“It’s the supreme art of the teacher,” once said Albert Einstein, “to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” Every day, even in this era of distance learning, the spark of learning is inspired by the good, hard work of CSD teachers. Following a cherished tradition, one educator from most CSD schools and programs are being honored for their efforts to connect with students, both digitally and in person. Every school-based Teacher of the Year received a gift basket full of donated prizes worth some $500. From the field of the amazing educators featured here, CSD will select one teacher who will be the overall Teacher of the Year. The first-place pick will receive a $1,000 cash prize donated by the Jordan Credit Union. The winner, to be announced at the May 19 meeting of the Canyons Board of Education, also will represent Canyons in the state Teacher of the Year contest. CSD’s Teacher of the Year program is proudly co-sponsored by the Canyons Education Foundation.

Kay Bailey

Alta View Elementary

Kay Bailey is the kind of teacher who would leave a kindergarten teaching job she’d been doing for years to take on a new role that required more training and would result in a heavier workload. And she did it because she truly wants to help students with disabilities believe in themselves and perform at higher levels than ever thought possible. As the special education resource teacher, Kay is often one of the first to arrive at school and the last to leave. She’s dedicated to helping her students build confidence, set goals, work hard and make significant improvements in behaviors and academics. Colleagues say she has a fantastic sense of humor and once turned the principal’s office into a topical beach complete with sand, shells, and a fish tank in a desk drawer with live fish. Alta View is proud to announce Kay Bailey as the school’s 2020 Teacher of the Year. 

Michelle Veazie

Altara Elementary

Michelle Veazie speaks softly and carries a big heart. She once told her colleagues that teaching kindergarten is all she’s ever wanted to do, and her young students respond to her thoughtful and gentle approach to instruction. In fact, 95 percent of her students were in the blue on benchmarks this year, and even the toughest populations leave her class with grade-level skills. Michelle was one of the teachers who helped pilot the Supplemental Hours of Instruction for Kindergarten program.  She also serves on Altara’s Building Leadership Team and is her school’s technology liaison with the district. Colleagues say Michelle takes the time to build strong relationships with peers, parents and students. She takes every child into her heart and considers them her own while also expecting them to excel at high levels. It’s for these reasons that Michelle Veazie is Altara Elementary’s 2020 Teacher of the Year.   

Amber Rock

Bell View Elementary

As a first-grade teacher at Bell View Elementary, Amber Rock certainly lives up to her name. Colleagues say Amber is the person you want around if you have questions or need feedback. She is always willing to collaborate, and always greets her students with a smiling face and a positive attitude. Her class translates that positivity into success, as students went from 41 percent at or above benchmark in missing number fluency at the beginning of the year to 78 percent at or above benchmark by the middle of the year. They also increased from 30 percent at or above benchmark in math assessments at the beginning of the year to 70 percent in the middle of the year. In short, Amber truly rocks. Colleagues and parents alike are proud to choose Amber Rock as Bell View’s 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Ruth Kikkert

Bella Vista Elementary

Bella Vista Elementary is Ruth Kikkert’s home away from home. Perhaps it’s because her children attend the school, but as a part-time teacher, she has taken a full-time interest in making sure the school’s is providing a high-quality education to students. Even though her morning class ends mid-day, she often returns in the afternoon to take care of business, meet with parents, and attend faculty meetings. Colleagues call her sweet, hard-working — and incredibly organized. Her classroom, in fact, runs like a Swiss watch. Children love her. Parents adore her. And Bella Vista is proud to call her their own. This year, the Tigers are proud to announce that Ruth Kikkert is the school’s 2020 Teacher of the Year. 

Marsha Wallin

Brookwood Elementary

When Marsha Wallin comes to work at Brookwood every day, she brings three important “Ps”: preparation, patience and professionalism. She also keeps her class clean and orderly in such a way that both helps students stay on task, and helps parents feel comfortable sending their children to school. Marsha is forward-thinking, warm with her students, and she often expresses gratitude for the parent volunteers in her classroom. They share the same gratitude for her. For these reasons and more, Marsha Wallin has been selected as Brookwood Elementary’s 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Nelly Ludlum

Butler Elementary

Two words describe how wonderful it is to spend time in French Dual-Language Immersion teacher Madame Nelly Ludlum’s fifth-grade classroom at Butler Elementary: C’est magnifique. Nelly is known as an excellent teacher and colleague, but she is especially loved by her students. Many times, after school, students simply don’t want to leave her classroom. Given the choice between a gift from a prize box or a treat at home, students have instead requested additional time with their teacher. Nelly often gives up recess time to meet with students who need extra help. Because she helps her students succeed with love and encouragement, Nelly Ludlum has been chosen as Butler Elementary’s 2020 Teacher of the Year. 

Katie Jenkins

Canyon View Elementary

Canyon View’s Katie Jenkins uses creativity to enhance her teaching strategies and wisdom to create a safe learning environment where her students thrive — but there is one thing she brings to her second-grade classroom that is more effective than any other: love. Parents and colleagues say Katie is an excellent educator because she genuinely cares about the learning and well-being of each of her students. She is kind, patient and fair, but with a calm voice, Katie makes sure her students know what is expected of them, and she helps them to reach her high expectations. Katie is passionate, willing to help, and accessible to parents. For these reasons and more, Katie Jenkins has been chosen as the 2020 Teacher of the Year for Canyon View Elementary. 

Sarah Hansen

Copperview Elementary

Copperview parents come alive with praise when asked about the teaching skills of Sarah Hansen. In fact, one mother said that she was glad Ms. Hansen teaches the little students so they can have important life skills they need, not just to advance to the next grade, but how to treat the people around them. “My daughter has improved with her social skills thanks to Ms. Hansen’s hard work and the love she puts into teaching,” said one grateful parent. Another noted Sarah’s gentle nudges toward etiquette and her classroom emphasis on saying “please” and “thank you.” Ms. Hansen is known throughout the community for her kind but exacting demeanor, and she makes students feel appreciated when they excel. Copperview is proud to select Sarah Hansen as the school’s 2020 Teacher of the Year. 

Marci Reeves

Crescent Elementary

Marci Reeves is the kind of teacher who quietly serves her colleagues, keeps an eye out for struggling students in her classroom, and shares her knowledge and resources with others, all without the desire to receive recognition or praise. Nevertheless, the way Marci teaches her first-grade class at Crescent Elementary with positivity, humility and insight demands to be acknowledged. Parents and colleagues say Marci is an outstanding educator who is a team player and an asset to the entire school. Because she is kind, collaborative and a high-quality instructor, Marci Reeves has been chosen as the 2020 Teacher of the Year for Crescent Elementary.

Amy Beckert

Draper Elementary

If schools could roll credits at the end of the day and run through the names of everyone who made a difference, Amy Beckert’s name would appear multiple times on Draper Elementary school’s big screen. Amy is a fourth-grade teacher, but she lends a behind-the-scenes hand throughout the school. From attending Building Leadership Team meetings to handling the school’s social media pages, Amy humbly goes above and beyond. After school on Wednesdays, Amy even supervises the student film crew, which is so popular, the group has grown to need two more teacher advisors. She challenges students, works hard, and makes connections where others can’t. For these reasons and more, Amy Beckert has been chosen as Draper Elementary school’s 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Alex Torr

East Midvale Elementary

Alex Torr’s success in teaching comes from seeing something in his students that isn’t there — yet.  As an effective teacher who helps his East Midvale class improve and grow, Alex looks for the holes in his students’ learning and places his focus on filling those holes with meaningful work. Sometimes those holes get filled with brain breaks and an extra recess, where Alex is known to mix it up with the students. As one of Alex’s students said: “His homework makes me think, so now I know I can do harder things.” Because he fosters a warmth and security in his classroom that helps students discover multiple ways to solve problems, Alex inspires his students to accomplish individual goals. For these reasons and more, Alex Torr has been selected as East Midvale’s 2020 Teacher of the Year. 

Jill Hawkins

East Sandy Elementary

When Jill Hawkins enters her East Sandy classroom, she knows she is not just teaching math and English Language arts that day — she knows she is shaping tomorrow’s leaders. As the teacher advisor for the school’s student council, Jill works hard to help students serving in leadership positions, but her efforts and expectations extend to all of the students in her classroom. It’s been said that Jill’s personality is contagious — she’ll make you laugh and inspire you to jump in when others need help, just like she does. Because she always makes her students feel loved and helps parents to be engaged, Jill Hawkins has been chosen as the 2020 Teacher of the Year for East Sandy Elementary.

Shannon Staines

Edgemont Elementary

As the kindergarten teacher of both morning and afternoon classes at Edgemont Elementary, Shannon Staines has a special opportunity each day that she doesn’t waste. As she stands outside, conducting the car line drop off and pickup every morning and afternoon for the last five years, Shannon begins and ends her students’ school day with a warm smile. She structures her lessons to provide her students with a solid phonemic awareness and phonics foundation that is already helping her class succeed. By January, 81 percent of Shannon’s students had already met District benchmarks for phonemic segmentation fluency. Shannon is prepared, willing to collaborate, and an example of a growth mindset for students and adults. For these reasons and more, Shannon Staines has been chosen as Edgemont Elementary’s 2020 Teacher of the Year. 

Stacie Zisakis

Granite Elementary

As a teacher of a combined fourth- and fifth-grade class at Granite Elementary, Stacie Zisakis straddles a divide that ranges from providing tutoring before school to supplying additional opportunities to challenge students who need it. To help accomplish this, Stacie uses a parent volunteer system that incorporates small group instruction opportunities in class. While she successfully meets the needs of all of her students, she also serves on the school’s Building Leadership Team and as an advisor to the student council. Because she is reliable and able to build cohesion and unity within her school, Stacie Zisakis has been selected as Granite Elementary’s 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Hattie Hope

Lone Peak Elementary

In Lone Peak Elementary, one teacher steers the team that has the whole school asking, “What would second grade do?” As a leader who participates in several school committees, Hattie Hope’s influence is already felt throughout the building, but as a teacher who diligently helps students determine and accomplish their individual goals, the data is clear, Hattie is an example of excellence. In winter, testing showed that 94 percent of Hattie’s students were at or above benchmark in mathematics, with 83 percent of students scoring above benchmark. Hattie uses love to inspire her students to work hard and achieve their goals. As a positive and essential member of the school, Hattie Hope has been selected as Lone Peak’s 2020 Teacher of the Year.  

Melanie Kelsey

Midvale Elementary

elanie Kelsey tells her students the same thing every day: “Here you are safe. Here you are loved. Here you will learn.” She tells them in the hallways and in her classroom. She tells them after they’ve grown and moved into the next grade. She tells them through her efforts to plan different activities that engage the whole classroom. She takes the time to get to know each student and the cultures of their families, and she responds to their needs. Because Melanie’s students know how much she cares about them, they feel safe in the positive environment of her classroom. For all of these reasons and more, Midvale Elementary has selected Melanie Kelsey as the 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Jonnie Morgart

Midvalley Elementary

Jonnie Morgart is a quintessential teacher at Midvalley Elementary. She teaches her fourth-grade students, and through her willingness to help her fellow teachers, she simultaneously mentors her colleagues by answering questions and sharing the cutting-edge technology and strategies she uses in her class. Jonnie’s ability to integrate technology into almost every lesson has helped prepare her students for a variety of learning opportunities and flexibility. As she uses data to drive her instruction, her students are also aware of that information so they have proof of their progress. For these reasons and more, Midvalley has chosen Jonnie Morgart as the 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Stacy Stubben

Oak Hollow Elementary

Stacy Stubben is a kindergarten teacher at Oak Hollow, but parents, students and teachers say she might better be described as the school’s fairy godmother. She sprinkles kindness on everyone she encounters, yet comes to work every day with a dedication and work ethic to rival even the most industrious enchanted creatures. Her trademark bright smile and striped shirt are a comfort to frustrated students and parents who appreciate her focus on communication. Stacy has the magic to transform little kindergarteners into confident learners. For these reasons and more, Oak Hollow has chosen Stacy Stubben as the 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Angela Oviatt

Oakdale Elementary

Watching Angela Oviatt in the classroom is like seeing a masterful conductor raise her hands to lead an orchestra of 25 kindergarteners. She uses kindness and a structured classroom management system to bring everyone together, then shares the beauty of her creation with parents through a text or pictures of how individual students are doing that day. Parents know Angela cares about their child’s overall development, and they appreciate the close connection she provides to her students throughout the day. Angela is a master, coworkers say, but she hasn’t stopped reaching for the stars. She’s constantly on the lookout for extra training and certifications. For these reasons and more, Oakdale has chosen Angela as the 2020 Teacher of the Year. 

Angie Drake

Park Lane Elementary

There is a simple explanation for those who wonder why Angie Drake stays at work so late at the end of every school day. During those late hours, Angie is customizing her lesson plans to accommodate her students. She is contacting parents to praise their child and problem-solve ways to improve their education experience. She is looking for resources to meet a specific student’s needs. She is preparing materials for her fourth-grade team, and she is planning ahead. To know Angie is to know that she isn’t the type to hold back, she’s the type to go all-in, even if it means she has to stay late. Because of her commitment, the success of her students and her positive influence at school, Park Lane has chosen Angie Drake as the 2020 Teacher of the Year. 

Madison Magnusson

Peruvian Park Elementary

Madison Magnusson loves her students, but her ultimate goal is to help them transition away from her, even if that means they’ll leave her classroom. As a resource teacher, Madison is a dogged advocate for her students at all times. She believes her students can grow and progress with the best teaching tools. As she has created an inclusive and uplifting classroom, carefully coordinated with the general education teachers at Peruvian Park, her students have progressed to grade-level proficiencies and exited their special education services. Madison is nurturing to her students even as she challenges them to meet their individual goals. For these reasons and more, Madison Magnusson has been chosen as the 2020 Teacher of the Year for Peruvian Park. 

Sean Thorpe

Quail Hollow Elementary

Sean Thorpe is bringing creativity, enthusiasm and excitement to Quail Hollow. As a fifth-grade teacher, Sean lights a fire in his students that burns passionately for learning. Whether his students are presenting information about explorers through a handmade marionette puppet show called “Explorer Idol” or he is creating a Science Night to run in conjunction with the school Science Fair, Sean is there, with flowers to congratulate his students. Because he is an engaging, hands-on teacher, Sean Thorpe has been chosen as Quail Hollow’s 2020 Teacher of the Year.  

Amy Dinkelman

Ridgecrest Elementary

In this fourth-grade Ridgecrest classroom that runs like a city, the students are the employees with responsibilities, a paycheck, and leadership roles, and teacher Amy Dinkelman is the mayor. Her supportive space is an enjoyable haven that allows her students to succeed as they learn life lessons that will build a stronger future for all. As one of Amy’s students said, “I always felt very safe in her classroom. I always felt when I was in her class no one would make fun of me.” Because Amy makes learning both fun and enjoyable, she communicates with parents, and successfully helped lagging students reach a benchmark measurement, Ridgecrest is pleased to present Amy Dinkelman as the 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Zachary Van Dyke

Sandy Elementary

If you ask Zachary Van Dyke why he chose to become a teacher, he’ll tell you he’s living his dream — and it shows. Zachary has patience and a smile for the students in Sandy Elementary on a daily basis. He fills his classroom with energy, and with attendance levels at or near 100 percent every day, his students are excited to come to school. After school, Zachary donates his free time to help at literacy night and during bi-monthly events for fathers. During the day, he continuously cheers for his class and celebrates their victories, large and small. As his students consistently exceed state expectations for expected growth in literacy and math, Zachary has a lot to celebrate. For these reasons and more, Sandy Elementary has chosen Zachary Van Dyke as the 2020 Teacher of the Year. 

Sarah Brown

Silver Mesa Elementary

As a well-loved and well-respected teacher in the Silver Mesa community, Sarah Brown does not back down from a challenge. This year, when her students began the year at 44 percent-proficient at reading based on a class assessment, they reached a 64 percent-proficient level by the time winter came. In math, 64 percent of her students made benchmark in Acadience assessments in the fall, but by winter, 88 percent of her students reached benchmark in math. Sarah always goes the extra mile to support her team, and remains positive with everyone with whom she works. For these reasons and more, Silver Mesa has chosen Sarah Brown as the 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Penny Broderick

Sprucewood Elementary

The distance a teacher will drive, day in and day out, in snow and sunshine, early in the morning and late at night, to reach her school says a lot. As Penny Broderick drives the 30 miles each way from her home in Orem to her classroom at Sprucewood — rarely missing a day of school in more than 30 years — her commitment speaks volumes. At school, Penny is charismatic and engaging. Her students thrive as their teacher helps them to realize their full potential to be successful even after they leave her classroom. Because of her commitment and love for teaching, Sprucewood has chosen Penny Broderick as the 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Ashley Jordan

Sunrise Elementary

As a team player who is always looking for ways to help those around her, Ashley Jordan’s fellow teachers have called her the “literal ray of sunshine” at Sunrise elementary school. She builds a culture of kindness and approaches problems with a smile. She brightens the building with her imaginative ideas on how to introduce new concepts, and she is on a first-name basis with most of the 683 students at school. Ashley uses the same caring demeanor when she takes time to get to know her fellow teachers and when she sees the potential in each child. The knowledge she is gaining as a master’s student in curriculum and instruction focusing on trauma and resilience will be a benefit to the entire school. Ashley is the embodiment of ambition, strength and love. For these reasons and more, Sunrise Elementary has chosen Ashley Jordan as the 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Alanna Comer

Willow Canyon Elementary

When it comes to taking a field trip and potentially missing Alanna Comer’s science lesson at Willow Canyon, nine times out of 10, Alanna’s students would rather miss the field trip. As an energetic, caring teacher, Alanna brings creativity to her classroom that kids just don’t want to miss. When she wanted to boost reading in her classroom, Alanna held a “Book Tasting” event, where students could sample a host of different books and genres. In class, she uses a system called “Busy Bucks” to keep students on task completing homework, showing good behavior, and reaching their goals. Students always look forward to the monthly “store” where they can cash in their hard-earned bucks. As she finds ways to lift teachers and students throughout the school, Willow Canyon is proud to choose Alanna Comer as the 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Brittany Ferguson

Willow Springs Elementary

Brittany Ferguson moved from Michigan to begin teaching at Willow Springs four years ago, but the love this community has for their teacher could last a lifetime. Parents love Brittany because she finds a way to meet each child at whatever level they are at. Students love her because she makes learning fun and engaging. Her fellow teachers love her because her classroom is a positive environment. Brittany helps students who face anxiety about attending school feel comfortable in her classroom. For these reasons and more, Willow Springs is pleased to choose Brittany Ferguson as the 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Mary Simao

Albion Middle

Force of nature. Hard working. Passionate. Supporting. Helpful.  Those are just a few words that Mary Simao’s colleagues at Albion Middle use to describe her. Mary is the ultimate team player, data-driven and solutions-oriented, and pragmatic in her approach to providing the best service to students. She’s been instrumental in rolling out a new mathematics program at Albion, and has been helpful and supportive to other math teachers as they have had questions or concerns. Mary’s students know from the minute they meet her that she cares for them not only as a student but as a person. For these reasons and many more, Mary Simao is Albion Middle’s 2020 Teacher of the Year. 

Enrique Tellez

Butler Middle

When Enrique Tellez approaches his instrumental classes at Butler Middle, he doesn’t just teach scales and the right way to play a flute, even though he is adept at playing every instrument in the orchestra. When Enrique teaches class, he brings guest performers to enrich his students’ auditory palates, and he helps them understand how music can make life better. Hundreds of students look forward to attending Enrique’s class every day. His positive influence, along with his high expectations for each student and the effort he takes to help every member of his class to succeed are reasons Enrique Tellez has been chosen as Butler Middle’s 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Cynthia Krueger

Draper Park Middle

As a seventh-grade math teacher at Draper Park, Cynthia Krueger helps students prepare to navigate the path from the theoretical to the practical, from practice to profession. She blends years of business experience with her sharp pedagogical skills to create a classroom environment that is enthusiastic, efficient and rigorous. She brings guest speakers to speak to her students and encourages them to develop career-ready skills. She knows how to use her time with students effectively and efficiently. Colleagues say Cynthia approaches each day with professionalism and precision. For these reasons and more, Draper Park has chosen Cynthia Krueger as the 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Emma Moss

Eastmont Middle

When Emma Moss recognizes that her class at Eastmont has a need, she finds a way to meet it. As she stays on top of the latest technological research and strategies to reach students, Emma has found new ways to share her instruction using virtual reality. She obtained the virtual reality goggles necessary for her class through a grant. Emma is a step ahead in using technology to teach her students, from turning a computer lab into a rainforest so students could compete in a “Survivor”-style lab to setting up a dissection lab for students to tear computers apart. Emma is a teacher representative with the state of Utah to rewrite standards for digital literacy, but all the while she is warm and encouraging to parents and students and supportive of her colleagues. For these reasons and more, Eastmont Middle is proud to choose Emma Moss as the 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Tamara Taysom

Midvale Middle

Even though she’s a veteran of the classroom, Tamara Taysom approaches her classroom duties with the verve of a first-year educator. To wit: This year, Tamara — who also is a team leader, member of the school’s Building Leadership Team, and the debate coach — decided she wanted to find better ways to support English Language Learners. She spent hours learning and applying skills to make students who are new to the country feel loved and valued. About Ms. Taysom, a colleague wrote: “She makes each team member feel valued by celebrating their strengths and asking them to use their strengths to contribute to the team.” Tamara focuses on the positive and sees the good in others and strives to help others see the good, as well.  Midvale Middle is proud to announce Tamara Taysom as this year’s 2020 Teacher of the Year. 

Kamil Harrison

Indian Hills Middle

Kamil Harrison may be a seventh-grade Utah studies teacher at Indian Hills, but colleagues say no one has more extracurricular activities. As head of the school student council, Kamil started and organized Indian Hill’s Make-a-Wish fundraiser, which is now in its third year. She is instrumental in running the school’s food drive, which donated more than 13,000 items in 2019. She is involved with the Building Leadership Team and is working to get her Ed Tech endorsement. For these reasons, both students and teachers seek Kamil’s help and guidance before and after school. Indian Hills is pleased to choose Kamil Harrison as the 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Megan Decker

Mount Jordan Middle

Megan Decker has been known to bring a treat to her colleagues when she knows they are having a bad day, but her positive influence doesn’t end there. Parents know Megan works tirelessly to improve her craft and will do all she can to support her students. One parent explained her student had struggled with English Language Arts for years until the student had Megan as a teacher. Suddenly, the student went from needing intervention to joining the honors class, where the student thrived. Megan unassumingly collaborates and engages with students without looking for attention or accolades. Nevertheless, Mount Jordan is pleased to choose Megan Decker as the 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Areli Nevarez Gonzalez

Union Middle

After a fire caused havoc and disruption at Union Middle this year, there was good reason for some to feel stressed and overwhelmed at the logistics of moving forward. But Areli Nevarez Gonzalez, a Spanish Dual-Language Immersion instructor, wasn’t defeated. As the school was repaired, she found ways to pitch in wherever there was a need, with a positivity and the attitude exemplified by her regular response, “There is always something to smile about.” The fact that 100 percent of Areli’s eighth-grade students demonstrated proficiency on their state assessments last year is another reason to smile. For these reasons and more, Union Middle has chosen Areli Nevarez Gonzalez as the 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Shayley Allen

Alta High

When Shaley Allen learned so many students wanted to take her Career and Technical Education classes at Alta, she found a way to turn fewer Hawks away — by teaching all eight periods. Shaley’s optimism and positivity is felt in her classroom, on the Peer Leadership Team and by her colleagues as she coaches girls and boys soccer, and manages the school store during lunch. Her teaching style helps students consistently achieve some of the highest CTE state skills test scores for advanced courses like technology and web development. For these reasons and more, Shaley Allen has been chosen as the 2020 Alta Teacher of the Year.

Paul Otterstrom

Brighton High

Paul Otterstrom teaches students how to drill, sand and shape wood in his woodworking class, but behind the scenes, he has a much bigger project in mind: the shaping of his students. When they blunder an assignment, the Brighton teacher tells them, “Mistakes are only opportunities for new designs and progress.” As one student said, “He has taught me how to persevere during hard times.” Paul devotes extra hours before and after school to help students complete their treasure chests, guitars and ukuleles, and he always does it with patience and passion. For these reasons and more, Brighton has selected Paul Otterstrom as the 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Melissa Thorne

Corner Canyon High

In Melissa Thorne’s class at Corner Canyon, every student has a gift — the knowledge that they can sing. Colleagues say Melissa creates a safe and comfortable learning environment that fosters her students’ confidence and comfort and helps them to grow. Regardless of their experience or background, Melissa — aka ‘Mama T,’ as she is known in the school — helps students build their skills. She shares her skills, knowledge and technique with humor, love and care. For these reasons and more, Melissa Thorne has been selected as Corner Canyon’s 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Becca Remmy

Hillcrest High

Parents say the lengths of Becca Remy’s efforts to support students in difficult situations knows no bounds. For example, when a family completed an international adoption, they considered homeschool, but instead decided to follow their student’s desire to go to school with peers. As the new student’s teacher, Becca advocated for his placement in her classroom, despite language barriers. She spent hours connecting the student with services and learning his needs with intricate detail. Through her actions, she shows love for her students and rejoices in their success. Because she makes it clear that she finds joy in easing the burdens of the students and families connected with her classes, Becca Remy has been chosen as the 2020 Teacher of the Year for Hillcrest High.

Donna Wallace

Jordan High

As an extended core curriculum teacher at Jordan High School, Donna Wallace goes the extra mile to make sure her students have the support and instruction they need to succeed. Her engagement with her class starts before school does — over the summer — when she begins calling parents and families to have hour-long conversations about each student’s needs. Once school begins, she shares pictures of students with their families on an almost-daily basis. She connects her class with different job opportunities to see what interests them. And she uses the perfect balance of professionalism and being personable to respond to each situation. She respects her students, and they respect her. For these reasons and more, Jordan High has chosen Donna Wallace as the 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Rachael Coleman


If you walk into Rachael Coleman’s class at Entrada, there is a chance you may never want to leave. Rachael’s infectious energy, fun and engaging activities, and exciting opportunities are hard to resist. As the ESL team lead, she connects students with shared opportunities unique to them. She leads, teaches, and acts with positivity, professionalism and the trust of her colleagues and school administrators. Her ability to help adults receive an education positively impacts the community, and generations to come. For these reasons and more, Entrada has selected Rachael Coleman as the 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Melissa Cox

Jordan Valley

As a teacher at Jordan Valley, Canyons’ school for students with severe disabilities, Melissa Cox approaches every day with new determination. She is determined to help her students succeed, no matter what. She is determined to be an advocate and champion for her students, with patience and understanding. And she is determined to have a positive attitude that spreads to her team and co-workers. Melissa is a mentor to her staff, and she is calm in stressful situations. She is able to work with students’ special needs with compassion and respect, and sets an example of how to treat others. For these reasons and more, Melissa Cox has been selected as Jordan Valley’s 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Wade Harman

Responsive Services

Wade Harman brings a calming and consistent presence to his students at Canyons Youth Academy. His classroom provides an individualized education through a blended model to Youth in Care students grades 6-12 in a partnership with a therapeutic partner. Each year, Wade engages his students with award-winning film studies and video productions integrated into the curriculum. One of only 100 programs in the nation to receive a grant from PBS to enhance instruction, the work developed by his students has also been featured on PBS. Wade is a positive force not only for students but for his colleagues in a program serving students that are needing support to regain the momentum to achieve their full potential. For these reasons, Wade Harman is Responsive Services’ 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Rebekah Kay


When Rebekah Kay teaches her Medical Forensics class at CTEC, she does it with an eye on the future. As a DNA expert, Rebekay helps her students build a portfolio of everything they accomplish in class, and she builds connections between them and the professional world. Whether it is through providing mock situations for crime scene forensics work or allowing students to break down actual cases that were processed by the state crime lab, Rebekah helps her students learn in safe, simulated, real-world scenarios. Her class arrives early to talk about the previous days’ work, cases they have seen on the news, and what’s next. Rebekah’s students and colleagues know she goes above and beyond expectations to meet her students’ needs. For these reasons and more, CTEC has chosen Rebekah Kay as the 2020 Teacher of the Year.