Teachers Green, Anderson among honorees at UEA banquet

The dedication Christa Green and Ryan Anderson have provided to Grand County School District students was recognized during an emotional Superstars in Education banquet held Friday in Salt Lake City.
Photo courtesy of Ryan Anderson

Grand County School District Art teacher Christa Green and Ryan Anderson, a former teacher and a vice president of the Utah Education Association were among educators honored during the 2019 UEA Superstars in Education banquet held in Salt Lake City Friday, May 17.

The Excellence in Teaching award recipients were selected based on their impact on individual or groups of students, said Anderson in an email. Anderson said emotional stories were shared about the honorees. “Cloth napkins and waterproof mascara were a plus,” he said.

“The UEA is honored to recognize these outstanding educators,” said UEA President Heidi Matthews. “They are shining examples of the great work happening in our public schools each day.”

“We are privileged to support the Utah Education Association as it honors our state’s educators,” said Terry Grant, president of KeyBank in Utah. “These exceptional teachers comprise a vital part of our communities by ensuring our children receive quality educations. Quality education helps our communities thrive, and thriving communities benefit all of us.”

Here’s what they said about Green: “Over the years, Christa Green’s students have consistently produced high-quality artwork. She works hard to get public recognition for her students by helping them set up gallery showings and publishing a calendar and a coloring book that contain their artwork.

“In an effort to expose her students to great works of art, Green organized a Humanities Club. A main purpose of the club is to facilitate a field trip to Los Angeles to see artwork from around the world in area museums. Green helps students organize fundraisers and arranges for the students to have a booth at a local Christmas craft fair. This allows students to use their art skills as well as help finance their trip.

“In addition to her work in the classroom, Green is currently a mentor to two new teachers. Your first year is always hard and having someone looking out for you is invaluable,” wrote a colleague. “Christa makes sure [her mentees] are progressing in their licensing issues helping them understand the unwritten structure and culture of the school and in general looking out for their well-being.”

Here’s what they said about Anderson, who received the Elaine Tzourtzouklis Service to Association Award. “Renowned for lesson planning while river rafting, matching his outfits to his lessons and weaving intricate stories that somehow connected to teaching standards, Ryan Anderson is a legend in his rural county.

“His long white beard and halo of white hair has caused people to liken Ryan to a Kris Kringle, a Gandalf and a Moses rolled into one. Yet it is the playful twinkle in his eye – tempered by a keen intelligence, social savvy and love of people – that has made Ryan so influential with students, parents, fellow educators, union leaders and state legislators.

“Ryan has a storied career both in the classroom and with the union. He represented Utah as a NEA director for eight years. As part of the Utah delegation, Ryan worked to lobby our congressional delegation and build relationships with representatives and their staff. Ryan has built relationships with many of Utah’s state representatives, which he has used to support bills that benefit our teachers and students.

“In addition to his state and national work, he was a hands-on leader at the local level. Ryan served on several occasions as a member on the district negotiations team, a local president and a UniServ president. He has chosen to invest his golden years in continued service to his profession. He is currently serving a term as the UEA-retired vice president and represents the High Desert UniServ on UEA-PAC.

“Ryan believes in the power of education, educators and knowledge to transform lives. He has applied that belief to four decades of service in the union and to support educators. All of this is because, when it comes down to it, he just loves students and teachers. Even those he hasn’t met.”