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Sandy Journal

New school year kicks off with several new administrators at Sandy public schools

Aug 06, 2019 12:28PM ● By Julie Slama

Matt Watts, seen here congratulating a student, will be principal at Mt. Jordan Middle School this fall. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Mt. Jordan Mountaineers better watch out; Return of the Elf is back.

No, it’s not a movie, but rather Matt Watts, who previously served as the middle school’s assistant principal and wore the costume from the holiday film for fun. He now is serving as Mt. Jordan’s principal — and he still has that getup.

“It feels as if I’m coming back home; it’s not a secret I love it here,” Watts said as he was moving in after being gone for four years. “I’m reuniting with a bunch of faculty and an administrator and I’m getting to know those who are new since I left.”

Watts’ appointment is one of about 25 administrative changes that have taken place throughout Canyons School District this summer. Former Mt. Jordan Principal Cindy Hanson has moved to the Canyons School District office as a school performance director.

Watts is excited to get back to the school he was a part of during the years of designing and constructing the current building. But before he could move back in, he left for Midvale.

“I walk down the halls and say, ‘Oh yeah, I remember talking about this in meetings.’ I’m still getting my bearings from seeing it on paper to being here now,” he said. 

Watts also is enthusiastic to be back working with AVID, a nationally recognized program to help teach college skills and provide additional support to students.

“I’m anxious to see the progress that has been made with the AVID program since we introduced it when I was here. It’s a great program for academics and getting ready for high school and the future. I loved learning about all the different cultures at Midvale Elementary and Midvale Middle and having more of a cultural knowledge will help with my interactions of the diversity here,” he said. “My one big goal is to have those relationships with students, teachers and administrators that can lead to student success and know that I’m available to listen to students and teachers alike.”

While Watts does have his boxes moved over, he hasn’t quite settled in. The first-time principal who is currently studying for his doctorate in education might wait to unpack until he runs in a half marathon, like he did with his son in early June; go for a trail run with his wife; hike with the family; or play with his granddaughter.

Watts isn’t the only one packing and unpacking boxes this summer at Mt. Jordan. Joining him will be Title I Specialist Sierra Eastmont, who will become the school’s assistant principal, and former Mt. Jordan Assistant Principal John Hellwig will move to Union Middle to be assistant principal.

Also moving to Sandy is Copperview Elementary Principal Christie Webb, who will assume duties as Sandy Elementary’s principal. 

Achievement Coach Elena Saline will become an assistant principal at Sandy Elementary.

Former Sandy Elementary Principal McKay Robinson will move to the district office to be a school performance director.

“I love the kids and it’s been fun to see their faces light up when the principal does something silly or goofy,” Robinson said. “It’s what I’m going to miss. I started in education because of my third-grade teacher, Mr. (Sherl) Miner at Barratt Elementary. He became a role model, a confidant, and advocate for students. He was a champion for students, and I hope I’ve been the same for my students as Mr. Miner was for me.”

Others moving in to Sandy school and district positions include Brighton High Assistant Principal Kelli Miller, who will become Alta High’s assistant principal; Special Assignment Administrator Stacy Kurtzhals will resume her role as Eastmont Middle principal, replacing Charisse Hilton, who will become a program administrator for the district’s responsive services department; Eastmont Assistant Principal Nate Edvalson will become a special education department administrator; Union Middle Assistant Principal Taylor Hansen will join Kurtzhals as her assistant principal as will Sandy Elementary Assistant Principal Brooke Rauzon; Teacher Specialist Stacy Nofsinger will be Jordan Valley School’s principal as current principal Mark Donnelly will become the district’s speech language pathologist and intern administrator Michelle Snarr will become an elementary support administrator.