Hendrix, Biner win top CSMA awards

Lewis-Palmer adviser and Brighton principal represent the finest in educational leadership


Carrie mugAdviser of the Year – Carrie Hendrix, CJE

Here is what Riley Bircham wrote in a birthday card to our Adviser of the Year, Carrie J. Hendrix, CJE: “Yearbook has grown to be one of the biggest parts of my life and I absolutely love it. You have taught me to never give up, to work hard, and to truly believe in myself. The yearbook room has been my life, my safe place, and pretty much my second home.”

Students in and out of the Lewis-Palmer media programs feel much as Riley does. Since she began teaching and advising there in 2003, Carrie has been the favorite teacher for many.

She and her program have earned numerous awards, on the state and national levels. Carrie is a Certified Journalism Educator, and is one of the first in Colorado to earn the CSMA Press Law & Ethics certification. Just last spring, the 2014 Westwind yearbook earned its first National Pacemaker award from NSPA. The book has earned All-Colorado since the award was begun in 2011.

The awards are impressive, writes Lewis-Palmer Principal Sandi Brandl, “but I know they are not Carrie’s true motivation. Her daily efforts, her countless hours in the summer and after school are done because she believes that all students wo want to learn should be given that opportunity.”

In addition to Westwind, Carrie advises the Ranger Review newsmagazine, the LPTV broadcast program and recently started a literary magazine at LP.

Her efforts have made her a popular speaker at state and national workshops, where she shares her excitement and talent.

As Justin Daigle wrote about his friend, Carrie, when they are off a summer workshop: “When a student bring a new idea back or poses something for the upcoming yearbook, Carries gets just as excited as her students and listens and helps guide them in implementing their ideas. Carrie models to her staff the importance of ownership. She tells her kids that this is THEIR publication.”

Now a senior, Riley Bircham wrote that when the yearbook was announced as a Pacemaker winner last April in Denver, Mrs. Hendrix was the first to jump high, and she screamed so loud it scared her a bit.

Riley says she has come to realize the value of trying to accomplish everything you do to the best of your abilities. In her support letter, Riley promised to jump higher and scream louder than anyone else in the room.

We will find out on Oct. 8, at the J-Day Awards Ceremony.

Congratulations to Carrie Hendrix, our 2015 CSMA Adviser of the Year.

John BinerAdministrator of the Year – John Biner

It’s not unusual for Brighton HS Principal John Biner to stop by the yearbook or newspaper rooms during production nights.

As last year’s Reflections yearbook editor Zachary Polliard wrote in supporting Mr. Biner’s nomination for Administrator of the Year, “When Mr. Biner stopped by class or a work night, there were several times his level of excitement exceeded ours. He always showed a genuine interest in what we were doing and would ask, ‘How did you cut out that photo?’ or ‘How did you guys get that great photo?’ “

As Mr. Biner wrote: “We talk about the ‘Thinking Classroom,’ which results from great planning that allows students to DO the work and actually experience the learning rather than taking notes and regurgitating information on a test.”

He went on to say, “We have two amazing teachers – Justin Daigle and Kathy Gustad – who have made the publication programs part of the very fiber of the Brighton culture.”

Justin Daigle wrote: “Some advisers may get nervous when their principal comes into their yearbook room and looks at pages as kids are working on them. I welcome Mr. Biner in my room. He isn’t coming in there to dictate orders or to spy. He loves to interact with the students and educate himself on how the book is produced.”

Zach went on to say, “Mr. Biner gives us full control of the book. He trusts as, and as journalists we never want to lose that trust, so we produce the best yearbook possible.”

John Biner earned his B.S from the University of Colorado and his Masters from Colorado State. He began his teaching career at Pueblo Century HS in 1995 and moved to principal of Century in 2002-2002. He served as an assistant principal at Elizabeth HS and at Arapahoe HS before taking the principal job at Brighton in 2007.

CSMA is proud to honor him with our top honor for administrators. As Justin puts it, “He is not just a great principal, but a great leader, a great mentor, a great human being.”

Congratulations to John Biner, our 2015 CSMA Administrator of the Year.