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Colorado League of Charter Schools Awards Top Leaders from Across the State

Friday, March 1, 2019  
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Hall of Fame winners celebrated for excellence in education and advocacy by 1,000 school leaders, teachers and thought leaders


Contact: Elise Bishop,

MARCH 1, 2019

Denver, Colo. Seven Colorado charter school individuals were recognized as the best in Colorado for their excellence in education and advocacy at the Colorado League of Charter Schools Annual Conference today. The Colorado Charter Schools Hall of Fame winners are exceptional leaders designated across six award categories. The winners were selected by a panel of League staff.

“The League is proud of all the charter school leaders and staff who impact the charter school movement,” said Colorado League of Charter Schools President Ben Lindquist. “We are also proud to celebrate the outstanding Hall of Fame winners this year who have been recognized as the best of the best by charter school leaders, advocates and supporters. We are also honored to award the Lifetime Achievement award to a nationally renowned education pioneer, Dr. E.D Hirsch, Jr.”  

The 2019 Colorado Charter Schools Hall of Fame winners are:

·         Charter School Leader of the Year: Mary Faith Hall (Thomas MacLaren School, Colorado Springs)

  • Most Valuable Charter Contributor: Violeta Apodaca (Pinnacle Charter School. Federal Heights)
  • Advocate of the Year: Jesse Hutt (Animas High School, Durango)
  •  Charter School Educator of the Year: Lauren Martinez (Mountain Song Community School, Colorado Springs)
  •  Charter School Authorizer Award: Dr. Terry Croy Lewis (Charter School Institute)
  •  Lifetime Achievement Award: E.D. Hirsch, Jr., (Core Knowledge Foundation)
  • Lifetime Achievement in Advocacy: Hugh Fowler (Founder of two charter schools)


Charter School Leader of the Year: Mary Faith Hall

"Mary Faith Hall is one of the three founders of Thomas MacLaren School, her husband being another of the three. Her family has dedicated their lives to creating this charter school in order to make a world class education and the pursuit of truth, beauty, and goodness available to all students. Mrs. Hall has served as Head of School since the founding ten years ago. She has grown the organization from 11 faculty/staff serving 72 students in rented space at a church to 125 faculty/staff serving 825 students on a full campus they own!  She cares deeply about the dignity of each person and works tirelessly to honor everyone who works for her. She holds a special honoring each year to speak personally about each new faculty/staff member.  She rallies the community of supporters to provide a "Masters Fund" for end of semester bonuses to each employee in recognition of their hard work (and under paid status).  Mary Faith, in all her exceptionalness, is humble. She continuously seeks an understanding of how she can improve as a leader and help the organization improve. In addition to leading the school, Mrs. Hall continues to teach a 2-hour humane letters seminar to upperclassmen daily, feeling it is vital that she remain not only in leadership of her faculty but a part of it. Mary Faith Hall has a keen intellect and has made it a point to understand every facet of school administration and finance so that Thomas MacLaren School is, at all times, above board and in the black.  I cannot think of a more deserving nominee for the Colorado Charter Schools Hall of Fame, and this 10th Anniversary of Thomas MacLaren School is the perfect opportunity for such acknowledgement."  


Most Valuable Charter Contributor of the Year: Violeta Apodeca 

“Violeta Apodeca continues to go above and beyond her duties as an administrative assistant at Pinnacle Charter School,” said Scott Allen, Office Manager at Pinnacle High School.  “She is an essential part of the growth and development for our students and has organized alliances with multiple colleges and the Colorado workforce to ensure our students are given every opportunity to succeed. Violeta’s contributions have made a significant impact on Pinnacle Charter School and she has demonstrated a superior ability to inspire and lead students to succeed.”


Advocate of the Year: Jesse Hutt

“Jesse Hutt is a pediatric oncologist and founding parent at Animas High School. Over the past 10 years, she has remained an active supporter of the charter school movement, volunteering countless hours spearheading fundraising efforts, chairing the Parent Advisory Committee, serving on the School Excellence Committee and, just this fall, joining our Board of Directors,” said Libby Cowles, Assistant Head of School at Animas High School. Jesse is an unwavering, effective advocate for school choice in our community, constantly talking with potential families, supporters and donors about the importance of providing young people a variety of educational options so they can find the one that best fits. Jesse has demonstrated significant influence in the public policy arena and we are proud to celebrate her dedication to the charter school movement.”  


Charter School Educator of the Year: Lauren Martinez 

“Lauren Martinez is an experienced special education teacher who has been serving special needs children at Mountain Song Community School since its inception 5 years ago,” said Teresa Woods, PH.D. Mountain Song Community School. “Working in special education as a lead educator requires a vast knowledge base, ability to analyze and recognize the root issues of problems. It demands creative problem solving, tactfulness, a balance of sensitivity and compassion towards special needs students. Lauren demonstrates a great skill-set in each of these areas. She has a superior ability to teach and inspire students and lead in collaboration with her colleagues.”

Charter School Authorizer Award: Dr. Terry Croy Lewis

“Dr. Terry Croy Lewis has been an active member of the Colorado Charter School sector for the past 20 plus years, serving as school founder, school leader, consultant, governing board member, and most recently, as a charter school authorizer,” said, Amanda Oberg, Colorado Charter School Institute. “Terry is known for her authenticity and unique ability to forge strong partnerships across the sector both within the state, and nationally to improve the quality of the charter school advocacy and policy.”


Lifetime Achievement Award:

“We are honored to present the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. E.D. Hirsch, Jr. at the 2019 Annual Conference,” said Colorado League of Charter Schools President Ben Lindquist. “Dr. Hirsch is the founder and chairman of the Core Knowledge Foundation and professor emeritus of education and humanities at the University of Virginia. Over the past 30 years, he has made an immeasurable contribution of scholarship, advocacy and stewardship to the Core Knowledge Foundation’s activities and to American education as a whole. His ideas have proliferated nationally and globally with a deep resonance in the Colorado charter school sector.”



Lifetime Achievement in Advocacy: Hugh Fowler

“Honorable Senator Hugh Fowler is one the initial advocates for charter schools in the Colorado State Legislature,” said Frank Fowler, Imagine Classical Ranch Principal. “He served as a Colorado State Senator from 1968 to 1980 and is the founder of Cherry Creek Academy and Twin Peaks Charter Academy. Over his time in the Colorado State Senate he demonstrated significant influence in the public policy arena and is being honored as a pioneer in the Charter School movement throughout Colorado.”





About the Colorado League of Charter Schools

The Colorado League of Charter Schools (The League) is a non-profit, membership organization dedicated to supporting charter schools in Colorado. The League is committed to helping these schools reach higher levels of student performance and overall success by providing information and resources, including technical support, advocacy, public relations assistance, professional development and much more. The League’s mission: to improve student achievement by supporting Colorado’s charter schools, positively reshaping the public-school landscape, and advancing opportunities for innovation and expanded high-quality public-school choice.