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Holladay Journal

Science teacher at USDB is one of three Utah teachers nominated for a LifeChanger Award

Mar 06, 2019 02:52PM ● By Heather Lawrence

Teacher Shari Solomon-Klebba dresses as a yellow jacket for USDB’s Spirit Week. (Courtesy of Susan Thomas, USDB)

By Heather Lawrence | heather.lawrence@mycityjournals.com

Shari Solomon-Klebba, who teaches science at the Utah School for the Deaf and Blind (USDB), got a pleasant surprise when she learned a member of the community had nominated her for a LifeChanger Award. 

“I had no clue she was nominating me,” said Solomon-Klebba. “She’s a young person I know through my work with the Girls Scouts.”

The nominator said that as a Girl Scout leader Solomon-Klebba was “from the start, an encouraging and positive light to every girl who wanted to be involved.” 

She also told of a time when her Girls Scouts’ robotics coach quit right before a convention. “Shari stepped in and held the (team) together. Her commitment to us learning was unreal,” she said. 

As a teacher, Solomon-Klebba combines her love of science with her love and skills in ASL. “Her classroom is amazing, with fun, hands-on science and innovative projects, many (of) which allow the students to think and figure out things so they have more ownership in their education,” said the nominator.

Though the nominator chose to remain anonymous to the public (Solomon-Klebba has learned her identity), several other community members have commented on the nomination page and they all agree that Solomon-Klebba is more than deserving of the acknowledgment.  

Barbara Jack said, “She inspired me to be the best teacher I could be.” Victoria Gerth said,” Her love for her family and students cannot be measured.”

Solomon-Klebb said she has been teaching for 28 years, four of which have been at the USDB. She’s taught in Utah, Colorado, Maine and Wyoming. In addition to teaching science courses, she’s also a coach for Academic Bowl and FIRST Lego League.

FIRST Lego League is a robotics program and competition where students get in teams and compete on a state-wide level to work on and improve their STEM and coding skills. Since Solomon-Klebba is a STEM subject teacher, it was a perfect fit. 

“Shari empowers youth to be engaged in our learning, and that’s why she’s a LifeChanger,” the nominator said. 

Solomon-Klebba loves teaching, whether it’s in the classroom, with Girl Scouts or with the FIRST Lego League. “I love seeing that light come in on students when they finally understand a difficult concept. When they’re able to come up with a solution to a problem on their own. That to me is absolutely thrilling,” said Solomon-Klebba. 

“I love working with deaf kids. They’re such an inspiration. Watching them learn and grow and become amazing adults — there’s nothing like it,” said Solomon-Klebba.

The award, sponsored by the National Life Group, awards several winners from across the country in the spring. They will receive cash awards for themselves and their schools. 

For more information and to see the full nomination, visit www.lifechangeroftheyear.com and click on nominees from Utah.