Why Canyons?

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Canyons Seeks New Leader to Build on History of Success

When the sun rose nearly 11 years ago on a hot August morning, change was in the air. Bus drivers were heading out on new routes. Nutrition workers were starting from scratch as they planned students’ meals. Principals and teachers were preparing to welcome students for the first time to a school they’d always known, but now it was different. It was the first day of school, Aug. 26, 2009, in the first school district to be created in Utah in 100 years. The momentum of days and weeks leading up to this important day in Canyons District began two years earlier, on Nov. 6, 2007, when residents of Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Midvale, Sandy and the town of Alta voted to create a new school district with a blank slate and a mandate from the people that it be responsive to the community and guided by innovative ideals. From that historic vote and those first days, the Canyons Board of Education has directed its vision toward one clear goal: to help every student graduate college-and career-ready in a world-class school district built on the tenets of student achievement, community engagement, customer service, innovation and fiscal accountability. With these guiding principles, CSD, as one of the largest school district in Utah, has kept close to the desires of the patrons of Canyons School District in creating learning environments with cutting-edge technological capabilities, instructional scaffolding that supports teachers and administrators, and developing innovative programs that lead students to educational and personal success.

A Tradition of Excellence in Educational Leadership

Former Superintendents of the Canyons School District

Dr. Jim Briscoe
2014 - 2020

Dr. Briscoe has 38 years of experience as an educator. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Briscoe served as a superintendent of two public school districts in Illinois. A former sixth-grade social studies and math teacher, Dr. Briscoe also worked for 17 years as a secondary school administrator in Wisconsin and Illinois. As Superintendent, Briscoe remains highly visible and accessible to families, students and staff as he furthers Canyons’ initiatives and innovative programs to help students become college- and career-ready. Dr. Briscoe will serve as Canyons District’s Superintendent until June 30, 2020, when he will retire.

Dr. Ginger Rhode
2013 - 2014
Interim Superintendent

Dr. Rhode served as Interim Superintendent for the 2013-2014 school year. Previous to that, she was Canyons’ Deputy Superintendent for Student Achievement and Chief Academic Officer. She has a Ph.D. in Special Education from Utah State University and is a widely published author of numerous books on behavior management, including “The Tough Kid Book,” which has received national recognition. A former special education teacher and principal, Dr. Rhode also worked as a Director of Special Education, Director of Federal and State Programs, and Coordinator of English as a Second Language Programs in Utah’s Davis School District. She also was an administrator at the Utah State Office of Education. 

Dr. Dave Doty
2008 - 2013

Dr. David Doty was the inaugural Superintendent of Canyons District, the first new school district to be created in Utah in nearly 100 years. Prior to his appointment in 2008, Dr. Doty was Assistant Commissioner and Director of Policy Studies for the Utah System of Higher Education, and the Director of Utah Scholars, a business-education initiative that motivates high school students to complete a rigorous college-prep curriculum. Dr. Doty, who resigned to accept a leadership role at a national education-reform consulting firm, currently serves as the Vice President of Education and Training at the Management and Training Corporation.

The successful candidate will succeed Dr. Briscoe and lead a team of administrators, principals, teachers and Education Support Professionals. Here’s what Dr. Briscoe says about his tenure in CSD:  

"There aren’t a lot of school boards in the country who will do mission and vision beliefs and then tie specific indicators to them and apply attainable goals. That’s really important. The people who created the District had the perfect opportunity to create the system where they raised the standards, mapped them out and set expectations for what every teacher needed to do. I agree with every initiative they did. It was one of the main reasons I came here. From my personal perspective, I can tell you five years from now, nobody along the Wasatch Front will be able to compare to our facilities, that’s a fact. We have our teachers trained, our principals are being trained, they are constantly evaluating student programs to make decisions to improve student curriculum. If we keep doing that we will always be innovative."

We Are Canyons: This is life, elevated.

That may be Utah’s state slogan, but it is also an apt description of Canyons District, which provides educational services to cities and towns nestled at the base of the majestic Wasatch Mountains. In addition to strong neighborhood schools, and a strong economy bolstered by a burgeoning high-tech sector, families in Canyons District, located roughly 11 miles south of Salt Lake City, enjoy the amenities at four world-renowned ski and snowboard resorts within the District’s boundaries, immediate access to some of the country’s most-picturesque hiking and biking trails, a hometown connection to the NBA’s Utah Jazz and Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake, and a growing Salt Lake City nightlife that includes world-class performances by the Utah Symphony, Ballet West and the Utah Opera. Exceptional colleges and universities, including the University of Utah, Brigham Young University, Utah Valley University, Weber State University and Salt Lake Community College, are all located within 45 miles of Canyons District. It takes less than a day’s drive from Canyons District’s Sandy City headquarters to arrive at any of Utah’s five National Parks, and Salt Lake International Airport takes travelers to any location in the world. Visitors remark on the curb appeal of the tidy and tight-knit neighborhoods in Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Midvale, Sandy and the towns of Alta, Brighton and White City. Without question, with their relatively low crime rates and cost of living, Canyons communities are an ideal place to live, work and play.

CSD boasts the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked elementary schools in Utah. Canyons District middle schools also performed admirably with one in the No. 1 spot and another at No. 6. CSD’s newest high school, Corner Canyon High, ranks among Utah’s top five traditional high schools.
Canyons District’s graduation rate in 2019 reached 90 percent, a one percent increase over the year prior and 7 percent jump in five years. All student groups are graduating in greater numbers, including those who typically face the greatest obstacles to academic success.
Last year, CSD schools excelled in sports, claiming multiple state championships and first-place titles, including Brighton High’s boys swim team and boys soccer team and Corner Canyon High’s boys hoops, track and field team and football team. Brighton High’s drill team also took first place in the dance category at the state competition.
Canyons District maintains a AAA bond rating. In 2019, work continued to add classroom wings to an overcrowded high school, entirely rebuild two other high schools, complete a major renovation of another and construct a new school to replace the District’s oldest operating elementary. Rebuilds of two elementary schools and a middle school will start in 2021.
Canyons’ third- through eighth-grade students this year outpaced their peers across the state on year-end assessments in math, science and English language arts.

The average ACT composite score for CSD’s Class of 2019 is 21.5, compared to the Utah score of 20.7 and national score of 20.3.
Since 2010, Canyons has built eight new schools, extensively renovated four schools, and finished seismic safeguards on another elementary school. This was made possible by a $250 million bond approved by voters in 2010. To continue the ambitious school-improvement schedule, Canyons patrons approved a $283 million bond in 2017.
Eleven percent of CSD’s some 34,000 students participate in French, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish Dual Language Immersion programs at 19 schools throughout the District. These students spend a portion of their school day speaking their targeted language exclusively. Canyons District also has a centralized advanced-learner elementary and middle school program called SALTA, which stands for Supporting Advanced Learners Towards Achievement.
Hillcrest High, one of Canyons District’s five traditional high schools, is home to a prestigious and rigorous International Baccalaureate diploma program, one of 10 in Utah. Midvale Middle, which is part of the Hillcrest feeder system, is one of just three schools in the state with an IB Middle Years program.
In 2017, the first cohort of students from Alta High participated in a partnership program between the University of Utah and Canyons District called Step2theU. Students began coursework during the summer of their junior year, and will have two complete semesters of college credits by the time they begin university. This partnership is the first of its kind for the U.
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Job Description

The Canyons Board of Education seeks applicants for the position of Superintendent. The successful applicant for the position, which reports directly to and works closely with the Board of Education, will have substantial public K-12 classroom and administrative experience, demonstrated success in working with diverse populations, an ability to create and execute community outreach efforts, and high-quality speaking and writing skills. 

The new Superintendent will be honest, forthright, charismatic and will approach challenges with creativity. Furthermore, the Board seeks a visionary, organized, and forward-thinking leader who knows how to plan strategically, delegate tasks, and hold others accountable for their duties. She or he will bring new ideas to the table, advocate effectively, and will play a visible role in the community. While candidates who have earned a Ph.D. or Ed.D. are preferred, experience will be considered for equivalency.  

Canyons School District is the newest school district in Utah. From the time of the District’s founding on July 1, 2009, both the elected Canyons Board of Education and Administration have maintained a fierce dedication to building a district of national distinction. To that end, Canyons District focuses its attention on five major tenets: student achievement, innovation, community engagement, customer service, and fiscal accountability. The District, which covers roughly 192 square miles in the southeast part of the Salt Lake Valley, serves about 34,000 students in 29 elementary schools, eight middle schools, five traditional comprehensive high schools, an alternative high school, a technical education center, an online high school, an academy at the Utah State Prison, and a school for children with severe disabilities.  

If you are an energetic leader with a focus on educational excellence, then consider joining Canyons District as we start our second decade with an eye on growth and success. 

APPLY

The Superintendent is hired and supervised by the elected Canyons Board of Education, made up of one representative from seven precincts. Members serve staggered four-year terms and elect a president and vice president(s) from within their members every two years.  In selecting the new Superintendent, the Board of Education seeks the following:

Qualifications

  • Classroom and Administrative experience in K-12 education
  • Ph.D. or Ed.D. or equivalent preferred.  Experience considered for equivalency
  • High-quality writing and speaking communication skills
  • Experience working with diverse populations
  • Experience managing a large, complex organization with many stakeholders

Personal Characteristics

  • Integrity, honesty
  • Visionary, forward-thinking
  • Personable, engaging, charismatic, sense of humor, likes kids
  • Creative problem solver
  • Good organizational skills, strategic thinker and planner

Leadership Skills

  • Excellent communicator, listens to input and is persuasive
  • Visible and spends time in all corners of the District
  • Effective collaborator
  • Good delegator and holds others accountable to complete their responsibilities
  • Inspires colleagues, students and community partners

Application Process

The position will close on Friday, March 13, 2020 at 5 p.m. MDT. It is anticipated the Board of Education will make a selection in May 2020. The Board plans to offer a two-year renewable contract as allowed by Utah law. 

The following documents must be submitted by the deadline:

Application materials may be sent via email to Richard Stowell, Executive Director of the Utah School Boards Association.

Richard Stowell
rstowell@usba.cc 
801-566-1207

Mr. Stowell is a third-party facilitator contracted by Canyons District to receive the applications and verify the candidates meet the requirements for consideration.

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