Congrats to Our Classroom Makeover Winners!

Each year we ask the community to nominate their favorite teacher for a $500 classroom makeover. We're happy to present our two deserving 2018 winners. Here are the winning nominations for Andrea Flores and Lori Gates, thank you for everything you do for the children in our community.

Ms. Flores, in her fourth year of teaching, currently instructs 1st grade at Lumberg Elementary in Edgewater. There were three nominations submitted for her:

  1. I would like to nominate Andrea Flores, a 1st grade teacher at Lumberg Elementary School, for the classroom makeover award. She has been teaching for four years. Very few people understand what it takes to be teacher, yet a few of us who are lucky enough to live with one get a glimpse into the work that goes into managing a classroom. My girlfriend, Andrea Flores, has been teaching for four years. She has committed to working in Title I schools, serving the most underserved and impoverished youth. Her classroom is a safe haven for many of her students. She seems to always be reading,taking classes and learning about how to best serve students with high socio-emotional needs, and ultimately, her students enjoy being children and learning about the world around them without compromising their own culture, languages, or identities. She has close relationships with her students and her families, often attending birthday parties or sporting events, or hosting family potlucks outside of school. Because of her hard work,her students thrive academically. This year, 100% of her students made more than year’s worth of growth in reading! Andrea sacrifices so much for her students because she thinks they are worth it. At the beginning of each school year, Andrea spends an incredible amount of her own money to ensure that her students have everything they need to be successful. She never asks the families to repay her. I am nominating her for this monetary award so that, just this once, she will be able to take care of her students without compromising her own needs.
  2. Andrea does not stop just at the classroom, but she daily carries the workload home and into the weekend. There has not been a weekend I have known Andrea that she hasn’t had nightly or weekend work to help better her students’ lives and education. While teaching is no easy job, Andrea often shows her emotions on how much she cares for her students and where she strives to bring the best to them. She will take her personal money to bring food for students, better furniture, books, etc. to the classroom so the students feel welcome and want to attend school.

    I also know Andrea at one point was contemplating to be part of a company that wrote curriculum or programs for schools and homeschooling. She ultimately declined the opportunity as she knew would miss the interaction with the students and being able to impact first hand. Andrea truly wants to impact the lives of our students first hand and can in a bi-lingual state. Andrea was a teacher in the Teach for America program, she worked in a rural area outside of Philadelphia that is known for a high crime and murder rate. While most would consider this a negative experience, Andrea noted it as a positive learning experience and realization of what our students need in their education. Andrea truly has a passion for teaching and the young minds, she is an asset to our education system where I know she would use the funding to be the most impactful.
  3. Other than being an outstanding human being, always putting everyone else first, Andrea puts her heart and soul into her students. She prides herself on helping them thrive, grow, and believe in themselves on a daily basis. When there is any concern for safety or any trouble at all with any of her students, Andrea drops everything to figure out what is wrong and alleviate the situation by listening, understanding, and problem solving. She always wants the best for her class, providing materials and me out of her personal life to make sure that every student has the that they deserve and need so they have the best chance to succeed.  I am blessed to have met Andrea just recently and we have become very good friends over the last few months since I moved to Colorado. Her heart is so big and her students are the true heart and soul of her life. She puts so much energy into her work and she truly loves her class, students, and the opportunities a solid education gives each and every one of them. Her passion with everything she does is radiant and her posi0vity is contagious. Andrea touches everyone she knows in such an amazing way.


Our second winner, Lori Gates, a 3rd grade teacher at Park Hill Elementary School in Denver, received the following accolades from a parent:

  1. A nomination for Ms. Lori Gates at Park Hill Elementary doesn’t even seem sufficient enough to express my extreme gratitude for this phenomenal teacher. Ms. Gates is my daughter Saniyah’s third grade teacher and to say that I can’t fathom what we will do without her, is an understatement. I have written Ms. Gates many emails in tears, because I know that no other teacher will compare or come close to what she has provided for not only my daughter and her current class, but for all of the classes and after my daughter moves onward. Ms. Gates is unmatched. My daughter has grown immensely since stepping foot in Ms. Gates classroom last August. Ms. Gates has carved a path that allows my daughter to not only love EVERY single subject in school, but to also understand the lessons. She has encouraged my child’s ability to excel in mathematics and never allows her to dim her light. She is communicative and patient, exciting, expressive, and believes in sharing timeless classroom moments with parents. Ms. Gates deserves a classroom makeover so that she can add an even more mind-blowing dimension to her lessons. I know that she will invest every penny back into the education and growth of her students, and perhaps purchase a new costume for her days as “Professor Higgenbothom” when they are having All-Day Science. 250 words will never be enough to describe the wonder and blessing that is Ms. Lori Gates. Please kindly consider her for this award.