New Draper Elementary principal named as Riddle leaves
Current Draper Elementary Principal Piper Riddle, seen here in front on right, celebrated Draper Elementary’s 40th at the school art gala in 2016. She will leave to become Heber Elementary principal. Christy Waddell will assume the duties of principal July 1. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
Draper Elementary students shouldn’t be surprised next fall when they see their new principal riding a bike to school.
Christy Waddell, who is an outdoor enthusiast, will take the helm of Draper Elementary July 1, replacing Piper Riddle, who has taken a principal’s post with Heber Elementary, a Spanish dual-immersion school in Heber, Utah.
“I’m excited to get to know the kids, the parents, the Draper Elementary community,” Waddell said. “Draper Elementary teachers are known in the (Canyons School) District for being hard workers and knowing how to help their students succeed.”
Waddell is familiar with Draper as she resides in the community and can be seen hiking nearby canyons or biking on the trails or roads.
Waddell, who has been an administrator at Hillcrest High and Eastmont Middle School, currently is the principal of Butler Elementary in Cottonwood Heights. She has been involved in the education field for 27 years.
“The schools are similar in the fact that Draper Elementary is a great family community, like Butler, and the parents love to be extremely involved in the activities at the school and support their students and teachers,” Waddell said.
Another similarity is both schools house dual immersion. Draper teachers instruct in the Chinese language while Butler Elementary teaches French.
“I’ve had experience with dual immersion for seven years, having worked longer in dual immersion than any other Canyons School District principal. I understand the value on the language and culture and support the relationships with this program and the community,” she said.
Waddell is excited about Draper Elementary’s long-standing art collection.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for our community to have access to the art. My mother’s friend was one of the students who were involved in buying the (Norman Rockwell) Ichabod Crane painting so it’s been fun for me to learn the history of the collection and to preserve it,” she said.
The growing art collection, as well as students involved in the arts, has been an important part of the school, Riddle said.
“I think the legacy of Draper is that we value and appreciate our arts — visual arts and performing arts,” Riddle said. “We’re proud that our students have had the Beverley Taylor Sorensen arts program here for a number of years.”
The Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program is a teaching partnership between highly qualified arts specialists and classroom teachers in more than 100 Utah elementary schools. Working with the classroom specialist, the arts specialist will give students arts instruction that ties into the state’s fine-arts core curriculum.
Riddle also will miss the enthusiasm and devotion of her school community.
“I’m going to miss the positive energy in our school community. Our staff is so dedicated to our kids and their success,” she said. “The role of a school is to nurture the whole child to be a reader, writer, mathematician, good citizen — to teach empathy, kindness, the arts, technology, chess, choir, orchestra, coding, technology. We’re in it together to help all our kids find something they’re good at and the district’s framework supports that.”
Other changes in Canyons School District Draper schools include Sandy’s Jordan High School Achievement Coach Randall Saltz being named Draper Park Middle School’s assistant principal and the school’s administrative intern Nate Edvalson departing for an assistant principal post at Eastmont Middle School in Sandy.