May 8 – RISE Nominees

Nick Arnett, Oak Canyon Junior; computer tech

As a substitute teacher, figuring out each teacher’s tech set up is always daunting. Mr. Arnett is always happy to help me and troubleshoot problems (such as internet connectivity, connecting to the projector or sound system, or providing a streaming device). His efforts make it so the classes can go as the teacher intended and time is not wasted.

Nominated by: Laura Belnap, substitute teacher

Emily Gingerich, Westlake High; teacher

Emily rises above the expectations of everyone she works with. She provides an inclusive environment in her classroom, making it possible for all students to learn at high levels. She is a learner who takes time to develop her own knowledge to make her a better teacher. She then implements that into her classroom. She is reflective of her practice and always working to ensure students are learning. She took on the challenge of leading a PLC, and because of her organized efforts, we have seen great growth in the learning. It’s a pleasure to work with her! Her students are so lucky!

Nominated by: Whitney Child, district employee

Raquel Cook, Oak Canyon Junior; teacher

I think Raquel Cook is deserving of the RISE award because she is very selfless, and inspiring to me. She has inspired me to work really hard at school and why it’s important to try. I think she is very selfless and has a big character, she really cares about what she does and how she does it.

Nominated by: Jane Meservy, student

Alan Bezzant, Greenwood Elementary; custodian

Alan is the most reliable and friendly sweeper we’ve ever had. He comes in with a smile and makes sure our classrooms and bathrooms are thoroughly cleaned every single day. Alan is quick to volunteer to help teachers with extra tasks when he sees a need, whether it’s moving stacks of chairs between two classrooms or taking out large loads of cardboard to the recycling, and he does it cheerfully! Knowing our classrooms will be cleaned and ready for us each day has really lightened our load this year. Thank you, Alan!

Nominated by: Ashley Cooper, Lisa Guy, Kennedy Ereth, Holly Hansen, district employees

Hannah Claridge, Shelley Elementary; teacher

Mrs. Claridge is remarkable! She remarkably teaches, encourages, genuinely cares for, praises, and inspires her students. My son always felt his contributions were valued; he felt seen and special, which is how all of her students feel. Her classroom feels like sunshine! She even wears fun clothes and earrings so her students have something educational and interesting to look at. She is patient and kind with all students. Talking to another parent, we agree, Mrs Claridge is magical. Her students adore her. Mrs. Claridge was a remarkable start to all day school for my son in 1st grade.

Nominated by: Marci & Scott Woolley, parents

Mrs. Claridge is the BEST! She genuinely loves my child and he knows it! Because of that connection he is able to learn and to thrive in her classroom. She makes coming to school so much fun and is always helpful and solution oriented when problems arise.”

Nominated by: SherRon Marcek, parent

Kaytlin Rindlisbacher, Frontier Middle; teacher

Mrs. Rindlisbacher is very patient and tries to make every student’s day better by being in her class. She is very kind and helps each and every student. Her teaching methods are amazing and always well prepared, as well as allowing students to learn while enjoying what they are doing. Mrs Rindlisbacher also gets to know her class and students and cares about all of them.

Nominated by: Lexus Laird, student

Kim Sweat, Meadow Elementary; teacher

Not only is Ms. Sweat an exceptional teacher, she cares about her students, and takes time to listen and support them. She attends students’ extracurricular activities on weekends, and is a Jr. Hope Squad advisor. My daughter has blossomed in Ms. Sweat’s class. I’m so grateful for teachers like Ms. Sweat. She builds connections with her students and because of that, her students want to succeed.

Nominated by: parent

Amy Matson, Sage Hills Elementary; teacher

Ms. Matson is nice, kind and respectful. She has fun games that we play. She helps people if they get hurt.”

Nominated by: Atlat Holtom, student

Tiffinie Littlefield, River Rock Elementary; administrator

Tiffinie is a fantastic leader at the school. Her warm and welcoming demeanor makes everyone feel at ease, and she goes above and beyond to support the teachers and staff. Whether it’s lending a listening ear or offering guidance, she is always there to help. It’s clear that she genuinely cares about everyone’s well-being, both personally and professionally. We are lucky to have her as our leader!

Nominated by: Amanda Hodges, district employee

Cheryl Felt, Eaglecrest Elementary; aide

Mrs. Felt is an incredible aide and we are very, very lucky to have her working with the fifth grade team at Eaglecrest. Cheryl goes above and beyond, helping to identify students needs and she is very involved in the intervention process. She is patient and kind to the students (as well as to the teachers). I speak from personal experience when I say that my students have benefited and grown from Mrs. Felt’s incredible work. Thanks, Mrs. Felt!

Nominated by: Jeffrey Young, district employee

Brenda Sanchez Navarro Velasco, Windsor Elementary; secretary

Brenda Velasco is a remarkable secretary at Windsor. The parents and students love and trust her. She has such a knack for helping families feel welcome and comfortable. She willingly goes above and beyond to help families register for school and answers their many questions. Families, especially newcomers to the country, feel so much more at ease being able to receive help and get their questions answered in Spanish. Brenda has such a calm presence that we all appreciate and love.

Nominated by: Amren Patterson, district employee

Brenda is amazing! She makes families feel so welcomed at Windsor. She is a talented artist and she loves to share it with the whole school. Brenda is someone who greets everyone with a smile. She is willing to translate documents and takes the time to help new families fill out their registration forms. She is patient and so kind. We would be lost without Brenda.”

Nominated by: Melissa Burk, district employee

Trevor Manning, Pleasant Grove Junior; teacher

Mr. Manning has a superhuman ability to connect with his students. He makes awkward teenage boys love singing right at the moment when they don’t want to talk because of their voices changing. He make teenage girls feel confident and important. It’s hard not to cry at one of his concerts because the students just exude love for their teacher, their peers, and music. THANK YOU, MR. MANNING!

Nominated by: Rebecca Williams-Wood, parent

Whitney Rasmussen, Brookhaven Elementary; teacher

Mrs. Rasmussen has been such an amazing teacher for my daughter. She has helped my daughter flourish in reading, art, confidence, and friendships. It’s been such a great year. Thank you for all you do!

Nominated by: Jen Jeppson, parent

Lisa Lister, Oak Canyon Junior; teacher

Mrs. Lister is an amazing teacher, constantly helping students to excel in her class, and has amazing and fun activities. She is always willing to help students any time they have a question and is really kind and understanding. I always look forward to her class, and she frequently makes my day. She is constantly hepling others and making them feel good, and it’s only right that she is recognized for it. She is the best English teacher I have ever had, and likely the best teacher I’ve had in any subject.

Nominated by: Kiara Croft, student

Ms. Lister is probably one of my favorite English teachers that I have ever had – if not my all time favorite. I’ve always been able to get along in writing and reading, but after taking Ms. Lister’s class, I feel like I can excel and actually appreciate literature. She has changed the way I write, the way I read, and the way I think. Beyond that, she is able to maintain a fun classroom environment; never allowing kids get out of hand but still letting them feel safe and comfortable.”

Nominated by: Kennedy Lloyd, student

Charlotte Hutchinson, Legacy Elementary; teacher

Ms. Hutchinson has been supporting students at Legacy since the school opened. She works well with teachers, service providers and parents to meet each students unique needs to progress in their education. Legacy is blessed to have her!!!

Nominated by: Traci Boulter, parent

Chellese Bunker, Westlake High; teacher

Chellese Bunker, the French teacher at Westlake High School, is full of positivity and support for her students. She listens to them, understands their struggles in learning a new language, and always cheers them on. Chellese goes the extra mile, not just teaching French, but also boosting her students’ confidence and resilience. In her classroom, it’s not just about conjugating verbs; it’s about feeling valued and capable. Every student knows they have a cheerleader in Chellese, making their French learning journey fun and empowering.

Nominated by: Rebecca Campbell, parent

Cherie Lavin, Traverse Mountain Elementary; teacher

My daughter recently moved to TME. She has been below reading level for years, so I was nervous about a new school, new friends, and all the things that impact a child’s success. Her teacher, Ms. Lavin, has been amazing! She has created a fun learning environment where the kids participate in a wide variety of projects and hands-on learning experiences. My daughter comes home from school eager to tell me about everything she is learning. And I have never seen so much improvement in her reading! I am truly grateful for Ms. Lavin’s impact on my daughter’s education!

Nominated by: Sara Foster, parent

Jesse Blake, Willowcreek Middle; teacher

Mr. Blake is an amazing teacher! He is Willowcreek’s FBLA advisor and help student learn the importance of knowledge. He’s be a big help when I have to balance school, Student council, FBLA, and volleyball. He’s always understanding when students are not able to get assignments in or need extra help. He’s an awesome teacher and person!

Nominated by: Emmie Tanner, student

Kyra McMillan, Sage Hills Elementary; teacher

Ms. McMillan made my son’s 5th grade year wonderful! My son has had some ups and downs with school, but Ms. McMillan’s kindness helped him learn to love going to school every day. Ms. McMillan is always patient and does everything she can to help the students in her class learn and be successful. I am so grateful for Ms. McMillan and the positive impact she had on our son.

Nominated by: Meredith Sager McNett, parent and district employee

Leah Simmons, Centennial Elementary; teacher

Leah teaches a Special Ed kindergarten class with kids of very diverse needs and abilities. She does a phenomenal job loving each child for their strengths, being patient with them through things that are hard, and still providing instruction at each of their levels. Her classroom is always busy with an excited, happy energy. She meets kids where they are and strives to help them grow to the next level.

Nominated by: Sarah LeMonte, district employee

Maddie Hall, Mountain Ridge Junior; teacher

Ms. Hall has all the craziest students in 9th grade grouped together in just a couple of classes, but she’s still really nice and funny. She talks to us like we’re friends not just her students, and she’s still patient all the time with students who will not stop talking.

Nominated by: Rebecca West, student

Sherri Christensen, Traverse Mountain Elementary; teacher

Mrs. Christensen’s warm and nurturing personality adds an extra layer of magic to her already delightful classroom. The way she connects with each 2nd grader in her class, creating a welcoming space where they feel valued and encouraged, is truly heartwarming. Her kindness and genuine care make a lasting impact on not just their academic journey but also on their overall growth. She is a teacher who not only educates but also embraces with warmth!

Nominated by: Danielle Hunt, parent

Chartina Voorheis, Lone Peak High; teacher

Mrs. Voorheis is an angel. We have worked together for 13 years. She always has the students who need additional time & attention, someone to love them as they learn. Many have different learning styles & Voorheis adapts to help them success while teaching the rest of the class. She teaches our S.S. Essential class A3, she’s so knowledgeable from teaching many of the subjects, patient beyond measure & believes in every students who has failed many classes, helping them reach & rise above the failure in such loving & kind way. She believes in all of us, She is perfect for the job in every way!

Nominated by: Sherri Berry, district employee

Miriam Richards, Greenwood Elementary; adminstrator

We recently had a coworker with very good news and another one who suffered a heartbreaking loss. Miriam Richards handled both things so well and showed us that she cares about us beyond our work performance. I’m glad to have someone like that in my corner! The effort she puts into the culture of our school makes it a much better place to be.”

Nominated by: Beth Nelson, district employee

Rachel Spencer, Sego Lily Elementary; teacher

Mrs. Spencer is INCREDIBLE! Our son had an extremely hard start to kindergarten due to ADHD and having an accident which caused him to miss a lot of school, she took initiative to provide extra support and overall went above & beyond. I sat in on one of her classes and the love and dedication she has for teaching is mind blowing, You can tell she was born to teach & gives it her all. She even taught us parents how to mouth certain words so we could continue teaching our children at home. She shows up for her students every single day and gives it her all, 100 words is too short to express her.

Nominated by: Veronica Twitty, parent

Shyanne Adams, Lone Peak High; PLC Coach

Shyanne is an outstanding PLC Coach at Lone Peak High School!! I have been so impressed with her desire to support teachers and help the school move forward to support student learning. Shyanne uses data in a very effective manner. Shyanne is able to use data to communicate and collaborate with other school leaders to move the school goals in forward a manner that will benefit student learning and improve the educational experience for the adults in the building. I am so thankful for Shyanne’s efforts at Lone Peak.

Nominated by: Jeff Schoonover, district employee

Lisa Carlson, Cherry Hill Elementary; teacher

Lisa goes out of her way to give all her students the tools necessary to succeed. Her classroom is just filled with love for her students and they know it. She takes care to make sure they have their needs met both basic and educational. Her lessons are well thought out so she can give multiple ways of explanation to suit every child’s learning style. She is a pure joy to work with.

Nominated by: Baylee Nelson, district employee

Amy Wright, Cherry Hill Elementary; aide

Amy Wright deserves the RISE award because she is always trying to help the students and does her best so that they can have a good day at school and that includes starting fundraisers for outdoor equipment and participating in secret Santa.

Nominated by: Brian Wright, parent

I nominate Amy Wright for her exceptional dedication and impact on students’ lives. Her unwavering support in the classroom goes beyond the call of duty, fostering a positive learning environment. With a remarkable ability to connect with students, Amy inspires curiosity and growth. Her commitment to education, kindness, and tireless efforts make her a deserving candidate for any teaching award.”

Nominated by: Scott, friend

Nik Rice, Orem High; teacher

Mr. Rice managed to get my painfully shy twins to participate in class! One of my boys was getting a lower grade. Rice looked up his schedule and went to him and got him to turn in some missing work to raise his grade. I work in the same school and only heard about it from my son when he told us at dinner time. Rice saved him from having to make up the credit his last semester. When school doesn’t come easy to my boys, (they have accommodations), it was one less class I had to worry about. I cried!

Nominated by: Heidi Smith, parent and district employee

Sheri Rowley, Vineyard Elementary; social worker

Sheri is the epitome of what a social worker is and what they do. She cares deeply about the children she serves. I have worked side by side with her for many years now and watched her as she provides comfort, peace, calmness, and a stable adult they can talk to who will listen. The students she cares for are given a gentle guiding hand as they learn how to cope and deal with life’s unfair situations and circumstances, heavy emotions, and at times trauma. She is extremely well versed in school policy, and the legality of how to deal with difficult situations.I love having her on my team.

Nominated by: Kevan Baker, district employee

Jessica Burgeson, Cherry Hill Elementary; teacher

Ms. Burgeson is always willing to help her students in every way she can. She believes they can succeed and never gives up on them. She is patient and kind to them even when it is difficult. She also is a great example to other teachers around her!

Nominated by: Kirsten Oldroyd, district employee

Cindy Bigler, Shelley Elementary; teacher

Cindy has been an incredible force for good in our school community. She encourages a peaceful, kind environment in her classroom and models good communication for her students. She teaches them to help each other as they learn together. She patiently helps them work through their emotions as they experience the ups and downs of the day. She listens to their concerns in an understanding way and helps them discover solutions. Cindy also leads our school Sunshine Committee and truly brings light and joy to the staff! Her decorations are legendary! We love you, Cindy!

Nominated by: Shelley Specialty Team (Becca Thornton, Melissa Jolley, Ines Seamons, Sarah Young, Jennifer Thomas), district employees

Melissa Allmon, Freedom Elementary; administrator

Melissa Allmon’s remarkable leadership has led Freedom Elementary’s students to high academic achievement year after year. Her quest for excellence has elevated academic standards, enhanced the PLC work of our faculty, and has been the catalyst for Freedom Elementary to achieve the distinctive honor of becoming a Solution Tree Model PLC at Work School; 1 of only 600 schools internationally recognized! Her dedication to student success is evident in the strong PLC culture that she has cultivated within our faculty empowering them to achieve high levels of learning for all students.

Nominated by: Karen Chappell, district employee

Bryan Boothe, ATEC West; teacher

Bry has been an asset to the Adapted Physical Education collaboration team and Special Olympic tournaments. He helps prepare, plan, and delegate meeting responsibilities and initiates individualized instruction for students with special needs. He carefully constructs meaningful lessons and cheers on his colleagues’ providing tips and strategies to help meet the challenges of our daily workdays. We are privileged to work with him.

Nominated by: Jody Walker, district employee

Kirbi Jacobs, Dan Peterson School; teacher

Kirbi has been a stable force and role model working as an Adapted Physical Educator with some of the most challenging students in Alpine School District. She takes on difficult conversations, and advocates for students with special needs and places their rights and their education as a priority. She continues to champion for students who learn differently. She steps up to help with IEP’s when others are sick and is available and ready to share advice and strategies when her team needs her. She is a leader and an asset to the motor department. Way to go, Kirbi!

Nominated by: Jody Walker, district employee

Tim Zito, Cedar Ridge Elementary; teacher

Tim has been a leader and a role model helping numerous schools. His influence and leadership has helped hundreds of special needs students bridge their learning in gross motor functioning. He has been a valuable instrument in the success of his students with individualized goals. In addition to being a resource and valuable member of his community, and amazing teacher to his students, he has also been an inspirational mentor for other adapted physical educators. We applaud his efforts and the hard work he has continued to uphold in his service with Alpine School District.

Nominated by: Jody Walker, district employee

Melissa Carver, Thunder Ridge Elementary; teacher

I would like to recognize Ms. Carver for the wonderful qualities she possesses. My children have been in the public/private school system for over 15-years. Ms. Carver has been the best educator any of them have had. She deserves recognition for her kind demeanor, communication efforts, level of trust created with students/parents, her educational approach/teaching method, and overall warmth/empathy brought to the classroom. My child loves going to school to learn, a large portion of this is because of the classroom environment she creates and I wanted to express my heartfelt gratitude.”

Nominated by: Ashley Wanke, parent

Talia Walker, Trailside Elementary; teacher

Talia Walker is a 5th grade teacher who was raised on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. For six years she has been sharing her Native American heritage and culture with her Trailside Community through a Culture Night in November. It stared out small, just her class, then her grade, and now it’s a Trailside tradition. She has storytelling, native dancing, and artists come each year. Last November’s event was held on the UVU campus in order to accommodate more families. The 5th grade classes sang “Go My Son” and performed the National Anthem in sign language. Thank you for sharing.”

Nominated by: Ann Marie Sherman, district employee

Hayden Lewis, Lake Mountain Middle; teacher

Mr. Lewis is a newer teacher at Lake Mountain and in his 2 years has established himself as an incredible Science teacher and coach. Our daughter has had him over the course of the last 2 years and is one of her favorite teachers. He greets all of his students with the warmest smile and does that for everyone. He’s always willing to go above and beyond for his students. He works hand in hand with parents, too, to help kids achieve deeper understanding of concepts. Thank you, Mr. Lewis! You’re amazing and epitomize the greatness of the Science department at Lake Mountain!

Nominated by: Danny & Kelly Horne, parents

Tonia Ziter, Lake Mountain Middle; teacher
Susie Miner, Lake Mountain Middle; teacher

We cannot nominate one without the other – Tonia Ziter and Susie Miner. Both of these math teachers should be on tour together throughout the US helping math teachers across the US. Our kids know they can go to either of these math teachers to get help on any level of math. They both connect with children exceptionally well and know their math! We are so grateful for both of these stellar humans and the work they do for ASD, the State and kids all over. Keep it up Tonia and Susie!

Nominated by: Danny & Kelly Horne, parents



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