OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE UTAH ASSOCIATION OF PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS

Pub 9 2019-2020 Issue 3

2020-Circle-of-Excellence-Awards

2020 Circle of Excellence Awards

wallace-stegner-academy

Charter School of the Year: Wallace Stegner Academy

Charter School of the Year: Wallace Stegner Academy

Wallace Stegner Academy opened in 2017 and has achieved significant student academic growth each year. WSA focuses on closing the achievement gap with at risk students. Their success comes from focusing on effective curriculum, proven methods and teacher development. Compared with neighborhood schools, their student test scores are two to four times higher. They strive to provide an environment where all students can thrive. Students are engaged in classroom discussions because they work at an appropriate academic level and then rise to the high expectations placed on them. Teachers work together with each other and staff to develop excellent teaching skills and lesson plans using research-based best practices. WSA has been approved for a replication due to their success. Wallace Stegner Academy demonstrates excellence in education and is the Charter School of the Year.

Pete-Jensen

Administrator of the Year: Pete Jensen,
Leadership Academy of Utah

Administrator of the Year: Pete Jensen, Leadership Academy of Utah

Pete Jensen has a constant good attitude. He is more than an administrator, he is a mentor who genuinely cares about his students. Mr. Jensen invests his whole heart and soul into the education of his students. He is heavily invested in student success. He works hard to bring on the most engaging mentors for his students. He takes time to know students individually. He encourages them to think higher and deeper. He doesn’t let them give up, but encourages looking out of the box mentality. He encourages them to attend an inspirational hour which promotes excellence in all areas of their lives.

He encourages unity even though his school is completely online. He is open to ideas and innovation. Mr. Jensen supports teachers and staff, in addition to students. He is flexible and has made changes seamlessly as LAU has adjusted for Covid-19. “Pete brings kindness combined with efficiency to our school.” For his encouragement, helpful attitude, and excellent guidance, Mr. Pete Jensen is Administrator of the Year.

GW-Academy

Board of the Year: Board of Directors, Shannon Greer, Board Chair, George Washington Academy

Board of the Year: Board of Directors, Shannon Greer, Board Chair, George Washington Academy

George Washington Academy board is an example of effective, efficient, and appropriate board governance. The board meetings consistently focus on governance and outcomes. The board has an effective and professional working relationship with the director, and evaluate the director annually. They perform a board evaluation every meeting by having observers in the meeting fill out an evaluation survey. They include board training in each meeting. To remain focused and time-efficient, the board members estimate the finish time and if the meeting reaches that time, they evaluate if they still need to go forward or if the meeting has accomplished the agenda goals and can be closed. They are able to stay focused by all members coming prepared and using parliamentary procedure. Due to their excellence in board governance the board of George Washington Academy is the Board of the Year.

Roger-Simpson

Business Manager of the Year: Roger Simpson, Voyage Academy

Business Manager of the Year: Roger Simpson, Voyage Academy

Roger Simpson is a problem solver with a desire to mitigate strain on administration. Mr. Simpson is eager and willing to tackle obstacles and eliminate barriers. Financially, Mr. Simpson is always prepared. He keeps the school in line with state-mandated regulations and outperforms on audits. Mr. Simpson keeps the administration and board informed of financial information and ensures understanding. He is always trying to find ways to make loads lighter, jobs easier, and employment more efficient. He has a very level head, and maintains professionalism at all times. Because of Mr. Simpson’s expertise, he is often sought for advice from surrounding charter schools and districts. Mr. Simpson meets deadlines and maintains compliance with state reporting. For his excellence in business management, Roger Simpson is the Business Manager of the Year.

Sumeyra

Innovator of the Year:
Sumeyra Gul, Computer Science Teacher, Beehive Science & Technology Academy

Innovator of the Year: Sumeyra Gul, Computer Science Teacher, Beehive Science & Technology Academy

Sumeyra Gul has been a computer science teacher with Beehive Science and Technology Academy since 2016. In March 2019, Ms. Gul was given the Utah Coalition for Educational Technology (UCET) Outstanding Teacher Award. She oversees the school’s two CyberPatriot teams—one coed, and the second one that’s all-female. Ms. Gul oversees the Girls Who Code Club. She mentors and encourages her female students to compete for the National Center for Women and Information Technology Award for Aspirations in Computing. “Ms. Gul is an innovative teacher who learns emerging educational technology and implements this technology in her classes. She also helps support and train fellow teachers to increase student learning across the school. She has been a pioneer in implementing some creative teaching and learning tools, and in helping other teachers to learn from her best practices through professional learning communities and training. She shares her expertise with other school teachers by inviting them to her classroom and workshops.” For her work in computer science education, involving females in STEM activities, and expanding the reach of technology competitions for her students, Ms. Gul is the Innovator of the Year.

Kristen

Employee of the Year: Kristen Barnes, Mountainville Academy

Employee of the Year: Kristen Barnes, Mountainville Academy

Kristen Barnes serves as the Registrar at Mountainville Academy. Kristen could best be described as the head cheerleader because of her enthusiasm and school spirit. She draws families to Mountainville Academy. Kristen’s school tours are second to none as she incorporates students, teachers, and administrators to tell her school’s story. She integrates the “Leader in Me” curriculum in all her interactions with students. She guides the students to become leaders by advising student council, coaching the cheerleading team, and leading student action teams. Kristen is willing to fill in at the front office as needed. She greets everyone in carpool with a smile and knows all students by name. Kristen keeps the Mountainville Instagram and Facebook feeds full of school activity photos and announcements which promotes school spirit and keeps parents up to date. For her school promotion, willingness to help wherever needed, and excellent customer service, Mrs. Barnes is the Employee of the Year.

Jared

Rookie of the Year: Jared Ferguson,
Athenian eAcademy

Rookie of the Year: Jared Ferguson, Athenian eAcademy

Jared Ferguson joined Athenian eAcademy in October 2019 while the school was on probation with the State Charter School Board. He has worked closely with the Athenian eAcademy board of directors to comply with terms and conditions to successfully exit probation. This process included working closely with the board to make decisions, hold training and perform evaluations. He implemented systems to support student learning and produce measurable results. Student academic performance has increased during Mr. Ferguson’s tenure as well as student retention rates. Despite initial challenges in school culture, academic performance, and compliance, Jared Ferguson has elevated the overall performance of Athenian eAcademy and is the Rookie of the Year.

Rebecca-Hay

Teacher of the Year:
Rebecca Hay, Career and Major Explorations Teacher, UCAS

Teacher of the Year: Rebecca Hay, Career and Major Explorations Teacher, UCAS

Rebecca Hay teaches Career and Major Explorations at the Utah County Academy of Sciences. All seniors take this course and it serves as a base of support since most seniors are otherwise at UVU for their coursework. Ms. Hay knows all seniors on an individual level. She takes time to cater her lessons directly to their needs. She sets up check ins with them on a regular basis and she is consistent about referring students to counselors or administration as needed.

Ms. Hay cares for her students by providing small gifts, brain breaks, exercise tips, and de-stressing exercises. She teaches students how to advocate for themselves and how to be self-sufficient. Her enthusiasm and caring are evident. Ms.Hay plays a leadership role among the faculty; not because she has been assigned, but because she is present, committed, and wise. Ms. Hay is passionate about her subject and the impact that she can have on her students. For these reasons, Ms. Hay is the Teacher of the Year.

Trudy

Lifetime Achievement Award: Trudy Sorenson, North Star Academy Board Chair and Founding Member

Lifetime Achievement Award: Trudy Sorenson, North Star Academy Board Chair and Founding Member

At the start of the charter school infancy in Utah, Trudy Sorenson had a vision of schools that valued every child as a unique individual filled with their own innate sense of curiosity. In 2005, she was instrumental in writing the charter for North Star Academy that would be based on the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM), aligning her philosophy with education. She served as a member and President of the Board of Trustees for the next fifteen years. North Star Academy and the Board received recognition from the Utah State Charter Board and most recently UAPCS with the Utah Board of the year Award in 2019. Her expertise and dedication to the school included re-bonding twice and participating on the finance committee. During her tenure the school would remain as one of the top academic schools in the state. Ms. Sorenson also served on the founding board of Ascent Academies of Utah, giving them her experience and extensive knowledge of the SEM. Her contributions are greatly appreciated by all who have worked with her and the children who have benefitted from her hours of dedication.

The Utah Association of Public Charter Schools

This story appears in Issue 3 2020 of Charterology Magazine.

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