Outstanding Teachers of the YearJul 01, 2022 11:41AM ● By Jet Burnham
By Jet Burnham | [email protected]
The Jordan Education Foundation recognized 67 Outstanding Teachers of the Year, one from each school. Winners included teachers from West Jordan’s 22 schools.
Antelope Canyon Elementary’s winner was Natalie Sellers. She works her magic in the first through third Academic Communication Support Classroom with students who have significant academic and communication delays. Parents and colleagues said students thrive in her classroom because of her high-energy personality and engaging learning activities that maximize learning and encourage independence.
“She loves to make sure her students are always engaging in some kind of activity, even if they are just walking down the hall,” a colleague said.
Staff members said it is obvious that Sellers loves her students.
“Each child is a treasure to her,” said one. “She does not see her students with a disability, but students with talents and gifts. She is able to look ahead to the growth the child can make instead of the limits they encounter each day.”
As the special education team leader, she mentors teachers and assistants and gives advice and tips for awareness and inclusion to staff members and to students. She started a sixth-grade buddies program and was instrumental in creating a school-wide runner response program.
Principal Tami Bird said Sellers is perfectly matched for her profession.
“She is a natural leader and a grown up who’s never forgotten what it’s like to be a child,” she said. “She can hold her own talking with a 5-year old with a communication disorder, a parent with extensive experience with Autism, or district staff and compliance to federal law. She is kind and comfortable in every setting because she is driven by a greater purpose. She is driven by love.”
Colleagues used the words patient, enthusiastic and “sunshine” to describe Sellers’ personality.
One teacher said, “Natalie is sunshine! She brings positivity, fun, and good energy to our school. She is always willing to help with whatever is needed. I’m grateful to get to work with her.”
Cyndi Anderson is an exemplary fourth grade team lead at Oakcrest Elementary.
“Specifically, the most important things Mrs. Anderson has done over the past two years to support and encourage student growth involve building powerful relationships (student and
adult), mastering online instruction, normalizing safety measures, providing individualized
supports and instruction, maintaining a positive jam and providing instructional leadership in
our school,” Principal Kenneth Westwood said.
He said that Anderson puts others at ease and is willing to help others, which is why her colleagues love her.
“She is thoughtful and kind to everyone and in a stressful year, this has been so appreciated,” instructional coach Marla Daniels said. “Several times this year, she’s left a small note of thanks or encouragement, a gift, or a treat on my desk and I know I’m not alone.”
Colleagues and parents appreciated her cheerful response to COVID-19 interruptions.
“Her cheerful, non-complaining demeanor relative to wearing masks, maintaining spacing, sanitizing hands, disinfecting surfaces, etc. rubs off on all who come into contact with her,” Westwood said.
Anderson’s colleagues respect her and seek out her advice.
“Cyndi is a terrific coworker and mentor because she listens and makes you feel valued,” said a colleague.
Anderson serves on the school’s JELL team.
“She leads out with initiatives/work calculated to move us from where we are to what we hope to become,” Westwood said. “Her leadership and example have been instrumental in our efforts to identify key standards, write learning scales for those standards, and transition to mastery progress reporting schoolwide over the past year and change. We’re in a great place now, thanks to the leadership shown by Cyndi and a few of her colleagues.”
JEF Outstanding Teachers, Top Winners
Natalie Sellers - Antelope Canyon Elementary School
Cyndi Anderson - Oakcrest Elementary School
Christina Corbett - Copper Canyon Elementary School
Sabrina Drake - Columbia Elementary School
JEF Outstanding Teachers
Mindy Carroll - Aspen Elementary
Katrina Kennedy - West Jordan High
Kathlynn Aragon - Terra Linda Elementary
Pam Broadhead - Hayden Peak Elementary
Susan Allen - Mountain Shadows Elementary
Deborah Craver - Falcon Ridge Elementary
Lani Hatch - Westvale Elementary
Julie Bodtcher - Riverside Elementary
Amy Mella - Heartland Elementary
Sarah Hatch - West Jordan Elementary
Shalynn Nelson - Westland Elementary
Jeannie Wade - Oquirrh Elementary
Meredith Llewellyn - Majestic Elementary Arts Academy
Kim Hardman-Jones - South Valley School
Ross Hirschi - JATC North
Amy Geilman - West Jordan Middle
Patricia Hendricks - Sunset Ridge Middle
Kyle Jensen - Copper Hills High
Celena Ottley - Rocky Peak Virtual Elementary
Krista Gibbons - Kelsey Peak Virtual Middle
Kelli Malmberg - Kings Peak Virtual High
Sorenson Legacy Award for Excellence in Arts Education
Lori Nickerson - Westland Elementary
Jordan Association of Elementary School Principals, Principal of the Year Awards
Principal of the Year: Bryan Veazie, Copper Hills High School
Assistant Principal of the Year: Shana Mondragon, Oquirrh Elementary School
Principal Mentor of the Year: Ken Westwood, Oakcrest Elementary School
Community Leader of the Year: Odette Desmarais, Westvale Elementary School