Vernon Elementary School

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Highlighting the 2021 Administrator of the Year

Grit and gratitude. Those are two words Stansbury High School Principal Gailynn Warr attributes to her success in life.

She defines grit as the ability to do hard things and keep persevering in the face of challenges, over and over, and over again. As far as gratitude goes, she said it is important to not only be grateful but also to express it.

“Being grateful for what you have helps you achieve even more,” said Warr.

Warr is in her 28th year in the education field. She has worked in administration for 20 years in both elementary and secondary schools. She has been a teacher and coach as well.

Mark Brunsdale, SHS vice principal, nominated her for the award. He has seen Warr’s determination in action.

“When she hits a rough patch and it looks like something may not succeed, she may struggle, but if she knows something is good for instruction and student learning, she doesn’t give up,” said Brunsdale. “She challenges those around her to rise to the occasion and then she goes in and works right alongside them.”

Brunsdale’s nomination letter described Warr as an advocate for both students and teachers alike.

“She is a cheerleader to all students, whether they are struggling with attendance, trying to improve academically, or competing in extra-curricular activities,” said Brunsdale. “She practices what she preaches as she works with individual teachers and students in a mentoring capacity.”

Jacob Jones, SHS teacher and coach, agreed with Brunsdale.

“I’ve watched her walk the hallways with every type of student and talk to them at their level. I’ve watched her work with struggling teachers and those that are doing well, said Jones. “She has a true desire to help everyone improve.”

Jones also said Warr puts the welfare of the school at the top of her priority list.

“When she makes those hard decisions and gets the inevitable backlash, she works through it,” said Jones. “She looks for ways to improve if needed, stands by her decisions, and continues pressing us all forward.”

When Warr found out she had won the award she felt a sense of humility.

“I work with some brilliant leaders and many of them could have won this award,” said Warr. “I couldn’t help think of all of them who have helped me along the way.”

Not only was she appreciative of her colleagues, but she also credits her family for her success..

“My parents were wonderful examples of hard workers and they were leaders in their own jobs,” said Warr. “We lived in Grantsville on property with horses and it was my responsibility to help haul hay, muck stalls, and break horses. My parents helped me learn tough lessons and they had an incredible work ethic.”

Warr said her husband, Gus, two children, and grandchildren are her biggest supporters.

“They have always encouraged me to do what I wanted and have supported me as I went for it.”

Although Warr wanted to be a truck driver when she was younger, she always envisioned herself in a leadership position.

“Knowing people depend on me has always motivated me to work hard and work smart,” said Warr. “I am lucky enough to enjoy a career that feels more like a calling. Even if I won the lottery, I would still want to do this job. I’m not here just for a paycheck.”

One of the things she likes most about her job is to see the incredible things her students do.

“They have overcome hard things and yet, even with the challenges they have faced, they get through them full of energy, life, and laughter. They have so many opportunities and how they manage everything on their plates is impressive.”