North Sanpete staff take new
leadership assignment for ’20-’21
By Suzanne Dean
Three veteran educators, all of whom grew up in the North Sanpete area, and all of whom have spent most or all of their careers in the North Sanpete School District, will be moving to new leadership positions for the 2020-21 school year.
Randy Shelley, a former principal at North Sanpete Middle School and assistant superintendent for the past 10 years, has been named superintendent in the Wayne County School District.
Replacing him as assistant superintendent will be O’Dee Hansen, who has been principal at the middle school for the past six years. Prior to that, Hansen was a counselor at North Sanpete High School for seven years.
Jeff Ericksen, currently assistant principal at North Sanpete High School, who has coached tennis at North Sanpete for 17 years, will move into the principal’s chair at the middle school.
The changes occurred as Superintendent Sam Ray retired and Nan Ault, principal at North Sanpete High School, took over as superintendent.
Earlier, Christine Straatman, who spent 10 years in Sanpete County, and then moved on to principalships in the Granite School District, was appointed principal of North Sanpete High School, replacing Ault.
Randy Shelley grew up on a farm in Fairview and graduated from North Sanpete High School in 1990. After receiving an associate degree from Snow College, he graduated from Southern Utah University in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in music. He started his career as a music teacher at Wayne Middle and Wayne High schools, in the same district where he will become superintendent.
“I’m excited to be returning to where it all started for me,” he says, “and looking forward to working with the students, parents, teachers, administrators, staff and school board of the Wayne County School District.”
In 1993, Shelley was hired as teacher at North Sanpete Middle School. He moved into teaching music, math and computer science at both the middle and high schools. Meanwhile, he completed a master’s degree in educational leadership at BYU.
In 2005, he was named principal of North Sanpete Middle School, and in 2010, he became assistant superintendent. He says working under two superintendents, Leslie Keisel and Sam Ray, has given him “a variety of perspectives on vision and leadership.”
During the past decade, he has played a key role in several initiatives in the North Sanpete district, including creating the district-wide preschool program, creating the alternative school, building the new Mt. Pleasant Elementary School, and implementing professional learning communities (PLCs) where teachers work in teams to share teaching ideas and help each other solve problems.
O’Dee Hansen’s full name is Thayne O’Deen Hansen, but he has gone by O’Dee most of his life. He grew up in Chester and Moroni and graduated from North Sanpete High School.
He took a psychology class at the high school that influenced his future direction. After graduating from Snow College, he went to Weber State University, where he graduated in psychology. Then he went on to Utah State University where he earned a master’s in school counseling.
He returned to North Sanpete as a counselor and held that job for seven years. Meanwhile, he received his administrative endorsement from Southern Utah University.
He became assistant principal and then principal at North Sanpete Middle School. He has been in those positions for eight years.
“As I now enter the next stage of my career, I can’t help but think of the important professional relationships that I have made over the years, the students and fellow educators who have taught me valuable life lessons,” he says.
As assistant superintendent, he says, his goal is to “give back as much as I have been given.”
He says he subscribes to a statement by Derek Jeter, a New York Yankee star who said, “There may be people that have more talent than you do, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.”
Jeff Ericksen grew up in Fairvew, the son of John Ericksen, who became principal of North Sanpete High School. He himself is a North Sanpete High School graduate.
Ericksen received his associate degree from Snow College and his bachelor’s degree from Southern Utah University. He majored in Spanish and a minor in P.E.
Later, he received a master’s in secondary education and an administrative endorsement from Utah State University.
Ericksen just completed his 22nd year with the North Sanpete School District. He began his career teaching math and health at North Sanpete Middle School.
He taught Spanish and health at the high school for 14 years. For the past six years, he has been assistant principal at the high school under Nan Ault.
Athletics have been a big part of his career. He has been a coach for Hawk tennis teams for 17 years. His teams have won 14 region championships and placed in the top five in state several times. He also coached boys basketball for four years.
“I have a depth of feelings for my time, the people and all my students at North Sanpete High School that is hard to put into words,” he said “and I am extremely excited to work with the faculty, staff and students at North Sanpete Middle School.”