Millcreek Junior High School Math teacher Leslie Butler and the rest of her colleagues assembled in the school media center this morning thinking Principal Brad Chapple was going to talk about a computer check-in process.
What happened instead was that Butler was honored with the first-of-its-kind Davis School District America First Lifetime Achievement Award.
Sponsored by America First Credit Union, Lifetime Products and the Davis Education Foundation, the award was presented to Butler for her outstanding contributions during her 30-year career in which she started part-time at Syracuse Junior High and then turned full-time the next year at Millcreek.
The award Butler received included a $500 check from America First Credit Union, a $500 check from Lifetime Products and a Lifetime cooler full of her favorite soft drinks.
Butler was first an English teacher, then a French teacher, but when the need arose for more and better teachers in math, she completed the requirements to earn her endorsement to become that needed math teacher.
Butler believes each student comes to class from Day One with skills, knowledge and talents to contribute to their own learning and to the learning of their peers. She creates space for student voices and teaches them in a way that shows her confidence in their abilities.
She leads students to try thinking in different ways, developing problem-solving strategies, working in small groups and participating in classwide discussions. They walk away from her class with confidence in their ability to learn.
Millcreek Social Studies teacher Nancy Anderson said, “Leslie is the best math teacher ever. She has been a leader not only in our school, but for others in the district, using teaching strategies from the beginning founded on what we are now seeing in personalized-competency-based learning. She intuitively knew the best methods for learning math were not necessarily the ones being widely used and became a trailblazer for new approaches.
“It was an uphill battle at times, but Leslie persevered because she knew it was better for her students. To see students actively engaged in learning math in junior high—and loving it— is amazing.”