EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

Jordan School District teacher of the year surprised by school, family

May 23, 2024, 3:00 PM | Updated: 3:34 pm

WEST JORDAN, Utah — Majestic Elementary sixth-grade teacher Angus Douglas thought he was bringing his class to a student-recognition assembly. He had no idea he was about to receive the highest honor in the Jordan School District.

“But then he called me up instead. You’re the teacher of the year for the entire district. My whole family came out, everyone’s screaming and cheering . . . it was awesome.” Douglas said in our video interview.

Jordan School District superintendent gives award

Superintendent Dr. Anthony Godfrey described what it was like to be there during a phone interview.

“The students didn’t even know he was winning an award . . . but when I announced he was teacher of the year for the entire district, where we have 3,600 teachers . . . they just went crazy because it was a reflection of how important he is to them . . . and how much he has impacted the culture of the school and the academic outcomes for his students.”

His family and closest friends traveled hours to be there waiting in the wings for the big surprise.

Superintendent Dr. Anthony Godfrey of Jordan School District surprises Angus Douglas with Teacher of the Year award (Jordan School District)

The district recognized his class for reaching 100% growth in literacy.

Principal Marianne Johansen believes it’s more than the scores with Douglas, which she said are phenomenal.

“We talk a lot in teaching about how important it is to build relationships of trust with your students and Angus excels at that.

“His students, they trust him, they work for him. I have a student who’s had Mr. Douglas for two years and up until last year, we would do end of year testing, and you could tell he didn’t care about it.

“Last year all of a sudden he really cared about the end of year tests because he wanted to see how much he had grown.

“Lo and behold, he gained a year and a half in math. That was really awesome to see a student who had all but disengaged with school relight that fire and be excited to be here and be invested in his own learning.”

Principal Marianne Johansen said in a video interview “Angus might be the best hire of my career” (Eric Cabrera/KSL NewsRadio)

Teacher sends kids on math-art hunt

If there’s one thing Johansen wants people to understand about Douglas’ classroom is that rigor should be fun.

“We want our kids to learn the core curriculum at deep levels. We want them to have fun doing that, and Angus is a great example.

“He was teaching his students about coordinate graphs. He superimposed a map of the school over an X-Y coordinate grid and sent his students on a scavenger hunt.

“They had to find the right coordinates, and if they got the right coordinates they got the right clue. It was tied in with famous works of art from Utah artists.

“At the end of the hunt, they pieced together this cool piece of art. It was such a really unique way to bring it all together, but you better believe his students learned the ins and outs of an X-Y coordinate plane,” Principal Johansen said.

When asked what message he would want to leave his students before the school year ends, Douglas said.

“I want them to remember what they’re capable of, I hope that they can see that. I want them to know that I can see that.” 

Douglas is the first in his family to graduate college and is closing out his third year as a teacher at Majestic Elementary.

Related: Jordan School District joins program to use AI in classrooms

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Jordan School District teacher of the year surprised by school, family