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.
Bart Peery, Salem Hills High School Principal, was selected as the High School Principal of the Year for 2017.
Bart earned a Bachelor of Science from Brigham Young University, majoring in Physical Education. He earned a Master's degree in Mathematics Education from Brigham Young University, and earned his Administrative Endorsement from Southern Utah University. Bart began teaching in 1985 at Rocky Mountain High School, then on to Payson High School. He became assistant Principal of Payson High School in 2011 and then became the Principal of Payson High School. He is currently serving as Principal of Salem Hills High School.
Bart has implemented a 5X5 Modified Block Schedule in the school which allows additional time and resources for math students and addresses other students' needs as well. He has emphasized and pushed for college and career readiness through concurrent enrollment in college classes. They have 1256 students and have current enrollment for over 1400 classes. Bart started a standard-based grading system which better reflects on what the student has learned. He also implemented a positive psychological protocol for his faculty and students where they begin every school day by participating in a "Positive in The Present" activity, because people are more productive when they are positive.
Bart Thompson, a teacher and coach, said, "Mr. Peery is an Administrator who deeply cares for each student that is under his stewardship. He is constantly striving to be out amongst the students as often as his responsibilities allow. He makes an effort to get to know each student and let each student know he cares. He refuses to accept failure from any student in any aspect of life--- not just academically. He truly believes, at his deepest core, that he can change the World and he encourages others to gain this same vision and act accordingly. He inspires each staff member daily to change the world in their own way. He truly is changing the World one student at a time, and it's an honor to be along for the ride."
Superintendent Rick Nielsen says, "Bart is an amazing student advocate whose focus on students is the driving force behind all of his decision-making and his vision for Salem Hills High School. Two outstanding examples of this are his "Happiness Advantage" initiative and his implementation of a Modified Block Schedule. He fundamentally believes that happy, positive, and grateful students and employees are more successful and productive in their current circumstances and throughout their lives. This belief led him to the book, "The Happiness Advantage." Mr. Peery and his administrative team led the entire Salem Hills community on a journey to implement these best practices and the positive results have been astounding. Almost every student I visit with talks about their "Gratitude Journal," their focus on the positive, and their efforts to lift others around them."
Jarod Sites, Principal of Dixon Middle School was selected as the Middle School Principal of the Year for 2017.
Jarod earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University, majoring in Geography Teaching. He received a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from Brigham Young University in 2004. He began teaching in Provo District in 1997, and became Assistant Principal at Centennial Middle School in 2004. He served as an Elementary School Principal at Spring Creek Elementary in 2008, and became Principal of Dixon Middle School in 2011.
Jarod has worked hard with teachers and parents to re-define the school and win back the trust of the community and avoid declining enrollments. Improving negative perceptions has required careful planning and deliberate measures to attract and retain families in the community. A technology initiative with 1:1 iPad /student ratios, annual student trips to Washington D. C., adopting a Pre-AP English Curriculum, expanding fine arts, coding classes and creating a new STEM cohort allows our school to celebrate quick wins and inspire teachers to excel and prepare our students for a meaningful high school experience. The attitude of High Achievement and Data Dives has helped improve the Tier 1 Instruction in the school.
Charity Williams, a Teacher at Dixon Middle School, says this about Jarod, "He is a visionary Administrator, with a strong commitment to the students, parents, faculty and the community he serves. One of his highest priorities is making sure that Dixon Middle School is a safe and inviting school with high expectations for student learning. This is not the way Dixon was always perceived. During his term as Principal, his vision for Dixon is not only the new perception but the current reality. Dixon is viewed more favorably by the community and the Parents are excited about the opportunities for their students."
Julie Rash, President of the Board of Education, said, "A trip through the halls of Dixon Middle School with Jarod Sites as the guide, is an experience unlike any other. Not only can he name every student that he passes, he is aware of their circumstances, making his commitment to each one of them plainly obvious. He's been known to ride the bus and eat lunch with them to forge connections that some of his disadvantaged students will find nowhere else. Mr. Sites knows for sure that we can more effectivity teach them if we care about them first. Jarod Sites is a "Difference-maker."
Ryan Nield, Assistant Principal at American Fork High School, was selected as Utah Assistant Principal of the year for 2017.
Ryan earned a Bachelor's Degree from Brigham Young University in 2002, majoring in Technology Teacher Education. He earned a Master's Degree from the University of Phoenix and his Administrative Certification is also from the University of Phoenix. He began teaching in Davis School District and started his administrative career in Alpine School District at Lehi High School. He has been the Assistant Principal at American Fork High School since 2007.
Ryan has helped implement a Tier 3 intervention specifically targeting credit remediation. This program has been modified and changed many times, and with his leadership, there has been an increase in the graduation rate to 96.53 percent, which is highest in the district. He has also implemented a student success and achievement program "Pyramid of Intervention.” He is a firm believer in the PLC program enabling teachers to meet the needs of the individual students.
Dan Weishar, Principal of American Fork High School, says this about Ryan, "Ryan carries with him many strengths in his tool bag of attributes. Some of these strengths include, but are not limited to: Belief, harmony, responsibility, including others and connectedness. He has taken these top five strengths and developed several programs at the school, leading to an incredible performance for high levels of learning and contributing to the graduation rate.”
Rachel Mc Farland, a teacher at the school, said this about Ryan, "Of the many positive attributes he possesses, one that strikes me as the most significant factor in our school transformation, is that Ryan believes in people and their ability to improve. Whether a student colleague or himself, Ryan believes that people can and will change for the better given the opportunity to grow. Ryan Nield has been our constant cheerleader and guide at American Fork High School. He has redefined for many of us what it means to be a progressive administrator capable of true leadership.”
Ryan will represent Utah at the National Association of Secondary School Principals, Assistant Principal of the Year Competition. He will attend and be recognized at the NASSP National Convention, in Philadelphia, PA in July, 2017.