I have been a functional skills para in the Box Elder School District for 5 years. Before going back to work, I spent several years volunteering at the schools my children attended and doing PTA things. I first met Randi Jo Marble while I was serving as PTA president at ACHIS. While preparing for a book fair sponsored by the PTA, Mrs. Marble approached me about “her kids” coming to the book fair at a time when they could view the books and other items for sale accompanied by her staff. She wanted them to have a “hands-on” experience. In the past we had set up times for the L.A. teachers to bring their classes to preview the book fair prior to opening but hadn’t thought to include Mrs. Marble’s class and her students with disabilities. (I know, right? I was thoughtless to say the least!)
I was present when she and the paras from her classroom (Lovingly referred to as Room 15) brought the kids to the book fair. It brought tears to my eyes! I was overcome with emotion as I watched “her kids” find joy in the simplest things, while she and her staff watched them with delight as well. Some years passed and I continued to serve in the PTA, meanwhile my youngest went to school and I found myself longing to be a part of the world that is Mrs. Marble and Room 15. I noticed an opening available in her classroom and decided to apply. I got the job! And then to my amazement and delight I got to witness Mrs. Marble at her finest…in action with her students! I love watching her interact with her students in many ways: from “cooking with Mrs. Marble” to DLR’s, she keeps learning fun and interesting for those awesome students whose attention span isn’t normally longer than about 2 minutes.
Some students’ disabilities are quite severe, and she handles the challenges that accompany their disabilities with great compassion and tenderness, while respecting the student’s ability to learn to become independent. She takes everything in stride. Nothing is a big deal. No challenge is too great.
Mrs. Marble is kind and loving but treats her 6th and 7th grade students like the maturing students that they are. She has high expectations for her students. She has said many times that they are capable of so many great things and are highly intelligent, so those of us who work with them have every reason to expect to see greatness develop and come forth from them. I absolutely love her “expect greatness” attitude. It carries over into all the aspects of her life. I believe it is her undeclared motto. She expects greatness from herself and staff as well.
I wish I wasn’t prohibited by law to name names, for there are many students, parents, and families that have benefited from Mrs. Marble’s “magic”. I no longer work for Mrs. Marble in Room 15, as I was transferred with one of her students to our local high school, where that student continues to progress and even thrive. In fact, that student is one of the gems in Mrs. Marble’s crown. The student’s parents still speak so highly of her and the things she and her staff were able to accomplish. I would love to expound, but laws respect the privacy of students and their families, and rightfully so. Just know that there are many in our small community that love and respect Randi Jo Marble for the difference she makes in people’s everyday lives.
Mrs. Marble, originally Miss Williams, has been making a difference and affecting the lives of students with disabilities since she herself was a student at Bear River High School. She began by volunteering as a peer tutor in their classroom. She loved the interaction and went on to continue her education in severe special ED, earning her Bachelor’s degree from Utah State University.
I sincerely can’t say enough good things about Randi Jo Marble. She is spirited, vivacious, and fun-loving. She makes every school day an adventure, and at the close of each day returns home to her own family including her husband and 3 children, and just keeps the adventures going! She has taught me so much about people with disabilities and heightened my awareness and sensitivity to everyone, not just those with disabilities. I love and respect her so very much and that is why I am nominating her.