All about U: An apple for Tustin Amole

Former schools spokeswoman Tustin Amole and her U.

Tustin Amole retired a year ago as the spokeswoman for the Cherry Creek School District, but she remains passionate about public education, as evidenced by how she decorated the wooden U she received.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is handing out the U’s as part of the @UChooseCO campaign to educate unaffiliated voters that they can participate in the June 26 primary election, but they can only vote one ballot. The campaign has a web pageFacebook page, a Twitter account and its own hashtag, #UChooseCO.

Amole, who is unaffiliated, posted the U on her Facebook page with the advice, “Vote early, vote ONCE!”

At least every week day between now and the June 26 primary the Secretary of State’s office will highlight a wooden U or two. Check out more decorated U’s on Facebook and Twitter.

Happy trails to Tustin Amole

“Tustin and I are proof that you can be on different sides of the political spectrum and remain close friends. However, I still remember the shock in her voice when she said, ‘You voted for Bill Owens?'”

Five former staffers for the Rocky Mountain News gathered this week to pay tribute to Tustin Amole. After she left the Rocky, Tustin became spokeswoman for the Cherry Creek School District, a job she is retiring from this month. Left to right: Kim Young, Deb Goeken, Amole, Tonia Twichell and Lynn Bartels.

My very good friend Tustin Amole retires at the end of this month as the spokeswoman for the Cherry Creek School District.

Gene Amole.

I was touched that the district asked me to speak at her going-away party Wednesday night, where the three superintendents she has worked for gushed about Tustin — and deservedly so.

As I said in a Facebook item I posted after the party, her late father, the famed columnist Gene Amole, must be busting his buttons in heaven.

Read moreHappy trails to Tustin Amole

‘Doodle 4 Google’ competition electrifies Aurora elementary school

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams talks to students at Black Forest Hills Elementary School in Aurora today as part of a Doodle 4 Google event. (SOS photo)
Fourth-grader Madison Lee after Secretary of State Wayne Williams announced she is the Colorado winner of the Doodle 4 Google competition. (Google)

By Julia Sunny and Lynn Bartels

The happiest place in Colorado today might just have been an Aurora elementary school where fourth-grader Madison Lee learned that the artwork she submitted to run on Google’s home page was picked as the winning entry from the Centennial State.

Her parents, her principal, her art teacher and an auditorium full of students wearing colorful Google T-shirts could barely contain themselves when Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams announced Madison as the winner.

She never stopped smiling after that.

“It hurts your mouth a lot to be a celebrity,” she said, as the celebration at Black Forest Hills Elementary School wound down.

Fourth grader Madison Lee with her winning Google design, her art teacher, Erica Knowlton and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams. (SOS)

Each year, Google holds a nationwide contest that allows students K-12 to submit their doodle for Google.com. This year’s theme was, “What I see for the future.”

“I thought it might be cool to have robotic people who clean your house and people who go to Mars … and aliens floating around,” she said.

Madison is one of 53 finalists nationwide for the ninth annual “Doodle 4 Google” competition. Starting today, everyone across the country can vote online (the link is here) for their favorite doodle. Voting ends March 6.

“Please vote for me!” said Madison, whose drawing is in the “Grades 4-5” category.

Read more‘Doodle 4 Google’ competition electrifies Aurora elementary school

Tustin Amole, Woman of the Year

Harry Bull, the superintendent of the Cherry Creek School District, and Tustin Amole, the district's communications director, were named Man and Woman of the Year today by The Villager. (Peter Jones/The Villager)
Harry Bull, the superintendent of the Cherry Creek School District, and Tustin Amole, the district’s communications director, were named Man and Woman of the Year today by The Villager. (Peter Jones/The Villager)

What an honor for Tustin Amole. In what will be her last year as spokeswoman for the Cherry Creek School District, she has been named The Villager’s Woman of the year and her boss, Superintendent Harry Bull, has been named the Man of the Year.

The Villager announced the winners today, saying Bull “puts the ‘super’ in ‘intendent.'” It’s the latest honor for Bull, who also has been named Administrator of the Year from the Colorado High School Press Association.

Of Amole, The Villager’s Peter Jones wrote, “From winning test scores and mill levy victories to lunchroom ‘scandals’ and teachers behaving badly, Amole has strived for nearly two decades to tell the Cherry Creek story in full, even in the face of death threats and only a few obnoxious journalists.”

“As a former reporter, I was very familiar with the open-records law so I knew what had to be given up,” Amole told the newspaper in an interview. “There’s no point in stalling. People who try to stonewall the media — it always ends badly for them.”

Read moreTustin Amole, Woman of the Year

Dear Mr. Williams: “I really liked … “

A note from a Walnut Hills third grader to Secretary Wayne Williams after his presentation to students on elections and his job.
A note from a Walnut Hills third grader to Secretary Wayne Williams.

The handwriting, the spelling, the comments, few things are as fun as letters from youngsters, as Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams can attest to.

He recently received separate packages of thank-you notes from third graders at Walnut Hill and fourth graders at Willow Creek elementary schools.,

Williams talked to the students Oct. 7 about elections and his job as secretary of state.

“It was so speshle to see the achwll SECRETARY OF STATE! “If I was 18 and you wanted to go for another 4 years I would vote for you.” “P.S. You look like you’re as tall as my dad. ” “PS. I really hope you had fun.”

Williams got a kick out of the third grader who said he was going to tell his dad to vote for Williams when the secretary is up for re-election in 2018.

One of the thank you cards Secretary Wayne Williams received from a student at Willow Creek Elementary School.
One of the thank you cards Secretary Wayne Williams received from a student at Willow Creek Elementary School.

And more gems:

“I want to be just like you. Are you funny?”

“I never new that there was a machine that counts votes. I hope you had a fun time. I shure did.”

“The biggest thing I learned was about voting, how that you can make a difference even when you can’t vote.”

“You taught me a lot about what is like to be a secratary. I thought secratarys just took notes.”

“I have some questions: Do you get to vote? How many jobs have you done?”

And then there was the third grader who shared the lament of so many Coloradans: “What I don’t get is why is there so many people in the state of Colorado, it’s just too crowded here.”