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South Valley Riverton Journal

Praise for 2024 Outstanding Educators of the Year

Jun 04, 2024 01:52PM ● By Jet Burnham

Rose Creek Elementary School’s 2024 Outstanding Educator of the Year Stacie Marshall is honored by members of the Jordan Education Foundation, board of education and Superintendent Dr. Anthony Godfrey. (Photo courtesy Jordan Education Foundation)

One teacher from each school in Jordan School District was recognized as a 2024 Outstanding Educator of the Year by the Jordan Education Foundation. Each was nominated by administrators, colleagues, students and parents. Here is what they had to say about Riverton area winners.

Bluffdale Elementary: Edson Rabelo

“He made me actually WANT to learn. I was excited to go to school because he made the material fun. He also really connected with all of us. It didn’t feel like he was there to just get the job done. He really cared about us. He was one of my favorite teachers ever.” A former student

Foothills Elementary: Dhylan Meyer

“One of Mr. Meyer’s greatest artistries is his ability to make a lesson out of anything. He is not scared of failure and his students know that failure is an opportunity to learn. Mr. Meyer sees the value of taking risks and he teaches his students that the best things in life often come from stepping out of their comfort zone.” Principal Abe Yospe 

Hidden Valley Middle: Heidi Peterson

“Her teaching style is one of sincerity and love. She loves her students. She is constantly thinking of how best to support every individual student she teaches.” Principal Shawn McLeod

JATC South: Dacia Peterson

“Dacia is not afraid to do hard things or think out of the box.  That is how we got the salon remodeled, more than doubled our enrollment and also is assisting with an afterschool salon at West Jordan High School [and at two middle schools.]” Principal Sonja Burton-Juarez

Kauri Sue Hamilton: Cammie Larsen

“She brings a high level of energy, insight and expertise to our school community. She does not adapt to the energy in the room; she influences it.” Principal Courtney Titus

Kelsey Peak Virtual Middle: Ashlyn Anderson

“Her classroom management is fantastic and her engagement is through the roof. I think what sets her apart is the ability to connect with the virtual students in a kind and loving way. Her kids know that she loves them and cares for them.” Principal Spencer Campbell

King’s Peak Virtual High: Avy Smith

“It doesn’t matter what challenge or issue arises, Avy will just get the work done— and at a high level. She never complains even in difficult situations—and she has faced several. When challenges arise, Avy always looks for a solution that will help her colleagues be more successful. She is willing to do the extra work to help others be successful. She always seems to find the good in others.” Principal Ammon Wiemers

Midas Creek Elementary: Rebecca Blackburn

“Mrs. Blackburn teaches with love and gives so much of her own time to the profession. Rebecca is a pay it forward kind of teacher. She is always looking for ways she can help out. She always has a positive attitude, a friendly smile, and is a friend to all teachers and students.” Principal Megan Cox

Mountain Point Elementary: McKenna Larsen

“Students trust Mckenna. They can feel from her that she truly cares about them. She is always trying new things and learning so that she can better help them become their best selves. She works well with difficult personalities and treats people with kindness and respect. She wants to be better and wants to make a difference. You can feel it when you work with her and observe her.” Principal Elizabeth Felt

Oquirrh Hills Middle: Catherine Maxfield

“She helps our school to flow by seeing student or team needs and jumping to do this, not only with students, but with her team, in any capacity she can. She often has something done before a need is known because she comes in early and often stays late. She has independent integrity and diligence with quiet dignity that we all admire.” A colleague

Riverton Elementary: Mallory Gorringe

“Mrs. Gorringe takes the time to get to know each child and create a special greeting/morning handshake to greet children every morning. Each child feels special and seen first thing in the morning.” An administrator

Riverton High School: Chase Englestead

“Chase is the best coach I have ever had. I’ve never seen someone care more for their athletes and dedicate their lives to them. He has prepared me for my future both on and off the running grind. I would not be where I am right now both physically and mentally if it wasn’t for Chase Englestead.” A student

Rocky Peak Virtual Elementary: Allison Tyson

“Allison spends time tutoring students, creating innovative lesson plans, or goes out of her way to accommodate diverse learning needs. She continually looks for methods and strategies either digitally or instructionally to meet diverse learning needs.” Principal Ross Menlove

Rosamond Elementary: Holly Keele

“Mrs. Keele’s support for her students doesn’t end the last day of the school year. She is known for her cheers in her classroom for learning new concepts and for cheering people on. Mrs. Keele’s cheering concept continues past the classroom as the students grow up. She continues to cheer on her students and cares about how they are doing.”  A parent of two former students

Rose Creek Elementary: Stacey Marshall

“Stacey Marshall is one of the most devoted and gifted educators I’ve ever seen. I don’t know how she manages to meet all her students’ individual and widely varying demands, but she does! If more teachers emulated her example, our education system would look vastly different and kids would never want to leave school! She is the best of the best and has left quite the legacy on the lives she’s touched.” A parent

South Hills Middle: Denny Saunders

“There’s something about a school concert that brings the community together and Denny makes it happen— a stage full of performers, some who had not touched an instrument prior to joining his class, playing beautiful and fun music. You won’t find a nicer, more thoughtful, passionate and encouraging teacher than Denny Saunders.” Principal Jim Groethe

Southland Elementary: Cindy McDowell

“She consistently pushes people to be the best version of themselves and keeps you laughing through the whole experience. She is a consistent and knowledgeable team member who lends her expertise to others. She brings humor into even the most tense situations. She is a fierce advocate for not just Southland’s teachers, but public education in general.” Principal Garett York

Members of the Jordan Education Foundation read hundreds of nominations before selecting the winning teachers. For two weeks in March, they—along with members of the district board of education, Superintendent Dr. Anthony Godfrey, community leaders and family members—surprised each one with applause, balloons, cash prizes and congratulatory yard signs to be displayed in front of the teacher’s school and home.

The top 18 winners (highlighted in bold below) were celebrated at a banquet held in April. λ