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The City Journals

Meet Granite’s Administrator of the Year

Aug 04, 2016 03:05PM ● By Tori LaRue

Garett Muse, principal of Taylorsville High School, received Granite School District’s Secondary Administrator of the Year award. –Granite School District

By Tori La Rue | [email protected]

Although his father always told him he’d be a lawyer, Garett Muse decided to switch plans in college when he found a love for coaching children’s sports.

“I went and told my dad, ‘I really like working with kids,' and he said, ‘Why don’t you go into teaching for a few years and get it out of your system, and then you can go back to law school.' Obviously I never got it out of my system. I’ve stayed in education ever since then,” said Muse who began his teaching career at Provo High School before moving on to administrative positions in Taylorsville schools.

Muse’s first administrative assignment was as vice principal of Eisenhower Junior High in 1991. Three years later, he became the principal at Bennion Junior High where he worked for six years before becoming the principal of Cottonwood High School, which served Taylorsville community at the time. Now Muse is principal at Taylorsville High School.

Each year the Granite School District honors four administrators, and this summer Muse, who’s spent 26 years administering to Taylorsville schools, was named Secondary Administrator of the 2015-16 Year. His peers nominated him for his “outstanding example and leadership” and “positive impact” on the district, according to the district’s website.

“I know other administrators who do great things probably in a lot of ways a lot better than I do, but I think that is a nice award to receive from your peers out of the hundred plus administrators that work in our district,” Muse said. “To have them say, ‘We recognize you, Garett, as our administrator of the year,’ is a warm compliment for them to give to me.”

Since Muse’s start at Taylorsville high school, he said he’s endeavored to surround students in what he calls a “college going culture.” Muse helped the school implement three college bound programs -- GEAR UP, Latinos in Action and AVID to further this cause. The programs provide a support network for students to gain information about postsecondary education, which is especially helpful to students who intend to be first-generation college students, he said.

Muse said he’s sure he’s known by his students as the principal with the Beatles haircut who waves at them, but he said he also hopes they realize how much he cares. When students get sent to his office, he tries to get them to focus on what they can do to improve instead of dwelling on the wrongful behavior.

“I try to tell them, ‘You are a kid, and you are going to make mistakes and that is OK,’” Muse said.

Muse loves the teachers and students in his “Taylorsville Family” almost too much, he said. When Muse’s oldest daughter graduated from a high school in Utah County, she told her father that she felt like he wasn’t there for her in high school because he was more focused on his Taylorsville students.

“That was a turning point for me,” he said. “I realized I needed to balance school with my home and family. I realized I can’t miss all of my children’s games and events because I feel like I need to be at the school’s events. Sometimes the students would just have to see the assistant principal around instead of me.”

Since that time, Muse began prioritizing which school events he wanted to go to. He said he feels as though it’s made him a better father and a better principal.

Muse’s two daughters are grown and graduated from college, but he strives to spend time with his 15-year-old son whenever he gets a chance. They enjoy fishing together, he said.

Muse spent his July setting up a mock pioneer trek for youth, camping and gardening. Come mid-August, he’ll be ready for his twenty-seventh year as a principal for Taylorsville students, he said.

“I love working with kids, and Taylorsville has great kids,” he said. “The kids love Taylorsville. They love being able to come to school here. The parents are very supportive. It’s just a great place to be.”