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Tim Strebel – South Jordan Elementary

Several years ago, when our children started school at South Jordan Elementary, I often heard Mr. Strebel’s name as a “favorite” and heard what an incredible teacher he is. My first interaction with Mr. Strebel was not by having a child in his class, but as I served on the PTA and helped with our jog-a-thon fundraiser. I learned that he had been helping his class run to prepare for the event, he came out to cheer others on during the event, and most surprising, and touching, was a few days after the event when I was handed a large envelope from Mr. Strebel’s class. In the envelope was a personal thank you note from each student to the PTA volunteers mentioning what they liked about the jog-a-thon and thanking us for helping them raise money to make the school better. I was impressed that a teacher would help his students see what others were doing for them and take the time to thank them.

This year, I finally have come to see firsthand what I have heard other parents talking about, as my son Ty is lucky enough to have Mr. Strebel for his 4th grade teacher! The first time I went to volunteer in Mr. Strebel’s class I was handed a list of several students that needed some extra help with math. When I asked if I was supposed to get through the whole list, Mr. Strebel responded, “It’s never about getting through a list. It’s about helping each child understand.” Mr. Strebel wants each student to succeed and finds ways to make sure that each one does. In his class, it’s never about checking students off a list, it’s about making sure they are progressing and reaching their potential. He sets high expectations and teaches the children to be responsible. He corrects students and encourages them when he knows they can do better and when they do succeed, his praise is sincere and makes the students want to continually do their best.

Mr. Strebel truly cares about each student individually. He gets to know them, their interests, their strengths, and he sees the potential in each one. My son and a few other boys in the class love football! During the high school football season, Mr. Strebel invited a few of his former 4th grade students, which now play on the Bingham High Football team, to come visit his class. He told the students that if they worked hard, they could accomplish their dreams, just as his former students had. He even took pictures of the football players with his current students and had them sign the pictures. This was an impactful experience for Ty and he frequently mentions how much Mr. Strebel cares about him. This is just one example of how Mr. Strebel knows his students and reaches out to them individually. During the high school football playoff games, Mr. Strebel attended and cheered for those same players. Once you are in Mr. Strebel’s class you have a cheerleader for life!

Mr. Strebel is not only a teacher in his classroom, but throughout the community as well. One of the most impactful things about Mr. Strebel is how he shares experiences from his life with his students, even very difficult ones. Eight years ago Mr. Strebel’s son was killed by a drunk driver. Mr. Strebel talks about this with his class and asks them to commit to not drink and drive. He also goes to the Driver’s Ed classes at Bingham High to share this tragic experience. My oldest daughter was in one of the countless classes he has visited and was deeply touched by Mr. Strebel’s story. Rather than keep this to himself, he is using the tragedy to help hundreds, if not thousands, of students understand the impact drunk driving can have.

Mr. Strebel wants each child to succeed not only in the classroom, but also in life. He teaches so much more than academics! He teaches students through his example, genuine interest and caring, and by challenging them to always do their best. Mr. Strebel is an incredible teacher and I will be forever grateful that Ty had the opportunity to learn from him! Mr. Strebel has influenced students for decades, and even though he is retiring next year, I know that his influence and caring will continue for years to come. Thank you for considering Mr. Strebel for this award as he truly changes lives! I hope you have the opportunity to come and meet him and see what a humble man and outstanding teacher he is!

Here are just a few comments from other parents:
“Mr. Strebel has been an amazing influence in our daughter’s life. We have never had a teacher who clearly cared so much about her and truly desired her to succeed. He is someone who sets clear expectations and expects the kids to live up to their responsibilities. When they fall short (and they do from time to time) he lets them know he’s disappointed without forgiving their mistakes. He then encourages them, lets them know he loves them, and lets them know they can succeed next time. It’s so refreshing to have a teacher care this much, expect this much, and push our daughter to succeed. Mr. Strebel has changed our daughter’s life. He’s also made us better parents by giving such a great example of how to challenge, encourage, and love.”
-Manon Seethaler

“Mr. Strebel is a wonderful teacher. He is somewhat soft spoken but is clearly heard by his students. They all know that he loves them and cares about them. He consistently enforces the classroom rules so the students know what is and what is not allowed. He has a strong desire to see them succeed and will do all that he can to help them along the way. Mr. Strebel sets high standards for his students and expects them to stretch to meet them. One of the things I like most about Mr. Strebel is that he strives to make each student feel important. The children leave his class with a sense of self-worth that will help them throughout their lives. Two of my children have had Mr. Strebel as a teacher and both excelled academically under his tutelage. They consider him not just a teacher but also a friend.”
-Steve Seeley