SARA LAYTON, an English teacher at Mountain Heights Academy in West Jordan, was named the American Board Utah Teacher of the Year. Layton was an English professor when she decided to pursue a secondary teaching license. “I noticed that Freshman were coming into college with a lack of basic writing skills necessary to succeed across the curriculum,” said Layton. “Teaching at a high school level allows me to prepare students, particularly seniors, for the important transitions to college and the workplace.”
The American Board program enabled Layton to continue working as a college professor as she prepared for the teacher certification exams. “Because I had a master’s degree in English and years of teaching experience at a college level, it didn’t make sense for me to go back to school to study what I already knew about teaching, classroom management, and my content area,” said Layton. “I am so grateful to the American Board program for streamlining the process of achieving a secondary teaching degree.”
Layton believes the most rewarding part of her job is the students. “Where would any teacher be without her students? I love my job, and plan to work as an online English teacher and curriculum designer for the foreseeable future,” said Layton. “I will continue to create and share open educational resources and present my findings and experience in conferences whenever possible.”
As one of eight educators world-wide to be awarded a fellowship from the Institute for the Study of Knowledge and Meaning in Education (ISKME), Layton plans to “meet with educators across the world to discuss, assess, and create open educational resources to be shared with other educators on an international scale,” as well as pursue a doctorate degree “possibly in the field of instructional psychology and technology.”
The Teacher of the Year award celebrates teachers who completed the American Board’s program and who, in many cases, gave up high paying professional careers to pursue a career in education.
“As a former superintendent and principal, I recognize the value of finding teachers like Sara who understand and care about their local community,” said SHAWN ARÉVALO McCOLLOUGH, President and CEO of the American Board. “Sara’s passion and commitment truly inspires learning, and her positive impact goes well beyond the classroom walls.”
For more information on all the winners, click here.