Danny Stirland has been principal of Granite Park Junior High for the past three years, and he’s done a phenomenal job focusing on student growth and fostering a safe and positive school culture for the 500+ middle school students. In July he’ll be transitioning into the role of Accountability Director, where he’ll have the opportunity to work with 15 junior highs in Granite School District.
Danny, we will miss you dearly, but we’re so excited for the positive change you will surely create in your new role! In honor of Danny, we thought it would be fun to ask him some questions about his experience at Granite Park Junior High.
-What’s your favorite part about being principal at GPJH?
D: The students. I love the diversity here and the opportunity to work with so many kids from all over the world. I’ve learned a lot from their different perspectives. The resiliency of the kids is really inspiring. It’s one of the things that makes GPJH such a great place to work.
-What wisdom or sage advice would you leave your students?
D: I’d want them to really understand that they can do anything they want, and become whatever they want to become. I want them to focus on their growth. Don’t let anyone tell them they can’t do something.
-What are you most excited about for the future?
D: I’m extremely torn. I will miss GPJH tremendously. I’m excited to be able to work with 15 Junior Highs and help principals make a difference in their students’ lives.
Even though I’ll be supervising 15 Junior High Schools one of them is GPJH, and it will always occupy a large place in my heart. I’ll try and be there as much as I can so I can still be a part of the great work going on here.
-What can you tell me about the incoming principal, Aaron Wilson?
D: He was assistant principal here at GPJH for 4 years. This last year he was assistant principal at West Lake. I actually recommended him as my replacement, he was the man for the job. He’s incredibly passionate about helping students at GPJH. He’s stoked to come back. He knows the school, the kids, the values, and he’s a huge support of the growth mindset. He values the diversity of the students, and he’ll do a phenomenal job.
Aaron’s nickname is 6’10”
-What is one of your favorite memories at GPJH?
D: This year we were revalidated as an AVID demonstration school which is a pretty rigorous process. There are classroom evaluations and students are interviewed. After all that work, we were revalidated, I was able to announce the renewal. I could hear all the cheers from students in their classrooms after the announcement. It was a really special moment—the kids were full of pride and excitement, we all were. A response from a student who had only been with us a month or two sums up the experience perfectly: He came up to me and said “Our school win, yeah?” He didn’t know exactly what was going on but he sensed the school pride and positivity. The excitement and the sense of triumph was palpable.
Another thing I really love about Granite Park is that we focus on growth. A lot of our students are going through a lot, but we focus on the positive, on their growth. And that’s something we pride ourselves on.
-What will you miss the most?
D: I’ll definitely miss knowing the students on a more personal level, knowing their names, interacting with them directly. In my new role as Accountability Director the impact will be more indirect.
Good luck, Danny, on your new role! GPJH will miss you!
Thanks for all you have done, and will continue
to do, for kids and families in our community!
*Granite Park Junior High is a United Way of Salt Lake Community School. To find out more about community schools, visit our website.