Ralph Squire, Jake Hill named superintendant, business manager in SSSD
By Lloyd Call
MANTI—Ralph Squire, who has taught at or been an administrator at all of the secondary schools in the South Sanpete School District, will be the new superintendent, effective at the end of the current school year. The South Sanpete School Board approved the appointment at its meeting Jan. 14.
Squire replaces Kent Larsen, who has been with the district for 36 years. He has been superintendent since 2013. Larsen will retire at the end of the 2019-20 school year.
The board also approved the appointment of Jake Hill as business administrator responsible for school district finances. Hill replaces Paul Gottfredson, who has practically become an institution during 35 years in the district office.
Squire and Hill issued a joint statement, which said, “There are big shoes to fill from the past administration, specifically Superintendent Kent Larsen and Business Administrator Paul Gottfredson. They have built a great foundation of educational excellence, and we look forward to supporting teachers, staff, students, parents and our wonderful communities.”
Larsen said, “Having the opportunity to be the superintendent of the South Sanpete School District has been an honor. The district office staff has been amazing to work with. I value the relationships that I have developed with my assistants as well as all the principals.
“Working for 36 years has included three different schools and includes serving in Ephraim, Manti and Gunnison. During these times, I have built friendships with students, teachers and parents that I will treasure for the rest of my life. The district’s future looks good. Mr. Squire will take us to new heights. I look forward to looking from the sidelines with a smile.”
Squire came to the district as assistant superintendent in 2013 at the same time Larsen became superintendent. With Squire’s promotion to superintendent, Trevor Powell, principal at Gunnison Valley High School, will move into the assistant superintendent job.
Meanwhile, Leslie Taysom, who has been administrative assistant for the school district, will move into Hill’s former position as accounting director effective immediately.
Kent Larsen began his teaching career in 1983 at Vernal High School. He taught at Manti High School from 1984-1990 and Gunnison Valley High School from 1990-1996.
He served as assistant principal at Ephraim Middle School from 1996-2000, assistant principal at Gunnison Valley High School 2000-2004, principal at Ephraim Middle School from 2004-2007, and principal at Gunnison Valley High School 2007-2013.
Squire received a bachelor’s degree from Southern Utah University in technology education in 1995, a master’s from University of Phoenix in educational counseling in 2000, and an administrative certificate in 2002.
He began teaching in 1995 at Hillcrest High School. He taught at Gunnison Valley Middle and Gunnison Valley High schools from 1996-2000. He went to Manti High School as assistant principal for five years and then served as princi principal for three years. He was at Central Utah Academy as both assistant principal and principal from 2008-2011, and at Ephraim Middle School as principal from 2011-2013.
Hill earned his bachelor’s in accounting from Utah Valley University in 2011 and a master’s from SUU in 2012. He received his auditor and CPA license in 2013.
As accounting director, his duties have included payroll, accounts payable, W-2s, Affordable Care Act reporting and manager of the South Sanpete Credit Union. He has been actively training with Paul Gottfredson for the business administrator position.
Taysom earned her bachelor’s in business management from Utah Valley University in 2009, and a master’s in public administration from the University of Utah in 2013. She also has a certificate in human resource management.
She worked for Jordan School District as the human resources generalist/specialist from 2008-2014, and has been the South Sanpete School District office administrative assistant/secretary since 2014.
Powell graduated from Utah State University with his bachelor’s degree in 1994, from the University of Phoenix with a master’s degree in educational counseling in 2000, and from Southern Utah University in 2004 with an administrative certificate.
He taught business/marketing and coached at Gunnison Valley High School from 1994 to 2002, was assistant principal from 2002 to 2013 as assistant principal, and has been principal since 2013.
Powell said, “I have always enjoyed working for South Sanpete School District and this is another great opportunity within the district to serve our kids.”
Gottfredson graduated from Southern Utah University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting.
He was hired and appointed in 1985 by the South Sanpete board members Donald Shand, McLoyd Ericksen, Glen Lee, Diana Spencer and Dwight Inouye. He has served under five superintendents: Scott Bean, Lewis Mullins, Jim Peterson, Donald Hill and Kent Larsen.
He has served on numerous task forces and committees, including the UEA and USOE Task Forces on Health Insurance, School Fees and Necessarily Existent Small Schools.
He has also served as the president of UASBO (Utah Association of School Business Officials) as well as the president of the Utah School Boards Risk Management Insurance Association and the USBE Fiscal Users Advisory Board.
Gottfredson was elected to the board of directors of Educators Mutual Insurance Association in 2002 and still serves on the executive committee. He also chairs the EMI marketing and legislative committee, and is currently the president of the Educators Mutual Insurance Association of Utah Risk Pool.
In reflecting on his career with the district, Gottfredson shared some interesting statistics. In 1985, budgeted expenses were just over $7 million; in 2020, the figure is just over $45 million.
In 1985, a beginning teacher’s salary was $14,676; in 2020 it is $41,789.
In 1985, there were 2,365 students in the district, and in 2020, the number is 3,211, an increase of over 1,000.
“The thing I take the most pride in is our new schools; we have all new schools with the exception of Gunnison Valley and Manti High schools, and they have seen many renovations,” he said. “The last 35 years have gone faster than the first 30 years of my life, that’s for sure.”