Mrs. Joni Willis – Pleasant Green Elementary

Sep 23, 2008, 10:30 AM | Updated: Jan 15, 2021, 6:17 am

I am very pleased to nominate Joni Willis for your Teacher Feature award. There are many excellent teachers in our schools; however, I believe that it takes a very extraordinary person to be a special education teacher. Mrs. Willis is a special education teacher who taught my son at both Meadow Moor Elementary and Upland Terrace Elementary. Currently she teaches at Pleasant Green Elementary in Magna. My son has autism and when he was placed in Mrs. Willis’ classroom, he required one-on-one teaching in order to learn. Mrs. Willis was very patient and compassionate and was very willing to adapt her teaching environment and approach to match my son’s needs. Over the four year period of time that she taught my son, he was able to reach many amazing milestones. Within a relatively short period of time he was able learn in small group settings rather than the one-on-one teaching. She not only cared about my son’s academic education, she really cared about his well being and often initiated other teaching programs such as a safety program when she noticed that my son would benefit from it. My son has limited language and he is not able to tell me about his day at school. Mrs. Willis provided daily home notes telling us about our son’s day in school so we would know how he was doing and what was going on. She took time out of her schedule to make personal phone calls to us when she was excited about something he did or accomplished at school. She truly loves the children that she teaches and takes a personal interest in each one of them.

This year was my son’s first year of junior high. In my experience, every parent of a child with autism is terrified of their children leaving elementary school and attending junior high. Mrs. Willis was very aware of my apprehension and instigated transitioning my son to his new school several months before he completed 6th grade. Early on she contacted the special education coordinator for Granite School District to solicit her help in making my son’s transition as smooth as possible. She even took an afternoon off from her classroom and took my son to his new school to familiarize him with the school and his new teachers. She introduced him to the “noisy” lunch room to make sure he would be able to handle that environment as well. When he started junior high, she prepared what she called a dictionary that contains explanations of some of my son’s behaviors and phrases and what they mean to help his new teacher know what he is needing or saying. Most amazingly, she arranged to have her classroom teaching assistant go to school with my son for the first few days of school to help him adapt to the new environment. Due to the many wonderful things she taught my son as well as the care she provided him, the transition to junior high was seamless. His new teacher loves having him in her classroom and he is thriving in his new environment. I know this is due in large part to Mrs. Willis and the extra care and time she took with my son. She was just as amazed as us by his potential for growth and she always strived to push him to reach it. The needs of a child with autism, especially in a school environment, are so great; I cannot list everything she did for his benefit. She will always hold a special place in our hearts for the unconditional love she showed him. I cannot think of a more deserving teacher than Mrs. Willis for this award.

Sincerely,
Candi Miller

Today’s Top Stories

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin extremism...
Ellie Kaufman, CNN

Defense secretary condemns ‘nuclear saber-rattling’ but says he doesn’t believe Putin has decided to use nuclear weapons

While U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin hasn't seen anything to suggest Russia has decided to use nuclear weapons, he did condemn nuclear saber-rattling
11 hours ago
Hurricane Ian survivor Hope Labriola waited for help as her home filled with water. Photo credit: H...
Caroll Alvarado, CNN

‘I can’t do this’: Fort Myers Beach woman calls for help as Hurricane Ian’s storm surge floods her home

A Fort Myers Beach woman called for help as the storm surge from Hurricane Ian.
11 hours ago
Lisa Garner. Photo credit Draper City....
Mark Jones

Lisa Garner has support of Draper mayor to become next city judge

Draper Mayor Troy Walker is seeking the appointment of Lisa Garner as the city's next judge. The appointment must be approved by the city council on Oct. 4.
1 day ago
Two Murray police cruisers are shown...
Mark Jones

Murray Police warning public to be on lookout for scam

Several reports of a scam have been reported in Murray. According to police, a caller pretends to be from the Murray Police Department and attempts to notify a person of a warrant and insists the person pay the bail amount.
1 day ago
An electronic sign on the campus of the University of Utah was seen displaying pornography today....
Becky Bruce

Slight increase in crime on U of U campus from previous year, report says

There has been a slight increase in crime on campus over the previous year, according to a report released Friday by the University of Utah.
1 day ago
Turkey and cattle farms near Moroni, Utah. Three additional cases of avian influenza have been conf...
Mark Jones

Three additional cases of avian influenza confirmed in Sanpete County

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food announced Friday that three additional cases of avian influenza have been confirmed on turkey farms in Sanpete County.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Mrs. Joni Willis – Pleasant Green Elementary