Mr. Meier retires, his career was a goooooaaaaaal

PARK CITY, Utah. — Families and faculty from Trailside Elementary School will be saying au revoir to more than just the COVID curriculum on the last day of school this year. Beloved PE teacher Dan Meier is retiring after imparting his knowledge and his wisdom, and not necessarily in that order, to students for 34 years.

Thursday, June 3rd, after 20 years of working at Trailside, Meier will emcee the balloon-rainbow/dance music/bubble machine annual graduation day clap-out for the last time. For the first time, however, he has earned his own spot in that line of happy Trailside Trailblazers walking, nay running out of the front doors for the last time. Besides the graduation partaaaay, Trailside will also have Meier’s big sneakers to fill emceeing and photographing the Halloween parties, the St. Patrick’s Day parties, the end-of-year parties, the Field Days the track meets, the assemblies, the national Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser, the…

Meier spent three years teaching in the classroom at Jeremy Ranch Elementary School before transferring to Trailside as it originally opened in 2001.

“Our first year we had the high of the Winter Olympics and the low of 9/11,” said Meier.

He is one of only three staff members remaining from that first year.

“One thing I am not going to miss is dealing with 40-50 kindergartners on the very first day of school after they have been in the school for only three hours.  Talk about herding cats!  One of the things I am going to miss is working with 40-50 kindergartners after the first day.  You never know what they will say or do,” said Meier. “Another thing I’ll miss is watching all the children grow during their six years at school.  I remember one student that I had down in Texas. In kindergarten, he, unfortunately, had a little wet accident in his pants on the very first day because he was too shy to ask to go to the bathroom.  By the time he was a 5th grader he was six feet tall and an awesome outgoing student who was the most popular kid in the school.” 

Teaching PE in Park City is teaching more world-renown athlete’s children than one can count on their fingers. Teaching PE for 23 years in Park City is teaching more students who have grown up to become world-renown athletes than one can skip count. So many of them have Mr. Meier to thank for learning those fun fitness fundamentals. 

Meier has served as Trailside Elementary School’s de facto safety manager which simply meant that when COVID came, the Trailside community-at-large rested assured that he was at the helm of decisions on the most prudent ways to keep all stakeholders as safe as possible. The faculty of Trailside is, idyllically, straight out of Central Casting, and Meier is no exception.

Texas was where Meier started his first 11 years of his illustrious career right after graduating from the University of Iowa, the state where he grew up. That was where his plans to become a teacher took root. “I wanted to be a teacher because of my Elementary PE teacher Mr. Zimmerman.  He was my k-6 teacher and he moved to the middle school when I went through 7th-9th grade.  I remember that he would take the time to talk to us and tell everyone at least one thing that was positive about each student,” said Meier.

Meier was quick to say, “I’m going to miss is ALL the staff that I have worked with over the years. Park City School District is so lucky to have so many wonderful and dedicated people working for them.”

He plans on staying in the area and looks forward to skiing, fly fishing, and golfing “during the week when it is not so crowded.” He’s also planning Several (with a capital ‘S’) trips specifying that he can’t wait to see Australia and New Zealand.

Meier’s humble reluctance to tout his own accomplishments in a medium like this one personifies his rock-star role-model status around Park City as he reflects and replies, “Boy does time fly when you enjoy what you are doing.”



Mr. Meier showing his students what bravery looks like. Photo courtesy of Dan Meier.
Mr. Meier, always discovering new things just like he encourages his students to do. Photo courtesy of Dan Meier.


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