Evening of Excellence

Each year six outstanding educators (1 principal, 1 classified employee, and 4 teachers) are recognized for their excellence contribution to the education of students in Provo School District. The educators are nominated by their peers and recognized at a formal dinner. Local businesses and individuals sponsor the event.

Building on Excellence Award Recipients

Gaye Gibbs

Gaye Gibbs

Gaye Gibbs has worked in education for 35 years. She has worked in Provo City School District for 34 of those years, including the past two as Principal at Centennial Middle School.

Gaye boasts a great track record of nurturing students. She takes the tome to interact with individual students, and uses her own life experiences to provide both empathy and hope for her students. As a principal, Gaye is fully invested in making sure that the students are fully supported. She also includes parents as partners in the schools, making them feel welcomed and valued.

Throughout her career, Gaye has taken opportunities to continue to grow and learn. In addition to classes and conferences, Gaye seeks out learning independently. She is well read. She continually engages in pedagogical dialogue with friends and colleagues.

Finally, Gaye has a legacy of students who love her. Former students will send Gaye wedding and birth announcements, return to the school to visit her and check in a Facebook to share their lives, as they become the capable adult that Gaye knew they could be.

Sarah Jensen

Sarah Jensen

Sarah Jensen has worked in education for three years, with each of those years coming at Dixon Middle School.

Sarah is dedicated to putting students first and is driven to be a force for good in their learning. She has a passion for education and a strong love for students. Sarah’s job duties mostly entail tracking middle school students, but Sarah only uses that as a starting point. Sarah goes beyond tracking and becomes a cheerleader to struggling students. For students that need more support than just tracking, Sarah recruits college students to tutor them before, during and after school. For our English language learners, Sarah recruits and trains volunteer translators to attend class with these students. Sarah’s nurturing and care for our students doesn’t end after her 29-hour week, she spends countless hours after work as a volunteer herself because she is passionate about helping students succeed. Sarah is always positive in anything she does for Dixon and brings out the best in everyone.

Jim Scribner

Jim Scribner

Jim Scribner has worked in education for 12 years. He has spent the last six years in Provo City School District at Wasatch Elementary where he is currently a 6th grade teacher.

Jim is amazing at creating positive and nurturing relationships with his students. It is not uncommon to see students who have previously struggled in school to begin to flourish and thrive in Mr. Scribner’s class. He sincerely loves and cares for his students and is always looking for ways to connect with them.

Jim serves in several leadership roles within Wasatch and the district and is continually striving to improve his practice. He actively participates in district technology initiatives and is currently attending weekly professional development to further his learning to incorporate technology in his instruction and specialize in a Google-based classroom. He also participates in the BYU CITES program.

Jim’s positive attitude and personality also contribute to the well-being of his school. His personality and attitude help others feel comfortable and positive. Jim is always looking for the positives, in both people and situations, and chooses to make the positive his focus.

Matt Hiatt

Matt Hiatt

Matt Hiatt has worked in education for 18 years, with the last six years being at Oak Springs as a Special Education Teacher.

Matt is a caring and fun teacher and uses a variety of ways to creatively teach subjects and engage students in learning. He is very proficient in using media and technology to enhance lessons and teachers students to become confident media/tech users. Matt understands each of his students and adjusts lessons to meet their individual needs. He engages fragile, hesitant students by understanding their interests and building lessons or activities that help them gain interest and confidence.

Matt makes sure to keep up to date with new technology that can enhance student learning and shares his knowledge and techniques with the teaching staff. Matt also makes sure that teachers understand and know how to use updated Special Education techniques. He promotes the understanding of Special Education law and encourages all teachers to keep up with paperwork and compliance requirements.

Shanna Vasquez

Shanna Vasquez

Shanna has worked in education for 25 years. She has been in Provo City School District for two years and has taught kindergarten at Amelia Earhart Elementary.

When asked what she finds most rewarding about her job, Shanna replied:

1. I get to make an impact on lives. I feel it in the email from a parent who lives in another state and thanks me for the updates as they appreciate being able to be a part of their child’s school experience.
2. I get to ignite the “spark”. In class, we celebrate accomplishments by wearing crowns, strutting down the red carpet and dancing on chairs.
3. I get to be surrounded by love. On stressful days, there is always a current or previous student who will give a hug, note or doodle to cheer you up.
4. I get to laugh all day long. Whether it is a blue glitter slime experiment gone terribly wrong or the joke of the day that we repeat just so we can laugh.
5. I get to learn each day alongside my students. I always tell my students that the most important thing in our room is their thinking. And lucky me I get to see and hear their thinking every day.

Karen Soerensen

Karen Soerensen

Karen has worked in education in Provo City School District for 33 years. The last 21 years have been spent as a Social Studies teacher at Centennial Middle School.

Karen shows her love for students by being a fantastic teacher, with great lesson plans and wonderful presentations. She goes the extra mile for students in many different capacities. She strives to help each student to the best of her ability. She makes appropriate accommodations and calls home and speaks to parents to gain additional insight in how to help the student.

Many times throughout her career she has purchased school supplies for students whose families weren’t able to afford them. Karen has gone beyond the classroom to sponsor extra activities that benefit students: creating Monday Movie Madness, advising National Junior Honor Society, the Talent Show and Student Council. She has also assisted with Mock Trials, We the People Competition, Cookie Fund-raiser, School parties/activities, and the Magazine Fund-raiser. Karen’s love and concern is clearly illustrated by her total involvement and commitment to her students.