Before schools welcomed students for the first time this school year, Canyons District’s Special Education Department gathered for some professional development and to acknowledge the accomplishments of seven of their colleagues.
On Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, some 200 teachers and related-service providers filled the auditorium and classrooms at Corner Canyon High School as they participated in the District’s sixth annual Special Education Opening Institute. After Superintendent Jim Briscoe addressed the audience, this year, for the first time, the District honored seven individuals nominated by their colleagues for their excellent work with students.
“Last spring each of you were given an opportunity to nominate individuals who you, as teachers and related-service providers, want to recognize as the individuals in our schools who routinely take the ordinary and turn it into the extraordinary,” Canyons District Special Education Director Robin Collett told the crowd. “Your choices represent us well and we look forward to this tradition continuing for years to come.”
The professionals recognized in seven different areas are as follows:
- Preschool: Deborah Willoughby, Sandy Elementary and Midvale Elementary
- Elementary School: Shelley Phillips, Park Lane Elementary Accommodated Core
- Middle School: Melody Andrus, Butler Middle School
- High School: Anne Behrent, Alta High School
- School Psychologist: Megan Terry, Copperview Elementary
- Speech Language Pathologist: Amy Tyrell, Copperview Elementary
- Related-Service Provider: Sue Mikel, physical therapist
Colleagues nominated Willoughby for her ability to create learning opportunities that help her students grow and progress. She works to build a positive relationship with each student and brings a positive energy into the preschool.
Phillips was nominated for her skills in working with students with autism. She effectively keeps all of her students engaged in classroom learning and provides much needed structure.
Andrus goes above and beyond to make sure her students have every opportunity to be successful, her colleagues have observed. She is an advocate for her students, a great mentor and friend for teachers, and she is a leader at Butler Middle School.
Behrent has helped to make Alta High more accessible for all special education students. She was nominated for her dedication to excellence in education for all students and for all teachers, but she is especially a champion of special education students.
Terry’s patience and enthusiasm while working with students and others is inspiring to her colleagues. She is recognized for her calm, precise thinking and dependability in stressful situation.
Colleagues nominated Tyrell for her willingness to share her expertise and experiential knowledge. She looks at the positive aspects of what her students can do and taps into their deficits, all while providing skills for life.
As a physical therapist, Mikel works with students at all of Canyons’ schools, except for Jordan Valley. Colleagues say her enthusiasm for work is contagious and her problem-solving skills are inspiring.