The Utah Association of Secondary School Principals recognizes that Utah has many great and talented administrators. Each year nomination forms are made available encouraging people to nominate those outstanding Principals and Assistant Principals. After a person is nominated they are sent applications to complete. A committee and the Executive Board interview and select one High School Principal and one Middle School Principal and one Assistant Principal of the Year for Utah.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals only allows for one principal to be nominated from each state. Therefore the UASSP Executive Board Interviews the High School and Middle school winners to determine which one will represent Utah in the National Association of Secondary School Principals competition for National Principal of the Year.
One Assistant Principal is selected each year as Assistant Principal of the Year, alternating between High School and Middle School. The State winner is then entered in the National Assistant Principal of the Year competition sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
Dale Wilkinson, Principal at Ben Lomond High School has been selected by the Utah Association of Secondary School Principals, to be the Utah High School Principal of the Year.
Dale Graduated from College of Eastern Utah with an Associate of Science Degree he earned his Bachelors of Arts in Spanish with a minor in Chemistry at Weber State University and completed his Master Degree in Education in 2000 at Utah State University. He completed his Education Administration/Supervisory endorsement from Utah State University in 2005. Dale began teaching at Sandridge Junior High School and then to Ogden High School teaching and as an Assistant Principal, before becoming Principal at Odyssey Elementary School in 2010. Dale was appointed Principal at Ben Lomond High School in 2013, where he currently serves.
While at Ogden High School Dale helped implement a partnership with Southern Region Education Board for High Schools that Work to establish smaller learning communities, specifically to address low achievement. Dale found at Ben Lomond that his school had one of the highest percentage of students living in poverty in the state at seventy-two percent. Dale worked with the school leadership team reviewing the practices of the entire staff and encouraging everyone to work together to improve the school culture. He worked with his team to increase the number of students taking and completing CTE endorsements as well as the number of AP students and Concurrent College enrollments. The school began using Standard Based Grading in order to impact student academic culture and he collaborated with his staff to implement data driven instructional cycles, focusing on frequent formative assessments and multiple interim assessments followed by data review and he development of action plans focused on student learning. The efforts have been reflected in the graduation rate increase of eight percent over the past two years.
Jack Bice a teacher at Ben Lomond said, “Dale’s most important and impressive trait as a leader is his passion for “us”. Dale cares for his students, his teachers, his community and without question it is this passion that makes him so deserving of this award. At the beginning of every school year, there is an atmosphere of enthusiasm and anxiety about the things that “must get done” but these demands never dissuade Dale from ensuring that every member of our staff understands our real purpose and mission at Ben Lomond High School—Our Students.
Ogden School District Superintendent, Rich Nye says this about Dale, “Mr. Wilkinson is a visionary leader who motivates faculty, staff and students to realizing the betterment of academics and social and emotional outcomes of students. The efforts to improve the academies and socials and emotional outcomes our student is realized in Mr. Wilkinson’s ability to build positive relationships with his students. Our students know that Mr. Wilkinson genuinely cares about them as individuals This is realized amongst our highest achieving students as well as those who face the most difficult obstacles for success.
The Utah Association of Secondary School Principals are honored to have dale serve as the High School Principal of the Year. Because of other commitments Dale will not compete at the National Association of Secondary School Principals competition.
Dixie Garrison, Principal at West Jordan Middle School, was selected by the Utah Association of Secondary School Principals, as the Utah Middle School Principal of the Year for 2018.
Dixie earned her Bachelor's Degree from the University of Utah in 1998 majoring in Fine Arts. She earned her Master Degree at the University of Utah in Education in 2002 majoring in Education, Culture and Society. She received her Administrative Endorsement from Southern Utah University in 2004. Dixie began teaching Art at West Jordan High School in 1998 and became Assistant Principal at Mount Jordan Middle School in 2004. She also served as Assistant Principal at South Hills Middle School before becoming Auxiliary Services Staff Assistant in the Jordan School District. In 2013, Dixie was appointed as Principal of West Jordan Middle School where she currently serves.
When Dixie was appointed Principal of West Jordan Middle School, the school had a stigma of being “a Ghetto School” and a culture of failure existed. The school needed a change in physical facilities and a commitment to reverse the culture of failure. To achieve this vision Dixie implemented some non-traditional and novel practices including: Standard-based Grading school wide--Trauma Informed School; responsive to adverse Childhood Experiences--Ninth Grade Credit recovery--Inclusion and co-teaching for SPED students--Robust after school programs and enrichments--Effective and increased use of Technology--STEM Education opportunities--Gifted and Talented teaching practices, and increased numbers of minority students in advanced courses. There is a Growth Mindset among the teachers, students and the community. West Jordan Middle School is now a nationally recognized school (School to Watch) that has a passing rate of ninety-eight percent.
Olin Levitt School Psychologist at the school said, “Dixie launched the Growth Mindset initiative two years ago and it has changed the very nature of how we work with students, The Growth Mindset Philosophy and practices has become the lens through which we help our students learn and grow. The manner in which this intervention took hold is a tribute to Dixie’s leadership skills and power to influence others in positive ways.”
Teri Timpson, Administrator of Schools for Jordan School District, says this about Dixie, “Ms. Garrison has worked tirelessly in her assignment to strengthen school culture and increase student achievement at one of our most impacted middle schools. Her leadership has created a vision focused on the belief that all students can learn at high levels.”
Dixie will represent Utah at the National Association of Secondary School Principals, Principal of the Year Competition and attend the Principals Institute in Washington D C, September 23-26, 2018.
Sandy LeCheminant, Assistant Principal at Albion Middle School has been selected by the Utah Association of Secondary School Principals, as the Utah Assistant Principal of the Year for 2018.
Sandy earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, a Master of Music Education degree from the University of Northern Colorado, and a Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Utah. She began her teaching career in Prescott, Wisconsin, she was a teacher and administrator for Jordan School District, and currently serves as assistant principal of Albion Middle School in Canyons School District.
Sandy’s strength is implementing school-wide organizational structures that are of benefit to student learning and efficient teacher practices. Sandy has been the team lead for the Elementary and Middle School Assistant Principals in Canyons School District the past three years. She has addressed initiatives such as national trends in school discipline, trauma-informed practices, mediation skills, as well as information and data management. She has worked very closely with school resource officers and the Children’s Justice Center to deliver important information to assistant principals and guidance staff on trauma-informed practices and forensic interview techniques. She has worked closely with mediation specialists to introduce critical conversation techniques in the everyday practice of assistant principals.
Sandy’s Principal, Molly Hart said, “Sandy is a fantastic leader with exceptionally keen skills of communicating with students at different levels of learning and maturity. Her level head is a strong asset and her understanding of the principles of student learning and motivation is thorough. She responds to “on-the-fly decision-making” challenges with problem solving enthusiasm, and open mindedness. She is able to hone in quickly on the specific needs of the students in many different situations to make problem resolution more effective. She recognizes the uniqueness of students, their families and her co-workers.”
Mike Sirois, Director of School Performance for Canyons School District, made these comments about Sandy, “She is an extremely dedicated administrator. Her work ethic is exceptional, as is her knowledge of research-based curriculum and instructional practice. Sandy’s ability to work with and motivate her teaching staff has been a key to her success as an administrator. She had the unique ability to project a professional demeanor to her staff that allows her to establish clear and firm performance expectations, yet she does so in a manner that also makes it clear she cares about people as individuals. Sandy’s dedication to children, her school and the education profession is evident in all her efforts.”
Sandy will represent Utah at the National Association of Secondary Principals, (NASSP) Assistant Principal of the Year Competition. She will attend and be recognized at the NASSP National Convention in Chicago, Illinois in July of 2018.