Grand County school-age students set to start classes next week
Aug 14, 2014 | 2638 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Classes begin next week at all Grand County schools. Photo by Tom Taylor
Classes begin next week at all Grand County schools. Photo by Tom Taylor
It’s that time of year again.

Grand County school-age kids will begin classes next week, and student registration has already taken place at all area schools.

Classes for most grades at Grand County High School, middle school and Helen M. Knight Elementary School will start Wednesday, Aug. 20. Kindergarten students at HMK begin classes on Aug. 26 and Aug. 27. Students at the Moab Charter School are scheduled to begin classes on Tuesday, Aug. 19. Preschool classes at the Sundwall Center begin Sept. 8.

Grand County High School

608 South 400 East


Principal: Stephen Hren

Grand County High School serves approximately 450 students, grades nine through 12 each year.

Principal Stephen Hren will be entering his 26th year at GCHS. During his first 18 years, Hren taught science and developed curricula for three science courses. He also coached the football team for several years. This year will be Hren’s eighth year as principal of GCHS.

“The longest tenure, I believe, since C.R. Sundwall was principal in the 1950s,” he said.

The high school’s associate principal is Cari Caylor.

Grand County Middle School

429 South 100 East


Principal: Melinda Snow

In 1997, construction was completed on Grand County High School, which enabled the district to move Grand County Middle School out of the facility on Center Street, which now houses the City of Moab offices, and into the old high school facility. GCMS houses around 250 seventh and eighth grade students.

Grand County Middle School will hold orientation for students on Thursday, Aug. 14 from 1 to 9 p.m.

GCMS Principal Melinda Snow has been the principal since 2003. Snow spent eighteen years working for the Murray School District before hearing about the job opening in Moab. “The universe was conspiring,” she said. “I was a single mother with a desire for change and adventure.”

Snow had visited Moab frequently to go rafting and backpacking. “I was very familiar with the city and the beauty and sense of freedom Moab offers,” she said. “We drove to Moab, and I applied for a tentative position. I was hired within a couple of days. And I am forever grateful.”

Helen M. Knight Elementary School

505 North MiVida Drive

435-719-4827 (K-3 office);

435-719-4830 (4-6 office)

Principal: Taryn Kay

Helen M. Knight Elementary School first opened in 1955 in response to the rising population in Moab due to the uranium boom. The school is named after Helen M. Knight, the first female superintendent in the Grand County School District. She served as superintendent from 1936-1961.

HMK’s pre-registration began Monday, Aug. 11 and continues through Friday, Aug. 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. All first- through sixth-grade students are required to pre-register. Students new to Grand County School District are also urged to pre-register. Parents should bring a copy of their student’s immunization record and a certified birth certificate. 

Kindergarten students whose last names begin with the letters A through M will begin classes on Tuesday, Aug. 26, while students whose last names begin with the letters N through Z will start school on Wednesday, Aug. 27.

HMK will host a Back to School Night for students in kindergarten through third grade on Wednesday, Sept. 3 from 6 to 7 p.m. Back to School Night for grades four through six will be Thursday, Sept. 4 from 6 to 7 p.m.

HMK Principal Taryn Kay has been in Moab for 23 years.

“I spent the first eleven years teaching fifth and sixth grade,” she said. After that, Kay spent nine years as the Special Education director for the district. In 2010, when the old HMK elementary school combined with Red Rock Elementary, Kay acted as co-principal of the school, serving grades 4-6. This year, Kay will serve as principal over all eight hundred students at HMK with help from new Assistant Principal Lee Petty.

C.R. Sundwall Center

190 East 100 North


Director: Sherrie Buckingham

The C.R. Sundwall Center was originally completed in 1973 to educate students with moderate to severe disabilities. Fifteen years later, when those students were integrated into the other schools, the center was converted to a preschool for developmentally delayed children. The Sundwall preschool program is deisgned to address the needs of three and four year old children with mild to severe developmental delays,” Sundwall director Sherrie Buckingham said.

On Wednesday, Aug. 20, speech and developmental testing for 3- to 5-year-old children will be offered at the Sundwall Preschool from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. These services are offered free to the public through the Grand County School District. To make an appointment for testing contact Ayni at 435-259-5628 for an appointment. Walk-in testing is available for those who are willing to wait. 

According to Buckingham, this will be the first year that the preschool is able to offer a program for typically developing children. “The new preschool classroom will only serve four-year-old children,” she said. The program is free for families who qualify for free or reduced lunch or $100 a month for families who don’t. Registration for the new program is open Aug. 18 to Sept. 5 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sundwall Preschool office.

Preschool classes begin Sept. 8.

This will be Buckingham’s first year as director of the preschool. She previously served as the principal for kindergarten through third grade at Helen M. Knight Elementary School and was previously the principal at Red Rock Elementary School. A Grand County High School alumnus, she left Moab after graduation, but returned in 1997 and started working as the special education director for the Grand County School District.

“After 14 years as a principal, I’ve come full circle,” she said.

Moab Charter School

348 East 300 South


Director: Emma Weiss

Moab Charter School opened its doors 10 years ago, offering an alternative for grades kindergarten through six. In the past six years, under the direction of Joseph Heywood, the school has grown from an enrollment of 36 students to 135, and Heywood was recently awarded the Utah Charter Director of the Year Award.

This year, Emma Weiss will take over as director of MCS, as Heywood has taken a job working with the Utah State Office of Education.

Weiss has worked for more than 15 years as a principal in Massachusetts, Arizona and Hawaii.

“Ms. Weiss is a talented administrator who will work well with the MCS strengths: a strong core of parent volunteers, an exceptional staff of teachers, and a wonderful group of students who thrive in our small school culture,” the school’s board members said in a news release.

MCS students begin school on Tuesday, Aug. 19.

Moab Montessori Center

62 North 200 East


Director: Jen Wilkinson

The Moab Montessori Center, located at 62 North 200 East in Moab, is now accepting children as young as 18 months into its toddler program, according to director Jen Wilkinson, who added that the center also now offers first-grade learning for 6- and 7-year-olds, in addition to preschool and kindergarten. 

Mixed-age classes in a child-centered learning environment characterize the center’s educational approach, which focuses on the areas of practical life, sensorial, language, math, science, music, and art. Its motto is “where children love what they do.”

Annual tuition ranges from $5,100 to $6,600 for the preschool/kindergarten/first grade program for children ages 3 to 7. Tuition for those enrolled in the toddler program (ages 18 months to 3 years) is $5,500. Payment options include yearly, tri-annually, or in 10 monthly installments.  Extended child care is also available before and after school, at a rate of $5 per hour.

Wilkinson said the center is currently working toward achieving non-profit status. For more information about the Moab Montessori Center and its programs, call 435-237-2119 or email

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