SALT LAKE CITY — Paula Plant has been named interim director of the state's School Children's Trust following the resignation of Director Tim Donaldson on Aug. 4.
Donaldson, who had been director of the trust since since 2013, submitted his resignation to the Utah State Board of Education on Friday. Other than a brief statement announcing his resignation, the State School Board has not commented on the matter except to say it is a personnel matter.
Plant's appointment was authorized Tuesday by State School Board Chairman Mark Huntsman. She will serve in the position until a new director is named.
The recruitment of a new director is underway. State statute requires that a nominating committee of the School and Institutional Trust Lands board of trustees to submit one name to the State School Board for consideration. The state board then decides whether to appoint the nominee.
Plant has served in the School Children's Trust Section as a specialist since 2013. Previously, she worked as a trainer within the section. She has worked with the trust a total of 17 years.
Plant also served as the legislative vice president of Utah PTA, representing the education groups of Utah in two school trust land exchanges between the state and federal governments.
Her long tenure "will ensure a continuing effort to increase the revenue of the trust in order to benefit schoolchildren across Utah," according to a statement from the Utah State Board of Education.
The School Children’s Trust Section administers the School LAND Trust program statewide. The section is within the offices of the Utah State Board of Education. The section oversees activities of land management and the fund's investment trustees.
The trust section is responsible for training and providing training materials for school community councils, school districts and local school boards about their responsibilities with respect to trust land funds.
The State School Board, during its meeting Friday, conducted a lengthy executive session. According to its agenda, there were three items to be considered in the closed-door session, among them: a notice of action "regarding a vote on the possible removal of the director of the School Children's Trust Section."
Shortly before adjourning its meeting later in the day, Huntsman announced that the board had accepted Donaldson's resignation. Huntsman then directed staff to pull the executive session agenda item regarding the director from the agenda.