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Herriman Journal

Outstanding teachers recognized

Jun 30, 2022 09:16PM ● By Jet Burnham

By Jet Burnham | [email protected]

Alisha Neil, an agriculture teacher at Mountain Ridge High, was selected as one of Jordan Education Foundation’s top 11 Outstanding Teachers of the Year. Department chair Kim Newbrough said Neil works extra hours to ensure students are prepared for competitions.

“She's very passionate about what she does and it shows,” Newbrough said. “She wants everybody to share that passion and the love of agriculture that she has.”

Of the many teachers who have been recognized this year, many exemplify this level of passion and determination to see their students succeed, and are seen as role models for their colleagues.

Daisy DeMarco, a third grade teacher at Silver Crest Elementary School, was recognized by both the Jordan Education Foundation and the Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce.

“Daisy is a teacher with a passion for learning, creativity, appreciating nature, service in the community and using technology in the classroom,” Launi Drecksel, a colleague, said.

DeMarco knows that when she is excited to teach, her students are excited to learn.

“If it's something I'm into, that passion and that energy carries over and the kids become passionate and energetic about it, too,” she said.

Often her teaching methods are inspired by her students’ interests.

“I'll go off of what the kids are excited about and interested in,” she said. “I take that passion, that excitement and turn it into something that fits what I need to do in my curriculum.”

Silver Crest Elementary administrators are impressed with DeMarco’s attentiveness to each student’s individual needs.

“Daisy is an amazing teacher who assures that every child in her class gets what they need to succeed,” an administrator said.

Two of Herriman Elementary’s teachers were recognized, one by JEF and one by Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce. Principal Bobbie Nixon said the two teachers, Kelly Wyatt and Heather Richardson, are two of her favorites.

Nixon said she can depend on Wyatt to help any child, no matter what their struggle. That’s why Wyatt’s third grade class has some of the top test scorers in the school each year.

“She is so good at finding the holes, or finding what students need, and filling them,” Nixon said. “She's super-talented that way—she's just so good with those struggling learners. And she's great with management—her classroom was like a well-oiled machine.”

Nixon said Richardson is one of the favorite teachers of many students, staff members and parents because she takes an interest in people, is constantly happy and is kind and creative.

“Part of her success is that kids want to learn because they like her so much,” Nixon said.

Richardson has been teaching for 11 years.

“I love my job because the transformation of these little minds at the age of 5/6 is truly remarkable,” Richardson said. “They are little sponges that soak up everything I teach. Every day is truly a new day, and they have such an excitement for school and life at this age. That makes my job so fun!”

Richardson and Wyatt are role models to other teachers. Both work with interns and student teachers and serve on the JELL academic leadership team at Herriman Elementary.

“Because of their personalities and the kinds of things that they do in a classroom, they inspire or mold other teachers,” Nixon said. “And so, before you know it, the standard gets higher and higher because both of them believe that all students can learn at a high level. And so it helps everyone on their team to think that way.”

Nixon was thrilled to have two of her teachers recognized by community organizations. She admits it’s hard to choose when she has so many deserving teachers.

DeMarco agrees that there are many teachers who should be celebrated, too.

“When you win an award like that, you look at your colleagues, and see a lot of people could have won this award,” DeMarco said. “You don't do it alone, in a sense. There are so many people—those mentors and friends—you learn from and that you talk about things with or that helped get you to this point.”

JEF selects an Outstanding Teacher of the Year from each of the 67 district schools each spring. JEF board members are joined by the teacher’s family members to surprise the winners. A yard sign with their name is displayed in front of their school building.

Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce selected 27 teachers, which they honored at an Alice in Wonderland-themed Teacher Recognition Luncheon in May. The table settings were designed by interior design students from Riverton High. Herriman High fashion students designed a Mad Hatter display and theater students dressed in costume to serve as character greeters.


JEF Outstanding Teachers of the Year

Mountain Ridge High - Alisha Neil

Herriman Elementary - Heather Richardson

Herriman High - Pennie Lovato

Copper Mountain Middle - Caitlin McCullough 

Fort Herriman Middle - Stephanie Grant 

Blackridge Elementary - Becky Mariani 

Ridge View Elementary - Kelsey Hawkes

Butterfield Canyon Elementary - RaNisha Glover 

Bastian Elementary - Petrina Steele 

Silver Crest Elementary - Daisy DeMarco

Rocky Peak Virtual Elementary - Celena Ottley

Kelsey Peak Virtual Middle - Krista Gibbons

Kings Peak Virtual High - Kelli Malmberg



Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Teachers

Athlos Academy - Valerie Loredo

Providence Hall Elementary - Nicole Katsos

Silver Crest Elementary - Daisy DeMarco

Blackridge Elementary - Brittany Cloward

Herriman Elementary - Kelli Wyatt

Bastian Elementary - Amanda Bruce

Providence Hall Middle - Justine Brinhurst

Fort Herriman Middle - Madison Feist

Copper Mountain Middle - Katelynn Morrow

Herriman High - Scott Trammel

Mountain Ridge High - David Wilde



Other awards:

Blackridge Elementary School music teacher Joshua Roberts received the Sorenson Legacy Award for Excellence in Arts Education.


Silver Crest Elementary School Principal Ann Pessetto was named Instructional Leader of the Year by the Jordan Association of Elementary School Principals.


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