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South Jordan Journal

Top South Jordan teachers applauded for their excellence

May 08, 2023 01:15PM ● By Julie Slama

Bingham High teacher Andrea Call was surprised when Jordan Education Foundation Executive Director Mike Haynes congratulated her as Bingham’s Outstanding Educator of the Year. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

Bingham High teacher Andrea Call was getting ready to teach her next class when Principal Rodney Shaw popped in to say he had to talk to her.

“My first thought was, I was in trouble,” she remembered. “I said I had to get to my next class, and he said it would just take a minute and to walk with him; he wanted to talk about school construction.”

Only construction was never talked about because as they walked down the hallway, the school marching band began to play.

“I thought they were just practicing, and I told them good job,” Call recalled, not realizing they were playing for her.

Shaw asked her to go into a room for a conversation. When she entered, she saw her class, Jordan Education Foundation Executive Director Mike Haynes, who has helped find mentors for her Entrepreneurship Academy class, and Jordan School District Superintendent Anthony Godfrey, who also has witnessed Call’s teaching.

“I recognized a lot of the people, and I was wondering, ‘What is this?’ I was processing it all slowly. When I saw my family, I knew something was up and being introverted, I immediately wanted to back out the door, but my principal was there,” she said. “I was in shock. There are so many outstanding teachers and probably hundreds that do equally amazing things that nobody says anything about. It was overwhelming and amazing.”

Call is one of Jordan School District’s 68 Outstanding Educators of the Year. At each school, the teacher of the year receives a crystal award, a yard sign and $500, said Anne Gould, Jordan Education Foundation associate director.

Call, and South Jordan Middle School’s Lindsey Morrill, are two of the top 15 educators for whom district officials and members of the Jordan Education Foundation and school board came to their classrooms with the announcement and invited them to an awards banquet sponsored by area business partners in their honor to receive their awards and $1,000.

Godfrey shared with her students, principal, educational and community leaders, including South Jordan Mayor Dawn Ramsey, as well as her family, that incredible learning happens in Call’s classroom.

“The type of learning that happens in her classroom is the learning we’re looking for in every classroom,” he said. “She’s an amazing teacher. She’s just a great example of exactly what we hope every student can experience when they’re learning with the teacher in their classroom.”

Shaw, who nominated her for the award, said Call’s contributions extend beyond the classroom.

“She contributes to the whole culture of the school,” he said. “She’s part of my leadership team, and really guides the discussions about what we need to do with high schools to be more student centric, making sure kids are always the most important thing in the decisions we make.”

Call, who has instructed career and technical education classes at Bingham for six years, said she appreciates the recognition.

“It’s validating knowing that the things I’m doing matter to my students and it’s meaningful to them as well as the principal, the foundation and the school board. As teachers, we all work hard and so it’s nice to be recognized, to be thanked,” she said. “Sometimes, we don’t realize how effective we are until students come back to thank us or until someone takes the time to say, ‘we see what you’re doing, and we know that it matters.’”

Other South Jordan educators honored at their school include Nichole Moore, Aspen Elementary; Carlynn Jones, Daybreak Elementary; Bing Wang, Eastlake Elementary; Holly Fjeldsted, Elk Meadows Elementary; Stephanie Lorenzana, Golden Fields Elementary; Christine McIntyre, Jordan Ridge Elementary; Sarah Christie Matheson, Monte Vista Elementary; Diane Witt-Roper, South Jordan Elementary; Allisun Cartier, Welby Elementary; Mollie Gonzales, Elk Ridge Middle; Jodie Milad, Mountain Creek Middle; Jenny Witzel-Burke, Valley High; and Diane Malmborg, River’s Edge School.

At South Jordan Middle, Godfrey told Morrill’s students that she was one of the few Jordan School District teachers who were being honored. He also let it be known that he has insider information about her dedication as a teacher. 

“I let my son come to her class — what better endorsement than that? I not only let him, I’m excited that he has this class. I know that yesterday, she came in early to load a different program for the kids to work with because the other one was ‘boring’ and she wanted to spice things up. Whatever it takes, she puts in extra work,” he said.

Godfrey also pointed out Morrill, who teaches College and Career Awareness class in the career and technical education department, has 3-D printings on her desk of the district’s theme animal this year, the tardigrade, which, he said, like Jordan’s teachers, are resilient.

“She’s all in, all the time and she does an amazing job,” he said.

In her nomination, it said that Morrill creates a classroom environment that is focused on discovering. 

“She loves to give students opportunities to have hands-on experiences with various technology tools. Nearly every day, Lindsey has her students out of their seats working together on a project-based learning experience, such as building model rockets, scribble bots, electrical circuits, CO2 cars, woodturning, coding. One of the many things students love about Ms. Morrill is that she brings her lessons to life and shows them how the skills and knowledge they gain from her class can be applied in the real world,” it said.

The nomination said her classroom is a place where students love “to learn, create and explore.”

“She is keenly aware of the need for variety in her classroom projects that allow each student to find their strength and excel. When working with her students, she is energetic and encouraging at all times. She looks for innovative ways to engage her students, and has a contagious enthusiasm,” the nomination said.

Call knows the value of knowledgeable teachers and the impact they can make on students; she wants to pay it forward.

“When I see teachers do amazing things and try to make a difference, I send emails or in our meetings with all the department heads, I’ll give a shout out,” she said. “The best part of this award for me, and probably the same for all teachers, is having the students thank me. We care about them. They’re why we’re here.”λ