2017 Utah Teacher of the Year

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West High School English language development and AVID teacher Valerie S. Gates, Utah's 2017 Teacher of the Year

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – West High School ‘AVID’ teacher, Valerie S. Gates, has been named 2017 Utah Teacher of the Year.

Gates was honored for her work in English language development and the Advancement Via Individual Determination program, Deputy State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Rich K. Nye, said.

“My teaching is driven by a powerful belief in human dignity and a basic mutual respect between teacher, student and family,” Gates said.  “This is an essential part of who I am and affects everything I do inside and outside of school.”

Gates will compete with teachers of the year from other states, meet with the President in Washington, D.C., and attend space camp in Alabama next summer, according to a news release from the Utah State Board of Education.  She also received a check for $10,000, a laptop computer from PC laptops, and a $250 check from McDonald’s.

Jody Tolley, an American Sign Language teacher at Salt Lake City’s Skyline High School was named first runner up and received a check for $5,000.   Fourth grade gifted and talented student teacher, Gretchen Murray, was named second runner up, and received $3,000, according to the news release.