Brookside second-grade teacher, Darla Stapel, was honored by Karen Huntsman with the Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education. 

Mrs. Stapel was quite surprised when her door opened and in walked Mrs. Huntsman, her family, several members of the faculty and PTA.  Mrs. Huntsman spotlighted Mrs. Stapel and didn't leave until she got her very own second grade "License”; something all of her students have.

The Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education highlights the achievements of some of Utah’s best educators and expresses gratitude for their devotion to Utah’s children. In this 22nd year of the Awards program, Stapel is one of 11 top educators who was selected for her professionalism, creative approaches to reaching the minds of young people, and her lasting positive influence on Brookside students.

Mrs. Stapel impacted the lives of many people. Following are just some of the comments about Huntsman Award winner, Mrs. Darla Stapel.

Catherine Rich nominated Mrs. Darla Stapel for the Huntsman Award. She is a parent of a former student: Catherine said, "Mrs. Stapel’s deep love of teaching and connection with her students was plainly evidenced last year during a unique event. During the last month of school, Mrs. Stapel was diagnosed with cancer. Treatments began immediately and lasted throughout the summer and into the fall. Although she was seriously ill, she couldn’t wait until school started to meet her new students. She showed them how to face a serious problem with a positive attitude. Inspired by her courage, these brand new second-graders faithfully washed their hands and protected her from their sniffles. They took turns pushing her wheelchair. They learned a life lesson about bravery and not quitting. I can’t imagine a better person to teach and inspire my children."

Alicia Rudd, current Brookside principal said, “I am excited to recommend Darla Stapel for the Huntsman Award. She is an amazing teacher and has a wonderful tone in her class. Darla’s lessons are well-planned, fun and engaging. I love to walk into her classroom to witness the students with their hands ‘in math’. Darla’s students are touching and manipulating math problems and science experiments every day. Year after year, Darla’s students score well on year-end tests. But more importantly, the students walk away with a love of learning. Darla has a special gift to make students feel smart and accomplished in math and science. She makes students grow to their potential. The students feel good about themselves because of the loving and caring environment she fosters. Darla Stapel truly is one of the most dedicated, loving and deserving teachers.”

Bridgette Sahlin and Darla Stapel team-teach second grade. Bridgette said, “In the past seven years, I have had the distinct honor and privilege of witnessing Darla’s influence on other faculty, students and members of her community. Darla has a way of making others feel important, valued, and welcome. She carries that same feeling through to the students in her classroom. Her students know she cares, and the students love being around her. It is my sincere belief that she is eminently qualified to be a recipient of the Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education.”

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