Columbia Elementary third-grade teacher Dena Call was named the Davis schools teacher of the year recently and was awarded $1,000.
Adams Elementary sixth-grade teacher Lark Neilson and Woods Cross High choir director Neil Hendriksen were named elementary and secondary teacher of the year. They each received $500.Call was given the top honor because of her diligent and innovative classroom techniques and her personal interest in each student.
"I have never seen anyone who goes way beyond the call of duty as you do," one parent wrote. "Thanks for making life so special at Columbia. You are one in a million!"
"Mrs. Call is nice to everyone and treats everyone the same," one student wrote. "She makes work fun with her little stories. She never points out people and says they have done less. She always has a smile and a hello for you. And best of all, she makes everyone feel important."
Among Call's methods, to teach economics she organizes the classroom like a community with each child having a job such as mayor, postmaster or sanitation crew member. She often uses music, art and literature to create emotional moods to increase retention, and she uses parent volunteers to help individual students.
Neilson was honored in part because of her willingness to use specialty outside resources to supplement her own teaching.
"Mrs. Neilson is well-known for tapping every resource available to provide activities to expand the knowledge level of her class concerning the world community," stated her nomination form. "Her well-planned teaching schedule is never so rigid as to deny her class the opportunity to take advantage of a visitor in the school who would benefit them."
"Mr. H," as Hendriksen is known, is a demanding but caring instructor and is notorious for dominating choir contests.
"Often I have heard other choral directors in a festival say, `Why do we bother to show up? Neil and Woods Cross are here so we don't stand a chance,' " said Woods Cross Principal Douglas Beer. "Truly the level of performance rivals and exceeds many college choirs."