LPS Heroes Recognition Series No. 8

At their regularly scheduled meeting on April 8, 2021—the first meeting in over a year where a limited number of people were able to attend in person—the Board of Education recognized LPS Heroes from Centennial Academy, Sandburg Elementary, and Arapahoe High School.

From Centennial Academy, the Board recognized Amy Lengyel, English language development teacher. Principal Dan Cuoco said, “I have never seen someone so connected and dedicated to her school community. She is one of the strongest links in the chain that keeps us all connected,” and he added that he sometimes refers to her as “neighborhood mom,” and another staff member has referred to her as “an angel.” Amy lives in the neighborhood, and some of the ways she goes above and beyond include taking neighborhood kids on field trips to the rec center to learn and get exercise. She looks after the care of students after school whose parents may need to work late. She is a direct line through phone, email, and in person to families who have questions or needs, and those families are benefited immensely by Amy’s knowledge of community resources. She works hard to help families and the school overcome language barriers. Amy is often one of the first people families call when they are experiencing a crisis—she is that important to them. Amy, thank you sincerely for your investment in Centennial and the LPS families who call that school home.

Next, the Board recognized two staff from Sandburg Elementary School: Sharon Channel, Sandburg’s kitchen manager, and Jordyn Mackleburger, the school’s SACC manager. 

Sharon Channel has done an amazing job balancing all the responsibilities of running a kitchen. She prepares amazing lunches for students and will go above and beyond to support their individual needs. The free lunch program was very challenging when the number of school lunches more than doubled each day. Sharon worked with the nutrition services department to streamline the lunch serving process for students. Faced with three challenges—free lunches, Covid safety protocols, and implementing a new management system—Sharon worked hard to meet all the requirements. She leads two other employees, including a graduate from the LPS Transition program. Principal Karen Tarbell said, “She is truly a hero at Sandburg.” Thank you, Sharon, for your dedication to Sandburg’s students and your operation of a great school nutrition program!

Jordyn Mackleburger has supported Sandburg in two big ways. First, she did an excellent job restarting the school’s SACC program. Facing many challenges, Jordyn led her team with a positive attitude, a strong work ethic, and integrity, creating a quality child care program for Sandburg families. She found a way to incorporate all the Covid safety procedures while creating fun, welcoming, and engaging activities for students. Second, when Sandburg needed help with staffing in the main office due to quarantines and illness, Jordyn stepped in and helped the office run efficiently and effectively. Principal Karen Tarbell said, “Jordyn’s can-do attitude inspires all around her.” Jordyn, LPS is so appreciative of your passion for making sure SACC is a place where children want to be, and thank you also for supporting the school through your work in the office during such a challenging time.

From Arapahoe High School, the Board had the honor of recognizing Melissa Wern, Pat McCabe, Janelle Weems, and Steve Sisler.

Melissa Wern, Arapahoe’s health assistant, works tirelessly and with a constant smile on her face to manage everything in the health office. She is a master at organizing all of the data. She makes phone calls to parents, and she has a great rapport with them. Melissa is also the gold standard for ensuring student immunization records compliance. Arapahoe has a 99.8 percent records compliance rate due to her diligent work, which is significantly higher than the state average. Principal Natalie Pramenko said, “Melissa is always pleasant, fun to work with, and kind to everyone she meets.” Thank you for your diligence and positive presence at Arapahoe, Melissa!

To say that high school athletics have been challenging this year would be an understatement. Pat McCabe, assistant principal and athletic director at Arapahoe, has not only meticulously planned Arapahoe’s athletic protocols, he also planned the way the entire league would scan and track athletes and spectators. This ensured uniform tracking and monitoring protocols that kept as many people safe and healthy as possible. Arapahoe’s assistant principal, Brian Ceriani, said, “Pat should teach a course on how to do his job because he is a master!” Thank you for taking on this challenge, Pat! Your initiative and contributions made a huge difference in high school athletics this year.

Janelle Weems, Arapahoe’s athletic secretary, stepped up this year to create the model, process, and vouchers for the entire Centennial League to manage Covid for winter sports. She did this in addition to her already busy workload. The process for Covid tracking helped Arapahoe avoid quarantining hundreds of students because of the level of accuracy of Janelle’s system. She sends detailed communications to opposing teams that outline exactly where they are supposed to be and when. Additionally, Janelle has not missed a single home game. She works so hard to be sure every safety protocol is being followed. Janelle also made it possible for every parent to watch their Warrior play at every level through the Arapahoe Warrior Athletics YouTube channel. Principal Natalie Pramenko said, “Janelle is one of the most dedicated Arapahoe and LPS employees I have ever known.” Thank you for your enormous contribution to Arapahoe’s athletic program, Janelle! Your hard work is appreciated by many!

Steve Sisler, social studies teacher and head wrestling coach at Arapahoe, has gone above and beyond in his teaching this year, whether Arapahoe is in a remote, hybrid, or in-person learning model. Steve often covers classes for colleagues when Arapahoe is in a pinch. He has also taken on the role of coordinating the AHS Twitter account and has made a tremendous positive impact in doing so. As head wrestling coach, he has organized practices in a manner that has helped keep athletes participating. He collaborates with other coaches to share spaces and coordinate efforts to keep the maximum number of students possible at work on their sport. Natalie Pramenko said, “Steve is a role model for kids, fellow teachers, and coaches. He is an outstanding social studies teacher who approaches his classroom with positivity, regardless of the learning model.” Thank you, Steve, for everything you have done and continue to do for students and for Arapahoe!

Thanks again to all of our LPS Heroes for all you do for our students, staff, and families!

Front row, left to right: Steve Sisler, Jordyn Mackleburger, Sharon Channel, Pat McCabe, Melissa Wern, Amy Lengyel, Janelle Weems
Back row, left to right: Lindley McCrary, Robert Reichardt, Jack Reutzel, Brian Ewert, Kelly Perez, Angela Christensen