- Cherry Creek School District No. 5
Mountain Vista Elementary teacher named Denver Nuggets “MVT”
Karter Jackson believes his fourth-grade teacher, Tasha Zelić, is something special.
“She’s different from the rest of my teachers,” Jackson said. “She helps me be less shy and she teaches us in new ways. In the middle of lessons, she likes to have fun with us and be funny. I really like having her as a teacher.”
Jackson and Mrs. Zelić also share a love of basketball. Mrs. Zelić, who grew up in the Cherry Creek School District, where she attended Rolling Hills Elementary, Falcon Creek Middle School, and Grandview High School, played basketball for Grandview and for Oklahoma Baptist University, where she studied education.
She and Jackson are big Denver Nuggets fans, and Jackson wanted to get his teacher a basketball autographed by the team. As he and his mother investigated that, they discovered the Denver Nuggets “Most Valuable Teacher” program, presented by Ford. It recognizes outstanding educators who go above and beyond to support their students and positively impact their community. Jackson nominated Mrs. Zelić, who was named the Denver Nuggets “MVT” for January 2023.
“I felt really good, and I knew that she was the best one for this,” Jackson said.
Mountain Vista Principal Megan Carkhuff agreed.
“Mrs. Zelić is the type of teacher who exemplifies the Cherry Creek School District’s Core Value of Relationships,” Carkhuff said. “She has a deep personal connection with her students and their families, and she goes above and beyond to let each of her students know how much she cares.
“She builds a classroom community that values each of its individuals, helps them learn to rely on one another, and bonds students together for life! She is truly an outstanding teacher, and we are proud to have her as part of the Mountain Vista family!” Carkhuff added.
Jackson and his classmates got to celebrate with Mrs. Zelić when Kyle Speller, the Nuggets announcer, Rocky, the Nuggets mascot, and members of the Nuggets Dancers, came to Mountain Vista to present Mrs. Zelić with a $1,000 classroom improvement grant, tickets to a Nuggets game, dinner at Ball Arena and recognition at the game, a Nuggets gift bag, and tickets for her students.
When she found out about the honor, Mrs. Zelić said she was at a loss for words and started tearing up.
“It was a very special, special moment,” she said, one that affirmed her decision to become a teacher.
“Seriously, since I was in kindergarten, I’ve wanted to be a teacher,” Zelić said. “I had so many amazing teachers in Cherry Creek Schools who made huge differences in my life. And honestly, I’m just a big kid, a six-foot kid, and I feel more comfortable talking to kids than I do adults at times. I just like to be silly and let them know that it’s ok to be silly sometimes, and we can learn and have fun at the same time.”
Zelić and her husband and Jackson and his mom were recognized at the Jan. 17 Nuggets game against the Portland Trailblazers. Zelić says she will always be grateful to Jackson for nominating her for the “MVT” program.
“Karter is the sweetest soul,” Zelić said. “He’s a man of very few words, so coming from him, it meant even more!”
Congratulations to Tasha Zelić, the Denver Nuggets “Most Valuable Teacher” for January!
Photos courtesy Garrett Ellwood Photography.