Family Connections

Getting Involved





Getting Involved

“Let us remember,” said Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, “one book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world.” On a daily basis, the lives of Canyons District students are impacted by our corps of caring and more-than-capable teachers. From algebra to the art of motorcycle maintenance, Canyons teachers lead the kind of lessons that will build up and strengthen the next generation of global leaders, innovators, and artists. Now more than ever, the influence of a great teacher is proving to be vital in the growth of children and communities. While COVID-19 wellness regulations have relaxed, schools still remain actively engaged in addressing the academic and behavioral issues that emerged in the aftermath of the pandemic. But despite the challenges, our teachers meet students where they are, lifting them to excellence and inspiring to reach for the best parts of themselves through education. Following a 14-year tradition, CSD is honoring teachers from across the District for their commitment to ensuring students graduate college- and career-ready. Forty-seven teachers from Canyons District schools and programs have been selected as their schools’ Teacher of the Year for 2023. Each was nominated by peers, parents, and students for the honor, for which they received donated gifts and prizes from the Canyons Education Foundation. From this field, Canyons will select one teacher who will be honored as the overall Teacher of the Year. The honor will be announced at a special event, hosted by the Canyons Board of Education, on Tuesday, April 25 at Hillcrest High School, 7350 S. 900 East. A reception will begin at 6:15 p.m. The announcement ceremony, during which every honored teacher will receive a crystal award from the Board of Education, starts at 7 p.m. A top teacher from every level — elementary, middle and high school — will be announced, and the overall first-place pick will receive a $1,000 check from CSD’s Foundation. The winner also will represent Canyons in the state Teacher of the Year contest. The teachers also will receive tickets to a May 31 Real Salt Lake game. On that night, which is Canyons District Night with Real Salt Lake, all school-based Teacher of the Year will be honored on the field during halftime. The CSD community is invited to the free event on Tuesday, April 25 at Hillcrest High to celebrate the positive impacts our teachers make in the world.  

Jesse Flink

Alta View

Samantha Bilbow


Tamara Coombs

Bella Vista

Kathy Smith



Gretchen Givone


Rebecca Carpenter

Canyon View

Madison Cushing


Amanda Dee


Yao Yuanbin


Rachel Teasley

East Midvale

Courtney Martin

East Sandy


Sarah Turner

Glacier Hills


Brittany Fenton



Ciera Davis

Lone Peak

Maleia Boyd


Jennifer Stark


Heather Pearce

Oak Hollow


Sacha Despain


Sarah Andersen

Park Lane


Angie Stewart

Peruvian Park

Jones Sandi1

Sandra Jones

Quail Hollow

Colleen Lecker


Sara Sams


Sarah Smith

Silver Mesa

Jennifer Dean



Barbra Winder


Amy Hilton

Willow Canyon


Makenzie Bowers

Willow Springs

Nicole Rudes

Albion Middle

Amy Stanton

Butler Middle

Mark Nuetzel

Draper Park Middle

Malinda Severn

Eastmont Middle

Maxwell Eddington

Midvale Middle

Andrea Robbins

Indian Hills Middle

James Edman

Mount Jordan Middle

Anna Dabrowska

Union Middle

Rebecca Rees

Alta High


Brian Wilding

Brighton High

Jana White

Corner Canyon High

Tasha Jensen

Hillcrest High

Kaitlyn Fackrell

Jordan High

Louis Sherman

Diamond Ridge High

Rebecca Heister

Canyons Online

Nate Hampton


Heidi Keefer


Glenda Folkersen

Jordan Valley


Alta View Elementary

Jesse Flink

Along with being an excellent teacher, Jesse Flink cares for his students, encourages and inspires, creates important relationships, and carves out time for them. He is completely dedicated to the success of his students, and it shows. “His interest in the kids as humans makes them know that they are seen, heard, and appreciated,” one admirer wrote in a nomination. “We love Flink!” The upbeat teacher believes in his students. He has fun with them, even taking time to play games and talk with them at lunchtime. “My daughter has a renewed inspiration to learn and try hard because he inspires and pushes his students,” one parent said. “He is fun, caring, and an amazing teacher. We feel so lucky our daughter has him!”


Altara Elementary

Samantha Bilbow

After being instrumental in launching the Spanish-English Dual-Language Immersion program at Altara Elementary four years ago, Samantha Bilbow conquered an even bigger challenge. When her partner-teacher got stuck in Peru due to COVID-19, Bilbow handled both the English and Spanish sides of her first-grade classes. Bilbow managed the huge job “with grace,” Altara Principal Nicole Svee Magann said. Bilbow is lauded by parents for her positive and regular communication. Colleagues consider her a “master teacher.” She also oversees the school’s website, makes sure the Kittyhawks are in compliance with state School Community Council guidelines, and assists Altara’s social committee. Bilbow, Svee Magann added, “is always looking for a way to make the school a more positive place for the staff.”


Bella Vista Elementary

Tamara Coombs

Tamara Coombs’ first-grade classroom has a warm, safe culture with high standards of learning tailored to students’ needs. She sparks a passion for reading, even above their grade level. “Mrs. Coombs had such a positive influence on my daughter and helped her develop her love of reading,” a parent said. She is a loyal friend, a respected colleague, cares about each of the staff, and cheers everyone on. “When she is asked to take on additional tasks, she does it with a smile and determination to succeed,” a co-worker said. “If she ever has a bad day, no one would ever know.” Principal Eric Gardner is inspired when watching her classroom through a shared window. “It truly has been a window to watch an artist create a learning masterpiece.”


Brookwood Elementary

Kathy Smith

For 19 years, Kathy Smith has arrived at Brookwood Elementary every day with a determination to make a difference in the lives of her fourth-grade students. With Smith’s guidance, Principal Corrie Barrett says the fourth-grade team finds areas for improvement and ways to better reach all students. Smith, known for being patient, kind, and respectful, also is committed to bolstering the entire school community. She’s served on the School Community Council, Building Leadership Team, District Report Card Committee, and the PTA Board. One parent credited Smith for taking their two children where they were and challenging them in different ways to rise higher. “She gave them great options for increasing their academic capabilities. She is a terrific teacher!”