Glenda Staples started working at the U of U in 2008. Her daughter, a BFA graduate of the program, participated in the University High School program at age 14. Her daughter graduated a couple of weeks before she started. Because of this she knows the program from both sides and she knows the knowledge she has as a “dance mom” helps her both support the students and their parents as they come to the University and helps them to grow, expand their horizons, and achieve their dreams.
When introduced along with the faculty who were telling what they teach, to the students, she said, “I teach financial responsibility and deadlines.” As the Administrative Officer for the School of Dance, her primary role is Budget and Finance. She enjoys working with faculty and students as they work together building budgets for grants and projects.
Glenda had the opportunity to be Miss Summit County and to participate in the Miss Utah Pageant where she was awarded a non-finalist talent award for her vocal performance. She was offered a chance to go on the USO Tour with Bob Hope and to work in NYC on an off Broadway play, both of which she turned down because of a prior commitment. “In hindsight, I should have put off my commitment and participated in these once in a lifetime opportunities.”
Glenda’s first career choice was as a medical assistant but after working for many years in this field, she became allergic to latex and was forced to pursue another route. “I loved working in medicine. I was the one everyone always asked for to give the shots to them and their children. I was pretty good at it and the children would only fuss a little and I could have them smiling again before they left.”
While working as a medical assistant she became certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support and OSHA Certified for handling of blood borne pathogens, writing the policy manual for the practice she was working for at the time.
Glenda did a lot of volunteer work, “If you see a need, you should do your part in filling it.” Among these volunteer positions are: Secretary for the Sugarhouse Community Council during which time she researched and helped write a CDBG grant that paid for sidewalk replacement in the Sugar House neighborhoods. She received her Planning and Zoning Certificate from the University of Utah and worked on creating the proposal for what the Sugar House business district is today. She was appointed as a member of the Salt Lake Association of Community Councils that served the greater Salt Lake Area.
She served as a local and council PTA President overseeing 17 elementary schools. During this time she helped write proposals that started the movement toward the Utah Clean Air Act. “Yes, I am one of the reasons many places are now smoke free.” She also had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. and participated in the National PTA Convention. “It was great brainstorming with other people from across the nation whose focus was on children’s education and well being.” Now don’t think this trip was without fun. Each unit had to come up with a theme song and dance, so Glenda took a popular song at the time, The Village People’s “YMCA” and turned it into “YPTA” with goals we were working on in the lyrics.
Glenda had finally found her new niche in life and started working for Granite School District in secretarial and bookkeeping positions. She served on the District Accounting Committee to formulate money-handling policies that would be implemented in all schools. She was also awarded the Granite School District Community of Caring Award for service above and beyond her duties. “I knew my sewing skills would come in handy some day. The 4th grade classes were doing a play about Davy Crockett and their teacher had gone to a costume shop to rent coonskin hats. What the teacher didn’t realize was that the $100 she was quoted was only for one hat not 30. She was devastated because the kids were excited to have the hats. I went to the fabric store that night and two days later, the night of the show, all of the students had their hats.” She worked for GDS for eighteen years before coming to the University of Utah. “It has been exciting to see students who were at my elementary and junior high schools now here at the School of Dance as students.”
Glenda worked in an administrative position for local dance studio along with working at Granite School District, “because my daughter took so many dance classes I had to have a way to pay for them all.” “Seeing students work from the beginning to the end of their dance studies has been a real growth experience. I understand the team effort a family gives to make sure their child can have the training that will help them not only have a hobby, but if desired, take them to a professional career.”
While her daughter was at Ballet West Academy, she saw a need for greater communication with parents and working with Ballet West co-founded The Ballet West Academy Parent Association. This entity did fundraising for academy needs and activities, published a monthly newsletter, and held monthly board meetings where members of the board talked about needs of the students, faculty, and the academy as a whole. At that time, Bené Arnold was the Director of the Academy. She has been a long time volunteer at Ballet West since this time. It was through this experience that she was guided to apply to the U of U when this position opened.
Glenda was awarded the College of Fine Arts Staff Excellence Award for Exceptional Service in the College in 2012.