Clipper Staff Writer
NORTH SALT LAKE — More honors came to Davis County’s Allison Riddle last week.
The fifth grade teacher at Foxboro Elementary was named Utah’s Teacher of the Year at a banquet last Friday.
Earlier this year, she was selected Teacher of the Year in Davis School District.
That award earned her a spot in the competition for state teacher of the year. She was chosen from among 23 teachers nominated by school districts and charter schools around the state.
For the Utah honor, she received $10,000 and other gifts, and will compete with teachers around the country in a national competition in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“Allison is amazing with her students,” said Becky Tatum, a fellow teacher mentored by Riddle. “She is an engaging teacher who makes learning fun. The students in her class are excited and want to learn.”
Tatum was complimentary of the respect Riddle gives students and her firm but calm management style.
“Allison has a quiet authority that the students naturally respect,” said Tatum.
Besides her work with fifth-grade students, Riddle mentors beginning teachers. During breaks in Foxboro’s year-round schedule, she also travels around the country as a consultant for a math company.
“Teaching is very reciprocal,” said Riddle. “When I walk in with a great idea and I’m pumped for the day, the kids respond to me.”
There are 33 students in Riddle’s class this year.
“Honestly, I don’t know if the public appreciates or knows how much work goes into this,” said Riddle. “It’s hours of work and yet if you do that and if you walk in prepared and you spend the time, it has got to be the funnest job.”
She loves including parents in what happens in the classroom, inviting them in to see that the new core curriculum “is not a conspiracy – it’s good stuff,” and involving them in tutoring students.
She is grateful to have six parents volunteer in the classroom each week so that students can “be heard reading” and have help with math facts and sight words.
“In observing her classes as a parent volunteer, I was constantly amazed at how the class was always under control and it seemed effortless – the kids just wanted to be good students for Mrs. Riddle,” said Jean M. Brown, as quoted in a press release from the Utah State Office of Education. “I have seen Mrs. Riddle take what is characterized as a problem student and completely turn them around to where they wanted to be better and learn.”
As Utah’s Teacher of the Year for 2014, Riddle will have the opportunity to meet with President Barack Obama in Washington D.C. in April when the national winner is announced. She will also be able to attend a space camp in Alabama next summer.
“It’s just awesome,” said Riddle. “The whole process has opened my eyes quite a bit. I didn’t realize how many businesses support these programs.”
Riddle hopes to spread the word about the value of public education.
“I would like the general public to have a really good opinion of what’s going on in a public school,” she said. “If kids read, can get drivers’ licenses, jobs and are engaged in worthwhile things, then everybody’s happier.”