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The City Journals

PTA bestows awards to Jordan Ridge Elementary

Jul 25, 2017 05:02PM ● By Julie Slama

Jordan Ridge Elementary’s volunteer Sonja Delaney, Principal Catherine Anderson, teacher Kimberly Sanders and volunteer Michelle Spens recently were honored as regional PTA winners. (Maria Tegtmeier/Jordan Ridge Elementary)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]
After 35 years working with Jordan School District, it takes something unexpected to catch Jordan Ridge Elementary Principal Cathy Anderson off-guard.
That’s just what happened when she was honored not only as Parent-Teacher Association’s Region 6 Outstanding Administrator but also as one of four outstanding principals in the state.
“I was surprised since I’m retiring this summer and couldn’t believe the PTA, our teachers and parents, got together to nominate me,” she said. “It was totally unexpected.”
PTA Region 6 Director Dawn Ramsey said she was happy Anderson was recognized.
“I was thrilled,” she said. “She is absolutely deserving. For the past 11 years, Jordan Ridge teachers, students and parents have loved her.”
Regional PTA winners at Jordan Ridge Elementary include Kimberly Sanders as outstanding educator, Michelle Spens with spirit of PTA award and Sonja Delaney as outstanding volunteer.
Ramsey said the executive board reads nominations from every school.
“We were really impressed with the quality of nominations,” she said. “Jordan Ridge’s nominations were excellent; they took the time to write why their nominees are so deserving and highlighted some of the great things they’ve done.”
PTA member Maria Tegtmeier said Jordan Ridge volunteers came together to decide whom to nominate.
“It was really hard to narrow down the nomination to one teacher,” she said. “But there were so many notes and stories about Ms. Sanders. She has touched our community by bringing meals to those going through cancer or being willing to be silly and fun with the fun run kick-off. Students wrote how they’d sing or do art projects, which tied to what they were learning.”
Anderson was pleased Sanders was recognized.
“She’s a phenomenal teacher who came here 10 years ago, starting with ALPS (accelerated learning program) in second grade,” Anderson said. “She has sweet relationships with her students, and the kids and parents just love her.”
Tegtmeier said their applications for each candidate typically were four or five pages long.
“There wasn’t any discussion about not doing these,” she said. “It’s a simple way we can show our appreciation to nominate them and thank them.”
Anderson said Spens has helped in many PTA projects as a parent volunteer but is best known for co-chairing the daddy–daughter and mother–son events that have evolved into “jammed-packed, fun-filled evenings.”
This past year, the school held its own comic con where students could draw their own superhero, identify famous castles or train to be princesses. Another popular destination that night was Frozone Freeze Dance, where they tested their dancing and freezing moves. Other activities Spens and co-chair Tegtmeier created included a photo booth with superhero props, hidden photos located in several hallways, a chance to save Captain America’s shield, making their own tiaras, smashing villains with a wall ball, matching spaceships to stories, superhero dad libs, superhero trivia quiz, Avengers word search and rescue, and superhero hullabaloo.
Last year, the duo created a “Star Wars” night, and the year before, there were “Harry Potter”-themed activities.
Anderson said Sonja also has been involved in the PTA through the years.
“Sonja’s been co-president twice, sits on the School Community Council, and if there’s a job, she does it anywhere and everywhere and does a phenomenal job while she’s at it,” she said.
Delany said in addition to serving as co-president, she also has been PTA secretary and Reflections chair and helped with other activities and events the past six years.
“They totally surprised me,” Delany said. “It’s pretty nice when your peers recognize the work you do, but I just like being where the kids are and working with them.”
Delany said parents amassed 800 volunteer hours, so it helps for them to be successful in so many activities.
“Our school parents are involved and willing to support our administration and teachers,” she said. “With our jog-a-thon, we’ve brought in more than $25,000 per year, which helps with field trips, D.A.R.E., ribbon weeks and all the usual PTA activities as well as support and update technology in our school. We appreciate being recognized, but we’re all in it together for the kids.”