Honors and Awards

State and National Excellence Recognitions

Students achieve academically and with activities - See the latest student accomplishments, including academic scholars and state champions and state athletic champions here. 

School Recognitions

  • Seven PSD schools named U.S.D.E. National Blue Ribbon schools since 2003 for their high achievement among students.
  • Three PSD schools designated U.S.D.E. National Green Ribbon schools for their commitment to health and sustainability.
  • Four PSD schools named a "Trailblazer School to Watch" by  the Colorado Association of Middle Level Education for academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity and organizational structure and processes. Lesher Middle School received, for the third time, the latest designation in 2020.
  • PSD has been named a Gold Leader for district sustainability accomplishments.
  • In 2023, Bethke Elementary School is recognized as a Model Professional Learning Community at Work School through Solution Tree for their commitment to ongoing staff collaboration and focus on improving student results. 
  • In 2022, Beattie Elementary School was named one of America’s Healthiest Schools by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and earned distinction in six categories (the most in Colorado): Nutrition & Food Access, Local Wellness Policy, Health Education, Social-Emotional Health, Tobacco-Free Schools, and School Health Services (2022).


PSD Staff - State and National Awards, Recognitions

Visit the Board Recognitions web page to see video clips of recognitions for these accomplishments. 

  • Barrett Golyer, 5A Coach of the Year selected by the Colorado High School Coaches Association, spring 2024 
  • Sue Davidson, Lincoln Middle School teacher, selected for Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District Service Award, Educator of the Year, winter 23-24
  • Tracy Hernandez, PSD bus operator, for outstanding and professional work keeping students calm during a medical emergency on her bus, winter 23-24.
  • Michelle Bowles, Fort Collins High School science teacher, was recognized with the 2023-24 AVS Teaching Award for Excellence in Secondary Science Education.
  • Nicholas Chambers, Futures Lab lead aviation teacher, was selected as Educator of the Year by the Rocky Mountain Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. 
  • Winter 2024 - PSD music directors and CMEA performing ensembles
    • Phuong Nguyen-Boltz Jazz Band 
    • Mike Perez-Kinard Symphonic Band 
    • Aaron Herman-FRHS Wind Symphony 
    • David Lonowski-PHS Impalaphonics Choir 
    • Bri McCormick and John Garner-FRHS Tenth Bass  
    • Elizabeth Hohweiler-RMHS Syrens  
  • 2023 Co-Cabe Federico Pena Community Service AwardDr. Norma Huerta-Kelley, Harris Elementary School principal 

  • 2023 Paraeducator of the Year by the Colorado Association of Bilingual Education Co-CABE: Michelle Baum, Harris Elementary School paraprofessional

  • 2023 Yale Educator Award winnerKate Sherrill, Fort Collins High School counselor (nominated by a FCHS graduate attending Yale)

  • 2023 SHAPE (Society of Health and Physical Educators) awards:

    • Jacob Benson, Kinard Middle School teacher, was selected Middle School P.E. Teacher of the Year by SHAPE.

    • Riley Hubbard, Timnath Elementary School teacher, was selected for the Young Professional Award by SHAPE.

    • Jeanne Morgan, Poudre High School teacher, was selected for the Distinguished Service Award for SHAPE.

  • 2023 Colorado Assistant Elementary School Principal of the Year: Amanda Pawelski (Laurel Elementary School)

  • 2023 Colorado Music Educators Association Performance Ensemble Selections​​​​

    • Melissa Clayes - Boltz Chamber Orchestra

    • Leanne Griffey - Kinard Symphony Orchestra

    • Jasmine Faulkner - Polaris Singer/Songwriters

  • 2023 Colorado Congress of Foreign Language Teachers Teacher of the YearErin Austin, Poudre High School teacher

  • 2022 National Outstanding Assistant Principals of the Year by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (May 2022) and the 2022 Colorado Assistant Elementary School Principal of the Year (January 2022): Cale Whicker 

Past Staff Awards and Recognitioins

  • 2021 Colorado SHAPE Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year: Lesher Middle School teacher Matt Moeller

  • Colorado Association of Science Teachers 2021 AVS Teaching Award for Excellence in Secondary Science Education: Rocky Mountain High School teacher Dr. Yajaira Fuentes-Tauber

  • Colorado Hands and Voices 2021 Families First Award: McGraw Elementary teacher of the deaf Cathy Bowles

  • Colorado Council of Teachers of Mathematics excellence in teaching and leadership awards (fall 2021):

    Teaching award - Kruse Elementary School teacher Emily Vangermeersh
    Teaching award - Preston Middle School teacher Kathy Sampson
    Leadership award – Poudre High School teacher Elissa Pitts
    Teaching award – Olander School for Project Based Learning teacher Eryn Burge

  • 2021 Colorado Teacher of the Year Finalist: Tricia Kearns, Webber Middle School  Fall 2020

  • 2020 Colorado School Psychologist of the Year (Colorado Society of School Psychologists): Danielle Duncan, Kinard Middle School and Werner Elementary School  Fall 2020

  • Recognized American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Model program (RAMP):  Rocky Mountain High School Counseling Department. Spring 2020
  • 2019 Colorado High School Theater Educator of the Year: John Garner, Fossil Ridge High School teacher  Fall 2019
  • Colorado Council of Teachers of Mathematics 2019 Outstanding Mathematics Teacher: Cathy Martin, Lopez Elementary teacher  Fall 2019
  • 2019 Colorado High School Counselor of the Year: Kelley Madden, Rocky Mountain High School counselor  Fall 2019

  • Governor's Award for Worksite Wellness (fall 2019): Amanda Brantley, district wellness manager,

  • Emmy Award (August 2019):  Matt Gohl and Phillip Primo with PSD TV

  • 2019 Dale Yost Teacher and Coach of the Year (Colorado High School Coaches Association): Conrad Crist, FCHS teacher and coach

  • 2019 Colorado 5A Cross Country Ski Coach of the Year - Coach Kyle Steitz

  • 2019 Outstanding New Family and Consumer Sciences Professional - Ashley Acuff, FCHS teacher

  • 2018 5A Boys Golf CHSSA Coaches of the Year: Andy Stevens and Jamie Menefee, Fossil Ridge HS coaches
  • 2018 Reba Ferguson Memorial Administrator Rookie of the Year award (Colorado Association of School Executives):Alissa Poduska, Shepardson Elementary principal.
  • 2018 Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership (national award) - Aisha Thomas, Zach Elementary principal
  • 2018 SHAPE Administrator of the Year (Society of Health and Physical Educators): Tom Dodd, Lesher Middle School principal.

2022 CDE Academic Excellence Awards

The 2022 Colorado Department of Education awards ceremony was the first one held since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Colorado Governor’s Distinguished Improvement award, given to schools that demonstrate exceptional student growth. 

  • Cache La Poudre Elementary School 
  • Johnson Elementary School
  • Lopez Elementary School​​​​​​
  • McGraw Elementary School
  • O’Dea Elementary School
  • Zach Elementary School

John Irwin Schools of Excellence Awards, given to schools for excellent academic achievement. 

  • Bethke Elementary School
  • Fort Collins Montessori School
  • Fossil Ridge High School
  • Kinard Middle School
  • Liberty Common Charter School
  • PSD Mountain Schools
  • Traut Elementary School
  • Werner Elementary School
  •  Zach Elementary School