Matt Watts can literally feel the teenage angst surrounding him in the hallways at Mount Jordan Middle School. “A kid goes through about five different hair styles and clothing styles when they’re in middle school,” says Watts. “They push you — but you also get the sense that they are glad you’re there for them, even though at the same time, they are trying to find their independence.”
It’s evident that Watts, who was a special education teacher before becoming an administrator, loves Mount Jordan — and the school community returns the affection. The school’s PTSA this year successfully campaigned for Watts, now in his fifth year at Mount Jordan, to be named the 2012 Utah PTA Administrator of the Year. He’ll receive the award in May at the PTA’s state conference.
“What do I like about Mount Jordan?” he asks. “Everything.”
“I love the diversity of the students. I love the fact that I feel like I can make a difference here,” Watts says. “With it being a smaller school, we joke that we’re a family here. We can get to know the kids individually.”
Watts is one of three people from Canyons District being honored by the state Parent-Teacher Association. Alta teacher Cheryl Hughes is one of six Utah teachers who will receive a prestigious Golden Apple Award for her relationships with students, parents, PTA and the community, and Ulises Fernandez, Midvale Middle PTSA President and member of the CSD Boundary Steering Committee, will receive a Golden Apple for the quality and quantity of his volunteer commitment to children and education.
Watts says he is by turns “really excited” and “shocked” and “very honored” about the statewide award. “We have a great parent base,” he says, “It’s been a wonderful and fun time to work alongside the PTA.”
Congratulations to Watts, Hughes and Fernandez for their well-deserved honors.
to read a Salt Lake Tribune story on Fernandez's volunteer efforts at Midvale Middle.