STEM School Highlands Ranch

Never Stop Innovating

Update to STEM Transition Plan – 11/20/2020

STEM K-12 Transition Plan Image

Dear STEM Community,

After nine amazing years of working at STEM, I’m excited to announce that I will be taking a position as an Innovation Instructional Coach with a national education consulting firm. 

I have truly loved working at STEM with such amazing staff members, students and families. I am excited to take all that I have learned and share it with teachers and students nationwide. As I reflect upon our strategic goal of the “STEM Instructional Approach for All,” I am grateful that I will have the opportunity to make this a reality. STEM is truly a training ground for innovators and I am fortunate to have experienced the magic!

I have been working closely with our leadership team to clarify our transition plan and identify who will be overseeing coaching, professional development and mentoring. This is a rockstar team with such a depth of talent and experience. I have full confidence that our teachers will continue to receive exceptional care and support. 

It is challenging for me to imagine life without STEM School. I started out as a STEM parent 10 years ago and then moved onto staff nine years ago. I still remember Mike Shallenberger encouraging me to come work at STEM because “it’s like Disneyland!” STEM truly is an amazing place, and I will miss you all!

All the best to the entire STEM Community,

Stephanie Mendrala

It is with a mix of emotions that I reflect back on my years working with Mrs. Stephanie Mendrala. I was a frequent visitor to her classroom in our early years. Without exception, her classroom was mastery in action. It was a marvel to experience.

Moving a master teacher from the classroom to leadership creates feelings of loss for future students who do not have the opportunity to experience her mastery. The consolation is that the master then nurtures a cadre of teachers to rise in their craft and so far more students benefit. Stephanie was an inaugural member of the Mars Team, the STEM teacher visionary team.

Stephanie not only became STEM’s leader of professional development, but became well known on the national stage. She is a profoundly gifted visionary on what it means to set the bar high and coach teachers to this goal. She expected all of us to continue questioning and growing to be our best self. Design Thinking is Stephanie’s DNA. 

It was a matter of time before she was recruited by a national professional development company. Now she will influence far more than her own classroom and all of the students, faculty and staff at STEM.

Stephanie always found a way for her mentees and fellow staff members to hold ourselves to higher standards. One of her common phrases is to be the marigold and not the walnut tree.  She is a true legend and the epitome of the gold standard.

The loss to our community is great, but she has passed on her recommendations for her legacy and I fully agree with her suggestions. STEM is filled with exceptional talent. Our ever-adapting 2020 Transition Plan will continue to evolve. Once the succession is finalized, the new Director of Professional Development will be announced. 

I wish Stephanie all the best in her new role. She will remain in the neighborhood and I hope she will visit us and continue to coach us to improve our Design Thinking.

Sincerely,

P.J. Eucker PhD

Executive Director

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