Adventure

Awaits

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Educators have the hearts of adventurers, and many adventures await Canyons School District’s 2022 retirees. More than 90 colleagues — teachers, support staff, and administrators — have decided to make this year with Canyons their last. Some have devoted 40 years or more to Utah’s public school system, and many have worked for Canyons since the District’s inception in 2009. All have contributed to our success. The Canyons Board of Education and Administration salute these dedicated professionals for their years of service. Because of their belief that every student can achieve, Canyons has become a district of national distinction in so many ways. Because of their push for excellence, student test scores and graduation rates have risen to surpass the state average and continue, with each passing year, to climb. Because of their conscientious stewardship of public resources, the District has brought needed safety upgrades to dozens of schools while maintaining the highest-possible bond rating. Together, while helping children chase their adventures, they have made a difference for generations to come. The following Canyons employees took part in a banquet to celebrate their time with the District and share some of the stories they’ll remember in the years to come. 

Joni Allen
Michael Armstrong
Susan Arroyo
Karma Bateman
Bryan Birch
Todd Bird
Paul Braman
Marian Broderick
Letty Callister
Jose Chan
Jodie Christensen
Debbie Clark
Dana Crosby
Shauna Darton
Peggy Gibbons
Dawn Gonzalez
Kathleen Gray
Jolie Guevara
Janine Halterman
Dr. Jan Hansen
Jane Hereim
Maureen Howe
Debra Kyriopoulos
Lisa Latoni
Becky Lind
Felix Lopez
Sherri McDougal
Libby McShinsky
Karen Millenbach
Moxa Mitton
Marion Montoya
Becky Morgan
Christine Morgan
Shirley Morgan
Michael Moss
Sherry Nance
Sheri Palmer
Spring Park
Carl Patterson
Penny Petersen
Ann-Marie Proctor
Dr. Suzanne Riches
Rosa Rodriguez
Jason Rogers
Jeri Rogers
Paul Seaich
David Selin
Jeanne Shaw
James Sheely
Janet Sligting
Misty Suarez
Christy Waddell
Bruce Wagner
Gary Warwood
Jerrold Webb
Adventure Rotator-01 (1)

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Joni Allen

Transportation Bus Driver

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hether it was helping teach arts and music in her son’s classroom, being a substitute teacher and behavior specialist at Park Lane Elementary, working as a paraeducator, or driving a bus, Joni Allen has been involved in education in one form or another for 30-plus years. She considers herself an advocate for children and hopes they remember she loves them and wants the best for them. Joni had the driving experience of an average carpooling soccer mom when she applied to be a bus driver. It turned out to be one of her favorite jobs. Sometimes she’d decorate her bus and wear seasonal outfits. She’d bring toys and books to keep kids entertained and created a disciplinary Shark Zone to encourage students from misbehaving. For one particularly rowdy bus, Joni had passengers tie rags to a string to donate to Primary Children’s Hospital and to “give them a purpose.” She’ll still find time to volunteer at schools, but the self-described “exercise enthusiast” has added ballet to her to-do list. She’d also like to take up beekeeping, get a farm, and care for livestock.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Michael Armstrong

Draper Park Middle Teacher

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or 38 years, Mike Armstrong has enjoyed lighting the fire of learning in his students — just like the spark a teacher once ignited in him. That’s not why Mike was once known as “The Pyro Teacher,” though. He earned that nickname while doing a science experiment to show third-graders how hot-air balloons work. Long story short, fire spilled out of the mayonnaise jar he was using and onto the carpet. Fortunately, students were seated at a safe distance, and Mr. Pyro quickly doused the flames. He couldn’t extinguish the razzing he received about trying to burn down the school. Most of the time, Mike taught his students without incident and, always, with a lot of passion, knowledge and thoughtfulness. He’s been at Draper Park Middle since it opened eight years ago, teaching math. He’s worn many hats, reworking Shakespeare plays so they were more accessible and inspiring kids to write novels. Mike looks forward to riding his hybrid bike more often. Grandkids and genealogy work will get more focus in retirement, too. “I will be 70 next year,” he says. “I’m thinking, ‘You better quit while the quitting’s good.’”

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Susan Arroyo

District Media Assistant

W hen Susan Arroyo came to work at the District’s Teacher Resource Center, the creative side of her brain jumped into action. As a media assistant, Susan enjoyed creating games, like BINGO, and making room decorations that teachers could use to insert fun into the learning process. “The teachers didn’t have a lot of time to spend on additional help aides, so we tried to create those kinds of things for them,” she says. Though she loved the work, the people she worked with, and being able to work part-time hours, Susan decided recently to shift gears after 21 years on the job, including the past 13 with Canyons. “I think I deserved it,” she said. She definitely does! In retirement, she’ll be keeping pretty busy: teaching a weekly Shakespeare class at the senior center; working on cross-stitching, knitting, and quilting projects as a member of the American Sewing Guild; exercising daily; and best of all, spending time with her grandsons.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Karma Bateman

Jordan High CTE Coordinator

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f all of the awards on display in Karma Bateman’s office at Jordan High, including the 2022 Utah ACTE Administrator of the Year honor, her favorites come from students who have nominated her for various teacher appreciation awards. “I love the students,” she says. “And I hope that’s what my students always remember, was how much I cared for them.” She even loves the student who signed her name on an absentee note, but accidentally wrote “Mrs. Batman.” Karma, whose 28-year career in education included a 19-year break to raise her family, has kept a student-first focus as a teacher and administrator. Having served in a leadership role as the CTE coordinator for the past six years, she helps students connect the dots from the classroom to evolving into leaders and creators in society. She’s taught everything from math and child development to financial literacy and sewing, and loved all of it. Karma’s hope is that she’s leaving the CTE department stronger than it was when she started. She needn’t worry. It is. So, what’s next? “I’ll do something,” she says, smiling about the possibilities. “I’ll find some way to contribute.” Sounds good, Karma.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Bryan Birch

CTEC Custodial Lead

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hings were difficult during the pandemic for custodians, who worked extra hard to keep schools and buildings in the District clean and sanitized. But Bryan Birch showed he was willing to do whatever was needed from him, and wherever. His pleasant attitude helped set a positive tone at the Canyons Technical Education Center, where he wrapped up a 10-year career with the District. Colleagues enjoyed Bryan’s company as he found a way to be very personable, often chatting with staff, while still managing to be productive. Prior to his CTEC days, Bryan worked at Hillcrest High and in the CSD custodial department. He had a 40-plus-year career in heavy equipment excavating before coming to Canyons, and loved to coach his sons’ football, baseball, and basketball teams. Whereas R&R generally is short for rest and relaxation, for Bryan it currently stands for remodeling (his home) and retirement. Hopefully, he’ll take some time for the other earned R&R, too.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Todd Bird

Juvenile & Adult Corrections Education Administrator

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odd Bird doesn’t hesitate to admit he was “a terrible, terrible high school student.” A counselor even told him he’d never make it in academics. Fortunately, Todd learned about perseverance and redemption. With the prison relocating, and Todd wanting to focus on family, his health, and renovating a classic truck, South Park Academy’s Principal decided it’s time to begin the next chapter. Bird was a talented wrestler in high school but figured low grades ruined his shot at being a collegiate athlete. After graduation, he was a welder until the plant closed. A friend asked a life-changing question: “Why didn’t you ever go wrestle in college?” It reignited a fire in Todd, who embraced education, earned scholarships, blossomed into an NCAA Academic All-American wrestler, helped Idaho State win a conference championship, and qualified for the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials finals. He earned a master’s degree in counseling, then spent 35 years paying it forward to teenage students and adult inmates in Idaho and Utah as a coach, teacher, and administrator. He enjoyed working with at-risk students the most. He was touched by a card from the parents of a graduate he’d closely worked with for years: “Thank you for all you’ve done to help [our son]. … Always remember, when you take a child by the hand, you take a parent by the heart.”

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Paul Braman

South Park Academy Teacher

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t was after a 22-year career as a software engineer abruptly ended that Paul Braman discovered he had a knack for teaching. A retired captain from the National Guard, he was accepted into the “Troops to Teachers” program. He quickly landed a job at Brighton High, followed by a 12-year stint at South Park Academy. Teaching at the Utah State Prison has come with challenges, but also profound memories. Paul worked with a paraplegic who only spoke Spanish at first but is now fluent in English. His first year in the prison’s mental health facility, he was told his students were unlikely to graduate. But he coaxed seven to receive their diplomas. Then there was the time Paul used his First-Aid training to save the life of a student who was suffering a heart attack in his class. “I try to be a good example and bring some light into their lives,” he says. “It’s probably one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had.” Paul looks forward to spending time with grandkids, who call him “Bumpa,” cultivating his raised garden, selling “nonsense” on eBay, and writing the biography he’s promised his kids he’d write.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Marian Broderick

Draper Elementary Head Administrative Assistant

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arian Broderick first started at Draper Elementary as a part-time employee almost three decades ago. When her oldest entered the first grade not long after, she made a prediction. “I told my husband, ‘I’m going to be secretary of that school someday. You wait and see.’” Her prognostication panned out, and now Marian is wrapping up a successful 29-year career — all with the Dragons. She and her husband are both retiring from their careers, but it’s a bittersweet thing for Marian. Draper Elementary is where her four children attended school, and two of her grandchildren. It has almost been a home away from home. Marian manages 700 students and their records with remarkable efficiency, but considers her most joyful duty to be making everyone feel welcome. Says Draper Principal Christy Waddell: “If I wasn’t ready to retire, but she was, I probably would retire.” In retirement, Marian hopes to be more involved with the family’s horses. She enjoys traveling, quilting and digital scrapbooking. And she’ll certainly soak in extra time with her children and grandchildren.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Letty Callister

Jordan Valley Paraeducator

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etty Callister, a Jordan Valley School paraeducator, is a caretaker at heart. One reason the mother of two daughters has worked in education for 13 years is so she can send money to help her sister, a widow living in poverty conditions with her kids in the Philippines. Letty has thoroughly enjoyed working with the students at Jordan Valley. It’s the highlight of her day. With retirement approaching, Letty has been learning how to care for something else — indoor plants, especially orchids. She’s acquired more than 25 plants at home, which she greets each day with a: “Good morning. … I love to see you.” In retirement, Letty, who moved to the U.S. when she was 39, plans on traveling back to her homeland to visit loved ones for a while and then returning to spend time with family, friends and her plants in the States.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Jose Chan

Brighton High Custodian

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ose Chan said his home in Utah was ugly when he first bought it after moving here from Mexico for work. That’s no longer the case thanks to his handiwork and the time he’s invested in sprucing up the landscaping with flowers and gardens. Jose took the same pride in the work he did as a Brighton High custodian and a seasonal worker with the District for 10-plus years. He liked being among the Bengals and enjoyed the relationships he had with teachers, and made an effort to be a reliable and punctual good worker. That reflected his character and was important because his income helped support his family who live in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. In retirement, he hopes to be able to visit them more frequently. “If God permits it and money, I will go back home to Mexico to spend a little time with my family,” he says. That plan sounds even more delightful when considering his family lives near the Cancun beaches.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Jodie Christensen

South Park Academy Administrative Assistant

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odie Christensen has fond memories of building a lot of really good friendships while in prison — as an employee, mind you. Jodie, who was part of South Park Academy’s support staff for 18 years, worked as the testing coordinator. Her duties included testing inmates as they entered the facility as part of the intake process. The adult education placement-test results helped determine what type of programming to give inmates. Though she often saw the same faces re-entering the prison, seeing a 75-year-old man receive his diploma is among her most favorite memories. With the prison and its adult education program moving to Salt Lake City this year, Jodie decided to retire after 30-plus years of state employment, including 13 with the Department of Workforce Services. She celebrated her retirement by getting a new job with an educational software company. But the prison will always have a soft spot in her heart, especially those friendships. “I miss the people, for sure.” 

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Debbie Clark

Corner Canyon High Registrar

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ebbie Clark jokes that nobody knows what a registrar does, making it easy to stay under the radar. In reality, it’s quite an important job, which includes tracking students’ progress toward graduation, maintaining academic records, and assisting with enrollment. Debbie has overseen those tasks since before Corner Canyon High officially opened its doors in 2013. She’s a proud member of a small group that helped set everything up for the school, working from tight quarters at the District offices, and referred to itself as “The Magnificent Seven.” It was this group that set the foundation for a school that has blossomed into an academic, arts and athletic powerhouse. “I love this school. I love what we do here. I love what we represent,” Debbie says. After 15 years in education, a career that began with substitute teaching, she anticipates having a full summer. You might see her at the gym, riding her bike, cheering at RSL games, and traveling to visit her out-of-state kids. 

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Dana Crosby

Willow Springs Elementary Teacher

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ana Crosby might tear up — from laughter or from being moved — if you ask about a student’s surprising show-and-tell item or when she was unexpectedly approached by a parent. The first tale happened after a second-grader returned from a Hawaii trip with a real starfish. He handed it to Dana and the class roared with laughter when she discovered it was still alive. Another time, a parent stopped her during a Christmas party. Dana had helped her older son nearly a decade before, and the mother was touched to be told that he was on the high school honor roll. “Because of you,” the mom told her. “You did that for him.” Dana’s impact was wide felt, which is why she was honored as the PTA’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year, the District’s Special Ed Teacher of the Year, and the 2021 Willow Springs Teacher of the Year. As she travels the country and toils away in her yard in retirement, Dana will smile thinking back on these moments while hoping that her former students and colleagues remember her for being in their corner as a loyal and compassionate advocate — even when they handed her living sea creatures. 

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Shauna Darton

CTA Paraeducator

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or 29 years, Shauna Darton has worked at Canyons Transition Academy, been the Transition Coordinator Specialist at Jordan Valley, cleaned as a custodian, and worked in the warehouse. She also graduated from college — with honors and alongside her daughter — ran her late husband’s hardwood floor company, owned a tanning salon, and nearly became famous. “It’s been an exciting journey.” An exciting moment happened when “Touched by an Angel” was filming at JVS. One student — “a runner that always ran” — bolted out of their portable and dashed through the room where they were filming a scene. Hot on his heels, Shauna also ran in front of the cameras. Roma Downey wanted to leave the incident in the show, but it wasn’t possible. “Dang it! I was almost a movie star!” She’s been important in her role as a paraeducator, and she’ll miss the smiles. “They’re cool. They’re cute kids.” The 300 miles she walks with CTA students to TRAX stations, malls, etc., haven’t been easy on her knees, playing a role in her retirement. “It’s been fun. It is hard to go. But in my heart, there’s always going to be a place there for my students.” Even the runners.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Peggy Gibbons

Altara Elementary Office Assistant

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fter spending the past 29 years at Altara Elementary, Peggy Gibbons recently shared some news with her four sons who all attended the school back in the day. “I told them, ‘I’m graduating finally.’” She’s certainly graduating (a.k.a. retiring, in this case) with honors. Peggy is ending her career with the Kittyhawks as an office support assistant, which she’s done for a dozen or so years. But she’s worked all over the school — and around its grounds. That includes working in the kitchen, helping teachers with copies and other tasks in the workroom, doing playground duty, and serving as the lunch secretary before moving into the office. She’s a task-oriented person, so the day-to-day workload has been a good fit. More than anything else, she hopes people remember her for being kind. Peggy considers her family to be her biggest accomplishment, and certainly not just because her four sons graduated from Altara years before her. She looks forward to being with them more, doing some traveling, and performing service in the community and elsewhere.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Dawn Gonzalez

Quail Hollow Elementary Teacher

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awn Gonzalez knew from an early age that she wanted to be a teacher. She liked playing school as a girl, and loved being around kids growing up. That love of children has served Dawn well over the years, along with her students, her three daughters and grandkids. The Quail Hollow teacher’s career was put on pause for nine years when she decided to stay home with her youngest daughter. Overall, she’s taught for about 28 years. The sweetness of first-grade students melts her heart, and she loves when her students independently apply something they’ve learned. It’s not uncommon to see things like three or four kids rush over to help when somebody drops crayons. Dawn, who’s considered herself to be her students’ school mom (which includes passionately supporting them and getting after them when naughty), cherishes pictures and notes from her students. She pins them up and then files them away for safe-keeping. She plans on chipping in as a substitute and school volunteer in the future. Before that, however, she and her husband are traveling to Egypt this summer for a Nile River cruise. 

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Kathleen Gray

Mount Jordan Middle Lunchroom Cook

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fter retiring from being a dietetic technician at Alta View Hospital for 30 years, Kathy Gray got a little bored so she decided to go back to work. She tried substitute teaching for a few months, and then settled into a permanent position in the Mount Jordan Middle kitchen. It turned out to be a good fit. She knew her way around a kitchen and its various food stations, liked having summers off, and enjoyed kids. Her post-retirement-pre-retirement job with the Mountaineers lasted for 10 years until she decided to give retirement another try last year. Sadly, Kathy’s husband passed away five years ago, but she plans on spending more time with their seven kids and 12 grandchildren. Gardening, quilting, sewing, reading, and her new embroidery machine will help her avoid boredom this time around. One tidbit of extremely useful information she agreed to share from the school cafeteria: Pizza is no longer the most popular lunch item. That honor goes to — drum roll, please — orange chicken.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Jolie Guevara

Brookwood Elementary Teacher

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olie Guevara eagerly anticipates basking in the desert sun and enjoying her new home in Arizona. After a 32-year career in education, including the past 31 as a teacher at Brookwood and Butler elementary schools, Jolie said it is time to retire and head south for the warm winters (and hot summers). Her heart will always have a soft spot in it for the fifth-grade students she’s taught for so long. Their personalities and humor kept her in that grade for decades. It’s been fun for her to teach kids whose parents were in her class years earlier. She even sorta kinda played a matchmaker role. A former student, whose son was in her class this year, recently informed her that her brother and sister-in-law met in her fifth-grade class. They eventually got married — long after elementary school, mind you. Jolie loved seeing current photos of those former students and their family. “It was just so fun to see how they’ve grown.” Mrs. Hunter, her favorite teacher who helped instill a desire in 12-year-old Jolie to become a teacher, would probably think the same thing if she saw how her fourth-grade student had followed in her footsteps.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Janine Halterman

Hillcrest High Admin. Asst/Head Attendance Secretary

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anine Halterman smiles when you ask for the favorite part of her day at work. “Going home!” Her position as an administrative assistant in the attendance office at Hillcrest High comes with its share of challenges. That office often deals with students who are tardy or skipping classes, after all. But she’s enjoyed the friends she’s made — school employees and students alike — where she’s worked for most of her 21 years in education. “One of the highlights is to actually see kids succeed,” she adds. But nothing beats going home to her husband and spending time with her five kids and 15 grandkids. Family time will be the highlight of her retirement, too. Halterman also plans on devoting time and energy on a service-type mission she’s serving with her husband on a farm owned by her church. Along with travel and sewing projects, some of her future will be occupied by focusing on the past while doing family history and organizing photos that have been stored away for years.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Dr. Jan Hansen

Hillcrest High Asst. Principal

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an Hansen’s career in education — from when she started as a paraeducator in 1985 through her current position as a Hillcrest High assistant principal — is a testament to her belief in education. “Always learning,” she says. “Always learning.” Jan became a certified teacher after earning her first degree in 1988, leading to teaching positions in elementary, middle and high schools. Midway through her career, she earned a master’s degree — taking a stunning load of 33 credits one summer — to become an administrator, first at Jordan High 15 years ago and then with the Huskies in 2013. She leveled up again several years later, earning her doctorate degree. She hopes those who’ve been in her educational circle will think back on how she supported them and provided opportunities to grow, develop, and find out who they are. A sign in her office offers the same advice she gives to students: “Go to class. Do the work. Turn it in. Graduate.” Her immediate focus after graduation will be on completing the Spudman Triathlon in Burley, Idaho, with her sister. Tennis, pickleball, golf, art classes, and playing the violin and piano will also fill up her time in retirement. “I’m no good at any of them,” she jokes. We have a hunch she’ll learn everything she needs to improve.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Jane Hereim

Edgemont Elementary Resource Teacher

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t takes some people a while to figure out what they want to do when they grow up, but Jane Hereim knew by the time she was 15. “I was attracted to teaching special ed,” she recalls. “It’s a calling. I was chosen to do this.” Following her heart’s desire, Jane pursued that path and has been on it for four decades. She retired from Canyons last summer after teaching kids with different abilities for 35 years at Canyon View and two years apiece at East Midvale and Edgemont. Post-retirement, Jane is still finding ways to be involved in education. In addition to teaching at a charter school, she also works with refugees from South Sudan. She has a women’s reading group, helping the refugees learn English while exploring different cultures, systems and world views. She is also a member of the Utah Music Teachers Association. She gives piano lessons, taught the flute, and directed the choir at Canyon View. In addition, she helps the homeless, likes to sew and garden, and does volunteer work. If that’s not enough, learning to play the organ is also on her to-do list.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Maureen Howe

Hillcrest High Math Teacher

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illcrest High math teacher Maureen Howe is proof that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. That includes sounding like Edith Bunker when humorously serenading friends at work on their birthday and feeding 3,000 people at her parish’s big spaghetti dinner. The mother of four, who has 10 grandkids and two great-grandkids, even figured out a way to simultaneously work three different jobs, go to college and attend every one of her kids’ performances and athletic events. Her improbable journey to becoming a math teacher started at the age of 40. Though she had struggled in math in school, someone with whom she once worked as a Process and Production Control Analyst identified her as “mathematically gifted.” Her company offered to pay for her higher-ed schooling to get a math degree. After completing an associate degree in mathematics, she mapped out a 10-year course to graduate with bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. She finished up six months early, and began teaching math at Hillcrest 16 years ago. “I love math,” Maureen says. She knows what it’s like to leave a math class confused and disinterested, so she seeks to help students understand. She also loves to cook and bake, and is enrolled in cooking classes. She enjoys quilting and has made each of her kids and grandkids their own camping and University of Utah-themed blankets.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Debra Kyriopoulos

Brighton High Counselor

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fter 15 years of teaching dance and physical education, while enduring various health issues — including some life-or-death experiences — Debra Kyriopoulos decided it was time for a career pivot. “I’m all full of metal,” jokes the self-described bionic woman. She is also full of mettle, which led her to earn a master’s degree and return to help students as a counselor at Brighton High in 2013. Debra describes the shift as going from talking and explaining to listening and offering resources. “I enjoyed that,” she said. “It was a nice transition.” While counseling students, she finds that she’s also receiving something positive, surprising at times, from the interactions. The realization that her life could have been even more challenging — or ended — gives the 24-year educator a different perspective. She enjoys walking and hiking in nature, partly because she knows those activities could have been taken away from her if not for medical intervention. In retirement, she also wants to get into watercolor painting, cooking, traveling, and doting on her granddaughters.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Lisa Latoni

Silver Mesa Teacher

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isa Latoni’s successful corporate career made a detour that was as drastic as moving from New York to the Salt Lake City suburbs. That is, in fact, what happened after Lisa left her position as a senior vice president at an academic book publishing company in Manhattan to eventually become a first-grade teacher in a quaint Sandy neighborhood. The decision to move from publishing books to teaching them was sparked by conversations she had with principals and teachers who’d come into her office and talk about their time in the classroom. “It just sounded so fun and rewarding,” she says. An avid skier, she was drawn to Utah by the beauty and access of the Wasatch mountains after beginning to teach in New York. She’s spent the past 10 years teaching at Silver Mesa Elementary, mostly on the English side of a Dual Language Immersion duo. “It’s all been fabulous,” she said. She has been, too, as her 2019 Silver Mesa Elementary Teacher of the Year award attests. She’ll miss watching her students shine, and will be dearly missed by them. She looks forward to hitting the slopes more often, hiking, camping, gardening, and — like a good bookworm — reading.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Becky Lind

Oak Hollow Elementary Teacher

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ecky Lind is known for her positivity, energy, and passion for teaching. It’s why she was selected as Oak Hollow’s 2022 Teacher of the Year. Simply put, Becky uses her huge heart to bless and influence others’ lives. Sadly, her heart recently experienced a level of agony that every parent fears: the death of a child. Becky is navigating her way through this emotional minefield, in part, by pouring her heart into students and colleagues, as she’s done for the past 15 years. Nobody would have blamed her had she moved up her retirement in bereavement, but Becky wanted to be with her fifth-graders who have shown such compassion upon her return: hugging her, shedding tears with her, and planning ways to brighten her day. Becky considers the countless connections and conversations she’s had with students as a career highlight. While teaching 50 students from five schools online during the pandemic, her fun method of connecting humorously backfired. Students could earn coupons to spin a wheel (virtually) for rewards. She put “Teacher gets pie in the face” on one spoke, thinking to herself, “How often can that happen?” The answer: six times. At least, she surmised, having a half-dozen banana cream pies smashed into her face did motivate a lot of kids to join the online class.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Felix Lopez

Brighton High Custodian

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tudents, parents, faculty and administrators at Corner Canyon and Brighton were fortunate to have the hard-working Felix Lopez on the custodial staff of their high schools at various points between 2017 and ‘21. He was known for being friendly and hard working. There were some pretty interesting things about Felix they might not have known. For example, his English has a distinct accent because he spent the first half of his life in the Dominican Republic. And before moving to Utah from the East Coast to be closer to family, Felix was a taxi driver in New York City. On top of that, the former cabbie also dabbles in writing poems. He’s even published a book of his poetry. A hand injury forced Felix to retire from his duties with Canyons, but he plans on remaining busy. “I’m not planning to die, no,” he said with a grin. The fact he left the hectic streets of New York City in his rear-view mirror offers proof of that.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Sherri McDougal

Hillcrest High Hall Monitor/Campus Security

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sk Sherri McDougal what a hall monitor does at Hillcrest High, and she’ll surprise you with the truth. “Everything that nobody else wants to do.” They retrieve students, take care of the dress code, distribute parking tickets, work in the lunchroom, continuously check bathrooms, help with emergencies, get students if a teacher is having a problem with them in class, and try to monitor anything and everything that goes on in the school and around campus. The Huskies’ three hall monitors are basically the eyes and ears of the school, and the enforcers. This is Sherri’s 19th year patrolling the halls of Hillcrest, and her 28th year overall in education. Though much of her day is spent in disciplinary mode, Sherri said it’s rewarding to see students turn a new leaf and go on to graduate. Sherri’s husband retired last June, and she figured her time had come, too. Along with reading, crocheting and being outdoors, she looks forward to being able to go places where and when she wants — like traveling or going to plays and performances of her 17 grandkids (from her six children). Sherri anticipates things being “a little slower.” Nobody deserves it more.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Libby McShinsky

Alta View Elementary Teacher

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ibby McShinsky’s teaching career got off to a short start. After a couple of years in her early 20’s, she stepped aside to raise a crew of kids that eventually became seven strong. After a couple of decades away from school, a principal asked her to come back and substitute. The principal then convinced her to stay another year, and Libby convinced her to hire her full-time. She renewed her teaching license and career in her forties, and was the English teacher in Alta View Elementary’s Spanish Immersion class for 13 of her 16 years with the Roadrunners. She is known for her class plays, which are an annual end-of-the-year production and a great learning experience for students. There might be extra emotions at her final performances near the end of this school year. Libby decided to go out while she still enjoys teaching, saying, “I think you should retire before you’re exhausted and worn out.” Aside from her plays, she hopes to be remembered as being a nice person, and someone who believes “everybody deserves the opportunity to learn.”

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Karen Millenbach

Indian Hills Middle Teacher

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aren Millenbach’s life is about to turn full circle. In 1987, she began her education career teaching second grade in a small town in New Hampshire. Thirty-five years later, Karen is headed back to The Granite State to enjoy retirement in a splendid setting — a beautiful lake house where she’s spent every summer since she was 2. She’ll hike, camp, and kayak in the summer, and teach figure skating and skiing in the winter. Karen is known for being a straightforward, no-holds barred person who lets students and others know where they stand, a quality stemming from her New England roots. Education is in Karen’s blood. Her father was the superintendent of schools in and around Norwich, Vermont, where she grew up. She studied speech pathology and didn’t necessarily intend to become a teacher but ended on that path. She’s since been a speech therapist, coach of teachers, and has taught second, fifth, eighth, and ninth grades. She will miss skiing in Utah, even though Utah slopes have become more crowded since she followed her brother here decades ago. But her ski partner — her daughter — is graduating from the University of Utah and will likely join her back East.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Moxa Mitton

South Park Academy Teacher

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outh Park Academy teacher Moxa Mitton experienced some unpleasant moments while teaching at the Utah State Prison. On one occasion, her class broke out into a brawl. Another time, a student didn’t take his medication and jumped onto a desk and called the class unto repentance. As far as she was concerned, though, the pros outweigh the cons. She’s entering retirement after teaching inmates for 23 years, wrapping up a forty-something-year career that included a special education stint at Sprucewood Elementary and time at Brigham Young University-Hawaii. She’s proud to have played a role in the transformation of her students, and has “mixed feelings” about moving on. The relocation of the prison prompted her to head into retirement, but she’s certainly made an impact. She’s won about every teaching award to prove it, including Teacher of the Year at South Park, the Utah Adult Education Teacher of the Year, and a special education award. In retirement, she’ll make time to read and play the violin and piano.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Marion Montoya

Alta High Security

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efore coming to Alta High, where she’s done campus security for 14 years, Marion worked in the state’s unemployment office for 15 years and as a TSA agent for 10. She eventually went full-time at the school where she clears halls, makes sure kids are safe, fills in for last-minute substitute situations, and helps teachers when needed. Her most important duty isn’t in the job description: loving students. She prides herself in building relationships with kids and is beloved by many. When word of her retirement spread, students let her know how much she’ll be missed. One girl told Marion, “Sometimes you’re the only reason I come to school.” As much as she loves her job, Marion’s tender care is needed at home with her ailing husband. She plans on knitting, doting on her grandkids, and going on a Mexican Riviera cruise. She’d like to come back to Alta to check up on her students. “Sometimes I feel like they’re my children. I worry about them,” she says. “When I’m at home, I think, ‘Oh, I hope they’re OK. And I hope everybody’s being good to them, being patient with them.’”

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Becky Morgan

Bell View Elementary Resource Teacher

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hen Becky Morgan was a teenager, she got involved in the Special Olympics club at her high school. The choice influenced the rest of her life. “Something just hit me,” she says. “I knew special ed was my thing.” In her special education teaching position at Bell View Elementary, part of a 26-year career in education (split up by a break to raise her kids), Becky has had the privilege of working with some students from the time they enter the school as kindergarteners until they leave at the end of the fifth grade. “I just hope that they all felt like I really cared about them and was proud of their progress,” she says. Retirement comes at a perfect time for the grandma, whose son’s family just expanded with twin babies. The closing of Bell View factored into her decision. “I just decided this is a good time to go out and pack up the stuff,” she says. “I’ve been saying for a couple of years, ‘I’m just going to go down with the ship.’” Many are grateful for how long she helped buoy up this educational vessel and its special passengers.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Christine Morgan

Corner Canyon High CTE Facilitator

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or the past eight years, Chris Morgan has helped Corner Canyon High students figure out what they want to do for their careers. Sometimes an important part of that process is figuring out what they don’t want to do. It’s why she loves setting students up on job shadows, which offer an up-close-and-personal look at a job they might be interested in, getting them to career fairs, and finding internships. Chris gets emotional talking about the emotional investment she makes to help students prepare for adulthood. Though she enjoys being active golfing, biking, hiking, and whatnot, she is committed to being a lifelong learner. She wants to learn to play the piano, and has considered pursuing a twilight career as a landscape architect. Chris will miss the highlight of her days with the Chargers. “The special ed kids are just down the hall,” the former aide and transition specialist said. “Most of them come down the hall and knock on the door or walk in or come say ‘Hi!” every day and get a sticker. I’m going to miss that the most.”

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Shirley Morgan

Crescent Elementary Teacher

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hirley Morgan was a stay-at-home mom of three young kids when her marriage ended and she became their sole financial and emotional provider. Volunteering in her daughter’s first-grade class, helping them read, sparked a solution to a rough situation. Shirley put herself through school and has been teaching for the past 25 years. She’s taught kindergarten for 16 consecutive years at Crescent Elementary, and has been known to compose ad-lib songs that make her students giggle while they learn and complete tasks. Like many educators, Shirley says she could write a book about the darndest things kids say and do. One girl remarked on her height, saying, “You’re kind of the same size as a kid.” Another time, Shirley noticed brown goop dripping from a backpack. Fortunately, she discovered the substance was just melted chocolate ice cream. Say what? Yep, one of her students packed a carton of ice cream in his backpack. “In case I get hungry on the bus going home,” he told her. It melts her heart to reflect on fond memories. In retirement, her days might include reading, gardening, playing with five grandkids, and traveling. … or, blissfully doing nothing.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Mike Moss

Indian Hills Middle Resource Teacher

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oaching football is a passion — and something he plans to keep doing in retirement — so it only figures that Mike Moss took a team approach during his career as a teacher. During 12 years as a resource teacher at Indian Hills Middle, that team included Coach Moss, the District’s Special Education Department, school administrators, parents, and the most important members: students. They were all in it together. “The legacy I hope that I leave is that, ‘Mr. Moss cared about my kid, we had an open line of communication, and that he was there for me.’ ” Moss’s 31-year career began in California. Two decades later, he decided to try a new adventure — teach and coach in Utah. He was already familiar with the state, having worked basketball camps at Brigham Young University and the University of Utah. Moss was pointed in Alta’s direction, and he ended up assisting Les Hamilton’s football teams for 12 years while teaching special ed at the Hawks’ feeder school. “It’s been a good run,” he says. “It’s a great place to live. It’s a great district to be in. The people are really friendly.” CSD’s customer service priority aligned with Moss’s team approach. He was so devoted to his students that he called all 40 special-education kids on his caseload during the COVID-19 shutdown. He simply wanted to let them know they weren’t alone, that their feelings of frustration and stress were valid, and that he had an open ear and was there for them. They were all on the same team, after all.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Sherry Nance

Midvalley Elementary Teacher

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herry Nance believes nine is the perfect age. She should know, too. She has been a fourth-grade teacher for 29 of the 33 years of her career in education. “They know how to do everything,” she says. “You just kind of build on the skills that they already have, and they’re not too smart for their own britches. It’s just a fun age.” Sherry’s desire to teach originated from watching her dad, an Army officer, as he taught German, math, and grammar. Sherry was born in Germany, where her dad was stationed for the first 18 months of her life. She was the “chief milker” as the second-oldest child of nine, growing up on a dairy farm in Smithfield. Milking her family’s 25+ cows from age 11 through 18 meant sacrificing things like school sports but taught her about hard work and accountability. Her dad needed her on the farm so he could teach. Along with spending time outdoors and at the family’s home in St. George, Sherry plans on catching up on her scrapbooking. She’ll also cherish time with her aging parents, her grandkids and her children, one of whom is a pilot and the other a fifth-generation teacher at an elementary school. Fourth grade, of course.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Sheri Palmer

Hillcrest High Head Secretary

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f you’re like Sheri Palmer, you probably have Aug. 15, 2022, circled on your calendar. The reasons are probably different, though. “The day school starts, I will be rafting down the Colorado River,” she says, gleefully. It’s possible she planned that date on purpose. Either way, Sheri is excited for her next adventure after spending 34 years doing office work for Canyons schools, first at the elementary level and, for the past 10 years, as Hillcrest High’s head secretary. Going from making things run smoothly at an elementary school to a high school is an enormous leap. For one thing, the budget she helped keep track of went from about $35,000 to more than $1 million. “It’s impossible to do it by yourself,” she says. That’s why she’s grateful for colleagues. Sheri’s upbeat attitude, and the way she treats others with respect and kindness, have been invaluable assets. Her positive demeanor led a colleague to joke, “You have a way of telling people to go to hell, and they want to do it.” She will be found riding her bike or with her golf partner, Hillcrest Assistant Principal Dr. Jan Hansen, on the links in retirement. She also loves her book club and her favorite hobby: being with her eight grandchildren.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Spring Park

Draper Elementary Secretary

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raper Elementary administrative assistant Spring Park — yes, delightfully, that is her actual name — has a gift with people. They connect with her and feel comfortable around her. She’s a parent whisperer, and for the past 22 years, has been a positive influence on the Dragons, even a few who might be breathing fire. As much as she loves interacting with students and their parents, Spring says it’s the right time to join her husband in retirement and spend more time gardening, interior decorating, and watching her favorite sports teams. She’ll take fond memories with her, like the time a girl had to sit on her lap to put on a band-aid because that’s how it’s done at home, or when a boy struggled to dial the phone number listed on his contact paper because he couldn’t find any dashes on the dial pad. And even the times when fellow retiree Marion Broderick, the head secretary, would hand her the phone to use her special powers on an angry caller. Leaving Draper Elementary is going to be really hard, Spring says. “It’s been an absolute dream job.” 

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Carl Patterson

District Facilities Coordinator

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ood luck trying to get Facilities Coordinator Carl Patterson to choose favorites among the many buildings he supervised while they were being built and renovated during his busy career. The rebuilt Brighton High? Loves it. The built-from-scratch Hillcrest High? Loves it. The updated Alta High? Loves it. Same goes for Draper Park Middle, Corner Canyon High, East Midvale, and … so on. Carl is like a proud parent when it comes to these projects, which have reshaped the educational landscape and increased learning opportunities for tens of thousands of students. “They’re all favorites, right?” he says, smiling. With his 15 years of experience as a general contractor, Carl has been an invaluable asset to Canyons. He speaks contractor and often knows the answers to their questions before they even have questions. And he knows quality work — and the opposite — when he sees it. It’s a source of pride for him to look back and see how much has been accomplished with Canyons since he was hired prior to CSD officially opening. After a 30-year career in educational construction, Carl’s family is ready to have him around more often while his health is good. There’s camping to be done and golf to be played.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Penny Petersen

Brighton High Administrative Assistant

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hen her youngest son began first grade, Penny Petersen asked herself: “What am I going to do all day?” The fortunate answer: work at Brighton High. Petersen, whose first day was Sept. 5, 1972, started in the copy center and later worked in the counseling and records offices. For 30 of her 49 years at Brighton, however, she was also beloved for something she and her late husband, Bryce Petersen, did for the Bengals on their own time. Over three decades, the Petersens took a whopping 40,000-plus photos of Brighton student-athletes. The labor of love began when she volunteered to take photos so she could attend a playoff football game during work hours. That led to her and Bryce becoming team photographers for nine Brighton teams. They were honored with the Utah High School Activities Association Super Fan award, inducted to the Brighton Wall of Fame, and given the Bengal Volunteer of the Year award. Though she loves teenagers and lights up when students walk past her window and wave, Penny is retiring after nearly a half-century. This will give her more time to read, volunteer to cuddle babies at the hospital, and spend time with her grandkids: her “best friends in the whole world.”

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Ann-Marie Proctor

Eastmont Middle Counselor

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fter 20 years of teaching, Ann-Marie Proctor needed a break. “I got tired of grading English papers,” she joked. Honestly, who can blame her? “And,” she added, “I wanted a chance to work with kids in a different way.” She’s spent the past 12 years as a counselor at Alta and Jordan high schools, and is wrapping up her education career at Eastmont Middle. “I’ve enjoyed both,” she said. “Working individually with kids is the best part of both teaching and being a counselor. And sometimes, when you know you helped a kid, that is the best part of all of it.” Ann-Marie has helped countless students, and it’s those sweet memories she will carry with her into retirement, where she plans on making more memories with her “most adorable grandbaby” — she’s got pictures to prove it — and her family. They like to spend time boating and other water sports in a place her four kids call “Freezing Gorge.” She looks forward to traveling, reading (not English papers or counselor reports), cross-stitching, and fondly looking back on an impactful career.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Dr. Suzanne Riches

Hillcrest High Teacher-Librarian

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illcrest High teacher-librarian Dr. Suzanne Riches loves research. “It’s just been my thing,” she says. It’s also the reason why, after figuring out she didn’t like working in software, Suzanne decided to become a library teacher. It paired well with her background in teaching as a T.A. at the University of Illinois and the University of Utah, a professor at Cal State, and an English teacher in Colorado. That avenue eventually led her to Hillcrest eight years ago. “It’s just been really such a good fit,” she says. “It’s great. I love the diversity here. And I’ve loved working with the International Baccalaureate program. …This is the most fun job I’ve ever had.” It’s hard for Suzanne to leave Hillcrest. But she remarried last year after her first husband passed away six years ago, so she’d like to enjoy and explore life with her groom. Golfing and skiing are on her to-do list. “And,” she adds, “I hope to never read another book.” She was joking, of course. “I am going to read, but not so much for school.”

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Rosa Rodriguez

Midvale Elementary Assistant Facilities Manager

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osa Rodrigquez is ready for a well-earned break after a 29-year custodial career at schools in Canyons and elsewhere. The Midvale Elementary Assistant Facilities Manager will miss waking up early (yes, really). She takes pride in getting to school long before others arrive so she can make sure it’s safe and sanitized. She also likes being a good example for her assistant and sweepers. She doesn’t just assign them to clean, she cleans with them. Rosa’s kind heart, playful spirit, and strong work ethic have helped her make an impact on the buildings she’s managed and with people she’s interacted with along the way. When she worked at Albion Middle, a boy chose her to be the subject of a project. He wanted to write about how she was his hero, and his entry won first place in the competition. She still has the paper, which meant the world to her. When she asked him why he thinks she’s a hero, he replied, “I see how you work and I feel so proud of you.” She said:  “I was surprised. …I’ll never forget that.”

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Jason Rogers

Midvale Middle Teacher

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ollowing the lead of his mom and sister, Jason Rogers has been teaching for almost 28 years, a good chunk of which was spent at Midvale Middle teaching English language arts and Spanish. He started at the high school level on the other side of the Rockies, and switched over to middle school when he moved to Utah. He wanted to be able to reach teenagers before they got too set in their ways. Students in his class know that once the bell rings it’s time to get busy learning. But similar to the former cherished public television icon with his name, Mr. Rogers also sprinkles in life wisdom and fun — like putting on a sweater and shoes a la the other Mr. Rogers — while teaching traditional curriculum. The 57-year-old, who’ll now focus on his family and his landscaping business of 20 years, encourages students to hang out with good people so their circle of influence will be positive. Students have come back years after wandering down the wrong path and told him about how they were finally heeding his advice. “It’s not where you start,” he tells them. “It’s where you end up.”

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Jeri Rogers

Alta High Administrative Assistant

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eri Rogers, an administrative assistant in Alta High’s attendance office, has been at the Sandy school so long she can remember when there was a special climatized room to house a computer that was as large as an automobile. Results from attendance cards fed into the machine were printed on large sheets of perforated paper that would get stored (by her) in a big data binder. Only one person — Alta’s 2022 Teacher of the Year Rique Ochoa — has roosted in the Hawks’ nest longer than Jeri. Ochoa started at Alta when it opened in 1979; she began the following year, 1980. The longevity of her 42-year career speaks to the Jordan High alumnus’s devotion to her adopted school. Jeri has been a mainstay in a spot she describes as the school’s “behavioral area.” She and her colleagues assist students who have trouble with tardies, absences and other issues. She’s handled it all like a charm. Now Jeri is eager to spread her Hawk wings and soar away to “a million places,” finish her 91-year-old mom’s genealogy, and study history for fun.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Paul Seaich

District Warehouse Receiving Clerk

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fter working for 40 years as a mechanic, including a 24-year stint with the Salt Lake City Corporation, Paul Seaich was ready for a change of scenery ahead of his retirement days. That led him to a parts-room position in the Canyons School District’s Transportation Department, where he worked for three-plus years. Seaich is thankful for friendships that were formed while there, and especially one with a friendly octogenarian who worked in the warehouse after being a bus driver. They became hiking buddies in and around Big Cottonwood Canyon. Seaich doesn’t want to become a couch potato as a retiree, so he’s taking advantage of extra time to hike, fish, shoot guns, golf, and go on ATV rides with his wife.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

David Selin

Indian Hills Middle Teacher

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ave Selin planned on a later retirement but reconsidered after 24-1/2 years to clear up more time to be with his wife Ida Lynn, who put her occupation to the side to allow him to pursue his education and career. “She was so willing to do that,” he said. “Now, it’s my turn to give back to her, and also to spend time with my grandkids.” Dave, a ham radio operator who loves the outdoors, calls himself “a sports nut,” which is why enjoyed being an assistant basketball coach with the Indian Hills Middle girls basketball team for four years. Whether coaching or teaching U.S. history, he aimed to help students understand their potential and “realize they can do hard things.” Being the only member of his immediate family to have earned a college degree offers a testimony of that. Dave was the National Junior Honor Society chapter adviser, and has good memories of helping with a food drive. One year, he had to rap and dye his hair purple as a reward for students who’d reached a high collection goal. When people gawked at his colorful hair, he’d joke, “Look, it’s my midlife crisis.”

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Jeanne Shaw

Corner Canyon High Speech/Language Technician

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eanne Shaw began her educational career as an English teacher in Japan, of all places. Her husband taught at the UFO Academy (United Friendship Organization), helping Japanese teachers learn to teach English. Jeanne, a media relations manager during the 2002 Winter Olympics, taught ESL classes during the family’s three stints on the East Asian island. When they returned the last time in 2008, she pursued a degree in speech communication disorders at Utah State and proceeded to help students at three different schools, including the past four years on the special education team at Corner Canyon High. One of her favorite group activities is teaching students about ballet and then taking field trips to Ballet West performances. This year, the group read Mickey Mouse Dracula before watching the ballet version of the Transylvanian vampire. They also wrote thank-you notes to the person who donated the ballet tickets. “That was fun,” she says. “And they kept asking me, ‘Can we do that again?’”

Canyons District Retirees 2022

James Sheely

Midvalley Elementary Assistant Facility Manager

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ew people know Elvira and Morticia at Midvalley Elementary. Jim Sheely does, which isn’t surprising considering he has known practically everyone, everything, and every nook and cranny at the school for about four decades as the custodian. Elvira and Morticia are the boilers at the elementary school, by the way. Per tradition, Jim named them — Pete the Dragon’s high-tech replacements — when the school was rebuilt in 2020. Jim has taken great pride in being one of only three custodians the school has had since the original Midvalley opened in 1957. He also proudly kept the schools sparkling clean and in tip-top shape — sometimes with duct tape and glue — for nearly 38-½ years. Jim laughs about the time he was told a bathroom had been covered with a four-letter word that rhymes with scoop. Jim and his senior sweeper were relieved to discover a student had written the word in marker all around the bathroom and hallway. Jim says he’s seen the real No. 2 everywhere it shouldn’t be, too. Yuck! Even so, he’ll miss the young students and friendly Midvalley neighbors, but not the paperwork. Another thing he won’t miss? Opportunities to go hiking and fishing with friends.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Janet Sligting

CSD Human Resources Admin. Asst.

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anet Sligting, who’s worked at the District for the past 11 years in various capacities, is kicking off her retirement like she won the Super Bowl. She’s going to Disneyland! Bonus: Her daughter and family are going with her the first week of June. Janet has worked in the District’s Human Resources Department for seven years. Before that, she worked as an aide at Granite and Sprucewood, and with extended-day kindergarten and as a reading interventionist at Crescent. She’s especially enjoyed her stint in the HR office, where she’s worked with computers, paperwork, and people. She’ll never forget when a young boy at Crescent came into the office and said he’d stuck his hand down a hole in the playground and got bit. The truth came out later, probably somewhere in between when his mom picked him up and when he was about to receive a tetanus shot. Nobody in CSD’s HR office has tried that excuse to get out of work. “I really have enjoyed working for the District,” Janet says. “I’m grateful that I was given the opportunity, and for the things that I’ve learned, and the people I’ve gotten to know.”

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Misty Suarez

Special Education Director

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isty took the path less traveled to becoming a District administrator. She barely got through high school, and then had a baby at age 18. Her mom, concerned about Misty’s future, handed her a check one day and told her, “Go to school. Go do something.” Misty earned a degree in education, igniting a 31-year journey that has taken her from being a paraeducator at the detention center, teaching mental health in elementary and high school, serving as the Mount Jordan Middle principal, and leading as an administrator as Salt Lake City’s Director of Student Services and Canyons’ Special Education Director. She hopes to be remembered as someone who always kept students in mind, and fought for them no matter what. She took the same approach with her team of Special Education specialists the past six years, building trust by being fair, equitable, and transparent in a department with strict legal compliance requirements. Doing so helped reduce staff turnover the past two years. Now, Misty is ready to take a deep breath and do something different. “I’m going to go teach yoga,” she says, smiling. Misty is an avid trail runner, which brings to mind a fitting image of her running off to a different destination where she can enjoy precious moments with her aging mom, her new grandbaby, and one of her guitars. 

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Christy Waddell

Draper Elementary Principal

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fter years of being a teacher and mentor specialist, Christy Waddell figured she’d eventually become a middle school principal. So when she was asked to accept an administration assignment at Butler Elementary while an assistant principal at Eastmont Middle, it took her a few days to mull it over. Then everything changed. “I took the job and, honestly, I feel like I died and went to heaven,” she says. Being an elementary principal for 12 years at Butler and Draper elementary schools felt like her calling in life. Waddell’s goal as a principal was to make a positive difference in the lives of her young students, staff and faculty. Every day was a different adventure. One day she had a student peeing in her office, another day she was being told how much a first-grader loved her earrings, and other days she was participating in an after-school, soul-healing yoga class that her daughter did for the Draper staff. The timing feels right to end this chapter after 32 years in education, but she’ll continue to have adventures with children — her 10 grandchildren, specifically. They’ll travel, hike, and laugh. And, no doubt, they’ll feel like her grandson Bennett when she apologized to him after falling and suffering a serious cut on her arm while they were walking together in the mountains. “Well,” he told her, “I’m just glad I have a grandma that would go with me.’”

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Bruce Wagner

Alta View Elementary Assistant Facilities Manager

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very Friday in the Alta View Elementary lunchroom, Bruce Wagner entertains students with a trivia contest. It would be appropriate if the following questions get included in the final trivia contest of the school year. Q: Who has worked in Canyons District since it opened in 2009, first as a custodian at Hillcrest High, then as a rover, and then for years as an assistant facilities manager at Alta View, after a 25-year career in residential remodeling? A: Mr. Bruce. Q: Who received hearing aids thanks to a Roadrunner teacher who entered him in a contest sponsored by an ear specialist? A: Mr. Bruce. Q: Who has eight kids, 26 grandkids, one great grandkid, and said the following about retirement, “I’m just excited to get away and spend some time with my beautiful wife” with whom he’ll soon celebrate his 46th anniversary on an Alaskan cruise? A: Mr. Bruce. Q: Who has fun with students by doing karaoke and dancing, trivia, and dressing up like an Elf on the Shelf, but looks forward to retiring? A: Mr. Bruce. How’d you guess!? “It’s been good,” he says. “I have regrets here and there of leaving, but I’m ready to retire.”

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Gary Warwood

District Accounting Director

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fter graduating from Brigham Young University, moving to California, and returning to Utah to work for a CPA firm, District Accounting Director Gary Warwood moved into the URS retirement system, er, the educational system for good. He jokes about “the golden handcuffs — the pension” being what kept him in education the past 25 years — one with the Salt Lake District, 16.5 years with Weber and the past eight years at Canyons. But it’s the people he adores most and that will make it hard to move on. “Canyons School District’s been really good for me and really good to me,” he says. Gary said his post-career plans probably include the standard answers, which is perfectly fine with him: golfing, camping, traveling, participating in a fantasy auditing league (OK, the last one was made up). If you need anything from Gary, you’d best talk to him now. Once those golden handcuffs are unfastened, he and his wife have trips booked through March 2023 — first to see “The Passion Play” in Germany followed by a river cruise to Amsterdam in July, then there’s a fishing trip in August, a journey through Ireland in September, a vacation to … well, you get the point.

Canyons District Retirees 2022

Jerrold Webb

District Mail Driver

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errold didn’t intend on starting a second career after investing 45 years at Quality Linen, but a neighbor convinced him to apply at the District for the mail driver position he was leaving. Soon after, Jerrold was driving around in a white sports van, delivering and retrieving packages, letters and supplies throughout the District. Canyons has three mail drivers. Every month, two of them deliver to their routes, each of which spans about half of the District. Meanwhile, the other driver gets a month off before rejoining the driving rotation. “It’s a fun job,” he says. His favorite part for the past 10 years has been meeting and interacting with secretaries and other employees at all of the schools and at the District offices. Jerrold has 11 grandkids and a desire to remain healthy. A former fastpitch softball pitcher, Jerrold remains active at 75 by golfing a couple of rounds each week with a brother. Rumor has it, he can still drive a golf ball 300 yards — with a golf club, mind you, not a District van.

Lucie Chamberlain

Alta View Elementary

If a movie about super teachers were ever made, Lucie Chamberlain would be a prime candidate for a leading role. Fortunately for her kindergarten students at Alta View Elementary, she already thrives in a supporting role for them. Parents thank her for being a “super teacher.” She is also described as an “amazing colleague.” Whether students need help in the classroom or from home while sick, Lucie goes above and beyond to help them learn, overcome fears, and feel important and cared for. Lucie is the reason a number of kids went from hating school to loving it, according to parents. The way she exudes patience, sweetness, positive energy, and love for her students with special needs melts is appreciated and admired. One parent noted: “Both my kids wish she could be their teacher forever.” Another added:  “She treats every student like their learning and their feelings are her priority.” Super teacher, indeed!

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