Return to Headlines


D60's Teachers and Staff of the YearIn a tradition that dates back nearly four decades, three outstanding peer-nominated educators were honored for their dedication and commitment to scholars and the District.
Each year, the Pueblo County Chapter of the Colorado Teacher of the Year Program honors dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled K-12 classroom educators with a Colorado Teacher of the Year Award. David Lytle and Leslie Sheppard
Additionally, the District itself recognizes three Classified Support Staff members for their exemplary service.
As nominated by peers and colleagues, the 2022 Teachers of the Year are Robin King (Fountain), Marva Tucker (Morton) and Audrey Cisneros (Minnequa), with Classified Staff Awards presented to Minnequa custodian James Fognani, Minnequa pre-school teacher Tami Redding and Belmont paraprofessional Valerie Lujan.

On Thursday, the 2022 honorees were lauded by David Lytle and Leslie Shepard, representing the Pueblo County Chapter of the Colorado Teacher of the Year Program, and Superintendent Charlotte Macaluso, D60 Board of Education President Dr. Margaret Wright and Vice President Tommy Farrell.
Thursday’s award reception was hosted by Dalton Sprouse, the District’s Director of Communications, who noted, “It’s no secret that our school district is blazing forward with growth, and it’s all because of the work of our honorees and their peers, and the work they are doing on a daily basis.
“No matter what your role is, it’s important. And the simple fact is: many young lives count on you to be there for them. And despite all of the challenges we’ve faced over the past two years, we’ve grown stronger together, and together, we will continue to work hard, every day, to make a difference in the lives of each and every one of our young scholars.”
As the honorees were called forth to be recognized, each was given the opportunity to address the gallery, as were nominators.
Central's Jazz Band playing instruments at the eventIn addition to the award, the Teachers of the Year received a financial stipend, as did their respective school, made possible through the generosity of partnering sponsors: Colorado Bank and Trust Company, Pueblo Community College, Xcel Energy, TBK Bank, Michael and Becky Cafasso, SunWest Credit Union, Little Caesars, Black Hills Energy, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, San Isabel Electric, Parkview Health System, and Bank of the San Juans.
All honorees received a large floral arrangement plant from the District.
Celebratory music was provided by the Central Jazz Band, under the direction of Mr. Austin Pratt.
According to her nominator, Mrs. Cisneros’ classroom is conducive to learning because it focuses on a healthy balance of cooperative learning, consistency and kindness. She inspires critical thinking in her scholars by asking them to make connections, giving them time to think and process and then asks them to explain the how and why of what they are learning or thinking about.
Mrs. Cisneros supports emotional learning for her scholars by holding morning meetings with her scholars that encourage them to express themselves and their feelings, which strengthens the classroom community and builds empathy for each other. Mrs. Cisneros has demonstrated leadership with colleagues by being a model teacher and teammate. She comes to work with a smile and sets a tone of professionalism in all she does.
Marva is lauded as the driving force of the school’s autism site-based program and "nothing short of amazing." She continually puts the learning and behavior needs first above all else and is a fierce advocate for all students, ensuring that they have what they need and feel supported and cared for.
Marva creates nearpods that make learning relevant and fun for the students. She is able to individualize for all students and can work at the same time with a non-verbal student and a student needing sensory needs met, helping all be successful. Marva does social skills curriculum with all of her grade levels, challenging students to learn self managing strategies and ways to be successful all throughout life. Additionally, Marva has a way of communicating with parents that helps them feel safe while expressing that their children need to grow. Robin King
Mrs. King’s nominator points out that her teaching methodologies are dynamic and engaging. She draws from her vast teaching knowledge as a K-12 music instructor to provide her students with a unique learning experience, using a variety of teaching methods to reach more students. Mrs. King uses music to promote critical thinking because it speaks to her students in ways that are open to interpretation. She uses a variety of music as a starting point for thoughtful discussions related to genre, language, and culture.
Mrs. King provides every grade level the opportunity of a live music performance. Not only do they perform as a group, but each student gets an individual line to say during the performance. Performing in front of others is a good opportunity for students to practice a range of social and emotional skills. Besides learning to control pre-performance emotions, students also learn how to cope when a performance doesn't go perfectly. Mrs. King is not only a leader, but a team player. She is humble and puts the success of her team above herself.
Tami was praised by her nominator for being driven by her students: advocating for them socially, emotionally and physically. She takes special interest in each scholar and works every day to ensure positive relationships and instruction happen for all. Above all, she has a commitment to children and the community that drives everything she does. She shows her students compassion and empathy through all of her purposeful actions.
For both students and staff members, Tami is a role model who is always willing to help. She makes herself available and never needs an invitation to help. She is always smiling, happy and helpful and overall, just a good, hard-working person. Due to her years of teaching, Tami understands the importance of relationships with families. She uses multiple modes of communication to make sure relationships stay strong with families in the community.
James Fognani and his family JAMES FOGNANI, MINNEQUA
Affectionately known as “Mr. James,” this award winner is praised for taking pride in his school like no other custodian. He is always efficient and never complains when he is needed to do something or to respond to a situation: he does so quickly and with a smile. He is always focused on student safety and demonstrating excellence.
Mr. James is loved by Minnequa scholars. They want to make him proud and offer to help him when they think he needs help. He goes above and beyond to make the scholars feel special and to do their best: even buying them small trinkets as rewards for positive behaviors. He models respect through his interactions with staff and scholars alike.
A leader within the classroom, Mrs. Lujan is described as supportive, knowledgeable and caring, always willing to help all students, not just those in her class. In her eyes, every student at Belmont is “her student.” Although she is primarily responsible for working with special education students, she will jump in and assist any student she sees struggling with something.
Always professional, Mrs. Lujan is a role model for staff and students by her demeanor and personality. She is a joy to be around, with a kind and funny personality that enables her to develop strong relationships with students and staff alike. She is an important part of the Belmont Family whose focus is to help others and help students be successful.