McKay alumnus says inspiring people is part of a leader’s role.
McKay alumnus now Educational Leadership and Foundations instructor Chris Sorensen loves teaching and never regretted his decision to help guide people through education. Sorensen is currently serving as an administrative internship supervisor for the McKay School in the Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations.
Sorensen explains that he chose a career in education because “it just felt right.” It matched his skill set and gave him plenty of opportunities to help people. During his time as a student at the McKay School, a former high school English teacher encouraged him to go into elementary education because the professor felt it was the best environment to work in as a principal. This Springville, Utah native earned a bachelor’s degree from the McKay School in 1977.
Since studying at BYU, Sorensen has spent 33 years in different schools across Utah. He has served as an elementary teacher, middle school teacher, assistant principal, principal, director of elementary education, and superintendent. He was also the president of the Utah School Superintendents Association and selected as the Utah Superintendent of the Year in 2009.
Happiness is the key to success
During his long and successful career, Sorensen learned that if he led a happy life he would be more able to help people and treat them with kindness. “I have learned and strongly believe that success is not the key to happiness, but rather that happiness is the key to success,” Sorensen said. “I believe my greatest contribution has been to try and treat everyone with kindness and respect. I see a lot of people who think that success is the key to happiness. They think, ‘when I’m successful, I’m going to be the happiest person on earth.’ But when you get older you begin to understand that people who are successful are people who were happy first.”
Learning through leading
As a principal, Sorensen helped lead the construction of three high schools, two junior highs, and numerous elementary schools; he also contributed to the reconstruction of the Nebo School District office. In addition to working in education, Sorensen is currently serving his third term on the Springville City Council. These various projects have allowed him to use his position and leadership skills to help others.
“Having been influenced by many great leaders over the years, I understand the positive impact a great leader can have on an individual's life,” Sorensen said. “It is a very difficult time and age that we live in. Inspiring leaders are like beacons of light on a hill, showing and encouraging us to keep progressing in the right direction.” We need leaders who have the ability to influence lives, which is becoming more important as the world changes.
People crave leadership and guidance. Sorensen says, “People recognize that their experience and knowledge are somewhat limited, and a good leader helps them be exposed to other things that are critically important.”
Sorensen currently lives in Springville, Utah with his wife, Karen. They have three children and eight grandchildren.