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Utah Agriculture in the Classroom

Teacher Award

Teacher Award Winners from Utah

State Teacher Award 2024
Karen Webb
Hurricane Elementary
K-5 STEM Specialist
My career as an educator started with raising four children. I was decidedly determined to be an active participant in their formal education, so I took the opportunity to work closely with the science specialist at their elementary school; this was my first experience with science in the classroom.
State & National Teacher Award 2023
Melody Thieme
Crimson View Elementary
4th Grade
In 2015, my school was fortunate enough to receive a large grant for a self-sustaining greenhouse, in which I was able to implement agricultural literacy outcomes including “Agriculture and Environment,” “Science, Technology, Engineering & Math,” and “Culture, Society, Economy, and Geography” into core standard lessons.
State & National Teacher Award 2022
Meaghan Porritt
Lewiston Elementary
4th Grade
My students are strengthening their understanding of “Agriculture and the Environment,” “Plants and Animals for Food, Fiber & Energy,” “Food, Health, and Lifestyle,” “Science, Technology, Engineering & Math,” and “Culture, Society, Economy & Geography” through everyday integration of agriculture. This strategy has truly transformed my students’ learning.
State Teacher Award 2021
Teresa Hislop
Ogden Preparatory Academy
8th Grade Science, Mission to Mars Class
The national agriculture literacy themes Agriculture and the Environment; and Plants and Animals for Food, Fiber & Energy enrich science curriculum and enhance instruction in both my Mission to Mars class and my Eighth Grade Integrated Science classes. With the themes as a guide, students develop agricultural literacy on their path to science proficiency and galactic citizenship.
State & National Teacher Award 2020
Ryan Ferre
Saratoga Shores Elementary
5th Grade, All Subjects
Our students are growing their understanding of “Plants and Animals for Food, Fiber & Energy Outcomes” as we dig deep into “Science, Technology, Engineering & Math.” As an educator, I am constantly looking for applicable strategies that inspire my students to learn core concepts through agriculture. Projects like our pumpkin growing contest, breeding new cultivars of flowers, hydroponics, and embryology studies have helped my students apply the skills taught in everyday lessons and gain an interest in—and appreciation for—agriculture.
State & National Teacher Award 2019
Brad Hendershot
Excelsior Academy
8th Grade Science, Greenthumbs (Horticulture) Class
At Excelsior Academy, our Greenthumbs students learn about agriculture using the themes “Food, Health, and Lifestyle,” and “Science, Technology, Engineering & Math.” The Greenthumbs Program began in 2011 when several of my 8th grade science students asked me if we could build a school greenhouse. We had just finished a unit on photosynthesis, and my students absolutely loved testing the germination rate of sunflower seeds under different conditions.
State Teacher Award 2018
Jana Maw
Farr West Elementary School
6th grade, Science and Language Arts
My ancestors farmed the hills of North Carolina. They grew crops, raised chickens, and lived off the land—this was their way of life. I realize that our lives today have changed in many ways, but we still have the same obligation to care for our land and resources, and be knowledgeable regarding where our food and fiber comes from.
State & National Teacher Award 2017
Tiffany Porter
Crimson View Elementary School
K - 5th Grades, STEM
Tiffany Porter, Learning Coach at Crimson View Elementary School in the Washington County School District, has been chosen to receive the Utah Agriculture in the Classroom (Utah AITC) Excellence in Teaching About Agriculture Award.
State Teacher Award 2016
Mrs. Jennifer Chipman
Promontory School of Expeditionary Learning
7th - 8th Grades, Art
“Using the curriculum 'If You Build It, They Will Grow!', my seventh and eighth grade students are addressing all five of the National Agricultural Literacy Outcomes (NALOs) themes of Agriculture and the Environment; Plants and Animals for Food, Fiber, & Energy; Food, Health, and Lifestyle; Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math; and Culture, Society, Economy & Geography.”
State & National Teacher Award 2015
Mrs. Theo Anderson
Providence Elementary School
5th Grade, all subjects
“Our current projects began with a former student building us a chicken coop as part of his Eagle Scout project. Once we had a place to raise our chickens, I ordered 24 eggs from Thanksgiving Point Farm Education Center.We proceeded to use the lessons available through Ag in the Classroom to prepare for our adventure.”
State Teacher Award 2014
Mrs. Grace Struiksma
Channing Hall Charter School
7th and 8th Grade, History and Humanities
My students are far removed from the farm. That is why it is essential that agricultural concepts are not just integrated, but infused, into my curriculum. My goal is for students to learn what not everyone in the world understands: that everything we use is either grown or it is mined. To reach this goal with my 8th grade U.S. History class, we completed a three-week, in-depth study of the Columbian Exchange.
State & National Teacher Award 2013
Mrs. Kaylene Esplin
Orion Junior High
Integrated Science, ESL, and Student Government
8th Grade
I teach an integrated 8th grade science curriculum (ecology, chemistry, geology and physics). Previously I taught one term of each discipline but I wanted to find a way to integrate these science disciplines to demonstrate how the sciences overlap in real world applications.
State Teacher Award 2012
Mrs. Julie Thorngren
Snowcrest Junior High School
Keyboarding, Career and Technical Education (Business Rotation)
Yes, a middle school Career & Technology business teacher can incorporate agriculture into her instruction! Adding agriculture to my curriculum has contextualized our state standards and made my instruction more relevant, exposing my students to career opportunities and the importance of agriculture.
State Teacher Award 2011
Ms. Pyper Shelton
William Penn Elementary School
Salt Lake City, Utah
1st Grade
Communities, cultures, connections, cycles, and relationships: all are themes in our first grade class. Without a doubt, I can lecture to my students all day long. However, their listening interest will last about 1 minute, if we are lucky. Fortunately, this is not my teaching style. Learning is fun! It is an active process.
State & National Teacher Award 2010
Ms. Christi Paulson
Riley Elementary School, Salt Lake City, Utah
1st Grade
The theme for my first grade classroom this year was cycles in nature and our world. I wanted my students to be able to recognize cycles in the world around them and then draw on this knowledge to help them discover how other things in the world worked. This turned out to be an effective learning strategy.
State & National Teacher Award 2009
Ms. Paula Marquez
Backman Elementary School, Salt Lake City, Utah
6th Grade
Do you know where your food comes from? If not, the students in Paula Marquez's sixth grade class at Backman Elementary School in Salt Lake City may be able to help. Ms. Marquez and her students spent the past year studying science, social studies, reading, math, and healthy lifestyles using agriculture in their classroom.
State & National Teacher Award 2008
Ms. Patti Seeholzer
River Heights Elementary School, River Heights, Utah
3rd Grade
There is a growing excitement about agriculture in Ms. Patti Seeholzer's second grade classroom at River Heights Elementary School. Traditional core subjects of reading, writing, and arithmetic are supplemented with hands-on activities using eggs, cotton, and honeybees to teach students about math, science, social studies, and healthy lifestyles.
State & National Teacher Award 2007
Ms. Marie Gardner
River Heights Elementary School, River Heights, Utah
2nd Grade
Using resources from the online course—Food, Land & People (FLP)—offered through Utah State University—Marie's students do not simply learn about agriculture during Agriculture Week; they have the opportunity to experience it on a weekly basis.
State Teacher Award 2006
Ms. Susan Tenhor
Monte Vista Elementary School, South Jordan, Utah
3rd Grade
Ms. Tenhor's innovative instructional methods and strategies in teaching agriculture have made a huge impact on her students. The third graders were involved in real-life, hands-on activities in learning about where their food comes from, processing, distribution, science, and the environmental issues of food and fiber production.
State & National Teacher Award 2005
Ms. Alzina Barnhill
Cook Elementary, Syracuse, Utah
3rd grade
Using current information and diverse teaching techniques helps Alzina Barnhill of Cook Elementary address the different learning styles of the students. She developed Agricultural Vocabulary Flash Cards to ensure her students understood agricultural terms.
State & National Teacher Award 2004
Ms. Lisa Wiederholt
St. John of the Baptist Elementary, Draper, Utah
5th grade
"This is the best work we have ever had!" says a student of Lisa Wiederholt, a fifth grade teacher at St. John the Baptist Elementary in Draper, Utah. Lisa earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from St. Louis University and later a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Portland.
State & National Teacher Award 2002
Ms. Peggy Wittwer
South Elementary School, Cedar City, Utah
4th grade
Ms. Peggy Wittwer was inspired by Agriculture in the Classroom to create a summer science camp which focused on environmental issues and agriculture. Ms. Wittwer received a grant to organize and present programs for the week-long workshop.