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GLSEN to Honor Colorado Teacher...


Andy Marra

Public Relations Manager


May 09, 2012

Janet Sammons of Cherry Creek High School to be recognized at GLSEN Respect Awards - New York on May 21


NEW YORK - May 7, 2012 - On National Teacher Appreciation Day, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is proud to announce the selection of Colorado teacher Janet Sammons as the 2012 GLSEN Educator of the Year, presented by Sodexo. The annual award recognizes an educator who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to GLSEN's mission of ensuring safe schools for all students, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

Janet Sammons has been a social studies teacher for 42 years and currently teaches at Cherry Creek High School in Greenwood Village, Colo. Sammons is a previous chapter leader of GLSEN Colorado.

"On National Teacher Appreciation Day, GLSEN and Sodexo are delighted to name Janet Sammons as our 2012 Educator of the Year for her tireless work to ensure schools are safe places of learning and personal growth," said GLSEN Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard. "Janet is an exceptional educator who has inspired generations of students across the state of Colorado. For more than three decades, she has demonstrated what it means to create and maintain a school climate that affords all students the ability to realize their potential. We look forward to honoring this courageous ally on-stage at the GLSEN Respect Awards in New York."

Sammons has been a staunch ally to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students in school for most of her teaching career. In 1990, Sammons supported the establishment of a student-led club focused on issues pertaining to diversity. Three years later, Sammons founded a statewide conference on diversity that she continues to organize for nearly 80 schools in Colorado. Most recently, she was involved in the formation of Cherry Creek High School's Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), which participates in GLSEN's Day of Silence held annually in the month of April.

Sammons record of accomplishments extends to her colleagues with improving access to professional development opportunities on LGBT issues. Sammons was responsible for comprehensive school staff training inclusive of the experiences and needs of LGBT students. She continues to serve as a resource for school and district-level administration to consult on LGBT issues in education.

Previously, Sammons has been recognized for her contributions to the field of education and support of LGBT equality. Past honors include the PFLAG Community Service Award, Colorado Council of International Organizations' International Excellence Award and the Governor's Award for Excellence.

GLSEN is also proud to announce that Chris Murray from Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Maryland is a runner-up for the 2012 Educator of the Year. Murray is a high school history teacher and baseball coach actively working to support students targeted by anti-LGBT bullying and serving as a resource for his high school's GSA. Murray recently challenged Montgomery County Public Schools to become the first school district in the nation to have every athletic team take GLSEN's Team Respect Challenge.



GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit



The ninth annual Respect Awards - New York honor extraordinary allies in our safe schools movement - as well as those who serve as strong role models for our nation's youth.

More information is available online here

To purchase tickets, visit