STEM School Highlands Ranch

Never Stop Innovating

Dr Penny Eucker


Dr Penny Eucker

Employment Agreement

Dr. Eucker has served as the Executive Director of STEM School Highlands Ranch since 2012. When she joined the school, it was struggling as one of the lowest performing schools in Douglas County. Within one year, under Eucker’s leadership, the school went from a Colorado school grade of “F” to “A.” It moved from being one of the lowest-performing schools in Colorado to being ranked 12th out of 333 high schools. Today, the school serves approximately 1,800 students in grades K-12, and is ranked 9th out of all Colorado schools. Last year, the school posted the highest ACT scores in the Douglas County School District and students earned top academic awards locally, regionally, and nationally.

Dr. Eucker’s educational background includes a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Innovation and a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction, both from the University of Colorado, School of Education. Additionally, Dr. Eucker holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Geology from the University of Georgia and was a Fellow for the National Academy for Science and Mathematics.

Prior to joining STEM School Highlands Ranch, Dr. Eucker designed and partnered with industry leaders to develop the high achieving K-8 STEM Magnet Lab School in Adams 12 Five Star Schools. As the inaugural principal, Dr. Eucker worked with staff and industry partners to create a unique model for STEM education. Her award-winning work in Adams 12 includes some of the highest academic growth scores for students and the highest teacher satisfaction scores of any school in the district. She was a member of the original team to develop the Colorado statewide science standards, presents regularly at state and national conferences, and has published several papers focused on assessment and standards.

Her volunteer efforts include seven years with Denver Kids, helping at-risk students, and significant work with the Children’s Museum program for students in public housing. She has also volunteered for the National Sports Center for the Disabled, numerous science programs encouraging girls to take on the sciences, and much more.

Dr. Eucker is a recognized educational leader locally and nationally and her professional accomplishments are many. A sampling of her awards and presentations follow:

  • Awarded the Excellence in Teaching Governor’s Award from National Endowment for the Arts.
  • Received the Channel Six Teacher of the Year, 1995.
  • Awarded the National Award for Excellence in developing instructional materials by The American Association of Petroleum.
  • Received the National Award from Bell Labs for her curriculum development of the “Classroom of the Future.”
  • Received The National Education Award for her use of technology in the classroom.
  • Selected as a Fellow for the National Academy for Science and Mathematics Leadership.
  • Selected as a member of the Adams 12 Executive Team for developing the leadership of the district.
  • Member of original team that developed the science academic standards for Colorado. Her contributions resulted in a process adopted by the state, making Colorado a national leader for other states to develop world-class academic standards in the area of science.
  • Motivated by her belief in human potential, Eucker was an influential member of the team that developed the science academic standards for students without the ability to be measured by traditional assessments.
  • Member of the evaluation team for CONNECT, a statewide program to increase math and science participation for Colorado students funded by a $10 million National Science Foundation grant.
  • Member of the Denver Public Schools curriculum committee.
  • Member of the Colorado delegation presenting systemic change vision at AERA (American Educational Research Association) in San Francisco.

Dr Eucker's Weekly Messages

2020-21 Welcome Message

Dear STEM Community,

A very warm welcome to our returning and new families. In a school community with the mission to Never Stop Innovating, we are focused on nurturing our students to feel safe, healthy and creative to maximize their potential each and every day throughout the school year. We will be launching our Class of 2021 while welcoming the Class of 2033 and all of our students between this span.

Our returning and new faculty and staff are eager to welcome our families back to school. Fall always brings hope and excitement for a new chapter. While some of our faculty have chosen to move on from our school, change is inevitable and the new members of our faculty and staff are ready to support our mission by optimizing your family’s experience at STEM. Our new faculty profiles can be found throughout the summer newsletters.

COVID-19 has created tremendous uncertainty and stress in our world. STEM remains focused on what we can control and that is maximizing the educational opportunities for our students. Our goal is to have all students back in the school while honoring family choice for a virtual instructional experience or a hybrid delivery. Each family has unique circumstances and risk tolerance. Our goal is to be adaptable to your needs as best we can within the requirements of being a Colorado public school.

STEM School Highlands Ranch is 100% funded for mental health through multiple agencies. AllHealth is providing the service for our community. Links are available on our website for resources 24/7. In this time of isolation and stress, mental health needs are increased. Please reach out to any STEM administrator or mental health provider for needed support. We will make sure you are connected for the support you need.

Together we will make 2020-21 the best possible school year in the most innovative K-12 school. 


P.J. Eucker PhD

Executive Director