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Fantastic 49 Festivities Launch for '22-23 School Year

A new school year has just begun, and already D49 has much to celebrate. District leaders and the board of education honored 12 staff members during the Fantastic 49 presentation on Aug. 11.

Jared Welch receives an award during Aug. 11 Fantastic 49 presentation.


Jared Welch, athletic director at Sand Creek High School, was the first staff member to receive accolades. Welch was named Athletic Director of the Year by the Colorado Society of Health and Physical Education. “The joy that Jared has in this job … he loves what he does and it shows. The students know it, our staff know it, and the parents know it,” said Amy Sanchez-Martinez, campus director at SCHS. “When I go to events, they often compliment his presence, authenticity and his care.” Welch will receive his award this October in Denver.


Next in the line-up for recognition was Debra Lagle from Stetson Elementary School. Lagle was nominated for recognition by a parent, Trinity Wedde. “In grade school, there is always one teacher who makes a difference to you … Ms. Lagle hasn’t done that just for my kids, but she has done that for me,” shared Wedde. Her fourth-grade daughter, Rylnn, who was in Lagle’s class last year added, “Ms. Lagle is so loving to every one of her students and is the best teacher. Thank you for pushing me and believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself.”


A team from the nutrition services department—Jeanne Hornberger, Roxanne Horton and Stacy Shaffer— were thanked for their innovative thinking with labor shortages and supply chain challenges.  “Without these three people we could not have turned the normal nutrition ship every day on the dime we did,” shared Monica Deines-Henderson, director of nutrition services. “They are the folks who are always there to make sure every student in this district knows there is a loving, caring person to give them a meal when they need it. Our district shines and is successful because of people like them.”

A team from nutrition services is thanked during Fantastic 49.


Staff at Horizon Middle School had their turn in the spotlight for creating a positive culture at the school with their Renaissance Program. Whitney Apodaca, Leslie Garza, Courtney Hutchinson, Jackie Ornelas, Lori Maher and James Sweeney played a key part in HMS being named a Jostens Renaissance School of Distinction—Platinum Level for the second year in a row. “They have always been some of the biggest supporters helping with every event and are the first ones to step up,” said Dustin Horras, principal at HMS. “We are the only middle school in North America to be recognized at this level.”


Liz Dalzell, assistant principal at Horizon Middle School, was the final honoree of the evening. Dalzell was named the National Jostens Renaissance Educator of the Year at the end of the 2021-22 school year. “Liz is a super supporter of Renaissance,” shared Horras. “She is very deserving of this award, but not just for what she does at Horizon. To get this award, you have to be doing things regionally … She is a representative for the Four Corners Region, and she coaches different schools.”


Fantastic 49 is the district’s recognition program that celebrates fantastic staff, students, parents and community members before the board of education meetings. A sincere thank you to Air Academy Federal Credit Union, Dion’s, Texas Roadhouse, and Whirlyball for donating gift cards for all honorees.


A student shares remarks to celebrate a teacher during Fantastic 49.. Staff from HMS are honored during Fantastic 49.. A student presents flowers to Liz Dalzell after the Fantastic 49 presentation.


Watch the entire Fantastic 49 presentation.

Amy Matisek