students outperformed the state on all tests, with 11-18% more students meeting expectations than the state average. Middle and high school students exceeded the state in the percentage of students who met expectations on 8 of the 10 ELA and math tests. - September 2016

Athletic Accomplishments

Fall 2016 Champions:

  • 2016 Colorado Girls 5A State Volleyball Champions – Fossil Ridge High School Girls Volleyball 
  • 2016 Boys State Singles Champion – Akhil Gupta, Fossil Ridge High School

Winter 2016-17 Champions: 

2017 5A Girls State Swim Champions: Fossil Ridge High School Girls Team

2017 5A Girls Individual State Swim Champions (All listed below attend Fossil Ridge):

  • 100 yard Breaststroke Champion and 200 yard Individual Medley Champion: Zoe Bartel
  • 50 yard Freestyle Champion and 100 yard Freestyle Champion: Kylee Alons
  • 100 Butterfly Champion: Coleen Gillilan
  • 100 Backstroke Champion: Bayley Stewart
  • 200 yard Freestyle Relay Champions: Coleen Gillilan, Bailey Kovac, Andrea Niemann, Madeline Mason
  • 200 yard Medley Relay Champions: Bailey Stewart, Zoe Bartel, Coleen Gillilan, Kylee Alons
  • 400 yard freestyle Relay Champions: Madeline Mason, Kylee Alons, Bayley Stewart, Zoe Bartel

2017 Wresting Champion (138 lbs) Jacob Greenwood, Poudre High School


Spring 2017 Champions:

Tennis: Ky Ecton, PHS, 5A Girls #1 Singles State Champion

Track and Field - 

  • Gabriella McDonald, RMHS, 5A Girls Shot Put State Champion
  • Audra Koopman, FCHS, 5A Girls Long Jump State Champion
  • Lauren Gregory, FCHS, 5A Girls 800 Meter State Champion; 5A Girls 1600 Meter State Champion

Swimming: Fossil Ridge High School Boys Swim Team, 5A State Champions

Baseball: Rocky Mountain High School Baseball Team, 5A State Champions


Coaching Awards: 

2017 5A Girls Swim Coach of the Year: Carolyn Fries, Fossil Ridge High School

2016 5A Volleyball Coach of the Year:  Paul Shimek, Fossil Ridge High School

2016 5A Wrestling Coach of the Year  Barrett Golyer, Poudre High School


2015-16 School Year

  • U.S. Department of Education recognizes PSD as a national leader in sustainability - April 2016
  • Tanya Alcaraz, Fossil Ridge High School marketing teacher and DECA advisor, received a 2016 Association Chapter Advisor of the Year national award for excellence in integrating DECA's program into course learning and supporting student achievement - April 2016
  • Lesher's Tom Dodd named Colorado Principal of the Year - April 2016
  • Polaris and Preston selected as Trailblazer Schools to Watch - March 2016
  • Melanie Mierzwa named Colorado Assistant Principal of the Year - February 2016
  • Vicky Jordan, Wellington Middle School Science Teacher, named a National Science Teacher Association Distinguished Teaching award winner - February 2016
  • Poudre High School wins CDE ICAP award for their meaningful program - January 2016 
  • Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School receives National Blue Ribbon School award - September 2015
  • District juniors earn highest ACT scores in seven years - September 2015
  • FRHS Wind Symphony to perform at prestigious national conference - September 2015
  • Fossil Ridge High School was named the 2015 Project Unify School of the year by the Colorado Special Olympics - September 2015
  • Exceptional student scholars abound in PSD (Perfect ACT students, National Merit Semi-finalists) - September 2015
  • PSD named one of Colorado's healthiest places to work - August 2015
  • PHS International Baccalaureate graduates distinguish themselves - 97% earn full IB diploma - August 2015
  • PSD Students Continue to Perform Higher Than State on CMAS Tests - July 2015
  • 2015 Fort Collins High School graduate Elizabeth Chen named one of two Colorado "State AP Scholar" - September 2015 (no link)


2014-15 School Year

  • Class of 2015 has 10 National Merit Finalists, three Boettcher scholars and 2 Daniels Fund scholars - May 2015
  • Liberty named top high school in state, 49th nationwide, by U.S. News May 2015 (Denver Business Journal, May 2015 - Links to full listing)
  • All four comprehensive high schools ranked in the top 60 as "Best Public High Schools in Colorado" - Niche, January 2015
  • Kruse Elementary named 2014 National Blue Ribbon School - September 2014 
  • Sixteen PSD schools recognized with 2014 CDE academic excellence awards  - December 2014 (Colorado Dept. of Education website: John Irwin Excellence Awards; Governor?s Distinguished Improvement Awards)
  • PSD Global Academy, a 2014 Transformation Award winner - Fall 2014 
  • Three PSD students earn perfect ACT scores! (FCHS' Burke Snowden, PHS' Zaki Phelan and Alex Iverson, Liberty Common High) - Fall 2014
  • Olander counselor selected as Counselor of the Year in Colorado 
  • 94% of PHS IB graduates earn full International Baccalaureate diploma in 2013-14 school year - August 2014
  • More than 400 PSD students earn Advanced Placement scholar awards on exams in 2013-14 school year - October 2014

Previous notable awards and recognitions:

  • Sixteen PSD schools recognized with CDE achievement awards - December 2013 - Governor's Distinguished Improvement ,John Irwin School of Excellence awards
  • Lopez Elementary earns "Lighthouse" Leader in Me designation - June 2014 
  • Lesher IB Middle School named 2014 Green Ribbon School for sustainability - April 2014 
  • Shephardson Elementary principal Jennifer Chadwick selected the Colorado Association of School Executives' 2013 Reba Ferguson Memorial Rookie Principal of the Year - August 2013 
  • Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School physical education teacher Jeanne Morgan selected for the 2013 Middle School Teacher of the Year award by the Colorado Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance - August 2013
  • Poudre High School coach Randy Yaussi inducted into the Colorado High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame - March 2014 
  • Wellington Middle School is among first-ever U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools - April 2012
  • PSD Board of Education wins National Magna Award, which recognizes districts nationwide for outstanding programs that advance student learning and encourage community involvement in schools - March 2009
  • Fossil Ridge High School social studies teacher Mark Barry was honored as Colorado Milken Educator of the year in November 2009, receiving a $25,000 check from the Milken Family Foundation in recognition of his exceptional work as a teacher.
  • Werner Elementary Named U.S. Dept. of Education National Blue Ribbon School - Fall 2008