Tooele County School District lost its two top leaders in 2013 and hired its first superintendent from outside of the area in several years.
Terry Linares, Tooele County School District superintendent and Ken Luke, assistant superintendent, both announced in April that they would retire at the end of the school year.
“I’ve thought about it and it’s just time,” she said.
Linares’ last official participation in a high school graduation took her back to Wendover where her 39-year career with Tooele County School District began.
Linares started working for the district in 1974 as a school secretary in Wendover. In 1979 she and her family moved to Grantsville where she continued to work as a school secretary, first at Grantsville Elementary School and later at Grantsville Junior High School.
While working at Grantsville Junior High School, Linares completed a bachelor’s degree in history from Utah State University’s Tooele campus.
After completing her bachelor’s degree, she commuted after school for two and a half years to Logan to complete her teaching certification from USU.
Linares started teaching English and history at Grantsville Junior High School in 1989 and then at Grantsville High School for five years.
She then served as assistant principal at GHS for three years and then as principal for six years at the same school.
In 2004, Linares was selected as the secondary education director for the school district. In 2007 she was appointed as assistant superintendent.
In May 2008 the school board announced its selection of Linares to succeed Mike Johnsen as superintendent after Johnsen announced his retirement.
Luke had been with the Tooele County School District for 31 years when he retired.
Luke grew up in Tooele. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1980 and returned to Tooele and worked with his father in the insurance business for two years before he landed a teaching job at Stockton Elementary in 1982. He has since taught at Stockton, Harris, and Northlake Elementary schools.
Luke served for seven years as principal at East Elementary and opened Rose Springs Elementary. He worked there as principal for a year and a half before being selected as the elementary education director for the district.
He was promoted to assistant superintendent by Linares in 2008.
To replace Linares, the school board reached outside the state to find its new superintendent. The district advertised the superintendent position through the Utah School Board Association and received eight applications.
The board interviewed four candidates and selected Scott Rogers, superintendent of the Minidoka County Joint School District in Rupert, Idaho.
Rogers is the first Tooele County School District superintendent in eight years that did not spend his entire teaching career in the district.
Rogers earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Brigham Young University in 1986 and a master’s degree in school psychology from BYU in 1989. He earned a doctorate in psychology from Rochville University and holds an educational specialist degree in educational administration from Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho.
Rogers worked for four years as a psychologist in private practice and for the state of Idaho. He was the principal of Snake River Middle School in Blackfoot, Idaho for four years before moving to Arco, Idaho to become superintendent of the Butte County School District. In 2005, Rogers became the superintendent of the Minidoka County Joint School District.
Rogers was greeted with a mandate from the Tooele County School Board to cut $1.4 million from the 2013-2014 budget when he arrived in Tooele on July 1.
Three days later he sent a memo to all district staff that identified $666,828 in budget reductions—almost half of the goal.
Shortly after arriving here, Rogers said he wanted to get through the budget adjustments and then get on to more urgent business.
“We need to be good stewards of the taxpayer’s money,” he said. “But we need to get on with our real business of educating students.”
Rogers had already identified several areas of emphasis that he wants to address, including improved math and reading scores; without raising taxes, improve teacher compensation to increase teacher retention; to build trust with parents and the public; retain and strengthen professional learning communities and response to intervention; and have the district demonstrate fiscal responsibility.
“The public demands and deserves to see improvement and accountability,” he said. “There are things that have happened in the past that we can’t change. Going forward we don’t make excuses. We can make improvements.”