McKay School Alumnus Shares Highlights in His Work as Teacher and Principal
Aaron Stevenson describes his enthusiasm for teaching, his interest in every student, and his gratitude for exemplary colleagues
Since he discovered his love for learning and teaching, McKay School alumnus Aaron Stevenson knew that a career in education was for right him and for his family.
Stevenson started teaching in 2005 with an internship at Bonneville Elementary in Orem, Utah, and since then has filled a variety of positions in schools. After his internship Stevenson was hired by Bonneville Elementary to teach fourth grade. After three years of teaching, he decided to return to BYU to earn a master’s degree in educational leadership.
“I have a strong desire to work with children and make a difference in their lives,” Stevenson said. “There have been many educators in my life, including my father, who taught for 40 years in California. [These individuals] have made an impact on who I am today. I felt a need to continue to be a part of that process. . . . I love what I do each day.”
After graduating in 2009 with a master’s degree, Stevenson joined North Point Elementary in its first year, teaching sixth grade. The following summer he was hired as an assistant principal, splitting his time between Freedom Elementary in Highland and Harvest Elementary in Saratoga Springs. Six months later Stevenson became principal of Orchard Elementary, where he currently serves.
Stevenson hopes that his commitment to having high-quality classroom instruction each day has benefited his students and teachers. He is excited about contributing to something important, and is motivated by seeing the art and science of teaching demonstrated daily in Orchard Elementary.
Through his years of teaching, Stevenson has learned that student success in the classroom requires meeting the social and academic needs of individuals. “When I taught, I made it a priority to interact with each child in my class to ensure [all of them] knew my concern for them,” Stevenson said. “Having children know you care about them makes all the difference in their willingness to learn. Additionally, I recognize the importance of ensuring students have access to quality instruction that meets their learning needs.”
Being a principal has provided Stevenson with opportunities to interact with other principals in the district. “My understanding of pedagogy, curriculum, best practices, research, and practical application has been enhanced as a result of our conversations,” he said. “Our collaborative discussions have had an impact in every aspect of what I do as an administrator. I feel more confident in my ability to handle complex and difficult situations because of my association with these dynamic leaders.”
Stevenson emphasizes the importance of being surrounded by exemplary, supportive people. “I am continually lifted up and made better because of their commitment and example, ” he explained.
Stevenson and his wife, Stacey, currently live in Lehi, Utah. They have three children—two girls and a boy.