Dr. Tom Dodd, Principal
2019-20 is Tom Dodd’s 15th year as principal of Lesher Middle School, an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School in downtown Fort Collins, CO. Tom was recognized as the 2016 Colorado Middle Level and Secondary Principal of the Year by the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE) and Colorado Association of Secondary School Principals (CASSP), the 2017 National Secondary Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), and most recently as the 2018 Colorado Administrator of the Year by the Colorado Society of Health and Physical Educators (CO SHAPE). Under Tom’s leadership Lesher:
- Was the first Colorado school recognized as a 2017-21 Gold Level Bike Friendly Business by The League of American Bicyclists;
- Was redesignated as a 2017-20 School to Watch by the Colorado Association of Middle Level Education and National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform after being originally recognized from 2014-17 as 1 of 4 middle schools in Colorado and 116 in the nation based on Academic Excellence, Developmental Responsiveness, Social Equity, and Organizational Structure;
- Was redesignated as a 2017 Breakthrough School by the NASSP after being initially recognized in 2012 as 1 of 10 secondary schools in the nation based on Collaborative Leadership, Personalization, and Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment;
- Was a 2016 CHAMP School of Character for its character-focused athletic experience (CHaracter in Athletics Make it A Priority);
- Was a 2016 SafeRoutes to School National Partnership Hubsmith Award Nominee for its efforts to make our school community safer, healthier, and more active;
- Was 1 of 3 schools in Colorado and 48 in the nation recognized as a 2014 Green Ribbon School by the Colorado and US Depts. of Education based on Reduced Environmental Impact and Costs, Improved Health and Wellness, and Effective Environmental and Sustainability Education;
- Built a Learning Garden, Pollinator Garden and Outdoor Classroom in support if its sustainability education initiatives;
- Annually receives more school choice applications than any neighborhood secondary school in the 30,000-student Poudre School District (PSD);
- Expanded its Gifted and Talented (GT) program to nearly 30% of enrollment since 2012 and began an annual GT Summer Institute in June 2015;
- Completed successful IB Middle Years Program (IBMYP) verification visits in 2005, 2011, and 2016;
- Earned "HIGH" or "PERFORMANCE" ratings annually on the (CSAP/TCAP) School Accountability Reports (SARs)/School Performance Frameworks 2005 to 2015;
- Annually has high CSAP/TCAP/CMAS/PARCC test participation rates (98+%);
- Annually exceeds state averages on all CSAP/TCAP/CMAS/PARCC tests (reading, writing, math, science, social studies);
- Made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) via performance (hitting 34 out of 34 AYP targets) and participation without needing safe harbor or matched safe harbor in 2010;
- Made huge CSAP/TCAP math median growth percentile gains in 2010 (2008- 40, 2009- 39, 2010- 61);
- Piloted a Chinese language program in 2010;
- Transitioned from a departmentalized 7th - 9th grade junior high to a team-based 6th - 8th grade middle school in 2009 (Lesher's 50th year);
- Began a dual language (two-way bilingual Spanish/English immersion) program in 2009;
- Expanded our then school-within-a-school IBMYP honors track to school wide in 2008;
- Increased enrollment 250+ students over 5-year projections requiring wait lists and lotteries from 2007 to present;
- Changed from a traditional 8-period day to an alternating modified block schedule in 2007;
- Completed a 3.7 million dollar renovation in 2006; and
- Annually offers professional development opportunities such as book studies for CSU credit (Teach Like a Champion- Lemov & Atkins, Professional Learning Communities- Eaker & DuFour, Teaching in the Block- Canady & Rettig, Classroom Instruction that Works- Marzano, This We Believe in Action- Association of Middle Level Education- AMLE, Fair Isn’t Always Equal- Wormeli, & Making Differentiation a Habit- Heacox), IB workshops, Discovery training, PSD Crisis Prevention Institute, E Cubed and EL Achieve (ELA) training, Digital Innovator Program training, guest speakers (Rich Feller, Louis Mangione, Cindy Harrison, Jack Berckemeyer, Rick Wormeli, Sonny Lubick, Lisa King, Wendy Leader, Steve Schiola, & Lou Marchesano), Response to Intervention (RtI)/Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) training, Positive Behavior Support (PBS) training, 2012 National Assoc. for Gifted Children (NAGC) Convention in Denver, CSU Ropes Course, and sent the entire faculty to the 2008 NMSA/AMLE 35th Annual Conference and Exhibit in Denver.
Before coming to Lesher, Tom worked as the asst. editor of the American Journal of Education and certification officer for the Education Policy Studies Dept. at Penn State University (University Park, PA) from 2003-05 while pursuing his PhD in educational leadership and earning a superintendent’s license. He also received PSU’s 2015 Donald J. Willower Outstanding Dissertation Award. Tom served as the vice principal of Aspen High School (Aspen, CO) from 2001-03. While at Aspen, Tom was 1 of 5 finalists for the 2002 Colorado Secondary Assistant Principal of the Year award. Prior to Aspen Tom spent six years at Eagle Valley High School (Gypsum, CO) as the associate principal, a social studies teacher, and wrestling and football coach (wrestling: 69-29, 43 state qualifiers, 16 state place winners, 4 state runners up, 2 state champions 1995-01 & football: 2A state playoff qualifiers 1996 and 97, 2A Western Slope League Champion 1997). Tom earned his principal license while at Eagle Valley from Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO) in 1999. Tom completed two master of art’s degrees in secondary education (social studies emphasis) and in health, physical education, and recreation from Adams State University (Alamosa, CO) in 1995 while serving as an instructor of exercise physiology and leisure science and the graduate asst. wrestling coach helping the team to the 1994 Rocky Mtn. Athletic Conference and West Region Championships and back-to-back NCAA Division II top 10 national finishes in 1994 and 95 with 8 All-Americans and 10 national qualifiers. He received his bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in secondary education from Susquehanna University (Selinsgrove, PA) in 1992 while captaining the wrestling team and earning two All-Middle Atlantic Conference honors and four varsity letters. In addition, Tom has participated in numerous institutes and workshops. Of particular note were TED 2017 (Vancouver, BC, CN), the IB Academy (San Juan, Puerto Rico), IB Heads International Conference (San Francisco, CA), Art & Craft of the Principalship Summer Institute at Harvard University’s Principals Center (Cambridge, MA), Principal Leadership Academy facilitated by the University of Northern Colorado’s Tointon Institute for Educational Change, Leadership Institute for School Change: A Developmental Approach to Effective Feedback at Teachers College Columbia University (New York City), and Tom’s experience teaching English as a Second Language to middle school children in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico through the University of Colorado’s Bueno Center for Multicultural Education study abroad program.
Tom was elected to a 3-year term (2017–20) as CASE President-elect/President/Past-president representing 7 job-alike departments: CO Assoc. of Educational Specialists (CAES), CO Assoc. of Elementary School Principals (CAESP), CO Assoc. of Leaders in Educational Technology (CALET), CO Assoc. of School Personnel Administrators (CASPA), CO Assoc. of Superintendents/Senior Administrators (CASSA), CO Assoc. of Secondary School Principals (CASSP) and the CO Assoc. of Business Officials (DBO) after serving a 2-year term (2015– 7) as the Region 2a Director with the CASSP Board representing school districts in the counties of Boulder, Clear Creek, Gilpin, Jefferson, and Larimer. He has presented at numerous conferences and institutes, including the CASE Convention, CASE Winter Leadership, CASE Superintendents Conference, NASSP Conference, IB Global, CASB Winter Legislative Conference, AMLE Conference, CDE Equity and Excellence Conference, National Principals Institute, NASSP/NAESP Conference, NPTA Conference, AASA Conference, Blue Ribbon Schools Ceremony, IB Conference of the Americas, and is a trained IB consultant, site visitor, and workshop leader. Tom maintains professional memberships with the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE/CASSP), National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE), National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA), and has been honored by former students in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. Tom’s research interests include influences on principal decision making, historical perspectives on school reform, choice schools and parental decision making, educator effectiveness/accountability, the master schedule/organization of time in schools, and school success indicators/ranking methodologies.
Tom and his wife have two awesome daughters who attend Poudre School District public schools. In addition to spending time with his family and volunteering at his Catholic church, Tom is an avid college sports fan, Bronco season ticket holder, and enjoys whitewater kayaking, skiing/snowboarding, running, bicycling, and fishing.
Waren Morrow, 8th Grade Asst. Principal / Athletic & Activities Director
Waren Morrow has been a part of the Lesher community since 2007 and is entering his 12th year! The 2018-19 school year is going to be another great one on the Viking Ship! Waren is looking forward to celebrating all that we have accomplished in recent years and continuing to see Lesher excel in every way (i.e. through academics, athletics, socially, extra-curriculars, community involvement, and more)!
Waren previously was a math teacher and coach at the middle and high school level. He has taught 6th-12th grade students and has coached football, basketball and track and field. Waren became the Assistant Principal at Lesher in 2011, served as Dean of Students for the 2012-13 school year, and is entering his 7th year as Assistant Principal and 8th year as Athletic and Activities Director. In each role he has learned to serve the students, staff and families around him, to meet their needs and to help each individual as they work towards achieving their personal best. As a coach, Waren explicitly taught character to his student-athletes and set character and integrity as his highest priority on every athletic team. In 2009, his football team received recognition as an Elite Team through CHAMP (Character in Athletics- Make it a Priority), in 2010, Waren was nominated as Lesher’s Rotary Teacher of the Month, in 2011, Waren was nominated by a parent for the City of Fort Collins Human Relations Award for his work on combating bullying and harassment, and from 2011-18 as Athletic Director, Waren supported coaches and athletes as Lesher won 7 District Championships and every sport's team has nominated and recognized students for CAM Awards (Character Athletes of the Month) through CHAMP. In collaboration with the Viking Community Waren has helped:
- Lesher to be recognized as a 2015-16 and 2016-17 CHAMP School of Character - 1st school to receive this award!
- Lesher to be awarded with the 2015 PSD Winter Sportsmanship Award - 1st school to receive this award along with Blevins MS!
- Support athletic teams as they created and implemented Character Development Plans!
- Promote Lesher and what our great coaches are doing by presenting to 500 community members at the 2016 Annual CHAMP Fundraising Breakfast!
- Establish Lesher as 1 of 50 secondary schools in Colorado that were designated a No Place for Hate!
- Increase the positive climate and culture at Lesher as seen in our hallways, classrooms and through formal and informal surveys!
- Reduce disciplinary incidents across the board as seen through lunch detentions, in-school suspensions and outside-school suspensions!
- Increase Lesher’s athletic success as seen in almost all coaches being in-building, new uniforms, new equipment, competitive success on the field, court, mat and track, increased student participation numbers, and increased parent and community involvement, and more!
- Improved facilities and the feel in our building and around our campus: 2 new field goal posts and 30 foot net on our south end zone, new flags in the gym, new Lesher banner on our field, quality Lesher Viking chairs for sports and school presentations/assemblies, developed new signage in our main gym with a designated student section- THOR's Hammer Zone, worked with PSD and Fort Collins Safe Routes to get a ZAP pole installed to promote health and exercise, continued work with facilities to ensure our field and outside our building is maintained and in excellent shape for students and staff, new Athletic Wall of Champions in our main hallway to honor Lesher's rich history, and more!
Waren maintains professional memberships with the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE), National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), Colorado Association of Secondary Principals (CASSP), Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE), and National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC).
Waren and his family love living in Fort Collins. He, his wife, and their beautiful children plan on staying here forever and enjoy biking, hiking, swimming, fishing, driving through the Rockies, reading, watching movies, barbecuing, and spending time with friends.
Janice Martinez, 6th Grade Asst. Principal / Assessment Coordinator
2018-19 is Janice Martinez’s first year at Lesher’s assistant principal! Aboard the Viking Ship since 2002, Janice Martinez is highly motivated, responsible, and an educational leader with experience leading teams and maintaining healthy relationships, supervising and mentoring new educators and teaching at the middle school level. Janice loves the her Lesher family and takes opportunities to lead and collaborate to improve life aboard the ship, now specifically as the assistant principal overseeing sixth graders and as the assessment coordinator.
From 2002 to 2018, Martinez, after earning her BS in Mathematics, taught seventh through ninth graders various levels of math, with a specific desire to move struggling students ahead and increasing their confidence to solve math problems. She served on various teams to increase students’ growth such as our Response to Intervention Team and as the Mathcounts coach. As a tennis and softball coach and score keeper and student council sponsor for multiple years, Martinez invested in students inside and outside of the classroom.
Martinez has extended herself professionally. She mentored three new math teachers and hosted three student teachers. Additionally, she was an EDU 350 Instructor who planned and taught a CSU education class for aspiring teachers. She contributed to the growth of students through the study of data and the implementation of additional math instruction schoolwide. She was the Mathematics Department Chair from 2004-2012, Lesher’s IB Coordinator from 2009-2011, and our Assessment Coordinator from 2006-2011.
Wishing to continue her education, Martinez earned her MAT in Curriculum/Instruction in 2005 and her Principal License in 2008.
Janice Martinez has been involved in many professional associations and trainings, most recently having attended the 2017 IB Global Conference in Orlando, Florida, the E. L. Achieve Leadership Institute, and the Digital Innovations Pathways, here in Fort Collins.
Ms. Martinez has been recognized for her hard work. She was awarded the K99 Teacher Tuesday (2017), Rotary Teacher of the Month (2007), and the Promising Teacher of the Year Award Nominee (2007).
As Lesher’s newest assistant principal, Janice Martinez is working with staff and students to organize systems such as testing, connection surveys, and our Unified Improvement Plan. She enjoys working with teachers and assisting in the acclimation of sixth graders to Lesher as they learn how to successfully navigate life in middle school. When she leaves work, Mrs. Martinez enjoys time with her husband Dale and daughter Teresa. They enjoy many weekends with extended family, being active, cooking, friendships, reading, and traveling.
Lisa Crossland, Dean of Students (7th Grade Administrator) / Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) Coordinator
The 2018-19 school year is Lisa Crossland’s first as Dean of Students at Lesher, yet she is one of the longest standing crew members. She started her career as an English teacher here in 2001. Lisa Crossland believes there are few careers as important as working with young teens. She enjoys everyone aboard the ship, strives to practice integrity in her dealings, and loves the opportunity to serve as Dean.
At the start of her career, Ms. Crossland worked with seventh, eighth, and ninth graders teaching English 7, Drama 7 and 8 the ninth-grade speech class, and Computer 101. She enjoyed organizing and sponsoring the Lesher Chess Club, as Lesher has talented players who shine at club and in district tournaments. When the sixth graders came aboard the Viking Ship, she was pleased to teach them Language and Literature. Since 2014, she has had the opportunity to coordinate and run a new venture, Lesher’s Genius Week, an extracurricular week in the summer, which offers excellent learning opportunities to terrific students, here at Lesher.
A Colorado Native, she graduated from Poudre High School and continued her education at Colorado State University where she ultimately decided teaching English to middle schoolers was the perfect fit for her. Ms. Crossland went back to school to be trained in teaching English as a second language, earning her Master’s from the University of Northern Colorado in Diversities and Exceptionalities. Wanting to continue her education, she later pursued her Principal’s License and thrived during coursework and her internship. When the opportunity arose to stay aboard the ship at Lesher and work with the seventh grade staff and students in the role of dean, she was honored to accept the position to continue her professional and personal growth in service to Lesher.
Ms. Crossland is honored the Lesher staff selected her as their Excellence in Education nominee in 2007-2008, Rotary Teacher of the Month in 2014, and this year as, August Staff Member of the Month. Ms. Crossland is encouraged and inspired by those with whom she is privileged to work and is challenged to do her best.
Enjoying the fellowship of those aboard the ship, she also enjoys a close-knit family and close friends who bring her much joy. She works hard at school and at home, yet takes every opportunity for quiet times of reading, to enjoy a meal with those she loves, to take a quick walk, or travel to favorite or new locations.