On Thursday, April 24, Karen Huntsman surprised veteran teacher, Mrs. Priscilla Leek at Springville High School, the highest teaching award bestowed in the state of Utah, the Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education. The award’s mission is to recognize, inspire and reward the best teachers, school administrators, and volunteers in Utah for continually seeking ways to improve the quality of education in our public school system.

The Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education highlights the achievements of some of Utah’s best educators and expresses gratitude for their devotion to Utah’s children.

“I feel so honored to receive this award and I appreciate Karen and Jon Huntsman's support of education and teachers in particular.  But most importantly I wish to thank my colleagues and my students because without them my teaching wouldn't have meant as much.  This is the coolest experience I have ever had,” said Leek.

In this 22nd year of the Awards program, Leek is one of 11 top educators who was selected for her professionalism, creative approaches to reaching the minds of young people, and her lasting positive influence on Springville High students.

“This is the first time a teacher at Springville High has received this award, it’s the highest honor a teacher in Utah can receive and Mrs. Leek is the best social studies teacher in the state,” said SHS Principal Mike Brown.

The award recognizes that it’s especially important to applaud those who weather the storm and maintain their steadfast commitment to preparing our children for successful futures.

Springville High Counselor NataLei Terry said, “Priscilla Leek is very deserving of this prestigious award.  She is a great teacher and so admired and respected by her students.”

Leek is honored as one of the dedicated professionals whose work deserves recognition.

Fellow colleague Glenn Bird said, “Priscilla Leek is the consummate professional who is always providing her students with interesting and challenging assignments which require thoughtful and sophisticated answers. She never settles for mediocrity. She is innovative. Her instructional techniques focus on group activities that never cease to elicit enthusiasm from her students. She is tireless in her pursuit of excellence.”

“Mrs. Leek is a fantastic teacher, in my opinion, one of the best in the state! She is well deserving of this award, she has worked really hard, the kids love her, she’s just done an amazing job and there’s nobody more deserving for the Huntsman Award,” said Mr. Mecham, SHS Assistant Principal.

“I’m just really excited for Mrs. Leek and I think she deserves this award more than anyone and I’m really happy for her,” said Taylor Murphy, SHS Senior Student.

Mrs. Leek and the other award recipients will each receive a $10,000 cash award and will be honored at a banquet at Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City on Friday, May 16, 2014.