The Lewis-Palmer School District Hall of Fame will add six new inductees Saturday: Emma DeKler, Mark Ewig, Don Lash, Ron Phillips, Gordon Rudel and Max Williams.

Open to the public, the induction ceremony and reception kicks off at 2 p.m. at Lewis-Palmer High School.

The D38 Board of Education established of the Hall of Fame in August 2013 to publicly recognize those who have made significant contributions to the success of the district and its students.

The following bios introduce the 2019 Hall of Fame inductees:

Emma DeKler

DeKler, a special education teacher and English Learner teacher at Palmer Lake Elementary School from 2004-2017, often told students, “Never say you can’t. Always say you’ll try.” She advocated for students who came from a variety of language, social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds, and they flourished.

DeKler created a homework club at Palmer Lake Elementary during which teachers and community members volunteered several nights a week to assist English Learner students with schoolwork.

DeKler also went above and beyond for kindergarten English Leaner students. She made arrangements with parents to pick up half-day kindergartner students 30 minutes after regular dismissal. DeKler used this half hour to provide additional teaching. Additionally, she was largely responsible for ensuring that teacher comments on report cards were translated into the students’ native languages. She also sought interpreters for parent conferences and phone conversations.

- Compiled by Caryn Collette

Mark Ewig

Hired in 1998 at LPHS, Ewig taught courses including Civics, American History, Americana, AP History and Economics. In 2008, he became a member of the inaugural staff at Palmer Ridge High School, where he served as Social Studies Department chairman and added Advanced Placement U.S. History and economics to his courseload. Ewig retired from PRHS in 2018.

Ewig organized annual Veterans’ Day observances and Constitution Day activities; presented at National Council of Economic Education conferences; served on the PRHS National Honor Society governing board; sponsored National History days; served on PRHS Steering Committee; and coached LPHS freshmen and junior-varsity basketball teams with an undefeated season (1998-1999).

His recognitions include: 2005: Colorado Teacher of the Year Award — Department of Defense Troops to Teacher Program 2011: Stanford University Award for Exceptional Teaching 2017: Daughters of the American Revolution Award — Outstanding Teacher of American History 2017: VFW Post 7829 and District award as Outstanding Citizenship Teacher of the Year Award

- Compiled by Caryn Collette

Don Lash

Lash was a teacher and coach for over 43 years. He taught math at LPHS from 1989 to 2003. He was a head volleyball coach for 35 years — 25 of those at LPHS. With an overall coaching record of 566-259, he is one of only five Colorado coaches to have recorded over 500 wins. At LPHS, he earned nine league championships, eight district championships, three regional championships, two state runner-up finishes, and two state championships.

Lash was awarded the Colorado High School Coaches Association Pioneer Award in 2007. In 2015, he received the coveted Colorado High School Activities Association’s Dick Katte Sportsmanship Award. He was named Denver Metro Coach of the Year three times. He was awarded the 2001 Colorado High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year.

- Compiled by Susan Odenbaugh

Ron Phillips

Phillips was an educator at LPHS for over 30 years. He taught various English courses in grades 8-12 in D38 from 1967-1997. He also served as a football, basketball and track coach — including for the 1968 state championship winning track team.

One standout athlete said, “To be honest, I wasn’t a great student, but Mr. Phillips was a patient teacher and the rare kind of teacher that taught life lessons outside of the classroom. He taught me how to be a better player, and in turn, I payed a little more attention to what he was teaching in the classroom.”

Phillips taught college-prep classes long before AP courses were part of the curriculum. Because of his rigor and emphasis on developing students’ writing, numerous students “tested out” of freshman college English courses.

- Compiled by Susan Odenbaugh

Gordon Rudel

From 1982-1990, Rudel served LPSD in a variety of roles. He was hired as the chief financial officer in 1982. His tenure in the district included supervision and management of the business office staff. He later assumed responsibility for overseeing the transportation department, district maintenance/operational function staff, and food services. In addition, Rudel worked to facilitate building renovation and construction. He also acted as interim superintendent.

Rudel was adamant about doing things correctly while being frugal with district funds.

The opening of Ray Kilmer Elementary School required boundary and busing changes. To ease parents’ concerns, the principal proposed, “having the buses run their routes and picking up parents at their students’ bus stops, bringing them to school and taking them back to their stops much like their kids would experience.” Upon being delivered to the school, parents had the opportunity to see the school and meet staff. This plan incurred expenses. Rudel, in his behind-the-scenes way found the money to make it happen. According to the principal, “Reaction by parents was phenomenal, and the experience established goodwill and a good start between parents, the new school, and the staff.”

- Compiled by Caryn Collette

Max Williams

For 30 years, Williams has supported the students of D38 through dedication to the Kiwanis Service Leadership Program. The program is a cornerstone of the Monument Hill Kiwanis Club’s goal of assisting youth.

Williams became a member of Monument Hill Sertoma in 1984. He began volunteering with the LPHS Serteen Club in 1997, became assistant club sponsor in 1999 and assumed leadership of the program in 2001. In 2010, Sertoma became Monument Hill Kiwanis and the LPHS Serteen Club became LPHS Key Club. Under his guidance, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs recently granted official club status to its Key Club.

Just a few of the awards the LPHS Serteen and Key Clubs received under Williams’ direction include International Serteen Club of the Year (twice); Sertoma Region Advisor of the Year, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009; and Kiwanis President’s Award, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016.

Williams was recently honored as the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce “Volunteer of the Year.”

- Compiled by Kendra Boone and Mark Swanson

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