Teacher, East High School, Salt Lake City School District, 2012 Utah Teacher of the Year
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 for Excellence in Education. 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 an 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.
As a 2012 Pearson Global Scholar, Leigh visited the country of Brazil, where she had the unique opportunity to examine its education system.
As a full-time public high school teacher, Leigh is recognized as a consummate professional who cares deeply for students. She is presently teaching at East High School in Salt Lake City School District, and she is currently serving on the Utah Education Association's Teachers Excellence Task Force. You can find out more about her by viewing her recent TED Talk.