Principal Edmistons: Tying it All Together

PARK CITY, Utah — Walking through the hallways or outside the school building with Bob Edmiston, also known as Mr. Ed and Bob E., you might find it difficult to keep up with him. But, in addition, you might just find yourself tripped up when his more than six-foot-tall frame abruptly stops to pick up a pencil, a wrapper, or anything else out of place at McPolin Elementary, in the heart of Park City. Determined to leave the school and the community better than when he found it, Principal Edmiston leads by example. He encourages students, staff, and the community to do the right thing.

After meeting on historic Main Street in Park City, Bob and Dana Edmiston knew they needed to make their home and raise their family in the Wasatch Back near the mountains. The Kamas Valley has been home to the Edmistons for 26 years.

The Edmiston family is a cornerstone of the Park City community because of their commitment to making it better. Bob is starting his 34th year in public education. Except for three years in administration at Park City High School from 2011–2014, Bob and his servant’s heart have been the face of McPolin Elementary School, a Title I school, within Park City proper.

Dana started in the medical field and worked at the University of Utah in the Cardiac Rehabilitation program. However, with two young children, Dana made a career shift to work as CFO for Black Diamond, while their daughter, Molly, competed in gymnastics.  Now, Dana spends the working hours managing an Edward Jones office.

“Dana is a good skier, great mom, adventurous, loving wife to Bob, fun to be with, but most importantly, a woman that we can all be proud of. She represents us well,” noted neighbor and friend Cami Richardson

Bob and Dana Edmiston. Photo: Dana Klein, courtesy of Neighbors of Park City

Their son, Max, a Wildcat, graduated from South Summit High School and recently married Cassie. Matching the energy and compassion of his parents, Max is pursuing a nursing degree.

Molly graduated from Park City High School in 2011, before Bob joined the administration team at PCHS. Just like her parents and Max, Molly has a servant’s heart. Currently, Molly works in an assisted living facility in Scottsdale. She helps patients transition to home care or into less comprehensive care. Molly’s patients include folks with traumatic brain injuries and strokes.

The mountains, skiing, and hiking remain an integral part of Edmiston family life. As a family, the Edmistons host their annual Ski Challenge. The teams divide with Bob and Molly against Dana and Max. They ski every lift at either what was Park City Mountain Resort or Canyons (all Vail now). Bob and Molly claim victory in the 20–21 ski season. However, the running tally of victories is under dispute and results in counter challenges.

Bob’s career in education started as a classroom teacher. Having taught at both the elementary and the secondary level, Bob brings a unique perspective to his leadership. In 2006, Mr. Ed arrived in the Park City School District to serve as principal at McPolin Elementary School.

Local mom and education champion, Shannon Schemmer noted, “Bob is super hard working. He would never ask anyone to do anything he would not do — picking up trash, stacking tables and chairs, and more. He set high expectations and standards for testing, and our students rose to the challenge.”

Bob’s attitude toward school is family-focused. He shared, “We do our best to manage each situation from the point of view of a parent or caregiver.” This family focus helped create a safe place for students, families, and staff. Bob models treating all people with respect and trusting that good things will follow that respect.

Even though teachers, parents, and students notice and celebrate Bob’s commitment to education, teaching, and the community, Bob will not take credit. With Bob, it’s a team effort. He noted, “In the end, we love what we do. Those of us who have chosen to be part of McPolin Elementary do so out of choice and the desire to do hard things. In such an environment, you are challenged daily and motivated to keep up with everyone else so you don’t let down the team.”

PCHS Class of 2021 graduate, Slade Schemmer remembered, “Mr. Ed always had an upbeat attitude and tried to make the learning environment a fun and welcoming place. Every time he walked into my class, he had the biggest grin and the most stylish tie in the school. How do you beat a SpongeBob tie?”

Bob Edmiston at the entrance to McPolin Elementary School. Photo: Neighbors of Park City

This upbeat attitude and love of learning continued when Bob was at the high school. English teacher, Matthew Nagel, recalled a visit to schools in Ogden where Park City teachers observed classrooms and teaching models. It is always awkward to have a crowd of adults move into a classroom and “observe.” Nagel recounted, “Instead of letting it be awkward, Bob walked right up to the front of the room, folded himself into a cross-legged seat on the floor, scooted between a couple of kids, and whispered, ‘what are we learning right now?’”

Living in a small town affords administrators, teachers, parents, students, and family the opportunity to get to know each other. As a parent, Matthew Nagel sees Bob directing traffic after school and noted, “This is just another example of there not being a job too small in the school for Bob.”

Committed to family, including his own; his school; and his town, Bob Edmiston leads by example. Superintendent Jill Gildea shared, “Bob is a passionate and dedicated school principal whose leadership creates a school culture that is centered on student success. He is community focused, knows his students by name and strength, and keeps families in the communication loop.”

When asked about advice for Summit County students, Bob responded with, “Take full advantage of all our area and community offers. The opportunities are unlimited, so get out there.” The Edmistons model getting out there.

Bob’s final advice is “leave the place better than you found it. My parents taught me well that given all the blessings and opportunities most of us enjoy, be sure to use your talents to make the place better than when you found it.”

At the end of the day, strive to be like Bob, Dana, Max, and Molly. Get outside. Get on your bike. Get on your skis. Take a hike. Go camping. And, leave this place better than you found it.

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