Niwot’s La’Mar West honored with superintendent’s award


Photo by Jocelyn Rowley Niwot campus supervisor La’Mar West received Superintendent's Excellence in Education Award for “making a difference in the lives of kids.”.From left: Principal Eric Rauschkolb, La’Mar West, Superintendent Don Haddad.

Niwot High campus supervisor La’Mar West suspected something might be up when Principal Eric Rauschkolb invited him to an after school meeting with St. Vrain Superintendent Don Haddad last month, but he was absolutely “shell-shocked” when he found out that Haddad was there to present him with a Superintendent's Excellence in Education Award.

“I had no idea it was coming,” he said. “I’m not one of those people who is big on awards or titles or anything, so the fact that I got it was pretty crazy. I’m definitely humbled and thankful for my opportunity to work at Niwot.”

Rauschkolb nominated West for the honor after he heard about the supervisor’s ongoing mission to help one struggling student in particular throughout the school year.

“La'Mar would give her a smile and talk to her every time he saw her, and he made a huge difference in that young woman’s life,” Rauschkolb said. “I wanted to make sure we recognized his efforts to go above and beyond.”

Going above and beyond has been West’s trademark during his four years with the school. A 2006 graduate of Niwot, he jumped at the chance to join the staff at his alma matter when he heard about the opening from his close friend and fomer P.E. teacher Tom Kajiwara. With a background in security-oriented jobs, West knew being a campus supervisor in the familiar halls of Niwot would be a great fit.

“It’s been a joy in my life,” he said. “There hasn’t been one day where I’ve gone into work and regretted being there or wondered what I’m doing there.”

Rauschkolb said West has been “the perfect campus supervisor” during his four-year stint at Niwot.

“La’Mar is always in the hallways,” he said. “He’s hardly ever in his office. He has a good rapport with every student and everybody who works in the building. He’s very friendly, but he takes safety and security very seriously too.”

West said he especially enjoys building camaraderie with the students and staff, but added that the high school environment can be unpredictable. He also acknowledged that the Niwot students of today face more complex challenges than he did more than a decade ago.

“We’re making sure our grasshoppers are making the right decisions while they’re in our facilities and in our care,” he said. “Every day is a different day. You can walk in and it’s the easiest day possible, or you can walk into a situation where someone had stuff in their locker that they shouldn’t have. It’s impossible to predict the kind of day you’re going to have, you just know that something’s going to come up, and you’re going to have to be able to respond and know what you’re doing.”

West thanked his family, the school and St. Vrain Valley School District for their ongoing support and encouragement. He also said that he is happy to have the chance to finally, “give back to the community that gave so much to me as a kid.”

“Everywhere I went I felt like one of those parents or one of those situations was me interacting with a family member,” he said. “WouId I want to disappoint a family member? No. Niwot gave me a path in life, kept me on the straight and narrow, and gave me the resources I needed to graduate high school and become a better man.”


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