The Valley Journals

MURRAY--Former Murray School District career and technical education director Glo Merrill was recently named the Utah Career and Technical Educator of the Year.

On Feb. 4, she received a wood-engraved plaque from the Association for Career and Technical Education and will advance to compete in the western region in March. The winner from that region advances to national competition.

“I was surprised and honored that my peers respected my work,” Merrill said. “It’s a great honor, but even more rewarding is if I’ve impacted one student or made an impact in a classroom while being in Murray School District.”

Merrill, who said she doesn’t know who nominated her for the award, retired after 30 years in education last summer. Before working in the district office, she was a teacher and assistant principal at Murray High.

Former Supt. Richard R. Tranter has said that Merrill was an advocate for students and teachers, making sure they received the support they needed and the recognition they deserved.

“Glo worked really hard to make sure that are CTE programs were in top shape and met the needs of all the students,” Tranter said. “She was excellent at curriculum and worked hard to see the latest and best curriculum was always in place. The equipment in the labs were always up-to-date and she always made sure that her CTE teachers were trained and a well prepared.”

During her stint at CTE director, Merrill championed concurrent enrollment classes, doubling the offerings to about 30 classes. Merrill said that 60 percent of Murray High School seniors take at least one college concurrent enrollment, allowing them to get a head-start in their college career.

She also helped make laptop carts available to all math classes and science labs, and updated science equipment. As a support to teachers, programs such as ProStart, digital media, biotechnology, auto trades, construction trades and other areas prospered. Three DVDs she helped produce about areas of studies, such as health sciences, have been reproduced and distributed statewide.

“I was there to empower the teachers, to mentor them, get the tools they need so they are able to stretch and teach students how to take the next step,” Merrill said. “I didn’t do it alone. I was there to help improve learning and change the education in the lives of students.”

Merrill hopes that she planted a seed for students to learn and be successful as her grandmother did with her.

“My grandmother had been a teacher so I would play teacher with my dolls and it just stuck with me. I had a high school teacher and journalism adviser who I realize now had an impact on me. I see myself as a teacher and hope I’ve made a positive difference in students. I hope it’s been more than just the curriculum, but more of a life curriculum where I’ve planted a seed and now can watch students blossom,” she said.

Tom Haraldsen is the assistant managing editor of The Valley Journals newspaper group, and is currently president of the Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.