Congratulations to North Cache Middle School’s 2023-24 Teacher of the Year, Annette West!

 

Annette West

 

Annette West, North Cache Middle School's 2023-24 Teacher of the Year, brings 30 years of teaching experience to her eighth-grade classroom: 26 years at North Cache and four years at Spring Creek Middle School. 

 

West has wanted to be a teacher for as long as she can remember. Her interest in education solidified during high school when she had the opportunity to shadow teachers as part of a teaching cadet program. “Having good teachers that I liked made me want to follow in their footsteps,” West said. “I like helping people and I like working with this age group. I have for a long time.” 

 

West’s journey to becoming a teacher took a detour when her husband’s military service called him into active duty for six years. After returning, she earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Utah State University and later received her master’s degree in education.

 

Annette West and student    Annette West and students

 

Recognizing the common challenges students encounter in math, West fosters self-confidence by acknowledging the strengths of each student.“Math is hard for some kids. To see them gain confidence and think to themselves, 'I can do this,' is truly rewarding.” West expressed. “Sometimes we have to slow things down and take it one step at a time, but we eventually will get there if we’re willing to keep working at it.” 

 

West applies her own educational experiences to her curriculum and teaches in a mathematical language tailored to each student’s understanding. "I knew what it was like to struggle in some subjects, and so I’d like to think that I understand students who struggle too," West continued. "I was never the ‘A’ student, so I always knew what it was like to have to work hard and sit in class and think to myself, ‘I don't have any idea what you're talking about.'"

 

With a focus on creating an empowering environment, West strives for students at all levels of understanding to leave her classroom feeling confident. If there is one thing West wants her students to remember, it would be that they can do hard things as long as they don’t give up. “When students are willing to keep trying and see the success in what they’re doing, they’re willing to keep trying more and more,” West said. 

 

Principal Parkinson considers West an integral part of the North Cache family and is grateful for her years of both educational and community service. “Annette is the model of how a teacher can finish their career with purpose and passion,” Parkinson expressed. “She has supported the future of education by mentoring many student teachers as well as new teachers at North Cache.”

 

A fellow 8th-grade math teacher at North Cache, Azya Gornik, praises West’s thoughtful grading practices and attentiveness to her students’ needs. “Annette is a teacher who is instrumental in helping students progress while still holding them to high standards,” Gornik said. “She has been an incredible mentor to me for the past few years.”

 

Annette West and students    Annette West with Principal Cindy Parkinson and board member Jef Neilsen