2020 CCTM Teaching and Leadership Awardees

Each year, the Colorado Council of Teachers of Mathematics recognizes its members who display excellence in mathematics teaching and leadership. These standout educators have shown a passion for teaching and learning mathematics and share CCTM's commitment to personal and professional growth. Awardees receive a plaque, $200, a one-year CCTM membership, and complimentary registration to the CCTM Annual Conference.

CCTM congratulates the 2020 awardees. Due to COVID-19, these educators will be honored at the August 5th webinar with NCTM Past President Robert Berry in lieu of the traditional awards ceremony. Read below to learn more about each of these honored educators.

Leadership Awards

Felicia Casto

Felicia Casto Headshot

Clifton Elementary, Mesa County Valley School District 51, CCTM Region 6
2020 CCTM Leadership Awardee

About Felicia: Felicia takes on the challenging work of empowering teachers to bring effective math instruction directly to students. Felicia is a true advocate for math education. She volunteers countless hours inspiring Colorado math educators and she supports the advancement of the profession in a variety of ways. She is especially proud of her work as a coach and enrichment teacher supporting elementary children and teachers with their mindset around mathematics.

Sara Collyar

Sara Collyar Headshot

Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy, Denver Public Schools, CCTM Region 1
2020 CCTM Leadership Awardee

About Sara: Sara models for her colleagues and student teachers how to manage cooperative groups of students, how to use manipulatives, how to scaffold for all students’ needs (especially English Language Learners), and now, how to develop on-line teaching sessions that engage students. What separates Sara from other leaders is her calm demeanor and her daily practice to be a life-long learner. Sara’s goal has always been to encourage teachers to let the students do the talking and to let the students do the work.

Nicole McHenry

Nicole McHenry Headshot

Fountain-Fort Carson High School, Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8, CCTM Region 7
2020 CCTM Leadership Awardee

About Nicole: Nicole has helped teachers look beyond the “what” we are teaching and explore the how and why of the mathematics. Many teachers have shared how much they rely on Nicole and how much they appreciate her positive and encouraging approach to growth. Nicole is currently focused on using and sharing research-based best practices in mathematics instruction with her students and colleagues.

Teaching Awards

Erin M. Abner

Erin Abner Headshot

Centennial - A School for Expeditionary Learning, Denver Public Schools, CCTM Region 1
2020 CCTM Teaching Awardee

About Erin: Erin realized that she not only needed to engage her students, but also their parents. She held a series of math sessions so families could learn new strategies and play math games. During the shift to online learning, Erin carefully planned live teaching lessons for students tailored to their needs and designed a website to ensure that her families could access resources.

Ellie Bak

Ellie Bak Headshot

Clifton Elementary School, Mesa County Valley School District 51, CCTM Region 6
2020 CCTM Teaching Awardee

About Ellie: Ellie knows that early concepts are the building blocks for mathematics and it is essential that her second graders have opportunities to explore and make connections with the number system. Ellie shares her passion for mathematics and has started a "drop everything and do math day" which has since spread across the entire school.

Joseph Ben Bolz

Joseph Bolz Headshot

George Washington High School, Denver Public Schools, CCTM Region 1
2020 CCTM Teaching Awardee

About Joe: “Talk less, smile more” is Joe’s philosophy. His passion is to make mathematics meaningful using a variety of techniques including games, group tasks, projects, and real-world problems. Joe knows that math is so much more than number crunching – math is deciding where to put different plants in your garden, math is building a swing for your porch, math is finding the best bus route across town, math is baking and driving and exercising and math is an art.

Dominique Conner

Dominique Conner Headshot

Abrams Elementary School, Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8, CCTM Region 7
2020 CCTM Teaching Awardee

About Dominique: Dominique’s goal is to continue to find ways to make math instruction more meaningful to students and to find better ways to support them. Dominique finds that many times students come to different conclusions for the problems or want to use different strategies with their teams and that collaboration often means compromising to find the best solution.

Kelli Lonsberry

Kelly Lonsberry Headshot

Centennial High School, Pueblo City Schools, CCTM Region 5
2020 CCTM Teaching Awardee

About Kelli: Kelli encourages her students to "think outside the box." She is very adept at modifying instruction to meet the various learning stages and abilities of her students. Kelli’s students admire her for her creativity in the classroom, her use of manipulatives to explore complex ideas, and her numerous means of helping them understand mathematical concepts.

Elizabeth A. Sasse

Elizabeth Sasse Headshot

Valley High School, Weld County School District RE-1, CCTM Region 4
2020 CCTM Teaching Awardee

About Elizabeth: Elizabeth consistently runs open-ended problem-solving sessions with her students using high-ceiling, low-floor style problems to ensure that all her students remain actively engaged and challenged throughout. Rather than lecture-driven teaching, Elizabeth spends the majority of class time sitting at student tables and listening to their discussions. After, she facilitates the lessons by asking questions to push their thinking and understanding.

Heather Testa

Heather Testa Headshot

Eyestone Elementary School, Poudre School District, CCTM Region 4
2020 CCTM Teaching Awardee

About Heather: Heather’s students know that they learn MORE by making mistakes and using those mistakes to find a new path to the answer. Heather’s students want to explain their thinking and even question the thinking of others. She tries to create risk takers that want to volunteer instead of feeling like the “victim” when called on. Heather’s students are able to make connections to people, apply the mathematics to practical situations, and explain the mathematics accurately to other students.