Most teachers go into education to make a difference. But nowhere is that difference as readily apparent than in special education, believes Stacey Nofsinger.
“There is nothing better than seeing your student finally grasp a concept that maybe you were working on for six weeks or six months. …to finally see them say, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s what you meant?’” says the teaching specialist. “It’s very exciting to be part of that educational journey for kids.”
Is it a tough job? It can be, admits Nofsinger noting how it requires you to be adept at planning, writing goals, developing interventions, and meeting timelines. But she says, the rewards far outweigh the demands—especially considering the financial incentives that Canyons District now makes available.
Last year, 130 of CSD’s teachers with a bachelor’s or advanced degree in special education qualified for legislatively-approved $4,100 stipends through the Utah State Board of Education. Additionally, 62 CSD teachers in self-contained classrooms received District-funded stipends of $3,000 for undergoing special training.
In all, these teachers benefitted to the tune of about $720,000. And that comes on top of two consecutive years of sizeable teacher pay increases approved by the Canyons Board of Education, says CSD’s Special Education Director Misty Suarez. “These stipends aren’t just a one-time deal. Qualified teachers are eligible to receive them every year, which has given us a real recruiting edge. I can’t think of a better time to consider a career in special education.”
February and March mark the start of the hiring season for Utah’s public schools, and Canyons District has plenty of special ed job openings, including about half-a-dozen full-time teaching positions, and more than a dozen full-time or part-time paraeducator positions.
The Office of Special Education & Related Services also has positions open for instructional coaches, specialists, and speech-language pathologists, which means there’s plenty of opportunity for advancement.
For Nofsinger, the job is more of a calling than a career, and she now delights in supporting others who have chosen the same path. The New York native chose Utah’s Canyons School District because of the District’s investment in teacher supports, such as the coaching she now provides.
“As a teacher, we still need to keep learning for our students and to implement our own best practices,” says Nofsinger, a New York native who chose Utah’s Canyons District for its investment in teacher supports, such as the coaching she now provides. “Canyons District’s philosophy in making sure their teachers are modeling that and continuing their own education and getting that professional development on a regular basis really spoke to my own philosophies in education.”
Find out what Canyons District has to offer you at this stage in your career: canyonsdistrict.org/hr