RIVERDALE -- A Riverdale teacher has been named Utah Charter School Educator of the Year.
Sue Goers, who teaches sixth grade at Good Foundations Academy, was chosen from more than 70 teachers nominated for the Utah Association of Public Charter Schools honor.
"She's a leader at our school," said Peggy Downs, headmaster of Good Foundations Academy, which opened in fall 2010. "Sue puts her heart and soul into her lessons every day, and students respond to it beautifully. I consider it a great honor, and well deserved."
Goers, 49 and a Layton resident, was surprised to learn she was nominated.
"Our headmaster nominated me without my knowing," Goers said. "She sent an email out to all the parents and students."
Former students began writing letters of praise for Goers, who taught all but two of her 29 years in New York state. Goers came to Utah two years ago, when her husband took a position at Hill Air Force Base. She taught in 2009-2010 at Layton Christian Academy.
"International students wrote in, one from Korea and two from Germany," Goers said, with a laugh. "A student who was in my fourth grade class in 1984 even wrote in to say she wished she could send her own daughter to be in my class."
Goers serves on the Good Foundations Academy leadership board. Her plans for the next school year include establishing a school debate team, and creating a regional forensics competition.
Sixth grade students will design and execute their own science experiments.
And there's one other thing:
"Each of my students will write a novel," Goers said. "We're having 87 lessons on how to write a novel, so they will work on their stories a little at a time. We're hoping the ones that are really good can actually get published. I'd like to try to make that happen."
All her plans are in keeping with Goers' philosophy of teaching.
"I believe that if we set up students to succeed, they will meet the higher standard we put in place for them," she said. "The majority of the battle is setting them up to succeed. Once they are confident they can be successful, they fly on their own. They may need a little guidance, but when they realize they can do it, they fly with it."