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Utah Teacher of the Year Blog

In her latest blog entry, our Utah Teacher of the Year, Kellie May, focuses on why she and former Teachers of the Year think you should consider a career in education.


There have been 41 Utah State Teachers of the Year since 1979, representing 24 school districts. Eight of those 41 teachers have been from SLCSD. It is quite an honor to be included among these exemplary educators. The focus of my job at the district as well as my TOY platform is teacher recruitment and retention.  As I hope to learn all I can from each of the former SLCSD TOYs, I asked them, “Why should people consider a career as an educator?” 

Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh 2009 Utah Teacher of the Year

“Teaching is like no other profession. We hold a sacred trust to keep the promise of public education. What is that, you might ask? It is the responsibility to ensure every child has access to excellent teachers, adequate resources, and equitable learning environments. We have tremendous power, as teachers. We literally impact the future for our students. There is nothing more impactful than knowing you made a difference for a child.”

Mary Jane Morris 2010 Utah Teacher of the Year

“A career as a teacher is not for the faint of heart. Students need teachers who are passionate about what they do, who challenge them to be the best they can be and achieve beyond what they thought that they could accomplish. Outstanding teachers support students in discovering who they are and building the skills they need to create futures which are satisfying and successful. Teachers challenge students to be reflective thinkers and creative problem-solvers who are committed to positive civil engagement. Teaching is not a job but rather a teacher is who we are. Teaching is for the brightest and best among us.”

Leigh M. VandenAkker 2012 Utah Teacher of the Year

“There is no other career that is more important than being an educator. Now, more than ever, we need passionate, knowledgeable, dedicated teachers. Our children are our greatest resource. They need to believe in themselves and know they can and will determine the future, for all of us. Only teachers can make this happen. Teachers provide the necessary skills, giving them confidence in their abilities, to change the world. There is never a day when a teacher is not needed.”

Valerie Gates 2017 Utah Teacher of the Year

“Educating every child is our greatest responsibility to the future. Educators have the ability to uphold every student’s dignity and change life trajectories to help develop open minded, curious citizens of the world. It is a privilege to take on this responsibility.”

Research has shown that the opportunity to learn consistently, in consecutive years, from excellent teachers is the most significant in-school factor in student achievement. Inspired teachers, like those above, know why they teach and are passionate in wanting to support student success.  To be able to work with such dedicated individuals AND amazing students is most definitely a dream job for me!

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