Teachers of the Year - 2015

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One way to make sure students stay engaged in a scientific experiment is to use gummy bears in the lab. That’s a trick Mindy Timothy learned as she pushed the…
Matt Leininger gets plenty of exercise in each of his physics classes. After he finishes teaching a concept, he makes the rounds in his classroom, checking in with nearly every…
When it comes to teaching her fourth-grade students arithmetic, Lisa Talbot is something of a “math-magician,” her principal says. Talbot’s combination of tough love and joyful exuberance — plus her…
After 30 years of teaching, there are plenty of community members who can remember playing Mrs. Bellon’s recorders in fourth grade at Altara Elementary. Rebecca Bellon still incorporates music into…
Becky Morgan has brought the notion of supporting her students and caring for the individual to a whole new level. As a resource teacher, Morgan is diligent in tracking her…
As a fifth-grade teacher, one of Sara McBee’s greatest tasks — which she fulfills with admirable dedication — is to prepare her students for middle school. McBee’s investment in her…
Marielle Rawle does it all. She motivates her unmotivated students, buoys up her colleagues, and some have even said she is the “gasoline to the motor that is Student Government.”…
Dena Smith’s approach to teaching is to give every student love, attention, and the confidence to succeed. In return, students give Smith their attention, best efforts and good behavior. Smith,…
As a kindergarten teacher, Lani Heldt helps her little students make the big transition to all-day school in first grade. She lifts up those around her, and brings a “can…
Students in Stephanie Lay’s seventh-grade math class get a special kind of practice each day they enter her classroom. Lay stands in the hallway with flash cards quizzing each student…
Chris Checketts is the kind of teacher who wants his students to look out for each other, pull together, and celebrate the successes of others. That’s why his motto, “We…
Because of Marci Oliphant-Allred’s innovative, hands-on approach to making learning fun and meaningful, the students in her kindergarten class increased from a 42 percent proficiency level in reading in the…
True gratification comes when students focus their energy, skills and knowledge toward furthering a worthy and noble cause,” says Russ Boyer, who uses his role as a Corner Canyon teacher,…
Marci Weatherspoon has a way of talking to her first-grade class that sounds a lot more like listening — and it’s the secret to earning her students’ respect. Weatherspoon teaches…
As a teacher with 44 years of experience, Renee Pay has become a model educator at the Canyons Technical Education Center, her colleagues say. Under her instruction, students are transformed…
Tricia Fenton’s cheerful disposition, attentiveness, and willingness to go above and beyond in the classroom has paid off for her students. On mid-year tests, 96 percent of her fourth-graders have…
When it comes to garnering feedback from her students, Emily Nance always has an ace up her sleeve. In her lessons, students respond together orally, by giving thumbs-up and thumbs…
Danna Caldwell is the kind of teacher who puts her students’ needs before her own. Case in point: Two years ago, as she battled cancer, Caldwell was worried more about…
Chris Warren has a reputation at East Sandy for being the best of the best. He teaches with a positive attitude and a patient demeanor. In the words of one…
Students in Dean Lowe’s science class know exactly what to expect when they sit down in his room. They know they have a teacher who will give them positive feedback…
After 40 years of teaching, Joyce Acosta remains dedicated to her craft. Acosta often is the first to arrive at Edgemont Elementary in the morning and the last to leave…
Cindy Krueger is a woman of many talents. She is in the USU Hall of Fame for softball, she taught and coached at Alta High for more than 10 years,…
After teaching special education for 27 years, Donna Spivey has become an expert at helping students realize their own abilities and recognize their own strengths. She brings a positive attitude…
If there weren’t enough hours in the day to make sure her students have all of the guidance and support they need, Sunny Allen would probably find a way to…
According to Katherine Falk’s philosophy, there is a time to be serious, and a time to have fun — even in education. She uses this credo to help her students…
Brad Charon is a gifted teacher who provides opportunities for his students to participate in challenging, relevant, real-life situations that help them to push their own limits and expand their…
The challenges Michelle Stark faces in her classroom start on the basic level of teaching her students how get up from their chairs on their own, without needing a physical…
Parents love having Megan Meier as their child’s teacher so much they return to her classroom long after the school year is over to ask her advice on how to…
When colleagues and parents describe Claudia Jimenez, they refer to this quote from William Arthur Ward: “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great…
Students know that every time they go to Kattie Dewald’s classroom they can expect an exciting, challenging and inspiring class — and positive feedback for their accomplishments. Dewald uses Common…
Colleagues say Rona Bresnahan is a great communicator, well-spoken and direct, kind and loving. But it is her passion for teaching that captures the attention of her entire class. That’s…
When there is a task that needs to be done, Jana Mumford is the kind of teacher who always is willing to do it. That’s how she came to teach…
As a first-grade French immersion teacher, Sebastien Levitre finds opportunities to teach his students a new language in hundreds of different ways. The class takes trips outside to discuss “le…
Shirley Cline has a way of speaking to her students to encourage them to be their best. A parent once observed Cline responding to a student who gave an incorrect…
Susan Homer’s teaching is a perfect balance between kindness and discipline. She helps her students to chart their progress. She works with students who struggle, maintains high expectations, and enforces…
Jessica Chang understands the benefits of using technology in the classroom. The Peruvian Park teacher uses technology to augment student learning, and assists other faculty members who seek her counsel…
Lisa Rigby is a talented educator with a knack for helping struggling students. “My son gained much responsibility and (learned) the value of hard work,” one parent wrote of Rigby.…
“Dynamite,” is the word colleagues use to describe Julie Page’s energy level, passion and impact on students. Page inspires students — and her colleagues — to achieve great things. She…
Parents, students and colleagues might not be surprised if Bethany Smith had a superhero suit under her school clothes. She participates in the Science Fair committee and Student Council. She…
Mary Ann Deem is known by her fifth-graders as the teacher with a big heart who pushes them to do their best. Deem helps struggling readers to know how many…
As a teacher at South Park Academy’s Adult High School, Patty Lundin never misses an opportunity to help change the lives of her students. Her students are inmates at the…
Leisa Hansen is the kind of teacher who can help her students improve their reading skills by 80 percent — and have them smiling from ear to ear while they…
As a first-grade teacher at Sunrise Elementary, Jan Simpson is a master at helping new students transition to a full day of school. She is attentive to all of her…
Parents say that Bryan Stephenson already is a master teacher, but he still keeps looking for ways to improve. That’s why he spent his summer reading Ken O’Connor’s “A Repair…
As one parent writes, many teachers can be great when their students learn easily, but the mark of a truly great teacher is how he or she helps those who…
Jessica Roberts starts her fourth-grade class in the same way every day: with a “Morning Meeting.” There, students learn social skills, camaraderie, and how to build relationships with one another.…