New principal announced – he may be familiar…

Q&A with incoming (and former) principal Abner. Keep reading to find out more about Mr. Abner’s return to Rock Canyon.

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photo by Grace Uhrain

A graphic depicts a question and answer with next year’s principal Andy Abner.

by Grace Uhrain, Reporter

 “It’s a great day to be a jag!”

If you’ve missed this catchphrase, you will be hearing it again soon. Andy Abner will be returning as principal at Rock Canyon next school year. 

Abner had previously been principal for 10 years then left Rock Canyon in 2021 to be the Deputy Superintendent for DCSD. Megan Brown became the interim principal and has been for this school year. Brown announced she would be leaving Rock Canyon in February, and it was announced Feb. 23 that Abner would be returning as principal of Rock Canyon for the 2022-23 school year.

I sat down with Abner after the announcement of his hiring, to discuss his return to RC.

Q: Why did you decide to come back to RC?

A: “So you know, as I explained to staff this morning, you don’t always know what you have until it’s gone and you don’t really always know how much you love something until you leave it and that’s been the story for me with Rock Canyon. So I spent the 10 previous years here as principal. I left this year because I really wanted to make a difference for employee compensation because as a principal, there was nothing that upset me more than when employees would leave. And they would say it’s because they need to go make more money for their family. And I saw great teachers walk out of the school, and we have so many great teachers at the school and so a big part of my decision to leave was to try to move to the district level to make a difference per comp. Which option ultimately keeps great teachers here for you guys to have a great experience and so that was the reason for leaving. But every day since I’ve been gone I’ve missed this place. I miss school, I miss the students, I miss the environment. I just missed your being around it. And so when Mrs. Brown, the interim principal, talked to me around the holidays, and said that she didn’t think that she was going to move forward with the principal position, I started having conversations with my family about it and ultimately decided to follow my heart and to come back to Rock Canyon High School. So that was the reason for being back.”

 

Q: What did you miss most about RC?

A: “You. Students. I mean, I love you guys. I love being in the hallway. I love interacting with students. I love going into classrooms. I love doing activities. And staff, I love being around staff and I just missed the energy and the positivity and being around students and moving into a district office position. I was around adults all day long. And typically dealing with conflictual situations or or difficult situations it just wasn’t as much fun and I didn’t get my bucket filled. It was hard for me to know that I was making a difference where I could feel that a lot more here.”

 

Q: When will you take over as principal?

A: “Officially July 1. I want to be clear. I want to make sure it’s clear that people know that Mrs. Brown is our interim principal for the remainder of the year and that I still have a job to do at the school district office and that she’s going to be leading Rock Canyon High School for the remainder of the year. I can’t handle two jobs at once right now. And while I would love nothing more than to walk back into rocking and every single day right now, it’s important that I’m respectful to her in the work that she’s done. And she’s also been one of my assistant principals here during those 10 years when I was principal. And she opened Rock Canyon High School as a social studies department chair. She quite frankly is a Jag through and through and will do a great job leading the school for the rest of the year.”

Q: What do you hope to do as principal?

A: “What I hope to do is to listen first and foremost, to students, to staff to make sure that I understand. I know from your perspective and their perspective, what’s going really well and then our What are things that we might need to change? What are things that we can do to improve our school for our students? And then once I hear all that information, kind of synthesizing it, analyzing it and figuring out a plan of how we can improve this school for our students. How can we make this a better school, for our students, for our families and for those that we support? And so it’s not as much about what my ideas might be. It’s about what our ideas might be to move Rock Canyon forward and that’s how I’ve always led and that’s how I prefer to lead is to be a representative of everybody else’s voice.”

Q: What will happen in terms of the school board when you leave as Deputy Superintendent?

A: “Nothing will change with the school board when I leave, quite frankly in and while there’s a lot of, you know, news and different things happening from a district level perspective. I want to be clear that this isn’t me wanting to leave our school district, it’s me wanting to be back at Rock Canyon High School.”