March 6 – RISE nominations

Lori Stevens, Traverse Mountain Elementary; Innovative Learning Coach

Here’s a public shout-out for Lori! Lori Stevens is our instructional coach. She serves Traverse Elementary with kindness, inspiration, and professionalism. Moving schools, as a teacher, has been a hard adjustment. She has been there for me anytime I needed her. Several times she has given me ideas that I have utilized into my classroom. Lori supports everyone I see. From day one, I have appreciated the support she has given me. I feel like her door is always open for questions. She’s a safe place for any teacher to confide or learn from. From this great relationship, I now consider her as a friend.

Nominated by: Rachel Kennedy, district employee

Christina Ahlstrom, Traverse Mountain Elementary; teacher

Ms. Ahlstrom has kept an organized and academically serious classroom. My first grader is excited to go to school every day, and I credit Ms. Ahlstrom for creating such a positive learning environment. She is a good teacher and communicates very well with parents. It is clear that she puts in a lot of extra work.

Nominated by: Savannah Johnston, parent

KalliAnn Vander Wilt, Thunder Ridge Elementary; teacher

Mrs. Vander Wilt goes above and beyond in all she does for her students. She offers more challenging options for her more advanced students and takes the time to help them all with more challenging concepts, and my child who has always been bored at school is loving school for the first time this year all because of her. The students feel heard and loved. Mrs. Vander Wilt even attended our school’s reflections meeting after school hours because she heard one of her students was going to be honored there. I can’t think of a more deserving teacher out there than her.

Nominated by: Catherine Williams, parent

Matt Thornton, American Fork Junior; teacher

Matt is a remarkable teacher and leader at American Fork Junior High. He is trusted and admired colleague, who inspires both students and teachers. He leads with courage and vulnerability by sharing his efforts and insights in encouraging ways. Matt has a unique and masterful ability to engage students in high levels of learning using their voices, bodies, minds, and hearts. Each year students perform in the Spring Benefit Concert where proceeds help someone in need. Matt helps students feel safe, and connected. Students learn more than vocal skills, they are inspired to RISE themselves.

Nominated by: Lee Ann Elzey, district employee

Vonda Wangemann, Lindon Elementary; teacher

Mrs. Wangemann goes above and beyond for her students. She is remarkable at caring for each student. She takes time to know and meet the needs of each child. She has been both encouraging and inspiring to my child. He knows that Mrs. Wangemann is someone he can trust and look up to. She always RISEs to the occasion.

Nominated by: Brittany Stohlton, parent

Sarah Lyman, Trailside Elementary; preschool teacher

My son Jackson was in Sara’s preschool last year. He has some special needs and we’re going through the process of figuring that out. She was so loving, patient, understanding and so helpful to our family. Jackson only felt unconditional love from her. She was an answer to prayers. She genuinely loves her students. The kids LOVE her. I am grateful everyday for Sara.

Nominated by: Jessica Dayton, parent

Sara is so sweet and so invested in her littles. The dedication she has is seen through her interactions with them as individuals. She is so easy to talk to and it helps me feel confident that my son is where he needs to be. I would love her to be recognized for all her love and effort towards providing a safe learning environment for all her kids.”

Nominated by: Juliana Heagren, parent

Sara is an amazing teacher. In just a short amount of time she has built a trust with my son who struggles to go to school being away from me. She is so patient with my son through all his tears and anxieties. The way she cares for her students just shows how great of a teacher and person she is. Trailside is so lucky to have her.”

Nominated by: Alexandra Seeley, parent

Ms. Lyman goes above and beyond to make her students feel loved, welcomed, safe, and happy! She is so inclusive and shows genuine love and concern for each child! My son thinks she is the most fun and coolest person on the planet. She advocates for each child to get the services they need, learn in a safe environment, and have lots of laughs and fun along the way! We are so impressed with her dedication to each child and the time and effort she puts in is amazing!”

Nominated by: Chantell Robbins, parent

“Ms Lyman has become a credit to our community. Her work shines through every kid she has taught and supported and every parent and teacher she has worked with. I hear her name being talked about on benches at the park and thanked in the hallways at the school. She is a change maker.”

Nominated by: Ariel Hortin, parent

Ms. Sara is the best of the best. She goes above and beyond to make these kids’ first experience with school comfortable, fun, social and academic. They learn to socialize better with each other, take turns, be kind, learn in fun ways and all while she’s so loving and letting them move at their own pace. They have such diverse personalities from extremely shy to outgoing and talkative and she makes it work for every single kid.”

Nominated by: Christina Hale, parent

Sara gives her all to her students and makes everyday a fun and engaging day. Sara teaches all of her students on their level and recognizes their needs.” 

Nominated by: Kyliee Olsen, district employee

I have spent two school years now watching Sara put sweat, blood, and tears into her classroom, lessons, special events, and individual needs for her students. Few teachers in this earth care more about her students than Sara.”

Nominated by: Kendall Seymour, parent

Emmanuel Candiani, Cherry Hill Elementary; teacher

Mr. Candiani’s teaching style has inspired my son to enjoy learning and school in a way he never has before. He is motivated to succeed, wants to go to school, and comes home happy everyday. And that is nothing short of a miracle in my eyes.

Nominated by: Rebecca Sommers, parent

Shannon Cameron, Desert Sky Elementary; secretary

Shannon is amazing with ALL the students that come into the office. She is very self-less and loving, no matter what the situation is. She takes the time to check in on everyone who enters the front office, whether that is a student, parent, staff member or district employee. Shannon takes the time to talk and understand each and every person she talks too. She has a very big and kind heart! And no matter the day, no matter what life has thrown at her, she is ALWAYS smiling & willing to help you. Our office is a very delightful place with her as a part of it.

Nominated by: Halee Young, district employee

Shannon is the most kind and considerate person I know. Every student that comes into the office she treats them as though they are her own child. She is always smiling and laughing. Shannon treats every child that walks into the office like they are her own.”

Nominated by: Nicole Savage, district employee

Kirsten Oldroyd, Cherry Hill Elementary; teacher

Ms Oldroyd is an amazing teacher who genuinely loves and cares for her students. My son is in her class and absolutely loves her. He is excited to go to school and looks forward to seeing her everyday because he knows she will make him feel safe and heard.

Nominated by: Jennifer Hess, parent

With many challenges in the classroom, Kirsten is always going out of her way to help and encourage even the most difficult children. She shows that she cares every day and is an inspiration. Even with 3 autistic kids who require a lot of attention in her classroom, she gives the every student the same love and time. She encourages and goes above and beyond to help students meet goals and believes in everyone.”

Nominated by: Noelle Hayes, parent

Becky Struthers, Meadow Elementary; teacher

Mrs Struthers was my daughters 2nd grade teacher last year. Her awareness of keeping every child engaged, she pushed my Daughter to hit her full potential. I firmly believe Mrs. Struthers motivation and encouragement was a large part of my Daughter testing into the ALL program and getting accepted for 3rd grade.

Nominated by: Skyler Thomas, parent

David Collier, American Fork High; teacher

The experience our son had with Mr. Collier is what we dream of for our children’s education. Our son left with a strong foundation and love for math in large part because of Mr. Collier. He taught in a way that made math comprehendible while also connecting with his students. Our son felt that Mr. Collier really cared about his success. He effectively explained difficult concepts which fostered confidence in our son’s ability to grasp math. His class had the perfect blend of being “amazingly fun” while effectively instructive. Thanks for making a difference in our child’s life! The experience our son had with Mr. Collier is what we dream of for our children’s education. Our son left with a strong foundation and love for math in large part because of Mr. Collier. He taught in a way that made math comprehendible while also connecting with his students. Our son felt that Mr.
Collier really cared about his success. He effectively explained difficult concepts which fostered confidence in our son’s ability to grasp math. His class had the perfect blend of being “amazingly fun” while effectively instructive.
Thanks for making a difference in our child’s life!

Nominated by: Gayla Muhlestein, parent

Tami Bossard, Desert Sky Elementary; teacher

It’s hard for me to put into words how truly grateful I am to Mrs. Bossard. When my son met her, he was filled with anxiety about moving and starting in a new school. She eased his mind immediately and continues to do so every day by showing that she cares about him. I have seen first hand the amount of love and effort that goes into everything she does, beginning with the way she speaks to her students. She teaches so much more than math and literature. She is shaping these young kids in the best way possible and I believe they will all have a better love for learning, because of who she is.

Nominated by: Gayla Muhlestein, parent

Tamara’s enthusiasm for and dedication to student learning at high levels is extraordinary! She works tirelessly to find ways to challenge her students while keeping in mind that learning should be fun! I have been impressed by the way that she makes opportunities for her class to serve others around the school. She consistently strives for excellence in her instructional practice and in her efforts to support her team and school colleagues. I am inspired by Tamara’s deep commitment to offer her very best for the benefit of our students at Desert Sky Elementary!”

Nominated by: Amanda Siebert, district employee

Jeff Clark, Meadow Elementary; administrator

Mr. Clark is a first year assistant principal but you would never know it. He has the special ability to quickly build a positive relationship with staff, students, and parents. Even though this is his first year at Meadow Elementary, he has quickly become a trusted member of the school community and performs his responsibilities with integrity, kindness, and purpose.

Nominated by: Jannica Pozuelos, district employee

Bryce Shelley, Lehi Junior; teacher

Mr. Shelley goes above and beyond to help his students not only learn, but be engaged in their learning. I have two kids who have had him and they always talk about the fun things that they do in class, but they are also learning important science concepts. Mr. Shelley is also very good at communicating with parents and students with emails on keeping us updated on what is going on in class, opportunities to volunteer or other opportunities to attend/ participate in learning events or activities outside of school. We truly appreciate all that he does.

Nominated by: Jannica Pozuelos, district employee

They are an amazing teacher and they make things relly easy to understand they are outstanding!”

Nominated by: Kelton Alleman, student

Ryan Francom, Timpanogos High; administrator

Our coaching team enjoys the leadership of Ryan Francom. He supports us and expresses his appreciation of the work we do and reminds us through his example of the importance of showing gratitude, continual learning, and building relationships with students and THS colleagues. However, where Ryan really stands out is the way he connects with students. Often he is found chatting with students in the halls or in classes. He patiently works to understand individual students’ challenges and needs. Everything he does comes back to making it a great day to be a T-wolf for everyone.

Nominated by: Byron Tanner, Eliza Ringer, Kori Taylor, Michelle Jensen, district employees

Taralyn Holmes, Oak Canyon Junior; teacher

Mrs. Holmes truly is a spectacular teacher who goes above and beyond with her students. She cares about her students, she has real conversations with them and pays attention to how they are doing. She teaches fun lessons that not only help you learn the material, but that train your brain to think outside of the box. She leads in depth discussions that really involve her students, and everyone really loves to be in her class. Lastly, Mrs. Holmes’s classroom provides such a positive uplifting environment that help everyone to feel safe, loved, cared for, and inspired with a love of learning.”

Nominated by: Dixie Werner, student

This teacher is exceptional. She is kind and always helpful to her students.

Nominated by: Danica Anderson, student

Randen Haywood, Frontier Middle; teacher

Mr. Haywood teaches well and works hard and we learn from him easily from him.

Nominated by: Coda White, student

Heather Hall, Oak Canyon Junior; teacher

Heather is an exceptional teacher who consistently demonstrates remarkable resilience, facing challenges with unwavering determination! Through genuine encouragement, she fosters a positive environment, empowering her students to reach new heights! Heather has an innate ability to radiate positivity and offer unwavering support leaving an indelible mark, which creates a ripple effect of inspiration that transcends individual accomplishments! In her presence, students find not just a role model, but a compassionate force that fuels collective growth and resilience!

Nominated by: Jodi Garner, parent

Kyle Teuscher, Frontier Middle; teacher

Mr. Teuscher is an amazing teacher. He is super funny and makes history exciting even though I don’t usually like history. He is also a cross country and track coach and makes just about everything fun! He is very kind to all of his students and makes everyone feel included.

Nominated by: Eliza Bird, student

“Mr. Teuscher makes learning fun and helps me remember everything and I am happy to come to his class and he made history fun which last year history killed my soul!”

Nominated by: Mikayla Buckingham, student

Teuscher is so much fun and it’s a guaranteed laugh in his class every single period, also he always does the coolest impressions and he actually makes learning history fun!”

Nominated by: Kennseth J. Call, student

He’s a great teacher and works hard for us to learn and at the same time be entertained.”

Nominated by: Maren Carwin, student

“Teuscher is a good teacher.”

Nominated by: Rory Ashcraft, student

He’s the best history teacher. He makes History fun and I’m able to learn way more. He also let’s us scream Hamilton.”

Nominated by: Kylee Emal, student

He is personable! He is always willing to listen to you! And he is a teacher that everyone loves! He makes history a super fun! And everyone always looks forward to his class!”

Nominated by: Trinidy Worthen, student

He makes class fun and I want to go to school on the days I have his class.”

Nominated by: Mikayla Buckingham, student

Kristen Davis, Sage Hills Elementary; teacher

Kristen goes above and beyond for her first graders by creating a safe and exciting learning space for everyone. She is kind-hearted and all those who enter her classroom are enveloped in love and care from her. Kristen have amazing relationships with the parents and colleagues and all those who interact and know her would agree that she is one who emulates remark, inspiration, selflessness and encouragement!

Nominated by: Lyndsai Sylva, district employee 

Jennette McKnight, Sage Hills Elementary; teacher

Jennette is such an amazing educator and person!! Her devotion, hard work, and eternal positivity never go unnoticed by her students, parents and colleague. Jennette works tirelessly to enrich the lives of her second graders and is definitely one who emulates the attributes of someone who is remarkable, inspiring, selfless and encouraging!!

Nominated by: Lyndsai Sylva, district employee 

Ashley Halladay, Canyon View Junior; teacher

Ashley is a great example of a teacher who understands how collaboration works. She also is a teacher who connects with her students. She embraces the model of teach the student, not just the subject. I hope to teach like her someday.

Nominated by: Mike Bowden, district employee

Madelyn Walker, Pleasant Grove Junior; teacher

Maddie Walker is an inspiring Team Leader for the PE Team at PGJH. It’s obvious that she cares about her students and her team. She expends extraordinary effort and energy into being a Team Lead–taking the time to consult with coaches, gathering resources, creating clear agendas, and keeping the focus of the team on student improvement. She is personable and motivated to improve. Primarily because of her vision, her team has clear learning goals, specific formative assessments, and is using data to drive their decision-making. She is the embodiment of RISE!

Nominated by: David Beck, district employee

Talese Baxter, Central Elementary; teacher

So many of many of Miss Baxter’s students always talk about how much they love having her as a teacher. One of her former students recently said this about her, “You are the best person ever. You are a big part of who I am. That year made me who I am. Without you I would be a different person.” I know how much she cares about her students, she really goes the extra mile to show her students they are loved!”

Nominated by: Jennifer Wood, district employee

Kirk Johnson, River Rock Elementary; custodian

I wanted to take a moment to express my sincere appreciation for all the help and support that Kirk has provided me. His efforts have not gone unnoticed, and I am truly grateful for everything he has done. His presence at River Rock Elementary has made a significant impact, and his dedication to streamlining our cleaning routines has been invaluable. His positive energy and friendly demeanor have also made a noticeable difference and have been appreciated by everyone, especially the students.

Nominated by: Amanda Hodges, district employee

Rebecca Mitchell, Mount Mahogany; teacher

Ms Mitchell has gone above and beyond for my daughter. From helping regulate emotions to pushing her in math and reading. She has been a joy to work with and in so grateful that my daughter got her as a teacher this year.

Nominated by: Sierra Davies, parent

Tricia Littlefield, Mount Mahogany Elementary; teacher

Miss Littlefield has been an amazing teacher to our daughter. There is not a day that she isn’t happy in her class, we are so thankful to have such a great teacher who really loves her job and shows it! She is always so kind and patient and she always has a smile on her face. She’s a true example of what a Kindergarten teacher should be! She greets her students every morning with a big smile on her face, she truly cares for her students. Our daughter has been thriving in her class we couldn’t be more grateful to have her! I can’t thank her enough for making education so fun and important for our daughter! We hope she moves to first grade next year to have her again! We love her!

Nominated by: Adriana Guzman, parent

Sam Briggs, Mount Mahogany Elementary; teacher

Mr. Briggs has been such a positive influence for my son and his 6th grade class. My son enjoys school, is bummed when he has a substitute, and overall, Mr Briggs just makes the kids feel like they are important and improving and still having fun. He’s detailed in parent teacher conferences and so kind! I’m happy my son is ending his elementary years with you as his 6th grade teacher!! Thank you!

Nominated by: Annesha Bratt, parent

Joelle Penafiel, Dry Creek Elementary; teacher

Not only is Ms. Penafiel a wonderful, caring, and hardworking teacher, she is wonderful, caring and compassionate person as well – when I was pregnant and having lots of complications she let my very active and destructive preschooler stay in her class for a half hour every single day until the rest of school got out and my daughter could get a ride home with her siblings. She stepped up and helped my baby be born safely by this selfless act and I will be forever grateful for that gift as well as the wonderful things she taught my son.

Nominated by: Deborah Harper, parent



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