Heart & Sol: Exceptional Education Teachers

AZ Heart & Sol: Special needs teachers

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Every week we are celebrating people who are doing extraordinary things in our community thanks to our sponsor Casino Del Sol. This week we recognize two high school teachers, who are going above and beyond to help their special needs students at Tucson High School.

“The connection is strong and I think they want to be a part of it as much as we do,” said Michelle Morden, an exceptional education teacher.

Morden and Tony Vacura have taught together in a shared classroom for special needs students for the past five years.

“They bring a real joy of learning and living,” Vacura said.

Their passion for teaching hasn’t gone unnoticed especially by Anne Shiff who has a 14-year-old son with cerebral palsy in their class.

“I feel that it’s a dream team, and dream come true that he’s in their classroom this year,” Shiff said.

The two teachers have juggled teaching half of their students remotely and the rest in-person. They try their best to keep their students engaged with tons of hands-on activities like working in the school garden.

“That’s what keeps us inspired I think because the kids love it,” Morden said.

The teacher duo has never failed to bring a smile to their students’ faces during a school year that has felt anything but normal.

“I don’t think I’ve seen a happier group of people in the last year of the pandemic,” Shiff said.

Whether they realize it or not, they have built connections with students and their families that have made a world of difference.

“They have changed my life because I’m very comfortable leaving Harry at school,” Shiff said.

She said her son comes homes and talks about his day, friends, and teachers which is something he never did before.

The two received a $300 gift card from Casino Del Sol. If you have someone you think embodies the “Heart and Sol of Tucson,” please nominate them, here.

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