Here’s a tip for anyone at Albion Middle who is having a bad day. Take a trip down the hall to visit Emma Coates’ classroom. Even on a Monday, she’ll make you smile. She always has a smile of her own, a quick joke, or a quirky story to lift the spirits of anyone around her. She is known as the unsung hero of Albion, with the uncanny ability to find students in the school who feel invisible and lonely and make them feel powerful, capable and successful. Her students praise Coates for the ability to make school a happier place to be while providing fun and interesting instruction. For these reasons and more, Albion Middle is excited to announce Coates as the school’s 2018 Teacher of the Year.
At Butler Middle, students, teachers and co-workers give an “aaayyyy” and two thumbs-up to Paul Fonnesbeck, a Healthy Lifestyles Teacher known to the school as “Fonzie.” Maybe the “Happy Days”-inspired nickname came because Fonnesbeck makes everything cool, from physical education to health. He works with the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center to expand PE classes so students can experience swimming, ice skating, pickle ball and wallyball. Fonzie may have 400 students, but he reaches out to each one and finds a way to connect with humor and passion, patience and kindness. Congratulations to Fonnesbeck, Butler Middle’s 2018 Teacher of the Year.
What happens when you take a former music teacher and put her in kindergarten? Magic. In Joani Bell’s kindergarten class at Oak Hollow Elementary, students learn songs about colors, letters, shapes, patriotism, math facts, spelling and letter sounds. Many 5-year-olds leap from lagging to mastering math homework without help, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, reading, writing sight words, counting to 10 in Spanish and French and recognizing rhyming words. In Bell’s class, learning feels like playing, and her kindergarteners love to learn every day. Oak Hollow is proud to select Bell as the 2018 Teacher of the Year.
Melody Watson could teach you a history lesson on the way a school can change over the years. She has been at Willow Springs Elementary since the Draper-area school opened, and has survived many modifications, from teaching year-round school to switching back to traditional, changing grades and learning new technology. Now she is one of the school’s technology experts, as the first to introduce a one-to-one, technology-infused classroom at Willow Springs. Through it all, she expects every student to succeed, and is an example of what the words “work ethic” mean. For these reasons, she is Willow Springs’ 2018 Teacher of the Year.