For Immediate Release
October 25, 2012
Salt Lake City School District Announces Teacher of the Year and Special Education Teacher of the Year
(Salt Lake City) – Salt Lake City School District and the Salt Lake City School District Board of Education are pleased to announce JoAnn Bussell as the 2013 District Teacher of the Year and Nikki Orton as the 2013 District Special Education Teacher of the Year.
Bussell teaches third grade at Emerson Elementary School. She says her drive and motivation to be a teacher came from her own education as a child. However, it was not a great teacher who inspired her. It was an overall disappointing educational experience that she says failed to meet her needs that drove her to make a difference in the lives of children. She wanted to help those who were struggling like her. Bussell has directed many activities that benefited her students outside of the classroom. She has coordinated programs to donate food, gifts, and basic necessities to children in need. She says her proudest moments come when former students remember her as a kind and caring teacher.
Orton is a special education teacher at West High School. The person who nominated Orton said, “She has a way of interacting with students that promotes a calm and controlled classroom. She works with students to encourage them to be independent and uses humor to de-escalate tense situations.” Orton is well respected by her peers and has served as a mentor to several new teachers. She has been teaching for 14 years; 11 of those years have been at West High School.
Both Bussell and Orton were selected after a rigorous screening and interview process. A committee of Salt Lake Education Foundation members, district employees, and community representatives made the selections. Bussell received $2,000 from the Salt Lake Education Foundation. In some school districts, special education teachers are not recognized separately, but thanks to an anonymous donor, Orton received a check for $1,000.