Jessica Beus is known as the “child whisperer” of Midvale Elementary.
With an exceedingly calm and patient demeanor, coupled with plenty of smiles and fist-bumps, Beus guides her students through the day’s lessons. In turn, her group of third-graders approach their days with eager eyes, grins, and an apparent desire to show their teacher they can do hard things.
“She is an amazing teacher,” says Midvale Elementary Principal Chip Watts, taking care to note that Beus can reach even the toughest of kiddos at the Title I school. “She has a gift that is rare.”
On Tuesday night, Beus, now in her fifth year of teaching, was honored for her teaching talents and skills and a fierce commitment to student achievement at Midvale Elementary. In front of a cheering crowd in the auditorium at Butler Middle School, the Brigham Young University graduate, who has been a Mustang for two years, was named the 2019 Canyons District Teacher of the Year. She is the 10th teacher to be named the top educator for Canyons District. She will now represent Canyons District in the state Teacher of the Year competition.
At the Tuesday night celebration, which was hosted by the Canyons Board of Education, 47 teachers from Canyons District schools and programs were lauded for being named their school’s Teacher of the Year for 2019. Each was nominated by peers, parents and students for the honor, for which they received donated gifts and prizes from local business partners.
From that field, the District chose three finalists representatives from elementary, middle and high school levels. In addition to Beus, the Board gave special honors to Eastmont Middle’s Anna Alger, who was named CSD’s Middle School Teacher of the Year; and Hillcrest theater teacher Josh Long as the Canyons High School Teacher of the Year.
All three received $500 checks from the Canyons Education Foundation. As the overall Teacher of the Year, Beus received an additional $500.
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“There is nothing like coming to a school like this,” Beus says about her role at Midvale Elementary, which earlier this year was given an extension to exit out of turnaround status, which is reserved for schools struggling to increase student achievement scores on year-end assessments. “You know what you are up against. You know you are needed. You know you make a difference every day.”
For her part, Beus says she feels “called” to the teaching profession. “I feel an innate desire to teach,” she says. “I am passionate about the people I work with both my students and colleagues. I simply adore them.”
At the event, Board President Nancy Tingey expressed appreciation for Canyons’ hard-working and dedicated teachers. Tingey joined Board members as they greeted and congratulated all the teachers who were honored on Tuesday night.
“As the highlights were read and we shook hands, I had a glimpse into each of your classrooms. I know that what is being celebrated here tonight is representative of classroom experiences throughout the district every school day, every year, for every student,” she said. “The positive influence and knowledge you and your fellow educators impart to young people strengthens our community and individual lives in immeasurable ways. Words cannot adequately express the gratitude we have for the wonderful work you are doing. So please accept this simple and heartfelt ‘thank you!'”
The Board of Education presented each of the school-based Teachers of the Year with a crystal award. The teachers also received a Real Salt Lake jersey and tickets to a May 24 Real Salt Lake game. On that night, which is Canyons District Night at Rio Tinto, all school-based Teachers of the Year will be honored on the field during halftime.