Everyone seems to agree - the new Alpine School District superintendent is a terrific man for the job.
-Teachers union officials say Steven C. Baugh will be fair. He'll listen to their concerns.-Students at American Fork High School, where Baugh has been principal for 3 years, say he cares about kids, whether they get good grades or have serious attendance problems.
-Parents say the new superintendent is well-rounded and supports the PTA.
The flood of praise came after Baugh was unanimously approved by the school board Tuesday to succeed retiring Superintendent Clark Cox.
Alpine Education Association President Ardy Greening said teacher morale in the district already is improving, because employees are happy the board chose a new superintendent from within the district.
"We don't have to look forward to wondering who's going to come in from the outside, someone who wouldn't know us. We know Dr. Baugh won't be able to solve all of the problems - no one could - but having someone we know and trust will make those hard times easier to bear," Greening said.
"In talking with the teachers we have found he has been eminently fair and he's willing to listen. He has the wisdom and prudence to make the kind of decisions that will keep the district going, and yet he'll be fair."
Greening said she's had positive experiences working with Baugh on district committees, and the fact that she hasn't had to deal with him as a teacher's representative says a lot about how well he has worked with the teachers he's supervised at American Fork.
"He finds solutions to the problems before they come to the association, which is terrific," Greening said.
American Fork High's PTA president, Cathy Bromley, said Baugh handles problems well because he carefully listens to all sides of an issue before taking action.
"He's a good listener. I think he considers all of the areas before he makes a decision. He's really well-rounded and he relates well with parents, teachers and students," Bromley said. "The PTA has a meeting once a month. and he's always there. As a parent, it's just good to be at the school to see how he works. We were just thrilled when he was appointed.
"I have never heard a student speak ill of Dr. Baugh, and yet he doesn't compromise his role," she said. "He does what has to be done, but the kids know he's rooting for them."
Some students at American Fork like their principal so much they're willing to stand up for him in public. Jeff McGhie, a student council member and a representative to the school board this year, told board members during a meeting last week that Baugh would be an ideal superintendent.
"I've worked with Dr. Baugh enough to know just how qualified he is. He really cares about the individual. He isn't just there to put in his 40 hours and go home," McGhie said. "He takes an interest in individual people's problems. The students really like him. He has tried to be a friend to all the kids. The good and the bad students feel like he's on their side."
Baugh will start spreading his talents through the whole district sometime near the end of June, after a 30-day transition period during which Cox will orient the new superintendent.
Baugh has worked in the district for more than 19 years. He started his career in Alpine as a math and English teacher at Orem High School, where he worked for 10 years. He was assistant principal at Mountain View High School for one year and principal at Pleasant Grove Junior High for four years before becoming principal at American Fork in 1985.
He and his wife, Cathleen, have lived most of their lives in Orem. They have eight children, six of whom are attending Alpine schools.