Eighth-grade U.S. history and language arts teacher Jennifer Van Haaften helps both students and teachers excel at Butler Middle School in Cottonwood Heights. She implemented a Success through Citizenship program to teach citizenship, rights, respect and responsibility, and was part of the teacher team that earned Butler a grant as a First Amendment School—one of only 11 middle schools nationwide to receive this honor—through which educators raise awareness of issues surrounding the First Amendment. Van Haaften volunteers her time training and preparing students to participate in the Future Problem Solving program, with her students typically placing in one of the top three slots at the district and state levels. As head of the social studies department, Van Haaften helped lead the school in establishing grade-level and cross-curricular collaborative teaching teams. She is a regular presenter at the National Council of Social Studies (NCSS) Utah Conference and has shared the school's First Amendment and citizenship programs with educators throughout the state. Former students often fill honors, advanced placement and other upper-level classes when they advance to high school.
1995 Brigham Young University, B.S.