Utah Educators honored for excellence with Huntsman Awards for Excellence

Published: Friday, April 27 2012 6:00 a.m. MDT

Jenson seeks to find the most effective ways to address the needs of her students. She expects hard work and through music, art, and creativity helps her students achieve more than they thought possible.

Taran K. Chun


Granite Park Junior High School, Salt Lake City

In three years at Granite Park, Taran Chun has built a school vision that inspires students to dream of college and beyond. Under his dynamic leadership, students have embraced that mission and are preparing themselves to be college-ready and leaders of tomorrow.

Chun is also a community builder, working to make a safe environment for the diverse student body from all around the world. He instituted a weekly greeting that validates the unique cultural heritage of each students and has overseen the implementation of Latinos In Action, a class that trains bilingual Latino students to mentor elementary children in math and reading.

Chun is candid but instills optimism in students about the hard work necessary to achieve their goals and dreams. Beyond inspiring students, he focuses on the gaps in student learning to make sure those dreams become a reality.

Amy Hall

Math teacher

Hillcrest Junior High School, Salt Lake City

Amy Hall is a teacher who is lauded for her ability to reach both advanced and struggling students. Her classroom is described as a safe, student-centered learning environment where children receive individual attention on complex concepts.

Hall has taken a proactive approach to the Common Core State Standards, spending countless hours of her own time to develop resources and curriculum to meet the demands of the new standards and help her students become college- and career-ready. She is also a teacher mentor, providing new teachers with expertise, guidance and support to help them meet the needs of their students.

Hall excels in her responsibilities as an educator and adds value to Hillcrest Junior High by supporting her colleagues and community.

Kevin Poff

Social Studies, Music and Student Government teacher

Mueller Park Junior High, Bountiful

Kevin Poff is a beloved teacher both inside and outside the classroom. He is equally known for his interesting lectures that encourage tolerance for diversity and awareness of others' perspectives as he is for his myriad extra-curricular activities, from student government adviser to director, producer and casting agent for the annual school musical.

In his classroom, participation is not optional and by using different teaching methods and his unique ability to engage students, Poff makes learning interesting and fun. Directing the school musical, Poff works diligently to find the best part for each student and is sensitive to their feelings and emotions, helping everyone to make new friends and feel like part of a group.

Poff understands the needs of each of his students and creates the means for them to use their abilities and strengthen their weaknesses.

Jill Porter


North Sevier High School, Salina

As the administrator of a smaller school, Jill Porter is involved in almost every issue facing North Sevier High School. At all times, Porter is known for striking a balance between offering a caring, listening ear and, when necessary, handing out tough love.

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