Lehi Free Press: Where were you born and raised?
Joel Perkins: I was born on the east coast and spent my early youth in Pennsylvania and Delaware. Our family moved to St. George and I attended and graduated from Pine View High School. I was a four-year letterman in baseball. After two years in Argentina, I enrolled at Brigham Young University.
LFP: What is your educational background?
JP: I graduated from BYU and returned to earn a Masters Degree in educational administration. I am currently completing my doctoral dissertation with an emphasis on special education. I taught at Lehi High School for seven years where I was also the baseball coach and golf coach. I was an assistant principal at Orem High School before becoming the principal at Lehi Junior High.
LFP: In your opinion, what are some of the critical issues facing education in Utah?
JP: Funding is always an issue, but focusing on the right things is also important. Improvement comes with collaboration. It is important that every student graduate with a well-rounded education. As educators, we need to identify and address the needs of every student. I feel we can improve the educational experience for special education students by improving the current model.
LFP: What has been the greatest challenge you have faced opening a new school?
JP: TIME!! Not enough time. I have an incredible team that has helped me in this transition. I have great volunteers who have been invaluable in this effort. I have had to hire an entire staff and also worry if all the supplies have been ordered. There are so many details that have to be considered. I have been impressed with the number and quality of the applicants for staff positions. Just when I thought I had interviewed the best potential hire, I interview someone else who is just as good, or better than the previous applicant. We have hired 85 teachers and 45 classified staff members.
LFP: What has given you the most satisfaction in opening a new school?
JP: THE PEOPLE!! We have assembled a great team! We have a beautiful facility, but we have an exceptional group of people to teach and guide our students. We are building a culture and a vision that will provide all the opportunities our students need to be successful both in and out of school.
Principal Perkins is married with a son and currently resides in Highland.