I take great pride in this opportunity to introduce myself as the new Principal of West High School. Becoming a Panther has been a decade long journey for me as my dream was to work in an inner city school somewhere in America. This dream has finally been realized. Nine years ago, as a newly emerged administrator, I applied for an Assistant Principal position at West High only to be learn that a more experienced internal candidate received the position. Fast forward through two other serious efforts to be added to the SLC community, I finally landed the best job in Utah.
Born and raised in Michigan I left the comfort of a small town to serve in the United States Marine Corps as a Tank Commander during Gulf War until I exited active duty to take advantage of my G.I. Bill, allowing me the financial means to finish college.
My love of teaching drove me to explore a passion discovered as a mentor and teacher leader operating internally to improve student achievement and support teaching and learning. This interest and desire to create improved systems of support for students led me swiftly into a second echelon of school leadership as an administrator. I firmly held to a basic belief that all students can learn at high levels if provided access, structure, and encouragement to succeed. I have never waivered in this commitment and belief to act and provide the necessary material, emotional, and educational support necessary for all to navigate the high school experience and become college and career ready.
I stand prepared, ready, and willing to serve the West community with all the strength, vigor, and drive that I've provided my own children. I enthusiastically look forward to the success that lies ahead for this great school. Lastly, twenty years of experience as a Utah educator has proven the timeless saying to be true, "Everyone knows someone who went to West. " Go Panthers!
West High, Principal
SLC School District
Linda Barth - New to West this year, Linda is a native of Utah, but grew up in a small rural town in Missouri. She graduated from the University of Utah in English Education and Teaching English as a Second Language. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer for two years in Kyrgyzstan and then moved to New York City to get a Masters in TESOL at Teachers College, Columbia University. For twelve years, she taught ESL at a public high school for new Chinese immigrants ages 17-21. She returned to Salt Lake City to work for Granite School District as their Newcomer Academy Coordinator. She was a literacy coach at Northwest Middle School and has been the assistant principal at Bryant Middle School for the last three years.
Benjamin Jones - New to West this year, Ben was born and raised in Utah. He graduated from Utah State University in 2005 and started teaching that same year. He taught a variety of subjects in Davis School District for 10 years including math, social studies, P.E., and health and completed his administrative internship at Bountiful High School during that time. He moved to Salt Lake City a few years ago and knew he wanted to be part of the education community in the area. He began teaching social studies at East High School for the 2016-2017 school year and knew Salt Lake City School District was his home.
He has been married for 15 years to Lisa Jones, an educator at East High School. They have two children together, a son and a daughter, aged 12 and 10. As a family, they love to go camping, hiking, biking, snowboarding, and any other type of adventure that gets them outside.
He looks forward to working with and serving the students at West High School.
Dr. Mele Taukeiaho - Dr. Taukeiaho grew up in Kalihi-Honolulu Hawaii before moving to Taylorsville Utah. She attended BYU Hawaii where she received her BA (1989) in Teaching English as a Second Language and minored in English. She later attended Utah State where she received her Masters in Education degree (1994) with an emphasis in Gifted Education, and a doctoral Education Specialist degree (1998). In 2013, she received her PhD from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her dissertation was based on Professional Learning Communities in Salt Lake School District Schools. She serves on various capacities in the community and dedicates her time to assisting marginalized groups and under-represented communities. She has a passion for helping the youth and struggling students in urban schools. Dr. Taukeiaho is excited for this new year at West. Before going into administration, she taught for many years in inner-city secondary schools.
Pam Pedersen -