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Colorado Succeeds, 9NEWS and mindSpark Learning have joined forces with Governors Hickenlooper, Ritter, and Owens, as well as Colorado’s top CEO’s to present The Succeeds Prize.

The Succeeds Prize is the most prestigious awards and recognition event for Colorado’s public schools and educators. It honors the transformational impact Colorado’s public schools and educators are leading across the state. It also serves as a year-long campaign to implement and scale successful innovations and best practices so that every student in Colorado can benefit.

On October 3rd, 2017, nearly 800 leaders from Colorado’s business, education, and government communities joined together to recognize Colorado’s educators as the heroes they are. The Succeeds Prize rewarded Colorado’s public schools and educators with $137,000 that evening.

The event was just the first step for The Succeeds Prize. We will now begin to study what makes our winners and finalists successful and share this with educators statewide to benefit all of Colorado’s children.

Learn More about the Innovation Award


A collaborative effort between Colorado Succeeds, 9NEWS, and mindSpark Learning, The Succeeds Prize is the most prestigious awards and recognition event for Colorado’s public schools and educators. It is a live, one-of-a-kind awards ceremony, followed by a year-long effort to strengthen our state’s public schools through professional development and training for educators aimed at scaling successful innovations and practices across Colorado.

Check back here after the event for a full list of nominees, winners, their stories, and a comprehensive field guide for duplicating their results.


  • 1,000 business and community leaders, educators, parents, and students
  • Hosted by Governor Hickenlooper, Lieutenant Governor Lynne, Governor Ritter, Governor Owens, and Colorado’s top CEO’s
  • Other exciting aspects include a cocktail reception, VIP Teachers’ Lounge, live reveal presentation of awards, and professionally produced videos of the nominees, to be aired during the ceremony.


Check back for information on the 2018 Succeeds Prize live reveal celebration.



Colorado Succeeds and 9NEWS are proud to present The Inaugural Succeeds Prize event with the support of the following sponsors:

For information about 2018 sponsorship and media packages, please contact Ashley Andersen.


Presenting Sponsor

Award Sponsors

  • Excellence in Education Innovation

  • Transformational Impact in an Elementary School

  • Transformational Impact in a Middle School

  • Transformational Impact in a High School Award Sponsor

    Transformational Impact in a High School

  • Excellence in STEM Education

    Excellence in STEM Education

  • 9-news-logo

    Excellence in Educational Leadership

Valedictorian Sponsors

  • Boeing logo
  • climax
  • collegeinvest
  • EKSH logo
  • first-western-finan-logo
  • Giving Generations Foundation

  • GreatWest, Empower Retirement
  • issac-corp-logo
  • JE Dunn
  • kaiser
  • KeyBank_logo_Key_Bank
  • Lockton
  • Orica
  • usbank
  • us engineering

Supporting Sponsors

  • accruit-logo
  • Borgen Consulting

  • DanoneWave
  • Delta-Dental_Logo_Green1
  • LandTitle logo
  • OfficeScapes logo
  • Peak
  • sage
  • Saint Joseph Hospital Logo

In-Kind Sponsors

  • 9-news-logo
  • applejack
  • UniversityOfDenver-Signature
  • Lacome Events Logo

Community Partners

  • logo_denver_scholarship_foundation

The 2017 Succeeds Prize awards were revealed on October 3rd, with winners presented their award on stage by sponsors. $15,000 in cash prizes were awarded for each category to fund ongoing success.

Transformational Impact in an Elementary School (grades K-5)
Transformational Impact in a Middle School (grades 6-8)
Transformational Impact in a High School (grades 9-12)
Excellence in STEM Education (school)
Excellence in Education Innovation (classroom, school, or district)


The Succeeds Prize seeks to support Colorado’s educators in bringing their best ideas forward. The Excellence in Education Innovation award, sponsored by Janus Henderson Investors, will help supercharge implementation of a current innovation, or provide the seed funding for a new idea or concept based on proven results and potential impact. Our goal is to fund the most innovative idea impacting public schools while also highlighting the exciting work happening across Colorado for other educators to learn from.

Who is Eligible:  Any Colorado public school teacher, group of teachers, school, or district.

How to Apply:  Please check back in the coming months for information about the 2018 award. 

Excellence in Education Innovation Finalists:


Maggie Dering
DSST: Cole High School


Deb Harding
& Tara Hardman
STEM Launch K-8


Courtney Luce
The Fred Tjardes School
of Innovation


hickenlooperGovernor Hickenlooper

donna_lynneLieutenant Governor Lynne

owensGovernor Owens

ritterGovernor Ritter


Katy Anthes
Commissioner, Colorado Department of Education

Elliott Asp
Senior Partner, Colorado Education Initiative and former interim Commissioner, Colorado Department of Education

Joey Diaz
Special Education Teacher, Risley International School of Innovation, Pueblo

Pat Donovan
Vice President of Business Development, Revolution Foods

Bruce Hoyt
Senior Vice President of Impact Investing, Gary Community Investments

Joan Kniss
2002 Colorado Teacher of the Year; Council Member, Ward 1, City of Brighton

Kellie Lauth
CEO, mindSpark Learning

Nina Lopez
Owner, Nina Lopez Consulting

Justin McMillan
Principal, Casey Middle School, Boulder

Mike Miles
CEO, Academy of Advanced Learning in Aurora and Colorado Springs

Alyssa Pearson
Associate Commissioner of Accountability, Performance & Support, Colorado Department of Education

Linda Reed
Superintendent, Archuleta School District 50, Pagosa Springs

Mark Sass
Colorado State Policy Director, TeachPlus; US Dept. of Education Teaching Fellow; Teacher at Legacy High School in Adams 12

Dan Snowberger
Superintendent, Durango School District 9-R

Lynne Valencia
Vice President of Community Relations, 9NEWS

Kristin Van Deman
Instructional Guide, Aurora Public Schools

Alyssa Whitehead-Bust
Independent Education Consultant

Sean Wybrant
2017 Colorado Teacher of the Year; CTE Teacher, William J. Palmer High School

94% have taught in the classroom, led a school building, worked in a district,
state agency, or served on a school board
67% have taught in the classroom 39% have led a school building 34% have worked in district leadership 22% have worked in a state agency 17% have served on a school board


Sarah Bridich
School Leaders Study Lead Researcher, University of Colorado Denver; Adjunct Professor, University of Denver

Stephanie Donner
Chief Legal & People Officer, Galvanize

Graham Forman
Founder & Managing Director, Edovate Capital; Co-Founder, edGarage

Alex Hernandez
Partner, Charter School Growth Fund

Demesha Hill
Community Relations Manager, Janus Henderson Investors; Managing Director, Janus Foundation

Rebecca Holmes
President & CEO, Colorado Education Initiative

Kellie Lauth
CEO, mindSpark Learning

Mike Miles
CEO, Academy of Advanced Learning in Aurora and Colorado Springs; Former Superintendent, Harrison School District 2

Alon Mor
Founder, Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill; Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network

Carrie Morgridge
Morgridge Family Foundation

Michael Simpson
Co-Founder & CEO, PAIRIN

Jeff Wasden
President, Colorado Business Roundtable


Bruce Siegel, Co-Chair
Karrikins Group

Casey Cortese, Co-Chair
The Sweet Spot Agency

Brooke Borgen
Borgen Consulting

Tom Brinegar
PEAK Resources

Emily Eikelberner

John Farnam
mindSpark Learning

Craig Harrison
Arrowhead Partners

David Henry

Demesha Hill
Janus Henderson Investors

Will Holden
GroundFloor Media

Adeeb Khan

Jennifer Landers
JayBird Group

Corina Lindley
Centura Health

Maureen McDonald
Kaiser Permanente

Alexis Owen
First Western Trust

Joel Pennick
JE Dunn

Linda Peotter
Metal Trading Corp

Sasha Shtern
Bath & Granite

Michael Simpson

Lynne Valencia


Coming soon!


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