Sandy Elementary Principal Sandra Dahl-Houlihan and former Canyons School District Interim Superintendent Ginger Rhode were recently awarded District APEX awards.
The awards, which started in 2010, serve as tributes to the dedication and professionalism of educators, employees and community partners.
Dahl-Houlihan learned from Canyons K-16 Middle School Executive Director Mike Sirois in late summer that she was the recipient of the School Administrator of the Year award.
“I was flattered, surprised, just in shock,” she said. “I told a few friends, but the school surprised me with an awesome assembly. They had red carpet, confetti, and every student had a sign that said ‘Jawsome,’ ‘Shark It’ or ‘Fintastic’ to tie in with our school mascot, the shark. It was just wonderful.”
Her award presentation by Canyons School District said Dahl-Houlihan greets each student by name with a radiant smile, encourages parent and community engagement and constantly looks for ways to connect diverse students and their families with opportunities for growth.
Assistant Principal Diana Wallace said Dahl-Houlihan is loved and respected throughout the district.
“She is a leader who brings true inspiration to me,” Wallace said. “The passion and joy she shares with students, staff, parents and community members at large exemplifies her love of learning. Sandra wants everyone she encounters to be successful in whatever they chose to pursue and tries to support them in their efforts.”
Dahl-Houlihan and Rhode received crystal awards. Rhode was honored with the Legacy Award.
Described as disarmingly charming, wickedly funny and uncommonly kind, Rhode is well respected in Utah public education. Rhode began teaching so her schedule would be the same as her son’s.
“I loved the students immediately and knew that I had found my passion,” she said. “I feel fortunate to have spent my time in such meaningful work.”
After retiring this summer, she said she misses the people — families, colleagues, mayors, business and education leaders, friends — and is proud of the projects she helped Canyons School District accomplish.
“In accepting the position of deputy superintendent and chief academic officer in 2008, I had hoped to assemble a top-notch team to create a framework that would improve instruction and student achievement in the new school district. Today, I’m most pleased to have had the opportunity to oversee building of the academic master plan to ensure college- and career-readiness for all,” she said.
Rhode was “very surprised and humbled” to learn she was selected for the Legacy Award.
“It was nice of the Board (of Education) to choose to honor me. It’s icing on the cake,” she said.