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2013 Students and Alumni


Michelle Amiot was Involved This Year’s School Progress Awards

Michelle AmiotMichelle Amiot, a doctoral student in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy, was involved this year’s School Progress Awards, sponsored by The Salt Lake City School District, the Salt Lake Education Foundation, in partnership with the Grand America Hotel. The awards are given to schools which show the greatest amount of student achievement growth.
To determine which schools win the awards, Criterion Reference Test (CRT) scores from the past two years are compared. As Michelle herself explains, “I was and still am part of a team of three (originally two in 2011) that was placed in Glendale Middle School due to its low test scores. The school was initially a Transformational School associated with the School Improvement Grants awarded on a national basis. We used audit data to understand what was happening in the school and determined three areas of need: Culture, Instruction, and Community Engagement.

In addition to data collection, we focused on doing an inventory of the level of instruction present in the school during the first year. These assessments resulted in several systems and some staff changes, and led to considerations of the culture of the school—teacher beliefs about their own and student performance, and students' beliefs about themselves. We also implemented professional development and learning communities. During the second year our changes, as well as interventions focused on math and reading, resulted in a large number of students coming up to grade level.” Read more here:
Michelle currently serves as an Assistant Principal at Salt Lake City School District’s Glendale Middle School.

Colin Ben Named Assistant Dean for Diversity in the Graduate School at the University of Utah

Colin Ben One of our PhD students, Colin Ben, has recently been appointed as the Assistant Dean for Diversity in the Graduate School here at the University of Utah. Colin is in the second year of his doctoral program in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy. Colin formerly worked with the McNair Scholars Program and the Udall Foundation’s Native American Congressional Internship program. Congratulations Colin!

Amy Bateman Guyuax Received the 2012 Canyons School District Teacher of the Year Award

Amy Bateman Guyuax

Amy Bateman Guyuax, Leadership & Policy masters student, received the 2012 Canyons School District Teacher of the Year Award.

See the award video here:

Bryan Hotchkins to Receive One of Two ASUU Faculty Choice Awards

Bryan Hotchkins Bryan Hotchkins, who was awarded his PhD in Leadership & Policy this past May, was nominated and selected among a large pool of nominations to receive one of two ASUU Faculty Choice Awards. This is the first year the recognition has been offered. Bryan was nominated by a faculty member in the ELP department and was selected based on his commitment to the field and contributions to the greater University of Utah student body. Bryan was recognized at a special event at the end of March alongside 1 other student, 7 faculty members, and the ASUU student group of the year!

Elise Esther Larsen was Selected by the University of Utah Young Alumni Board of Directors as an Outstanding Senior

Elise Esther Larsen

Each year, the University of Utah Young Alumni Board of Directors honors an outstanding senior from each of the University of Utah undergraduate colleges.

Tim Stanley as been Selected as a Fellow for the 2013 National Data Institute

Tim StanleyTim Stanley, ELP doctoral student, has been selected as a Fellow for the 2013 National Data Institute sponsored by the Association for Institutional Research (AIR), National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and National Science Foundation (NSF). The Institute, held in Washington, DC, is an intensive week-long seminar where participants collaborate with federal officials to build their research capacity around national postsecondary education datasets and survey research methodologies.  Fellows are selected via a competitive review process, drawing applicants both nationally and internationally.  Congratulations Tim!


Taran Chun Received One of the Prestigious Huntsman Awards

Taran ChunAs part of the 20th anniversary of the Huntsman Education Awards, Taran Chun, EDD graduate from Leadership & Policy and current principal of Granite Park Junior High School, received one of the prestigious Huntsman awards.  Read more here:,TaranChun.aspx

Bobbi Davis and Jen Wozab Received Two of the University Academic Advising Committee (UAAC) Outstanding Academic Advising Awards

Bobbi Davis and Jen Wozab, two alumni of Leadership and Policy’s master’s degree program with an emphasis in student affairs, received two of the University Academic Advising Committee (UAAC) Outstanding Academic Advising Awards for 2013. Jen’s award was for an advisor who has been advising for 3 years or less and Bobbi’s award was for more than 3 years.

Bobbi Davis and Jen Wozab

Cleone P. Eccles, 1935 - 2013, on the Boards of KUED and Red Butte Gardens, and more than a decade as Vice President of the Alumni Association and Member of the Board of Trustees

Cleone EcclesThe University of Utah mourns the loss of Cleone Peterson Eccles, who passed away April 5, 2013. Her innumerable contributions and generosity of spirit have made the University and the state of Utah a better place.  A graduate of the College of Education, Cleone served her alma mater in numerous capacities, including on the boards of KUED and Red Butte Gardens, and more than a decade as vice president of the Alumni Association and member of the Board of Trustees.  The 2005 naming of the Spenser F. and Cleone P. Eccles Health Sciences Education Building recognized a landmark gift from Cleone and her husband, and her compassion will continue to benefit others through the Cleone Peterson Eccles Center for Breast Health at Huntsman Cancer Hospital. The recipients of an honorary doctorate in 2004, Cleone defined dignity and devotion. Her legacy will forever be felt on our campus, and we will miss her ever-gracious presence.

Jessie Fiat Receives the College of Education’s Outstanding School Teacher Award

Jessie FlatFor more than a decade, the College of Education has asked graduates to nominate outstanding school teachers who have mentored and influenced their academic aspirations and achivements. This year's recipient was Jessie Fiat, Special Education alumna and teacher at Highland Park Elementary in Salt Lake. Upon receiving the award, Jessie said: "I come from a family of educators!  My father is a retired guidance counselor/physical education teacher, my mother is a dance professor at the University of Utah, my brother teaches physical education in Baltimore, and my husband is currently completing a master’s degree in physical education at the University of Utah.

My husband and I have a 2-year-old son, Tatum who teaches us daily about the joys of exploring, learning new things, and loving life!  I graduated from Northern Arizona University with an undergraduate degree in Art History and earned a master's degree in Special Education with a Severe Endorsement from the University of Utah.  This is my sixth year of teaching Kindergarten-3rd grade students with severe cognitive disabilities in the Salt Lake City School District.  It is so rewarding to teach my students basic life skills that come much easier to children who are typically developing.  To see my students feel accomplishment, pride, happiness, and friendship are some of the most rewarding moments I have experienced. One of my favorite quotes: "Reach for the moon.  Even if you miss, you’ll land among stars."
– Les Brown

Dr. Cecelia H. Foxley Honored as the 2013 United Way Volunteer of the Year

Cecelia FoxleyA tireless and lifelong advocate of education for all, Cecelia “Cece” Foxley has focused her efforts in a variety of contexts. In addition to her work for the College of Education and many other education and community groups, she is a member of United Way of Salt Lake’s Changing the Odds Campaign Steering Committee. The Committee was charged with helping to shape United Way of Salt Lake’s new message, developing strategies to reach new donors, and providing leadership and guidance to staff. Cece took her committee assignments very seriously and helped open new doors, forge new relationships, and strengthen United Way of Salt Lake’s existing relationships with many leading philanthropists. Cece shares United Way of Salt Lake’s vision for transforming lives and communities and has been successful at helping others be inspired by the possibilities of what can be accomplished together. Congratulations to Cece on being honored as the United Way of Salt Lake’s Volunteer of the Year. See Cece’s award presentation video:

Jeanette Misaka Received the 2013 Foreign Minister’s Commendation

 Jeanette MisakaOn Thursday, July 25 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan announced recipients of the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation for 2013, including two individuals from within the jurisdiction of the Consulate General of Japan in Denver. Ms. Jeanette Misaka of Salt Lake City, Utah and Mr. Ronald Otsuka of Denver, Colorado will be conferred with the Foreign Minister’s Commendation for their outstanding  contributions to the promotion of mutual understanding and goodwill between the people of Japan and the United States.

Each year the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan selects worthy citizens to receive the Foreign Minister’s Commendation, in recognition of those who have been working in various activities in international fields to contribute to the promotion of friendly relations between Japan and other countries.The commendation aims to honor outstanding achievement by individuals and groups in furthering greater understanding and support for good relations with the Japanese people.

Ms. Jeanette Misaka of Salt Lake City, Utah, is a former university educator and academic on cultural diversity, who has dedicated herself to various human rights issues such as the promotion of the rights of women, racial minorities and people with disabilities. She has particularly committed herself actively to the improvement of circumstances surrounding the rights of Japanese American citizens. She has been a dedicated member of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) since the early 1950’s, and currently serves as a national JACL board member and as governor of the JACL Intermountain District Council. Ms. Misaka experienced the internment of Japanese American citizens during WWII at Heart Mountain Interment Camp in Wyoming, and is a member of the Advisory Council of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation. She continues to be actively engaged with numerous cultural activities related to Japan and the Japanese American community, and her efforts are reflected in the continuing preservation of Japanese American history and greater mutual understanding within our national societies.
In keeping with the high ideals represented by this award, the Consulate-General of Japan at Denver is honored to offer its sincere congratulations to these dedicated individuals for this deserved recognition of their long service to the community.

Beverley Taylor Sorenson, 1924 - 2013, College of Education Distinguished Alumna

Beverley Taylor SorensonThe College was saddened by the death of one its major champions this past May. Beverley Taylor Sorenson, College of Education Distinguished Alumna, passed away on Monday morning, May 27.  Beverley played a critical role in transforming the College through her philanthropy and vision, which led to the current construction of the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts & Education Complex, to be complete in December of this year, as well as many arts education programming initiatives associated with the new facility.  Her advocacy for education in Utah and elsewhere is legendary.  On behalf of the students, staff and faculty of the College of Education, we express our condolences to Beverley’s family.  We will miss her greatly!  A profile of Beverley can be seen on the College’s alumni webpage:

Link to obituary:

Last Updated: 8/26/21