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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Canyons Board of Education has new president after a decade

Feb 26, 2019 01:49PM ● By Julie Slama

New Canyons Board of Education President Nancy Tingey helps to break ground as construction at Brighton High gets underway in August. (Courtesy of Canyons School District)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

About 20 years ago, Nancy Tingey’s neighbor suggested they take a quilting class together. While she has made several machine and hand-stitched quilts and given them away through the years, Tingey’s needle and thread days may be taking a backseat as she recently stepped up as president of Canyons Board of Education.

On Jan. 8, a decade after Canyons School District was formed and guided by Canyons Board of Education President Sherril Taylor, the board unanimously elected Nancy Tingey as its president. Taylor retired December 2018.

“It’s pretty humbling,” Tingey said. “I’m very grateful they respected me to put their trust in me.”

Tingey isn’t a newcomer to the education scene. She got involved 24 years ago in her children’s PTA and school community councils and volunteered at Quail Hollow Elementary, Albion Middle and Brighton High before running for the school board and beginning her stint to represent an area covering Cottonwood Heights, Sandy and Alta in 2012. She was re-elected in 2016. 

“I felt I learned a lot at the school levels through the years and appreciated what others did for my children, so I wanted to serve to help make it better for others,” she said.

Tingey was involved in helping create Canyons School District by serving on committees. In 2017, Tingey served as the Utah School Boards Association president. In 2018, she served as the association’s legislative liaison. She recently served as board vice president under Taylor, but has maintained volunteering weekly in elementary schools, long since her five children graduated.

“I’ve helped students practice math facts for years at Quail Hollow. At Brookwood, I just do whatever the teacher needs. I also did math facts at Sunrise for a few years,” said the BYU graduate who earned her bachelor of science in geography. “I used to help with country reports when sixth grade was in elementary.”

Tingey is the first female board president since the district’s formation.

“It’s not anything I’ve aspired to do. I am here to serve my community and if I can serve the board, I’m happy to do it,” she said. “Being the first female president may be significant to some, but for me, I always try to be an example to do my best through hard work, kindness and compassion, studying and learning, being a team player and celebrating the achievement and efforts of others. If my example can inspire others, that’s great, but I’m not looking to be that with the first, just looking to be my best.”

Amber Shill, who was re-elected to the board, was retained as vice president, and Steve Wrigley, who was re-elected to his third term on the board, was voted in as a second vice president. 

In addition to Shill and Wrigley, board members Clareen Arnold and Amanda Oaks took oaths of office after winning their races in the November 2017 general election. Arnold won re-election and Oaks was newly elected to the seat that was vacated by Taylor.

“I like that we have two vice presidents on the board. It’s helpful to share that responsibility, strengthen our board and be at events,” Tingey said. “The leadership of the board doesn’t make decisions, but helps facilitate the board; for example, by creating draft agendas with the superintendent (Jim Briscoe).”

Tingey said her approach will be one of teamwork.

“I’m really grateful for Sherril’s example and hope to continue the processes and culture I learned under his leadership. It’s been extremely effective that all members feel safe and have the ability to express their voice,” she said. “That’s how it’s been since I’ve been on the board and it works. We come with a common purpose and when we all bring our best to the table, we get our best results in a shared outcome for our communities. It’s teamwork — the board, the district — working together where everyone has a role and responsibility. I’m not one to be in the spotlight, but the kind of leader who is behind the scenes, who rolls up their sleeves to get the work done.” 

Tingey said that in addition to the recently approved tax-neutral $283 million bond to rebuild or renovate to modernize and upgrade Canyons School District schools, the board will focus on student achievements, including celebrating improved graduation rates up six percent in the past seven years to 89 percent, and providing opportunities for all students. She is supportive of the responsive services, which provides social and emotional needs for students and the school community.

“It’s another part of student safety, which is a top priority and important to the well-being of our students,” she said. “We want to always strive for continuous improvement in our core values.”

Canyons Board of Education’s core values are to believe everyone can learn, aspire to continuously improve, strive for excellence, build public trust and confidence through transparency, be guided by evidence while encouraging innovation and creativity, collaborate to deliver the best outcomes, act with integrity and build relationships through mutual respect and care deeply about what they do and how they do it.

“I’m a huge believer in the public education system and am dedicated to high-quality education,” Tingey said. “I’m passionate about students’ learning and improving and having high expectations with providing the support for it. We value our teachers and employees and we are all part of those who strive to make things better for those who live in our communities.”