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Utah County educators recognized for excellence in art, American history | News, sports, jobs

Teacher Appreciation Week begins Monday, but four Utah County educators are already being recognized for their work creating a powerful learning experience in their respective classrooms.

The Utah State Board of Education has announced this year’s recipients of the Sorenson Legacy Awards for Excellence in Arts Education. Three of the five teachers who received the award are from Utah County.

Additionally, the Utah State Society Daughters of the American Revolution honored its Outstanding Teacher of American History award recipient during a state conference in Salt Lake City last weekend.

USBE's annual Sorenson Legacy Awards highlight the role the arts play in Utah's schools and recognize educators who have distinguished themselves through their commitment to integrating the arts into their teaching practices, a news release said.

The award is named for Beverley Taylor Sorenson, a Utah educator who advocated for arts programs and curriculum in elementary schools. Sorenson died in 2013 at the age of 89.

The following teachers are recognized:

  • Elementary Arts Integration, for classroom teacher: Rachel Leber, Provo School District.
  • Elementary education in dance, theater, music, visual arts, or media arts: Charlotte Hawkins, Cedar Ridge Elementary School in the Alpine School District (visual arts).
  • Secondary arts instruction in dance, theater, music, visual arts, or media arts: Laurie Anderson, Timberline Middle School in the Alpine School District (visual arts).

Each winner and their respective school district will receive a cash prize in the coming weeks.

Recipients will receive a cash prize of $2,000. To further support their arts programs, districts will receive a $250 cash award.

Skyridge High School teacher Camille Pickett took home the Outstanding Teacher of American History Award from the Utah State DAR. Pickett was nominated and sponsored by the Pony Express Chapter in Lehi.

The organization describes Pickett's teaching approach as active participation, critical thinking and civil dialogue and said she fosters a sense of good citizenship in her students.

Pickett “has gone above and beyond what I have seen from any other teacher,” Pony Express Chapter Regent Valerie Hunt said in a news release.

Pickett was previously honored with the 2022-23 Skyridge High School Teacher of the Year Award and the Alpine School District RISE Award also in 2022.

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