First grade teacher Heather Haught actively seeks out innovative learning opportunities for students at McNinch Primary School in Moundsville, West Virginia. A facilitator for Project Lead The Way (PLTW), Haught brought the organization’s hands-on STEM activities to the entire first grade. The collaborative, problem-based curriculum led students to develop higher-level thinking skills that carried over into the rest of their classroom activities. Haught adopts research-based practices and developmentally appropriate strategies to foster the development of every learner and help students reach their full potential, including differentiated instruction and learning centers. She cares deeply about her students, sets high standards, and creates captivating lessons that help them reach their full potential. Many students enter Haught’s classroom with challenges, both academic and personal, but she meets them where they are, lifts them up and sets them up to succeed. Her students grow consistently from the beginning to the end of the year, with at least 90% demonstrating proficiency on summative assessments in math and reading.
Communicating with families and showing parents they are valued is a priority for Haught. She knows that while many McNinch parents may not have had a positive school experience themselves, they want the best for their children. Haught builds trusting relationships with families through daily collaboration, giving them tools, sharing expectations and making it as easy as possible for them to support children’s momentum in the classroom. When COVID-19 closed McNinch in spring 2020, Haught was adamant about staying connected with students and families, recording videos, making phone calls, and sending emails, handwritten notes and postcards.
A lifelong learner, Haught works tirelessly to better herself and improve her craft for the sake of students and colleagues. She serves on or chairs school and district committees, including teams handling math, textbook selection, report cards, professional learning, positive behavior support, safety, and hiring. Haught delivers professional development for the district and has taught college education courses at West Virginia University (WVU) and Bethany College. She was chosen to represent Marshall County Schools at a roundtable discussion at the West Virginia Department of Education. During the COVID-19 school building closures, in addition to creating engaging virtual lessons for her students, Haught led professional development and book study sessions for McNinch’s teachers, met weekly with the first grade team, helped colleagues master Zoom, and partnered to create a webpage with virtual learning resources.
Haught earned a bachelor’s in multidisciplinary studies in 2009 from WVU. She holds master’s degrees in elementary education (2009) and reading (2010) from WVU and earned an administrative certificate from Wheeling University in 2019.
Press release: Dedication to Student Success Earns Moundsville's Heather Haught a $25,000 Milken Educator Award
"I teach because I love working with kids. I love making a difference in their lives....I teach to watch their progress."—..." (read more)