New Gunnison principal pledges to combine skill set with hard work
By Dyna Folkersen
GUNNISON—The new principal of Gunnison Valley High School believes his skill set, combined with his commitment to hard work, will be the keys to making the school “the greatest place in the world.”
Eugene King, who grew up in Gunnison and is a graduate of the high school himself, was appointed in February replacing Trevor Powell, who was named as assistant superintendent in the South Sanpete School District.
King, who is currently principal of Circleville Elementary School in Piute County, has taught and facilitated at every level of the educational system from pre-kindergarten to Grade 12.
“I simply have a passion for teaching and leading students to be their very best,” King said. “I’ve been a principal for… let’s see… 12-13 years now.”
In fact. King was the principal for both Escalante High School and Escalante Elementary School for seven years.
“I was the principal at Escalante High School, and about a year into that the elementary school called saying that their principal got released, so I served for seven years at both,” King said.
King’s family moved to the Gunnison Valley when he was five. He lived in Sanpete County (mainly Gunnison) until he graduated from Snow College in 1998. King went on to attend Southern Utah University where he received his bachelor of science in zoology in 2003 and his master’s degree in education with an administrative endorsement in 2013.
After he finished college, King spent 11 years in Escalante, four years as the high school science teacher and other seven in administration.
“Staying busy in my professional life has not been a problem,” King said. “I think I have a skill set that will allow Gunnison Valley High to not only be a good school but to be a great school.”
After his years in Escalante, King got the opportunity to take a job closer to home in Piute County, as the elementary school principal.
“The elementary school had been one whose school grades (the ratings assigned by the state based on student test scores) struggled, and I was tasked with the objective of creating an environment that was more conducive to highly achieving students,” King said.
In one year Circleville Elementary School went from a D grade to an A grade, and its reading and attendance scores increased significantly.
“I try to show people how much I truly care for them by not only having high expectations but having the skills to help them be better every day,” King said.
“I hope students will have a great experience like the one I had at Gunnison High School,” King said. “In fact, I use things that I learned from Donald Hill through my years in college and as a principal today,” he said. (Hill later became superintendent in the South Sanpete School District.)
King accredits his success to hard work.
“The work is unavoidable and I don’t care who you are or where you come from if you are simply willing to outwork people, success is in your future,” King said.
“How lucky are we at Gunnison Valley High School to have a talented staff and student body. We are simply going to outwork everybody to make Gunnison High School the greatest place in the world.”
“Sanpete’s home, Gunnison’s home,” King said of his pending move from Piute to Sanpete County. “Most of the Gunnison community will already know me because I grew up there.”
King’s wife, Natalie, and three children are excited to move back to Gunnison also. In fact, two of the King’s children, Tyree, 17, and Titan, 15, will be attending Gunnison Valley High School. The Kings also have a younger daughter Kazlee, 12.
“I have loved the people in every school district in which I have served and am looking forward to creating long-lasting, valuable relationships in Gunnison,” King said.