David Pendergast

David G. Pendergast

Vae View Elementary School
Davis School District
Layton, Utah

Dr. David Pendergast became principal of Vae View Elementary, a Pre-K-6 school in Layton, Utah, three years ago. In this short time, he has led the school out of State Turnaround status, transforming culture and deepening stakeholder relationships along the way. With one of the highest poverty rates in the district, this impressive growth has required a holistic approach that neither starts nor ends with academics. Recognizing a need to build trust and increase family investment, Pendergast organized home visits for every student to kick off the school’s improvement efforts. From there, he introduced and strengthened a variety of service programs and whole-child initiatives that emphasize social skill development to ensure that all students have a fair chance at success. Thanks to his efforts, the school has achieved improved behavior and performance, and students regularly use mindfulness and the growth mindset to navigate their lives in and beyond school. Pendergast says these gains would not have been possible without his teachers, who he has worked hard to retain through a dynamic and collaborative professional development culture. Pendergast has advocated for STEAM education at each of his schools, including at VVE, where the school recently received Platinum Level STEM status. He holds an M.A. in Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix, as well as Administrative/Supervisory and Special Education Certificates from Utah State University.