The Board of Education paid tribute to the accomplishments of two inaugural Board Members, Kim Horiuchi and Tracy Scott Cowdell, at their final Board meeting on Dec. 2, 2014. Cowdell, who has represented the patrons of District 4 in Sandy, and Horiuchi, who has represented the patrons of District 2 in Cottonwood Heights, were elected to serve their communities in the former Jordan School District in 2006, and stood at the helm of Canyon’s creation following the 2007 vote.
Cowdell served as Board President and Horiuchi as a Board Member during Canyons’ first days of operation as Utah’s first new school district in a century, and saw the District through to its crowning achievements of today. In that time, the Board of seven elected officials crafted an ambitious college- and career-ready academic plan; reconfigured grades to place ninth-graders in high schools and sixth-graders in middle schools; earned voter approval of a $250 million bond used to build a brand new high school and add to, renovate and rebuild seven schools to date; and awarded CSD college- and career-ready diplomas to high school graduates a first in the state of Utah. The Board also kept tax rates stable, preserved jobs and protected employee benefits during times of deep economic recession, Board Second Vice President Nancy Tingey noted.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to have served alongside you in this great and historic endeavor,” Tingey said. “Please accept our deepest appreciation for your vision, your sacrifices, and your unfailing commitment to serving the patrons and students of our community. On this occasion, the words of John F. Kennedy come to mind: ‘As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.'”
The Board and Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe presented Cowdell and Horiuchi with gifts including framed photographs and a slideshow; CSD-logo jackets; and a plaque honoring them for their service. They also relayed personal stories and memories of working with Cowdell and Horiuchi.
“The sound judgment, great ideas and all they’ve brought to this district have been inspiring to me,” Board President Sherril Taylor said. “The kids will benefit in this District clear into the future from what’s been done.”
“You’ve set the foundation for the next 100 years,” Vice President Steve Wrigley said. “You’ve left a legacy.”
“You’ve set the bar in the state of Utah,” Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe said. “You have never compromised on your vision.”
Cowdell, whose family has lived in Sandy for six generations, said he’s learned a great deal from his Board service, including: We cannot be afraid to lead out, that there’s a time for humor, that “winging it” is a bad idea, and that it’s one thing to campaign, it’s quite another to govern, and that it’s important to do what’s right, even when it means not keeping the peace. “Over the last 8 years I’ve never stopped thinking about the students and the staff,” Cowdell said. “Life is not about accumulation, but contribution, and I’m very satisfied with the contributions I’ve made in my time here. Thank you … I’m going to miss you all.”
Horiuchi said she ran for the Board in 2006 to affect positive change in public education. “It was what I thought it would be, and much, much more.” She said starting the District took courage and tenacity, but that it was worth it. She remembered the words of Winston Churchill: “‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.’ I hope that my friends in this room will keep our vision for CSD going. It is worth it. We have accomplished amazing things for our students, and no one can take that away.”