Excellent Educator Express rolls in
Teachers around the district were so occupied with their students Thursday morning they didn’t even see the Excellent Educator Express coming before it hit them.
Retired developer and builder, Jim Doilney, has been conducting the Doilney Excellent Educator Awards since 1996, to help honor teachers, counselors, and staff who have been selected by their peers to receive the accolade.
With the school year coming to an end, the unsuspecting educators selected for outstanding efforts during the school year were easy prey Thursday morning, as members of the Park City Education Foundation, Deer Valley Resort staff and members of the Doilney family gathered in a limo, to visit the many PCSD schools to surprise the selected educators.
Teachers were approached at their desks; others were ushered into the school’s gymnasium or library, school lobbies turned into coliseums full of students. No matter the scenario, all seven of the teachers were surprised and smiling.
Starting off the morning’s events, the first batch of balloons, accompanied by a plaque, was delivered to the classroom of Jim Fleming, social studies teacher at Park City High School.
Fleming was recognized for this year’s Stephen and Sarah Doilney Award, an honor determined by the votes tallied from the senior class during their English classes based on the most influential teacher during their school career in Park City School District.
"Here I am, nothing’s changed," Fleming said from his desk chair as the celebration crew arrived, led by Jake Doilney who attended Fleming’s seventh grade social studies class years ago.
"The names were all a surprise until a few days ago and when I saw Jim’s name on the list I knew I had to present it to him. He meant a lot to me as a teacher, so this was pretty special for me," Jake Doilney said.
Seniors aren’t the only ones who get to bestow honors on their faculty favorites. Staff members at each school in the district also get a chance to acknowledge someone who has gone the extra mile.
Five other schools were visited during the day’s event, two this past Monday, to award the Doilney Excellent Educator award.
This year’s winners were Paul Burton (McPolin Elementary School kindergarten teacher), Krista Clayton (Parley’s Park Elementary School preschool teacher), Juleen Smith (Ecker Hill Middle School social studies teacher), Susan Boone (Jeremy Ranch special education teacher), Polly Panos (Trailside Elementary School first-grade teacher), Samantha Walsh (Park City High School Intervention Counselor), and Bev Pacal (Treasure Mountain Junior High School Secretary).
At each of the schools visited, Doilney watched from the side of each ceremony – he does every year.
As the awards were presented by members of his family, his smile outweighed many onlookers.
"I’d like to see this go on for generations; it’s fun watching the grandkids running around," Doilney said. "We all have our different views about taxes and education, but the bottom-line is, some of these people have dedicated their lives to teaching and recognizing these amazing people is important."
This year, Deer Valley Resort took over as sponsor for the event, but according to director of sales, Dirk Beal, the resort is leaving the Doilney family name on the award. They just want to keep the tradition alive.
"The Doilney family approached us and asked if we’d like to get involved and we jumped on the opportunity," Beal said. "I have two children that are in the school district now and one already gone through, these people are a big part of our small community and its great to recognize them."
According to Doilney, after 19 years of honoring the school district, which educated his children and currently his grandchildren, he is passing the tradition along to the local resort, simply, because he’s not in business anymore and he’d like to see it continue.
"Deer Valley has the longest tenure of continuous ownership between the three Park City Resorts, and they have a history of giving, so they were the first people I went to," Doilney said.
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The Park City School District announced it will publish data about confirmed COVID-19 cases in its schools and tell parents when a case comes to their child’s school.