Martha Bundy Crook retires after 30 years
The first time Martha Crook set foot into an elementary school in Park City, it was the only one in town. This summer, after 30 years teaching in the district, the Park City School District has four elementaries and Crook will retire.
Like so many other Parkites, Crook first came to Park City to ski the winter season. Recently graduated from two colleges in Minnesota, her mother thought she "was going to the end of the earth" when Crook first traveled to Park City. Nonetheless, Crook (then named Bundy) stayed in the area and took a job as a third-grade teacher at Marsac Elementary School in Park City.
At that time, Marsac was the only elementary school in the area and held a fairly substantial population. Crook remembers teaching classes of 36 students, some of whom were the children of working miners. She also recalls that the population would always increase from November to March and sink again once the snow melted. Two years into her job at Marsac, Crook moved to the newly finished Parley’s Park Elementary School where she taught fourth grade for a further five years.
In those days when the district was much smaller, Crook recalls that employees wore virtually every hat. Even as a school administrator, she remembers shoveling snow and going up on the roof of the school to help with maintenance. The atmosphere at that time, she said, was very collegial and teachers really had to be part of the overall team.
In the mid-80’s Crook earned a degree from the University of Utah in Instructional Technology and nearly followed the blossoming technology field to a different career all together. She said that she might have left the Park City School District, but an opportunity to teach special education arose and she could not pass it up. As it happened, Crook possessed a keen interest in special education students, as she devoted her undergraduate years to the subject, and she was very enthused about the opportunity to finally work with them.
Crook eventually found the opportunity to take advantage of her master’s degree in technology years later when she took on the role of director of instructional technology for the district. A firm believer in technology and its potential for education, Crook still believes that the proper employment of technology can open unique doors for educators. Her master’s thesis, in fact, explored the possibility of using technology to help teach special needs students.
Crook also helped to create the SMILE (Science, Math and Integrated Learning Environment) Program while on board as the district instructional technology director. Funded by a state grant, at the time she thought that grant-writing was easy. Nonetheless, a few years of administrative work and Crook was burned out. She received an opportunity to return to the collaborative nature of teaching when Trailside Elementary School opened in 2001 and she was offered the role of principal.
After seven years as principal of Trailside Elementary School, Crook declared her retirement just after securing her next job as a technology consultant for educators. She said that the post-retirement benefits did not wholly influence her decision, but made the choice much more convenient. She will leave the Park City School District at the end of June and looks forward continuing her work with educators and technology.
Two people indicated in interviews they are considering mounting campaigns for the Park City Council, a signal the City Hall election could attract an intriguing slate of candidates in a year when the majority of the five seats are on the ballot.