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After an 18-month absence, hugs, smiles, and trips down memory lane filled the Academy District 20 (ASD20) Education and Administration Center Atrium during the Hall of Excellence Induction Ceremony.

Teachers and administrators who started their careers more than 40 years ago reflected on using a projector for the first time and moving away from typewriters when computers became the norm.

Their stories may have been “old-school,” but they were laced with examples of their steadfast commitment to supporting ALL students. While they may no longer be teaching, their impressions are still felt in hallways, their policies still guide us, and their legacy is part of the fabric of ASD20. Now, their names are etched into the ASD20 Hall of Excellence.

The two classes of inductees included:

2021-22 Inductees

  • Barbara Beeson

  • William “Bill” Legg

2020-21 Inductees

  • Mark Bissell

  • Bill Shell

  • Glenn Hoit

In addition to the five inductees, three honorary inductees were also placed in the Hall of Excellence: Superintendent Tom Gregory and Board of Education directors, Heather Cloninger and Will Temby were inducted into the Hall of Excellence.

Every inductee, annual or honorary, receives a “star pin” paired with an important message.

“Your passion, dedication and never-ending spirit have been integral in building the strong tradition of excellence at Academy District 20. Let this pin serve as a visual reminder you are part of something bigger: you are changing lives, seeding dreams and encouraging those around you toward excellence.”

This group of people dedicated most of their lives to the betterment of ASD20, more than 160 years combined to be precise. Their countless hours of service, dedication to staff, students and families does not go unnoticed.

Barbara Beeson

Barbara dedicated more than 40 years of her life to education. She started at Air Academy High School as a substitute teacher, and soon became a beloved permanent fixture.

The skills she taught students in 1977 are the skills we wish our kids. In her Home Economics class at Air Academy, her curriculum included creating a budget, how to buy a house, understanding loan interest rates, and how to do laundry, including why you don’t add whites to load of colors. She even held a mock-wedding in her class called, “I Do Marriage.”

When she moved to Rampart High School, Barbara created a dynamic Family Life Studies Program. It was common to see her students’ toting dolls from class to class. What better way to make young people consider their actions than to have them care for a doll in “Baby Think it Over” class.

When Barbara reached the end of her “official” teaching career, she maximized her time as a volunteer. For the next 20 years, you could find Barbara in the Rampart High School library and later, at Discovery Canyon Campus (DCC) High School. While no longer an official employee, she setup and organized the science department. She packed, unpacked, sorted, and labeled every last piece of equipment and supplies for the different areas of the science department. 

To end her tenure, Barbara began volunteering with younger students at DCC Elementary in the library.

Over the course of 41 years, Barbara impacted students with her knowledge, her dedication to their learning, and her infectious smile.

William “Bill” Legg

Those who know and worked with William “Bill” Legg describe him as visionary. He is always predicting how education will change.

His nomination packet read, “’I remember very clearly a discussion I had with Bill about the future of testing. He told me, ‘Mark my words, there will come a day when every school has their test scores printed in the newspaper for ALL to see.’”

He was right.

While at ASD20, he had the unique privilege of opening two elementary schools. In 1972 he became the first principal at Rockrimmon Elementary and then later, in 1989 he opened Explorer Elementary.

As Bill made waves across the district, his success was often told through the teachers and staff members he mentored. Five of the teachers he hired to help him opened the school became principals and several others became Charles Tewell Elementary Educator of the Year recipients. 

As one of his nominators said, “The creativity, love for learning and the desire to make each student matter was so evident to me that I jumped at the opportunity to continue my teacher education by Bill’s side. I spent the next five years learning and growing under Bill’s leadership and tutelage.”

Perhaps most importantly, Bill was “THE” example for these teacher-leaders. He prided himself on knowing every student’s name, greeting them at the front door, and accepted all students and their unique learning styles.

Bill’s impact is felt to this day. On a recent visit to The daVinci Academy, staff members and parents beamed as they said, “I remember when Bill was my principal!” It is Bill’s lifelong connection not only to ASD20’s schools, but also to the multitude of educators that cements his inclusion in the Hall of Excellence

Mark Bissell

In a matter of 30 years, Mark Bissell went from teaching high school art to the district’s Executive Director for Facilities, but no matter his title, his focus was always on students.

He found success in the Air Academy High School and Rampart High School classrooms but strove to do more for the entire ASD20 community.

In fact, Mark has deep ties to our community, in fact his mom is a fellow inductee to the Hall of Excellence. He really does have ASD20 in his blood.

When Mark left the classroom for his first district job, he developed and implemented the district’s first comprehensive energy program. However, he never lost sight of our students.

“At the core of Mark’s attention was assuring students were able to attend school in the best learning environment possible.”

As Mark dug into his new role in energy, he showed the entire district how to better use and sustain energy in our buildings. He was promoted several times before becoming the Executive Director for Facilities where he focused on making all our buildings ready for students to learn, while being mindful of the beautiful Colorado landscape.

The care Mark showed for the outdoors became his legacy, as all those he worked for were inspired to seek balance between the natural and built environments.

He is the individual responsible for the revision to the Board of Education Policy and procedure for Energy Conservation and Management, identifying ASD20s long-term goal to reduce energy consumption.

Mark is conscious of the broader implication of his work, looking beyond the physical aspect of facility maintenance and operation to the long-lasting impact on staffing needs, school activities, street appearance and community use. He sees the big picture.

Mark’s 31 years as an employee, his support of ASD20 and his long-lasting contributions make him worthy of this recognition on the Academy District 20 Hall of Excellence.

Bill Shell

You can’t talk about Bill Shell without mentioning his love for middle school students.

Bill knew it is in those first few adolescent years, that our students were the most malleable --just old enough to be too big for the playground-- but still young enough to enjoy recess. 

As a result, he is truly the catalyst of middle school success in ASD20. As one his nominators said, “The strongest voice for middle school education in ASD20 is Bill Shell.”

Bill was the organizing principal through the construction of Timberview Middle School. The story is the stuff of legends. To ensure students could arrive to brand new school Monday morning, he and his staff rolled up their sleeves and literally moved into the building in one weekend. A feat that seems unimaginable today.

“Bill is a tireless worker, who never shies away from whatever needs to be done . . . he modeled unprecedented work ethic and we were always proud to follow his lead. We worked hard for Bill because he worked hard for our students and for us.”

Just a few short years later, Bill opened Mountain Ridge Middle School, making it the first middle school in the district to implement the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme.

His colleagues describe him as a model servant, a respected leader, and more importantly, an impact on thousands of middle school students.

As a leader, Bill has empathy and therefore makes everyone feel safe and respected. His nomination packet read, “We were a family and he made that clear every day, whether he was serving us pancakes, hosting a staff BBQ or making time for a sick staff member.”

They ended by saying, “I say with utmost respect and confidence that Bill Shell is the very definition of excellence in education, and he is the perfect addition to the Hall of Excellence.” 

Glenn Hoit

It was never a matter of “if” Glenn would get inducted to the Hall of Excellence, but “when.” At this time of his nomination, the district bent the rules to honor him, knowing his time was limited. Unfortunately, the pandemic hit two weeks before the event.  

In March 2020, as the world was shutting down and district events were getting cancelled, Allison Cortez, Chief Communication Officer for ASD20 recalled her phone call with Glenn.

She said, I’ll never forget when I called him, a week into the world being “shut down.” I practiced the phone call several times because I was nervous to tell him we had to postpone the event. He laughed and said, ‘Allison, it is no big deal. The world is dealing with bigger issues right now.’”

That is the kind of man Glenn was, humble and always making sure those around him were ok. 

During the following months, the district hoped Glenn could celebrate his achievement in-person, but it was just a few weeks too long.

In May, Building B was renamed “Hoit Hall,” as an homage to the educator who made an impact on thousands of students, staff, and current district leaders. Instead of listing his accomplishments and reading from his nomination letters, the district enlisted help from his colleagues who planned that event and the people who knew him best.

In a video, his colleagues recalled his bright blue eyes, his wave those closes to him couldn’t miss.

Glenn Hoit’s fingerprints are everywhere within Air Academy High School. He built the display cases, he was the master-carpenter for every school production, he’s the person responsible for shelves in classrooms, shelves that weren’t always approved by an administrator.

Glenn was a coach who celebrated athletes, even when they lost. He was a brilliant math teacher who could explain calculus to anyone. And most importantly, he knew all of his students. He met them at their learning level and had cared about every single one of them.

Terry Hoit, Glenn’s wife, his immediate family attended the event and received the Hall of Excellence Award on his behalf.