Woods Cross Elementary teacher makes learning funMay 12, 2023 12:13PM ● By Kerry Angelbuer
Jack Paget paints hair on Crazy Hair Day. The Woods Cross Elementary teacher was recently named the Utah PTA Outstanding Elementary Educator. Courtesy photo
In the office at Wood Cross Elementary a small group gathered with balloons and a sign to surprise a great teacher, Jack Paget, who won at the region level and was recently named the Utah PTA Outstanding Elementary Educator. “It made me want to cry when I read the nomination and saw all the great pictures of him with the kids,” said Mara Hammer, the Region 3 Associate Director of the PTA.
“It is a big deal for our little elementary school to be recognized in this way,” said Julie Checketts, the local PTA treasurer who nominated Paget.
Paget has been a teacher at Woods Cross Elementary for more than 20 years and recently worked as the support teacher for the local PTA chapter. “He has always been very welcoming and kind…and is always in full support of our sometimes-crazy ideas,” Checketts said.
She said he is the first to volunteer and gets the rest of the staff on board, because of the caring and respectful relationships he has with his colleagues. The kids love Mr. P. Once for crazy hair day, he jumped in and assisted overwhelmed PTA volunteers in spray painting hair. He helped organize lines and then painted hair to the kid’s specifications completing all comers before school. Similarly, he helped in the Holiday Shopping Fundraiser helping kids learn to budget and pick gifts for their family members. “He stopped by to check on us and saw we were drowning,” said Checketts. “He gave up his lunch hour and stayed and helped every student wrap their gifts. He was so excited to see what they had picked for their families. The kids were so proud as they left with all their purchases wrapped and ready to place under the tree. The gifts even had ribbons on them.”
Checketts said he loves the kids and the kids love him back and so he is impressive at coming up with ways to motivate his students to reach their goals, so he has been dunked hundreds of times. He also participates in other field day activities with the kids. He has dressed as a fairy princess, worn crazy socks and sported crazy hair. “Mr. Paget is a legend,” she said. “His support doesn’t end when students leave his classroom.”
At a wedding recently, Checketts said she asked if Paget was a relative and the mother said, “No, he was my daughter’s second grade teacher and made a huge impact on her. We have stayed in touch with him ever since.” He has also attended soccer games, dance recitals, community plays and other important life events. He remembers his students and the kids know he is in their corner cheering them on.” λ