Few friends have as much in common as Kory Crockett and Joseph Olson. Both men teach eighth grade social studies at Mount Jordan Middle School, both grew up with large families in Utah, both currently live in West Jordan, both have wives who are expecting with due dates in September, both have earned a master’s degree from a Utah school, and both are currently pursuing second master's degrees in education at Brigham Young University.
Crockett and Olson first met when Crockett took a teaching position at Mount Jordan Middle School. What started as a working relationship quickly transformed into a fast friendship.
“We definitely both share a love of social studies and teaching history,” said Olson. “We're about the same age. Our wives, thankfully, hit it off, and our daughters are almost the same age as well. It really just became a natural, easy friendship.”
Choosing to enroll in the McKay School’s Accelerated Preparation Program at the same time, both teachers will earn master's degrees in educational leadership and Utah administrative licenses within the next year.
While both are enjoying having a study partner who lives a few minutes away, Crockett and Olson fully recognize the advantage of working in a cohort of individuals from across Utah. “The opportunity to collaborate with people outside of Salt Lake Valley has been eye-opening,” said Olson. “Being able to collaborate with people who have a slightly different focus within their districts is rewarding.”
Being a full-time teacher and father while being a part-time student is often time consuming, so Crockett and Olson have found creative ways to spend time with their families. Olson turned a trip to collect his student ID into a daddy-daughter date, grabbing ice cream at the BYU Creamery and walking around campus with his young daughter. When carpooling to BYU campus, they take turns calling their wives on the hour-long drive.
Both men are sacrificing their time and energy to earn their administrative licenses, but thinking about the future keeps them going. “We're doing this because of what it can do for us and our families in the long term,” said Crockett.
Through attending school, Crockett hopes to set an example for his daughter. “To show how important education is, we call it ‘daddy school.’ Daddy teaches school, then daddy attends school,” said Crockett. “She knows that one day she's going to attend school too, just like mom and dad.”
Olson also uses his position as a teacher and his current enrollment at BYU as a teaching opportunity for his own daughter. “As an educator, I am able to use some of those same methods and skills in working with my own daughter to help her not only realize that education is important but how to deal with her own challenges,” said Olson.
Crockett and Olson’s commitment to continuing education and bettering themselves reflect their commitment to helping their students grow. When speaking about their personal teaching philosophies, both men focused on their students’ progression. “It's rewarding to see the ‘aha moment’ with my students,” said Crockett.
Olson echoed Crockett’s sentiments, adding how his own experience with arthrogryposis, a physical disability which partially restricts movement in joints, motivates his teaching. “I like to help my students overcome challenges and help them learn that they can utilize the tools around them—their classmates, myself as a teacher, their families, their support systems—to help them.”
After completing the program, Crockett hopes to become a principal or assistant principal. “I've liked what I've been able to do working in my classroom,” said Crockett, “but I’d also like to work school-wide and help students school-wide.”
While Olson has considered becoming an assistant principal, he’s also contemplated earning a PhD or becoming a professor. While Olson’s path is less clear, he sees a MEd in school leadership with the McKay School as an opportunity to improve himself, give back to education, and work with school districts across Utah.
Want to learn more about EdLF students? Click here to discover how students made an impact in Houston this summer while interning with the Aldine ISD Summer Escape Program.
Writer: Emma Smith
Contact: Cynthia Glad 801-422-1922