Beginning with his volunteer work as a teenager and continuing through his military service, education, and current position as Granite School District superintendent, McKay School alumnus Martin Bates has sought to put service first.
In his more than 20 years as a school and district administrator, Bates has loved working alongside others to improve schools. He says that his passion for teaching is what sparked his interest in school administration. “I wanted to serve more and serve better,” he said.
As a young man, Bates volunteered in the adolescent psychiatry ward at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City. He found that he enjoyed helping children learn. He extended this passion by studying education at BYU and volunteering at the Wasatch Mental Health center, helping children with disabilities.
Bates enlisted in the National Guard in 1988. His deployment for Operation Desert Storm put his career in education briefly on hold, but after returning he began teaching again in 1991. He taught at Independence High School, an alternative school for struggling students in the Provo City School District.
While at Independence High School, Bates became a part-time administrator and began to see a broader scope of the difference he could make. He discovered that in an administrative position he could impact not only students but teachers as well.
Bates continued his personal education by earning a joint JD/PhD in philosophy and educational leadership from BYU in 1996. Later, in September of 2010, he was appointed the superintendent of Granite School District.
Bates credits the McKay School with teaching him the importance of service. He believes his commitment to service is what has brought him fulfillment throughout his career. “My purpose has been to serve and thereby lead,” Bates said.
According to Bates, the most significant part of his career has been to be able to work with people who care deeply about building strong communities. “There is no question that our community and our society are changing,” he said. “It’s been really rewarding for me to be involved with so many great people who are laying the foundation for our society.”
Writer: Kirsten Clancy
Contact: Cynthia Glad (801) 422-1922