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Comings and Goings!

Submitted by lori.cunningham on Fri, 05/24/2019 - 08:24

We are so sad to announce that some of our dear friends are leaving us to go on to new adventures. We will miss them so much! Thanks to these wonderful members of our faculty and staff for all they have accomplished here and the countless students lives they have enriched. We wish you all the best!

Madison Sopena, Laurie Hansen, Steve Downey, Bart Thompson, Emily Howden, Danny Lundell, Ralph Jamsa, Kathy Christensen

Here are some final comments from some of them:

Thanks to all the administrators over the years!  They have all been supportive of the programs I have been involved in, and have allowed me my own teacher autonomy!  Special shout out to Liz Blanton for being my travel companion!

Even more, thanks to all the students who have sat in my classroom, listened to my soapbox lectures, sang my silly songs, filled out a lot of papers, and took all my tests!  They have made my life full and worthwhile! 

I’ll miss not seeing all the staff and teachers at Salem Hills, but I won’t miss scheduling my life around “the bell!”  

Wishing you all the best

Laurie Hansen



It has been a dream come true for me to spend the past 11 years here at Salem Hills High School.  It was always a desire of mine to be able to be a part of a new school, and when that opportunity arose in 2008, I didn't hesitate at the chance. It has been an amazing journey for me and my family, and I will miss the day-to-day connection to SHHS.  Luckily, we live here in Salem, so my children will have the incredible good fortune of being Skyhawks over the next few years.


I am extremely excited about the next adventure as the Dean of Students at Diamond Fork Junior High School. It will be strange not coaching and teaching any longer, but I feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to hopefully make an impact on even more students each year.  I am incredibly grateful to all my dear friends--both faculty/staff and students--that have had such a major impact on who I am today as an educator.  GO SKYHAWKS!

 Bart Thompson



My time at SHHS has been a wonderful experience that I had never planned on, but I'm so glad I was given the opportunity to teach here. Interacting with our faculty and students has enriched my life and I will cherish the memories from these past four years. I am a better person because of my students and I have loved being able to share my passion for photography and drafting with them. We have some amazing young people and I'm honored that I was able to interact with them and watch them succeed at their dreams. I will miss seeing students create and discover their talents, but I am excited for where my new adventures will take me. 

Emily Howden




This is a very bittersweet ending to my years here at Salem Hills High School. I’ve been so fortunate to be here for the past 5 years. I’ve loved the classes that I’ve been able to teach but more importantly I’ve loved the interactions I’ve been able to have with the students here. I’ve really enjoyed watching kids come in as Sophomores, who are trying to figure out High School,  who become Seniors who are going to go out and conquer the world. I’ve seen students who go through struggles and have some pretty low moments in their life but who have kept pushing through those tough times and who haven’t given up and have found so much success and have been able to accomplish things that they never thought were possible. I will miss the relationships that have been formed with my students, they are incredible individuals who are going to achieve some amazing things in their lifetime, and I look forward to hearing about them.

 I’ve loved being a part of the SHHS Girls Soccer team for the last couple of years. I’m grateful for Lee Gillie and his willingness to let me help coach these girls and for the mantle of trust that he put on me for that. I’ve really enjoyed watching these girls and the hard work and dedication that they put into a sport that they love. I will miss those relationships that I have made with them and having the opportunity to watch them grown not only on the soccer field but in the classroom and in their personal life as well.

 I have been so fortunate to work under Mr. Peery. He is an incredible Principal who has such care and concern for every single student and staff member at his school. He goes above and beyond to make sure that everyone feels important. I’ll miss everything from the high fives he gives to everyone to his “Goooooo Skyhawks” cheer. Salem Hills has an amazing administration and I will miss every single one of them and their passion for helping our students succeed. I knew walking in to this school 5 years ago for my interview that this was a special place and that I wanted to be a part of it! I was treated so kindly and the interview was so personal that it already felt like home. I’ll miss the smiles from our secretaries and them asking about life. The awesome teachers in the PE/Health department who helped me feel welcome right from the beginning. There are too many people here at this school who have had a great impact on my life and I will cherish those memories forever.

I look forward to this new adventure that I will be starting next school year. I will be heading to Lake Mountain Middle School which is a brand new middle school in Alpine School District located in Saratoga Springs. I look forward to opening a new school and working towards building a culture there. The strong culture that I’ve been a part of at Salem Hills is one that I want to take with me, and hope that I can create a culture similar to that at Lake Mountain. Even though I have absolutely loved my time here, I have always tried to better myself in all areas of life. One area that I pursued was a position that would give my family more security through a full time teaching position. I was able to get that through Lake Mountain Middle School. Full-time status, productivity pay, and opening up a brand new middle school were just too good of opportunities to pass up. It was a tough decision to make, but in the end, this position will assist my family more in the end. Again, I’ll miss every moment here at Salem Hills but I look forward to the new adventure that awaits.

Madi Sopena


It has been an amazing adventure working at SHHS for the past 11 years. It was such a great experience to help open a new school and get to work with so many amazing students, parents, and co-workers.  We have become like family, sharing many happy and wonderful experiences as well as some extremely sad and difficult situations.  Positivity always triumphs though and we grow closer together as a team and community when we come out on the other side.  I will truly miss being at Salem Hills!

Danny Lundell