Lee Hale | KUER 90.1

Lee Hale


Lee Hale began listening to KUER while he was teaching English at a Middle School in West Jordan (his one hour commute made for plenty of listening time). Inspired by what he heard he applied for the Kroc Fellowship at NPR headquarters in DC and to his surprise, he got it. Since then he has reported on topics ranging from TSA PreCheck to micro apartments in overcrowded cities to the various ways zoo animals stay cool in the summer heat. But, his primary focus has always been education and he returns to Utah to cover the same schools he was teaching in not long ago. Lee is a graduate of Brigham Young University and is also fascinated with the way religion intersects with the culture and communities of the Beehive State. He hopes to tell stories that accurately reflect the beliefs that Utahns hold dear. 

Ways to Connect

Utahns Against Hunger

The federally funded summer food program aims to get meals to low-income kids when school is not in session. Typically, those meals are provided at school cafeterias, but in Utah it has proved more effective to bring those meals to more vacation-friendly places.

Courtesy of Priscilla Stewart

A handful of middle school aged students opted to pause their summer break for a few days of school, swapping out textbooks and classrooms for sketchbooks and mountain views.

Lee Hale / KUER

Female employees of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are now eligible for six weeks of paid maternity leave. That’s one of a few new benefits announced to church workers this week.

Lee Hale / KUER

Western Governors University is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The Salt Lake City-based online school enrolls nearly 82,000 students nationwide and aims to be the perfect fit for those who are giving college a second try.

Lee Hale / KUER

Eight schools in Utah have qualified for a state STEM designation. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In order to get the title, these schools had to prove they’re serious about each one of those. 

Courtesy of Gloria Pak

Here are two faiths you might not normally put together: Mormonism and Buddhism. A growing community called Lower Lights in Salt Lake City is showing that the Mormon culture might also be fertile soil for Buddhist-inspired mindfulness.

Lee Hale / KUER

Provo Mayor John Curtis will be on the primary ballot for Utah’s 3rd congressional district race but with very little support from Utah’s GOP delegates.

Lee Hale / KUER

Polygamist leader Lyle Jeffs has been captured in South Dakota after a year as a wanted fugitive.


A former leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), Lyle Jeffs was indicted on food stamp fraud in February of 2016.


Jaren Wilkey / BYU

A recently published study from Brigham Young University shows that kids are sloppier writers when typing on a computer rather than with pencil and paper.


Kristine Hansen is finishing her 30th and final year teaching in the English Department at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. While she’s received teaching awards and been featured in numerous publications, for her it’s always been about helping students write better.


Teacher salaries have been on the rise throughout northern Utah, including Park City where new teachers will now be paid over $50,000 a year. That’s the highest entry level teacher salary in the state. On top of this shift a new ballot initiative called Our Schools Now aims to get even more money into Utah’s schools.

Lee Hale / KUER

A handful of middle school teachers began training this week meant to improve co-teaching. A practice used by many schools in Utah with varying results.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Mormon missionaries with their black name tags can be found all over the world, and at times they find themselves in harm's way. For the very first time The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is sending out a safety survey to each of its 62,000 young missionaries worldwide to better understand potential dangers to physical safety.

Spencer Campbell spends much of his days walking the halls of Elk Ridge Middle School, checking breezeways for kids playing hooky, redirecting foot traffic between classes and checking on substitute teachers.

Campbell is one of two assistant principals at Elk Ridge, a school just south of Salt Lake City, Utah. It's his first year in the role and he looks the part. He's in his late 30s, sharply dressed, walks briskly and carries a walkie-talkie on his belt.


School districts throughout Utah are creating new policies to put an end to “lunch shaming” for students who haven’t paid overdue fees.


In recent weeks school districts all along the Wasatch Front have announced significant increases in entry level salaries for teachers. But it may take some time for this shift to make a dent in the ongoing teacher shortage.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

A spokesperson for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a statement Tuesday that President Thomas S. Monson, is no longer attending meetings due to his declining health, a situation that has occurred before in the Church.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Thomas S. Monson, the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is scaling back his involvement in church governance.


Mark Philbrick / BYU Photo

For the last several years a group of professors at Brigham Young University have been studying the effectiveness of using free academic resources in place of costly textbooks. What they’ve found is that great learning doesn’t need to come with a a hefty price tag.

Lee Hale / KUER

This week nine students with significant disabilities took part in a graduation ceremony at Kauri Sue Hamilton School in Riverton. It was a time of celebration and anxiety about what lies ahead.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has ended its involvement with the Varsity and Venture programs of the Boy Scouts of America. This affects boys ages 14-18 in the church, which makes up about 130,000 of the 2.3 million registered boy scouts in the country.

Lee Hale / KUER

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was in Salt Lake City Tuesday. She spent the morning visiting with students and school leaders at the Granite Technical Institute, part of Granite School District.

Courtesy of McCauley family

Elder Jeremy McCauley from Payson, Utah died the night of Friday, May 5th at age 19. The circumstances of the death remain uncertain. 

Lee Hale / KUER

Utah Valley University opened the doors to their new autism center with a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday.

Lee Hale / KUER

In a statement released Thursday a spokesperson for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says an executive order signed by President Trump designated to promote religious liberty will have no sway on longstanding policy. 

Roman Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City

George Niederauer, the eighth Roman Catholic bishop of The Diocese Salt Lake City, died on Tuesday at age 80. He’s remembered as a leader with eloquent words and an inclusive worldview.

University of Utah

University of Utah President David Pershing has decided to step down during a contentious leadership shakeup in the school’s health sciences division. Speaking to faculty Monday he emphasized the need for transparency in future university decision making.


San Juan School District in southeastern Utah has a new approach for retaining highly effective teachers: Pay them as much as administrators.

Lee Hale / KUER

The pay gap between Utah’s teachers and school administrators is significant. Which means educators hoping to advance their career often leave the classroom behind.


Teachers in Salt Lake County’s Jordan District voted to approve a new salary schedule that will significantly impact starting pay and year-to-year raises.