Educator of the Year

Pine Creek High School Educator of the Year: Val Babbitt

Val Babbitt.jpgPlease join us in celebrating Val Babbitt, Pine Creek's 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year! "My path was always education," said Ms. Babbitt who discovered her interest in becoming an educator in high school, originally thinking she would focus on elementary-age students, but ultimately deciding to switch to secondary.  These days she enjoys balancing the lessons of AP Language classes (all non-fiction) with those in her American and World Literature classes. "What I also really like, particularly at Pine Creek, is that I usually get (the same) kids two years in a row because I teach 10th and 11th grades. For me, that makes a big difference!"


What does Ms. Babbitt most look forward to in a school day? "I love when I can do a great lesson! I love it when the kids wrestle with it (content and skills), but they get it," she said. It's not all business all the time in Ms. Babbitt's classroom, though. "Being away from them for so long now-- I just miss communicating with them, joking with them!"


Ms. Babbitt's passion for and excellence at teaching all levels is evident not just to her students, but to her colleagues as well. "She's fair but firm, honest but caring, and a pro at breaking down complicated topics," a fellow educator shared.


"I've been here 13 years and have seen amazing teachers get this award," Ms. Babbitt said. "It was shocking, but welcoming." 


In addition to preparing for or reveling in the success of a high-quality lesson, Ms. Babbitt enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, and traveling.


When asked to share something from a favorite author or poem, Ms. Babbitt shared the following from her favorite author, Henry David Throreau: "Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify."  "This one line is so true," Ms. Babbitt said, "and I try to live by it!" 


Pine Creek High School | #TheTimeIsNow

Previous Award Winners

Jillian Lykens, Educator of the Year.jpg

Jillian Lykens, Pine Creek's 2019 Educator of the Year, is no stranger to excellence! In the fall of 2018 she received the German Embassy Teacher of Excellence Award and her presentation at the state foreign language conference in April of 2018 titled, "Language Grows When You're Having Fun! Engaging Your Students Through Performance Assessments," was recognized as the Best of Colorado. 

Jillian is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, completing both her Bachelor's degree in Secondary English and German Education and her Master's Degree in Teaching World Languages there.  She also spent a year studying at the Universit√§t Heidelberg in Germany, focusing on German as a Foreign Language and Literature.

Teaching German levels 1 through AP at Pine Creek, Jillian's understanding of interculturality as being essential for language growth, craft for student-centered instruction, and passion for German tradition, food, and culture have led her students to love being in her classroom and excel at all levels. In addition to designing high quality language learning opportunities for her students, Jillian is also an invaluable resource for educators at Pine Creek. According to a colleague, "She is an instructional leader for the World Language department and her expertise has helped the department to grow in collaboration, instructional practices, and assessment." 

Please join us in honoring Jillian Lykens, an educator with an infectious passion for student success, excellence in world language instruction, and life-long learning.

Pine Creek High School | #ThereIsNoSubstitute