Utah

Lisa Jensen

Position: Social Studies Teacher / Girls JV Basketball Coach

School: Herriman High School

School District: Jordan School District

City, State: Herriman, Utah

About the Nominee: Lisa Jensen was nominated by a colleague, Crystal Hansen. Every day, in ways large and small, Lisa Jensen (known as Co-J for Coach Jensen) is a LifeChanger in her community. She is not only a gifted teacher who makes an impact in her classroom, but she is also a supportive basketball coach and school leader.

Co-J helped start a program called the CURE at Herriman High, which is intended to unify the student body and prevent bullying. Through this program, Herriman High has become more cohesive, and the program has contributed to a positive climate. Co-J puts her energy toward making a difference and improving lives.

At Herriman High School, CURE stands for “courage, unity, revolution and empowerment.” Co-J works with faculty members and student ambassadors involved with the CURE program to demonstrate and exemplify kindness and inclusion to their fellow students. In addition to having these student ambassadors lead by example, Co-J has put them to work. She has them do things like organizing inspirational assemblies and sending positive notes to students and teachers. They’ve also done fun lunchtime activities to spread their message, and have even nominated fellow students who are doing great things in the school community to win prizes and receive recognition. Additionally, the CURE ambassadors have used small gestures to let other students know they are loved, such as putting up a heart with every student’s name in the library windows.

Co-J has worked hard to further the CURE program, and students want to follow her lead because they respect her. Her classroom conduct also makes a great impact on her school. It isn’t uncommon to hear students talking in the hallways about how much they love her psychology class. One student wrote this about Co-J as a teacher: “She teaches and instructs with a passion that is hard to find in other teachers. When she is teaching, every ear is tuned in, listening for her next few words....she genuinely cares about educating kids, and that transfers into students’ attentiveness.” A colleague of hers added to that sentiment. He commented, “Lisa is one of those teachers that genuinely cares for her students…She is constantly looking for ways to make a better tomorrow, by starting with our youth today.”

Co-J lifts people up at every opportunity, even under the most difficult circumstances. Her school was struck with tragedy last year, when one of their students was killed in a car accident. This young woman was a member of the girls’ basketball team and had worked with Co-J. She reached out to the family after the accident and has done a great deal to provide them with support and comfort through this unimaginably hard time. She has helped the team work through difficulties and grief as well, encouraging the girls to go on and play their best as a way to honor their lost friend.

These are just a few examples of how Co-J is an outstanding individual and a LifeChanger. Her colleague and nominator, Ms. Hansen, has worked with her for nearly four years and can say that she always has a smile and a hello for everyone. Through the CURE program, Co-J has provided exemplary leadership and encouraged the faculty and student body to build a culture of positivity and caring. In her classroom, she shows her students that she cares about their education, and about them as individuals. Co-J makes a great deal of difference at Herriman High School.

Lucille Jones

Position: Math Resource Teacher

School: Davis High School

School District: Davis School District

City, State: Kaysville, Utah

About the Nominee: Lucille Jones was nominated by Michael Jones, a family member. Ms. Jones is an outstanding teacher who motivates her students to be successful in the classroom, as well as in life. In working with at-risk students, she goes above and beyond to make sure their needs are being met through her extensive collaborative efforts with administration, teachers, parents and the community. She is willing to spend extra time working with students before and after school in order to help them develop the necessary skills to succeed, both in the curriculum and in their transitional settings. She has high expectations for her students and is willing to invest her time to assist them in meeting their goals.

Ms. Jones loves learning as evidenced by her receiving dual bachelor degrees and a master’s degree. She is also a National Board Certified teacher and attends state and district sponsored professional development opportunities to deepen her classroom skills and knowledge. She loves to impart her love for learning to her students and incorporates her acquired knowledge into creative, engaging, and rigorous lessons while keeping in mind how hard to push her students without disengaging them. Her passion for math has helped students be successful and boost their confidence in their math abilities.

Ms. Jones works hard to build a positive rapport and trust with students and parents. She views these relationships as a collaborative effort to best meet the needs of each student in order to propel their educational experience to the next level. This is evidenced by the respect students demonstrate in the classroom and by the many thank you letters and cards she receives from parents and students each year.

Ms. Jones is also a leader in her school; she serves as the special education department chairman and has served on various committees in the district. In summary, she is truly a perpetual learner who takes great pride and passion, not for her job or profession, but for the noble calling of a teacher.

[nominee_videos nominee_email="ljones@dsdmail.net"]

Tana Jenson

Position: Band Advisor/Music Teacher School: Carbon High School

School District: Carbon School District

City, State: Price, Utah

About the Nominee: Tana Jenson was nominated by a student, Donovan Taylor.

Donovan has had Ms. Jenson as a teacher for quite a long time. She has helped them learn the basics of music and advanced music theory. It's amazing what she has done for Donovan, who now sees music in another way!

[nominee_videos nominee_email="jensont@carbonschools.org"]

Katie Madsen

Position: Second Grade Teacher School: Draper Elementary School

School District: Canyons School District

City, State: Draper, Utah

About the Nominee: Ms. Madsen is a mentor to her peers, an impactful educator to her students and a consultant to parents. She is both a good listener and communicator. The parents of her students say it best:

"After having a rough year last year in another school, my son ended up behind in reading and math. She recognized his struggles and now has some interventions going on in the classroom for my son to catch up."

"She measures her students daily based on behavior and whether or not they are on task. As parents, we get to see if our student was well mannered, engaged and learning every day based on the color of the owl stamp on their paper each evening. My daughter has such a wonderful, positive learning environment and is thriving as a result."

"Ms. Madsen is a fantastic educator! She is a perfect example of high expectations mixed with lots of praise and fun! She pushes her students to do their best and offers lots of resources to make it happen! She is flexible and meets kids where they are at but lets them know that they can always do better! The kids feel loved and confident in themselves. My son went from being tentative about his education to feeling like he was smart, capable, and comfortable about school."

"Miss Madsen's dedication to her career shows in the care and concern she gives her class. Miss Madsen is truly a pro in the art of connecting with her students and offering each one the support they need as she encourages them to progress."

[nominee_videos nominee_email="katie.madsen@canyonsdistrict.org"]

Abigale Griffiths

Position: Kindergarten Teacher School: Draper Elementary School

School District: Canyons School District

City, State: Draper, Utah

About the Nominee: Abi Griffiths brings a lot of energy and excitement for learning to her Kindergarten classroom. She takes time with each student to give them one-on-one instruction and help them gain the necessary skills in math, reading, friendships and life. These comments from parents say it best:

"She takes the time to really give each student the individual help they need in different ways to succeed!"

"She not only teaches academics but teaches the kids to be responsible in all situations. The kids really admire and love her. She is extremely kind and thoughtful of each individual student. Her love of each student is evident through her words and actions."

"She is kind and patient with the kids. She sends me emails to let me know that my child had a good day just because."

"My son had a rough 2nd day of school. Ms. Griffiths took time to talk to me about how to help him be successful. She...takes time to let me know each day how he did (and he has been doing great)."

[nominee_videos nominee_email="abigale.griffiths@canyonsdistrict.org"]