Utah Educators honored for excellence with Huntsman Awards for Excellence

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

A lifelong member of the community, Porter knows every student and is sensitive to their needs and concerns. She celebrates with them in their successes and works with them through their challenges. She leads her staff by example, never complaining and going right to work on what needs to be accomplished. Among her students she promotes literacy through the school's Get Caught Reading program and instilled a sense of service through her exhaustive community outreach efforts during the school's Share Week, which helps needy families during Christmas. 

Porter is a person whom others like to be around. To her staff she is sister, confidante and friend and to students she is supporter, motivator and leader.

Jay Hales

Automotive Technology teacher

Riverton High School, Riverton

Jay Hales is dedicated to the education and success of his students. Last year, Riverton High School took first place in all three competitions available to Utah high school automotive teams, the first time a single school has swept the competitions.

He is a lifelong learner, attending monthly seminars to stay ahead of the latest technologies. In addition to his duties at Riverton, Hales teaches concurrent enrollment courses for Salt Lake Community College, where he is an adjunct professor.

Hales always expects his students to do their best, stressing dependability, accountability, work ethic, integrity and honesty. He is an inspiration and benchmark of what teaching should be.

David Morrill

Physics teacher

Jordan High School, Sandy

If you step into David Morrill's classroom, you will not find students quietly reading books or asking questions. Instead, you will see students actively engaged in running simulations and experiments to learn and understand physics.

Morrill takes a personal interest in the success of every students and is passionate about his profession. A master of making do with limited resources, he finds ways to put donated items to good use and developed his own computer lab in the classroom on a limited budget while working on his Master's degree. He is creative in developing experiments and demonstrations and always has time to help a student, often arriving early or staying late in the day.

Morrill is the kind of teacher that makes students look forward to class. He makes a difficult subject fun and interesting and helps each student succeed.

Phyllis J. Savage

Volunteer

Ogden City School District, Ogden

After retiring from full-time teaching in 1999, Phyllis Savage has spent the last 13 years volunteering with kindergarten and first-grade classes in Ogden, as well as teaching music in four elementary schools during the summer months. In that time, the Ogden School District estimates that Savage has spent 8,000 hours volunteering in schools, not including the time she spends with pre-kindergarten students in the Children's Treehouse Museum. 

She is described as a maestro of music and a maestro of life. Savage uses music to promote literacy and social skills. She enhances the learning opportunities for children, especially those with challenging backgrounds. 

As a teacher and now, as a volunteer, she remains an educational cornerstone in her commitment to the learning of every student entering Ogden schools.

Mark H. Huntsman Award

Sam Clemmons

Learning Center teacher

Fremont Elementary, Sunset

Teaching children with extreme behaviors that affect learning ability can be stressful, but Sam Clemmons maintains a classroom of quiet calm in which children exceed behavioral and academic expectations.

Clemmons makes everyone feel important. During recess, he joins his students on the playground and makes sure to include students who are not in his classroom, helping to build friendships. His positive attitude and friendly manner promote a culture of high expectations for both students and his fellow teachers. He is highly regarded and has a wonderful rapport with parents.

Clemmons' lessons are described as masterful. He helps his students to be engaged in the material, understanding their challenges and working with them to overcome their weaknesses. He doesn't see the disability, but instead sees a child with potential and finds a way to turn that potential into success.

E-mail: benwood@desnews.com

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