I’m honored to nominate Shauna Waters, a third grade teacher at John C. Fremont Elementary School, in Taylorsville, Utah for consideration in KSL’s “Teacher Feature” award program.
Included in this submission are two letters – one from Lisa Hood, a PTA board member and a parent at John C. Fremont, whose son Ben, now a fourth grader, had Mrs. Waters in third grade; and another from Shauna’s former principal, Lynn Cooper, now a principal at Fox Hills Elementary in Taylorsville.
I’ve wanted to nominate Shauna for many years and have actually approached her about doing so, but each time she has graciously declined. She has never wanted nor has she ever sought personal recognition for her teaching. Seeing her children succeed and learn has been satisfaction enough.
This year has been especially difficult. Seventy-five percent of the children in her class of 26 students are “at risk” – meaning they are behind grade level. Ability-wise, Shauna teaches the kids who struggle the most. About one-third of her students have come to John C. Fremont as immigrants, or with predominantly foreign language skills and some have entered her classroom with zero English competency. This reality would discourage most teachers, but not Shauna. One young boy from Southeast Asia had never been taught English prior to entering Shauna’s class. In English tests just conducted last week, this youngster, along with another low-ESL student showed measurable progress. Gail Gremlich, a teaching colleague of Shauna’s who administered the tests, said “their eyes lit up while we tested them. It was like they knew what we were asking of them and they showed what they learned. They know that Shauna really cares about them. It was an awesome experience.”
Except for the time Shauna has taken to raise her children or assist her aging mother in California after the death of her father, she has tirelessly devoted nearly 25 years of her life to planting seeds of hope in the human heart and watching those seeds blossom into tiny miracles.
I can’t think of a finer tribute for Mrs. Waters’ lifetime of devotion than KSL’s “Teacher Feature” award. Shauna is not only a good friend, she is my sister.
With warm regards,
To Members of KSL Teacher Feature Selection Committee:
There are very few teachers in the Granite School District that are at the same professional ability level as Shauna Waters – our Third grade teacher. Shauna works with a highly diversified student population. John C. Fremont Elementary is a school with students speaking nearly 29 different languages and representing over 50 different cultures. Many newcomer and refugee students in Shauna’s class are illiterate in their home languages as well as English. Despite this overwhelming learning challenge, Shauna excels in teaching all students regardless of language, academic, emotional challenges. Shauna is absolutely amazing how she loves all her children and how they excel academically and acquire English mastery and literacy in her classroom.
Shauna has been teaching over 30 years. Most teachers with that many years of service are thinking of retiring. Not Shauna. Shauna believes in always sharpening her saw and constantly searches ways to improve her teaching and instruction. She is an inspiration to us all as we strive to catch up to her dedication to learning. This year she is taking college graduate classes full-time, after school in order to earn her English as a Secondary Language teaching endorsement in one year. This is all at her expense following full days of teaching. She wants to be the best she can be for her children. She believes in being a life-time learner, and so do her children.
Abraham Lincoln’s quote, “No man is so tall as when he stoops to help a child.” This is a very potent example of Shauna. She is constantly observed ‘stooping’ to assist all the children she meets. She gives so much of herself to others. Her students respond to her love and respect she gives them. This mutual love is the catalyst for her students to feel they want to always give their all and their best to her. Shauna is loved greatly by her peers, parents and community.
I strongly endorse her as a superior candidate for your KSL Teacher Feature.
To Whom It May Concern:
I would like to write about a very special person who makes a difference ever day in a child’s life. My son is currently a fourth grade student at John C. Fremont Elementary School in Taylorsville.
This letter recognizes a very special teacher who made a great difference in my son’s life. It is his third grade teacher, Mrs. Waters. I had previously heard great things about Mrs. Waters from other parents, so when I found out my son was in her class I thought this could be a good year.
My son’s third grade year far exceeded my expectations. The teaching and care that Mrs. Water’s demonstrates to each and every one of her students is exceptional. My son wanted to go to school every day and loved learning in her class. She had a way of teaching the children by showing them that they can do anything and reinforced this with a positive attitude. She always made sure that each child knew that they are important, not only in school but in life. She taught not only educational skills, but life skills. My son always felt that he was listened to and that he was just as important as the other children.
My son had struggled with reading and wanted nothing to do with it when he came into the 3rd grade. It was always a battle to read, but Mrs. Waters taught him that there is always something positive in everything. Throughout the year, she taught him the importance of reading and introduced him to books that would enlighten his wonderful imagination.
My son always talks about his third grade year, and how it changed his life and his feelings toward school. Mrs. Waters is a teacher that every child should experience and be blessed to have. You can tell in her eyes that it’s all about the child and making a difference in each one of their lives.
I asked my son what is the number one thing he liked about Mrs. Waters and he said: “she never yelled at us and always pushed us to do our best.” As a parent, it was a joy to watch my son grow and learn to love school because of one teacher, Mrs. Waters.
PTA Board Member and Parent
To Whom It May Concern:
It is an honor to recommend Shauna Waters for any award that would come her way. I had the opportunity to work with Shauna when I became a principal at Fremont Elementary. She is an exemplary teacher, knowledgeable educator, and gifted leader. Her positive influence impacts students, parents, teachers, support staff, and administration.
Shauna had to take a leave of absence to help with her mother, who lived in California, who was very ill. Upon her return to Utah, Shauna contacted me and asked for a letter of recommendation so she could apply for a teaching position in the Granite School District. I informed her that if she applied in Granite I had an opening and I would love to have her back at Fremont.
Shauna is a true professional who treats all co-workers as professionals. She brings out the best in others and always elicits respect and loyalty. The classroom is a hive of activity where students are very actively engaged in learning. Active learning in Shauna’s class can be anything from quiet one-to-one instruction to noisy, playful small group activities, and each activity is purposely designed to engage the student and meet a specific learning need.
Principal, Fox Hills Elementary