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Teachers are awarded for excellence by Park City Education Foundation

Suzanne Sheridan, special education, McPolin Elementary, reacts as she steps up to accept her Excellent Educator Award.
Molly Miller/Park City Education Foundation
Suzanne Sheridan, special education, McPolin Elementary, reacts as she steps up to accept her Excellent Educator Award.

The month of May is all about educators as the Park City Education Foundation honors staff with parties and awards.

Every May, the Park City Education Foundation shines a light on the work of educators in the city’s public schools. This year the Excellent Educator Award Program expanded to not only honor one teacher from each school, but to honor every Park City School District educator with banners on Main Street and pizza and beer socials on Fridays at Versante.

Jennifer Billow, associate director of the foundation, explained that this past year with the lack of substitute teachers, COVID, and the tireless work all the educators have done to keep students in classrooms, they were excited to celebrate all the employees.

“We loved being able to honor not only the individual excellent educator, but all educators and we couldn't do it without the funding from the Louis and the Doilney family. As you can imagine, throwing three pizza socials in a row and putting banners up on Main Street and then every excellent educator winner gets a check. And so the Doilney family and Louis families have funded that whole award at a at a much bigger amount than they have in the past so that we can honor every single educator in the school district.”

Last week, almost all the schools in the district revealed the winners of the Excellent Educator award. Each celebration was unique, tailored to each school’s needs and schedules. Trailside Elementary School will reveal its winner May 18th.

There’s also a special award voted on by the high school senior class called the Sarah and Stephen Doilney award. It goes to the school’s “most influential” educator of the students’ school careers.

Billow says the winner is often a high school teacher, but that educators from all grades receive nominations from the seniors. This year that award went to Josh Goldberg, a social studies teacher from Park City High School.

“But what's fun for me because I get to see all the comments is, you know, there's always a student who might name their kindergarten teacher or the third grade teacher and we all the comments that are made by all the seniors, as well as all the teachers and educators who are nominating each other, that they're anonymous, but we do send those out to every single educator who received the comment. And the responses I get back like oh my god, this made my day. Thank you. Oh my gosh, after such a hard year, you don't know what this means. I'm gonna get verklempt. You don't know what this means to me. I mean, it just, you know, it's a privilege for sure.”

The winners of the Excellent Educator Award are:

Mary Morgan choir, band and drama teacher at Ecker Hill Middle School

Susan Valentin, second grade teacher at Jeremy Ranch Elementary

Suzanne Sheridan, special education teacher at McPolin Elementary

Melissa Nikolai, who teaches English tied with Bret Hughes a band and percussion teacher at Park City High School.

Alane Gaspari, intervention specialist at Parleys Park Elementary

Larissa Fomuke, English teacher at Treasure Mountain Junior High