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Back to school for teachers: opening institute


"Emery cheerleaders present the colors at the opening institute for teachers in the Emery District."


Back to school those words strike fear into children and joy into the hearts of parents. Superintendent Larry Davis conducted the opening institute for teachers and staff members on the day before the students returned to the classroom.
School Board President Laurel Johansen thanked the teachers for serving the children of Emery County and the imparting of many gifts to them. The gift of light and knowledge. She described gifts/skills she had received from teachers in the Emery District in her youth. From Mrs. Wilde she learned homemaking skills, from Mrs. Mclenahan she learned business skills that helped her work through college. Science and math skills from Mr. Bill and Mr. Peacock. English and history from Mr. and Mrs. Johansen. These teachers are legendary and held in great esteem. Her children and grandchildren have also been recipients of the gifts of knowledge from the teachers in Emery County.
One teacher her daughter had in college told her she had been prepared well by the Emery County schools for her college years. Her sixth graders learned a love of reading. The skills these students are learning today not only affect them, but future generations as well. “You won’t get much thanks from your students, so I’m telling you thank you from all your students. You have influence on them for the rest of their lives. You are people who make a difference. I admire you and may you have an amazing year as you give gifts to the students in this district,” said Johansen.
Superintendent Davis said he has only been superintendent for a short two months. The position has been humbling. He has felt small at times, but with all the teachers and staff members who are working for the children in this district, he feels positive and big in knowing they are partners in the education of the children.
He has toured all of the schools in the district and spoke to each principal. When he asked them what they felt the strength of their school is, they answered it’s the people they work with; their staffs. The support they received from all the teachers and the love of teaching. No one is more important in education than the classroom teacher. Things get more complicated each year, but the task remains the same to give the sons and daughters the best education we can with an attitude that is uplifting and a collaborative coming together of minds.
Superintendent Davis said there have been a lot of changes. Thirty employees have been lost and 20 transfers and the hiring of 20 new employees. The new teachers and staff members were introduced.
Superintendent Davis announced the guest speaker, Sheriff Greg Funk. Superintendent Davis said they have worked closely with the sheriff’s office and there has been a significant decline in drug related incidents at the high school. They also implemented the drug testing program for student athletes and school leaders. Sheriff Funk has provided access to a resource officer for the school. He helped to start a law enforcement class which is now in its second year. They are working in a partnership to bring GED access to the inmates. He has been involved in safe schools and safety drills and emergency drills. “He is responsive to our needs, he returns phone calls and he cares about kids,” said Superintendent Davis.
Sheriff Funk said he was asked to talk about law enforcement in our age, his perspective, and also mental health issues. While taking an AP English class from Mr. Davis in his high school years, he wrote every story about hunting.
He felt very confident in his English skills. He spent two years speaking Spanish and came back with no command of the English language. He decided to go into law enforcement where you could make a difference.
He went into the drug task force. He wanted to shut down all the drugs in the county. He was in court all the time on the stand testifying.
The secretary at the sheriff’s office setup an English class and he was mandated to be there. The teacher used his two page single spaced report with no paragraphs as an example; a bad example. “So much for my perception of the English language. I didn’t put a lot of thought into those reports. The lawyers must have thought I was a hillbilly idiot. After that I put more efforts into my reports.
“Six years ago when I went to my first meeting of the sheriff’s association, I was one of the younger ones. One of them told me, perception is reality. After six years that’s been the best advice. Perception really is reality. It applies to every aspect of life, to our constituents. But, are our perceptions always right.
“A month ago, an alleged murderer was arrested and put in our jail. He was from back east and had allegedly killed his girl friend in a violent manner. He reminded us of John Coffey from the Green Mile. A big mild-mannered, courteous man. Quiet and respectful. I went back and talked to him.
“He was in isolation so we could watch him and on suicide watch. I went in and introduced myself and asked if he would like to talk to me. He was respectful and said yes sir. He said our area here was so beautiful. He said he had committed a horrible crime.
“He said he felt safe here and wanted to spend the rest of his life here. We told him no he wouldn’t be able to do that. He wondered if he could change. He didn’t want to be known as the man who committed this crime. Should he change into the perception of what someone who could commit this crime should be, should he be a mean guy. I told him no, just be yourself. His perception of our jail and our deputies was good, everyone treated him good. He grasped what life is all about. It made me evaluate my own perception with what’s happening nationally in law enforcement.
“The Utah legislature enacted the Justice Reinvestment Initiative. This is a devastating new law, it turns heroin, meth, cocaine into a misdemeanor like a speeding ticket. It has turned the sentencing upside down.
“The public expects action, but these offenders are turned back out onto the street. Lives are lost needlessly. I have two boys that wanted to be cops, I’ve tried to talk them out of it. This opportunity to talk today gave me an excellent opportunity to evaluate my own fallacies about law enforcement. When something happens back east.
“It doesn’t apply to us. Our community appreciates law enforcement. The other day we had treats delivered to the office with a note that says thank you for everything you do for our community. I love our county. Our county shines and the people who support us.
“We had a tragedy this summer, a young man took his life. He had seven other siblings there. When I arrived they were scattered everywhere, they were overwhelmed. I asked them what their religious preference was. They said LDS. I called the church for help and people came and got involved. I got the school district involved, even though these kids were homeschooled. I involved Four Corners Behavioral Health. Everyone came together to help this family. This crisis made our community shine. A family took this family into their home for a few days. I am proud of our community. We have a great community. We can be proud. You guys make our community great. You’re entrusted with our kids, our most prized possessions. You probably spend more time with the kids than their parents.
“Watch the students, you can pick up on any mental health issues they might be having. I don’t ever want to have to go through that again. Your perception is important if you are all doom and gloom then the kids will be all doom and gloom.
“Kids will pick up on it. We have to change ourselves. Change our perception. It’s not all doom and gloom. Whatever happens with the 2016 election, we’ll get through it. Whatever we’re handed we will get through it. It all depends on your perception. We live in a great society.
“We have unsung heroes. One I would like to tell you about is Willie Frisbee. He is a volunteer at the jail.
When an inmate gets out of jail, he will transport them where they need to go. All of us need to recognize and help people like that. He doesn’t want any light shined on him, but seeks to shine a light on everyone else. We need to thank those kinds of people. Have a safe and wonderful school year.,” said Sheriff Funk.
New teachers and transfers include: Mekette Taney, Teacher (Resource), Cottonwood Elementary; Alissa Blake, Teacher, Book Cliff Elementary; Jeff Winget, Teacher (Language Arts), Emery High; Ryan Maughan, Director of Student Services, District Office; Burton Sant, Teacher, Book Cliff Elementary; Richard Nobbe, Teacher (Band), Emery High; Kelly Perkins, Teacher, Ferron Elementary; Jill Weber, Teacher, Castle Dale Elementary; Dan Springer, Teacher (Career & Technical Education), Canyon View Junior High; Crosby Hatt, Teacher (Music & Fine Arts), Green River High; Chandler Peacock, Teacher (Automotive), Emery High; Kent Nelson, Teacher (Resource), Green River High; Kristi Rasmussen, Teacher, Huntington Elementary; Carma Galloway, Educational Assistant, Canyon View Junior High; Britanya Winn, Drill Advisor, Emery High; Crisanne Durrant, Educational Assistant, Huntington Elementary; Courtney Cox, Head Custodian, Huntington Elementary; Amanda Abegglen, Educational Assistant, Canyon View Junior High; Melissa Jensen, Educational Assistant, Canyon View Junior High; Denise Smith, Assistant Cheer Advisor, Emery High;
Sabrina Ungerman, Educational Assistant, Huntington Elementary; McKade Hansen, Educational Assistant, Huntington Elementary; Jacquie Wilde, Preschool Assistant, Cottonwood Elementary; Dawn Winn, Preschool Lead, Ferron Elementary; Brindy Grange, Preschool Assistant, Ferron Elementary; Ashley Reyes, Preschool Assistant, Book Cliff Elementary; Cassie Thatcher, Educational Assistant, Cleveland Elementary; Shalee Bennett, Educational Assistant, Cleveland Elementary; Angelina Behling, Educational Assistant, San Rafael Junior High; Casey Jo Reid, Educational Assistant, Transportation; Rayola Pfnister, Route Driver, Transportation
Current Employees with New Job Location and/or Assignment: Larry Davis, Superintendent, District Office (was Principal at Emery High); Ben Carroll, Band Teacher, San Rafael Junior High (was Teacher at Emery High) Yvonne Jensen, Principal, Canyon View Junior High (was Teacher at Canyon View) Steven Gordon, Principal, Emery High (was Vice-Principal at Emery High) Dean Stilson, Vice-Principal, Emery High (was Teacher at Canyon View) Kayce Fluckey, Principal, Green River High (was Teacher at Green River High) Karl Jensen, Teacher, Canyon View Junior High (was Teacher at Cleveland Elementary) Jodi Sitterud, Teacher, Canyon View Junior High (was Teacher at Cleveland Elementary) Tina Allred, Teacher, Cleveland Elementary (was Teacher at Huntington Elementary) Duston Service, Head Custodian, Emery High (was Head Custodian at Huntington Elementary) Mekette Sitterud, Educational Assistant, Ferron Elementary (was Assistant at Canyon View) Melanie Jensen, Head Custodian, Ferron Elementary (was Head Custodian at Cleveland Elementary) Mike Scow, Head Custodian, Cleveland Elementary (was Head Custodian at Ferron Elementary) Tami Rowley, Educational Assistant, Huntington Elementary (was Assistant at Canyon View) Dallice Webster, Educational Assistant, Book Cliff Elementary (was Assistant at Green River High) Anita Bennion, Educational Assistant, San Rafael Junior High (was Assistant at Ferron Elementary)

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