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2014 UEA Excellence in Teaching Awards

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UEA Names Top Educators and Public Education Advocates

Awards presented at KeyBank Superstars in Education Banquet

No one appreciates good teaching like a teacher. This makes being nominated and selected by fellow teachers for the UEA Excellence in Teaching award a real honor for this year’s winners.

A student in Glen Carpenter’s drama class had a genetic condition that left him with little hearing capacity, even with hearing aids. The student loved the performing arts and desperately wanted to perform in musicals and plays. This was challenging because he had a hard time hearing the cues and matching pitch. Carpenter patiently spent extra time with this student over the course of six years to help him succeed despite his disability. During his junior and senior years, this young man was able to have several lead roles in plays and musicals at Stansbury High School, including one as the 'man in the chair' in the musical "The Drowsy Chaperone."

When the choir teacher at a rival high school quit just a few days before the region madrigal festival, West Jordan High vocal music teacher Kelly DeHaan stepped in to help by organizing early morning and after-school practices and conducting the choir. For the first time in years, the school qualified for state. The principal commented how impressed he was that DeHaan would come to a rival high school, without being asked, to help students who would be competing with his own West Jordan High students.

Carpenter and DeHaan are two of the 10 educators honored with 2014 UEA Excellence in Teaching awards during the KeyBank Superstars in Education banquet Oct. 16. The guest speaker for the event was KSL-TV Anchor Nadine Wimmer.


Award recipients were nominated by their peers and selected based on their impact on individual students or groups of students. Each winner received an award, a poster to display at their school and a check for $1,500, courtesy of award sponsors.

Excellence in Teaching award recipients for 2014 are:

  • Alaina Allred, eighth-grade English teacher at Centennial Jr. High School in Davis School District (sponsored by Education First Credit Union);
  • Glen Carpenter, drama teacher at Stansbury High School in Tooele County School District (sponsored by GBS Benefits);
  • Kelly DeHaan, vocal music teacher at West Jordan High School in Jordan School District (sponsored by KeyBank of Utah);
  • Bruce Elliott, kindergarten teacher at Park Elementary School in Nebo School District (sponsored by Deseret First Credit Union);
  • Bruce Gunn, district math specialist in Jordan School District (sponsored by Jordan Credit Union);
  • Jill Major, resource teacher at Taylor Elementary School in Davis School District (sponsored by Horizon Credit Union);
  • Lynn Meek, school counselor at Lehi Junior High School in Alpine School District (sponsored by UEA Children At Risk Foundation);
  • Kelly Peterson, science teacher at North Sevier High School in Sevier School District (sponsored by EMI Health);
  • Cindy Skillicorn, first-grade teacher at Sego Lily Elementary School in Alpine School District (sponsored by Alpine Credit Union); and
  • PJ Steele, technology specialist at Stansbury Elementary School in Granite School District (sponsored by Granite Credit Union)

The UEA has presented more than 100 Excellence in Teaching awards since 2000. KeyBank has sponsored the banquet since 2012.

“It is a tremendous honor to recognize these outstanding educators. They are a shining example of the great work happening in our public schools each day,” said UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh. “The only thing that could be better is if we could personally recognize each and every teacher for the remarkable work they do day in and day out in classrooms across Utah.”

“We are privileged to support the Utah Education Association as it honors our state’s educators,” said Jill Taylor, President of KeyBank in Utah. “These exceptional teachers comprise a vital part of our communities by ensuring our children receive quality educations. Quality education helps our communities thrive and thriving communities benefit all of us.”

In addition to recognizing the state’s outstanding educators, the UEA presented 2014 Honor Roll awards to Pamela Perlich, senior research economist in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Utah, and Carol Spackman Moss, state representative and former teacher.

A Charles E. Bennett Human and Civil Rights Award was also presented to Kim Burningham, State Board of Education member, former legislator and teacher.

About the Utah Education Association

For more than a century, the Utah Education Association has been dedicated to preserving and enhancing Utah public education. The UEA represents 18,000 active classroom teachers, retired educators, administrators, licensed educational support personnel and campus education students. The UEA has local affiliates in each of the state’s 41 school districts, Applied Technology Colleges, and the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind.

About KeyBank

KeyBank is part of KeyCorp, one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies with assets of approximately $92 billion. Key provides deposit, lending, cash management and investment services to individuals, small and medium-sized businesses under the name of KeyBank N.A. Key also provides a broad range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, such as merger and acquisition advice, public and private debt and equity, syndications and derivatives to middle market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name. For more information, visit https://www.key.com/. KeyBank is Member FDIC.

 


Award Winner Profiles


Alaina Allred

Eighth-grade English Teacher at Centennial Jr. High, Davis School District (Sponsored by Education First Credit Union)

Alaina Allred steps out of her comfort zone and encourages her students to do the same. Her co-workers say she has organized nearly every assembly, spirit week, talent show, fundraiser, pep rally and dance that has taken place at Centennial Jr. High since it opened in 2011.

Each year in November, Ms. Allred’s student government students interview veterans for Veterans Day. The students then invite the veterans to an assembly where their stories are presented to the school in a video and oral presentation. The assembly has been a meaningful tradition at the school and in the community. It has also helped students learn valuable interviewing, public speaking, editing, presentation and planning skills. A food drive led by her students last year resulted in the largest school donation the Bountiful Food Basket had ever received.

Ms. Allred’s English students take part in lessons that help them master skills in language arts and experiment on being productive members of the community. For example, they perform “kindness experiments” throughout the school and write about the positive consequences.

 


Glen Carpenter

Drama Teacher at Stansbury High, Tooele County School District (Sponsored by GBS Benefits)

Glen Carpenter has a gift for being patient and this gift aids him in helping theater students who want to perform but are scared to death of it, said a colleague. “He talks with them, helps them pick literature that is good for the student’s skill level and helps boost their confidence through continuous coaching.”

A student in Glen’s drama class had a genetic condition that left him with little hearing capacity, even with hearing aids. The student loved the performing arts and desperately wanted to perform in musicals and plays. This was challenging because he had a hard time hearing the cues and matching pitch.

Glen patiently spent extra time with this student over the course of six years to help him succeed despite his disability. During his junior and senior years, this young man was able to have several lead roles in plays and musical, including one as the 'man in the chair' in the musical "The Drowsy Chaperone."

 


Kelly DeHaan

Vocal Music Teacher at West Jordan High, Jordan School District (Sponsored by KeyBank of Utah)

Teenagers are not the easiest group to teach, but Kelly DeHaan understands that to gain students’ respect, he must respect them. His caring nature has created many powerful moments over 17 years of teaching.

When the choir teacher at a rival high school quit just a few days before the region madrigal festival, Kelly stepped in to help by organizing early morning and after-school practices and conducting the choir. For the first time in years, the school qualified for state. The principal commented how impressed he was that DeHaan would come to a rival high school, without being asked, to help students who would be competing with his own West Jordan High students.

Several years ago, Kelly had a terminally ill student who loved Christmas but was not expected to live that long. In October, Kelly brought a Christmas tree, snowflakes and lights into the choir room, making this boy’s last few weeks unforgettable. He died knowing Mr. DeHann cared about him.

 


Bruce Elliott

Kindergarten teacher at Park Elementary, Nebo School District (Sponsored by Deseret First Credit Union)

Teaching Optional Extended-day Kindergarten in a Title 1 school has allowed Bruce Elliott to significantly impact the lives of many at-risk children, including those who score significantly below grade level and who do not speak English as their primary language.

Mr. Elliott has created a “Scissors Box” for students who struggle with fine motor coordination and may not have scissors in their home. Students love to have their turn to take the box home and return with works of art to share with the class.

One young boy had developed an attitude of indifference about school. He did not want to attend and had become quite angry about it. After being in Mr. Elliott’s summer school class, this student had a complete attitude adjustment. The boy wanted to leave a family camping trip early so he wouldn’t miss any school. “His parents were thrilled about the transformation in attitude,” wrote Bruce’s teaching partner. “This transformation was because of a teacher’s sensitivity to the needs of the one.”

 


Bruce Gunn

District Math Specialist, Jordan School District (Sponsored by Jordan Credit Union)

Bruce Gunn develops positive rapport with his students. At the end of the year, he gave each of his sixth-grade students a Popsicle stick representing their pledge to stay drug free. Those who keep the stick and the pledge through high school are invited to a graduation barbecue to recognize their commitment.

After getting to know a student who demonstrated behavior problems in class, Bruce discovered the boy was struggling just to survive. Bruce’s wife Sharon, who is also a teacher, reported that she called him one afternoon to find he was at the boy’s house delivering groceries for the family.

Mr. Gunn worked daily with one autistic student who also had behavior issues in class. This student struggled to get along with other students until Mr. Gunn worked his magic and helped the students show kindness and acceptance. At the end of the year, the student’s mother wept because her son had enjoyed school for the first time.

 


Jill Major

Resource Teacher at Taylor Elementary, Davis School District (Sponsored by Horizon Credit Union)

A fellow teacher wrote of Jill Major, “She is a remarkable person to work with and I am a better person because of her. I have her listed as one of my heroes on my teacher web page. She truly changes lives and is an asset to the teaching profession.”

Two students with severe dyslexia benefitted from Jill’s willingness to embrace technology. She worked to get funding for technology that literally opened up the world to these students. The students’ fifth-grade classroom teacher said, “At the beginning of the year these boys were tender hearted from having everything difficult to read and feeling like they were stupid. That year they realized, and articulated to me, ‘I am smart, I just have dyslexia.’ During conferences, when one boy who was barely able to read at a first-grade level read his presentation to his mother that included complex thoughts and sentences about his topic, she and I both wept. He began to stand taller, his self-esteem being fed by this wonderful woman who proved to him ‘he is smart.’”

 


Lynn Meek

School Counselor at Lehi Junior High, Alpine School District (Sponsored by the UEA Children At Risk Foundation)

During Lynn Meek’s eight years at Lehi Junior High, the number of ninth-grade students who transition to high school deficient in credits has dropped from 30% to just 3%. He has been instrumental in implementing many programs that benefit students including Leadership Team, college week, red-ribbon week, Summer Academy, FLEX time, peer mentoring and a comprehensive counseling and guidance program.

Leadership Team is a group of about 100 students who meet weekly to train each other in leadership and in being an influential member of the school. Team members greet students each Monday morning with activities. Summer Academy is geared toward helping incoming seventh-grade students get a head start on math, English, study skills and reading. Peer mentoring is a class where students help other students in core subjects. More than 150 students sacrifice an elective period to participate. Mr. Meek trains the mentor students over the summer and helps teachers utilize them.

Mr. Meek has advised more than 2,500 students during his career.


Kelly Peterson

Science Teacher at North Sevier High, Sevier School District (Sponsored by EMI Health)

Kelly Peterson IS the science department at North Sevier High School, teaching earth science, biology, chemistry and physics. He left a lucrative career as a geneticist to become a science teacher. A tireless advocate for students, Mr. Peterson spends countless hours finding ways to help students learn and make science fun.

A colleague wrote, “I have visited (Mr. Peterson’s) classroom while students were busy making a catapult, rockets, playing with lasers or building ground racers. Not only does he develop great labs and science lessons, but he also creates curriculum that improves students’ general skills in reading and writing.”

His principal wrote, “(Mr. Peterson) builds curiosity in his students for science…He is committed to excellence in our school and is willing to give of his time and efforts to make sure (students) achieve (excellence). He gives his knowledge, energy and passion unconditionally. Our school is a better place because he is a teacher.

 


Cindy Skillicorn

First-grade Teacher at Sego Lily Elementary, Alpine School District (Sponsored by Alpine Credit Union)

A dynamic first-grade teacher, Cindy Skillicorn has been given several students with extreme behavioral and self-control issues. She is able to work with each one and help them sit in class without disrupting, to play outside with others and to learn the skills needed to excel.

One student, because of emotional baggage, was only reading at a Level 4 when she started first grade. At the end of the year, this girl was emotionally engaged, the nightmares were diminishing and she was happy as school, thanks to the efforts of Mrs. Skillicorn. Her reading even improved to a Level 28.

“Right now, Cindy’s son is in a hospital hoping to get on a heart transplant list, yet no one in her classroom is aware that anything is going on in her family life,” wrote a co-worker. “Her students just know that their teacher is there for them, helping them and giving them the security needed to learn every day at school.”

 


PJ Steele

Technology Specialist at Stansbury Elementary, Granite School District (Sponsored by Granite Credit Union)

A 36-year teaching veteran, Paula Jo Steele is currently the technology specialist at one of the state’s largest elementary schools. She works with more than 1,000 students and 120 staff, facilitating testing, teaching classes and keeping students engaged and excited about technology.

“As we have all embraced the technology movement in education, it is Ms. Steele who has brought it to the front lines to ensure that every student and staff member is able to succeed,” wrote a fellow teacher. “In her spare time, she takes classes to ensure students’ technological success, sponsors students for technology in the “Lego League” and has created a digital club to prepare students to become news anchors and filmmakers for digitized weekly announcements.”

Ms. Steele manages more than 600 computers, Smart Boards, iPod labs, printers and document cameras, just to name a few. She also works closely with a local business to give each student at the Title 1 school a supply-filled backpack to begin the new school year. As a cancer survivor, she knows determination and meets life with enthusiasm.



Charles E. Bennett Human and Civil Rights Award 


Kim Burningham

(Remarks by Eastern UniServ Director Vik Arnold)

Kim R. Burningham has served a long and distinguished career as teacher, lawmaker, school board member, school board chair, consultant and political activist. For over four decades, Kim has steadfastly served the interests of students, teachers, constituents and citizens across the state and nation. What follows is a mere outline of his many accomplishments and forms of public service.

Beginning in 1960, Kim taught for 27 years at Bountiful High, where he excelled at teaching Speech, Drama and Debate.Along the way Kim earned two Masters’ Degrees, one in Interpretive Speech from the University of Arizona, and a Masters in Fine Arts from USC.

In 1979 Kim began a 15 year stint in the Legislature where he sponsored education related bills and advocated for increased funding for public education. He resigned his seat in the legislature to serve as the Executive Director of Utah’s Statehood Centennial Commission in 1994. Back in elective office in 1999 as a member of the State Board of Education, where he served an unprecedented seven years as Chair. During his time as Chair, Kim led the Board’s successful legal challenge to the legislature’s Voucher bill passed in 2007.

During this same time Kim courageously served on the Executive Committee of Utahns for Public School, the coalition that came together to successfully repeal the Voucher bill. While “warming up” for the voucher fight, Kim served as President of the National Association of State Boards of Education along with two terms on their Board of Directors. They honored him with a Distinguished Service Award given annually in recognitions of outstanding service to public education.

In 2009 Kim was at it again, this time leading the charge for Ethics Reform as Chair of Utahns for Ethical Gov’t. Over 130,000 signatures were gathered in 12 months. Despite an unfavorable ruling by Utah’s Supreme Court, the legislature took note of the public’s outcry and voluntarily implemented some of what UEG was demanding.

Included among Kim’s numerous awards are the following:

  • Recipient of the Utah PTA’s “Friend of Children” award in 2008.
  • The Utah School Boards Association presented Kim with the “Hero of Education” award in 2008.

Somehow Kim finds time to remain active in community theatre as well as tending to an impressive flower garden with his wife, Susan. Together, he and Susan have two sons and eight grandchildren.

Perhaps the greatest tribute to Kim would be to read what a former student wrote about him: “On the first day of every school year, Mr. Burningham knew every student’s name and the face that went with it. He would go around the class of 30 to 40 students telling us who we were and saying, “Hello” (and without the aid of Facebook, I might add). Continuing with this student’s comments, “No story can capture that intangible teaching quality which inspired all of us to be better students, citizens, and human beings—and Kim Burningham had galaxies’ worth of that quality."

And that inspiration persists to this day: many of us here tonight have been inspired by you, Kim, to strive for a better world, against all odds.

And now, it is both a privilege and honor to present Kim R. Burningham with the Charles E. Bennett UEA Human and Civil Rights Award for 2014. 


UEA Honor Roll Awards


Pamela Perlich

 

(Remarks by UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh)

Pamela Perlich is a Senior Research Economist in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Utah, where she serves as director of the Utah Community Data Project. Pam’s research sheds light on the ongoing demographic, economic and cultural transformations we are experiencing in Utah, and the associated implications for the future. She is highly effective in communicating these ideas to diverse audiences, including ordinary residents as well as community leaders.

Pam uses her research to paint an accurate picture of the trends in Utah classrooms and the challenges and changing needs facing Utah’s children and educators. Her voice is a reality check for our policymakers as she clearly identifies and articulates the implications of these trends. She continuously advocates for the resources and policy changes needed to face Utah’s ever-changing, diverse population.

Pam’s most recent endeavor is creation of the Utah Community Data Project, which will provide frequently updated neighborhood portraits that highlight the great diversity in our communities and how these change over time.

It is my sincere honor to recognize Pam’s tireless efforts on behalf of public education by awarding her the UEA Honor Roll Award.


Representative Carol Spackman Moss

(Remarks by UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh)

 

Representative Carol Spackman Moss is a fierce advocate for children, teachers and public education in Utah. As a retired educator, she understands the challenges facing Utah’s classrooms. Carol is often found in schools visiting with teachers and continually seeks out opinions and ideas from those on the ground.

Representative Moss is always available during the legislative session and interim to talk about legislation and listen. She is courageous in expressing her concerns and is the “voice of reason” in a storm of anti-public education rhetoric.

Teachers can always count on Representative Moss to provide the facts and to paint an accurate picture of the realities in Utah classrooms. She sponsored Peer Assistance and Review legislation that generated money for Salt Lake City School District to successfully launch this research-based mentoring and remediation process.

For her many years of public service, it is my sincere honor to recognize Carol Spackman Moss with the UEA Honor Roll Award. She is most deserving.

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For Professional Educators

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The 2014 Excellence in Teaching Awards are sponsored by:

  • Alpine Credit Union

  • Deseret First Credit Union

  • Education First Credit Union

  • EMI Health

  • GBS Benefits

  • Granite Credit Union

  • Horizon Credit Union

  • Jordan Credit Union

  • KeyBank of Utah

  • UEA Children At Risk Foundation