Retiring board member praised; replacement aims to advance STEM skillsAug 31, 2017 05:00PM ● By Jana Klopsch
Sarah Meier has served on the Granite Board of Education for the last 20 years. (Granite School District)
Sarah Meier has served on the Granite Board of Education for 20 years.
Meier previously taught history at Cottonwood High School and chose to serve on the board as a way to stay involved as she raised her family.
“I am passionate about public schools,” said Meier. “I believe they are the foundation of our democracy and the most important factor in keeping it vibrant.”
Connie Anderson, Board vice president, said Meier has provided strong leadership, serving as president of the Board three times.
“I have come to have great respect for her knowledge of how a board operates,” said Anderson. “With her teaching experience, she has demonstrated her understanding of the ‘nuts and bolts’ of how public education works.”
In her 20 years, Meier has been a part of many changes and improvements in the district. She is most proud of helping establish the GTI (Granite Technical Institute).
“Our schools have worked very hard, and continue to do so, to help each student individually—take them from where they are and move them ahead,” said Meier.
She said that by the time a student graduates, she hopes they appreciate their own strengths and will use them to find success throughout their lives.
Meier has also served as president of the Utah School Boards Association.
“In that role, in particular she was a strong and powerful advocate for all the school children in Utah,” said Board Member Gayleen Gandy. “She is a powerful and focused leader.”
Meier mentored Gandy when she first joined the board. She did so for many board members, including Karyn Winder, who said Meier taught her how to listen to different perspectives when faced with making a decision.
“Sarah has brought years of experience and common sense to the school board,” said Winder. “She is an advocate for all kids and does not shy away from making tough decisions.” She said what made Meier a great leader was that she took the time to ask questions.
“During the years that I have known Sarah,” said Gandy, “it has been obvious to me that her highest priority has been doing what is best for the students in Granite, closely followed by her deep sense of responsibility to be fiscally responsible to the taxpayers in the district.”
Meier believes the biggest obstacle for public schools is the continued inadequate funding. She said the hardest thing about her position has been asking district employees to do more with less.
“It is our dedicated educators that have kept us moving, even when they have felt unappreciated,” she said. She believes everyone should thank a teacher every chance they get and to find ways to volunteer in their community’s schools.
Because Meier retired in the middle of her term, the School Board appointed Carrie Johnson to fill her Precinct IV position, which represents Taylorsville and Kearns.
“I consider this a service to my community and the kids in my community,” said Johnson, who is passionate about giving service. As an executive in the healthcare field, Johnson sees the need to prepare students for the future with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills. She plans to help the district prepare kids to be great students, to progress on to higher education, to contribute to their communities and to qualify for high-paying positions in STEM jobs.
Her husband is an administrator in Granite District and her children attend Taylorsville schools. She sees her position as an opportunity to help create a destination community.
“One of my objectives is to create a destination district that people will seek out and they’ll want to live in our community because of the wonderful schools and wonderful teachers that we have and the quality of our kids,” she said.
The Granite School District Board of Education is composed of seven elected members who serve for a four-year term (longer, if re-elected.) The Board holds public meetings monthly to establish district policies, approve purchases and budgets, receive reports from district administrators, approve administrative appointments and conduct other business.
“I’m excited to learn and meet more people in our community, and I’m excited to give back,” said Johnson.