2020 Awards

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE UCET20 AWARD WINNERS!

ISTE Making It Happen Award given to a Utah educator, who over time has made a significant and broad impact on the vision and practice of Digital Teaching and Learning in the state of Utah. 

ISTE Making It Happen – Jim Stewart, UETN Chief Technology Officer (CTO) 

For the past 18 years, Jim Stewart has been working directly supporting technology for all public schools, higher education and healthcare organizations in the state of Utah. He has 40 years of experience working in the technology profession.

With an increased focus on using technology in the most effective ways to support student learning, a reliable, secure network and ample bandwidth are essential. 

Jim has prioritized ensuring all schools across the state have access to robust Internet connectivity. With quality infrastructure in place, schools and classrooms have been transformed to facilitate the best experiences for students. USBE DTL Team recognizes Jim’s leadership as instrumental in providing teachers across the state opportunities to serve as architects of learning while providing students with a conduit to explore real-world concepts, interact with real-world experts, and analyze and solve real-world problems. These connected classrooms are keeping resources and materials current with the contemporary world, offering opportunities for more self-directed personalized learning experiences, and allowing teachers to facilitate active student learning. 

UETN is a critical resource for Utah, providing the backbone that supports all the services and functions of our modern education system. Under the leadership of Jim, UETN’s collaborative efforts with USBE, LEAs, and Regional Service Centers have delivered and continue to support highly scalable, secure, and reliable networks. Their shared vision and planning enable current and future learning technology tools that enhance student learning to be leveraged in schools across the state of Utah.

OUTSTANDING LEADER: Ian Davey

Ogden School District, Digital Teaching and Learning Specialist

Nominated by: Adam McMickell, Director of Student Achievement, Ogden School District

Ian Davey consistently demonstrates an ability to match visionary leadership with key organizational aptitudes that maximize learning outcomes and drive district-wide initiatives. Over the past year, Ian has led by example in his role as the district digital teaching and learning specialist by modeling a commitment to personal professional learning and inspiring many in the educational community to follow in his path. He lives his core values as a Google Certified Educator, Trainer, Innovator, and a Leader for Utah’s Google Educator Group. He was also one of the first educators in the state to be recognized as an ISTE Certified Educator and is currently coordinating efforts to establish this certification program in his district. 

According to Ogden’s Director of Student Achievement, Adam McMickell, Ian’s commitment to excellence and his collaborative expertise are proven assets for the district and for the entire state educational community. He is a primary reason that Ogden district was recognized as a Google Reference District. Ian has welcomed educators from across the state to our district (face-to-face or online) and presents annually at the UCET conference. 

As a district leader, Ian always plans well in advance and keeps himself on track by relentlessly monitoring his own actions in relation to each project’s proximal and distal objectives. He always keeps the students in mind and measures all project outcomes against student learning expectations. Through this work, Ian advocates for the students by developing district policy and procedural governance that aims to promote innovative practices and access to information while guaranteeing privacy and security for all students. Moreover, Ian effectively employs his communication skills to ensure that all stakeholders are fully aware of their roles/expectations throughout all stages of each project’s implementation. McMickell identifies Ian’s organizational dexterity coupled with his relentless pursuit of excellence as positively transforming Ogden School District’s culture and has advanced the learning community in delivering high-quality digital teaching and learning experiences. 

OUTSTANDING TEACHER: Taunya James

Riverdale Elementary School in Weber School District, 2nd Grade Teacher and Ed Tech Coach

Nominated by: Tabitha Pacheco, Director, Utah Teacher Fellows

Taunya has a rich background in implementing technology in her class and school. Working with code.org since it went live in 2013, her second grade students understand computer coding and use it to program robotics such as Spheros, Makey-Makeys, and DoBots. Last year, Taunya added Arduino boards from BirdBrain Technologies and her students’ creations amazed teachers at the 2019 UCET Conference. In 2014, Taunya adopted Sugata Mitra’s concept of School in the Cloud and has students using the Self Organized Learning Environment format to research and collaborate big questions. Her students can research and present their findings like upper grade students by the end of the year. They use their knowledge to problem solve and collaborate with others face-to-face or through online collaboration with Skype in Education. Students learn in an active, hands-on environment where student thinking is valued and reinforced. Every student is held to high accountability. Her lessons are vibrant and use different methods to engage all levels of students. 

Tabitha Pacheco, Director, Utah Teacher Fellows recognizes Taunya’s supports for learning in other classes and for fellow teachers. She works closely with other teachers to increase student success on a school-wide level and has been an active participant in PTA, Community Council, and district Leadership Teams. For the last 5 years, Taunya has coordinated free after school enrichment clubs for students focusing on STEM and the arts. The clubs are always full with a long waiting list because of the interactive learning and understanding of STEM education.  Currently, Taunya is the advisor for her school student tech team and the VEX IQ robotics teams. 

In addition, Taunya is the school’s Ed Tech Coach and Project Lead the Way Lead Teacher. She helps teachers update practices and feel more confident using technology with students. She teaches staff during professional Development trainings, in small groups, and works one-to-one with teachers.

OUTSTANDING YOUNG EDUCATOR: Kayla Towner

Odyssey Elementary, Davis School District, 5th Grade Teacher

Nominated by: Rachel Wright, 4th Grade Teacher, Odyssey Elementary

Kayla, as a DSD Leading EDGEducator and pursuing her technology endorsement,  holds her students to high standards in not only using technology but also understanding the why and how behind classroom technology. Her students benefit from individualized instruction that meets them at their level, but also in learning life-long problem-solving technical skills that will prepare them for jobs that may not even exist yet. Rachel Wright, a fellow teacher at Odyssey, sees Kayla’s students use adaptive technology for centers, complete and submit assignments using Microsoft Teams and Canvas, use Minecraft to build problem-solving skills, and created posters to encourage students to be responsible digital citizens.

Kayla has also taken a leading role in supporting fellow teachers in using classroom technology. She is known throughout Davis School District as a technology leader and risk-taker, who is willing to help others succeed in areas she has mastered. Kayla wants her fellow educators to be comfortable with and recognize the benefits of innovative teaching practices with classroom technologies. She offers her expertise in faculty meetings, optional trainings, and at district technology gatherings. Wright believes, Kayla sees everyone as capable of innovative practices, and does her part in helping them succeed!


ISTE Making it Happen Winner

  • Jim Stewart 

UCET 2020 Award Nominees

Outstanding Leader of the Year Nominees

  • Aaron  Bodell, Utah State Board of Education, Education Specialist
  • Ian Davey, Ogden School District, Digital Teaching and Learning Specialist
  • Maxine Dee, Canyons School District, Ed Tech
  • Melissa Hamilton, Murray City School District, Elementary Teaching & Learning Director
  • Jennifer Moore, Windsor Elementary, Principal
  • Julie Mootz, Canyons School District, Oak Hollow ELementary, Principal
  • Jenna Olson, San Juan, Monticello, Principal
  • Richard Swanson, Farmington High School, Principal
  • Shanda Thornell, Canyon School District, Sandy Elementary, Educational Technology Coach
  • Chet Torgerson, Sevier School District, Technology Director

Outstanding Teacher Nominees

  • Val Anderson, Utah Online School, Washington County School District, Teacher
  • Amy Beckert, Draper Elementary School, 4th Grade Teacher
  • Rachel  Bingham, Canyons School District, Bell View, 3rd grade Teacher
  • Kirt Brown, Iron County School District, Canyon View High School, Art Teacher and School Technology Specialist
  • Brandon Cornaby, Canyons School District, 7th grade science
  • Becca Esplin, Iron County, Fiddlers Canyon, 4th grade teacher
  • Taunya  James, Riverdale Elementary School in Weber School District, 2nd Grade Teacher and Ed Tech Coach
  • Lightel Parys, Butler Elementary School, Canyons, 4th grade DLI 
  • Mindy Van de Graaff, Canyons School District, Willow Springs Elementary, Visual Arts Brainbooster Teacher

Outstanding Young Educator Nominees

  • Jeff Mortensen, Alpine School District, Innovative Learning Coach
  • Megan Norton, Canyons School District, Canyon View Elementary, 4th Grade Teacher
  • Dani Sloan, Instructional Technology Trainer, UEN
  • Kayla Towner, Odyssey Elementary, Davis School District, 5th Grade Teacher
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