Coming and going: Taylorsville Elementary welcomes new principal
Jul 27, 2017 02:30PM
● By Jet Burnham
Andrea McMillan is ready to take the reins at Taylorsville Elementary. (Granite School District)
Coming and Going [2 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
Andrea McMillan, born and raised in Taylorsville, is glad to be back in the area as the new principal at Taylorsville Elementary. She said there won’t be any major changes at the school this year, just small tweaks.
“We need to start pushing forward and getting our scores up,” said McMillan. “I’d like to focus this year on our reading scores, specifically.”
She plans to restructure the services of para-educators, the part-time interventionist and the ELL (English Language Learner) specialist to better utilize their skills to help students. McMillan is excited to use grant money from the state to provide kindergarten teachers with intensive professional development.
“It will help the kindergarteners to really start to take off in their reading,” she said.
Academic scores can define how good a school is, but McMillan believes there are many ways to measure the success of a school.
“I feel a school’s success can be determined by whether you have happy students and happy staff members,” she said. McMillan said she will set an example as the leader of the school and of maintaining a positive atmosphere. She said her strengths are being able to be positive and to build good relationships. She will be a very involved principal by supporting teachers and getting to know the students.
“I like to be visible and out and about and really seeing all the moving parts of the school,” she said.
One new opportunity she has planned for this year will support students and their families. McMillan has partnered with the Utah Food Bank to make a mobile food pantry available once a month to for families.
Taylorsville Elementary will also be holding a Registration Celebration on Aug. 9 from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Parents can register their students for the year, get assistance with signing up for free or reduced lunches and update their students’ information.
Pizza will be served, and all students who come will receive a backpack filled with school supplies, donated by the Granite Education Foundation.
“Every student will have the opportunity to receive a backpack from us this year because of this thoughtful donation,” said McMillan.
McMillan has taught the full range of students at various schools in Granite District, including South Kearns Elementary, Bacchus Elementary and Woodstock Elementary. She interned in administration at Bennion Junior High and was an instructional coach at Silver Hills Elementary and an assistant principal at Redwood Elementary.
McMillan is replacing Janice R. Flanagan, principal this past year at Taylorsville Elementary, where she was awarded Elementary Principal of the Year by the Granite Association of School Administrators.
Flanagan has retired after 21 years of teaching elementary school in Granite District and another 14 years as principal at Copper Hills Elementary in Magna. Teachers who worked with her said she was a great listener and very supportive.
Vickie Dean, sixth-grade teacher who worked with Flanagan at Copper Hills Elementary, appreciated the happy work environment Flanagan created.
“We always know Janice will be telling funny stories and encouraging us to do our best,” Dean said.
Flanagan lives by two mottos: “I can do hard things” and “I will do what is best for kids.”
“I really admire how she was always striving to do what was best for our kids,” said Dean.
Taylorsville Elementary Secretary Marguerita Davilla-Telck said Flanagan has been a dedicated and generous principal.
“She always shares something personal and relates her life experiences with what we do each day,” she said. “For me, she has been a true inspiration.”
Flanagan wrote a memo to her staff as the school year ended. She reminisced that as a new teacher, she loved teaching so much that she thought she’d do it even if they didn’t pay her. She doesn’t think she’ll be able to stay away from teaching, even though she’s retired. She likened her career to a good book that you don’t want to end.
“It is a hard thing to anticipate closing the last page of my favorite book,” she wrote. “As much as I hate endings, I must remind myself that I also love to start great new books.”
Registration Celebration at Taylorsville Elementary
Aug. 9, 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Pizza will be provided. Register students; sign up for free or reduced lunch.
Each student will receive a backpack filled with school supplies.