Great teaching is at the heart of Colorado Academy.

Time to celebrate CA Faculty and Staff

Colorado Academy has great teachers. Period.

I am reminded of that every spring, when we honor a select number of faculty with annual teaching awards. I also am grateful to the donors who, through endowments, have established a perpetual way for us to recognize our colleagues. 

Teaching is a noble and underappreciated profession. Our faculty and staff are some of the smartest and most dedicated educational professionals in the nation. Throughout the pandemic, this a group who leaned in, problem solved, and thought deeply about how they could adjust their practice to best meet the needs of the students. When you walk across campus, you can see their work in the smiles and joy of the students. Morale feels high this spring. Students recognize that teachers go out of their way to help and support them. Whether we recognize a teacher with an award or not, know that every member of our faculty and staff deserves our thanks, appreciation, and respect.

Last night, we held the annual Faculty and Staff Appreciation Reception. It’s a chance to reflect on the year as a team and recognize the accomplishments of many in our divisions. I’d like you to see who’s been called out by their peers as this year’s award recipients.

Frances Newton Outstanding Faculty Award 

Named in the spring of 2003, and endowed by an anonymous donor, the award recognizes those who have modeled teaching excellence, who render exemplary service on behalf of students and colleagues, and who, in their teaching practice, provide examples of the multiple talents and values that are mirrored in the school’s mission. 

The 2022 Frances Newton Outstanding Faculty Award went to Upper School English Senior Instructor Ross Holland.

Connie Adcock Award for Inspirational Teaching 

The Connie Adcock Award for Inspirational Teaching was created in 2011 to honor a teacher who ignites in students a lifelong love of learning and creative expression through the use of innovative teaching methods, who ensures a nurturing classroom environment that encourages risk-taking and appreciates individual style, and who plants within children that seed of confidence that hard work and perseverance will take them far in life, and that their successes are worthy of celebration!

The 2022 Connie Adcock Award for Inspirational Teaching went to Jeff Brown, Grade Four Instructor.

Yoeman Fisher Teaching Excellence Award

Instituted in 1980 in memory of a beloved retiring Lower School teacher, this award was established to recognize a long, outstanding teaching career at CA. The criteria to receive this award include being recognized as a creative, inventive, inspiring, and knowledgeable teacher; seen as a role model who displays in his or her own life the qualities of invention, curiosity, and intellectual discipline which we seek to instill in students; and seen as a source of sound advice and an intelligent critic of teaching strategy.

The 2022 Yoeman Fisher Award went to two recipients this year: 

  • Jay Leeuwenburg, Grade Three Senior Instructor, and
  • Lisa Boes, Upper School Chemistry Preceptor

Head of School Award for Distinguished Service

This year’s Head of School Award went to Jenny Armstrong, Director of Early Childhood Education. Jenny oversees our employee child care program as well as our Pre-K program. I am particularly grateful for the role Jenny has taken on, focusing on the well-being and education of a very special population of students–our youngest on campus.

The pandemic has made this position especially challenging, yet Jenny has elevated our Early Childhood Program. 

Finally, CA encourages faculty to participate in our advancement process. We applaud those who take extra courses and work to become a Senior Instructor, Preceptor, or Master Teacher. This pursuit of excellence means students get the very best from those who strive to bring new approaches to their classrooms and to their colleagues.

Those advancing this year include: 

  • Kathleen Kirkman, Middle School Science – Senior Instructor
  • Jason Koza, Middle School Math – Preceptor
  • Elizabeth Landers, Lower School Spanish – Senior Instructor
  • Jessica Ohly, Grade Five Instructor – Preceptor
  • Emily Pérez: Upper School English & Grade Ten Dean – Preceptor
  • Rebecca Silva: Middle School Spanish – Senior Instructor
  • Elissa Wolf-Tinsman: Upper School History – Preceptor

You can see a list of all Faculty Award recipients on the CA webpage here. Those recognized through the Faculty Advancement Program are listed here.

All of these teachers reflect the heart of CA. They are dedicated individuals committed to their profession as much as to their classrooms. They are what makes CA one of the most admired independent schools in the country. I could not be more impressed by this year’s award winners and advancing faculty.

Thank you for all you do for the CA community!