USD names teacher, employee of the year

USD names teacher, employee of the year
Posted on 04/15/2021
This is the image for the news article titled USD names teacher, employee of the yearThe Uintah School District on Tuesday announced its Teacher of the Year and Classified Employee of the Year for 2020-2021.

Vernal Middle School teacher Kimberly Hawks was named Teacher of the Year. Uintah High School administrative assistant Jodi Ryan was named Classified Employee of the Year.

"Kimberly and Jodi were chosen from a phenomenal pool of nominees, and the selection committee had a difficult task in choosing just one from each category," Uintah Schools Superintendent Rick Woodford said. "Our school district is truly fortunate to have so many exceptional employees."

Hawks teaches 8th grade U.S. history and English as a Second Language at VMS. She has worked in education for 11 years. She has twice been chosen as the school's Teacher of the Year and was also named to the VMS Hall of Fame in 2016 and 2018.

"She exemplifies the core values of professionalism, accountability, unity, purpose, and integrity," VMS Principal Dr. Mistalyn Leis wrote in her letter to the district's Teacher of the Year Selection Committee.

Leis noted that Hawks has "a long-standing reputation of quality teaching that helps students be successful."

"In fact, over the years her students have had a 99% pass rate on the Civics Exam, which is required to graduate from high school in the state of Utah," Leis wrote.

One of Hawks' students who nominated her for Teacher of the Year wrote that Hawks," helps me with any subject. She is very patient with me and is kind."

"I have learned so much in your class," another student wrote, "and I love how there is never a dull moment. Thank you so much for being such a good teacher and for making learning fun."

Ryan has worked for the district for seven years, serving as an administrative assistant and athletics secretary at Uintah High. She also worked as a substitute teacher for three years.

"If you have ever worked with Jodi, you will know what an amazing person and employee she is," UHS Principal Sharon Shipton wrote in her letter to the Classified Employee of the Year Selection Committee.

"One of the characteristics that I appreciate the most about Jodi is her ability to unify those with whom she works," Shipton wrote. "She is always looking for ways to make other people's jobs easier. At the end of the day, she knows we all want what's best for our students, and she makes sure those things happen."

In her letter to the selection committee, Uintah High teacher Janalee Watkins described Ryan as "an amazing colleague."

"She possesses an exceptional blend of intellectual skill, organization, timely response and social grace," Watkins wrote. "Through her example, she reflects the district's core values of professionalism and accountability."

Former Uintah High Athletic Director Kevin Dickson also supported Ryan's nomination, telling the selection committee she treated parents and coaches with respect, which allowed her to "calm many situations" before high school administrators had to be involved.

"As a principal, your (administrative) assistant must be trustworthy, professional, a problem solver, and most importantly they need to love students," Dickson wrote. "Jodi Ryan has all of those qualities and so many more."

The Uintah School Board will celebrate Hawks and Ryan during the board's business meeting in May. Hawks is the district's nominee for Utah Teacher of the Year.
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