"I learned truths and principles [at BYU] that act as a compass as I make educational decisions every day,” says Monroe.

Cort MonroeCort Monroe graduated from the McKay School a decade ago and is now principal of Pedro Guerrero Elementary School in Mesa, Arizona. During his three years as principal, the school has been recognized as a “success school” in regards to how teachers use technology to impact student achievement. “This recognition carries with it the responsibility to entertain visitors from all over the country who would like to see how we are using technology to achieve success with a high-risk population in an urban setting,” Monroe explained.

Originally from Huntington Beach, California, Monroe married his wife, Michelle, in 1995. They decided to attend BYU together, and both graduated in 1999, Cort with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a minor in Spanish, and Michelle with a degree from the School of Nursing. Cort Monroe’s favorite aspect of BYU was the “spirit that permeates everything in Provo”; he treasures memories of football games, visits to the BYU Creamery, and slipping on ice. From an academic perspective, he appreciated quiet times in the library, interactions with great professors, and BYU Devotionals.

After graduating from BYU, Cort went on to earn a master’s degree in administration and supervision from Arizona State University in 2001. He has taught in a variety of positions within the field of education, from teaching elementary school to instructing undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Phoenix. During his time in elementary schools, Monroe taught third and sixth graders, as well as ESL and bilingual programs. In his current job as an elementary school principal, he has discovered that the position brings with it more responsibility and less contact with the students. Still he recognizes that he now has the opportunity to have a positive impact on a larger number of students.

Monroe explained that while his college education taught him to understand theory, research, and foundations, the “practical side” of teaching is best learned within a classroom. “It’s similar to when you are getting married and everybody gives you advice,” he said. “The advice people give you serves as a guide, but not until you have been married for a while do you really learn to make your marriage work practically.”

Monroe expressed gratitude for the foundation that BYU provided for him as he entered the workforce, because it has helped him see the “big picture” of life, both in his profession and in the Gospel. “Truly you enter BYU to learn and go forth to serve,” he stated. “Professionally, BYU has provided foundations on which I can depend. I learned truths and principles that act as a compass as I make educational decisions every day.”

Monroe devotes most of his free time to his wife and four daughters. “Free time is not aplenty when you are a school administrator,” he remarked. His hobbies include watching and participating in sports, camping, hiking, serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and reading. “I rarely take a break from reading a book,” he said. Monroe also enjoys coaching sports. In the past he has coached football, basketball, and high school volleyball, and he is currently helping out with his daughters’ soccer and softball teams. “It is hard for me to help out with dance class, but I do my best with the other sports in the family,” he said.

March 19, 2009