Utah State Teacher of the Year, 2012
Leigh M. VandenAkker is Utah’s 2012 Teacher of The Year and winner of Utah’s 2011 Golden Apple Award. She is a 2015 recipient of the prestigious Huntsman Award. As co-author of Techniques for Tough Times™, Leigh has trained teachers nationwide, providing insight and support by educating teachers in classroom management and how to teach SEL. She presented recently on “Whole Child vs. No Child” at SXSWEDU. With over 20 years experience in the educational setting, Leigh has developed strategies and techniques that really work in today’s classrooms. Designed to aid classroom teaching of communication and anger management skills, her curriculum supports the strategies for teaching metacognition. Students learn to self-advocate, have a voice and use higher order thinking skills to power through life’s obstacles. Leigh holds a M.Ed. degree as well as certifications in Special Education, Criminology and Corrections, ESL, and Conflict Resolution (communication, mediation, negotiation.) She is highly skilled in program development and coordination. Her particular expertise is with “at-risk” populations, grant proposal writing and program management. Leigh just returned from visiting the country of Brazil as a 2012 Pearson Global Scholar, where she had the unique opportunity to examine its education system. She is recognized as a consummate professional who cares deeply for students, she is a full-time public high school teacher. VandenAkker is presently teaching at East High School in Salt Lake City School District. She is currently serving on the Utah Education Association Teachers Excellence Task Force. You can find out more about her by viewing her recent TED talk.
Member of NNSTOY
We are a network of State Teachers of the Year and Finalists who use our teacher leadership to ensure that every student receives an outstanding education. We do this through our focus on practice, policy and advocacy.We Believe...
- Every student has a right to a high-quality education, regardless of background, race, gender, disability or socio-economic status.
- To achieve educational excellence for all students, we must transform and support the teaching profession.
- It is imperative that we involve our nation’s expert teachers in conversations about improving education.
- Teacher leaders will transform the teaching profession and create, implement and sustain systems to solve our toughest educational challenges.
- We must prepare our country’s future workforce to be competitive in a global economy and participate in a diverse, democratic country.
- Educators must partner with families and communities on behalf of our nation’s children.
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with Leigh VandenAkker
Leigh VadenAkker, 2012 Utah State Teacher of the Year, shares how she creates a classroom environment that develops students' social- and emotional-learning skills.
Videos of Practice
with Leigh VandenAkker
Creating a classroom environment that develops students’ social- and emotional-learning skills.
Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12