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Midvale Journal

Midvale mayor awarded school district’s Apex Legacy Award

Nov 01, 2017 05:25PM ● By Julie Slama

Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini, who cut the ribbon to officially open the new Midvale Middle School in August, was named an Apex awards winner. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

If people ever need to know the history of Midvale’s schools, they don’t need to travel farther than to the mayor’s office.

Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini grew up in Midvale, attended Midvale schools and has seen them build, tear down and rebuild — some even twice. As a former teacher, she stepped up to protect Midvale schools and lead her city to support the creation of a new school district in 2009.

 “All the (Jordan School) District’s money was going to schools that were being built on the west side, where our schools were very old and needed repairs to be safe,” Seghini recalled. “I was told, ‘at least you have somewhere to sit inside when it rains.’ But they wanted to close Hillcrest and Midvale Middle and bus them to West Jordan and that wasn’t what was best for our students.”

Her support of the new school district, which recently rebuilt both Midvale Elementary and Midvale Middle schools, was one of the reasons the soon-to-be retired mayor was awarded the 2017 Apex Legacy Award from Canyons School District. She received a crystal award and her photo will be on the Canyons Board of Education wall for the next year.

“It was hard because I worked a number years in elementary schools in Jordan School District before I served in the district office and as assistant superintendent over curriculum development,” said Seghini, who worked 36 years in the Jordan School District. “Our kids are very happy with the outcome and are enjoying the new schools because of the district split.”

On Aug. 8, Seghini cut the ribbon to the new Midvale Middle School. The new building, with upgraded technology, is their future, she told the crowd of families, former administrators and teachers and community members who gathered to walk through the halls of the school.

“This is a school of the future, not of the past,” she said. “This will help you learn as you continue your education. There are no limits to your future. We want you to go out and conquer with your knowledge and never lack for opportunity. This is our gift to you, kids. Thank you for being our kids. Thank you for wanting to learn. Thank you for being the best kids in the world.”

Some of the families there may also have witnessed Seghini at the ribbon-cutting of Midvale Elementary Aug. 13, 2012 when she thanked Canyons School District officials.

“You’ve made a dream come true,” she said.

She realizes that the work to rebuild Midvale’s schools isn’t done, but a bond, if approved in November, will have funds earmarked to rebuild the 60-year-old Midvalley Elementary and 55-year-old Hillcrest High.

Schools have changed since Seghini’s school days when every year fall break meant boys would dig up sugar beets as part of the harvest or from her teaching days when her first contract at Union Elementary was for $3,500.

She said that through her years of teaching and now working for the city, including being the first woman in Midvale to be elected to a public office (three terms on City Council and currently serving her fourth term as mayor), she has a unique perspective.

“If you’re aware of history, you make wiser decisions. I know why something is the way it is and why we need new schools. These schools are really exciting; they will allow our kids and teachers to use state-of-the-art technology and be competitive,” she said.

Her support of students continues even though she’s no longer regularly teaching in a classroom. She’s been known to read to elementary students and help with creative writing at Midvalley Elementary, speak to Midvale Middle students about careers, attend special programs, assist the local Rotary with distributing dictionaries in the schools and recognize students for success and service beyond the classroom walls at Midvale City Council meetings.

“I enjoy working with people and like to be their voice whether it’s a kid in school, someone who’s basement that has flooded or someone who is perfectly happy. I enjoy helping people and making their lives better — and those are skills I’ve learned as a teacher,” she said. “I’ve had many titles, but the one I am the most proud of is teacher.”

Several other employees who serve the entire district also were honored with Apex awards, including External Affairs Director Charlie Evans; Nutrition Services Director Sebasthian Varas; and Student Support Services Instructional Specialist Susan Henrie.