Image of Debra Thrush

Debra Thrush

High School Advisor & Graduation Coach

Bachelor of Arts, Interdisciplinary Studies (Elementary Education), Western Governor’s University; Master of Arts, Special Education, University of Colorado; Post-graduate certificate in Autism Studies and licensure in Secondary Social Studies, Colorado.

Why I Became an Educator

The seed for becoming a teacher was planted in high school. I assisted an elementary class of students with disabilities as a work experience project. Working with the students was challenging but rewarding. I loved helping them persevere and enjoy success. After high school, I went on a different path. I became a teacher as a second career once I started visiting my son’s school and remembered how much I loved supporting students. 

The Online School Experience at Utah Connections Academy

I love working with students here as an advisor because of the one-on-one interaction I have with families. We have real conversations about what’s working and not working, then create a plan for achieving goals. Parents thinking of enrolling their student here should keep in mind that Utah Connections Academy offers a well-rounded quality online education, but it’s not independent study. 

I’m thankful I get to work with families of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds, as well as with students of varying academic success levels, from struggling to gifted. I’ve taught students with a range of dis- “abilities” and my own children have disability labels. 

My Personal Interests

I enjoy reading, gardening, and walking mountain trails. I grew up near the beach, so I’m always planning for my next beach vacation. We recently bought a van that we’re converting into a handicapped accessible camper van so we can go on more adventures.

"The keys to a student’s success here are communication and the active involvement of the student, Learning Coach, advisors, and teachers."

— Ms. Thrush