The following was submitted by Donna Johnson.
“Shaynie Wayman is one of the most extraordinary teachers I have ever met. Just by way of introduction, I was a teacher for 33 years. I have seen a lot of teachers over the years. Lots of really good ones. But Ms. Shaynie is one of the really exceptional ones.
I need to tell a bit of background about my grandson, so you are able to see the big picture. My grandson Branic Berg was a student in her E/D cluster unit (Behavior) for the 2016-2017 school year and made huge strides with academics and behavior. At the end of the school year, his parents were evicted from their home, and because they were unable to find housing, they lived in their truck. By the end of the summer, we had to find places for their three children. Branic’s older sister stayed with a friend, his younger brother is with an aunt and uncle, and I took Branic. (A very difficult, yet loving little boy) During the summer, an aide in Ms. Shaynie’s classroom happened to see Branic and me at a little restaurant in Sandy. We talked briefly and Branic was excited to see him. About 2 weeks before school started, I got a text from Ms. Shaynie asking about Branic. She wanted him back in her classroom.
I don’t live in Jordan’s boundaries, but because Branic’s parents were homeless, I guess it didn’t matter. I took him there to register for school. Over the next two and a half months, I was in the car almost 2 hours every day taking Branic back and forth to school, so he could be with Ms. Shaynie. She loved him so much, and was an incredible teacher. Her abilities to manage a classroom of special-needs kids with very difficult behaviors are exceptional. All the discipline and correction was done with love and concern. The “classroom climate” she created, made it possible for these often “volatile” children to feel safe, valued, and successful.
Branic was making good progress in spite of missing his mom and dad, and living in another place, but after awhile, I realized I just couldn’t continue to transport him to school everyday. I told Ms. Shaynie I would need to transfer him to a school in Canyons District. She was heart-broken. So was I. She was so concerned that she even came with us to the new school so she could meet the new teacher and pass on the IEP.
When Branic started at his new school, I realized he wasn’t going to get the same things he had with Ms. Shaynie, one of which was at-home reading books. I was told they didn’t have books to send home there. I called Ms. Shaynie and told her. She then told me she would bring books to Branic for him to read so he could continue with the same program he had started in. Every month she brings me a new set of books for him to read and to visit with Branic. (Keep in mind, I’m not close to her school.) She texts often to see how he is doing. She came at Christmas break and brought him some gifts, and notes from the other kids in their class that Branic knew. Last weekend (Feb. 11), Branic was baptized. She came to see him, even though he hasn’t been in her classroom since October. (Just a side note. Ms. Shaynie’s home and husband are in Richfield, so she goes home every weekend. She waited to go home until Saturday, so she could come and see Branic.)
The amazing thing about Ms. Shaynie, is that I am guessing that Branic is not the only student she cares so much for. I’m sure that is how she feels about all of her students. If there was ever a teacher who showed genuine love and concern for her students it would be Ms. Shaynie. I hope that she will be recognized for her incredible dedication to her work and her students and for someone who doesn’t just go the “extra mile” but is willing to help you for the “whole journey”, no matter how long it takes.”
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