Boulder Valley School District

A Day in the Life in the Boulder Valley School District

day in the life photo montage
BVSD Communications

En Español

It takes more than 4,000 employees to operate the Boulder Valley School District every day. During this BVSD Employee Appreciation Week, we set out to capture some of the stories of our dedicated and hard-working staff and employees. 

We criss-crossed the district, with the goal of providing a glimpse into a Day in the Life of our district. Of course, this is only a tiny slice of everything that happens. We thank every last employee for their daily efforts to create a successful learning environment for the students of Boulder Valley.

Staff working in Security Center

12:01 a.m. Security Dispatcher Dee Wright monitors all of the security alarms and Safe2Tell reports that come in overnight, while most students and staff are sleeping.

“We are watching over everything,” Wright said. “We watch the buildings and make sure that everything is safe and have an agent that's also running around.” 

Sometimes she gets information about a student who has threatened themselves or others and she works with school and district staff, as well as law enforcement to ensure the right people are involved and everyone stays safe.

“That's the big thing,” Wright said. “We don't want to miss any kids.”

staff unlocking door

4:30 a.m. BVSD School Food Project Sous Chef Mario Moscoso opens up the Culinary Center to begin the process of preparing and cooking 15,000 meals for students across the district. The first order of business is making coffee for his crew—much needed this early! Soon they’ll begin work on this week’s menu including berry smoothies for breakfast, and for lunch: philly cheesesteak sandwiches, plant forward nachos, and a Friday student favorite, pepperoni and cheese pizza.

Bus driver working on engine

6:15 a.m. Tony Zotti bus driver arrives at the Nederland bus terminal to begin the pre-trip checks of the bus, including inspecting the engine and all of the bus’ safety features.

Knowing that he is the first BVSD employee many of his students will see every day, he tries to ensure everyone starts the morning on a positive and fun note.

“My claim to fame is I spent a year and a half pulling into [Nederland] elementary school every morning, and my entire bus full of elementary kids would howl like wolves and coyotes,” Zotti shared. “It was just our way to start the day and get our energy up.”

While the sun rises earlier this time of year, most of the time when he arrives at the bus barn, it is dark, cold and often snowy. Additionally, on his route he has to keep an eye out for wildlife.

“I have a heavy animal route, so we often see moose, bear, elk, deer, vulture, turkey, coyote and fox. It runs the whole gamut,” Zotti said.


7:59 a.m. We found BVSD Electrician Mike Batchelor deep in a maintenance closet in the bowels of Nederland Elementary, working to fix a transfer switch that had failed the last time the power went out at the school. The switch allows for electricity from the school’s generator to power key systems including the building’s fire and security systems.

 “We just try to keep things running so they can learn,” Batchelor said.

Bus driver behind wheel

8:34 a.m. One of Linda Erskine’s favorite parts of driving students to school every day are the humorous conversations that happen on the bus.

“They just say the funniest stuff sometimes,” Erskine said.

At this point of the day, she has just finished her second route, dropping off kids at Meadowlark School and sending them off for their school day.

school office manager on the phone

8:38 a.m. We caught Office Support Assistant Christie LaPlant and her colleagues in the office at Meadowlark School in Erie in perhaps the most action-packed part of their day.  

“From the time the bell rings we have a big rush, especially because of attendance,  and the caller that goes out to parents,” LaPlant said. “Multitasking is definitely a very important task here in the office. Sometimes I'm opening doors, while I'm answering a phone call and writing a leave note for a student – all at the same time.”

It can be hard, but LaPlant keeps her composure and smile even through the craziest part of the rush.

“I really like helping people – students, parents, teachers,” LaPlant said. “I just enjoy that and it makes me happy.”

health room para at desk

9:00 a.m. Health Paraeducator, Amy Shanahan offers a warm and welcoming exchange to a student checking in to the Monarch PK-8 health room for an issue. While overseeing the morning period student office aide, 8th grader Josh Moore, who’s helping to replenish the health room supplies by packing individual ice packs for the freezer. Shanahan shares that in “a typical day we see about 20 kids in the health room”, noting if there is a stomach bug or other illness going around the amount can nearly triple.

“It’s definitely never a boring job, every day is different.”

Librarian greeting students

9:11 a.m. Librarian Jane Schissel is a welcoming face as a handful of students venture into Broomfield High School’s library to study.

“I think that's the number one thing about this particular library, is they feel safe and welcomed when they come in here,” Schissel said. “I really look forward to my interactions with all of the students, whether at the circulation desk or out in the library. I always watch out for who's coming in and then greet them and then interact with them. It is an all day-long interaction. They know me, they know what to expect when they come in here. I get to know them over the course of four years, so you really build a connection with them.”

IT technician servicing computer

9:16 a.m. Every morning the team at IT West, including Shannon Shumaker, Alex Mullins and Daniel Swanson, get a new stack of computers from students and faculty to fix.

“Every day we get different shipments from every school in the district. We've gotten close to 60 repairs every day for the past week. It’s a little bit busy after CMAS testing,” said Mullins.

The stickers on the computer cases often give hints about the owners. This morning, one was chock full of cats. Another with soccer and Colorado Rapids stickers.

“We all try to send them out better than they came in – and not just fixing the problem but we'll clean them up too,” Mullins said. “We give ‘em the old spit shine a little bit before they go back, making sure everything's functioning and we test them out. We put a lot of effort and thought behind it.”

“Often we see the tickets that a teacher or somebody's put in for a kid,” explained Shumaker. “It's like ‘they've been having this issue and they can't get their classwork done.’ So there's a human element. We know that we need to fix it right the first time. The student isn't going to be able to do what they need to do with this device that we provided to them.”

students on playground

9:42 a.m. Sheila Hausbeck keeps a watchful eye on students during recess at Monarch PK-8. This para calls herself the recess queen and she really enjoys getting to know the students while she accompanies them during one of their favorite times of the school day.

“I love being with the kids,” Hausbeck said. “I think it's important that they know somebody's out here who cares about them and wants to listen to them, if they want to talk.”

At times, she has to correct dangerous behavior, like when kids position themselves to go down the slide head-first.

staff typing on computer

9:50 a.m. Lola Campos-Herzfeld, BVSD Food Service Free & Reduced Meal Specialist, works to process BVSD parent applications in the BVSD Culinary Center offices. One of her roles is to report to CDE every month to identify as many qualifying families as possible. Lola has many attributes that make her great at her job, one among them being her bilingual abilities so she can also communicate with and assist spanish-speaking families with food services questions and information.

Sanchez school garden

10:12 a.m. It’s harvest day at Sanchez Elementary where students are collecting the lettuce they have grown in their school’s garden. The students maintain and care for the garden with the help of BVSD’s partner Garden to Table, which provides gardens, curriculum and support to BVSD schools. Charlotte Sandkuhler, Garden to Table Curriculum Specialist shared that “the kids have collected over 10 pounds of lettuce today, which will be washed, chopped and used in next week’s school lunch for ‘rainbow day’.” 

Rainbow Days are held in each elementary school in the district students are challenged to “Make a Rainbow” on their tray from the lunch room salad bar, and take and eat at least 3 different colors of fruits and vegetables to “eat a rainbow”. The food services staff report that Rainbow Days are high energy and sometimes a little chaotic, but the students love it and it serves as a great way to generate excitement about the salad bar.

students in greenhouse

10:30 a.m. Miriam Holleb, BVSD Greenhouse manager, snaps a shot of the second grade students during their field trip to the greenhouse. In her words, “It is the greatest joy to host and lead lessons on topics of farm-to-table and plant production for a group of enthusiastic students in a room full of fresh greenery of all varieties.” 

“A diverse selection of plants sparks creativity and intrigue for the kids and inspires myself and co-teacher, [AmeriCorp Intern] Micah Rogers, to brainstorm more ways to integrate students in the greenhouse,” says Holleb.

PE at Eisenhower

10:50 a.m. Terry Neitenbach, a retired PE teacher turned substitute, has dedicated a remarkable 33-years to BVSD. During this morning's session with the fourth-grade class, he reflected on his career, noting that he has had the privilege of teaching multiple generations of students. "The Eisenhower community holds a special place in my heart," he remarked. "It's a pleasure to collaborate with such wonderful colleagues and to have the opportunity to work with these students."

He greets a student who is the third youngest sibling in a family he taught in previous years, “I taught his two older siblings when they went to Eisenhower,” he said with a smile.

Paraeducator with student

11:00 a.m. BVSD Paraeducator, Maria Lepure gets a quick thumbs up from an 11th grade student during morning meeting in the Centaurus High School Intensive Learning Center. Maria supports students both in the special education classroom and general education classrooms. Her colleagues echo as the photo is taken, “Maria is wonderful with the students!”

Ed center meeting

11:12 a.m. BVSD administrators worked on school calendar considerations in the BVSD Education Center for future school years with representation from principals, executive directors, human resources, professional development, preschool and more.

staff preparing lunch

11:20 a.m. Linh Brogan, a BVSD Kitchen Satellite Lead prepares chickpea masala for lunch at Columbine Elementary. Each BVSD school receives fresh food delivered every day with cooking instructions for the kitchen staff so the meals are prepared consistently across all schools. 

HVAC employee

12:05 p.m. Travis Cook, the BVSD HVAC Supervisor, pays a visit to the MOD Salon & Spa at Boulder TEC to help fix an issue with the heating system. Travis quickly fixes the heating problem, ensuring everyone at MOD Salon & Spa stays comfortable. “We’re all here for the students – that's what drives us to excel in our work every day,” said Cook. His prompt action highlights BVSD's commitment to keeping its facilities running smoothly.

Angevine engineering class

12:33 p.m. At Angevine Middle School, the excitement is palpable as sixth-grade students eagerly immerse themselves in their engineering class with Ms. Jody Solem. She helps them prepare to present their prototypes and sketches of structures that are meant to survive a natural disaster.

“I love that I get to teach every 6th grade student and introduce them to engineering,” said Solem. “It’s not about pushing every student towards a STEM career but instead introducing them to something different and teaching some life skills.” With every project, they discover the thrill of problem-solving and the joy of seeing their ideas come to life, laying the foundation for a future filled with endless possibilities.

teacher talking to students

12:55 p.m. Amanda Elsnes, an English Language Arts teacher at Arapahoe Ridge High School, works with students on expanding and improving their public speaking skills. Students learn to conquer their fears, organize their thoughts effectively, and deliver compelling presentations.

“I help students find their voice, build confidence, and speak their truth," shared Elsnes. Beyond the classroom, these newfound skills equip students to excel in academic settings, professional environments, and community engagements, empowering them to become confident and persuasive communicators in all aspects of their lives.

Teacher talking to student

1:20 p.m. A lot is happening in Jen Anderson’s class at Jamestown Elementary. While first graders are working on two-digit addition story problems on Zearn and kindergartners are playing a subtraction game on the rug, she is working with a small group of second graders applying 3-digit subtraction and addition strategies in complex word problems. 

“What drives me is the hope that I can help kids develop skills early in life that will continue to  support them into adulthood, especially social-emotional skills. Oh, and mental math,” she adds with a laugh. “Those were both tricky for me as a kid.” 

She says that she is passionate about teaching children to express kindness and empathy. 

“I want each kiddo to feel confident and courageous, while thinking independently and taking appropriate risks,” Anderson said. “I want students to feel empowered with tools and strategies that can help them take care of themselves, regulate their emotions, and solve problems.”

Anderson adds that she also loves watching kids light up when they realize they can read or when they make a remarkable discovery in science. “I don’t want any kiddo to miss out on those magical skills,” Anderson said.

AALPS students

1:45 p.m. With final exams just around the corner, a lot of students are feeling stressed and anxious. That is why the Life Skills course at the BVSD Advanced Alternative Learning Program for Students (AALPS) can be so important. Raquel Johnson, a Mental Health Advocate for AALPS, teaches students how to make slime as a coping mechanism for anxiety.

"In times of stress, finding simple yet effective coping mechanisms can make all the difference,” said Johnson. Coping skills for anxiety are vital as they equip students with effective tools to manage symptoms, alleviate distress, and regain a sense of control over their lives, ultimately enhancing overall well-being and resilience.  

staff washing food

2:10 p.m. Head Chef Yuri Sanow rinses lentils to start recipe testing. “One of my favorite jobs as Executive Chef is recipe testing new menu items like this red lentil dal.” The dish Yuri is testing today is the 2024 BVSD Iron Chef winning dish by Team L&J from Centennial Middle School. Not only does this recipe look beautiful and taste delicious, it’s also vegan, gluten free and dairy free, meaning more BVSD students can enjoy it.

window cleaning

2:46 p.m. Swipe after swipe, the view is getting clearer at Nederland Middle Senior High School as the second shift custodian Stephen Barkley leaves the windows sparkling clean.

"It a great facility, and we work to keep it that way," Barkley said.

When asked, What about the job is overlooked? He responded, "The actual size and scope of the job. As custodians most of our work is overlooked because it is done."

staff washing dishes

2:30 p.m. George Luciano washes dishes used for food prep at the BVSD Culinary Center. There is a constant stream of work in the dishroom here, between food prep, lunch for employees, and recipe testing. 

Boulder TEC students playing volleyball

2:40 p.m. During break time at Boulder TEC, Assistant Principal Ming Scheid jumped into a volleyball game with the BioMedical class. This highlights how everyone, staff and students alike, can bond at school. 

“I love visiting different classes every day- each room is a new adventure, filled with excitement,” expressed Scheid. “It's inspiring to see our students in action!” 

Crossing guard

2:48 p.m. Samara Williams, Principal of Emerald Elementary in Broomfield, heads out just ahead of the bell ringing to serve as a crossing guard, which she does every day during drop off and pick up. Impressively she knows the name of every student walking by, and goes above and beyond to help open doors, and even buckle students in their seats while their loved ones stay behind the wheel. 

She congratulates kindergarteners on a great performance of their musical earlier that day, asks other kids how their field trip went, and switches to speaking Spanish for a moment to a mom and her student reminding them about an upcoming bilingual school fiesta event. “It’s so important to connect with families daily and know our students by name,” shared Williams. “I can’t imagine not!”

lunch line

2:52 p.m. As school comes to a close, Columbine Kitchen Assistant Veronica Guitierrez lines up trays with pulled pork sliders, oranges and celery and soon after kids from the school’s after school programs stream in.

“I love to work with the kids,” Guitierrez said.

She is proud of the scratch cooked meals and snacks that are free for all students and power them through the day.

“The food is healthy. It's good for them,” Guitierrez said. “ It helps them to stay alert and to be in a good mood.” 

auto repair class working on car

2:55 p.m. Underneath a Nissan race car, Boulder TEC teacher Lary Long was showing students how to reinsert the axel, in hopes of having it ready for the school’s upcoming TEC Fest.

“It's good to see them learn,” Long said. “That moment that they figure it out, it's just like, ‘wow.’”

He says those lessons and the experiences they have in the shop stick with the students.

“You know, I have students come back from 20 years ago, and they're like, ‘oh, my gosh, I had so much fun in the class."

School age care students playing guitar

2:59 p.m. When the end-of-day bell rings at Heatherwood Elementary, Quinn Olson gathers a group of K-5th graders to begin their School Age Care activities. According to Quinn, SAC helps students, "because it provides opportunities for students to connect and engage in non-traditional ways. You have 4th graders with the chance to coach kindergarteners in gymnastics, you have a 3rd grader leading an origami craft, you have kids from every grade pouring over the same library book. The melting pot of SAC really allows kids to develop skills in a unique way and discover new passions!"

students on bus

3:27 p.m. Bus Driver, Ryan Woods, and Bus Assistant Cristy McClure take students home after school from Foothill Elementary. Ryan and Cristy have been working with the same group of students for two years and enjoy interacting with them daily, chatting about the sights along their route, like the airport, and spotting turkeys and foxes. The kids love it that they have riddles for them each day. 

baseball game

4:30 p.m. As the final bell echoes through the halls, Mr. Andrew Bloom, one of the high school counselors at Boulder High School, locks up his office for the day. But his work is far from done. It's time to shift gears from aiding students with their academic and personal struggles to leading them on the baseball field. 

“Being a school counselor, my main job here is supporting students academically, socially, emotionally, and with college and career,” said Bloom. “But being a baseball coach, you see students in a different light. I get to help them become better athletes but also good citizens.” 

With a quick switch of hats, he grabs his baseball gear, and heads out for the afternoon's game against Monarch High School.

boulder high band

5:39 p.m. Boulder High School Wind Ensemble & Jazz Band Teacher Beau Bryson gives students directions moments before the evening concert they have been practicing for all semester.

“These nights are a mix of energy, excitement, and nerves, " he said. “Students are excited to do their best, but nervous to perform their learning.”

Bryson says that while many today can be done remotely, asynchronously, a musical performance for a band, orchestra, or choir cannot be.

“No other curriculum has to publicly present their learning and progress. That can be a lot of pressure for the students. Concerts are important to students because they bring the community together and force all participants to be vulnerable,” Bryson said. “It requires presence, confidence, and vulnerability. I am always proud of my kids and hope that they can translate the rigor and courage required to perform in front of others into their life beyond our walls.”

soccer game

7:56 p.m. Being an administrator at a school is not a 9 to 5 job. A girls soccer game was the reason that Fairview High School Athletic Director Nick Kosovich and Athletic Trainer Mario Rivera Olivo were at the school late on this night.

“Today is a pretty standard day. I got here around 7 or 7:30 a.m. and then I won't leave until about 9:30 p.m.,” Kosovich said. “I always tell people that I was super fortunate to be a high school athlete. I had a lot of great experiences, on the baseball field and on the soccer field. That wouldn't have been possible without coaches, administrators and a  supportive family. So, I see the big picture. I value that for my kids, and I value it for the kids that I work with.”

He enjoys getting to know students and their families and the extra time and attention does not go unnoticed.

“When you're walking through the halls, the kids are like, ‘Mister K, thanks for being there last night. It was one of the coldest games and you were out there standing in the rain,’” Kosovich recalled. “It is important to be available for your community and then also make sure that we're upholding the standards that we want to have at not only Fairview, but at all sporting events. Plus, when you’re on the sideline or in the dugout, it is where you really get to know kids.”

night security staff

10:02 p.m. Stephen Timmons, a BVSD night shift agent, begins his overnight shift, overseeing the close of yet another new school day by patrolling 56 schools spread across a 500 square mile area. He says that he doesn’t mind responding to calls at that time of the day because “traffic is great after hours.”

His focus is ensuring that anything that happens overnight at schools is taken care of before the next school day, so students can show up ready to learn.


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