2017-18 Teachers of the Year

 CCSD Teacher of the Year: Debbie Rees

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CCSD Teacher of the Year: Debbie Rees

Debbie Rees has been chosen to be the 2017-18 Cache County School District Teacher of the Year. This award is distinct from the school Teacher of the Year award as it is only awarded to one educator districtwide and represents the highest level of excellence.   

After attending Snow College and Utah State University, Rees taught at Lewiston Elementary and Summit Elementary before she began her current position as a third-grade teacher at Providence Elementary.

Rees has modeled her role as a teacher from lessons she has learned from being a beekeeper. On the door of her classroom, there is a sign that says “Welcome to the Hive.” The students are her worker bees. They are eager to please her and are motivated to work hard for her, which is evident by her classroom’s high annual SAGE scores. Rees is a caring and committed teacher and parents acknowledge the positive impact she has on children. In fact, many parents have submitted requests years in advance to have their children in her classroom. The best part of teaching for Rees is the "ah-ha" moments when a student who has been struggling with a task or concept nails it. In her own words, "I love encouraging gritty kids!"

In addition to working as a classroom teacher, Rees has helped with many curriculum projects for the Cache County School District. She is very knowledgeable about curriculum mapping and the design of formative assessments. Many of the projects and assessments on which she worked are currently used across our school district.

Rees’ personal life is filled with walks in the mountains, kayaking, reading, knitting, and tending to thousands of bees. Her family has grown to a total of 12 members over the years including four children, three grandsons, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, and one girl they all would like to claim as their own. The family enjoys beings together for play, work, food, watching baseball, or travel. Rees took time away from the teaching profession to raise her children. She also received her Master's Degree from Western Governors University.

Because of her mastery of teaching, her personal professional demeanor, high ethical standards, curriculum expertise, and excellent communication skills, we are thrilled to recognize Debbie Rees as the Cache County School District Teacher of the Year for 2017-18.

 Birch Creek Elementary Teacher of the Year: Tammy Groll

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Birch Creek Elementary Teacher of the Year: Tammy Groll

Second-grade teacher Tamara Groll has been named as Birch Creek Elementary’s 2017-18 Teacher of the Year. On her classroom door hangs a sign that reads, “What I love most about my classroom is whom I share it with.” Many have noted that Groll exemplifies this saying, as she is a teacher who has a genuine love for her students and her work as an educator.

“I love teaching because I get to work with kids who keep me thinking and learning every day. They challenge me to do my best. I learn so much from them.  It's my goal to do the same for them,” exclaimed Groll, who has been an educator for 24 years. “I have the greatest job on earth.  What's not to love?”

“Tammy is an experienced educator,” explained Birch Creek Elementary Principal John Anderson. “She works diligently to make learning exciting and new for her students each day.”

 

 Cache High Teacher of the Year: Mike Hale

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Cache High Teacher of the Year: Mike Hale

Hale, who teaches math technology, accounting, and web design, is known for his passion for helping his students succeed. When the final bell rings and the school day comes to a close, the day is not yet over for Hale. He stays after school hours every day to work with students from high schools across the valley.

“Mike is a great educator who will do anything to help anyone,” explained Cache High Principal Sheri Hansen. “He even doubles as our handyman--fixing things from walls to computers. He takes a special sense of ownership for Cache High because he wants it to be great!”

Even after teaching at Cache High School for 11 years, Hale continues to inspire his students by using unique and innovative lessons that incorporate things like 3D printing and ALEK Math. “It is the most rewarding thing to see a student figure out that they can succeed in school,”  Hale said. “Once that happens, it can lead to a snowball effect with other things that they can accomplish in their life."



 Canyon Elementary Teacher of the Year: Rocky Kendrick

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Canyon Elementary Teacher of the Year: Rocky Kendrick

Kendrick, who has been a teacher for eleven years, is considered a true gift to Canyon Elementary. Parents, students, and colleagues all agree that she is one of the kindest people they know, someone who is always trying to find a way to serve others.

Kendrick is constantly striving to learn new ways to increase her pedagogy. Just last year, she completed the STEM Endorsement through USU and she has been a strong advocate for increasing STEM activities in both the second grade and throughout the school. Kendrick also volunteers her time as she serves on school committees and student action teams.

“Her students know she loves them,” explained Canyon Elementary principal, Stacie Williamson. “She comes prepared each and every day with a curriculum full of rich and engaging lessons and activities. It was an easy call for Rocky to be our Teacher of the Year.”

“I love providing a classroom that is a caring, supportive, and challenging environment for students. I love to watch them thrive academically and socially,” explained Kendrick. “My favorite educational quote by Nelson Mandela says, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world!’ I have been able to teach many wonderful students and have been blessed to know them and their families.”

 Cedar Ridge Elementary Teacher of the Year: Jessica Littlefield

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Cedar Ridge Elementary Teacher of the Year: Jessica Littlefield

If you’re looking for an extra dose of sunshine, you might want to drop in on Jessica Littlefield’s classroom.  The fourth grade teacher, Littlefield, is known for inspiring joy and confidence in her students. “There’s no reason why a fourth grader should not want to go to school,” explained Littlefield. “That is why I try to give my students the best experience possible.”

Cedar Ridge Principal, Sharyle Shaffer, is grateful to have Littlefield working as an educator and fourth grade team lead at the school.  “Jessica is exceptionally dedicated to student learning,” remarked Shaffer. “You can tell she has a love for teaching just by observing her interactions with her students. She is always positive and her infectious laugh can bring a smile to anyone's face.”

Littlefield describes the relationships that she builds with her students and colleagues as some of the most fulfilling parts of her job. “I have learned so much from the different people I have worked with,” she said. “I have had strong mentors who have helped me improve my skills and co-workers who have become some of my closest friends.”

 Green Canyon Teacher of the Year: Nan Koebbe

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Green Canyon Teacher of the Year: Nan Koebbe

Koebbe, who has been a teacher for eighteen years, is recognized as an academic leader who helped Green Canyon through a successful inaugural year. In addition to serving in the math department, Koebbe also teaches AP Statistics, serves as the Cheerleading Advisor and coaches the Academic Olympiad Team.

“Being over not just one, but many programs at a new school is no small task,” explained Green Canyon Principal, Dave Swenson. “We were starting programs from the ground up. Nan has taken the lead at our school to think outside of the box and create new and exciting opportunities for our students.”

Throughout the community, Koebbe is recognized as a person who is honest, competent, caring, and concerned. Colleagues and students alike are grateful for her listening ear and sound advice. “She is one of the finest, most honorable women I have had the privilege of working with,” remarked Swenson. “Whether she is interacting with a small group or making a presentation in a large setting, the results are always the same--people are enlightened just by being around her, as she has taken many of them under her wing.”

“I am so grateful for the relationships I have made with both the staff and students through being in education,” explained Koebbe. “I love teenagers! They are at such an exciting stage of life, and I love that I get to interact with them as they are learning and growing.”

 Greenville Elementary Teacher of the Year: Peggy Jo Porter

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Greenville Elementary Teacher of the Year: Peggy Jo Porter

Porter has taught first grade for 29 years and has loved all of the experiences and friendships it has brought her.

Porter is known throughout the school and in the community as an educator who goes the extra mile.  “Over the years, Mrs. Porter has provided shoes and socks for students who need them. She has paid lunch accounts when families were unable to.  She has provided school supplies for students who went without,” explained Greenville Elementary Principal, Dee Ashcroft. “She fills many other needs that her students have. Helping just comes naturally to her.”

Past and present students attest that Porter’s classroom is a place where foundational self-esteem can be built.  This is evident in the encouraging remarks that Porter showers upon her young students, as well as in the “great day” stickers she sends home to parents with positive notes about their child’s day.

 Heritage Elementary Teacher of the Year: Joel Lopez

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Heritage Elementary Teacher of the Year: Joel Lopez

Lopez, who teaches 4th grade in Heritage’s Spanish Dual Language Immersion program, is considered an exceptional role model who takes on many roles to further his students’ education. In addition to teaching, Lopez serves on the SAT Committee, works as a summer school instructor, and heads the DLI program at Heritage.

Within the walls of his classroom, Lopez challenges his class to achieve great things. He supports and inspires them with a quote he learned while playing soccer as a student: “You will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”  

“Joel is a wonderful asset to our school,” explained Heritage Elementary Principal Lance Robins. “He is always improving his instruction to better serve his students’ needs. He loves to teach children and works well with students, teachers, parents, and other staff members.”

“Every year I learn so many new things,” remarked Lopez.  “Some of them challenge views or beliefs I previously held.  I enjoy that challenge--without it, there is no growth. As an educator, I try to model that for my students. I want them to know that mistakes are OK as long as we learn from them; that becoming proficient in something means you have failed many times before.”

 Lewiston Elementary Teacher of the Year: Ashlena Johnson

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Lewiston Elementary Teacher of the Year: Ashlena Johnson

5th Grade teacher, Ashlena Johnson with only four years of teaching under her belt, is a natural teacher. Parents, students, and colleagues admire her for her determination, perseverance, and love for teaching.

In the Spring of 2017, Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Her perseverance and positive attitude were especially evident throughout this past year as she faced this challenge head-on, with determination and a positive attitude. Johnson would receive treatments on Friday afternoons after school and be back to school on Monday. She frequently expressed concern for her students and was determined to be there for them. Lewiston Elementary’s principal, Leslie Burt remarked, “Her dedication and strength are remarkable. What a great example of true perseverance and a positive attitude!”

As a child, Johnson grew up watching her mother teach. After having the opportunity to work with a couple of district after-school programs, she “fell in love with the opportunity to work with young minds and see them grow.” This love for teaching is evident in Johnson's determination. Burt explained, “Ashlena is willing to go the extra mile for her students. She sets high achievement expectations for them and then works tirelessly to help them achieve these goals.”

“My love for teaching comes in the small moments when I get to see a student achieve something they never thought possible,” Johnson explained. “The light in a student’s eyes when they are successful or something clicks is what makes teaching an incredible profession.  I also love the goodness I get to be around every day. Children are amazing.”

 Lincoln Elementary Teacher of the Year: Shauna Griffiths

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Lincoln Elementary Teacher of the Year: Shauna Griffiths

Each morning, as you walk the halls of Lincoln Elementary, you can hear the students in Mrs. Griffiths' classroom beginning their day by reciting her special reminder as to why they are important:

I am somebody.

I was somebody when I came; I’ll be a better somebody when I leave.

I am powerful, and I am strong.

I deserve the education that I get here.

I have things to do, people to impress, and places to go.  

This daily reminder is one of the many things that Griffiths does that makes her an exceptional teacher. “Shauna is an excellent educator,” remarked Lincoln Elementary principal, Jeni Buist. “She is very conscious of her students' progress and concerned about their well-being and success. She is a great team player and is very easy to get along with.”  

Students, parents, and colleagues attest that Griffiths is passionate about her job and that she truly cares about each of her students. “Teaching is my passion and joy. I started my career later in life after raising my children,” explained Griffiths. “My dream came true when I began teaching at Lincoln Elementary. I always want my classroom to be a loving and safe environment where learning can flourish.”

 Millville Elementary Teacher of the Year: Melissa Ellgen

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Millville Elementary Teacher of the Year: Melissa Ellgen

Ellgen, who has been a teacher for seven years, is known as an educator who possesses a unique love and devotion to her each of her students.

“There are many attributes that make Melissa an exceptional educator,” explained Millville Elementary School’s principal, Brady Johnson. “But I believe the most important one is the genuine love that she has for her students. Certainly, she is a gifted teacher that has great classroom management, who keeps all of her students engaged with her well-prepared lessons. But it is the love for her students that makes the difference. She is truly an exceptional educator, worthy of this recognition.”

Oftentimes, Ellgen is found in her classroom long before the school day begins, after it ends, during her lunch, and during other prep periods just so she can be of assistance to her students. “She is always concerned about her students' well-being,” remarked Johnson. “She actively seeks out opportunities to help students with not only their material but also their emotional needs.”

“I love watching kids grow and learn,” exclaimed Ellgen. “I enjoy seeing their confidence grow when they achieve something that they didn’t think they could. It is an amazing experience to see them become more confident and more independent as they learn!”

 Mountain Crest High Teacher of the Year: Sallie Petersen

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Mountain Crest High Teacher of the Year: Sallie Petersen

For over 20 years, Petersen has been working with students of all ages as a speech pathologist. Her welcoming, caring attitude has made her classroom a safe place that draws students in before and after school hours and during all hours of the day.

Petersen’s love for speech and students began when she too, was in high school. In 11th grade, Petersen was an aide for a speech pathologist.  By the end of that experience, Petersen said, “I knew that I wanted to be a speech pathologist, for sure.” Speech pathology encompasses service, teaching, and creativity--which was everything Petersen was looking for in a career.

These three components are exactly what Petersen emulates and is known for. Teri Cutler, principal at Mountain Crest High School, said, “Sallie creates unique activities for each individual student depending on their special needs.” A great example of this was when Petersen created and laminated games specifically to meet the needs of one of her autistic students.  Not only does she do this for individual students, but for many groups she oversees. Cutler continued, “Because she is a great role model, her Key Club students have valuable leadership skills.”

Petersen finds fulfillment in making a difference in her students’ lives. “I love the students,” she remarked. “I know that at the end of each day I have done at least one good thing for someone I have worked with.” She continued, “The students give so much back to me in return. I think that through my job I get to do something valuable every day for someone.  That's pretty special.”

 Mountainside Elementary Teacher of the Year: Lori Murray

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Mountainside Elementary Teacher of the Year: Lori Murray

It has been said that Murray, who has taught for 36 years, teaches with so much gusto that you can almost watch students walk out of her classroom with windblown hair. Parents, students, and colleagues alike attest to her passion for incorporating innovative ideas into her classroom and throughout the school.

Murray’s positive attitude and selfless nature have helped many children to thrive in her classroom. She believes in the importance of incorporating research, good data, and writing into her classroom lessons, as she knows these key elements will help her students grow.

Mountainside Elementary Principal, Lynette Riggs, described the incredible impact that Murray has had on a particular rotation of students who have struggled with math for years.  “In Lori’s classroom, no one disappears, and every child gets a lot of attention. It’s an intense attention and most kids who struggle hate that. But in her class, they learn to love it, and they love her,” Riggs explained.  “Many students in this group have come to tell me that for the first time in seven years--their whole schooling--that they are becoming mathematicians. This is because they have learned that they can do it, they truly can do it.”

“I believe that your real strength comes from being your best you,” remarked Murray. “Seeing students become the best they can be is so rewarding. Learning is struggling to be more than you are now, and finding your own special recipe to learn is powerful. Watching a changing student become a confident lifelong learner is what I love about teaching.”

 Nibley Elementary Teacher of the Year: Sandy Curtis

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Nibley Elementary Teacher of the Year: Sandy Curtis

Teachers are like superheroes. Somehow, these valiant figures find enough time in the day to educate students, plan lessons, grade homework, volunteer and emotionally care for and connect with each student. At Nibley Elementary School, students, teachers, and parents have experienced what it is like to work with a real-life superhero, as they have interacted with third-grade teacher, Sandy Curtis. Curtis, who has been chosen to be Nibley Elementary’s Teacher of the Year, has repeatedly exhibited exemplary teaching qualities as she has gone above and beyond in her duties as an educator.

In addition to teaching the third grade, Curtis also takes on extra responsibilities at her school as she plans and prepares interactive parent nights throughout the year. The creativity and passion that she possesses radiate both in her classroom and throughout the school.

Nibley Elementary School principal, Kelly Rindlisbacher, is grateful and often in awe as he considers all that Curtis can accomplish in a single day. “She is a big part of the things that we do at Nibley Elementary,” he explained. “She always goes above and beyond in her efforts. Her brain is going 100 miles an hour and it is always wondering what we can do to make something better. It is because of her that we have these special nights.”

A number of Curtis’ colleagues have described her teaching style as one that is full of love and enthusiasm. “I have learned so many great things from Sandy that have made me a better teacher,” remarked one educator. “She has an energy and love for teaching that is always shining.”

“What I love most about teaching is igniting the fire within my students and watching their lights go on as they learn that they can do something new,” explained Curtis. “I am an educator, but I love to explore, dream, and discover each and every day. I enjoy listening to the hum of discussion and problem-solving in my classroom as my students learn. Teaching is not my job or even my occupation. It is my passion… a place where we can create, set goals, and let our dreams set sail.”

 North Cache Middle School Teacher of the Year: Tammy Martin

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North Cache Middle School Teacher of the Year: Tammy Martin

For over 20 years, Martin has shaped and altered the lives of countless students who have passed through her classroom. Those who know her describe her as someone with a deep capacity to love and care for many people on an individual level.

“The thing that sets Tammy apart is her ability to bond with her students,” shared North Cache Middle School Principal, Terry Williams. “That's not something that you learn in a college class or in an after-school service.” He continued, “If you are around Tammy at all, there are going to be kids there. This is a fundamental aspect of teaching and an overarching principle. Our students are lucky to have her.”

Perhaps the inspiration behind Martin’s classroom success is her passion for the profession. “I love that I get to work with kids every day,” she explained. “They are smart, curious, and silly.  There's nothing more fun than seventh-graders because they keep me young. There is never a dull moment when teaching middle school!”

 North Park Elementary Teacher of the Year: Kelli Burnard

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North Park Elementary Teacher of the Year: Kelli Burnard

Burnard is known as a team player who always goes the extra mile.  Her personable, friendly, and warm personality makes her an excellent teammate who is often found mentoring, supporting, and encouraging both her students and colleagues.

While her two oldest children were in school, Burnard started subbing. This was when she was inspired to become a teacher. “I loved seeing the learning process from a new angle...in the classroom, as a teacher rather than a mom. I’ve been hooked ever since,” she explained. Burnard has now been teaching for 13 years.

North Park principal, Alden Jack, remarked, “She goes above and beyond the call of duty as a teacher. She goes into the homes of each of her students before the school year starts to build rapport with students and parents.” Jack continued, “Kelli is willing to go the extra mile to work on behavior or academics with specific students so they can reach their best potential.”

The love Burnard has for teaching is remarkable. “I love watching the learning process in my students' eyes! I love when they ‘get’ it,” Burnard expressed. “I love being rewarded by the confidence of my students when they work hard at something and start to understand!”

 Providence Elementary Teacher of the Year: Jill Cazier

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Providence Elementary Teacher of the Year: Jill Cazier

Cazier, who has taught at Providence for 34 years, has a vibrant personality that almost seems to spill from her classroom door and spread throughout the school. For many of her colleagues, she has been a helping hand and support system during their early years of teaching. Her students have described Cazier as a figure who instills confidence as they learn and discover new things.

Cazier has always had a deep love and connection with music. In fact, her first teaching experience was when she taught guitar lessons growing up! She was the first female bass player at Snow College, and she pursued her passion as she graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelors in Elementary Education and a Minor in Music. Cazier’s background has provided her with insight into the important connections between music and learning. For many years, she has organized the 4th-grade Utah Centennial Program--a program where students have the opportunity to sing and perform an array of songs about the state of Utah. Cazier’s influence has helped many students to discover an early love and passion for the performing arts.

“It is my absolute pleasure to recognize Jill as Providence Elementary’s Teacher of the Year,” remarked Providence Elementary School Principal, Trudy Wilson. “She comes to school early and she stays late. Her students truly love and trust her. She creates a warm and friendly classroom that provides them room to grow.”

After 34 years of teaching, Cazier still finds that each passing day has something new and exciting in store. “I love that students make every day an unpredictable adventure,” she explained. “I love the continual growth and learning that comes from teaching. I love that I have colleagues that challenge and support me. Teaching is invigorating, challenging, thrilling, and exhausting!”

 Ridgeline High School Teacher of the Year: Kyle Day

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Ridgeline High School Teacher of the Year: Kyle Day

Day has been an educator for six years. For the past two years, he has taught Freshman and Sophomore math at Ridgeline. Day is quick to help his students and volunteer his time for their gain. Whether he is helping students understand new concepts after school or serving as the assistant boys’ basketball coach, Day is always looking for ways to make a difference.

“Kyle continuously strives to improve his own performance as a teacher,” remarked Ridgeline High School Principal, Robert Henke. “He stays on top of the new educational trends and strategies, and he has even presented them to the teachers in his department. He’s a great collaborator who strives to improve the entire math department’s performance. He is truly respected by his peers.”

Day finds fulfillment in being a teacher and coach who cares about each student. “My favorite part of teaching is building individual relationships with my students,” he explained. “You get an opportunity to see kids rise to challenges and bounce back from failures. There are few things as gratifying as seeing your students do hard things and come out better for it!”

 River Heights Elementary Teacher of the Year: Becky Whittier

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River Heights Elementary Teacher of the Year: Becky Whittier

Whittier, who currently teaches first grade, is known for her devotion and enthusiasm. “Becky is someone who has given her all since the first day in the classroom - and she will still be giving it 110% on her last day too,” explained River Heights Principal, Stephanie Adams. “She loves all of her students, and has a special care and touch with our life skills students. Becky truly does make a difference in the lives of these students.”

 Sky View HIgh Teacher of the Year: Marty Reeder

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Sky View HIgh Teacher of the Year: Marty Reeder

Reeder has been an important member of Sky View’s faculty for 13 years and is very involved with students inside and outside of the classroom. He has taught a variety of subjects including Spanish, history, swimming, newspaper, and his personal favorite, language arts, where he now serves as the department head.

Reeder is described as a happy person who spreads his positive influence everywhere. He enjoys challenging his students as they create amazing work and discover the thrill of learning. From outside of his classroom, you can often hear the laughter of his students spilling into the hall. “His attitude is enjoyed by his students,” explained Principal Mike Monson. “They can’t help but like his class--whether they care for the subject matter or not.”

“I love that there is never a moment that I wake up in the morning and dread coming to work--it is the most exciting and rewarding day-to-day job out there,” remarked Reeder. “I personally love learning and growing intellectually, and being a teacher is just the sort of adventure that allows me an opportunity to learn something new from my classes and students every single day.”

“Marty is a hard-working educator with a smile on his face. It is apparent that he enjoys what he does, and he does it extremely well,” said Principal Monson. “His skills as a professional educator are extensive and students love to be around him. He is a pleasure to work with and his students are well-served academically and otherwise.”

 South Cache Middle School Teacher of the Year: Kaleena Pusateri

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South Cache Middle School Teacher of the Year: Kaleena Pusateri

Pusateri, who teaches English classes and also heads South Cache’s English department, is described by many as a kind, loving, generous teacher and friend.

“Mrs. Pusateri is an enthusiastic teacher who cares about getting to know her students,” explained South Cache Principal, Blair Powell. “She uses her connection with the students to go above and beyond just teaching in her classes; she is truly invested in the success of her students.”

After eight years of teaching, Pusateri continues to enjoy watching her students flourish and grow. “I love seeing my students understand something new,” she shared. “It's great to see their eyes light up when they just ‘get it.’”

 Spring Creek Middle School Teacher of the Year: Jan Jenson

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Spring Creek Middle School Teacher of the Year: Jan Jenson

Mrs. Jenson has served as an educator for eight years. As a librarian, her contagious love for books and learning has turned her media center into a gathering place for Spring Creek students, as evidenced by the packed couches and tables before and after school and during the lunch hour.

Throughout the school, Mrs. Jenson is known as a kind and dependable colleague and friend. She serves as an incredible resource to the rest of the staff as she pushes literacy in the school. Within the walls of the media center, Jan challenges her students as she teaches them to read, write, think, and develop a love for literacy and life.

“Jan is one of the best educators I have ever worked with,” explained Spring Creek Principal Blake Pickett. “She always goes the extra mile in helping students learn. She truly represents what is best about people and educators.”

 Summit Elementary Teacher of the Year: Kayleigh Nitzel

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Summit Elementary Teacher of the Year: Kayleigh Nitzel

“A dedicated, motivated and caring teacher who always puts her students’ needs first.”

“Awesome to work with and on top of everything!”

“Teaching comes so naturally to her.”

“She actively contributes to the success of our students and staff and has made a strong impact on Summit Elementary.”

These are a few of the comments that Kayleigh Nitzel’s co-workers shared about her.  Nitzel, who teaches second grade at Summit Elementary School.

Summit’s Principal, Troy Pugmire, is impressed with Kayleigh’s ability to really involve students in their learning. “Kayleigh does an amazing job using engagement strategies in her classroom,” he shared. “She is always improving, which is impressive since she is already a master teacher.”

In the community, Nitzel is recognized as a teacher who is organized and dedicated to her work. She seeks to understand each student as she uncovers their wants, needs, and dreams. “She is such an amazing teacher,” explained a parent of one of Nitzel’s students. “I just love watching her teach as I help in the classroom; she truly has a gift.”

For Nitzel, the most rewarding aspect of her job is the children.  “What I love most about teaching is the opportunity to interact with students,” she said. “I love their curiosity for learning, and I love having the opportunity to help them discover and learn. I enjoy being able to get to know my students and learn about their personalities.”

 Sunrise Elementary Teacher of the Year: Holly Corbridge

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Sunrise Elementary Teacher of the Year: Holly Corbridge

Corbridge is a special education teacher and has been an educator for eight years. Throughout the school, many recognize her as a teacher with the unique ability to accomplish numerous tasks, despite having limited time. Over the years, she has proven to be a true friend and an excellent source of support for many individuals at both Sunrise Elementary and throughout the community.

Sunrise Elementary School Principal, Derek Beer, attributes Corbridge’s success in the classroom to her dedication and drive to succeed. “We have chosen Holly as Teacher of the Year because of the outstanding person that she is,” he explained. “Her great attitude and no-nonsense approach contribute to the success of many wonderful children and adults. We all know that everyone has 24 hours in a day, but you might think that she has 36. Between her busy schedule of teaching kids and meeting with parents, she still has time to be a wonderful full-time mother and wife.”

“I love watching my students exceed their own expectations,” remarked Corbridge. “There is nothing better than the moment when they realize they are capable of doing amazing things, even when it seems impossible.”

 Wellsville Elementary Teacher of the Year: Teressa Breinholt

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Wellsville Elementary Teacher of the Year: Teressa Breinholt

Breinholt, who has taught 5th grade for eight years, is known for her enthusiasm and positivity.  “Teressa has an incredible energy about her,” remarked Wellsville Elementary’s principal, Glen Harris. “She uses that energy to teach her students and support her grade-level team of teachers in their instruction. Teressa is a fantastic and well-deserving teacher to represent us as our Teacher of the Year.”

Breinholt attributes much of her success to the children with whom she interacts daily.  “I absolutely love teaching! The students are the best part of the job” explained Breinholt. “They are always willing to explore and learn new things.  It keeps me excited and on my toes. The students’ natural love and caring examples remind me to have patience and compassion in all areas of my life. They make me want to be a better person.”

 White Pine Elementary Teacher of the Year: Mirian Canfield

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White Pine Elementary Teacher of the Year: Mirian Canfield

Canfield is known among parents and faculty for her one-on-one attentiveness and awareness of each individual student's needs. She cares for every student and works hard to prepare them for success in the years to come.  

While in kindergarten, Canfield's interest in a career in education was sparked by her teacher, Gretal Fozley. Canfield admired Fozley’s vibrant, young, and caring personality.  As she has pursued her own teaching career, Canfield has strived to become that same kind of teacher.

“I love the kids--I truly do! I love to watch ‘the light go on’ when they began to understand a concept. I love to help them relate subject matter to use in their lives,” Canfield remarked. “I love when they come back to visit, years later, and share their experiences and successes!”

According to Shellie Healy, the principal at White Pine Elementary, Canfield has “many qualities that exemplify a teacher who deserves to be Teacher of the Year. She is passionate about teaching and her SAGE scores are evidence of her effectiveness.” Canfield’s commitment often spills beyond regular school hours as she spends her afternoons tutoring students in the After School Club.  Healy continued, “Most of all, Mirian always carries a smile and is genuinely concerned about the lives of her students and colleagues.”