The Utah Teacher Fellows 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.
Benjamin worked for a decade in the corporate world before finding his true purpose in the world of education. He is driven by the desire to see his students achieve success in their academic lives. Since coming to the world of education Benjamin has worked in rural school districts and focused on collaboration with other educators to bring the best practices to all students. He has shown leadership by serving on committees to create new teacher evaluations and curriculum implementation and has served as a union representative and delegate. Benjamin graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the New York Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science in History Education from Utah Valley University.
Marrianne Asay has the heart of a teacher and loves being in the classroom. She is a 5th grade teacher at Highland Elementary School in the Alpine School District and has been teaching for four years. She was awarded the Spirit of Alpine award in 2015 in recognition of her contributions to the school district. She recently received her technology endorsement and enjoys helping others on her team integrate technology into their classrooms. She is the Collaborative Team Lead for her grade level. She received an associates degree in Early Childhood Education from BYU-Hawaii and her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Brigham Young University.
Bridgette completed her Master’s program in instructional design in 2015 with a dual Bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education. She has finished her first year as a special education teacher with the added responsibility of special education director in the charter school in Salt Lake district. Her extensive background in the National PTA has provided her with the experience needed to accomplish many interesting advocacy endeavors. She served as the Chairperson for Utah PTA Emerging Minority Leadership as well as Utah PTA Region Director. Bridgette is an executive committee member of the University of Utah Parent Association where she continues to advocate for families.
For the past 23 years, Kristin van Brunt has been an English Language Arts teacher for the Davis County School District and she currently teaches sophomore honors English at Viewmont High School. She has extensive experience working not only with secondary students, but also with ELA teachers. Kristin has facilitated professional learning throughout the state and she and a team of educators also planned, organized and facilitated literacy professional development for all secondary educators in the district. Additionally, she presented with colleagues about content area literacy at a conference for the National Council of Teachers of English and co-authored The Game Plan: A Multi-Year Blueprint to Create a School Culture of Literacy and Data Analysis. Kristin graduated with a bachelor of arts in English and Psychology from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon and received her teaching credentials through the University of Utah.
Jacquelyn spent the first seven years of her teaching career in the Chicago Public Schools. In 2012, she moved to Utah and has been with the Alpine School District since then. She achieved National Board Certification as an Early Childhood Generalist. In December of 2011, Jacquelyn spoke at the White House with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and the Department of Education. She has taught first grade for 11 years and spent one year as a Lead Teacher working with teachers and students in pre-k through third grade. Jacquelyn was the Cedar Ridge Teacher of the Year for the 2014-2015 school year.
Amberlee has spent the last eight years of her 12 year career at Mountain Heights Academy. Her passion for individualized instruction coupled with the use of technology and teacher created content has propelled the work she does both in and out of the classroom. As a licensed clinical mental health counselor, Amberlee advocates for the focus on the well being of the whole student. She’s a member of the American Psychological Association and the Council for Exceptional Children. Amberlee was awarded 1A State Drama teacher of the year in 2005 and Mountain Heights Academy Teacher of the Year in 2014. Amberlee earned a Bachelor’s in Secondary Education and Special Education from Southern Utah University and a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling with certification in Play Therapy from Capella University.
Megan Watson Fairbourn just completed her 15th year teaching, 11 of those years working in the Davis School District. For the past 13 years, she taught either seventh or eighth grade math in the junior high setting. In 2017, Megan will start a new endeavor teaching Secondary II Math at Northridge High School in Layton, Utah. In 2004, she was voted Teacher of the Year by her peers and received the same award in 2015. Megan has served as the chairperson for Joint Staff Support Committee for two years and was the Math liaison for Local Case Management Team for three years. Recently, Megan participated on the Utah State Secondary Math Leadership Team, helping to create an online class for teachers in Utah to take if they wish to create Professional Learning Communities. She also has taught two district Professional Development classes on how to develop Professional Learning Communities. Megan coached the girls’ basketball teams for four years, was the Danceline coach and sponsor one year, cheerleading coach and sponsor one year and yearbook sponsor one year. She helped pilot a math software program for the STEM Action Center in the Governor’s Office, which included presenting the results of the pilot program to the State Legislature. Megan earned a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Brigham Young University and a Master’s in Educational Leadership from Western Governor’s University. She has a Level 2 Math Endorsement and an English as a Second Language Endorsement and is working towards her Level 3 Math Endorsement.
Deborah has spent her nine year teaching career in Granite School District (Salt Lake County), spending time in the Young Parent Program for teen mothers, Kennedy Junior High, and Hunter High School. She currently teaches Geography, Honors Geography, and AP European History. She also serves as the Social Studies Department Chair and as a member of the school Leadership Team. Her education includes a Social Science Composite undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University and a Masters of Arts in Education with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix. Deborah achieved National Board Certification in Social Studies-History at the Adolescent Young Adult level in 2015. Deborah leads the mentoring program in her school, working with new teachers. She also actively supports teachers working towards National Board certification by co-facilitating the Utah Education Associations’ Jump Start program.
Kelly has been a classroom teacher in the elementary grades for 20 years. Her first 14 were spent in various positions in Texas. The remaining years have been in Utah teaching in the Jordan and Canyons School Districts. She is certified in her district as an ELL instructor and enjoys challenging her students both academically and as future leaders. She graduated with a B.S. in Education from Texas State University and has an M.Ed. from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.
David spent the past ten years teaching 4th grade at Freedom Elementary in Alpine School District where he was just named Freedom Elementary Teacher of the Year. He was also recognized as the 2018 UCET Outstanding Young Educator of the Year. Currently he is serving as an Innovative Learning Coach at three elementary schools in Alpine School District. David has an endorsement in STEM and used the flipped classroom model for math. His videos have helped students understand concepts not only locally, but have been viewed all over the world. He is currently serving his second term as an elected board member for the Utah Coalition for Educational Technology.
Michele has been a teacher for five years at both the junior high and high school level teaching mathematics in Granite School District. Her belief that education is the bridge to opportunity for her students is why she is a passionate advocate of high quality public education both in and out of the classroom. She is a board member of the Utah Education Association and a member of the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics. Michele was awarded Granite District’s Outstanding Educator award in 2016. Michele earned a Bachelor’s in Mathematics and Master’s in Mathematics Education from the University of Utah.
Deborah has 15 years experience in the science classroom and currently teaches high school science in a rural setting at South Sevier High School in the Sevier School District. She also serves as a district technology coach for secondary teachers. Her dedication and enthusiasm to provide quality and engaging education to all students fuels her motivation to improve the public education classroom. In 2009, Debbie was awarded both the National Association of Geoscience Teachers Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Award for the state of Utah and southwest section of the United States as well as the Utah Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Most recently Deborah was selected as an Education Advisor, for the K-12 STEM education project, Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms, a WGBH initiative in collaboration with NASA. Debbie earned a Bachelor of Science in Geology from Utah State University and a Master of Science in Geoscience from Mississippi State University.
Steve currently teaches 8th-grade mathematics at Lakeridge Junior High in Orem. He is an advocate for improving educational equity and inclusive practices for students with disabilities. Currently, he serves on the Utah State Education Advisory Panel for special education policies. He has served as the D.A.D.S State President for UDSF. In 2009, Steven was awarded Union Middle School Teacher of the Year. He graduated from UVU in 2009 with a B.S. in Mathematics.
Brian E. Preece is a 28-year teaching veteran starting his career at West High School in Salt Lake City and relocating to Provo High School. He has taught a wide array of subjects in Social Studies including AP US Government and Politics, US Government and Citizenship, US History, Modern World History, IB 20th Century Topics, IB Geography, Utah Studies, South Asia Studies, Western Europe Studies and American (Current) Events. He served as the head wrestling coach at Provo High School from 1994 to 2006 and was named the Utah Coach of the Year in 2006 by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. He also has served as an assistant baseball, football and golf coach at Provo High School and assisted with football and wrestling at West High School. Brian has been involved with the Geography Olympiad and History Fair and he collaborated with colleagues to start a program at Provo High School that used authentic assessment, field experiences and serviced-based learning. An alumnus of both Brigham Young University and Southern Utah University, Brian has been married to his wife Heidi for 20 years and they have two children together: Lizzy (age 17) and Zach (age 15).
Machelle has been teaching 21 years, all of which have been at Rosamond Elementary in Jordan District. She is passionate about social responsibility and this directs her work in and out of the classroom. She is an advocate for students. She believes in learning about and attempting application of current classroom research. Machelle enjoys travel associated with learning and educational purpose. A graduate of Westminster College, Machelle holds a Masters degree in Reading from Grand Canyon University with certificates in ESL and mathematics from the University of Utah and Southern Utah University, respectively.
Wendy Rush graduated in 2006 from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Mild/Moderate disabilities. She then taught resource classes at Mapleton Elementary School from 2006-2007. From 2006-2012 she was a mentor teacher and Supervisor with the BYU summer Practicum. She taught High School Resource English classes at Utah Virtual Academy from 2012-2016 and is currently the Special Education Instructional Facilitator for Utah Virtual Academy.
Bridget has taught at Deerfield in Alpine School District for five years. She has taught 1st grade for one year, STARS summer school for four years and just finished her 4th year teaching 2nd grade. Helping students improve their confidence as a learner and develop a love learning is Bridget’s favorite part of her job as a teacher. Bridget received teacher of the year for the year 2016-2017. She also received the PTA teacher of the year award in 2015-2016. She earned her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Endorsement from Southern Utah University.
Denise has taught preschool special education and 1st through 3rd grades for the past 22 years. She has spent the last nine years in Davis District and currently teaches at Valley View Elementary. She’s a member of the Executive Board of Davis Education Association, Chairperson of DEA’s Teaching and Learning Committee, a member of UEA’s ESSA Implementation & BPR & R Committees and a former participant in NEA’s Teacher Leadership Initiative. Denise earned a Bachelor’s in Pre-School Education and Family Life Services from Northern Michigan University and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Special Education from The University of St. Thomas.
Amy began her teaching career at Foothills Elementary in Herriman. She taught first grade for eight years. Her sixth year of teaching, she was invited by her principal to help open a Chinese Dual Language Immersion program and teach the first grade English Language Arts side. After three years in this role, she moved on to be a Mentor Specialist for her district. An Early Childhood Generalist National Board Certified Teacher, Amy is an active member of the Utah National Board Coalition, having helped run their Hill Day and building NBCT capacity in Utah. She is an NEA Teacher Leadership Initiative Participant and the UNBC VP of Advocacy and Policy. She earned her BS in Elementary Education with BYU-Idaho, a Master of Education with Southern Utah University, a Reading Endorsement with BYU and an Administrative Supervisory License with Utah State University.
Lynette Yorgason is a teacher at East High School in Salt Lake City, Utah. Lynette teaches World History, AP World History, and Civics. She also has experience teaching Computer Science and English as a Second Language. She received her undergraduate degree in History Teaching from BYU-Provo and a Masters of Arts in English Language Learning from Western Governor’s University.
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