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HER | Kristen Giles brings hands-on approach as PGHS principal

by Andrew Bell | September 6, 2021 at 11:31 p.m. | Updated September 6, 2021 at 11:31 p.m.
KRISTEN GILES (Photo courtesy of Shelby Akins/PGISD)

Kristen Giles, who is settling in as principal of Pleasant Grove High School, is no stranger to the district. Far from it. Giles has been with the district for 27 years and most recently served as Pleasant Grove High's assistant principal.

From 2007-2018, she helped the district pass three bonds and founded an education foundation as the Director of Business and Community Partnerships. She also served as Pleasant Grove Middle School assistant principal, an instructional technologist and a teacher for the district.

"I consider PG my home," Kristen said. "I went here from kindergarten through 12th grade, and I'm pretty sure I'm the first alumni to be a head principal here at Pleasant Grove. So, that's pretty exciting. I'm just honored to be here because my family and I love PG."

As principal, Kristen says she looks to take a more hands-on approach with the students and faculty.

"I feel like it's been a pretty smooth transition," she said, in part because the staff knows her. "It's definitely different because I feel more responsible for a larger part of the high school - not just my grade level."

Kristen said ensuring post-secondary success and expanding college and career readiness are two of her main goals.

"I want every student who walks out this door when they graduate to feel like they are prepared," she said. "Whether it's going to college, going into the workforce, getting a job or going into the military, I want them to feel like they got the best education and they've had the best courses - all things they need to meet their goals of what they want to be."

Kristen said the plan is to add more structure and more communication avenues for our students and parents. "At eighth grade before they even get here, we want to start talking with students about - do they want to go to college? What are their goals? - so we can meet that."

She also wants to put an emphasis on helping students find scholarships and getting them prepared to take the ACT by making them aware of these factors sooner.

Through her years at PG, Giles has worked with students of all ages. The family-like atmosphere is part of the appeal.

"I think what makes me passionate about education is the fact that I kind of view us as a team," she said. "When I was here in high school I was an athlete and some of my best memories were being a part of that team, being on the bus and just all those fun things.

"I feel like as an educator, we are just one big team here to help these students. That gets me fired up about what our kids are able to accomplish with our support."

She says every staff member plays an integral part.

"They truly enjoy working with our kids, and they want what's best for them," she said. "It's really like a family here." 

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