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Timber Trail teacher recognized as "Teacher of the Season"

Article and photo by Lisa Crockett

Photo of winners

Sam McDade Wray (left), presents Castle Pines resident and Timber Trail teacher Jane Lenz (center) with the “Teacher of the Season” award from Macaroni Kid Castle Rock-Parker-Highlands Ranch- an online newsletter for Douglas County families. Timber Trail principal Michelle Radke is at right. McDade Wray is the co-publisher of Macaroni Kid.

Jane Lenz, a Castle Pines resident and the SSN (Significant Support Needs) teacher at Timber Trail Elementary, received an award last month recognizing her important contributions as an educator and a member of the community. Macaroni Kid Castle Rock-Parker-Highlands Ranch, a local online newsletter which features the largest kid and family-friendly events calendar for the Douglas County area, honored Lenz with the title “Teacher of the Season” after she was nominated by a Timber Trail parent and selected by in independent panel of judges.

“Having had family members that were teachers, we know how hard they work to make a difference with the kids in their classrooms every day,” said Sam McDade Wray, co-publisher of Macaroni Kid. “It is an honor to be able to have this program to recognize all of the great work that our area teachers do!”

As part of this special recognition, Lenz received several gifts from area businesses, including dinner at BRIO restaurant in Park Meadows, a wall plaque from Glory Days Trophies in Parker, a resource book and gift certificate for lunch from the Douglas County Libraries, a massage from Megan’s Therapeutic Massage, a teacher supply gift certificate from Trina Oyloe, Realtor, Cherry Creek Properties and a one-year registration for babysitting services from Mother’s Helpers.

Lenz, who has worked in various capacities in the Douglas County School District (DCSD) for the last 21 years, has been the SSN teacher at Timber Trail for the last six years. She provides specialized instruction for children with special needs, a job Lenz is clearly passionate about.

“These kids that I teach have an important purpose,” she said. “They make us better human beings. It’s my job to educate not only them, but the people they come in contact with and to make sure their contributions aren’t discounted.”

But Lenz isn’t known only to the kids assigned as her students. She’s involved school-wide, serving as a faculty advisor to the Timber Team, TTE’s student council. She’s a visible part of the school’s morning routine, greeting students as they enter the school, usually by name. And she’s something of a legend for her contributions to the school’s daily announcements, often leading the student body in chanting or singing. A favorite in the early spring is Lenz’ “TCAP Rap,” which she performs to energize students during standardized testing at school.

“This award couldn’t go to a more deserving person,” said Timber Trail principal Michelle Radke. “She doesn’t just influence the kids with special needs, she touches everyone in the building. I can honestly say she does something to make me smile every day.”

For her part, Lenz is grateful and happy to have been recognized for her contributions, doing a job she feels fulfilled in doing.

“I know I’m called to be here, doing this job,” said Lenz. “I will always work with people who have disabilities; I will always advocate for people who can’t advocate for themselves.”

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