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Before the year closes, we say goodbye to some of our best teachers and staff. Those retiring this year shared much of themselves with our community. We thank you for your longstanding dedication and we will miss you dearly!
Below is a list of the 2022 retirees with a write-up from their peers.
Dianne Amesse has worn many hats and made a big difference in students’ lives during her 20 years in Provo School District. She began her career in Provo by teaching Kindergarten at Grandview Elementary. She then moved to Edgemont Elementary and taught Kindergarten and 1st grade. Dianne loves every student she teaches and has always felt like the classroom was where she could have the most direct impact on making a difference in children’s lives. She has a special way with students who struggle in school and never gives up on students. She advocates for them and their parents, so they have a chance to succeed and sets them on a trajectory with the vision of what they can become.
Becky Anderson has been a teacher in Alpine and Provo School Districts for sixteen years and nine years as a preschool teacher. She has also taught Kindergarten, second grade, third grade, and PE. Becky has such a calming presence and influence. She never seems to get upset over anything. Becky is always so positive and has the best sense of humor. She is calm under pressure, and you will usually catch her with a big smile on her face. Becky is also a great teammate. She is always willing to share ideas and jump right in to help wherever she can. She is famous for her Moms and Muffins and Dads and Donuts activities which bring her parents to her classroom to read with their children. We are so grateful for her kind and steadying influence on all of us!
Tracee Arney has worked as a Provo City School District teacher for 32 years. She has taught Kindergarten, second, and third grades at Westridge, Amelia Earhart, and Lakeview Elementary Schools. When you walk into Mrs. Arney’s room, you feel welcome. Tracee is one of the kindest and most patient people and always has a smile and a kind word to say. She has a bright and happy classroom. You can tell that Mrs. Arney loves her students. She has high expectations for them and always has engaging activities to match. She is very well prepared for each lesson of the day. Tracee strives to build relationships not only with her students but also with their families by knowing their parents’ names and sibling names. Tracee is beloved at Lakeview and will be missed.
After 30 years of working as an educator in Provo City School District, Mike Barker is retiring. For 24 years, he was a teacher at Dixon and Centennial Middle Schools, teaching 7th Grade Health/Life Science at Dixon, 7th-grade Integrated Science, and later Multimedia at Centennial. Michael has spent the last six years as an administrator: one year at Westridge Elementary as STEM coordinator, one year at Wasatch Elementary as assistant principal, and the previous four years as principal at Lakeview Elementary. Mike has established positive relationships with students, parents, and the community every place he has worked. He loves to see students’ inquisitive minds engage in learning. Mike has always been able to connect with youth in unique ways and at all grade levels. He loves seeing every student develop their own identity as a learner.
Robyn Baughman started her career 32 years ago as a Special Education paraprofessional. She has been a classroom teacher for 31 years. Her assignments have included teaching both first and second grade. She has taught hundreds of students, and her years of teaching have touched these students in so many ways. She has always said that she loves her job, the students, their families, and her colleagues. She spends countless hours at the school. It is her second home, and she feels honored to call her Spring Creek community family. Robyn Baughman has definitely left a piece of herself in the hearts of those with whom she has worked. Her school family wishes her many happy days ahead.
Mrs. Black has been a classroom teacher for 15 years in Utah and Oregon. Out of those 15 years, most of her career has been at Provost Elementary in the first-grade classroom, where her love for children and learning shines. Mrs. Black has a strong following of parents and students who love her easy-going nature and caring spirit! While every student must learn to read, write, and do math, Mrs. Black also ensures that they realize that they are loved, important, and unique. She is even known to send encouraging letters in the mail to surprise students and donate her time to providing individualized instruction for her students. There is no doubt that Mrs. Black will be sorely missed! She is the kind of teacher any parent or child would love to have.
Bambi (Jennie) Brereton is an incredible School Lunch Hero! Working devotedly as a cook in the Provo City School District’s Child Nutrition Program since November 2007, she faithfully served the children of Westridge Elementary nutritious meals every day. Jennie had a great passion for ensuring everything was perfect and meals were ready to go for all the students. She absolutely loved all the children and the school community she was a part of for 15 years. Going above and beyond, Jennie would greet every child with her amazing smile and caring heart. Hard working, trustworthy and dependable, Jennie could be relied on to get the job done well. Congratulations Jennie. You will be greatly missed!
Lee Ann began her career at Independence High School as a food prep assistant. She was then asked to help students with their school work after school. She also worked as an aid for the English and Math teachers, assisted in the library, helped with credit recovery packets, and assisted with testing in the afternoons and evenings. She was later hired in the Student and Family Support Office helping with truancy and the social work programs. That office is now the Student and Family Advocate Office, where we work with attendance and engagement. She also continued to do secretarial work for the social workers, where she was invaluable in multi-tasking with two teams. She was always a joy to work with, and she made work a wonderful place when you walked in the door! She will be greatly missed.
Miriam Campbell is our Social Worker Supervisor and the heart of her team. Under her leadership, this program has become one of the most respected in the state. When Miriam began her career with Provo City School District in February 2003, there were four social workers. This school year, our district has 20. She is always available to her social worker team if they need to staff difficult situations or additional support. In partnership with various universities, she oversees the supervision each year of social work interns who do their practicum with our district. Several of our current social workers served their internships with PCSD. Miriam has excelled in her career with PCSD. Everyone who has worked with her will miss her tremendously. We wish her all the best in her retirement.
Cesar Cardoso has been a part of PHS for over 30 years. He has served in so many different capacities that his “footprints” can be seen all over the building and in the community. His passion for athletics led him to be a coach and athletic director for many years. Cesar has taught PE and Portuguese to thousands of students over the years. His reputation is one of excellence, motivation, and kindness. Cesar has enjoyed success as a coach and teacher of young people through the years. Cesar is a beloved member of our community and will be missed by everyone. He has given so much to the community and will continue to be involved in the lives of his former students and players as a mentor and friend.
LeeAnn has had a long and wonderful career in education. She has taught for a total of 36 years between California and Utah. She’s been at Edgemont for 21 years, teaching 2nd grade. She has also taught in Kindergarten and 4th grade. LeeAnn is known for never stopping, having a strong work ethic, and endless energy. She’s always at school early and stays late until she’s completely prepared. She’s not only a 2nd-grade teacher but a team leader and a great collaborator. She never complains and is always positive and giving. She directs her PLCs with vision and helps to guide her team to meet their goals. Her colleagues mention that LeeAnn’s steadfast personality helps keep everyone focused, and she has a calmness about her that pushes productivity and efficiency to the roof.
Rene has been an educational icon in Provo School District. She was at Canyon Crest for 17 years as a teacher and is about to finish another three years as the principal and leader. She has worked in Provo City School District for 33 years. Rene has worked to establish relationships with everyone she works with and goes above and beyond to ensure success. Rene loves empowering students, parents, and teachers to expand upon their limits and reach the pinnacle of success. She believes that everyone has something to contribute, especially students, and she loves seeing every student develop their own identity as a learner. Rene has always been and continues to be a champion of every child’s education.
Jill Day started her career at Provost Elementary School in 1983 and will be ending her career at the same school thirty-nine years later in 2022! She taught three years of kindergarten classes and thirty-six second-grade courses throughout her years at Provost. She has taught generations of families as students grew up and had kids of their own. For years, she has inspired and encouraged students at Provost Elementary to pursue their interests and love of learning through the Great Brain project and helped establish Provost Elementary’s leveled reading library. Overall, Jill has a genuine love for all children. She loves what she does. She says that her job never gets old and will greatly miss coming to what has been her second home for these many years!
Patricia Evans has been a beloved Physical Education teacher at Canyon Crest Elementary for 21 years. Students at Canyon Crest love attending their PE classes! Trish prepares fun activities for students to engage and be active in. Any time you pass by the gym, whether doors are open or not, you can hear the excited squeals of students as they are competing in an energetic activity. Trish is firm and fair, and students have fun, excel, and learn good competition and sportsmanship skills in her classes. It has been a pleasure working with Trish over the years at Canyon Crest. We will all miss her, but wish her the very best in her retirement.
Alison Fuller has been an educator in Provo School District for 15 years, beginning as a 3rd Grade Intern at Provost before being hired to teach at Westridge. Alison taught 4th Grade, 5th Grade, and a 5th/6th Grade combination class during her years at Westridge. Over the years, Alison has mentored countless teachers. She has shared her ideas, lessons, energy, and, more than anything else, her passion for teaching. She has made those around her better teachers just by her example. The students at Westridge know that Mrs. Fuller is their advocate. She will love them. She will celebrate their success. And she will help comfort them in their time of need. Alison will truly be missed by the students, the families, and the faculty at Westridge.
Laurie Hale has made a significant impact in Provo. In the 30 years, she was at Edgemont Elementary, Laurie worked with more than 800 children and their families. Laurie is an expert in her field. Her lessons and her ability to assess needs, whether children or adults in her realm of influence, are flawless. Laurie is always willing to share ideas and materials to support team development and growth. Laurie is a quiet leader wherever she goes and has a strong commitment to building capacity in everyone. Laurie loves a challenge and invites others along with her as she finds new approaches to help children grow. While the outcome is always the focus, Laurie helps others enjoy the process, celebrate the little successes along the way, and finally realize the potential that they desire.
Lynne Harrington is a phenomenal fourth-grade teacher at Rock Canyon Elementary, where she has taught for 16 years. Before teaching in Utah, she taught 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades in California. Her students always know how much they’re loved and how precious they are. Her teammates feel supported and cared about personally because of how she treats them. She has been described as “a jewel of a teacher,” “dynamic,” “a wonderful role model,” and “extremely positive.” Lynne can always be counted on to give her students the best fourth-grade year they could ever hope for. Her lessons are engaging and well-designed. Lynne also has developed a wonderful relationship with our community. Parents of her students love and trust her to provide an amazing year for their children.
Working devotedly as a cook in the Provo City School District’s Child Nutrition Program since August 1998, she faithfully served the children of Franklin Elementary nutritious meals everyday! Connie is an exceptionally sensitive, kind, and thoughtful colleague and friend. She absolutely loved all the children and the school community she was a part of for so many years! Connie is always hardworking, trustworthy, dependable, proactive, and gets the job done well. She was a valuable team member with the knowledge and skills to lead the kitchen when necessary; she played a significant role in operating effectively and efficiently every day! Connie worked every day with purpose and dedication for the children of Provo, and we will be forever thankful for her many years of loyal service and dedication!
Judy Heaton has worked as a Utah teacher for 27 years. She has taught first and second grades and music in Nebo School District and Provo City School District. Judy is a kind, loving, and enthusiastic teacher whose laughter touches everyone’s heart. She always puts a lot of time, thought, and effort into her teaching. Her love for the students is evident in everything she does! Judy is not only a wonderful 1st-grade teacher, but she’s also an amazing music teacher. Her love for learning is something that she shares with her students. Judy has inspired all of us with her hard work and dedication to her students. We will miss her very much and wish her all the best in her next phase of life!
Jennifer Heldenbrand is a beloved sixth-grade teacher at Canyon Crest. She has worked at Canyon Crest for 18 years as a teacher in the second and sixth grades. Jennifer has a unique gift with children. She truly cares about the students at Canyon Crest, both those in her classroom and those who are not. She loves each child and has a desire for each student to succeed. Jennifer has a wealth of knowledge and loves to share that with her students. She ensures that each of her students are successful in their learning and plans activities and lessons that are engaging and interesting. She does not shy away from learning adventures and instills this concept in her students as she integrates her subject material to make learning fun.
Sheree is the epitome of charity, service, willingness, and excellence in your craft. She has given her best years to Independence High School. Words cannot begin to describe what a huge heart Sheree has. Sheree is the most caring, selfless person, and she is always ready to go above and beyond to help in any way she can. Students feel like they are at home in her classroom. The friendly smile, the ovens and stoves and sinks, the colorful fabric stacked about, the smell of buttermilk syrup, and the thoughtful crafts spread around the room warmed their eager hearts. Sheree has always shown the students, tremendous love. She is always so accommodating. Sheree has been a pillar here at Independence almost since the school was built. She is an icon of this school and will be missed.
Carol Lynn McConnell
Carol Lynn has taught at Provo High School for the past 33 years as an Art and Spanish teacher. She influenced thousands of students and led them to love their subjects during that time. Carol Lynn has been a mentor, leader, cooperating teacher, and an overall example to many other teachers over the years. Her classes have ranged from Introductory Spanish to AP and Concurrent Enrollment classes for her students. Carol Lynn’s calm and persistent attitude, paired with her happy disposition, continued to make a difference every day at Provo High School. All of us in the Provo High School Community will miss her kindness and expertise.
Michelle Linford Hatch
Michelle has been an elementary educator for 30 years. She spent twenty-eight of those years in the same classroom at Wasatch Elementary School. Before teaching 6th and 5th grades, she owned and operated a daycare for eight years. Michelle loves our country and instills this patriotism in her students. She strives every day to build good citizens. Each morning, following the Star-Spangled Banner and the Pledge of Allegiance, Michelle’s students recite a class motto that focuses on the possibilities of today and the power we have to do good. It is very inspiring to hear. Michelle is well known at Wasatch for her never-ending humor and positive attitude. Almost all who know her could also list the thoughtful gifts she has given them. She is incredibly caring and generous.
Carol Lynn McConnell
Carol Lynn has taught at Provo High School for the past 33 years as an Art and Spanish teacher. During that time she has influenced thousands of students and taught them to love their subjects. Carol Lynn has been a mentor, leader, cooperating teacher, and an overall example to many other teachers over the years. Her classes have ranged from Introductory Spanish to AP and Concurrent Enrollment classes for her students. Carol Lynn’s calm and persistent attitude paired with her happy disposition continue to make a difference everyday at Provo High School. All of us in the Provo High School Community will miss her kindness and expertise.
Tony McGeary has been a coach and teacher at Provo High School for many years and has made a difference to students every day. His kindness and ability to establish meaningful relationships with students have made him a favorite amongst our student body. As a Football Coach, Tony brought a passion and expertise to the PHS community that made an immediate impact. Over the years, he has led others as a department chair and has stepped in to help other coaches as an assistant and as a mentor. Tony’s classes have always been filled with energy and enthusiasm as he has found a way to motivate and connect with students when others can’t. It is evident to everyone that he truly loves what he does every day.
Naomi has worked devotedly as a cook in the Provo City School District’s Child Nutrition Program for the past 19 years, faithfully serving the children of Amelia Earhart Elementary nutritious meals every day! Naomi is a remarkable colleague and friend and absolutely loved all the students and the school community she worked. Naomi continually went above and beyond for the children and enjoyed making special decorations for the kitchen and lunchroom for all the students to enjoy. She was a hard worker, reliable, honest, and productive. She took pride in her job and always wanted her food to look and taste great! Naomi is an achiever who works hard daily with purpose and dedication for the children of Provo. We will be forever thankful for her many years of loyal service and dedication!
Julie Nelson has been a third-grade teacher at Wasatch Elementary School for 20 years. Julie loves 3rd graders! She was a biology student in college and thought she would become a high school biology teacher, but she decided to take her love of science and teach elementary school. Julie was so excited to be offered a job at Wasatch School because this is the elementary school she attended when she was small. Julie loves all of the relationships that she has had working at Wasatch. Julie has made an enormous positive impact on the Wasatch school community!
Claudia Nielson has worked as an Instructional Assistant in Provo City School District for the past 26 years, including the roles of Classroom Aide, Instructional Assistant, Instructional Assistant Supervisor, and Special Education Instructional Assistant at both Grandview and Lakeview Elementary Schools. For many years, she supervised all of the aides and intervention programs at these schools. Claudia has great love for her students. She is a natural teacher and brings a calming presence to the children she works with. She is intuitive and patient with every student and they are so responsive to her gentle and calm instruction style. She is someone who understands the right questions to ask when it comes to finding ways to help a kid. We are so sad to see Claudia leave Lakeview, but we are happy for her and her family.
DeAnna has been an educator for 26 years. Her career has taken her to four different schools as well as to Provo’s E-School. Deanna has taught Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. She always takes an optimistic approach to teaching and problem-solving. DeAnna believes that children are the most valuable part of parents’ lives, and she feels it is a privilege to work with kids. She finds joy in being around the enthusiasm of children. She believes every child has so much potential. DeAnna loves showing her students’ amazing work with their parents. She has invited parents to see what her students are learning in math, a geometry quilt and pot holders the class created for a family in need, and robot programming.
Laurie Porter has taught almost every elementary grade during her 30-year career. She has very positive things to say about her experiences in all grade levels. Her students enjoy a safe and caring classroom environment while making amazing academic growth. Laurie is one of the most conscientiously aware teachers. She knows every child in her class and strives to meet their individual educational, emotional, and social learning needs. Laurie is highly dedicated to serving her students and is a great example of caring compassion.
James Rees has taught Art Education at Provo High School for 30 years. During this time, James has served in state and national organizations seeking to advocate and contribute to meaningful dialogue on best practices in Art Education. James has facilitated advanced courses with local colleges. In recent years has been the driving force behind exhibiting student work through local businesses, museums, and as part of the Artcetera community art forum at the local mall. Over the years, James has been a mentor to many teachers in Utah and across the Nation, both personally and due to his publications and leadership at the national level.
Al Ricci has been a fixture at Provo High School for many years. As an English teacher and club advisor, Al has inspired students to think differently and to think beyond themselves. His daily lessons have guided students to understand literature and the writing process. As the National Honor Society advisor, Al has facilitated many service projects and inspired students to look far beyond their high school experience and reflect on how they can make a difference in society. Students love his classes and the conversations they have had with him as part of his daily lessons. His peers recognize him for his levity, mentoring, and guidance. He will be missed as a colleague and friend to many. Al Ricci inspires students and teachers and has made a significant difference to others in the PHS community.
M. Loraine Roberson
Loraine has worked in Provo School District for 22 years. She started at Timpview High School, where she was a cook for five years before becoming their assistant manager. She served as their assistant manager for a year and then moved to Provost Elementary, where she has done an amazing job as the nutrition manager for the last 16 years. Loraine has been a dedicated and dependable employee who puts children first. She cares that all students are getting their basic needs to learn throughout the day. Many have recognized the time and great care she has additionally taken to provide specific nutritional needs for students who require a specialized diet. She is greatly respected by her kitchen staff and the faculty alike for her willingness to make any needed accommodations to assist teachers and students alike.
Provo has benefitted from his expertise and passion for the last eight years (after 34 years in Nebo District.) Mr. Roberts has modeled effective, child-centered pedagogy to dance educators all over the world while serving on the local and national boards for the Dance and the Child International Organization. Chris lifts everyone he associates with. He inspires people to see the bigger picture and find ways to go beyond the mundane to find the extraordinary in each situation. His curiosity is contagious and draws people to do better with the time and energy available through his approach to life and teaching. Those who watched him teach saw him capture children’s hearts and elevate their learning with joy. Chris puts children first and inspires others to do the same.
Over the past three decades, Ben Ross has been a consistent personality and significant contributing member of the Timpview High School community. Ben is passionate, thoughtful, methodical, and always prioritizes the care of our students. Ben’s love for sports medicine has been at the foundation of the many contributions he’s made to our community. Through his service as lead trainer, Ben has interacted with and influenced thousands of student-athletes, coaches, and athletics staff that have participated in the diverse range of activities at THS. Ben has also mentored and encouraged hundreds of students to pursue careers in the field of sports medicine. Ben will be greatly missed, and we are indebted to him for his wonderful service to our school.
Pili Saluone has transported students with Provo City School District for the past 15 years. He has driven for multiple schools, clubs, and activities during his time. He spent several of the most recent years transporting the very difficult behavior unit students out of Amelia. Pili is a hardworking individual and dedicated person who could always be counted on to help out when called upon. During his time with the district, he would spend his summers working with the Maintenance department, keeping the district grounds looking fantastic, most of the time working with his coworkers in their twenties.
Dawn started her career with the Provo City School District in 1998, where she began as the voice of the Technology Help Desk. When she began, she supported around 2,500 computers district-wide. She now supports over 35,000 devices and has answered over 150,000 phone calls during her career. She always treated those with whom she has interacted with professionalism and kindness, never treating anyone as though they deserved anything less than her best. Dawn can make you fall in love with her in conversation and makes all that call and work with her feel at ease. All walk away feeling like they now have a close friend and confidant in the Technology Department. Thank you, Dawn, for all of your years of service! You are loved and appreciated more than you will ever know.
Dehbra Smith has been a delightful addition to our Edgemont Family. She loves the children in her class and calls them her “kiddos .”She is a gifted teacher and brings many other talents into her classroom. She is an artist and a children’s book author. She is multi-lingual and makes connections with children in joyful ways. Debbie works hard to meet the needs of all of her students. She is excellent at seeking resources and support for her kids. Her classroom is a delight—not only in the atmosphere she has created but in the zest for learning that is found inside. It is a privilege to work with such an amazing professional. We will miss her at Edgemont, and we will miss the energy and enthusiasm that she brought to Kindergarten.
Tracey had a great passion for food and cooking. She absolutely loved all the children and the school community she was a part of for 18 years! Working devotedly as a cook in the Provo City School District’s Child Nutrition Program since 2004, she faithfully served the children of Westridge Elementary nutritious meals every day! Tracey would greet every child with her amazing smile and caring heart going above and beyond. When learning of a child dealing with many food allergies who loved fruit, Tracey would ensure that this little girl had her favorite fruit available when she came through the lunch line! Tracey genuinely enjoyed visiting with students during their lunchtime, always being kindhearted and compassionate as she created an enjoyable and memorable lunchroom experience for all!
Sally Stosich began her career in Provo City School District at Joaquin Elementary in 1994. From there, she moved to Provost Elementary. In 2006, Sally moved to Sunset View, where she has been ever since! Students first meet Mrs. Stosich in Kindergarten, where she has worked assisting teachers by providing early intervention. For our students, it is love at first sight! Sally is constantly smiling and laughing and brings her loving nature to each intervention session to ensure her students know how much she loves them and wants them to succeed. She loves her students and does everything she can to help create the best experiences for them – both inside the intervention classroom and out. The relationships she has built with her students, and the lessons she has taught them, will never be forgotten.
Holly Tippetts has been with Dixon Middle School for 34 years. Holly spent thirty years teaching science, health, and ballroom dance. She spent two years on special assignments at BYU as a CFA and the last two as an instructional coach. Holly’s favorite part of teaching students has always been getting to know students personally. She helps them not only learn the assigned materials but grow as young people and connect with the world around them. Those “ah-ha” moments are her greatest reward. She truly believes in the power of each day to make an impression for good, not only in students’ lives but also with her colleagues. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and her care is well noted and warmly received.
Teriann Yamada began her career at Provost Elementary in 1991, where she worked for 15 years. Teri moved to Sunset View in 2006 and has been there ever since! Teriann is known for her determination, patience, and ability to help EVERY student make growth and progress on their academic goals. Teachers know that when their students are with Mrs. Yamada, they will be pushed to grow and advance to the next level. Students know that when they work with Mrs. Yamada, they will be held to a high standard while receiving the support they need to meet that standard and surpass it. Students leave each class knowing that they are smart, they are unique, and they are loved.