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Sandy Journal

Alta High Principal Sets Example for Students

Dec 07, 2015 01:53PM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama

Sandy - Alta High School Principal Brian McGill spends his nights like many of his students — studying, writing papers and preparing for exams.

While working on his doctorate in educational leadership and policy at the University of Utah, he learned last spring that a U faculty member nominated him for the Milton Bennion Scholarship from the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy. The scholarship is given each year to a promising graduate student who has a high interest in public schools. 

After a series of interviews, submitting his resume and having professors write letters of recommendation, McGill learned in late July that he was awarded the scholarship.

“Knowing the world of Milton Bennion — his leadership, his service, his dedication to education — and being recognized on behalf of his name — wow, it really is an honor,” McGill said.

Canyons School District recognized his achievement with a certificate at the Board of Education meeting on Oct. 21, which led to the Alta student body and faculty learning of the honor. 

“I can tell them that I can relate to what it means to be an Alta student. I was studying then and I still am. Last week, we had college presentation day and I could tell them, ‘I’m in college. I have to enroll, deal with financial aid, do homework.’ It has given them the message that even a principal can continue lifelong learning,” he said.

The scholarship will pay for half of McGill’s tuition for one year, about $2,600, he said. It also allows him to attend statewide superintendent meetings where he can meet superintendents and exchange ideas of what is working in other high school communities.

“I really enjoy and have a passion for being in schools, especially Alta since it’s my alma mater. I love the community vibe and support in our academics, arts, athletics and all the extra-curricular activities,” he said.