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Sam  Hanson
Social Studies and French
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Mr. Hanson has the distinction of having been a social studies aficionado from a very early age, starting when he was a student at Brighton High School (in Salt Lake County) with economics and politics driving his interest and studies.  His early interest blossomed in the same year he graduated from Brighton (1972) as the passage of the 26th Amendment to the Constitution allowed those eighteen and over not only the right to vote, but also to hold public office. Accordingly, Mr. Hanson ran for a seat on the Utah State Board of Education—after a vigorous campaign, he came in second of four contenders in the primary election, and won the general election and the seat on 7 November. It is not known if anyone in the United States has beaten the feat of being elected to a state office at a younger age.

After successfully completing an LDS mission to France, Mr. Hanson began his studies at the University of Utah, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in French in 1983. He then earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from BYU in 1990. Seeking a career change, Mr. Hanson returned to school and obtained a secondary teaching certificate with endorsements in English, French, Political Science, and Social Studies; he also acquired yet another Bachelor’s degree, this one in English. He and his wife Rolayne (also a teacher) then accepted positions with the White Pine County School District in 2006. Together, they are the parents of four sons (the youngest of whom graduated from White Pine High School in 2008), and grandparents of five. Feeling the need to set the example of public involvement for his students, and having been urged by several in the community, in June of 2013 Mr. Hanson once again ran for office, and today serves as a member of the Ely City Council.

All these activities which drive Mr. Hanson tie nicely into White Pine High School's social studies mission vision and values, as follows:


WPHS social studies programs will develop an understanding of and appreciation for the contributions that diverse civilizations and cultures have made throughout history—and the impact that they have had on the development of our democratic ideals.  


We seek to develop capable citizens who are empowered with knowledge, skills, and attitudes enabling them to make informed decisions in a culturally diverse world.


  • We will utilize primary sources whenever possible to expose students to diverse styles of writing and increase reading comprehension as a supplement to classroom instruction.
  • We will use effective student engagement strategies and interactive lecture to increase student learning
  • We will work to increase student motivation to be involved in classroom learning and become life long learners.
  • We will incorporate strategies which apply to all learning styles in order to increase motivation and involvement for all students.
  • We will connect historical events to our lives today.
  • We will use interdisciplinary approaches when teaching social studies to foster an understanding among our students of how all subjects are interrelated.