Canyons School District,
Sherril Taylor

SANDY — Drawing comparisons to a software upgrade from former Canyons School Board President Tracy Cowdell, "Canyons 2.0" began Tuesday with the election of a new school board leadership.

Sherril Taylor, who had been serving as board vice president, was elected president, and Steve Wrigley was elected vice president.

Newly elected board member Nancy Tingey was chosen to serve as a second vice president, a position created by the board Tuesday after a 6-1 vote. Boardmember Kim Horiuchi cast the lone opposing vote.

All three elections passed the board with 6-0 votes. In each case, Horiuchi abstained.

After being named the new president of the board, Taylor expressed his thanks for the opportunity and issued a call for increased unity among the district and a charge to his colleagues that the board commit to rebuilding public trust.

"I think it's important that we have our patrons on board with us, that we're all united and working on the same cause," he said. "We want to be open and transparent. We want our decisions to be based on consensus, if possible."

Canyons School District was created in 2009 after a controversial split from the Jordan School District. Since that time, the district has frequently encountered angst from the community while navigating the district's infancy.

Addressing the district's record of controversy, Wrigley commented on the amount of weighty decisions that have required board attention in the district's first years of existence, from a bond for new school buildings to grade reconfigurations, boundary adjustments, the implementation of the state core standards and repeated years of budget cuts following the economic recession.

"As I have talked to my fellow board members across the state, any one of these actions could be a political nightmare," he said. "This Canyons board took them head on and did what was needed to be done."

Borrowing the software analogy from Cowdell, Wrigley described the district's first two years as "Canyons 1.0" and the past two years as "Canyons 1.5." He said the initial years have been difficult but that the district is entering a phase where it can position itself for long-term strategic planning.

"There is still much work to be done in this young school district, and we can now slow down the pace and rebuild some of the trust that was perhaps lost in our first two years," Wrigley said. "Let us earn your trust and respect."

Cowdell said he fully endorses the new board leadership. He said leading the board took a tremendous amount of heart and energy, and he looks forward to continue working with his colleagues.

"This board has been a board of big ideas," he said. "We haven't been afraid to think big and take on big issues."