Midvale Elementary gets a principal shuffleAug 10, 2020 11:49AM ● By Julie Slama
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
This fall, schools will look different enough with the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but some students will see changes in their administrators as some retired amidst the soft closure of school and others have moved on to other schools.
Midvale Elementary will welcome former Sprucewood Elementary Principal Lori Reynolds.
“The schools are in different worlds,” she said. “Midvale has double the number of students and twice as many teachers, who are celebrating the academic success they’ve been having since the school got off turnaround status, and I will be right there, cheering on students. These kids have a lot of passion, spirit and personality, and the teachers are dedicated and are making an impact.”
However, Reynolds is quick to point out similarities in the schools as well. Midvale Elementary’s campaign was “just be nice” while Sprucewood’s was “be the nice kid.”
“Kindness is important. We just want students to learn to be kind, to lift each other up,” she said.
Reynolds is replacing Chip Watts, who was transferred to Draper Park Middle School as principal, replacing Mary Anderson, who retired.
“I’m very sad to leave Midvale,” he said after spending the past five years at the elementary. “It’s a great place, school and community. It’s hard to leave students, parents, teachers, friends here, but I think Lori will be able to take the school to the next level. She has a strong elementary background as an achievement coach and teacher.”
Watts was recently honored with Canyons School District’s APEX administrator award and was named Utah PTA administrator of the year for his ability to direct the staff and faculty in getting the school off the turnaround status.
“It’s been pretty phenomenal,” he said. “We had double digits in RISE (state year-end test) scores last year and our progress monitoring and Acadience (reading test scores) were trending up when COVID hit. It’s sad our students didn’t take RISE this spring; we would have seen more growth. The students are doing great things.”
One of his favorite memories of being Midvale’s principal is when he has been able to lead the dual immersion school in the Grito de Independencia – or expression of independence for Mexico’s independence day on Sept. 16.
“I learned and can speak Spanish, but here I am struggling with it and all these fluent speakers are there, asking me to lead it,” he said. “It’s an honor and always fun, but I feel a little out of place with all the Hispanic speakers.”
At Copperview Elementary, current assistant principal Deidre Walbeck will be moving to Oakdale Elementary as principal, replacing Lori Jones, who retired. Carolee Mackay, a Sandy Elementary achievement coach, will become Copperview Elementary’s assistant principal.
At nearby Midvale Middle, Connie Simons will remain at the school after being promoted to assistant principal from being an intern assistant principal.
Other Canyons administrative appointments include Crystal Conners, a Jordan High achievement coach becoming Mt. Jordan Middle’s assistant principal; Edgemont Elementary Principal Cathy Schino being transferred to Sprucewood Elementary as principal and Michelle Snarr will be placed as interim principal at Edgemont Elementary; Copperview Elementary Assistant Principal Shawn Walker being named as Sandy Elementary principal; Cassie Kapes, a teacher specialist in the instructional support department, being promoted to Copperview Elementary assistant principal; Diamond Ridge Principal Amy Boettger also will serve as Canyons Virtual High School principal; Kim Baker, a longtime public-school administrator, appointed to be the secondary human resources administrator; Mt. Jordan assistant principal Eric Gardner being promoted to Bella Vista Elementary, replacing Sandra Dahl-Houlihan, who retired; Jordan High’s assistant principal Ryan Durrant moving over to Brighton as assistant principal; Butler Middle’s assistant principal Doug Hallenbeck moving to CTEC as assistant principal; Dan Ashbridge, a teacher specialist in the instructional support department, becoming Butler Middle’s assistant principal; and intern assistant principals Dina Kohler, Sierra Segura and Connie Simons being promoted to assistant principals at their respective schools: Jordan, Mt. Jordan and Midvale Middle. In fall 2022, Ridgecrest Elementary Principal Julie Winfree will become the new White City elementary principal as she will be overseeing construction until it opens.