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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

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