January Rotary Club

CUSD Teacher of the Month Awards

RCSL Education Chair Gary Kay, San Tan Valley resident, presented RCSL’s CUSD Teacher of Month Awards to Lisa Krietenstein, 3rd grade teacher at CUSD Elite Performance Academy in Chandler (December), and Connie Cooperrider, Special Ed teacher at CTA Freedom in Gilbert (November), with RCSL President Stephen Phair congratulating the teachers. (Photo by Jon Lyons)

Dr. Honora Norton

The Rotary Club of Sun Lakes congratulated and presented awards to the Club’s Chandler Unified School District Teachers of the Month. The November 2022 winner is Lisa Krietenstein, 3rd grade teacher, Elite Performance Academy in Chandler. The December 2022 winner is Connie Cooperrider, K-1 specialized teacher, CTA Freedom in Gilbert. The award selection is based on teacher’s total years of service in the field of education; examples of how the teacher goes above the normal requirements and enhances student education; the respect shown for the teacher by her/his peers, students, and parents; and the teacher’s involvement in extracurricular activities and service in the community. A $500 check is awarded to the honored teacher ($200 from the Rotary Club of Sun Lakes, $200 from Earnhardt Automotive Center, and $100 from Trust Bank).

Lisa Krietenstein has been with the Chandler Unified School District since 1989. She graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in educational counseling. Per Lisa’s nominating colleague Shayleigh Smith, “Mrs. K. is an extraordinary educator, but not only that, she’s an extraordinary colleague, person, and friend to all. All students from her current 3rd graders to the junior high kiddos who are still in our building speak so, so highly of Mrs. K. I, too, as her colleague, feel so lucky to have her in my life for many reasons. She deserves this recognition.”

Connie Cooperrider graduated Summa Cum Laude from Grand Canyon University with a dual major and bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education, has worked in CUSD since 2013, and has taught in a specialized classroom since January 2020. Christina Lucas-Sheffield, principal at CUSD CTA Freedom, asked the following about Connie Cooperrider: “What’s best for kids? Quite simply, this is Mrs. Cooperrider’s guiding question, and it’s the focal point for every decision she makes as a special education teacher on our campus. Mrs. Cooperrider brings so much to her classroom, the school’s special education team. Mrs. Cooperrider has amazing ambition, impeccable organization and, most importantly, the kindest heart. Our school community greatly benefits from having Mrs. Cooperrider on our team. She is the most supportive colleague who is willing to help whenever asked. She has gone above and beyond to support new teachers on our campus, as well as contributing to school wide events to help increase staff morale and a sense of community amongst our teaching team. Mrs. Cooperrider is a bright light in the field of special education and at our school.”

To learn more about Rotary Club of Sun Lakes’ education programs and membership, see www.sunlakesrotary.com.