SLEA member and West High social studies and AVID teacher named Utah Teacher of the Year


Kellie May
Anjanette McNeeley
Archer James Birrell

The Utah State Board of Education named Kellie May, a Salt Lake Education Association member and social studies and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) teacher at Salt Lake City’s West High School as 2019 Utah Teacher of the Year. She is also an associate instructor at the Urban Institute for Teacher Education at the University of Utah.

May, of Murray, was presented with a check for $10,000 and will compete with her fellow teachers of the year in a national competition. She will meet with fellow teachers of the year at a national conference, meet with the President in Washington, D.C., and attend space camp in Alabama next summer.

Layton Elementary School kindergarten teacher and Davis Education Association member Anjanette McNeeley was named first runner up and received a check for $5,000. Archer Birrell, Granite Education Association member and fourth grade teacher at Hillside Elementary School in the Granite School District, was named second runner up and received a check for $3,000.

A committee with representatives from the Utah State Board of Education, the Utah State Charter School Board, parents, school teachers, principals, and 2018 Utah Teacher of the Year Aaryn Birchell selected May from among local teachers of the year for the honor. All 30 local teachers of the year were honored at a banquet at the Salt Lake City Marriott City Center on Thursday. 

“While her role with teachers is noteworthy, of greater significance is Ms. May’s position as an AVID instructor at West High School,” wrote Urban Institute for Teacher Education Director Mary D. Burbank. “To say that she is a student advocate is an understatement. In her classroom, Ms. May provides traditionally underrepresented students with opportunities that allow them to achieve the academic success necessary for college access.”

“I have been in AVID since freshman year and have learned life-long skills like creating a resume and learning how to speak confidently in public,” wrote West High student Martina Martinez. “Ms. May has urged me to continue with higher education. She has motivated me at my darkest points to never give up on my dream. She is an amazing teacher who inspires her students to thrive and become the best they can be.”

May succeeds Birchell, who is an English teacher at Uintah High School in Vernal.

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