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Joann Wilcox – South Jordan Elementary

Joann Wilcox is truly the most incredible teacher I have ever met. I was first introduced to her remarkable efforts when she taught my nephew in 2nd grade 2 years ago. My nephew Jake struggles severely with ADHD. Until meeting Mrs. Wilcox, parents, teachers, neighbors, family, friends all struggled to understand why Jake couldn’t accomplish simple tasks like getting ready for school, finishing/taking tests in his school class…and even me, his piano teacher…I couldn’t help Jake complete one line of music without stopping and getting distracted. Many were very frustrated with his rowdy, distracted behavior. However, Mrs. Wilcox could see Jake’s incredible intelligence and potential. She knew that he was a smart kid just looking for a way to appropriately express himself. She became his advocate helping him find the district testing that he needed to assess his capabilities and disabilities. She creatively fought for hi m to succeed in his classroom, learn how to test appropriately, and function in his daily life. Her pursuit gave new life to this little boy who is now an avid reader, classroom leader, and kind boy at home.

The following year, I came to know Mrs. Wilcox more intimately when she took my daughter, who started her class midyear, under her wing. We were in a transitional process of moving several times and the instability at home gave Danika severe anxiety. Again, this remarkable teacher found ways to celebrate Danika’s strengths in class motivating her to go above and beyond on her assignment. My daughter who was so scared, and didn’t know anyone felt very safe in Mrs. Wilcox’s classroom. She assimilated quickly, and Mrs. Wilcox found unique ways to recognize Danika that were far beyond what I have ever seen any teacher do. She takes her own money to reward great independent reading and challenged Danika to move beyond the norm and develop her independent reading. She took her on rock hunts at recess and helped her pursue a scientific challenge to learn more about geology and discovery. She promoted Danika’s math skills, as well as the entire class, and they won a District recognized Monster Math Challenge. In a year that had so many unknown and where Danika could have slipped through the cracks of a busy classroom, Mrs. Wilcox helped my daughter achieve and shine.

This will be Mrs. Wilcox’s final year teaching. She has touched hundreds of students in similar ways to the two above stories that have changed our lives. I could only wish to find another teacher half as amazing for the rest of my children. I know that she was an angel that improved our children and built a pathway for them both, and all others to succeed. She truly is a remarkable woman, incredible teacher, and deserves anything wonderful that life could bless her with!

–Aubrie Johnson