Lana Hiskey

The Utah Association of Secondary School Principals presented its Principal of the Year award to Dave McKee, Principal of Spanish Fork High School.

Principal McKee knows how to "Let it Shine". Mr. McKee started his educational career teaching Japanese, sports medicine, health, physical education, and driver education at Payson High School.  He also coached football, golf, track, and basketball. Mr. McKee has served in administration at Spanish Fork High since 2003. He earned his Master’s Degree in Athletic Administration from Idaho State University and his Administrative Endorsement from Southern Utah University.

Secondary Director, John DeGraffenried said, “I have worked with Dave for many years and have always been impressed with his extensive knowledge of education and clear focus on student learning. He is a great teacher, an outstanding coach, and a dedicated principal. Dave knows each student, attends their activities and encourages them to do their best. He is innovative and has the capacity to connect with individual students, parents, and teachers in a productive ways.”

Principal McKee has developed a highly successful attendance policy which has changed the culture of the school. The school vision statement is: Here, We Learn for Life.  He said, “This is not what we say we are; it is who we are, that drives us to improve and continue to improve.” He recognizes the value of professional learning communities which serves as a vehicle of collaboration with an emphasis on intervention and student success.  Principal McKee has worked hard to promote technology so that the school has over 400 combinations of laptops, net books, and iPads for student use.

Some of the state’s criteria required to be selected for Principal of the Year include:

✧    Providing direction and focus by involving teachers, staff, parents and the community in achieving the goals of the school.
✧    Model continuous professional growth and assists others to focus on student learning.
✧    Establishes and maintains a positive school climate and utilizes effective problem-solving techniques.
✧    Acknowledges achievement or accomplishments of students, teachers, and school community.
✧    Communicates effectively and models values, beliefs, and attitudes that inspire others to higher levels of performance.   

“Mr. McKee is a compassionate, dedicated principal who creates a welcoming learning environment for all students, supports teachers as they advance in practice and professionalism, and makes Spanish Fork High School a place of learning and growth,” replied Deon Youd, an English teacher at Spanish Fork High.

“Mr. McKee is deserving of Principal of the Year,” said Kippy Bishop, Spanish Fork High secretary. “He is a collaborative leader who involves teachers, staff members, parents, students, and the community in achieving school goals. One of his greatest traits is his ability to initiate change. He has created a learning culture that has been embraced by all stakeholders. Because of his Instructional leadership abilities, he has shaped SFHS into a great school that is focused on student achievement.”

Assistant Principal, Steve Dudley, said, “During the past few years Mr. McKee has seen Spanish Fork High School go from 1850 students down to 850 students.  During this time it became necessary to move half of the faculty and staff to other schools.  This was one of the most painful things that Dave had to do as a principal.  It was like losing part of his family.  Through all of these changes, Dave has maintained an excellent staff, a loving and caring school environment, and a school culture that promotes learning.”

Some of Mr. McKee’s past honors include Neumont University Excellence in Technology Education Award 2008 and Utah Foreign Language Teacher of the Year 1992-93. He has served as Payson High’s Foreign Language department chair and athletic director. He played football for BYU from 1976-78 and again in 1981.

Dave is married to Jodi; they have two children and reside in Elk Ridge.

The winner of this week’s "Where are we Wednesday?" challenge is Heidi Preece, a special education teacher at Spanish Fork High. Congratulations!