Leading by Example–Two Outstanding Mentors
Julie Beckham and Jennifer Fletcher are recognized for their efforts as mentor teachers.
“Enter to learn, go forth to serve” reads the inscription at the entrance to the BYU campus. Two McKay School alumni, Jennifer Fletcher and Julie Beckham, are living up to that standard. These two special education teachers were recently recognized by The McKay School of Education special education undergraduate program for their exceptional work as mentors. These awards honor educators in local school districts for their contributions to the Special Education Program through their work with the teacher candidates.
This year was Fletcher’s first experience receiving a mentor award. Though she is not as experienced as some mentors, her efforts warranted recognition. She received the Outstanding Mentor Award for her praiseworthy nurturing of the intern under her supervision and her students. According to the nomination, Fletcher constantly gave guidance and feedback to the preservice teacher. She also exemplified excellent classroom management skills and modeled effective teaching practices.
Fletcher has worked hard to cultivate her teaching ability. She graduated from the McKay School in 2003 with a degree in elementary education and an endorsement in special education. After graduating she worked for three years in Washington State with students with autism before coming back to Utah to earn a master’s degree in special education.
Fletcher has worked in various districts teaching students with autism, and she is currently at Thunder Ridge Elementary in Alpine School District. After nine years of teaching special education students, Fletcher reflected, “I love all my students, and I strive to see them reach their highest potential. ” She continued, “I feel honored in receiving this award. I really enjoy working with other teachers and helping them grow in their own abilities.”
Beckham accepted her first preservice teacher from the McKay School in 2008 and has mentored a student teacher every year since. She has also mentored special education majors during their summer practicum. The Outstanding Mentor Award was well deserved by Beckham, whose nomination said she has been flexible and nurturing, and that she has done especially well at making data-based decisions in her classroom. With years of mentoring experience, she has gone the extra mile to help preservice teachers who needed more specific forms of mentoring. For example, Beckham mentored a student teacher paired with a resource teacher who only taught reading. Beckham took the student teacher when Beckham was teaching math so the preservice teacher could gain experience teaching another subject.
Beckham gained her teaching talents through years of schooling and experience. She graduated from BYU in 2000 in elementary education, then taught in California for six years before receiving a master’s degree in special education at California State University, Dominguez Hills.
Beckham then moved back to Utah, started working for Nebo School District, and currently works at Westside Elementary. When asked how she feels about teaching, she says, “I love teaching and enjoy the challenge of working with students with disabilities. I believe teaching is a privilege. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience with preservice teachers to help them catch the vision of being nurturers.”