Sharon Weston Honored as Staff of the Year
Thursday’s College of Education and Human Services awards honored a CPD staff member who needs no introduction. And yet, while people at the CPD know and appreciate Assistant to the CPD Director Sharon Weston, they probably do not know how much she deserves to be the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services Staff of the Year award.
Sharon herself would be the last to tell them.
But among all who depend on her, the same words come up again and again. Positive, helpful, efficient, pleasant, kind. Someone who works quietly in the background and is an excellent communicator, who has supported the CPD’s executive directors—five of them—since 1992.
“It's hard to describe in a few words what a pleasure and privilege it was to work with her,” said former CPD Executive Director Sarah Rule, “but here are three to summarize. Sharon is smart, skilled, and sensitive. If there was anything she (or I) didn't know, she would find it out. She was always ready to learn new technology, grasp organizational change and support colleagues. If she ever made a mistake, I don't remember it. She knows what to say and when to say it...or not.”
“Sharon has an incredible ‘can do’ attitude and the skills to back it up,” said Judith Holt, another former CPD director. “I never presented Sharon with a problem that she didn’t have ideas, suggestions or perhaps a gentle nudge to step back and rethink the problem.”
“Sharon has seen the CPD evolve from a local special school for students with disabilities to a large research, outreach, and technical assistance organization with a national reach,” said current Executive Director Matthew Wappett. “Through it all, she has been a steady influence and has helped to keep the director organized and pointed in the right direction.”
“She has been a great support to each division director," said John Copenhaver, Director of Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education at the CPD. "She has been a stabilizing influence to all divisions at the CPD.”
“Sharon makes a point to serve everyone she can,” said Dr. Cyndi Rowland, executive director of WebAIM at the CPD. “She has a manner that is effective while at the same time makes people from very different backgrounds comfortable. … Her interpersonal skills and genuine kindness make her an absolute joy to work with.”
She she has also earned the admiration of fellow staff members at every level of the organization. “I first met Sharon when I came to interview for the CPD Executive Director position in August 2016,” Wappett said. “Sharon… walked me over to the CPD for my initial interview and visit with CPD staff. She was so kind, welcoming, and unassuming that I would have never guessed that she was such an integral cog in the day to day operations of the CPD.”
“She has the most positive attitude of anyone I know,” said Jodie Anderson, a co-worker. “She is always so kind and helpful to everyone… She always has a smile on her face.”
“Sharon is the WD-40 of the CPD,” said Kelly Smith, the CPD’s information specialist. “She keeps everything running smoothly, and I doubt that any of us fully comprehend the scope of her efforts.”
Sharon received her award at a ceremony in the Edith Bowen Auditorium at Utah State University.