More Than A Principal
Brian Anderson will be the first to admit he wears a lot of hats during his working day –nurse, janitor, plumber, coach, teacher and principal. Those hats have earned him the title of Rural Principal of the Year from the Utah Association of Elementary School Principals. He accepted the honor at the group’s mid-winter conference recently held in St. George.
As the principal/head teacher at the modern version of a one-room schoolhouse in the tiny community of Park Valley, Anderson’s educating situation certainly qualifies as rural. In fact, Anderson said, the selecting committee told him, “Honestly, yours is the most rural school that we looked at.”
The small school building houses just 38 students, kindergarten through tenth grade, with minimal staff, so this administrator is often called on to do everything from fix breakfast for early arrivals to repair leaking water pipes.
“The district is an hour and half away,” he reasoned. “Sometimes we have to deal with it now.”
Anderson has been “dealing with it” for 19 years, 11 of those split between Park Valley and Snowville. The permanency was something this Ogden native never intended when he accepted the job as head teacher shortly after graduating from Weber State University with degrees in biology and education. “I had several teaching offers,” he said, “but this was the most unique. I told my wife I would take it for a couple of years and then go back to a more traditional position, maybe a biology teacher.”
Although he later went on to get his secondary education degree at Utah State University and later his Administrative Endorsement, he hasn’t found a reason to leave. I’m still here,” he said. “I like working with this group of kids and working in this environment.”