New Ceramics Teacher is Shaping Education


Ethan Sutton

Blair Porter helps a student.

Emma Johnson, Staff Writer

Highland High and East are in constant competition for game wins, sports championships, popularity and publicity. In the field of faculty, Highland just scored a win. Ceramics teacher Blair Porter, who had worked at East High for nine years, started this year at Highland.

She is filling the position of Carter Williams, the famed ceramics teacher so beloved by past students. This is fitting because Porter herself was inspired by a great teacher to take up pottery as a career. Maybe someday she will become a revered figure such as this.

There are many factors that led Porter to create the life she has today. When she was a child, her father was in the military. As a result of this, her family had to move around quite a lot. For young Porter, this meant changing houses, schools, and friends frequently. When she was in eighth grade, her family relocated to Eden Prairie, Minnesota; this was a move about which Porter was particularly unhappy.

She decided to sign up for a pottery class at school, which was something she had never tried before, despite the fact that she “was creative, always,” according to her mother. Throughout the course of the year, the pottery teacher Mrs. Galice took Porter under her wing, and soon enough “the light was shone on [her talent] by this teacher.”

Porter said that this experience caused her to fall in love with ceramics, and that she was henceforth deeply involved in her high school’s art community.

When she finished high school, Porter moved to Salt Lake City to attend the University of Utah where she majored in art teaching with an emphasis on ceramics. She has been here ever since, saying that the outdoor community is a big draw for her.

“I love the mountains so much,” Porter said. “Where I grew up, it’s just totally flat.”

Utah’s mountains inspire her and instill a deep sense of awe. She feels that some people don’t fully appreciate the natural beauty.

Porter said, “I think sometimes, wherever you grow up, you crave something different […] Utah is a pretty special place.”

Porter’s first teaching job in Utah was at East High School. That year, another teacher at East won the Pay it Forward Scholarship. The teacher usually gives this scholarship to a student of their choice, but this teacher awarded it to Porter, saying that she was one of the most promising new teachers she had ever seen.

Not wanting to pass up a chance for self-improvement, Porter used this scholarship to earn her master’s degree in leadership. She even took a summer off to teach in urban Chicago.

By now, Porter says she is settled and happy in Salt Lake. Fortunately, she gets to see her parents quite often, as much as five times every year, even though they live in Michigan. She also loves to spend time with her nieces, and her mom says that Porter is the “fun aunt.”

When she’s not teaching or throwing pottery, Porter and her husband are very active. They love to hike, road bike, and camp all around Utah. Some of their favorite places are as nearby as the Cottonwood Canyons, but they love to go down to Southern Utah whenever they have enough free time.

Porter’s mother said that her daughter’s love of hiking and camping has encouraged the whole family to be more outdoorsy.

In addition to local trips, Porter travels internationally quite a bit. One of her favorite vacations has been a week-long hiking trip in Macchu Picchu with her father. She also loved South Africa so much that she went back a second time.

All in all, Porter is a fun, active teacher who is passionate about her work and her students. She sells handmade pottery at the Stockist in Salt Lake City, so make sure to stop by when in the area.