National Teacher Appreciation Week

Members Honor Educators for National Teacher Appreciation Week

Educators have the power to transform a student’s academic and economic trajectory. In fact, they are the most important in-school factor for student success. We’ve all had at least one teacher who inspired us to push ourselves and reach our full potential, and who we remember years later. 

To celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 8-12) and Colorado’s selfless educators, we asked Colorado Succeeds members to share their perspective on educators who embody excellence. Here’s what they had to say:


Jesse Kajer

Principal, Indicate Capital

“The role teachers play in the lives of so many kids as they are growing and learning is such an important and imperative part to our communities. Looking back through my education there are several points that come to mind where a teacher made a huge impact on me and my learning process. Now, being married to a teacher, I get the opportunity to experience a more behind-the-scenes look at the passion and dedication that goes into each and every day in the classroom. Teachers are an incredible part to the way we grow up, the way we learn, and the way we work.”

Lynne D. Valencia

Vice President of Community Relations, 9NEWS/KUSA

“Carole McLennan was my personal cheerleader at Kepner Middle School. She always gave me a huge smile, encouraging comments on my English papers and when I was around her, I believed that that I could do anything! Ms. McLennan, my middle school English teacher.”

Joel Pennick

Senior Project Manager, JE Dunn Construction

“A teacher that memorably embodied excellence during my education experience was a teacher that was passionate about success not only in school studies, but in life. Engaged at my school on many different levels, Coach Yost was an entry level math teacher where he was able to connect with students on a personal level as they began their high school experience. He had passion for not only the curriculum, but for the students and their well-being. 

Also by coaching the high school baseball team he was a constant positive role model and had a presence around campus. His life was the school, his students, and his baseball players. Thanks Coach Yost!”

Demesha Hill Janus Foundation

Demesha Hill

Community Relations Manager & Janus Capital Group Managing Director, Janus Foundation

“Teachers that embody excellence create a meaningful relationship with their students. They understand their student’s background and experiences and utilize this information to make the educational experience more relevant and meaningful for the student.”

Sasha Shtern Bath and Granite

Sasha Shtern

CEO, Bath & Granite

“I had an outstanding teacher in my high school automotive classes by the name of John Stalter. He would give me room to explore but never let me stray too far. I would run into challenges I thought were insurmountable, but he wouldn’t let me give up. Mr. Stalter pushed me out of my comfort zone and I learned as many life lessons as I did mechanical lessons.”

Great Schools are Good Business