Teachers teach because they care,” once said Horace Mann, known as the father of American public education. “Teaching young people is what they do best. It requires long hours, patience, and care.” Indeed, countless hours of work and acts of patience and care have been carried out by Canyons District teachers in the year since COVID-19 upended life — and learning. Since March 13, 2020, when then-Utah Gov. Gary Herbert announced the “soft closure” of Utah schools to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, CSD educators have doubled-down on their dedication to their students, be they learning safely in-person or from remote locations. Seemingly overnight, educators adapted to new environments and adopted new strategies to inspire achievement. As school started in the fall in the midst of a pandemic, CSD teachers welcomed students to safe, welcoming classrooms. Even with masks covering faces, their cheer at being back with students again could not be contained. And the students learning remotely may have seem isolated from their peers — but they were certainly never alone. Day after day, our teachers logged on, reached out, and lifted up.
In a year unlike any other, when so many have gone above and beyond, it’s been a challenge for CSD school communities to select just one teacher as a nominee in Canyons District’s 2021 Teacher of the Year selection process, which for the first time includes a top teacher for online learning. No doubt, every teacher is worthy of the award. But the following are being honored for being the hearts and souls of their schools’ top-notch and tireless efforts to meet the needs of students in an unprecedented era. Every school- or program-based Teacher of the Year received a gift basket full of donated prizes worth more than $700. From the field of the amazing educators featured here, CSD will select one teacher who will be the overall Teacher of the Year. The first-place pick will receive a $1,000 cash prize donated by the Jordan Credit Union. The winner, to be announced at the May 4 Board of Education meeting to be held at Alta High’s new Performing Arts Center, also will represent Canyons in the state Teacher of the Year contest. CSD’s Teacher of the Year program is proudly co-sponsored by the Canyons Education Foundation.