Breaking: West High School names new interim principal; ex-principal Ford White apparently sacked

West High principal Ford White. Photo: WHS website. West High School. File photo: Wikimedia Commons/Adrian Comollo

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Dec. 2, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — West High School has a new principal.

The apparent decision to sack ex-principal Ford White was announced Monday night in an e-mail to students, parents and faculty by Salt Lake City School Superintendent Lexi Cunningham.

White had been placed on paid administrative leave in mid-November for his alleged mishandling of an incident involving three students who were found intoxicated on school grounds.

Cunningham’s e-mail is as follows:

Dear West High School community, 

Thank you again for your patience as we continue our ongoing investigation. While our policy remains to not comment on personnel matters, what I can share with you is that student safety has been our number one focus throughout this investigation.  

I want to inform you that starting tomorrow, Tuesday, December 3rd, Mrs. Stacey Briggs will be the interim principal at West High School. Mrs. Briggs has been serving our district as the Director of Focus Schools since the fall of 2018. In that capacity, she has worked closely with six of our elementary schools (Meadowlark, North Star, Rose Park, Escalante, Bennion, and Riley) and with East High School to help these schools achieve targeted academic success.  

With her unique background as a principal in one of Utah’s most ethnically diverse high schools, her experience in running rigorous IB/magnet programs, her own academic and professional qualifications, and her already-proven record while serving in seven of our school communities, Mrs. Briggs is ready to help West High School students succeed.  

Mrs. Briggs has more than 20 years of experience as an educator, connecting with students and families from diverse backgrounds and cultures. She is a former high school and junior high school principal, as well as a former Math (L IV) and Spanish teacher. She has helped start two IB programs, including most recently, the IB Programme at Ogden High School, a school whose demographics are similar to West’s, when she served as principal there from 2011 to 2016. Mrs. Briggs was named Ogden School District’s “Administrator of the Year” in 2013 while serving as Ogden High School’s principal and in 2009 was a finalist for the Utah Association of Secondary School Principals “Assistant Principal of the Year” award during her time as an assistant principal at Provo High School.  

She is a fluent Spanish speaker and has a background in Gifted and Talented education. She even helped start a 7th/8th grade gifted magnet program at Provo High School, which was modeled after West High’s ELP Program. Mrs. Briggs has a strong academic background and enjoys working with teachers and students in the classroom. She holds a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and a B.A. in Mathematics Education with a Spanish Teaching minor from Brigham Young University. 

I am confident Mrs. Briggs can provide strong leadership at this time. She shares my commitment to providing our West High School students with equitable educational opportunities to prepare them for a promising future, and I hope you’ll take the time to get to know her. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Mrs. Briggs at [email protected].  

And, as always, please reach out to my office if you have any questions or concerns. You may reach me at [email protected].  


Dr. Lexi Cunningham 
Salt Lake City School District

An estimated three to five hundred students staged a walkout in reaction to White being placed on administrative leave.

According to a statement posted on Instagram, White was put on leave for reportedly finding three students on campus who were intoxicated, and gave them a ride home, according to westhighspan, an account that says it is “strictly for studentz” (sic).

“As far as we know, he helped them get home safely, instead of doing what the district thinks was right (call the cops.)”



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