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Alumni Educators to be honored March 1

Release Date: February 20, 2018

Cora Zaletel

Executive Director, External Affairs

Colorado State University-Pueblo


CSU-Pueblo to Honor Outstanding Alumni Educators at March 1 event

PUEBLO – Outstanding educators from Colorado State University-Pueblo’s Teacher Education program will be honored as part of the Alumni Educator Hall of Fame induction and Alumni Teacher of the Year Awards on Thursday, March 1 at the Pueblo Country Club, 3200 8th Ave.

The event is co-sponsored by the Teacher Education Program and the Office of Alumni Relations. The cost is $15 per person, payable at the door or online at in Check in begins at 5:30 p.m. following by dinner at 6 p.m. and the awards presentation.

For more information on the event, contact Student Teaching and Field Experience Director Jeremiah Blaha @ 719.549.2279 or to RSVP, contact Tracy Samora, director of alumni relations,, 719.549.2858.

The awards celebrate alumni who have made outstanding achievements in the educational field, particularly in Colorado. The Hall of Fame is reserved for alumni who have demonstrated 15+ years of outstanding achievement in the field of education. A wall containing photographs and short biographies appears in the Technology Building on the CSU-Pueblo campus.

The Alumni Teacher of the Year awards recognize recent graduates who are making an impact on the youth of Colorado. This award recognizes educators who are actively teaching and demonstrating “boots on the ground” commitment to the youth of Colorado.

This year’s Alumni Teacher of the Year Awards will be presented to:

  • High School: David Hazlett, A78/80, Fountain Fort Carson High School, Social Studies Teacher, Department Head
  • Middle School: Mitch Mueller, A11, Sixth Grade Social Studies, Janitell Middle School, Colorado Springs
  • Elementary: Drew Hirschon, A07: STEM/Technology Educator, Pueblo School of Arts and Sciences, Fulton Heights

The 2018 class of the CSU-Pueblo Alumni Educator Hall of Fame will include:

  • Dr. Colleen O’Neil, A96, Executive Director of Educator Talent, Colorado Department of Education

One nominator wrote: Colleen serves as the Executive Director of Educator Talent at the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). In this role, she oversees all issues of educator licensing, educator preparation review for institutions of higher education and alternative licensure providers and interstate reciprocity agreements for educators. Prior to joining CDE, she was the head of the South Dakota educator preparation operations and the Chief Human Resources Officer at Greeley 6 School District. Following her graduation from then University of Southern Colorado, she taught in rural and suburban school districts in both Colorado and Wyoming. Her dedication to the students throughout the Rocky Mountain west is apparent, and her devotion to continual improvement is most certainly worthy of note. She cares deeply about providing Colorado students outstanding educational opportunities – no matter where they live and no matter their background. It is this vision that both drives her work and makes her a positive force in Colorado’s education community.

  • Tracy (Cervi) Vinci, A87, Sixth grade language and literature teacher, Corwin International Magnet School

For more than three decades, Tracy Vinci has used research-based best practices as a role model to future educators and a teacher/administrator in Pueblo City Schools. Former student and Dylan Purkey, who now studies at the University of Denver, described Vinci as “a visionary of the educational world. She leads by example and expects nothing less of her students.” From 1987-2009, Vinci taught first, second, fourth, and fifth grades at Sunset Park Elementary and then taught fifth and sixth grade mathematics from 2009-2012 at Corwin International Magnet School. From 2012-2017, she served as the IB Coordinator for the Primary Years Program and Science specialist for fourth and fifth grade classrooms, where she monitored the implementation of the PYP programs. She returned to the Corwin International classroom in Fall of 2017 as a sixth grade language and literature teacher. 


Colorado State University-Pueblo is committed to excellence, setting the standard for regional comprehensive universities in teaching, research, and service by providing leadership and access for its region, while maintaining its commitment to diversity.

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