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The City Journals

New Year Brings New Students and Teachers

Oct 08, 2015 12:53PM ● By Bryan Scott

By Margaret Spencer

West Jordan - As the new school year welcomes new students, new goals and freshly-sharpened pencils, West Jordan High School also welcomed 13 new teachers. After a bout of retirements and transfers, they happily welcomed the new teachers into their school. A few were willing to share why they became educators.

Blake Burtenshaw, the new U.S. government and world civilization teacher, is from Utah. He grew up in the south in Blanding and went to college at Weber State. This is his second year of teaching -- his first was in Moab at  Grand County Middle School. He used to commute down to Moab and back every day, so now his commute will be much shorter. He was inspired to become a teacher while on his mission to Poland. He visited the concentration camps and felt the need to teach people of history. 

“My main goal this year is to get kids who don’t know any of it (history) to feel confident and know the material,” Burtenshaw said.

Teaching runs in his family and he really enjoys working with children. His favorite part of teaching is coming up with creative ways to make school more enjoyable. He also helps with coaching the football team in his spare time.

Marci Sabin is welcomed to Utah from Washington State. She has been teaching for 14 years at two different high schools in Washington. She graduated from both Brigham Young University and Central Washington University with two bachelor’s degrees, and she is National Board Certified. She did her student teaching at Wahluke School District in her hometown of Mattawa, WA. 

Her favorite teacher in high school, Ms. Lori Russell (now Wyborny), was her inspiration to become a teacher. Ms. Russell’s classes were always something to look forward to, and Sabin found that when she learned something new she couldn’t wait to share it with others. 

Moving to a new state and learning the new district and even state policies can be a little overwhelming, but Sabin is excited for the new school year. Her last school mascot was also a jaguar, so she feels right at home. The faculty and staff have made her feel so welcomed and she’s excited to be there. In her spare time to help her relax and de-stress, she plays sports, reads, hikes and hangs out with family and friends.

Sabin is the business and marketing teacher, and her goal this year is to have at least three students attend DECA Nationals. “My favorite part of teaching is watching my students grow and share their skills in society,” said Sabin. She is looking forward to a new year of watching students bloom with confidence and employability skills.

Tyler Robertson, formerly of Arizona, is the new English teacher at WJHS. He attended Brigham Young University, Boise State University and Utah Valley University. He did his student teaching at Orem Jr. High and then taught for one year on an Indian reservation. He also taught for two years in Show Low, Arizona.

His father inspired him to be a teacher, and his favorite part of teaching is anything but the grading. In his spare time, when he’s not grading papers, he’s writing poetry, working on a book or at the gym.

He is looking forward to the new year filled with new students and new opportunities for success. His goal this year is to connect better with students.

 “We love the new teachers! They add a new energy and new ideas to the curriculum,” said Kathy McConneley from the attendance office. WJHS is very excited to have these three and the ten others that have joined their ranks. Here’s to a new year and the new teachers for WJHS!