Aspen Education Foundation raises $700,000 at ‘The Flamingo’

Staff report
Philanthropist Dick Butera took the podium Jan. 14 at Aspen Education Foundation's 'The Flamingo' event held at the St. Regis Aspen Resort, to announce the winners of the Kellie Schenck Awards.
C2 Photography |

Aspen Education Foundation’s Annual benefit “The Flamingo,” held Jan. 14 at the St. Regis Aspen Resort, raised more than $700,000 for the Aspen School District and teachers, according to Brooke Bedingfield, the nonprofit’s director.

“We so appreciate all of the sponsors, donors and volunteers who helped to make this event one of the most successful ever,” said Bedingfield in a statement. “There was an outpouring of giving by our community who recognize the value of our public schools.

“The Flamingo benefit was a night we will always remember, and I felt honored to be part of the evening,” said event co-chair Lexie Potamkin. “AEF helps our teachers and students. Nothing is more important.”

Aspen Education Foundation President Raifie Bass added, “The generosity of the Aspen community overwhelms me and makes me proud to call this town home. I was especially honored to be able to announce the winners of the inaugural Kellie Schenck Awards.”

Cash awards

The recipients of the $10,000 cash awards, formerly known as the Distinguished Teacher Awards and now the Kellie Schenck Teacher Awards, were the following:

• Josh Anderson — math teacher, Aspen High School.

• Arial Bejarano — Aspen School District bus driver and Aspen Elementary School custodial.

• Morgan Duggan — school psychologist, Aspen Middle School and Aspen High School.

• Eric Lamb — world language teacher, French, Aspen High School.

• Megan Noonan — mathematics teacher, Aspen High School.

• Becky Oliver — second-grade teacher, Aspen Elementary School.

• Jackie Tergeoglou — kindergarten teacher, Aspen Elementary School.

• Jeff White — fourth-grade teacher, Aspen Elementary School.

The following staff shared $10,000 cash awards:

• Bryant Maggert and Sarah Graber, English language learners, Aspen Middle School.

• Karen Price administrative assistant, finance; and Karin Wehse, administrative assistant, enrollment, Aspen Middle School.

Kellie Schenck Awards

Local businessman Dick Butera’s announcement of the establishment of the Kellie Schenck Awards was made in recognition of Kellie Schenck, the Aspen Middle School teacher who died in 2015. Schenck was an inaugural winner of Butera’s original Distinguished Teacher Awards. Butera said he was inspired by Schenck’s passing to create a new award that honors her memory and rewards teachers and staff who share the same passion and commitment to excellence for which Schenck will long be remembered.

“Teachers have always been my heroes, and I have so much respect and admiration for them,” Potamkin said. “Every day they walk into those classrooms they make a difference and change lives. Dick Butera appreciates and respects teachers and gives generously from his heart. I love this community and feel blessed to be part of it.”

Aspen Education Foundation Honorees

This year, in honor of Aspen Education Foundation’s 25th anniversary, the event honored people in the community who have helped change the landscape in Aspen for education. Honored were Jeanette Darnauer, Kathy Hegberg, Peter Van Domelen and the Moore family.


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