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Sup with the Sup
Sup with the Sup
Episode 30: Women's Month with Kami and Momi

Welcome, everyone, to the next episode of Provo City School District’s What’s Up With the Sup podcast. I am Superintendent Wendy Dau. I have two very exciting guests this week. I am joined by the principals of our two comprehensive high schools, Kami Alvarez from Provo High School and Momi Tu’ua from Timpview High School. We will be discussing their roles as principals and hear a little bit about their backgrounds prior to becoming high school principals, and we really are highlighting them because it’s National Women’s History Month, and these are two of our fantastic female leaders in our district.

But first, let’s go over our updates.

  • If you are interested in hearing updates regarding the construction projects happening in the district, particularly at Shoreline, Timpview, and Wasatch, please visit the district website and click on the new construction newsletter signup link. Newsletters will be sent out every two weeks.
  • The Board of Education currently has two draft policies available on the district website for community input. From the main page of the district website, click on the Policies Forms and Documents button. On the next page, at the top left, there is an orange Review Draft Policies Here button. The current policies under review are a Draft Language Access Policy and a Draft Student Travel Policy. Both of these policies will be voted upon at the March 12th board meeting.
  • Fifth grade parents registration is underway for Camp Big Springs and has been extended to March 29, 2024. There are plenty of spots available. Remember, if your student would really like to go to camp and you need help paying for camp, there is a scholarship form available at the main office of your elementary school.Get your applications in. T he next school board meeting will be a study session and business meeting on Tuesday, March 12th. Study sessions are held in boardroom 1 at the district office and business meetings take place in the Professional Development Center.
  • Both meetings are open to the public and public comment is welcome at the business meeting. The study session begins at 4:45 p. m. and will be held in Boardroom 1. The business meeting will be held in the Professional Development Center and begins at 7 o’clock p. m.
  • Look for the weekly video cast from me every Friday. In this short video, I provide important information and updates about work happening throughout the district.
  • And now on to our guests.

Wendy: Welcome everybody. Today, I am here with Kami Alvarez, who is the principal of Provo High School, and Momi Tua, who is the principal of Timpview High School. Welcome ladies.

Kami and Momi: Thank you.

Wendy: I’m so excited to have you on our show today. Um, as you know, it is women’s history month and this is something I got pretty excited and passionate about. And so I thought it would be great to highlight just for our community. And I also think it’s great for our young people to kind of hear about the journeys of leaders and individuals that they’re encountering on a daily basis so that they can kind of imagine themselves in, in different positions and places in their lives. By looking up to others that have kind of gone before them. So that’s kind of what I hope we could focus our conversation on today, so,

Momi: Sounds great.

Wendy: I’m really, I’m really excited to have you guys here. Let’s start with each of you. We’ll start with Momi. How long have you been in education? How long In Provo City School District, and how long in your current position as the principal of Timpview?

Momi: Well, thank you for, first of all, for allowing us to have this opportunity to get to know each other even better. I have been in education for 20 years, and I actually started as a school counselor at Provo High School.

Wendy: Oh my goodness.

Momi: I bleed a little bit of green. Yes. There we go. I do. And then I, I, transferred to Timpview High School, worked there for a number of years. And then I went up to the Utah State Board of Education and supported school counseling programs throughout the state. And then returned to Timpview High School as an administrator or an assistant principal. And I’ve been a principal now for almost two years.

Wendy: Excellent.

Momi: And, and love it.

Wendy: A I know you can like it like you have a glow about you.

Momi: Well, I wore my t-shirt.

Kami: : Yes, you did. I made sure I sported green.

Wendy: Yeah, there you go, right? Oh, the school colors, the school pride. I love it. All right, Kami, tell us a little bit about your background.

Kami: So, I’ve been in education probably about 24 years now. I’ve been in Provo School District – this is my fourth year, but this is my first year at Provo High. I’ve done a little bit of everything. So I was an English teacher in secondary, but it was mainly junior high. So that’s a lot of my experience. And then I’ve been an elementary principal. I’ve been a high school principal. I’ve been over professional development. I worked with failing schools, kind of working to help them kind of gain some traction and kind of to move some things in different ways. So I’ve done a little bit of everything.

Wendy: I think we’re going to find that that’s how we end up sometimes in our positions is because we’ve done a little bit of this, a little bit of that, a little bit of that. That’s really what happens there. So tell me a little bit about, um, why the two of you chose education as your profession. And whoever wants to go can go first.

Kami: I guess I could say, like when I was little, I always played school, right? I don’t know if you guys did, but we always played school. Like my brothers and sisters were my, you know, students and I’d always play school. And I think education was something that was always taught to me in my family, like that it was important, even from my grandparents to my parents. And so, I think I wanted to, and then, okay, this is really embarrassing, but how do I say it?

Wendy: Okay, I gotta tell you this.

Momi: No turning back.

Kami: So, do you remember, like, when they would have the movies, like, Dangerous Minds?

Wendy: Yes. Oh, yeah.

Kami: Was it Michelle Pfeiffer?

Wendy: Yeah, it was Michelle Pfeiffer.

Kami: I wanted to, like, be the Dangerous Minds teacher. Like, I thought that was so cool. So cool. Like I could connect, make a difference. Yeah. And so I like really, those kinds of things really inspired me, but I think it was just wanting to help when you see something in society, I think a lot of people you want to help and there’s different ways to help. And I think education is perhaps one of the best ways that you can help.

Wendy: It’s awesome. What about you, Momi?

Momi: You know, my parents were educators, and I lived on this small island in Hawaii, and I watched them as I was a child. My mother was an elementary school teacher, and my dad was a math high school and CTE teacher.

Wendy: I did not know this.

Momi: You didn’t know that?

Wendy: This is so great. I love this.

Momi: Yes. And so I, I lived in that world. And so my father passed away unexpectedly. And my mother needed to gain more education, so she brought us up here. And she went into the Ed Leadership Program at BYU. And so she kind of carved this path for me, and I really didn’t realize what she was doing, right? So I lived in it. And then, you know, I went to college and I found myself at a private boarding school advising students from out of state and out of country, how they would navigate their education and get to college. So I had this international experience of ninth through, you know, 12th grade and helping them transition to college.

So, you know, that was my, my exposure and I absolutely loved it. And, you know, I, and connecting with students who are now adults and parents and seeing them, you know, so I, I came through a conventional and unconventional way, so to speak, you know, and I’ve, I’ve just seen that human beings basically are good.

Wendy: Yes.

Momi: And they want to be better and do better with what they have.

Wendy: That’s how we could end the podcast right there. That’s a mic drop moment right there. Okay. So you’re kind of bringing up too, I know a little bit of your backgrounds, but talk to me a little bit about your passion for really serving and identifying kids that are underserved in our education system or in our society in general cause I feel like it’s something- that equity piece is something that you are both very passionate about. And so I’d love to hear about your experiences with that. Kami, do you mind if we start with you? Is that okay?

Kami: So I always, this was, my mom was a, well, she was a speech pathologist, but when I went into education, she always told me Kami,, you need to minor in ESL. You have to minor in ESL. You need to get your ESL minor. And so I did. And it wasn’t something I at first like thought that I wanted. I’m like, okay, I guess, sure mom, whatever, like what we say to our moms.

Wendy: So English as a second language.

Kami: Yes. English as a second language. And so as I started teaching, that really became a niche and it really, I think I thought I had some minority students in Utah and then I taught in Atlanta and there in Georgia, it was, I was the minority.

Wendy: Right.

Kami: And it was very different, but I really connected. I had a large population of Hispanic students. I had them from all over. I had Bosnia, I had Africa, everything, but I loved them. I would stay after and I remember one of the other teachers, he had been a soccer player somewhere else, and he started this soccer league for the kids.

And we would stay until 7 p. m. and the kids would all, they all got their uniforms. So I started knowing the soccer teams because they would fashion the uniform after the soccer team. So I’m like, I know Barcelona, the red and the stripes, like I know what this one is or I know Chivas, the green, like I started knowing the soccer teams based on that little group.

But I just connected with those kids and I don’t know why. And I loved it so much. And I think it influenced even my personal life. My husband is from Mexico and I’d like to tease him when he says things, cause I’m like, Oh, you’re ESL. Like, Oh, that’s why. So we like to tease each other. But, um, it influenced, I think, even my personal life cause sometimes I think if I hadn’t had that experience in Atlanta with those students, when I met my husband and he had an accent and these other things, what would have been my reaction? But because I’d had that experience it really helped me to meet my husband and look past those things.

And then I got to know his family. Right. And so that is my family. I have family in Mexico, family here, immigrants from Mexico, and I love them. They are the most wonderful people that have been the most accepting. And I’ve seen some of the different struggles that they’ve had and they’re people I love.

And so when I see all students or kids, they’re people I love, right? Cause I understand those struggles and I see that, but I also grew a love for the culture and it’s, it’s more inviting to me and there’s just a warmness about it. And so it’s made me more passionate about just helping. Those who’ve had different roadblocks in their life that I haven’t, wanting to be able to get those out of the way and giving them that opportunity to really shine in what they’re, what they’re capable of.

Wendy: That’s incredible. What about you, Momi?

Momi: Well, you know, being native Hawaiian and growing up on this small island, I was actually quite isolated from other peoples’ cultures, perhaps. Most of my teachers were actually Japanese. My mother was the only native Hawaiian teacher at our elementary school. I could sing a bunch of Japanese songs for you, but I won’t today. So, you know, having this experience, I didn’t know anything different. And then being plucked out of Moloka’i and coming here to Utah, Going to Orem Junior High School and Orem High School, it was a different experience and I absolutely loved it. Um, yet I didn’t know how to guide myself. So I took the classes that my friends took.

Wendy: Right.

Momi: I took the honors English from, uh, Phyllis Bester and I took the AP years history from Mr. Allred. But I didn’t know why I was taking it. One summer, my friends came to me and said, Oh, what’d you get on your AP exam? And I’m like, what are you talking about? Right. I had no idea. I mean, I just took the class because my friends were taking the class. I never signed up for the test or anything like that. So, you know, opportunities were there, but I didn’t have the knowledge to be able to access it at its maximum levels. Right. And so here we are, you know, 40 something years later where, you know, I’m hearing kind of the same things that some of my students are saying. We need to be bold enough to peel those layers off and have the conversations.

And I’m going to tell you right now, anyone who’s listening to us, being a leader isn’t automatic. Many times during the week, I have my stomach in my throat because I’m nervous about the outcome of a meeting that will challenge me. So we, we all have it wherever we are at as leaders, we still feel it, it doesn’t go away. It’s being bold enough to peel the layers off, understand different perspectives, look at data, share it with others, help them process, you know, so that’s one part. And being immersed. I lived in Argentina for a year and a half and learning a new language was amazing. It was challenging, but being on the other side too, just because I’m learning a new language doesn’t mean that I, you know, I have a hearing impairment or that I don’t know what 2+2 is, you know? So it allowed me to experience perhaps, you know, beliefs and mindsets of people who knew that I didn’t understand the language very well. Right. I’m grateful for having had the opportunity to, uh, throughout my life to be able to perhaps see what some of my students and their families see.

Wendy: It’s incredible. You know, you guys are bringing up some things. Like I remember my mom was from Denmark and so she spoke with an accent. I remember people trying to talk really slowly and really loudly at her. And I was like, she understands you. She has an accent, but she does know what’s going on. It’s just, it’s kind of interesting. But I also felt like because my parents were immigrants, I didn’t know all of the access points to education. So like my parents told me the only way you pay for college is through a scholarship. They didn’t understand like federal financial aid. There were opportunities that came up that I didn’t take because I didn’t know that there were these other things in place.

And I had no idea where to go to look for that. And I’m thinking, okay, my parents were white, Northern European coming here to the United States. I can’t even imagine then coming from a country where your school system is completely different. There’s just so many barriers that then, you know, layer on top of that.

Momi: Right.

Wendy: And so, and I wasn’t trying to learn another language as a student either. So I don’t know. It creates this tremendous amount of empathy and understanding to, to hear the lived experiences.

Momi So true.

Wendy: Yeah. Tell me when you guys decided you were like, I think I want to be a high school principal. Like when did that happen? I want to hear about that.

Momi: Sometimes you just kind of manifest it out to whoever’s listening. And if no one’s there, you, you just do it anyway, right?

Wendy: True.

Momi: Another point about being a leader is that you’ve got to imagine yourself in that position. Wendy: That’s exactly right.

Momi: And then, you know, sometimes you get scared and you run away a little bit, you know, in your mind, and that’s okay, but then you can run away in your mind a little bit, but you, you say it. You look at yourself and you say. I’m going to be a principal and, and then, you know, then you express it to certain people and then, you know, so you start to develop that and, and then you look for opportunities to be able to take on more, to learn more and then, you know, hopefully be prepared.

But I’m going to tell you, you think you’re all prepared, but it’s not until you jump into that role, right?

Wendy: Nope.

Momi: Yeah.

Kami: Every day it’s new. It’s like, wow. Didn’t see that one coming. What about you, Kami?

Kami: I think sometimes I have to self reflect like, Cammie, what are you doing? But I like a challenge. Can I say I like a challenge? And I like to kind of think what’s the next thing for me? What’s that next thing that I can kind of do? I’ve worked in the high school before and I had that in the back of my mind. I always thought like I’m a secondary person, but then I went to elementary and I was like, Oh, I really liked elementary.

Now I’m back in secondary and I’m like, I don’t know which one, but, but I loved secondary. And for me, it was a challenge to have a school that big with all of those things going on. I really wanted to challenge myself and make a difference. I think one of the things I always like is when a problem comes about, now I’m thinking of that song, when a problem comes about you must, but, but sorry, sorry, that’s a little bit of a tangent.

Wendy: I love it.

Kami: But when a problem comes about, yeah, you got to do something. And I like to think creatively. I like to always think outside the box and think, well, what could we do that nobody’s thought of yet? Or how can we kind of do this? And I like to be able to feel successful when you see kids succeeding and you can say, Hey, look, we did that or this, this helped with that. So I think it was just for me, I wanted the next challenge.

Wendy: What has been one of the greatest surprises about being a high school principal?

Momi: Wow.

Wendy: I mean, there’s probably a ton of things. What are some of the greatest challenges or a great surprise like like wow didn’t see that one I didn’t I didn’t I didn’t realize how that would feel like I’ll give you an example.

Like I don’t know that I realized when I was a high school principal how Incredible it was gonna feel when you stand on graduation day and you watch every single kid walk across that stage and how many of them you were like, we were just shoving them over the finish line and others of them should have graduated when they were like 12 because they’re freaking geniuses. Um, and just, just the sheer, like emotion that I don’t know, there’s just nothing better than that feeling. And it was different being a teacher than it was being the principal because it’s like you’re overseeing this whole system that allowed this to happen. I don’t, I don’t know. So something like that’s kind of what I’m thinking about.

Momi: You know, I, I had right when you said graduation, um, last year board member, Gina Hills actually took a picture from behind me standing at the podium with everybody at UVU and it’s a, it’s a picture that I absolutely treasure.

In Polynesian culture, when you look ahead, you have to look behind you to know where you’re going.

Wendy: That’s right.

Momi: And so I love this picture because she is behind me. You know, and then I’m, I’m looking forward and it was my first year as principal and just getting through the, what, we’re, we’re opening a new phase right now. I had no idea a phase was actually opening and I was an assistant principal for four years and didn’t know that.

Wendy: Yeah. Yeah.

Momi: And, you know, but that whole year, it was, you know, I see that culmination of carrying these students through their 180 days of learning with teachers and families supporting this process was beautiful. It was breathtaking and I love it because I still look at it and go, Oh my gosh, beautiful.

Wnedy: That’s amazing. What about you, Kami.

Kami: I think I have been amazed at just the support like I have in my assistant principals, my secretaries, how much they take on and do. I, one of my weaknesses is I try to do everything. thing. So I have to learn to delegate.

Wendy: I would never have guessed that about you.

Kami; And I always have to be like, Hey, I’m not doing that. Trying to like, think you don’t, I’m just trying to help. Like, I just want to help. But, um, I’ve been amazed at how much support and help I get from the people around me and how willing they want to step in there and do that. And like, don’t worry, Kami, I got this. You don’t, don’t worry about it. I got this. And so I’ve been really impressed and just, um, loved that having that support and help.

Wendy: That’s so awesome. There is something really, I think that, um, people who work in a high school have the privilege of the layers of support that exist at a high school because you are running basically a small town. And it can be a little bit lonely sometimes. I think my husband would talk about that as an elementary principal. Sometimes it’s like, you don’t have this team that’s around you. There is something really exciting about that. Have you ever had an experience where people were surprised that you were the principal. I’ve had a couple of situations where they’ve walked up to somebody that they thought was the principal. I would love to hear, because I think it speaks a lot to the assumptions that we, and people really do not mean any harm by this at all. They really don’t. It’s just kind of new. It’s just different. So I would love to hear a couple of these stories.

Momi: Oh, well, yeah, it happens at games a lot, you know, when we go to conferences and it’s all right. I, I, it’s never really bothered me. I kind of giggle actually.

Wendy: Yeah.

Momi: And I think Kami, are you the second female principal at Provo high school?

Wendy: I think so.

Kami: Yes.

Momi: Right.

Kami: Well, at least I know of one before.

Momi: Right. Okay. Right. One before.

Wendy: I think you’re only the second one.

Momi: You’re the second and I’m the first. Right.

Kami: I didn’t know that.

Momi: Yes. So even in the community, you know, how people perceive us and communicate with us or not, I don’t see it necessarily as a challenge because it’s a quick fix. Like, Oh, Oh, Oh, you’re the, okay. You know, I think sometimes experiencing construction that’s happening. I’m the first to admit that I don’t know much about it,

Kami: But you do now.

Momie: Oh yeah, I actually do. But you know, even how that industry perceives a woman at that, you know, and so, yeah, fine. But here’s what needs to happen. Teaching and learning continues. This is what I need you to do and not do during school time, right? It seems to work out okay. So for the most part, it may be a minor, you know, something that misunderstanding, but then we move on.

Wendy:Yeah. What about you, Kami?

Kami: Oh, gosh. Okay. I’ll tell you. There’s a fun one. So we have trackers at our school that help students get to class, right? Sometimes they’re out in the hallway. They just need a little encouragement. So like I said, I try to do everything. So of course, at the beginning of the year, I was walking around, Hey, you guys, where are you supposed to be to class? And there were these two girls and I’m just kind of behind him like, Hey, where, do you know where your class is?

And they kind of turned back and kind of gave me this look, looking down at me, like, what are you saying, lady? And I kept persisting. I was like, come on, we got to go. Finally walked into this dance class. The two girls walk in. One of them was waiting out and I was like, Hey, now where’s your class? And then the other girl hurried up and ran out and her eyes were big.

And she says in Spanish to the other student, which I can make out a little, That’s the principal? And so the teacher had told her like, Oh, this tracker’s giving me…. She said, and she’s like, that’s the principal. And she’s like, what? So the next girl, I walked her to class and I was like, Oh, see, cause she was much nicer to me. And I was like, Oh, so if you’d have known I was the principal, you would have been a little nicer. And we were joking around and stuff. And so it was kind of funny. And, um, but also sometimes it’s nice. Like, I think, I don’t know why, but when you’re a woman, I think people think you’re younger than you are.

Wendy: That’s true.

Kami: I don’t know why, but they always think you’re younger because we did this little dance, Dancing with the Stars.

Wendy: Uh huh.

Kami: And it was really nice when the dance teacher said, Okay, when you dance, like, Kami, and then it was another teacher, like, you guys have to have something to separate you from the kids because they might think you’re the student. And I was like,

Wendy: Thank you!

Kami: Yes, I love that!

Wendy: It does keep you young to be a high school principal, like in a young, it really does.

Kami: I’ve learned more of the like, it’s dripping. Like that’s, like I’m learning some more.

Momi: They want you to do the moves that they do. And I’m like, I can’t do that. Let me stand in the middle and you twirl around me.

Wendy: I do think it’s interesting to see the responses sometimes that people have. And the surprise that they exhibit, and then you build the relationship, right? And it’s about building that relationship and that trust. And then it’s like, they’ll come back and be like, I can’t even believe that that was even a thought in my mind because this person has been an excellent leader and I’ve been really grateful. And so I do appreciate, I feel like people are willing to… their mindset is, we are able to change it, right? They’re not stuck in that mindset, which is really good. If we have a young women that are listening to this podcast and they’re thinking about, I want to have a career and whatever, it doesn’t have to be education, what is a piece of advice that you would give them that you wish you had either listened to more or someone had just said to you at an even younger age, or what would you tell yourself like 20 years ago?

Momi: That what exists around you is a concept, but it doesn’t need to be your reality. How you envision yourself absolutely, 100%, you have the opportunity to get from here to there. That’s, you know, even though there are surrounding sort of messaging or that’s not for you. You can still move ahead and become who you want to be and partner with a mentor, even several mentors. It doesn’t have to be just one. You know, I look back in my life, I see many different mentors, even women who own their own businesses.

I still text them and say, how do you have this critical conversation with someone who you absolutely appreciate, but there’s just, you know, something that I need to say. And it’s really difficult. I’ve been able to talk to some of my women friends who have, cause I don’t know if I am projecting something common that we have as women, but I think we think more broadly than just the person as the employee in that job.

We think about the impact of the family and, you know, how they’re going to interact with their students in front of them. And, you know, and so it could draw us into a space that maybe we don’t want to say it, you know. And so I’ve had to ask some of my female mentors to give me some advice on that in particular.

Wendy: Kami.

Kami: I would say, you know, I was brought up in a culture, which I love and respect where a lot of times women were talked about. I always heard just about being a mother and a wife, which I think are noble causes. I’m a mother and a wife too, but I’m grateful that my mother ,who was a mother and a wife, but she also had a master’s degree and she didn’t work while we were younger, but went back into it. She always stressed to me the importance of education was number one. She never pressured me to get married, to do any, which is probably why I didn’t tell I was way older, like maybe that was a mistake on her part. No, but, um, I really like, uh, respected that. And I will say I’m a mother too, and that can be really hard.

And in the state of Utah, I don’t know if some people are familiar. I think her name is Susan Madsen does a lot of work with women in Utah. She has a movement right now called A Bolder Way Forward. And I’m very passionate about and love, you know, that she’s doing all this because it’s hard being a high school principal, but I’m also a mother to like an elementary student.

And I want to tell women and people coming up, don’t limit yourself. When I had the job at Provo High School, I remember having a conversation, even with my, my younger sister, I’m like, I don’t know if I should go for this because it takes time away. And like, what about my little boy? Like, Should I do that?

I don’t know that that’s the right thing. I’m just really conflicted. Should I do this? And I love that the people in my family they’re like Yes, Kami. You do that. If it’s the right thing, you do it. You will figure it out. And so I want to say to all girls, women, don’t limit yourself on those. Do men go through that conversation?

I don’t know. I don’t know. But like, don’t limit yourself. Like you will find a way. Don’t limit yourself to just being a nurse. If you want to be a doctor, be a doctor. Don’t say, Oh, but I have a three year old. No, do it. you will figure out a way. So I would just say don’t limit yourself. If you want something, go for it. No matter what other things you have, you’ll find a way to balance it out and you’ll be able to figure it out. So just don’t limit yourself to that.

Wendy: Yeah. I think one of the things too that I think about as I think about my path in education as well, I think about there have been tons of women who have helped encourage me, but I also want to pay tremendous tribute to the men that I’ve worked with that have also believed in me, like my husband, my dad, my colleagues.

It really has been about a whole group of people. It isn’t just one specific type of individual. It is helpful sometimes because there are certain experiences that I think might be unique, you know, to either a person of color or a female or whatever it might be that someone can share and help you through.

But it’s also really important to recognize that it’s a ton of people that have gotten us where, where we are. And I’m just so grateful for all of those people. It is wonderful.

Kami: Like now I just have to say, cause even my husband has supported me all the way. Right. And it’s like, Hey, we don’t have time. And we’ll guess what we’re doing tonight. We’re going to the basketball game. We’re going to go to the volleyball game or we’re going to do this even. My dad has always been supportive. Even my brother in law, he, I remember would go and like, I’ll pick up your kid from school for you. Like I have this off. So like so many people have supported and I appreciate that.

Momi: So true.

Wendy: Tell me who is somebody that you look up to and you’re like, this person really made a difference as I studied their life or met with them, or they were a mentor to me and you just want to pay tribute to that individual for helping you get where you are. And it might be a list of like. 80 people, but pick one.

Momi: I just have so many. I’m going to say Lillian Solsey Jensen. She is a dear colleague and, and friend of mine. She is Navajo Dutch. And we had the opportunity to work together. What I appreciated about her, she always challenged me even in uncomfortable spaces, even with things that I may not have agreed with. And then I had to refine my thoughts to be able to express it to her as to why I didn’t agree and she gave me that space to be able to do that. She was the one who encouraged me to go back and to get my license in administration, but she always, you know, pushed me to go beyond the mark that I, you know, at certain times didn’t feel prepared to.

Wendy: Right.

Momi: You know, we have this long friendship. She lives in Stansbury Park and, you know, every other month we get together and I’ve heard that about, you know, friends that you have, you know, you get together and you, yeah, you just share your life’s activities. And I, I really appreciated her, especially in the multicultural and in the public education realm and here in Utah, I appreciate her mentorship.

Wendy: That’s incredible.

Kami: There’s so many people. It’s like everybody along the way, there’s somebody kind of doing some, even to, even I could even point different, even men here at Provo City School District who would have conversations with me and say, you know, Kami, you could do this or you’re even, um, Superintendent Rittel or just even Alex Judd and but I think if I had to pick one like it has to be my mom. I know maybe that’s the go to answer, but my mom – education was always important to her. And she spoke with an accent too, but it was from Boston, but I bet a lot of people were probably, I bet a lot of people were like, what foreign country are you from? Which maybe kind of is sometimes. Um, but she always instilled to me the importance of education.

And she was somebody who was also a mother. She had seven kids. We kind of thought she was crazy, but now we kind of understand a little bit better. Maybe she was crazy, but we made her crazy. Um, but she was somebody that – and even to this day, it’s like she always has to keep doing something, but, uh, is constantly working, like keeping her mind active.

It’s not even about working, but it’s about learning and about doing something. Even my grandmother, she lived till she was 94. But I mean, I remember her, maybe she was in her nineties telling me, I’m taking this French class, Kami. Oh, I’m remembering this and I’m doing this. And I mean, I think that’s always attributed to like why she lived so long and why she was happy because there was something to fulfill her, whether it’s learning about that or anything. And so I think all those women in my life contributed to having that same desire myself.

Wendy: Sometimes it’s, it’s just, we need other people to believe in us, right.

Kami: Yeah. Right.

Momi: For sure.

Wendy: Very much. Very much. Well, I just want you to know how grateful I am that both of you are leaders here in Provo City School District.

I feel very, very, very fortunate to work with both of you and to have you leading our high schools. And thank you for this wonderful opportunity to talk with you today.

Kami: Thank you.

Momi: Thank you, Wendy.

Wendy: Thank you for joining me for this week’s episode of What’s Up with the Sup. As always, all episodes will be posted on the district website, YouTube, and anywhere you get your podcasts. If you have any topics or questions you would like to discuss on this podcast, please email us at

As always, we will have an all new episode of What’s Up with the Sup next week. Until next time.

Shauna Sprunger
  • Coordinator of Communications
  • Shauna Sprunger