June 5 – RISE Nominations

Teresa Black, East Transportation; bus driver
Charity Harrison, East Transportation; bus aide

Teresa Black and Charity Harrison are THE BEST bus driver and assistant! The love and concern they have for our special ed students at Orem High is something you will see and feel immediately. They give our students opportunities to help each other on the bus, set up a loving culture and make each student feel so important! Our students have so much confidence when on the bus and its because they get the opportunity to share what they are doing at school. It sets us up for a successful day at school and then gives them a safe place to decompress after school.

Nominated by: Marie Glahn, district employee

Elizabeth Thayn, Central Elementary; school translator

I am pleased to nominate my colleague, Elizabeth Thayn, for the RISE Award. Elizabeth is an invaluable asset to Central Elementary. Although her title is school translator, she is so much more! Elizabeth works with over 75 new language learners. She is passionate and dedicated to her work and students. She advocates for her students and serves as a liaison to meet the needs of new families. Elizabeth works countless hours and collaborates with teachers to best help our “L” students’ success. I appreciate her continued support of teachers.Elizabeth Thayn is well-deserving of this award.

Nominated by: Rita Lewis Collgue, district employee

Samantha Johnson, Oak Canyon Middle; teacher

Ms. Johnson makes it super easy and fun for me to learn stuff! She turns poetry into something like March Madness, and throws a party if you read! She makes it so easy to love English class and so that is why I think she deserves a RISE Award.

Nominated by: Lennon Smith, student

Lynette Morales, Shelley Elementary; teacher

I wish I could nominate so many of the amazing teachers, administrators, and support staff at Shelley!! But this year, I have to nominate Mrs. Morales. She has gone above and beyond trying to accommodate my autistic child. From creating “Video Game School” and achievement certificates to go along with it, to sending me detailed lesson plans when I asked to work with him at home when he refuses to do his work at school. She has been absolutely wonderful to work with and a huge support to us as parents!

Nominated by: Lisa Light, parent

Joy Peterson, Lake Mountain Middle; Librarian

I am so grateful to teach where Joy Peterson is the librarian. She is incredible! The extension activities that she puts together for my students are always outstanding. My students beg to go to the library because they know Mrs. Peterson will have something wonderful to further their learning and help them love reading. I love teaching alongside Joy.

Nominated by: Meredith Sager McNett, district employee

Shannon Leininger, Greenwood Elementary; teacher

Shannon is a great preschool teacher who understands that play is essential in learning for this age group. She lets her students explore and create things, which usually includes some worthy size messes, yet her students thrive and are learning so much. If Shannon sees a need from a student in her classroom, she will easily tweak her routine, so that child can have more interventions. This has been seen over and over again with her students. Shannon is an asset to Greenwood and to anyone who is fortunate to work with her.”

Nominated by: Shauntell Kanigan, district employee

Jarod Hill, Legacy Elementary; custodian

Mr. Hill’s spirit animal is a Legacy Lion! He takes pride in making our school safe, secure, and spotless. He encourages all to do their part. When there was a need for a crossing guard, he coordinated with the local police department and became the needed crossing guard. When students need reminders to be quiet in line, Mr. Hill joins them in line, modeling how to behave. When there’s a holiday or fundraiser, Mr. Hill volunteers to take a pie in the face, dress in a suit bedazzled with cat faces, or shave his beard. Thank you, Mr. Hill, for making Legacy a safe place of learning.

Nominated by: Judy Hainsworth, district employee

Anne McAllister, Legacy Elementary; librarian

Not just anyone would wear a gigantic pair of neon green underpants, but Ann McAllister did as her Halloween costume. Her efforts to promote literacy and engage students in developing a love of reading are unrivaled. Every class loves their library day, and that is because of Mrs. McAllister. She inspires interest in the arts, the National Parks, and is a credit to her craft. We’re so grateful for Mrs. McAllister.

Nominated by: Judy Hainsworth, district employee

Bethany Cathemar, Legacy Elementary; aide

Mrs. Cathemar is an essential element of excellence for Legacy Elementary. She has nurtured hundreds of students through her work as a teacher’s aide. Perhaps her most significant service has been to introduce students to the artist within themselves. Mrs. Cathemar has been instrumental in orchestrating Art Week for all the students at Legacy for a series of years. She is invested fully in the development of the whole child, and through her dedication, she has helped students seek their unique gifts. Mrs. Cathemar is a gift to all the students of Legacy, and deserves to be honored.”

Nominated by: Judy Hainsworth, district employee

Kathi Strong, Lakeridge Junior; administrative assistant

Kathi/Mrs Strong is an AMAZING person! Students who have the opportunity to know her are so glad they do. She is kind to everyone, and gives you help when you need it. Having done announcements in her office every morning for over a year, she is hard working and is reliable at her job even when she has a hard day. She is very generous and gives endless gifts to just about everyone she knows. The school is so much better because of her, and will miss her so much when she retires after a very wonderful career at the end of this year!

Nominated by: Hazel Wheeler, student

Guisela Paz, Westmore Elementary; secretary

Por su dedicacion a los ninos, por su incondicional apoyo, bondadosa y siempre dispuesta a ayudar a nosotros los Padres.”

“For her dedication to the children, for her unconditional support, kindness and always willing to help us parents.

Nominated by: Maria Gonzales, parent

She is one of the only person at school who truly cares about children. I have had several situations with my daughter when I got no support from the principal or her teacher, and gigi was always there willing to help me and my kid. I’m very thankful for everything she has done and really appreciate her work ethics.”

Nominated by: Mari Sanchez, parent

Natalie Dalton, Riverview Elementary; teacher

Ms. Dalton has been an amazing teacher! She always focuses on the strengths of her students so that they feel confident in what they are learning. She gives support to her students in areas where they struggle. And, she has often taken time out of her morning, before school, to offer extra help in math. When I asked if I could give a presentation to her class for World Down Syndrome Day, she was more than willing to have me come and share with her class a little bit about Down Syndrome. She has gone above and beyond to help her students feel loved.

Nominated by: Lora Haskell, district employee

Isabella Wilson, Lakeridge Junior; teacher

Ms. Wilson is always encouraging her students to do their best and always manages to cheer them up when they aren’t feeling well about how they did.

Nominated by: Lora Haskell, district employee

Caroline Vance, Bonneville Elementary; teacher

Miss Vance has gone above and beyond for my child. My child has experienced some difficult emotional hurdles this school year. Miss Vance has been patient through them and so supportive to my child. She has allowed her to take the time she needs rather than forcing her. It has been a hard year but my child is finally looking forward to school and being more positive and happy. I am not sure my child would have made it through this year as well as she did without the loving care of Miss Vance.

Nominated by: Cayce Thill, parent

Jenni Thomas, Willowcreek Middle; teacher

Jenni was my son’s 8th grade English teacher and quickly became my mentor as I completed my degree to teach English. She always goes above and beyond to inspire, encourage, and motivate her students. Jenni is kind and patient as she supports each student in her classroom helping them meet their goals. She is an exemplary role model, mentor, and coworker. I am truly blessed and thankful to have learned from her while completing my degree and during my time at Willowcreek.

Nominated by: Shelley Jones, district employee

Dana Pace, Willowcreek Middle; teacher

Dana has been my mentor teacher for my first year of teaching. She is an inspiration and displays the qualities of what it means to be an effective teacher and mentor. She is dedicated to her students, supports their needs, and goes above and beyond to ensure their success. Dana’s selflessness can easily be seen as she encourages not only her students but her coworkers with kindness and positivity. She helps her students believe in themselves and their potential. I am blessed to have learned from someone who is a true representation of the Rise Award and I am truly grateful for her.

Nominated by: Shelley Jones, district employee

Cathy Jimenez, American Fork Junior; teacher

She is the best PE teacher at AFJH because she loves all of her students and she cares about fitness and life.

Nominated by: Nathan Kunze, student

Luiz Cueva, Lakeridge Junior; teacher

Mr. Cueva is an amazing teacher. He supports and cares for all of his students. When any student fails or gets knocked down he always finds a supportive way to help them back up. I have seen first hand how he makes a personal connection to each student.

Nominated by: Nathan Kunze, student

Christi Moon, Silver Lake Elementary; teacher

Mrs Moon is the best! She’s always willing to discuss any questions I have, and takes the time to make sure I feel heard. She’s always prepared and has solutions when needed. I’m so grateful we have her this year!!

Nominated by: Tracee Larson, parent

Lori Vliet, Hidden Hollow Elementary; teacher

Lori goes out of her way to make sure everyone is taken care of. If anyone has a problem she is always there to listen and is willing to help/volunteer solve problems, help with a school function, or just be there. As a teacher she gives up several lunch hours each week to tutor students with needs. She is also our AEA rep and dedicates a lot of her time to helping all of us in that capacity. Lori is strong, brave, and kind whenever and wherever needed. I highly recommend Lori for the RISE award!

Nominated by: Evelyn Fowles, district employee

Sharla Moyes, Aspen Elementary; teacher

Sharla has a radiating positive attitude. Ever since the day she walked into Aspen she has been kind and appreciative. She wants the best for everyone involved, especially her students. I’ve really enjoyed working with Sharla and the fun things she has to say and do. Sharla has the ability to brighten anyone’s mood with her cheerful smile and enthusiastic attitude.

Nominated by: Emily Gray, district employee

Gabriel Donadel, Cedar Valley Elementary; head custodian

Gabe always goes above and beyond to make Cedar Valley Elementary a clean and friendly place to be. He continuously shows the students that he cares about them and all they are accomplishing. Thank you, Gabe, for all that you do to make Cedar Valley Elementary the gem that it is!

Nominated by: Amanda Black, district employee

Amanda Miller, Aspen Elementary; paraprofessional

As a paraprofessional in one of our EBD classrooms, Amanda responds to some of our most challenging situations. She approaches her work with positivity and kindness, and students know they can trust her. Regardless of what kind of day she or any individual student is having, she always loves and serves with unflagging dedication.

Nominated by: Alex Chappell, district employee

Julie Stewart, Black Ridge Elementary; speech language pathologist

Julie Stewart is a ray of sunshine and treats all those who enter her office with kindness. She takes the time to learn about each of the students that come to visit her, which the students notice and appreciate. She also comes up with fun ways to incorporate speech practice with upcoming holidays or events.

Nominated by: Amanda Black, district employee

Lyndsai Sylva, Sage Hills; teacher

Lyndsai is a phenomenal teacher and leader. Her students adore her and she is a fun and engaging teacher. Her students are always excited for another day of learning with her. As a team leader she always makes sure that every person on our team feels they have a voice in decisions and she really makes our team feel united. She often boosts morale with her positive attitude and fun nature. She is kind hearted and always willing to go out of her way to help her team.

Nominated by: Jessica Brady, district employee

Lyndsai is such an amazing teacher and coworker! She brings so much heart and soul not just to her students, but to all of us at school. Whether she’s taking charge in leadership roles, leading us in a fun faculty dance every year, or just spreading her warmth and culture, she’s always making things brighter. Another incredible quality about Lyndsai is her ability to recognize and acknowledge the achievements and growth of others. We need more educators and co-workers like Lyndsai in the world! Thank you, Lyndsai, for making a difference every day!”

Nominated by: Ashley Crockett, district employee

Kiersten Holt, American Fork High; teacher

She is the best teacher ever she is always kind to every student and loves everyone.

Nominated by: Cadyn Keetch, student

Her classroom atmosphere is a safe place and she makes sure that’s known. She’s always willing to work with students whenever and that is pretty rare she is one of the few teachers that understands that life happens and she is willing to help when that time comes no complaints. She is a great teacher and a safe person that makes everyone feel welcomed and known she strives for relationships with her students so everyone feels like they belong.”

Nominated by: Natalia Hooke, student

Ms. Holy works tirelessly with her students to give them the grade they desire, and has an extremely positive classroom. She communicates with each student individually and consistently makes them feel welcome and accepted.”

Nominated by: Kwynn Sabey, student

She is always happy to see everyone in her class and always says goodbye to every individual that leaves her class.”

Nominated by: Kameron Hennen, student

Mrs. Holt is a genuinely caring person. She takes her time to get to know students and makes them feel like they have a place in the school. She is constantly looking out for students, whether it’s giving them life advice, working with them through struggles, or providing things like hairbrushes, snacks, and feminine products for students that need them. Mrs. Holt is the perfect candidate for the RISE award because she is a great example of what a teacher should be to students.”

Nominated by: Hannah Bitner, student

“Mrs. holt is super kind and caring and loves her students. she always makes everyone feel welcome and safe and loved. she deserves it more than anyone.”

Nominated by: Morgan Bingham, student



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