The Utah Teacher Fellows Program is proudly funded by local donors. The program launched in 2017. UT Teacher Fellows — experienced professionals with three to 28 years in classrooms — work to engage their educator peers and submit teacher-led solutions to the State Board of Education to inform policy and practice. Director Tabitha Pacheco was a 2015-2017 National Teacher Fellow with Hope Street Group before taking leadership of this program.
Brooke began her education career as a middle school English/Language Arts teacher in Nebo District. During her time in the classroom, Brooke earned endorsements in reading and educational technology. After seeing the increasing role of data and assessment in schools, Brooke switched roles to be a specialist in Evaluation, Research, and Accountability for Jordan District, her position for the past six years. She received her undergraduate degree in English Teacher from Brigham Young University-Provo and a Masters of Science in Information Systems from the University of Utah. She works with a variety of education data using R, a statistical programming language. She currently serves on information system focus working groups and data analysis teams at the local and state level. Brooke was a Hope Street Group Utah Teacher Fellow from 2019-2021.
Kiera Beddes has been a secondary ELA and History teacher for nine years, both in rural and suburban Utah, teaching in Nebo, Juab, and Jordan School Districts. She received her undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University in History Teaching, with minors in English Teaching and Scandinavian Studies. In 2016, she returned to Brigham Young University to earn her Masters of Arts in Teacher Education. She is passionate about social science, literature, professional learning, and technology in education. She believes in the power of technology to eradicate barriers between teachers and learners. Kiera serves on the Utah Coalition for Education Technology board and is currently the digital teaching and learning specialist with Jordan School District. Kiera was a Hope Street Group Utah Teacher Fellow from 2019-2021 before joining the team as a Network Leader.
Scott Judy enjoys a successful teaching career at Viewmont High School. His belief that education creates opportunities is clearly seen in both the classroom and on the field. Scott has coached various sports over the years from the freshman to varsity level and resides as the head girls tennis coach for Viewmont. He has helped develop curriculum and educational standards for Davis School District and the State of Utah. Currently, Scott teaches Concurrent Enrollment History and Government in conjunction with Weber State University and is a pioneer in the Davis School District for the satellite broadcast classes. He received his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University-Idaho in History Education and German Education and his Masters of Arts in History from Sam Houston State University. Scott was a Hope Street Group Utah Teacher Fellow from 2019-2021 before his role as a Utah Teacher Fellow Professional Learning Facilitator.
Tabitha Pacheco is a National Board Certified Teacher in Exceptional Needs. She has ten years of classroom experience in public, charter, and digital education settings as a Teacher, Instructional Coach, Mentor, Special Education Director, and Educational Consultant. In 2013, she was awarded the Utah State Office of Education “Significant Disabilities Teacher of the Year” for outstanding leadership and commitment to students with disabilities. As a teacher leader in her state, Tabitha has served on many local and national committees as an advocate for teachers. She believes in large-scale, positive social impact through equitable access to education. Tabitha was a Hope Street Group National Teacher Fellow from 2015-17 before her role as the Utah Fellowship Director.
Stephan believes that a civically engaged teacher will create the most positive future for students. To that end he has worked on various projects for the Utah State Board of Education that will give students skills they can use for the rest of their lives. He helped write The Roles of a Utah Teacher Leader guidebook that allows teachers to gain leadership skills without leaving their classrooms; thus students and teachers can all gain real skills and experiences to further the goal of elevating education in Utah. Stephan graduated magna cum laude from Utah State University and teaches World History, WWII and A.P. U.S. government and politics at Providence Hall High School. He was a Utah Teacher fellow from 2019-2021 before moving into his current position with the Utah Teacher Fellows.
John Arthur teaches 6th grade at Meadowlark Elementary, a Title I school in Salt Lake City. He is the 2021 Utah Teacher of the Year and National Teacher of the Year Finalist. John is also an adjunct professor in the Graduate School of Education at Westminster College, and he represents the Asian community on the Utah State Board of Education’s Advisory Committee on Equity of Educational Services for Students.
Aileen Bennett has been an educator for 18 years. She started her career teaching at Orange Lutheran High School in California. She taught World History and Geography there for three years before moving to Utah and taking a job with the Davis School District. She taught 7th grade Utah Studies for three years. During this time, she received the Middle Level Team Teacher of the Year Award. From there she moved to Syracuse High School where she started their AP World History class and ran the Sterling Scholar program. She taught there for 5 years. She then transferred to Davis High School where she currently teaches. Aileen is the Social Studies Department Head, the district AP World History PLC Lead, and the Secondary Mentor for first year social studies teachers in the district. Aileen earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from UCSD in 2000. She attended Vanguard University for her secondary teaching certificate and earned a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from National University.
Kerianne knew as a young student in Davis School District that she wanted to be a teacher. In 2017, she began her career teaching in Davis, sharing her passion for language arts, literature and history with elementary students. Kerianne currently serves fellow teachers as an Executive Board Member for the Davis Education Association, and assists students as a Jr. Hope Squad advisor for her school. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Western Governors University in 2017, and is returning to earn a Master’s in Education Leadership in 2022. She enjoys connecting with other educators on Twitter and can be reached at: @heysheteach.
Audryn began her teaching career at Centennial Middle School in Provo, UT where she became highly certified to teach mathematics and completed her Master’s Degree in Special Education with a thesis focus on teaching self-advocacy skills to students with disabilities. She moved to St. Louis, MO and taught inner city high school for 2.5 years where she says her passion for teaching was re-ignited. She moved back to Utah just in time to receive her National Board Certification and is enjoying teaching and mentoring new teachers at Cottonwood High School in Granite School District.
Kelsi spent most of her career teaching English and Chinese and currently works as an instructional coach at Clearfield High School. She has taught at Jordan High, Kettle Moraine Middle/High Schools (Wisconsin), and Clearfield High in the Davis School District, where she was awarded the DSD Teacher of the Month (2020). Kelsi has presented at several conferences including the National Chinese Language Conference and loves to share her passion about education with others. Kelsi earned a bachelor’s degree in English Teaching and a minor in TESOL from Weber State and a post-baccalaureate minor in World Languages Teaching from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Laleh started her teaching career in 1992 in Iran, where she taught in middle and high school for 7 years and worked as an academic coach at the school district for the next two year. In August 2000, she came to the United States with her husband and their 8-year-old son. Since then she has worked as an Academic Enhancement Coordinator at Indian Hills Elementary for two years and earned two Masters’ degrees; Master of Science and Technology-Biotechnology from University of Utah, and Master of Arts in Teaching from Westminster College where she graduated with honors and was chosen as the student speaker for the 2017 commencement.
Kelly Haakenson is a social studies teacher at the Salt Lake Center for Science Education, a charter school in the Salt Lake School District. She is especially interested in developing literacy skills through content, creating learning opportunities for students outside the classroom, and spreading her passion for education. Kelly graduated from the University of Utah with a double major in Exercise and Sports Science, and Teaching History, along with a Secondary Teaching license. She went on to complete an ESL endorsement, and a Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction.
Andrew started his career teaching and coaching in Kansas City where he was named the Innovative Educator of the Year and recognized with the Horizon Award from the Kansas Exemplary Educators Network. He then relocated to the Denver area where he taught and served on district curriculum and equity teams. While in Colorado, he was awarded the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) Biology Teacher Achievement Award. He now lives in Salt Lake County and teaches at Mountain Heights Academy where he also serves as STEM Program Coordinator. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s in Biology from Washburn University in 2012 and a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from Pittsburg State University in 2014.
Natalie began her teaching career 27 years ago as a middle school Art teacher. A few years later, she moved to Australia. She taught Art, Food & Consumer Science, and Career & Enterprise to high schools from all over the world. Thirteen years later, she moved back to Utah. After raising 3 kids, wanted another adventure to Monument Valley High School, and is now teaching the Art and Technology teacher. Best job ever!! She also teaches online BYU for public speaking. She received her BA at Southern Utah University, MEd at the University of Queensland. She is getting her endorsement in ELL, Language Arts, and Digital Technology.
Kristin began teaching in 2004 in Alabama before moving to the Washington County School District in Utah in 2018. At Washington Fields Intermediate School she is a member of her school’s vision team and is presenting at both NSTA and UtSTA in 2021. Kristin holds a BA in Classical Languages with an emphasis in Ancient Latin and Greek from the University of Alabama and a M.Ed. in Secondary Science Education from the University of Alabama in Birmingham as well as National Board Certification in Early Adolescent Science. She is currently a PhD student in Educational Leadership Policy at Texas Tech University.
Machelle has spent the last 10 of her 34-year career in the Uintah School District and currently serves as the library/ media specialist for the Uintah High School. She advises the Uintah chapter of National Honor Society and is assistant advisor for the Sterling Scholar program. Machelle holds endorsements in, Gifted and Talented Education, Library and Media Specialist, English as a Second Language, Reading, and has her National Board Certification in Adolescent literature. She serves on the board for Utah Education Library Association and is on the ULMS. She served as a state mentor in both Utah and Oklahoma and has worked as an instructional coach and mentor for several districts. She was awarded the “Power of the Dream” award for outstanding teachers in Cedar City in 2003, she has also been outstanding teacher of the year at Vernal Middle School 2014, UMLA team of the year in 2017, and Hydro-Eakly High School teacher of the year in Oklahoma 2010 and 2011. Machelle received her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and History from Oklahoma Baptist University and Master’s from Western Governors University in Instructional Design and Technology.
Marley has been teaching at FACS education at HighMark Charter School in South Weber for the past five years. During her time there, she was awarded a grant from the Whole Kids Foundation to begin a hydroponic garden and she has been a cheer coach for 4 years. She attended Utah State University for two years before transferring and finishing her Bachelor’s Degree at Weber State University. She is currently working on her Master’s in Educational Leadership at Western Governors University. You can follow her on Twitter at @heymrscclune.
Dawn started her career in Delaware prior to moving to Utah. In Utah, she started her work in first grade at a private school followed by 5th grade at Mountainville Academy. After teaching at Mountainville Academy, she taught 4th, 5th, and 6th grade at Ignite Entrepreneurship Academy followed by her current position as the Middle School ELA/CTE Teacher. She is passionate about Personalized Competency-based learning, Project-based learning, and Digital Teaching and Learning. She is currently serving as a member of the USBE’s Digital Teaching and Learning Advisory Committee, Ignite’s DTL and Professional Learning Lead, a member of the Academic Excellence Committee at Ignite, and an active supporter of The STEM Action Center of Utah. She has a passion for education reform and teaching teachers to hone their craft. Dawn earned her Bachelor’s Degree in K-8 Elementary Education double minoring in K-12 Special Education and History from Wilmington University in New Castle, DE returning for her Masters in School Leadership.
Since 2015, Lauren has taught AP English Language and Composition, Creative Writing, English 11, and AVID 11 in a corner of Cottonwood High School in Murray, Utah. She additionally serves on Cottonwood’s Leadership Team, Equal Opportunity Schools Committee, and AVID site team. In 2019, she was named the Granite District Teacher of the Year and the 2020 Utah Teacher of the Year, which afforded the opportunity to serve on the State Superintendent’s COVID-19 Advisory Council and Governor’s Education Excellence Commission, among others. She is a 2005 graduate of Cornell University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English.
Emma describes teaching as finding the place she fits in the world. She is entering her fifth-year teaching at Eastmont Middle. Emma has earned a Bachelor’s in Social Science Teaching from BYU and a Master’s of Education from WGU; with additional endorsements and certifications in Business & Marketing, EdTech, AVID, and ISTE. Emma was the 2021 UT Teacher of the Year Runner-Up, UT CTE New Teacher of the Year, and an ACTE National Leadership Fellow. Emma serves as a student government advisor, USBE instructor, and teacher representative on multiple committees. She believes in empowering teachers and bridging the digital divide.
After graduating from Dixie State College in 2011, Ryan Rarick began his teaching career as a 7th grade Language Arts teacher at Lava Ridge Intermediate School in Santa Clara, UT. After three years, he moved down the street to Snow Canyon High School and began teaching 10th & 11th grade Language Arts and eventually moved to AP Language & Composition, Concurrent Enrollment English 1010 & 2010, Journalism, Speech, and Virtual Language Arts 12. Ryan currently works as the Learning Coach and 11th Grade AP Language & Composition teacher. Within his 11 years at Washington County School District, Ryan completed his master’s degree from Southern Utah University in 2015, and currently attends the Utah State University Teacher Education and Leadership (TEAL) doctoral program focusing on Instructional Leadership. Along with his academic responsibilities, Ryan loved coaching Girls Basketball and Volleyball, and now serves as the advisor for the GSA club.
Ross began teaching in Davis school district as a first and third grade teacher. Then he worked at UEN as a state trainer, Canyons school district as an Ed Tech Specialist and now in Jordan school district as a secondary Digital Learning Specialist. He has also served on the board of UCET and was President as well as President of Canyons Education Association. He got his undergrad from SUU in Elementary Education and his Master from the U of U in Instructional Design in Educational Technology.
For the past six years in San Juan School District, Georgiana Kennedy Simpson has guided 7th through 12th grade Visual Arts, Student Council, and Sterling Scholars at Whitehorse High School in the Navajo Nation. She has been Whitehorse Teacher of the Year twice as well as receiving the 2020 Sorenson Legacy Award for Excellence in Arts Education. Georgiana has a Master of Arts in Teaching Fine Arts from the University of Utah. Previous life iterations include founding the Bluff Arts Festival, serving as President and Education Chair of the Indian Arts and Crafts Association and writing three books.
Kayla has recently been hired at Utah Education Network (UEN) in Salt Lake City as a Technology Instructor/Trainer. Prior to UEN, Kayla taught at Odyssey Elementary in Davis School District for 6 years and in JoongAng Elementary School in Daegu City, South Korea for 2 years. Kayla recently became a Microsoft Innovative Expert for 2021-2022 and was named Utah Coalition for Educational Technology (UCET) Young Outstanding Educator for 2020. In Davis, Kayla was part of the first technology cohort called Leading EDGEucator to bring back support and training to her school. Additionally, she was a New Teacher Leader and Davis Pedagogical Performance Assessment Candidate 2020-2021 to help guide other teachers in their teaching and innovative technology practices. She also helped create Canvas courses to support educators in Davis to become stronger in their technology skills. In graduate school, Kayla studied the importance of personalized learning and the impact of technological innovations. Kayla earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Exercise Science at Gustavus Adolphus College and her Master’s Degree in the Arts of Teaching at Westminster College.
Kacee’s career began in 2010 at a charter school in Weber county as a mixed-grade teacher. She moved into instructional coaching and administration. In 2018 she joined Ogden School District and thrives on being in the classroom with the children. She has mentored new teachers and presented at a number of state and national conferences sharing her enthusiasm for Literacy and Social/Emotional Learning. She is passionate about educational equity and reform. She earned a dual Bachelors in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Weber State University (2006) and a Masters in Montessori Education from St. Catherine University (2013).
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