‘Fired up’ new employees welcomed to District at Canyons’ traditional BBQ event

“Fired up!” wasn’t the official theme of the 2022 “Team CSD” New Employee BBQ on Wednesday, Aug. 3 at Alta High, but it could have been.

Grills were fired up to cook hot dogs for the large gathering of new employees and their families. Principals, District administrators and Board members were fired up to meet and greet 200-plus educators and Education Support Professionals who joined Canyons over the summer. The guests of honor — CSD’s recently hired employees — were also fired up to attend this party. They’re even more fired up to get the 2022-2023 school year under way.

“I’m so excited!” exclaimed Riley Howell, a recent Utah State graduate who will teach fourth grade at East Midvale Elementary. “I’m looking forward to just making a difference and at the end of the day feeling fulfilled. Children, they’re my favorite people to be with. They have so much wonder and so much inspiration. I just want to be able to help them feel comfortable and feel like they have a voice and they can express themselves. … I’m just excited to meet them. I want to meet them so bad.”

This is the second year the CSD Board of Education, Administration and Canyons Education Foundation has teamed up to sponsor a special BBQ party to welcome new recruits. Corner Canyon High cheerleaders greeted newcomers as they entered the special event on a red carpet on the Alta High track. The Hawks’ celebrated drumline started the night off with a big bang as the first entrants arrived. In addition, there were vendor booths with samples and prizes. Employees and their guests were treated to hot dogs, chips, Krispy Kreme doughnuts and bottles of water.

Howell, like other new employees, was all smiles at the party, which took place after three days of teacher training sessions.

“Canyons District treats their teachers so well and wants them to be super prepared and just ready and comfortable,” Howell said. “I feel like everyone’s really welcome.”

Ed Barney and his significant other got the party started Wednesday night as the first to walk down the red carpet. Barney had taken some time off after teaching at the college level for 13 years, and he’s raring to help students in his new position teaching medical assisting at the Canyons Technical Education Center. The one-year course covers anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, lab processing, and health science.

“It looked like fun,” Barney said. “I saw (the job opening) online and thought, ‘Why not?’ I enjoy teaching. I kind of missed it.”

Javier Azcaarate-Ayarra was among the enthusiastic group of new Dual Language Immersion teachers who are joining Canyons District from around the world. He relocated to Utah from Pamplona, Spain, for a position as the Spanish-speaking DLI teacher at Alta View Elementary.

The Spanish teacher wasn’t too familiar with Utah prior to being hired by Canyons, but he was impressed with the District’s superb DLI program, which has a terrific reputation around the world. He’s been blown away by the welcome the DLI teachers have received by the District.

“I’m really happy, excited, motivated,” Azcaarate-Ayarra said. “It’s a challenge, I know, but we’ll try to do our best as teachers. It’s worth coming here.”

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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!

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