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Davis wins L.S. Wood Teacher of the Year

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A well known quote by Henry E. Adams sticks in the mind of Cactus Valley Elementary preschool teacher Cindy Davis: “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

Davis used this quote in an essay for the L.S. Wood Teacher of the Year award, but she likely did not know how appropriate it was.

Davis is the winner of the prestigious award for the Garfield Re-2 School District, which was presented by L.S. Wood Charitable Trust trustee John Reeves Sr. and administrator Don Parkison in a ceremony at Cactus Valley Elementary on May 5.



Although the trust has also given the award in the past to a teacher in the Roaring Fork School District, that award was not made this year, Parkison said.

One of the letters of support for Davis’ application came from Colorado State University sophomore Dru Avery. Avery was a preschool student of Davis’ and he still reflects on the impact her instruction made upon him as a 3-year-old boy.



“As a young preschooler, I can remember my excitement day-in and day-out to attend school. She provided the tools necessary for a solid educational foundation, while keeping every experience fun and energetic,” Avery wrote. “Being a sophomore at Colorado State University, it is fair to say that I have experienced a good amount of teachers and teaching styles; none of them compare to Cindy’s passion and enthusiasm for seeing her students excel.”

Davis, a Glenwood Springs resident, was completely taken by surprise at the award presentation.

“I was so excited to be nominated. Being in early childhood education, you don’t always get that recognition, but we really do a lot for kids. This award is nice, but it is nice for the field of early childhood education to get the recognition as well,” said Davis.

Davis earned her bachelors in elementary education from the University of South Dakota, a certification to direct a child care center in 1991, and a masters in early childhood special education from the University of Northern Colorado in 2006. Her calling to teach preschoolers came at a much earlier age.

“One might say I was born into my life’s work as an early childhood educator,” she wrote. As the oldest of six daughters, she often was left in charge of her siblings, something she took great pride in.

She owned and operated The Glenwood Preschool for 12 years and decided that once her youngest child graduated from high school, she would pursue teaching kindergarten or first grade. But then an opportunity arose that told her she truly was doing her life’s calling.

A former preschool parent called her and told her about an opening at Roy Moore Elementary School (now Cactus Valley) in Silt.

“For some reason, I knew it was the right fit,” said Davis. “It just fell into my lap. I really felt comfortable in the school.”

John Reeves, Sr. a trustee for the L.S. Wood Charitable Trust, was on hand for the presentation. Reeves worked for Wood as a mining engineer for Mid-Continent Coal and Coke.

“In my business, we talk a lot about natural resources. The one true natural resource in the world is the brain of a human being. You are developing the one true natural resource we have – people,” he told the Cactus Valley Elementary staff.

The L.S. Wood Teacher of the Year award is in its 26th year and provides a $4,000 grant for one teacher from Garfield Re-2. The instructor receives $2,000, and another $2,000 goes to that teacher’s department, team or grade level for purchases designated by the teacher.

Selections rotate each year from elementary to middle to high school teachers. This year’s award is designated for elementary school teachers. Last year’s recipient was David Kosht from Rifle High School, and next year’s winner will be a middle school teacher.

In addition, all nominated teachers receive $500.

2011 L.S. Wood Teacher of the Year nominees

Rachael Balerio is in her fourth year at Wamsley Elementary where she is currently a third-grade teacher.

Vicki Brusig has been a counselor at Garfield Re-2 for the past eight years, and in her current role as counselor at Graham Mesa Elementary for the past two.

Melanie Coffelt is in her 13th year as a kindergarten teacher in Garfield Re-2. She has been at Highland Elementary for the past six years.

Jan Goetz is in her 24th year as an educator in Garfield Re-2 and has been a third-grade teacher at Elk Creek Elementary for three years.

Allison Rickert is in her sixth year as a fourth-grade teacher at Kathryn Senor Elementary.


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