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Student, Staff Celebrated for Leading the Way

Our mission in D49 is to be the “Best Choice to Learn, Work and Lead.” Four staff members and one student were recognized during Fantastic 49 festivities on Sept. 9 for demonstrating a vital part of that vision, leadership.

Izzy receives accolades during Fantastic 49 presentation.

The celebration was kicked off by honoring Neveah Gutierrez, an AFJROTC cadet at Sand Creek High School. Neveah was selected to attend a prestigious flight academy last summer to earn a pilot’s license, along with receiving a scholarship of more than $22,000 to cover all expenses. She finished the program with more than 50 flight hours and earned six college credits. “Neveah is an outstanding student, and I am proud of her accomplishments,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Pontius, ROTC instructor at SCHS.

The Summer Acceleration Academy at Evans Elementary was enhanced when Jessica Beilharz, art teacher, created an engaging program for young artists. “A huge draw to our program was the extracurricular activities we offered in the afternoon … we talked to her about putting together an art camp, and like everything else she does, she knocked it out of the park,” shared Marcia Case, principal. “We are talking about 65 kids at once, and she managed it well.”

A team of teachers from Odyssey Elementary received accolades next. Samantha Pellow, kindergarten teacher, and Lindsay Alguire, P.E. teacher, were thanked for organizing the Walking Wednesday program that promotes physical fitness. Every Wednesday, more than 100 staff, students and family members come to school early to walk laps outside. “We are so thankful for the leadership and vision they have brought to Odyssey, and the positive impact their vision is creating within the school,” said Amy May, assistant principal.

The final honoree of the evening was Vladislav Izboinikov, or “Izzy” as he is known in D49, who serves as coordinator of special student projects. Izzy was recognized for his excellent work in advancing the high-performance athlete program in the iConnect Zone, and for coaching two athletes to medal-winning status at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “Izzy is an example of what it means to take on additional things beyond your normal day … he is an example to our athletes, our community and to all of us,” shared Andy Franko, iConnect Zone leader.

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

JAFROTC cadet is honored during Fantastic 49 on Sept. 9.Special student projects coordinator in the iConnect Zone is celebrated during the Sept. 9 Fantastic 49.Evans Elementary art teacher receives honors during Fantastic 49 on Sept. 9.