An Open House for Pat Ward and Carolyn Brooks
will be Friday, May 5, 2-3:30 p.m.
in the gym at Sunrise Elementary, 1542 E. 11245 South, Sandy
An Open House for Georgia Bruening, Teresa Hunter, Kathy Leatherwood, and Barbara Hickok
will be Wednesday, May 10, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
at Indian Hills Middle, 1180 E. Sanders Rd, Sandy
An Open House for Marianne Watts
will be Friday, May 12, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
in the media center at Willow Springs Elementary, 13288 Lone Rock Dr, Draper
An Open House for Wayne Jones, Marian Gladbach, Kevin Mark, and Mark Petersen
will be Friday, May 12 at 2:30 p.m.
in the media Center at Jordan High School, 95 E. Beetdigger Blvd. in Sandy
An Open House for Sallianne Wakley and Sharee Jorgensen
will be Monday, May 15, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
in the Canyons Center at the Canyons District Office, 9361 s. 300 East, Sandy
An Open House for Nicole Clark, Julie Epperson and David Olsen
will be Monday, May 15, 3:30-5 p.m.
at Butler Middle School, 7530 S. 2700 East, Cottonwood Heights
An Open House for Sheradee Bradfield and Lee Ann Oliverson
will be Monday, May 15, 3-4:30 p.m.
in the forum at Midvale Middle School, 7852 South Pioneer St., Midvale
An Open House for Darwin Melville and Phil Sorg
will be Wednesday May 17, 2-4 p.m.
in the Media Center at Corner Canyon High.
An Open House for Marsha Wallin
will be Friday, May 19, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
in the Media Center at Brookwood Elementary, 8640 S Snowbird Drive, Sandy
An Open House for Danna Caldwell
will be held Friday May 19, 2-4 p.m.
in the library at East Midvale Elementary, 6990 S. 300 East, Midvale
An Open House for Dr. Robert Dowdle
will be Wednesday, May 24, 3-5 p.m.
in the Board Room at the District Office, 9361 S 300 E, Sandy
It’s salt-of-the-earth people like Ted Bennett, who has worked in — and on — schools for decades, who help make CSD a great place to be. Bennett has worked as the general trade lead for five years. He’s also been on the grounds crew, worked at the central warehouse, done general trades welding, and fulfilled the District’s glazier role. He, his hard work and handiwork will be missed. “I’ve gotten to know a lot of people over the 38 years,” he said. “That’s what I’ll miss is the people.” Bennett takes pride in accomplishing his goal of becoming the lead. “I think I've done a decent job, you know?” he said. “It put food on the table. It didn't make me rich, but I've always had sufficient for my needs. I put three sons on missions and we've never really wanted for a whole lot, so that's great.” Bennett’s four children and 10 grandkids live in Utah, so they’ll get good grandpa time in his retirement. He plans on doing yard work, gardening, and fishing. “I got a lot of stuff that I like to tinker with at home,” he said. “I might get antsy and have to find something, but for now I just want to take some time off, see what’s out there, and do something new.”
Proving to herself and the world that she can do hard things, Barbara Blaser worked two jobs to support her young family while going back to school as a single mother before becoming a teacher. She even earned her four-year degree in three years. Blaser carried that focused determination and passion into what turned out to be a rewarding 35-year career in education in Idaho and Utah. Over the years, she’s taught all grade levels from first to eighth grade. Her tenure with Canyons school began in 2008 when she taught the sixth-grade gifted-and-talented program at Ridgecrest Elementary. After bouncing around grades a bit, she helped start the Dual Language Immersion program with first-graders. Blaser has taught second-graders at the school in recent years. “I love the kids,” she said with a smile. It’s elating when she helps a student grasp a concept and they’re inspired to learn more. Her reward: “Just seeing that light go on in their eyes.” In retirement, Blaser plans on organizing her family history materials and stories to pass onto her children. She hopes to finish four books she’s started. A former ski instructor, she also hopes to hit the slopes again now that she’s healed from two knee surgeries. There’s also traveling, exploring and family time in store for her future. “I just want to get healthy and enjoy life.”
For the past 30 years, Sheradee Bradfield has taught tech, geography and history at Midvale Middle. “My favorite thing is when my students get something and then their eyes light up,” she said. “It never gets old.” Spending time with students never gets old for Bradfield, either. “We laugh a lot. We have fun,” she said. “I've worked here long enough that I've seen my students grow up to do amazing things.” After teaching in the same school for three decades, Bradfield said she has taught a few children of former students, which makes parent-teacher conferences more like a family reunion. She considered going into broadcasting and computers, but, deep down, she knew that being a teacher was her destiny. Seeing her students succeed — like the one who grew up nearby and is now a lawyer — affirms that she made the right career choice. Bradfield, a young retiree, plans on helping a friend start a podcast. She would also like to return to her school on a part-time basis, perhaps as a mentor or hall monitor. The Jordan High alumna loves the people there that much. Midvale has always felt like her second home. “Some of my best friends work in this building,” she added. “They're incredibly good people.”
Receiving her school’s Teacher of the Year award in 2011 came during a challenging period for Carolyn Brooks. She had a large class of 33 students and had just finished her Master’s degree in technology literacy. It was validating for the Sunrise Elementary teacher. Teaching students a variety of subjects and disciplines gives her a sense of purpose in her career. “I love the interconnectedness,” she said. “I love learning. And I like seeing my students in that process. When they're really excited about learning, they're happy, they start getting it and they find it interesting, I think that’s the best part of it.” Brooks, who’s with fourth-graders this year but taught fifth grade for most of her 18 years at Sunrise, began teaching in the 1970s. She jokes about having one of the shortest ID numbers. After raising her kids, working elsewhere and life circumstances, Brooks returned to the classroom in her 40s. She’s invested in her students and will miss them dearly. But after 24 years of teaching, the time feels right to try new things. “I'll miss the community. I'll miss the kids, but I'll always have the shared experiences,” she said. “I tell them to always let me know what happens in their life and that I’ll always be interested in what you’re doing.”
Morgan Brown, whose educational career began four decades ago at Woods Cross High, has been an Alta High institution since landing a job at his dream school in 1989. He has coached multiple sports, taught P.E., math and driver’s ed, and led the Athletic Department for 22 years. Brown cherishes his 27 years on the road with student drivers. And, yes, he has stories — like how the brakes overheated near Brighton Ski Resort or when a pupil got into a fender-bender, or the time he was driven into a snowbank. “Some people think I’m crazy, but I enjoyed going out with the kids,” he said. “I’ve had kids that I’ll just remember forever.” Brown, Utah’s Athletic Director of the Year in 2018, has overseen much athletic success at Alta. He was surprised this year by being inducted into the Alta Coaches Hall of Fame and calls his career a “great ride.” Brown and his wife, a retired teacher who works part-time at Alta, have a trip planned to Europe. He anticipates doting on kids and grandkids in St. George and Florida, and he’ll certainly find time to golf. Brown estimates that he’s taught and driven with about 20,000 students. His own children tease him about not being able to go anywhere without running into someone who knows him. And to know Morgan Brown is to love him.
Danna Caldwell’s retirement plans are ambitious. She’s raising her two young grandchildren and moving to Oklahoma. Caldwell will definitely miss Utah where her roots and sisters are. She’ll also miss teaching the fifth-graders at East Midvale, where her heart has been for the past 18 years since she returned from an extended teaching break in the Sooner State. Caldwell embraced working at a Title I school and will miss the kids and families she’s loved on for nearly two decades. “I've loved working at East Midvale,” she said. “I know a lot of people think it's challenging and it is, but I feel like you can do things to help these kids out.” Overall, she’s been in education for nearly 26 years, and her students still make her smile every day. She’s enjoyed their excitement as they soak up what she teaches about social studies, science, and even math. She likes sharing her patriotism and love for U.S. history — showing kids how current events correlate to the past — and often helps the 10-year-olds go from disliking math to loving the subject. “I just have fun,” she said. “And that's what's great because these fifth-graders, they buy into (the fact) that they can learn. They learn, they want to know more, and they're fun.”
Though she’s a seventh-grade math teacher, math isn’t the only thing Nicole Clark has helped students with at Butler Middle. Clark was a math aide before returning to earn a Master’s Degree and become a full-time teacher. She believes most teenagers want to do well even if they occasionally behave otherwise. She has appreciated being there with them, trying to spark progress and help nudge them toward a more positive track. The key is finding a way to connect with the students and to work with them where they are. Because of the stigma that can be associated with the subject, Clark occasionally helps students work on this equation: Math x Mindset = Fun + Success. “I think it’s fun when kids get it because a lot of times kids come in thinking this is really hard or they can’t do it,” she said. “And every once in a while, you get a kid that you can change that mindset and that’s really fun.” Clark is grateful that she’ll have more time to help take care of her aging parents. She’s hoping to exercise more, hike, camp, play tennis, travel, volunteer, and maybe even do substitute teaching, as she joins her husband in an early retirement. “I'm excited to have the flexibility in my schedule,” she said. “We've got that opportunity to have that freedom to kind of do what we wanna do.”
It took decades, cross-country moves, job changes, a divorce, motherly advice, returning to college, and other twists of fate before Victoria Dipietro finally landed a job as a first-grade teacher in 1996. Remarkably, Dipietro hasn’t budged from her school, that grade level or even her classroom for 27 years. She absolutely adores teaching first-graders. “I love seeing them grasp new concepts. The world’s kind of an open book for them,” she explained. “When that light comes on for them and they just make this jump and take off, it's really fun.” Dipietro feels at peace with her decision to move forward in life after so many years of wrangling first-graders and doing lesson plans. Now, Diepietro will assist her 92-year-old mother and help her daughter, who’s expecting her fourth child soon. She will take adult piano lessons from her kids’ 85-year-old piano teacher after summer. She’ll paint, sew, and work on other craft projects. She’s excited to spend time with a dear friend from high school, whom she humorously told: “Now we can play any time of day, not just in the evening or weekends.” By the way, if Dipietro shows back up in her classroom at Granite Elementary this fall, it might not just be out of habit. She’s already volunteered to help the school’s new team of first-grade teachers.
It makes sense that Dr. Robert Dowdle has lived at the base of Mount Olympus for most of his life. After all, Dowdle has been a titan in education for 35 years. The influence he’s had in Canyons District — as the Assistant Superintendent, a school administrator and social studies teacher — has been herculean. Dowdle considers pursuing a career in education and working with children, their families and fellow educators to be one of his best life decisions. Those who’ve seen him in action agree. He’s overseen Canyons’ academic teams, schools, central operations, curriculum, and transportation. Thousands have benefited from his work. Dowdle will certainly keep busy in retirement. He’ll pour more of his time into making custom hardwood tables, cutting boards, and other creations in his woodshop. He’ll continue building aesthetician and cosmetology studios at home for two of his daughters. A grandfather of 12, he also looks forward to serving people, while staying fit, cycling, hiking, skiing and playing pickleball. He’s committed to learning Spanish to communicate with his Chilean wife of 39 years and her family in their native language. Becoming bilingual, like his four daughters, will help on an upcoming months-long journey in South America. Dowdle’s family will continue to be his top priority. “One thing I've repeated to the high school principals over and over is, ‘I work to live. I don't live to work,’” he said. “I’m an assistant superintendent at a school district, but the first thing I want to talk about is my wife and kids.”
Pamela Doyle was raised in Virginia and is retiring as a school psychologist from Midvale Elementary, so it only makes sense that her 42-year career began as a teacher on a Navajo reservation in Arizona. “I was always drawn to the kids in my classroom who had behavior and learning issues. Those were the kids that really interested me, but I didn't really know how to help them,” said Doyle, who decided to get a psychology degree after six years of teaching. From early on, Doyle adopted a mission of helping teachers understand and teach kids with special needs and nudge them onto a successful path. Her work has taken her to Park City, Idaho, and elsewhere, and she says her five-year stint at Midvale has been most gratifying. “This has been the hardest and the most rewarding place,” she said. “There have been some deep, dark days and some elated days, just the gamut.” Pandemic-related behavioral difficulties certainly didn’t help matters, but, to Doyle’s credit, she decided to stay one more year. She wanted to help more kids and go out on a positive note. She and her husband bought a house on a beautiful, pristine lake in Arkansas, where they’ll spend time in retirement fishing, boating, kayaking, and just relaxing. He also hopes to volunteer at children’s hospitals. Wherever retirement takes her, Doyle will continue to do what she’s done for decades — help children.
As she ponders her retirement — after teaching off and on since 1986 — Shelly Edmonds envisions breathtaking locales and exhilarating experiences around the globe. The Hillcrest High English teacher pictures herself lying on a beach in Greece and taking picturesque river cruises in Europe and down the Mississippi. Let’s be real. After years of grading papers, just about anywhere in the world where there aren’t sophomore essays seems like an ideal vacationing spot. Jokes aside, Edmonds, who’s earned Hillcrest’s Teacher of the Year honors, has enjoyed teaching English and literature to teenagers. “It's so neat to see that look on their faces when they just get it, when their eyes get big, their mouth drops open or they come up with something that is more eloquent than I could say,” she said. She calls her co-workers “witty, caring, compassionate and committed” and says she’s going to miss them a lot. Edmonds said she’s retiring, in part, to take care of her two “grumpy old men” — her husband, a former Jordan District high school administrator, and her dad. She has started approximately “a million quilts” that she wants to finish. Her cocker spaniels, Emma and Sparky, will love the extra attention they’ll get. She also hopes to do more community service, well, unless it includes essays. “I don't have any hobbies other than grading papers right now,” Edmonds said, smiling. “I'm looking forward to getting some hobbies.”
The bulk of Julie Epperson’s career has involved working with kids. Along with being a mother, she’s been a teacher, became proficient in art therapy, earned her graduate degree, worked in the domestic violence arena, and spent the past nine years as a school psychologist. Her positive impact has been widespread. “I’ve enjoyed the students and have seen it all pretty much,” she said. With more kids coming to school with increased social-emotional challenges, Epperson’s job has not been easy. Thank goodness there are people like her to provide support and skills development. It melts her heart when students show progress, gain self-confidence and start feeling good about themselves. In her words: “Being able to say to a kiddo, ‘You don’t need my support anymore. You’re doing great!’ — that’s been rewarding.” Though Epperson’s large office window offers a stunning view of the Wasatch mountains, she’s willing to give up that prized possession to soak up scenery in the great outdoors. She hung up a map of the U.S. national parks, showing which natural treasures she’s visited and which ones are on her retirement to-do list. “My husband and I have a new little RV that we wanna get out, do some more exploring,” she said of her mountain biking, fly fishing, and hunting plans. She will miss the view from — and inside — Butler Middle, though.
Though she is not a math teacher, Denise Ferguson tabulated an astounding figure regarding her four-decade career at Alta High. “I figure between 1982 and all the years that I was an AP reader I have read over 40,000 student essays,” she said. “And I think, ‘Wow, that’s a lot.’” Ferguson, who studied journalism at Brigham Young University, pressed pause on teaching in the 1980s to raise her three children. She continued grading AP essays for 13 years before returning to full-time in 2002. She’s wrapping up her 21st year with the yearbook and has helped students publish the now-online school paper, the “Alta Hawkeye.” She is proud — and rightfully so — of establishing a widely modeled AP language program and of her work with students on the award-winning and nationally respected yearbook. “It’s a very team-oriented thing,” she said of the yearbook, which involves her teaching, supervising and collaborating with graphic designers, photographers, writers, and other staff members. That connection has continued in an unexpected way for some former students. “I’ve had five or six marriages out of the yearbook staff over the years,” she said. In retirement, Ferguson is excited to golf, swim and exercise on her own timeline. One thing she’ll give up? Reading essays. “That,” she said, “is the one thing I’m looking forward to not having to do.”
Over the past 13 years, Mark Forman has helped guide Canyons District through what you could call an alarming situation. That’s a good thing, by the way. Thanks to his diligent work updating fire- and security-alarm systems, Canyons is a safer and more secure place than it was before the District was created (when it wasn’t uncommon to have 27 false fire alarms in a single month). Processes that Forman instituted around CSD have even been adopted elsewhere in the state. Forman enters retirement healthy after undergoing a successful back surgery, which will allow him to help his wife, work on projects around the house, and restore hot rods and his 1949 Jeeps. He’s also eager to attend his grandkids’ games and events, and go four-wheeling, hiking, camping, and exploring the outdoors, which will include researching old mining claims and searching for a 6-foot-wide petrified tree he saw a half-century ago in Southern Utah. After working in construction and security for the past 54 years, Forman is following the advice he received from old farmers when he was a teenager. “I’d always ask them, ‘So, how do you live so long?’” They’d tell him, “You’ve got to age gracefully. You’ve got to be able to learn when it’s time to let somebody else do the hard stuff.” Forman is finally doing just that. Don’t be alarmed. He left the District in great shape.
It’s no wonder why Kelly Gill looks back on her 26-year educational career with fondness. For starters, Gill has embraced working with children. “I really tapping into where their strengths are and trying to pull out the best in every student,” she said. Then there’s the fact that, between her decade-plus tenure in Texas to the past 12 years at Willow Springs Elementary, her time in teaching has been packed with interesting activities and opportunities. Fun memories include annually putting on class plays, earning Teacher of the Year honors, guiding her classes to Canyons District Film Festival participation and wins, digging a path to the front door of her outdoor portable classroom during huge snowstorms, and working on education issues as a teacher fellow in the Hope Street Group Utah Teacher Fellowship program. She even traveled to Finland with the Global Education Association and learned how the world’s education leaders taught their children. Hundreds of kids over the years were fortunate to get an up close and personal view of her teaching methods, too. In particular, she has really loved imparting her passion for reading and writing onto younger generations. Already a published author, Gill plans on writing children’s books in retirement. “I’ve always enjoyed writing,” she said. “So, I figure, why not!?” She’ll also spend time hiking, working out, exploring the world, and being with family and friends.
Marian Gladbach, who moved often with her military husband, has taught in two foreign countries and seven different states for a total of 38 years. But she has a special place in her heart for the special education students she’s taught at Jordan High for the past 14 years. She has a special space in her classroom for them, too. Gladbach has placed on a bulletin board photos of every senior she’s taught at Jordan since 2009. Her students love the tribute wall. They light up when they return to visit her and look for their photos. Gladbach hopes that ongoing connection is a sign that she made a difference. “You don’t know what you said or did to strike a chord in any student,” she said. “You just do the best you can every day.” Gladbach’s unique balance of empathy, discipline and no-nonsense style helped her garner respect and connect with students. Her students can feel that she cares deeply. She’ll take retirement as it comes. Maybe she’ll volunteer or get a part-time job at Costco. “I said long ago that I did not want to be wrestling with kids after I was 65,” she said. “It's just time. I want to do other stuff.” One thing is certain. She’ll be there to take photos of her seniors at graduation.
When people speak well of Katherine Grimm, it’s definitely deserved. After all, she’s been helping people speak well for more than 20 years. In recent years, Grimm, a speech language pathologist, has focused her efforts on working with students from Canyon View and Lone Peak elementary schools. Grimm particularly loves helping the little children. It breaks her heart to discover that some have been picked on because of struggles with their speech and other challenges in that realm. “When they feel better about themselves, because they can speak better and more clearly, that’s a good thing,” she says. Originally from Florida, where her mom still lives, Grimm has bounced around the country studying and practicing her profession. She worked in Arizona and returned to her college stomping grounds, South Carolina, eight years ago to try something new before winding up again in Utah, where her grandkids and heart remained. In retirement, Grimm will have flexibility to tend to her 93-year-old mom in the Sunshine State. She anticipates taking the opportunity to travel for fun, including a possible cross-country drive. She loves helping children, so it’s possible she’ll end up working on a part-time basis. “You never know,” she admitted. The beauty of retirement? She doesn’t need to know yet. She’s earned a break.
After seeing how much her son with disabilities benefited from a transition program in the 1990s, Pamela Hansen knew she wanted to become a paraeducator. “I just saw what it did for him,” she said. “It prepared him for life after school.” Years later, Hansen followed a path that helped her help others in need. Her journey to Canyons Transition Academy, where she worked for most of the past decade, included her earning a grant to go back to college in her 50s. She had initially intended to go into elementary education, but career took a detour as she processed loans for an insurance company before focusing her full-time attention on her five boys. Interestingly, Hansen has picked up a hobby of toiling away at algebra workbooks. It’s her version of Sudoku. She also enjoys watching British movies and PBS. She’s even considering substitute teaching on a part-time basis at CTA. Her adult son, Michael, still lives with her, but Hansen’s other service-oriented boys have relocated elsewhere with her 14 grandkids. She plans on taking time in retirement to visit them, including a son who’s about to move to Japan. Hansen beams while talking about her boys, who continually make her day when they call in to check on her. “I loved it,” she said of raising them as a single mom. “It was great to feel content when everybody thought I should be so miserable. Boys treat their moms well.”