Park City Education Foundation reveals Excellent Educator Award recipients
Trailside’s winner will be announced May 18
The winners are as follows:
• Mary Morgan, choir, band and drama, Ecker Hill Middle School
• Susan Valentine, second grade, Jeremy Ranch Elementary
• Suzanne Sheridan, special education, McPolin Elementary
• Tie: Melissa Nikolai, English; Bret Hughes, band and percussion, Park City High School
• Alane Gaspari, intervention specialist, Parley’s Park Elementary
• Larissa Fomuke, English, Treasure Mountain Junior High
• Trailside Elementary, TBA
All of the reveals have been happening throughout the week, and the Trailside announcement will take place on May 18, said Jennifer Billow, associate director of the Park City Education Foundation.
“There is also the special Sarah and Stephen Doilney Award that is voted on by the Park City High School senior class,” she said. “It’s an award that goes to the educator that has been the most influential in their school career.”
This year’s winner is social studies teacher Josh Goldberg, Billow said
The Excellent Educator Awards, which started back in 1996 by Parkite Jim Doilney, goes to one teacher from each Park City School District school, Billow said.
“Jim, who was on our board at the time, understood how teachers, next to parents, are the main influence in students’ lives,” she said. “His mother Sarah was a teacher, and he wanted to honor excellence in teaching with these awards.”
Doilney also brought in another longtime Park City resident, the Louis Family, who moved here in the 1970s, as sponsors for these awards, Billow said.
“Hank Louis, the patriarch of the family, was also a teacher,” she said.
The award winners are nominated by their peers from the district’s seven schools, according to Billow.
“They are also the ones who vote on whom they think best exemplifies excellent educators,” she said. “The awards are surprises to the winners.”
Because Park City Education Foundation administration and staff didn’t know what was going to happen with COVID this year, they asked the principals of each school to do the reveals however and whenever they wanted, Billow said.
“In some schools they did it in assemblies, and in other schools they did it in faculty meetings,” she said. “It’s been meaningful for each school to do the reveal, and they were able to do it in a time that fits their schedules.”
Last year’s Excellent Educator Awards were handled differently due to the coronavirus, according to Billow.
“Given everything that happened during the pandemic that prevented volunteers going into the schools and how everyone, including custodians who stepped up with constant cleaning and installation of the filters to the bus drivers, we felt it was important to honor all 680 Park City School District employees,” she said. “We put their names up on banners in Main Street, and sent caramel apples to everyone.”
So when this year’s awards talks began, organizers thought it would be appropriate to honor the educators in a hybrid fashion, Billow said.
“After talking with Jim and the Louis family, we are back to vote for one excellent educator from each school, but we, once again, are putting all the names on banners on Main Street,” she said.
In addition to the Excellent Educator Awards, Doilney and the Louis family sponsored Friday pizza socials on the lawn of Versante restaurant, Billow said.
“We had met with Jake Jobe and Mary Morgan, who are co-presidents of the Park City School District teachers union, and asked if there was something more we could do to help our educators, after such a tough two years,” Billow said. “Because if our educators aren’t doing OK, then our kids aren’t doing OK.”
They told Billow and her crew how much the teachers missed seeing their colleagues from across the district.
“So we started throwing these pizza socials, where educators could just drop by, grab a drink, a slice of pizza and see their friends,” she said. “We would like to thank Jim and the Louis Family for stepping up and recognizing how important educator-wellness is.”
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