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Honoring Canyons Paraeducators with 2024 Outstanding Paraeducator Awards

It’s been said, “together everyone achieves more,” which certainly applies to the classroom as administrators, teachers, paraeducators, and a bevy of staff members work yearlong to ensure Canyons District students graduate college- and career-ready.

Each year, the Canyons Office of Special Education & Related Services acknowledges the hard work and dedication of the numerous paraeducators working across the District. Staff members nominate paraeducators who they see going above and beyond in the classroom using a rubric looking at how paraeducators are bringing positive changes to their classrooms, how they build relationships with staff, students, and parents, how they enhance the classroom, among other traits.

“When I first started as a paraeducator, my mentor teacher told me, ‘You’re only as good as the paraeducator in your classroom,’ and I really believe that,” says Special Education Program Administrator Linda Hall. “If you have a really good paraeducator your classroom runs smoothly because they are your right and left hand.”

This year, 10 paraeducators were surprised with the 2024 Outstanding Paraeducator Awards. They were given a keepsake along with a gift card and Nothing Bundt Cakes along with a banner to be hung in their school.

“Our paraeducators are an amazing, vital part of our system,” Hall says. “They are in the trenches every day with the teachers, the show up every day and do such a great job with our students, and we need to recognize them.”

In recognition of the heavy responsibilities paraeducators shoulder, the Canyons Board of Education approved a one-lane increase for all paraprofessionals — the approximately 300 employees categorized as Early Childhood Paraeducators, Paraeducators, Paraprofessional Educators, and Registered Behavior Technicians.

“We want them to know they are an important part of our education system, and we want to reward them for that,” Hall says.

2024 Outstanding Paraeducator Award Recipients:

Bella Vista Elementary – Sarah Losee

Brookwood Elementary – Raquel Hinz

Crescent Elementary – Megan Nay

Granite Elementary – Hilary Johnson

Sandy Elementary – Ana Suastequi

Midvale Middle School – Mychelle Castro E Silva

Mount Jordan Middle School – Kendra Plant

Jordan Valley – Nikki Gardner

Life Skills Academy – Amie Palmer

Hillcrest High School – Bridget Elbortoukaly

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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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