Family Connections

Getting Involved





Getting Involved

Celebrating Exceptional Educators in an Exceptional Year

Patience and optimism are two qualities special education teachers have in abundance — reserves they’ve had to draw upon this year in meeting challenges posed by the COVID-19 health crisis.

But by the looks of their classrooms, you wouldn’t know the extra work they’ve shouldered to ensure students succeed. To hear the happy sounds of play and learning is to know students are safe and that, no matter how they’re learning — from home or in the classroom — they feel challenged and connected.

Each year, CSD’s Office of Special Education and Related Services recognizes a special group of special education professionals with Exceptional Service Awards. This year’s awardees are exemplary of the caliber of instruction delivered each day with patience and care in schools throughout the District.

Sophia Kaihatu     

East Sandy Elementary

Sophia Kaihatu was months into her first year as a teacher when Utah’s schools were dismissed to slow the spread of COVID-19. But like an acrobat she deftly adapted to ever-changing safety protocols and the disruptions of quarantines, pouring her heart into her students while encouraging them to meet high expectations. She works with her colleagues, both within Sandy Elementary’s ABS unit and general education classrooms, to maintain a culture of inclusion. In Sophia, students have a mentor and ally. They trust her and, through her calm guidance, have acquired the confidence needed in this most challenging of years to try hard things. 

Heidi Owen     

Altara Elementary

Heidi Owen has the ability to bring humor to any situation. Her infectious smile and personality bring light and laughter to the most stressful and challenging situations. The speech language pathologist works in collaboration with Altara Elementary’s preschool teachers and parents to devise just the right supports and tools to help students learn and thrive at school and at home. She is innovative in her use of technology and genuinely enjoys working with students and seeing them make progress.

Amanda Rasmussen     

Midvalley Elementary

Like all great special education teachers, Amanda Rasmussen understands the science behind instruction. She also knows it takes heart and an army of caring adults to help students reach their goals. A go-it-alone attitude won’t get you very far in education, which is why Amanda works so hard building relationships with her colleagues and communication tools so that all of Midvalley Elementary’s aides, therapists, and general and special education teachers know the instructional supports students need. Amanda has changed ow special education looks, sounds, and feels at Midvalley, contributing to a learning environment where all students thrive.

Allyson Clark     

Jordan Valley Preschool

Allyson Clark has a level of intuition that can’t always be taught. Becoming part of the special education family can be intimidating for families of preschool-age children. But as Jordan Valley School’s parents are introduced to the Individualized Education Process process for the first time, she brings a sense of calmness and compassion to the meeting, explaining each step concisely and at a level parents can understand. It’s with this same empathy, kindness, and skill that “Ally” approaches teaching, her dedication to students matched only by her capacity for innovation.

Share This Post

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!

Specialty Schools

High Schools

Elementary Schools

Middle Schools

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Statement

Canyons School District is committed to making this website compliant with the ADA. At this time, we recognize that not all areas of this website may be ADA compliant. We are currently in the process of redesigning and creating new website content to be compliant with the W3C Level Two guidelines. If you are experiencing issues with this website, please contact us here