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The City Journals

More technology in schools among new Murray Board president’s priorities

Feb 21, 2019 12:49PM ● By Julie Slama

Murray City School District Board Members Kami Anderson, Belinda Johnson and Elizabeth Payne were sworn into office January 27 by Salt Lake County Clerk and Murray High School alumna Sherrie Swensen. (Photo courtesy of Murray School District)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Kami Anderson isn’t new to Murray education. She has served on her children’s schools’ PTA, School Community Council and has volunteered in the classroom. She even served as the vice president of the Murray Board of Education last term.

However, she wasn’t expecting to be president this term even after new board member Elizabeth Payne defeated former board president Cris Longhurst in the general election. 

“I didn’t campaign for this position,” Anderson said. “I’ve been fortunate to have three great leaders to learn from in Mitzi Huff, Marge Tuckett and Cris.”

She also has learned from her uncle, former board member Darrell Pehrson, with whom she “talks about it so I can learn from his expertise.”

Joining her in the presidency is Belinda Johnson as vice president, who won re-election running unopposed.

However, Anderson said the board already knows its focus: to continue their goals of providing learning opportunities for students to excel personally, professionally, and academically; fostering a culture of mutual respect, leadership development, transparency, and collaboration; integrating technology to impact student achievement; and ensuring responsible stewardship over financial resources.

“I feel that with our teacher increase in pay, we are one of the top paying districts and are attracting the best teachers and administrators, which is providing our students greater learning opportunities,” she said. “We want to keep education moving forward. We can give our teachers resources to help them with teaching and learning. We want to push technology to everyone and have hired technology coaches to help teachers in the classroom.”

Anderson said that Murray High as well as the two junior highs have a 1:1 student-device ratio and the goal is to use trust land funds and district funding to help all the elementary schools reach that ratio, said the board president, who has a master’s degree in business management and leadership from Utah State University and works at Intermountain Healthcare as a data analyst.

Anderson’s role includes approving the board agenda, conducting board meetings and organizing committee assignments — and supporting the team approach with her board members.

“We all represent parts of Murray and have specific concerns of our public we bring for discussion. We have different backgrounds and look at issues different ways, but it’s through our discussion that we come to a compromise that is best for Murray children,” she said.

Even though she appreciated Longhurst’s leadership, Anderson said she welcomes Payne with her fresh vision who also has young children in the school system so she brings that perspective to the board. She also appreciates the community input.

“We love people coming to the board meetings so they know the decisions that affect schools and their children,” Anderson said. “We love to be transparent and work with the community.”

Anderson said if the board continues to move forward on their goals and is successful with student academics and achievement, retaining teachers and getting the public involved, then the five-member board will be successful.

“I’m proud to represent Murray,” she said. “We have a great, great school system and that makes it rewarding.”