Nine Colorado Schools Named Finalists for The Second Annual Succeeds Prize

Three Winners Will Receive $15,000 Each in Cash Awards

February 21, 2018 DENVERThe Succeeds Prize, the state’s most prestigious awards and recognition event honoring transformational public schools and educators, has announced 9 finalist schools for its 2018 Transformational Impact awards. Three winners will be announced at a live reveal celebration on Sept. 18, 2018 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. The winners in each category will share $45,000 in cash awards.

The Succeeds Prize is sponsored by the business community in partnership with Colorado Succeeds, 9NEWS/KUSA, and mindSpark Learning – a nonprofit dedicated to impacting and evolving education through educators. In addition to Colorado CEOs announcing the winners at the live reveal, The Succeeds Prize also serves as a year-long campaign to identify and scale successful innovations and best practices so every student in Colorado can benefit.

More than 700 Coloradans attended The Inaugural Succeeds Prize and more than 17,000 tuned in online and on Facebook live. For highlights from The 2017 Succeeds Prize and to watch the event highlight reel, click here.

The 2018 Succeeds Prize Transformational Impact finalists and honorable mention schools are listed alphabetically below:

Transformational Impact in an Elementary School – Presented by TTEC

  • Henry Elementary School – Colorado Springs District 11
  • Paonia Elementary School – Delta County 50(J)
  • Rocky Mountain Prep: Creekside – Denver Public Schools

Honorable Mentions:

  • Oak Creek Elementary School – Harrison School District 2
  • University Prep: Steele Street – Denver Public Schools

Transformational Impact in a Middle School – Presented by DaVita

  • Carbondale Middle School – Roaring Fork RE1
  • Denver Green School – Denver Public Schools
  • Murphy Creek P-8 School – Adams Arapahoe 28J

Honorable Mentions:

  • Denver School of Science & Technology: Stapleton Middle School – Denver Public Schools
  • Victory Preparatory Academy – Charter School Institute

Transformational Impact in a High School – Presented by Western Union Foundation

  • Denver Center for International Studies – Denver Public Schools
  • Denver School of Science & Technology: Stapleton High School – Denver Public Schools
  • Union Colony Preparatory School – Greeley

Honorable Mentions:

  • Aurora West College Preparatory Academy – Adams Arapahoe 28J
  • Lotus School for Excellence – Adams Arapahoe 28J

“The Succeeds Prize gives us the opportunity to celebrate Colorado educators and recognize what is working in our schools,” said Steve Carter, general manager of 9NEWS/KUSA TV. “9NEWS has been proud to feature the 2017 winners on our network to share their stories with millions of Coloradans. Congratulations to the finalists for Transformational Impact; Colorado is grateful for your work.”

“Educators across Colorado are doing incredible work in their schools, yet they rarely have the chance to connect with and support one another,” said Scott Laband, president of Colorado Succeeds. “The Succeeds Prize not only rewards their efforts, it also shares these effective and scalable practices so educators statewide can benefit. We have learned so much for our 2017 winners and finalists, and the business community is coming together once again to recognize and reward these unsung heroes.

“We are thrilled to partner with Colorado Succeeds and 9NEWS on The 2018 Succeeds Prize,” said Kellie Lauth, Chief Executive Officer of mindSpark Learning. “As a non-profit dedicated to impacting and evolving education, we were profoundly inspired by the schools, educators, and successes uncovered by The 2017 Succeeds Prize. It is incredibly gratifying to witness the innovation and success taking place in Colorado schools. We are honored by the opportunity to help share these stories and shine a bright light on tremendous outcomes as we also eagerly await additional stories that will unfold through the 2018 selection process. Congratulations to the finalists, honorable mention schools, and all the schools in Colorado working tirelessly for our students. We are so proud to partner with you!”

The Succeeds Prize Selection Committee uses a three-step, data-driven process for identifying finalists for the Transformational Impact awards. To read more about this process as it unfolded last year, click here.

The selection committee will decide the award winners by reviewing information and conducting interviews with school leaders, teachers, parents, and community members, to be collected during site visits to each of the top three schools for each award. Interviews and site visits will take place between February through April 2018.

The Succeeds Prize Selection Committee Members
The Succeeds Prize Selection Committee is composed of Colorado education, government, and business leaders. Ninety-five percent of committee members have taught in a classroom, led a school building, served on a school board or charter school board, or worked in a district or state agency.

  • Katy Anthes – Commissioner, Colorado Department of Education
  • Elliott Asp – Senior Partner, Colorado Education Initiative
  • Lamont Browne – Executive Director of Autonomous Schools, Aurora Public Schools
  • Jessica Buckley – Principal, Escuela Valdez in Denver and a 2017 winner of The Succeeds Prize
  • Andy Burns – Chief Operating Officer, Durango School District 9-R
  • Nicole Chatham – Corporate Council, Rimini Street
  • Floyd Cobb – Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, Colorado Department of Education
  • Pat Donovan – Vice President of Business Development at Revolution Foods
  • Britney Gandhi – Principal, Mountain Vista Community School in Colorado Springs and a 2017 winner of The Succeeds Prize
  • Joan Kniss – 2002 Colorado Teacher of the Year
  • Rod Link – Principal, Pioneer Elementary in Fort Morgan and a 2017 finalist of The Succeeds Prize
  • Justin McMillan – Principal, Casey Middle School in Boulder
  • Mike Miles – CEO, Academy of Advanced Learning in Aurora and Colorado Springs
  • Rachel Ngola – Vice President – Finance, Cresa
  • Alyssa Pearson – Associate Commissioner of Accountability, Performance, and Support, Colorado Department of Education
  • Christina Randle – 2018 Colorado Teacher of the Year and 1st grade teacher, Soaring Eagles Elementary in Colorado Springs and a 2017 finalist of The Succeeds Prize
  • Linda Reed – Superintendent, Archuleta School District in Pagosa Springs
  • Mark Sass – Colorado State Policy Director, TeachPlus and Teacher, Legacy High School in Thornton
  • Lynne Valencia – Vice President of Community Relations, 9NEWS
  • Jason Van Tiem – Senior Academy Dean, DSST: Green Valley Ranch High School and a 2017 winner of The Succeeds Prize.
  • Sean Wybrant – 2017 Colorado Teacher of the Year and CTE Teacher, William J. Palmer High School in Colorado Springs

In addition to the $45,000 in cash awards for Transformational Impact winners, The Succeeds Prize is also offering a $15,000 Excellence in Education Innovation Award, presented by Janus Henderson Investors; a $15,000 Excellence in STEM Education Award, presented by Ball Corp.; and a $15,000 Excellence in Education Leadership Award, presented by 9NEWS. Separate committees will select the winners for these awards, which will also be revealed at The Succeeds Prize event on Sept. 18.

For information about the awards, sponsorship, or tickets to the event, visit or contact

About The Succeeds Prize

The Succeeds Prize is the most prestigious awards and recognition event for Colorado’s public schools and educators. It honors the transformational impact Colorado’s public schools and educators are leading across the state. It also serves as a year-long campaign to implement and scale successful innovations and best practices, so every student in Colorado can benefit.

The Succeeds Prize is sponsored by the business community in partnership with Colorado Succeeds, 9NEWS/KUSA, and mindSpark Learning. Learn more at

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