District 70 announces Teacher and Support Staff award winners



PUEBLO, Colo.– Two teachers and a staff members from Pueblo Academy District 70 will be honored Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 4:00 p.m. at the Educational Services Center for their accomplishments in the classroom.

District 70 will recognize Joni Mandarich from Vineland Middle School, Yvette Davis at
Vineland Elementary School and Roberta Pacheco from Desert Sage Elementary School.

“Our schools rely on every staff member to be successful,” said District 70 Superintendent Ed
Smith. “We know that learning takes place not just in the classroom, but in every interaction our
students have with our staff. Kind words, positive attitudes and encouragement can go a long
way in educating our students. I thank everyone District-wide for their continued effort and
dedication and we are proud to recognize our outstanding staff.”

Mandarich has an extensive background in teaching Vineland Middle School science students in teaching Technology Student Association and STEAM. She uses many different teaching methods and meets the needs of all of her students by encouraging her students to engage in scientific content while moving in the classroom. She has also created her own interactives and games to the classroom as well. Grace under pressure” is the phrase that comes to mind when thinking of Mrs. Mandarich.

A 22-year teaching veteran of D70, first grade teacher Yvette Davis has decorated her classroom to be visually engaging with her lessons and administers hands-on learning lessons in a classroom that feels like a community.

“Yvette is always smiling and brings humor and joy to our staff,” said Vineland Elementary
Principal Ryan Mandarich. “She has great rapport with students, teachers and staff, parents and
the Vineland community. Even during remote learning, Mrs. Davis took the time to meet with
each student and work them at their individual level to ensure that students did not miss out or
slip through the cracks during a trying school year.”

Davis also offers after school tutoring to struggling students.

Roberta Pacheco inspires the students and staff at Desert Sage Elementary School with her positivity and encouragement for everyone she comes in contact with. Pacheco has been a paraprofessional for Pueblo
District 70 at Desert Sage Elementary and Skyview Middle School. She is known to put her students and their needs first and always says “whatever is best for the kids.”

Three teachers and two support staff from Pueblo District 70 will also be honored in-person for
their awards from the previous school year 2019-2020 (which was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

Pueblo School District 70 recognized Danielle Stevens, a kindergarten-5th grade reading teacher
at Avondale Elementary, Randi Richie, a 6th and 7th grade Social Studies teacher at
Vineland Middle School and two D70 Support Staff members Jeff Bloomer
at Liberty Point International and Anthony Benabides from Vineland Middle School.

Danielle Stevens is known to be a creative instructor with a passion for her students, utilizing how genders learn differently in the classroom and uses that knowledge to work with at-risk male students. Her colleagues refer to her as a “champion for the under-privileged”.

Randi Richie uses her classroom as an inspirational setting, making it a safe environment to explore different areas as knowledge. For the past eight years, she has provided a school-wide field trip to the Colorado Rockies Science Day and is also a leader in the Sources of Strengths student group.

Anthony Benabidas is the custodian at Vineland Middle School who makes sure that everyone is “noticed, valued, and important.” His nominators consider him a “role-model” for every person that enters the building. “Goal oriented and problem solving” are also some of the high praising remarks from staff.

Jeff Bloomer is acting in his 6th year at Liberty Point International School as a paraprofessional in the school’s Autism Program. Bloomer has found innovative ways to connect with his non-verbal students through sensory items and sign language. He also sets up special trips for the Autism Center students. As one parent said, “Mr. Bloomer has a special ability to allow these children to have a sense of belonging.”

Congratulations to all D70 award winners!

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