On Monday, August 15, teachers and administrators from all of Carbon School District’s schools gathered in Mont Harmon’s auditorium for the annual Opening Institute. As they arrived, the district educators were invited to get breakfast from and visit with representatives of CCEA (Carbon County Educators Association).
A sense of excitement hung in the air as everyone visited, laughed, and shared stories.
To start things off, Miss Stephanie Cha, CCEA President, welcomed everyone and took a moment to introduce the various leading members of CCEA - past president, president-elect, board members, and association representatives at each school. She also took a moment to recognize Jennifer Black who has served in the CCEA for (as she put it) “I don’t even know how long!” Mrs. Cha also discussed fiscal updates and changes for the educators of CSD.
Following her remarks, Superintendent Mika Salas welcomed everyone back with a hearty, “It’s so nice to see your faces!” She talked about the upcoming school year and how excited she is to get things started. She entreated the educators to make it a point each day to check in with a coworker and with a student. She explained that throughout history, [humans] have overcome trials by banding together. She promised that as we show genuine concern and interest in those around us, we would reap the benefits ourselves.
After Superintendent Salas, Elementary Director Stacy Basinger recognized new employees to Carbon School District and individuals who have switched positions within the district. Beginning with the elementary schools, she invited each principal to introduce their new employees.
Bruin Point: Natalie Bigelow in 2nd Grade, Jared Barker in 3rd Grade, Sandi Regruto in Counseling, and Sharon Manchester in Special Education
Castle Heights: Tristan Garvin in 4th Grade, Kasondra Frazier in Special Education, and Renee Pressett as the new Instructional Coach
Creekview: Megan Hinckley in 3rd Grade, and Natalie Lantz in 5th Grade
Sally Mauro: Kailee Pendergrass in 1st Grade, Tiffany Barlow in 4th Grade, Tyler Grundy in 4th Grade, Sarah Spear in Special Education
Helper: Sandi Regruto as the Mental Health Therapist, and Megan Costello as the Art teacher
Mont Harmon: Amy Warburton in 8th Grade Math, Amber Chappell in 6th Grade Math, Chrissy Bishop in Counseling, Rachel Allen in 7th Grade Language Arts, Denise Madsen as the Behavior Interventionist, Taylon Abeyta in Physical Education, Danielle Tuttle in Special Education, Alaena Fryer in 7th Grade Language Arts, Becky Cook in 6th Grade Language Arts, Heidi Lindsey in Digital Literacy, and Bradley Brown in 8th Grade Science
Carbon High: Kaitlyn Ipson in Music, Julie Powell in FACS, Emily Anderson in FACS, Amy Morgan in Math, Alex Anderson in Math, Alisa Kranendonk in Special Education, Stacy Abbott as a Counselor, and Chris Sweeney moved to Dean of Students
Castle Valley Center: Tracilynn Anglesey as a teacher, and Tracey Curtis as the Transitional Teacher
District SPED: Marcie Gregersen as an IEP Support, Jamie Bradley as the SPED Coordinator, Raegan Baker as the Autism Teacher, and Bryndee Anderson as the SLT
Youth In Custody: Ted Gubeler as the YIC teacher. He will also be working with Carbon High’s CAP program.
District Office: Rebekah Moore as a Behavior Interventionist, Emily McKenney as a Behavior Interventionist, Jared Hansen as the Maintenance Director, Justin Wilde as the Transportation Director, Tonya Jones as the Child Nutrition Director, Nick Osness as a custodian and maintenance man, and Dustin Stettler in maintenance
After recognizing all the new employees, Basinger recognized the service and commitment of employees who have served continuously in one or more positions in Carbon School District for 4, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 31 years.
4 Years: Jo Begay and D’Lee Cologie from Castle Heights; Jaimi Hillman and Jimmy Parker from Creekview, Shelley Gravett from Sally Mauro; Chrissy Bishop, Tara Elrod, Jessica Fasselin, Sarah Feik, and Shawn Smith from Mont Harmon; Heidi Christensen and Lane Tait from Carbon High; and Calie Blanc from Castle Valley Center
10 Years: John Behn from Bruin Point; Cynthia Lancaster from Castle Heights; Kodi Gunter and Jaime Noyes from Wellington; Heather Arrieta and Jessica Fausett from Helper; Sandi Cox and Steve Robinett from Mont Harmon; Carrie Barnett, Tracey Curtis, and Amy Nicholson from Castle Valley Center; Wendy Berryman from the District, and Amanda Hamaker and Todd Richardson from Transportation
15 Years: Shaunna Barney, Bill Bate, and Arland Leonard from Castle Heights; Racquel Adams and Misty Matthews from Creekview; Laura Allred from Wellington; Rob Bradley from Helper; Karlene Bianco from Mont Harmon; Doug Morris, Kirt Nunley, and Romelia Urrutia from Carbon High, and Shawna Sherman from Transportation
20 Years: Linda Garvin and Paige Haddock from Castle Heights; Grace Gutierrez from Creekview; Paulie Vogrinec from Wellington; Carrie Timothy from Castle Valley Center, and Kristen Henrie from Transportation
25 Years: Bambi Erramouspe from Creekview, and Ruth Whiteside from Castle Heights
30 Years: Julie Thayn from Castle Heights, and Leslie Smoak from Carbon High
31 Years: Mrs. Basinger and the team from the District Office made a special recognition for Sid Nelson in maintenance as they accidentally missed his 30 year recognition last year
Next on the program was to recognize the teachers nominated by their coworkers as Teacher-of-the-Year: Joset Wells from Bruin Point, Marcie Gregersen from Castle Heights, Grace Gutierrez from Creekview, Janel Parry from Sally Mauro, Kodi Gunter from Wellington, Alisha Hansen from Helper, Tina Frame from Mont Harmon, Chris Sweeney from Carbon High, and Amy Nicholson from Castle Valley Center.
From those teachers, a committee from the district selected one member as the District’s Teacher of the Year - Chris Sweeney of Carbon High was their selection. Mr. Sweeney was invited to address his colleagues. He spoke of what made him become a teacher and what influenced his teaching style. He spoke of the struggles that so many students encounter - especially the students of the past few years who have endured through a pandemic, wars, and political and social unrest. There was nearly total silence during his speech; the power and sincerity behind his words were felt.
The event concluded with Mike Roberts, a long-time educator and instructional coach from northern Utah. His presentation was "The Soundtrack of Teaching", and he shared valuable lessons he has learned through 23 years of teaching middle school. With each lesson he shared, he connected it to a well-known song that had lyrics related to the message. The audience was encouraged to come forward and sing karaoke-style to the songs. Many educators of Carbon School District were enthusiastic to participate and entertained their colleagues. The room was full of laughter and positive energy, which carried with the educators as they returned to their buildings for school meetings.
It is evident that the faculty and staff of Carbon School District is excited for a new year and all that it will bring. Welcome back to school everyone, let’s make it a great year!