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  • Carrie Zimmerman

Focus on the Fabulous

We are happy to announce our Teachers of the Year for Center Consolidated School District. Alex Magness was nominated for Haskin Elementary. Alex has worked hard in the district and has always been willing to be flexible and take on different assignments to meet the needs of the students. Thanks to her expertise, our kids have benefitted from her teaching 2nd grade, kindergarten and this year she is in 5th grade. She is very easy to get along with and does what is needed to help our kids be successful. She is a great role model and willingly accepts student teachers in her classroom, and we are fortunate to have them learn from the best. This year has been challenging with all of the pandemic issues and Alex has been accommodating throughout. Even when she had to deal with Covid on a personal level, she continued to provide quality instruction and support for our students. Her friendly demeanor, positive attitude and solid work ethic make her a great teammate.

Anna Bishop was the Skoglund Middle School nominee. Anna has also taken on different roles during her time in Center and has served at all three levels in the district. She works with our English Learners to ensure that they are provided with the necessary supports so that they receive a quality education. She also teaches English Language Arts to both middle and high school students. Anna is a huge resource to our staff and she willingly collaborates and supports her colleagues through the co-teaching model. Anna is a leader in the district and currently sits on our Building Leadership Team. She is a strong voice on the leadership team and advocates for her colleagues, she is someone that they turn to for advice and support. She is also leading district wide efforts in teaching ELL certification classes to help our staff get the professional development they need in the area of culturally and linguistically diverse learners. Thanks to her hard work and efforts, our EL students have been successful and shown solid growth over the last few years.

Hanna Hays is the Center High School representative. She is our current high school ELA teacher. Hanna is an outstanding educator for our students. She is always on top of her game and administrators are regularly impressed when they drop in on her classroom. She is well versed in the PEBC Thinking Strategies classroom and she is taking that to a new level for our district. She incorporates all the thinking strategies into her daily lessons to ensure students are critically thinking and problem solving.

She challenges our high school students with rigorous course content. She continues to expand her knowledge as she pursues her Master’s Degree so that she can continue to challenge and motivate our students. She knows her curriculum, and plans and executes her lessons successfully. She has really grown over the last 4 years and continues to develop with her growth mindset. Her effort, knowledge and determination have all contributed to her becoming excellent in her craft. Hanna’s best attribute is the relationships she establishes with our students. You can always see her supporting our students at athletic events, concerts, k-bowl and outside activities. She is genuinely invested in her students and that is why she shows up for the extracurricular activities that they are involved in. The kids notice that authenticity and feel the same way about her.

It’s obvious that we have some pretty amazing staff at Center Schools. It was a tough decision this year because of the high caliber of the staff involved, however, the committee decided that this year Hanna Hays would be representing our district for the San Luis Educator of the Year. Congratulations to all of our nominees this year! You are the reason we have such a great district! Thank you all for all you do!

We are fortunate to have Celina Espinoza in our district, supporting our students who are involved in our alternative instructional options. Celina is our Virtual Online Counselor for the Center Virtual Academy and the Academic Recovery Center. She is having a positive impact on our students and helping to ensure that these students are supported and given the resources they need to be successful in their high school careers. Celina’s job is to provide counseling services through an MTSS model for students served by CVA and ARC, to graduate CVA/ARC students and transition them to some type of postsecondary training. She is developing the infrastructure to track CVA/ARC students which include developing a user friendly academic plan to share with students, utilize Infinite Campus as our data warehouse and develop a timely plan to successfully transition CVA/ARC students to some type of postsecondary training.

Get to know Celina:

I retired from North Conejos School District where I was the High School Counselor/grant writer/ program development specialist and I wore many hats. I retired in 2009 and went to work for SLV Behavioral Health and implemented the Wrap Around process in Conejos and Alamosa Counties 2010- 2013. I also worked as the Federal Programs Coordinator for the Centennial School District 2014-2015. My most recent job position was with South Conejos School District as a Grant Writer/Program Development Manager. While I am retired, I still feel I have a lot to give to the San Luis Valley as my community. My strength lies is working with the highly at risk adolescent students, ensuring that their basic needs are met so that they may re- focus on an academic plan to graduate, acquire a marketable skill through some type of Post- Secondary Ed./training and enter the workforce workplace ready with the opportunity to grow.

Celina has received many accolades and awards that testify to her work performance. Celina was the Colorado School Counselor of the Year in 1993 and 2009. She was the Colorado Annual Hispanic Salute Adult Volunteer of the year for the Colorado in 2000. She received the CESDA award for Counselor of the year in the 90’s and she is in the Educator Hall of Fame at Adams State. Most recently, she was recognized by the SLV IOG Cross Systems Symposium for Outstanding Community Collaboration.

Celina is just another example of excellence in education. She is connecting with kids and helping them to be successful, and that’s what it’s all about!

We had a lot going on in our district last week. Our wrestlers headed off to regionals and really performed well. Our Vikings took 8th place as a team, and we had two wrestlers that took 3rd place finishes- Chase Padilla and Jesus Valadez, and Lorenzo Trujillo and Jordan Duran both took 4th place in their weight classes. Even though we didn’t have any wrestlers moving on to the state competition, our wrestlers represented our district well, wrestled hard, and had a great season overall. Congratulations to Coach Mondragon and our wrestlers for all they accomplished this year. We are proud of you.

Our Lady Vikings are moving on to the first round of state basketball. Congratulations to Coach Vigil and his team for their hard work this year. The girls will be playing Burlington tomorrow at 6:00 pm. Let’s go Lady Vikings!

A big shout out to Coach Jones and the boys’ basketball team for their successful season. They had a fantastic run this year and ended the season with a 7-5 record. Covid hit our boys’ team hard this year and unfortunately we couldn’t overcome the challenges that the pandemic presented us with. The boys just missed out on making state play. Overall, it was a successful season and the boys fought hard until the end.

Haskin Elementary celebrated the 100th day of school this past week. Everybody seemed to age overnight… students and staff came to work hunched over, grey, and wrinkly! The last year has definitely been a challenging one, but to see how much it’s aged us all was pretty remarkable. Happy 100th day!

We also celebrated Winter Fest this past week. We had a variety of dress up days that included Twin Day, Disney Day, Crazy Mask Day, and Blue and White day! Staff and students had a lot of fun celebrated our Viking Pride! Our Homecoming royalty was crowned after the basketball game on Tuesday night!

Forward Focus

This is the last week of school before Spring Break. Tuesday night will be our regular Board meeting. This will be a virtual meeting as a number of our administration is attending the CASE conference in Denver. Tuesday and Wednesday, Wendy Murillo has arranged for dental screenings for our students.

Have a fabulous week!

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