Pima Roughrider Exceptional Teachers

When extraordinary feats of effort and skill occur on fields and courts, trophies and medals are awarded. Exceptional performances on film receive Oscars, and musicians strive for the recognition embodied by a Grammy Award.  These accolades almost seem commonplace, but they shouldn’t.  Behind the brief moment of achievement lies a deep commitment driving the effort and sacrifice necessary to achieve the glory.  Teaches are no less committed.  They perform remarkable feats of kindness, service and professionalism every day opening the minds of students and supporting their learning and growth.  Pima’s teachers embody Pima’s mission to provide every child with a quality education in a safe and nurturing environment in partnership with parents and our community.  As this happens we see growth in our students at all levels.  

What does this growth look like?  Students come to us in August at different levels.  This range is the result of a myriad of influences on their lives and learning, and it is reflected in their performance on the assessments we administer at the beginning of the school year.  They will take the test again in December and April.  Their score shows us how well they performed relative to others in their grade level nationally.  For each grade level there will be a range of scores.  We look at that range and how students performed relative to all the other students.  We all want to see each student not only achieve a year’s growth but improve relative to that overall range.  If a student starts the year ranked 60 out of 100 and ends the year ranked 60, we know they made a year’s growth.  If they end the year ranked 80 out of 100 then we know they made their year and outpaced a significant number of students nationally.  Teachers are striving to move students at every level (0-20, 21-40, 41-60, 61-80, & 81-100) from where they start the year to a higher level by the end of the year.  Achieving this goal is not easy, so we have recognized those teachers who pulled off this incredible feat with a plaque. 

At the All Teacher Back to School Orientation we recognized 10 teachers who achieved the high mark of Exceptional Teacher.  These ten ended the year with more students at or above the cutoff for each of the five bands.  There were another 10 teachers who ended the year with the same or more at each achievement level.  The ten teachers recognized were:

  • Mrs. Heather Ray, as 14% of the students in her class were in the top two bands at the beginning of the year and 24% were at that level at the end of the year.

  • Mrs Carol Gonzales, as 12.5% of her students were in the top two bands at the beginning of the year and 81% were there when the year ended.

  • Mr. Brendon Bryant, as he started the year with 40% of his third grade students in the lowest band and ended with only 16% at that level.

  • Mrs. Michelle Thompson, as we increased students in the top two bands from 23% of seventh grade math students to 31%.

  • Mr. Noah Clonts, as we increased students in the top two bands from 0% of eighth grade math students to 20%.

  • Mrs. Diana Palmer, as we dropped the seventh grade science students in the lowest band from 31% to 17%.

  • Mrs. Jodi Klayman, as we increased high school biology students in the top two bands from 55% of the class to 69%.

  • Mrs. Connie Matthews, as we increased high school juniors taking English scoring in the top two bands from 21% to 43%.

  • Robin Willis, as she grew the portion of her class in the top two bands in both reading and math -- 25% to 47% and 40% to 60% respectively.  And,

  • Ms. Jessica Plyler, a first year teacher working with third graders, who increased students in the top two bands from 17% to 20% and decreased those in the lowest band from half to 40%.  

Each of these teachers received a plaque to hang in their classroom and thunderous applause from their colleagues.  We are proud of all they achieved last year, and recognize them as exemplars of what we are all striving for in this exciting year to come.