Teacher Recognition

The Teacher Achievement Recognition program is a partnership with The Grand America Hotel, Salt Lake City School District, and Salt Lake Education Foundation and honors teachers and schools who achieve excellence.

The Teacher Achievement Recognition program is provided by a partnership with The Grand America Hotel, Salt Lake City School District, and Salt Lake Education Foundation. The program provides significant recognition to Salt Lake City schools and teachers who have distinguished themselves as demonstrated by objective measurement of student performance.

Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh and her class

Recognitions include several different types of awards, all of which are based on growth in student achievement. Student scores from early in the school year are compared to scores from the end of the school year to determine which teachers, teams of teachers, and schools have made the most progress. Comparing growth makes the program fair for all schools, regardless of demographics. As part of the partnership, the hotel provides rewards for teachers who are selected as award winners. The rewards include certificates for stays at the hotel, certificates for Sunday brunch, and hosting parties at the hotel for school faculties.

Additionally, direct nominations for District Teacher of the Year and District Special Education Teacher of the Year awards are accepted from administrators, parents, other faculty/staff, and students. The success of this fair, equitable, consistent, and unbiased selection process is without equal in the state of Utah. During the past four years, the District Teachers of the Year, who then go on as candidates for the Utah Teacher of the Year, have all been selected as finalists in the state competition, and three candidates have been selected as Utah Teacher of the Year; namely, Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, Mary Jane Morris, and Leigh VandenAkker.

Salt Lake City School District is proud of the more than 1,400 certified teachers who, day in and day out, provide a high level of instruction to wonderful children who, in many instances, face significant obstacles to their success.

Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh

As we face unprecedented challenges in public education, our teachers deserve our praise and respect. The Teacher Achievement Recognition program is a wonderful way to acknowledge the great work going on in our Salt Lake City School District classrooms.

Good teachers know their work represents the contributions of many other dedicated educators. The Teacher Achievement Recognition program is a great way to recognize the dedication of our teachers and simply thank them for what they do every single day. Pamela S. Perlich, Ph.D.

Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh
President, Utah Education Association
Utah Teacher of the Year 2009

Mary Jane Morris

Mary Jane Morris

Utah Teacher of the Year 2010


Leigh Vandenackker

Leigh Vandenackker

Utah Teacher of the Year 2012