R-5 teacher best in state for alternative education


R-5 High teacher Maggie Childers is this year’s recipient of the Colorado Alternative Cooperative Education (ACE) Teacher of the Year Award.

Childers said she was honored and surprised to receive the statewide award just two years into her employment at R-5. Childers taught in Idaho for 18 years, then at Grand Junction High for 10 years, before spending four years in District 51’s curriculum department as a content specialist and joined R-5 in fall 2011.

R-5 Principal Anna Goetz said Childers “hit the ground running” as a science and careers teacher at the alternative high school. Goetz said Childers has a knack for finding what interests a student and turning that interest into a project that touches on as many school subjects as possible.

“She’s a leader of her peers and a leader of her students and she’s constantly challenging herself,” Goetz said.

Childers said the high school was going through a time of curriculum transition when she arrived. Instead of blending in, she decided to dive into creating new biology curriculum during the school year. She also wasn’t shy about tackling the school’s focus on connecting students to their future careers. She teaches a careers class and wants to connect each student with a job they’ll find fulfilling.

Fellow R-5 teacher Al Kreinberg took notice and nominated Childers for the ACE award. Childers found out she had a shot at the award just before arriving at ACE’s conference Nov. 2 in Denver. She received the award at a luncheon that day.

“There’s no greater honor than when your peers honor you,” she said. “An award like this doesn’t come with one person; it’s a reflection of R-5. Everyone on staff is deserving of this award.”

Sonya Sallak, a counselor at R-5, said the award may help the school gain some notoriety and prove to more businesses that they would benefit from letting R-5 students job shadow at their offices. “I feel like it’s just a start,” she said. “There’s a lot of great ideas going around here.”


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