After 31 years of public service in the Granite School District, Donna S. Armstrong is retiring from teaching. With so many years of dedicated service to the children and community I would like to nominate her as an outstanding educator in The KSL Teacher Feature.
Donna is currently employed at Plymouth Elementary, but began her career 31 years ago teaching at West Kearns Elementary and later Copper Hill’s Elementary. During her career Donna has touched the lives of nearly 1,000 estimated direct pupils and countless hundreds more through her loving nature and dynamic personality. I have personally witnessed her spend hundreds of hours long after the school day has closed, preparing grades, art projects, grading tests and making treats for the students she so lovingly served.
Her approach to the classroom has always been one of discipline, integrity and accountability, ensuring that students received the finest education in all aspects of learning. Easy grades were not given, as children were required to participate and do their best work. In addition to standard curriculums, Donna has integrated life lessons into the classroom, creating leaders who improve the world around them and act as honorable citizens. This includes students as well as new teachers, whom she has mentored and developed as student teachers.
Among her favorite quotes both in and out of the classroom is “Always leave things better than you found them.” Donna has done just that, going above and beyond in her interaction with pupils, peers, friends and family. Over the years I have personally observed her influence the lives of many students. Among her most treasured students are those with special needs. One of her greatest accomplishments has been her ability to tailor classroom lessons to students with unique challenges. This includes children with mental and physical disabilities, as well as with children where English is a second language. During her career it was not uncommon for children to invite her to out-of-school activities and competitions, as they so desperately wanted to make their teacher proud. Donna genuinely looked forward to these events, attended them as if she was a proud second mother, and always took the time to acknowledge the child and express her heartfelt love.
Regardless of a child’s circumstance, Donna wants all to succeed and all to have the happiness they deserve. She has ensured that each child has had that happiness if only for the few short hours she has been with them. She approaches everyday intent on making each hour worthwhile, memorable and magical. Whether it has been her over-the-top Halloween costumes, holiday parties or “The new shoe song,” I am confident that every child has a fond memory of Mrs. Armstrong.
Along with my two brothers, I have benefitted and learned much from this great Teacher, Wife, Mother, and my friend. As a family, we rarely go anywhere that she doesn’t have someone approach “Mrs. Armstrong” and thank her for her service. That may be the greatest reward a teacher can receive, knowing that their efforts made an impact in one young life. It means even more when that numbers exceeds a thousand.
With retirement now upon her, the classroom door will close but the legacy of Donna Armstrong will forever live on in the lives of those she served.