A new era of leadership in Canyons District was ushered in on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015 with a ceremonial Oath of Office and a packed-with-supporters reception for the newly seated Canyons Board of Education..
It was an electric night for new Board members Clareen Arnold, who will represent the Sandy communities in District 4, and Amber Shill, who will serve the Cottonwood Heights neighborhoods in District 2. Family and friends flanked Arnold and Shill throughout the evening, and posed for photos immediately following the swearing-in ceremonies performed by Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen.
Re-elected Board members, Sherril Taylor, who has represented District 6 since Canyons’ founding in 2009, and Steve Wrigley, the representative in District 5, which covers White City and parts of Sandy, also were sworn into office at the event held in the Board Chambers of the Canyons Support Services Center, 9361 S. 300 East. Family, friends, and campaign supporters applauded Taylor and Wrigley at the historic occasion, as well.
The four join Robert Green, Chad Iverson, and Nancy Tingey on the duly-elected Board that provides governance for the 34,000-student District serving Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Sandy, Midvale and the town of Alta. This Board, just the fourth elected in the District’s history, is the first new Board since the appointment of new Superintendent Jim Briscoe in April 2014.
In addition, Board members re-elected Taylor as the Board President, Wrigley as the first vice-president, and Tingey as the second vice-president.
Board members begin their work as the District starts the final phase of new-school construction that was promised as part of the 2010 voter-approved bond, and advances toward the completion of the second full year of grade reconfiguration. The Board also will be the first to see the student-achievement data culled from the college- and career-ready academic plan that included changes to the middle and elementary school schedule and the implementation of a standards-based report card for elementary school students.
Shill, who has children in Canyons schools and has spent countless hours as a classroom volunteer as well as a School Community Council leader, publicly thanked friends, family, and campaign supporters. She said the decision to run for a seat on the school board “was not taken lightly,” and pledged to focus on ensuring excellent schools for Canyons families, maintaining open lines of communication, and actively inviting community participation in the governance process. Shill said she “looks forward to the challenges ahead.”
Arnold expressed appreciation for the support she received along the campaign trail. “It was so much fun meeting and talking to so many people,” she said. “Thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve you on the Canyons Board of Education.” Arnold, a veteran educator, said she draws inspiration from her experience as a student who initially struggled with literacy and basic mathematical concepts. School became fun and exciting, Arnold said, when she found success in a secondary-school geometry class. From there, she set her sights on becoming an educator who was dedicated to helping all kinds of students. Arnold, the parent of nine children and grandmother to 19, said she will strive to “ensure educational quality for all children, to be a voice for the educators, and to be an advocate for every one of you.”
Wrigley thanked his wife and family for their support and “for sharing me with the District.” Wrigley said he’s humbled by the opportunity to serve for another term, and enjoys the energy of the new Board. “We know whom we serve, and look forward to doing great things together,” he said. “I promise to continue to be your voice in education.” Wrigley pledged to serve as an advocate for children and families, maintain open lines of communication, and ensure the wise expenditure of taxpayer funds.
“In our home,” Taylor said, “education is everything.” Both Taylor and his wife, Pat, are retired educators. “What this job on the Board boils down to is the students,” he said. “If we ever lose sight of that, we don’t deserve to be here. We should never lose sight of that.” He expressed appreciation for fellow Board members and their willingness to serve. “It takes a lot of time to be a good Board member,” he said. “I am so grateful to serve on this Board. It is a true blessing. I don’t take it for granted.”