Carbon School District Press Release
Amy Bell faces a momentous task in taking over as the principal of the Castle Valley Center and running the special education programs across Carbon School District this coming year.
It is momentous not only because of job the but also, until recently, the school has been supervised by one of the most well-liked educators Carbon has ever seen, Mike Keller.
“Mike is definitely a legend around here,” she said. “I have to say it is intimidating because he understands the heart of working with and serving people with disabilities.”
Bell is a native of Eastern Utah, growing up in Emery County and spending her whole life there. She graduated from Emery High School and went onto Utah State University to become a licensed clinical social worker. Then, she got into an outreach program from the University of Utah for her masters degree.
“I really thought I was going to be a therapist,” she said. “At the time, Tom Roush was the special education director in Carbon District and I happened to apply for a job as a school counselor. He wanted someone who had a background in mental health issues and I worked with him for a number of years.”
After about 10 years, she took a job with the Emery County School District because, with four kids, she “couldn’t parent from Price anymore.” Once her children were grown, she had the opportunity to come back to Carbon as a school psychologist two years ago.
“I have worked much of my career in behavior planning and behavior intervention,” she explained. “In Emery, I worked with a lot of kids on the autism spectrum, and coming back here was hard because the work I was doing with individual students there was so rewarding.”
She also obtained her administrative certificate and that helped to put her in the place she is now assigned to. Despite it being a very able and well-run program, she said that there will be some changes across the district in special education this coming year.
“We have a district special education team and one of the things we are doing is restructuring our self contained units so they are more accessible to a broader scope of students” she said.
Castle Valley Center has several programs, including a preschool, a transitional kindergarten, a school age program and an adult program. Overall, the school serves about 105 individuals.
“It is a very unique school,” she stated. “And I think it is as much a community center as it is a school. It’s not just academics; we take a broader view, working on functioning skills and life skills.”
She said it may not be apparent from the outside, but if people could see the progress many of the students make from year to year because of the teacher’s efforts, they would be amazed.
“One of our goals at Castle Valley Center is more community access. We want to get our students out into the community so they get more experiences,” she concluded.