Teacher of the Year 2012

2012 Teacher of the Year – Leigh VandenAkker


Leigh VandenAkker teaches Techniques for Tough Times at East High School in the Salt Lake City School District. She has been in education for 20 Years, 3 of those years have been at East High School. Her sister provided her with the motto in which she teachers her students, “You have the strength to face and accomplish hard things.” Her greatest accomplishments in teaching, she says, come when a student with no prospect for the future realizes his abilities and finds the courage and strength to overcome his challenges. To see the value of education become a priority in the life of a student is a dream come true for a teacher. In her application she describes her philosophy of teaching, “Our role as educators must reflect that we truly value each individual student for their uniqueness and sincerely believe they can be successful. Every student who walks through my door deserves to be respected and treated as my most valuable customer. It is an honor to be their teacher. As an educator, I firmly believe it is my job to motivate the desires of my students into a productive course of action that will successfully guide them into the future. I must provide an environment where my students feel safe to make a mistake, feel comfortable to question and debate, and have the desire to find success. I want my students to feel valued and find the courage to achieve not only as a student, but more important, as a conscientious member of their community.”

2012 District Teachers of the Year

National Teacher of the Year 2012 Conference Images, Dallas, Texas

2012 Teacher of the Year Banquet

2012 National and Utah Teacher of the Year Sponsors

Our very own Leigh VandenAkker being awarded the 2011 Utah PTA Golden Apple Awards along with other recipients.

Leigh VandenAkker speaking at TEDxBYU, Education for an Empowered Life

Leigh VandenAkker, 2015 Huntsman Education Award Winner

East High Teacher Leigh VandenAkker a Crucial Assistant for Leopard Football Team