New Murray High assistant principal returns to Murray DistrictOct 04, 2021 01:52PM ● By Julie Slama
Murray High has a new assistant principal, Emily Bird (left), who joins Principal Scott Wigongi (center) and Assistant Principal Jon Jensen, who joined the administrative staff last year. (Photo courtesy of Murray High School)
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
Emily Bird is a familiar face in Murray School District, but now she returns to the district as an administrator, one of those who can rule the school at Murray High.
After teaching special education for five years at Grant Elementary and working as an at-risk program specialist in the district office for three years, Bird left the district for a stint to work in the Utah State Office of Education as a Utah Program Improvement Planning System specialist, ensuring there is support and compliance with federal and state requirements with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in Utah’s school districts.
“I’ve always had a love for education law and, as an administrator, I can make sure the policy and procedures are in place for students to have the best possible education,” Bird said. “I love my students—all my students. I’m out in the halls every day, and I am always popping into classrooms.”
Bird replaces Laura deShazo as Murray High’s assistant principal; deShazo went to Riverview Junior High as the Raptors’ assistant principal.
Bird said she always knew she wanted to pursue a career in education. As a teenager—before she could drive—she helped four or five years at the Murray Boys & Girls Club helping in the day care and with walk-in youth.
“It was my first taste of teaching, and I loved running the after-school classrooms. I was hooked,” she said.
After graduating from Taylorsville High and raising four boys, she began her career as a paraeducator and decided to get her teaching degree.
“I took Intro to Special Ed, and knew that’s what I wanted to do so I switched to special ed as my major,” she said.
Bird earned her bachelor’s degree in mild/moderate special education at the University of Utah and went on to earn her master’s there in educational leadership and policy with a license in administration. She also has her endorsement in English-as-a-Second Language.
She began working for Murray School District in 2013.
“Murray has a status of excellence,” she said. “I wanted to work for Murray with its vision of education.”
While Bird enjoyed being in the classroom, she decided to get into administration as a way to help teachers, which would help more students. However, she also appreciates interacting with students in a high school, which she said is a crucial part of educational years.
“At the high school, I can work closely with teachers and funnel my work to all the students here to help in student outcomes,” Bird said.
Part of her way of doing that is to fully understand how each part of the school works, so that is her goal for this year.
“I want to learn and figure out all the nuances of what needs to happen for the students and teachers—and make sure the supports are all there,” she said.
Bird said that she’s been “running around” learning the ropes already this year. She also is advising students in student government.
However, this administrator admits she has a soft spot or two. As a grandma of one and with a second grandkid on the way she will have lots of pictures and videos on her phone and will be the “funnest grandparent around.”
And if that’s not enough, she will check on her cameras at home and once there, dote on her one-year-old Pug, Sushi, who is “the light of my world. I may be the boss (along with other administrators) everywhere else, but she’s in charge at home.”