Skip to main content

Davis Journal

Education – a labor of love

Apr 29, 2021 12:46PM ● By Becky Ginos

FARMINGTON—John Sheffield has been in education for 36 years, but to him it’s more than a career – it’s an act of love. He is an Elementary Director for the Davis School District and is retiring at the end of the school year.

“It’s about touching their hearts and minds,” said Sheffield. “They need to know you love them and care about them and want them to be successful.”

Sheffield comes from a long line of educators. “Both of my parents were in education and my grandfather too, so I come from that cloth.”

He got his start in 1985 as a substitute at South Weber Elementary. “The teacher was going out on maternity leave,” Sheffield said. “Then I ended up staying for five more years as a teacher and loved that.”

Sheffield became the principal at West Point Elementary in 1991 then went to East Layton where he was principal for eight years. “When they built the brand new Heritage Elementary I was fortunate to open that school,” he said. “It was one of my favorite experiences.”

He moved on to become an Elementary Director for the district and has been in that position for 13 years. “I’m the old man on the floor,” said Sheffield. “My focus is on Farmington north. I’ve been involved in hiring half the people in the district. I believe in hiring good people.”

The greatest contribution to kids is to hire good principals, he said. “We want to make sure they’re meeting the needs of the children. There’s a difference between teaching and administration but they’re both great.”

Although the pandemic has been hard on educators, Sheffield said some good things have come out of it. “It has allowed us to recreate what our education is for our kiddos. It’s more personalized, whether they’re at school or remote. It’s forced us to look at the social, emotional learning of our children and allowed us to peel back the onion of what’s most important and what we need to do or should do.”

Parents, the PTA, community councils and teachers go above and beyond, said Sheffield. “You see people working after hours, weekends, nights. They’re just doing an awesome job with the challenges they’ve been asked to do.”

Sheffield said when he was a principal a lot of kids were sent to the office for one reason or another. “I had a hero book of honor. When kids would come down I would give them a certificate and let them sign their name in the principal’s book of honor. I was always looking for ways to build a relationship with the children. Relationships are more important than any task at hand.”

After he retires, Sheffield and his wife plan to get in shape so they can serve others. “I’m also excited to spend more time with my children, grandchildren and my parents,” he said. “My father is turning 94 and my mom is 88. As a young woman she headed to Washington to get her master’s, that was unheard of back then. They’ve been such an example to me.”

It will be hard to leave after 37 years, said Sheffield. “I’ve loved it. Every day presents a challenge that gives you the opportunity to do something right. (As directors) we’ve tried to do what’s best for the most. I’ll miss them – I know that for sure.”