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Park City School Superintendent Dr. Gildea has lost our trust. Now what?

We at the Park Rag have been critical of the school district in the past. The 2015 bond was a disaster. The school district has hurt substitute teachers (and our kids) by hiring a temp agency to manage substitutes and caused a substitute teacher shortage at the worst possible time. They inexplicably tried to keep teachers’ kids out of schools and then apparently didn’t tell the truth when called out. And let’s not forget the magic rock.

That’s not to say that they haven’t had their successes. Teachers got a raise. We made it through the 2020/21 school year with in-person classes and minimal disruptions. The new bond proposal focused on facilities and passed overwhelmingly. We still have some great teachers (though some have left) and a cadre of wealthy above-average Lake Wobegone kids to keep our rankings relatively high.

But when Parley’s Park elementary came under the supervision of officials from the Health Department, after superintendent Gildea instructed teachers and staff not to enforce a legal mask mandate, our limited remaining trust in the school district administration was lost.

Regardless of your feelings about masks, the Republican-led Utah Legislature made a law allowing local health departments to determine school rules under certain circumstances. The Summit County Health Department used its authority, granted by the legislature, to make rules intended to protect students and staff. According to news reports, Dr. Gildea actively prevented those rules from being implemented.

As an aside, KPCW has done a fantastic job covering this story (Michelle Deininger at KPCW has been amazing on this coverage). We would also be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge Summit County attorney Margaret Olson for calling it as she sees it when she said “…it’s apparent that things went terribly wrong.”

The superintendent has floated various explanations. In our view, none of them can possibly excuse this behavior. If Dr. Gildea was unsure of the law, it would have been trivial to call Summit County and resolve any questions as soon as she became aware that the mandate might need to be implemented. The superintendent has wavered between claiming that the mandate is legally unenforceable to saying she was misunderstood and that the school needs a “reset.” At some points, she appears to have contradicted herself within the same day.

Dr. Gildea’s response might best be characterized as panicked, defiant, and incoherent. The school board, on the other hand, could best be characterized as absent. That’s right, not a word about the situation. Not an explanation, not an apology, not even some boilerplate that says “we look forward to clearing up this misunderstanding and want to make it clear that the health and safety of our school community is our top priority.” Maybe they’re tired of all the criticism, or exhausted from pushing the bond through, or just sick of doing a thankless and unpaid job. Unfortunately, however, it’s a job they signed up for, and they owe the community an explanation. If none is forthcoming, people will assume the worst.

While the past is concerning, the future is equally worrisome. Our community just handed an open check for $79 million to the Park City School District. The district believes they have a mandate for an additional $40 million more to add on to our schools. Do you want someone you don’t trust administering that? The district previously was cited for awarding inappropriate contracts that violated Utah state law. Are we OK if that happens again? Given recent events, would we expect anything different? What else could happen? These are the questions asked when you lose trust.

It hit home late last week. My wife and I were discussing the issue while our seven and nine-year-old ate breakfast. They are the consumers of school and they have a right to know what is going on. One of the kids looked up, his eyes in shock, “Mrs. [insert his teacher name here] didn’t do what’s right?” We were mortified and quickly explained that it wasn’t his teacher. Yet, should we be less mortified that we were discussing his teacher’s boss? Sometimes kids bring out the truth. We as humans all have flaws, but when you run schools, you can’t defy the Health Department. You can’t have the Summit County Attorney speaking about criminal liability in reference to your school superintendent’s actions.

As the old saying goes, “never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity”. Unfortunately neither malice nor stupidity, regardless of which was responsible here, is acceptable in a school superintendent (or board).

So, now what?

The question to ask is whether we need a different superintendent. The people responsible for that answer are our elected school board. If you asked them, they would tell you they can’t speak on the issue of personnel matters. However, if they aren’t actively discussing this question, we likely need a different school board, too.

We expect a lot out of our kids. We expect them to be honest. We expect them to tell the truth. We expect them to follow the rules. We expect them to stand up for what is right.

Don’t we expect the same things from those who are responsible for their education?




The board and super are the reason I left my beloved job at Ecker Hill. They disgust me!


Don’t forget about when she “accidentally” posted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on her Twitter. Her personal Twitter account with PCSD in the name. If a teacher did that they would have been fired on the spot no matter what explanation they trotted out. For Gildea the board circles the wagons and tells us to “give grace” though. Smdh


In any setting I’ve worked in (which includes both government and private industry) this conduct would immediately result in termination. No question.

I doubt that will happen here, though. We’re just rotten at the top at this point.


Before you all go and start throwing rocks again, pls go step in her shoes. I’m so disgusted with this town. The minute somebody makes a mistake or does something wrong, all anyone ever does is throw stones. God for bid someone’s not fucking prefect in this town. Instead of complaining, whining, and bitching, go do something about it! Park City’s entitled citizens at their best!


Forbid. And there was no rock.


Well, I guess I haven’t been in her shoes and had the experience of being threatened with prosecution by a county attorney after I instructed my employees to defy a health department order… in those shoes, I’d expect to get fired.

Heck, even just a timely apology would have helped. We didn’t even get that, we just got (lame) excuses. You’re right, everyone screws up sometimes. Doing it over and over without taking responsibility, though? That’s something we don’t tolerate in kindergarteners, let alone a superintendent.


Why Anonymous


Park Rag supports comments by anonymous users, as long as those comments add to the conversation. The reason we do that is that is because in a small community there could be repercussions to individual people speaking out. People could lose their jobs. People could be ostracized. We would rather there be an honest conversation instead of a defecto censoring based upon fear of repercussions.

Note, users are still responsible for their comments. No one is completely anonymous should law enforcement agents become involved. However, the majority of comments on Park Rag are constructive. We thank you for that!

We hope it never gets to a point where we as a community can’t be cordial.


If it were one mistake, sure, maybe give a pass. It’s been a constant train of mistakes with this Superintendent. The train is off the tracks and ripping up a cow pasture at this point. Isn’t it great we just voted in favor of a bond when we can’t possibly trust these people with the enormous projects at stake? I’m with the commenter above who is disgusted.

The Board and Superintendent have been meeting with Summit County Health Department (according to them) a LOT to assure compliance during Covid. Maybe they fell asleep in those meetings. Maybe they didn’t really attend them. Maybe they did but didn’t understand the content and forgot to raise their hands to ask questions. Whatever happened, it wasn’t compliance. It wasn’t even the appearance of compliance in the case of PPES.

Maybe we are an uber wealthy little resort town easily willing to pay someone incompetent a TON of cash and bennies to oversee this littlest school district in Utah and shrug it off. I hope not. I hope there is still a modicum of integrity left in this town to hand this Superintendent her walking papers. From watching our school rankings drop to the way she treats our employees to the lackluster way she handles business and lies and contradicts herself in the media and emails, it’s time to turn her in for a newer, more robust model of Superintendent.

Let’s start by NOT hiring the same people who brought us Gildea and Conley. Let’s look for someone who actually gives a crap, who’s honest, caring, and willing to work well with others.


Exactly. She’s made multiple bad choices and made it abundantly clear that she has no concern for the publics concerns.
She is not even bright enough or invested enough to pretend to give a crap about her schools, teachers, students and rectifying her horrid statements. But, let’s keep paying her 7 figures.


My family is entitled, entitled to a safe workplace and school environment. Parkrag, you nailed it in this article, thank you. The Board and the Super have been negligent in not keeping schools safe and have manipulated numbers throughout the pandemic. They are all complicit both for inaction and subverting a county health order. We deserve accountability, no one is above the law. My kids brought covid home from school and my entire family got sick, needlessly. Even having been vaccinated, we were terribly sick.

We teachers in PCSD were given a message today that we are not allowed to talk about vaccines or covid, most don’t even bother advocating for masks any more. This is immoral and unjust, what indeed are we teaching the children? Some teachers have been doing the right thing, but we have been bullied, threatened, and ostracized. We need the community to stand up and hold the Super, the Board, and SCHD accountable for their actions, for all of our sakes.

anonymous teacher

Hold on. What happened today? Who said we can’t talk about vaccines or covid? Where, which school?

PC person

PPES: Per my 1st grade kid and her friends, you cannot use the word “vaccine” in class. You have to say “personal health choices”. That’s coming from 6 year olds.

Local newshound

Which campus did this occur on?



Very concerned

What?! you need to get in touch with kpcw about this. If a teacher is on here saying they’ve been told by superiors not to talk about vaccines and you’re confirming it as a parent, that story need to be reported on


talking about medical treatments has no place in school unless it’s medical school.


You know what, totally. Let’s get rid of vision screening too! And presentations on dental hygiene. And school nurses! And audiologists and speech pathologists. Medicine has no place in education! Seriously though, vaccination is an astonishing human achievement in science. Children are people, not mere extensions of their parents. They have the right to scientific (and historical) knowledge as part of their education, even if their parents prefer ignorance. If your teachings are so flimsy that, as a parent, you are terrified of your child… actually learning things, homeschooling is always an option. Michelle Duggar or that Kennedy failson could probably give you palatable curriculum suggestions


Ophelia you should not have to work in these conditions. PCSD is a good example of what’s wrong in American education today. Bad people in power. No accountability. A taxpayer money grab for anyone who’s connected. A real scam. I’m really sorry you landed here. You deserve better. Our kids do, too.

A very concerned PPES parent

I strongly urge all of you who agree with Park Rag’s spot-on commentary about this situation, and especially those who are leaving comments here, to attend the PCSD School Board meeting tomorrow (Tues 11/16), as I will be. Open public comment period begins at 5pm. No RSVP necessary to attend the meeting. Large numbers of concerned community-members present at this meeting will speak volumes.


Positivity rate of 2% in elementary schools is not emergency. Davis district had a few schools over 5% and there is no mandate. NYC have mandate and closing some schools for in person learning. Adult vaccination rate in Park City is the highest in the Utah. There were kids crying or missing school past 2 weeks at Parley’s since they are so done with masks, but nobody talks about them. There were 2 hospitalizations for Summit County kids in age group 5-11 for last 20 months of this pandemic, none in the ICU. Everyone is working so hard taking care of our kids. If Health Department did not issue IMO not justifiable emergency order school district will not be in this crazy situation. Even Test to Stay Bill SB107 have minimum of 30 positive students for schools with less than 1500 students. Bill HB1007 lines 98-100 stating that “Nothing in this section restricts a state or local health department from acting under applicable law to contain the spread of an infectious disease”, where applicable law will be key in court. Emergency must be justified. Positivity in kids 5-11 with mild or no symptoms is not emergency. Stress kills so please take a deep breath and relax.



I get your point. I see the positives of masks and the negatives. I see the “partial” mask wearing that occurs with my own kids (and others in their classes) and wonder if it is worth it. Yet, I still ask them to wear their masks. It has worked so far. No positive Covid tests, and maybe as important, no flu. It has also likely help protect their teachers.

I have great friends who are opposed to masks. I get their view point. I have great friends who are in support of masks. I get their viewpoint.

Regardless of one’s belief in masks, a health mandate is a mandate. It’s the law. It’s not a selective choice. If we say it’s okay for the superintendent to not follow the law, are we alright if they never follow the law? What if it’s a law that you support? Are you OK if that law is not enforced?

It comes back to John Adams, in my opinion. We are a government of laws and not men (or women). He was talking about aristocracy, but it fits here too.

The super should have just followed the law.


Very nicely said.


She directed subordinates to violate the law. Then she lied and equivocated to cover her own butt at the expense of her employees and the health, safety, and stability of children in her care. End of story. Your personal feelings on masks are irrelevant.

Dose of Reality

Maybe you should look at the abundant data showing that masks do nothing to stop the spread of the virus. How is a cloth with 10-50 micron holes going to stop a virus particle that is .1 to .5 microns? If you want to help the kids, focus on their building up their immune systems by feeding them real food, teach them that most microbes are good for us. The overuse of sanitizer, antibiotics, etc is only making the bad microbes stronger.


It’s not a mask argument. It’s a legal argument. If you want the school district to ignore certain laws, that will eventually work against all of us.

Jimmy May

Dr. Jill & team got the schools open & kept them open, despite the objections of many all while keeping our kids safe.

Note the article cites the utter confusion from the County Health Department. How can Dr. Jill or PCSD be blamed for that?

Policy has been followed every step of the way.

I’m unsure what the motive behind the hysterical nonsense is, but the reality is we trust Dr. Jill & our school board.


Not getting enough attention for this comment on Nextdoor then? Policy has self evidently not been followed. If policy had been followed masks would have been on at Parleys a week earlier and half a dozen additional children could have avoided covid. Phil Bondurant has been clear that Dr Gildea was fully and repeatedly briefed on county policy and the break down happened on her watch not the health dept’s.


Policy has not in any way shape or form been followed every step of the way. If policy had been followed why did the Health Department step in? There was no question about the legality of the mask mandate to start the year. If there were a question why didn’t Gildea and the Board speak to the Health Department about their concerns prior to Nov. 1? We put our trust in the School Board and Super to put the health and safety of our children first. They did not do that, instead they lied for an entire week to the parents of PPES (I am one of those parents). There is no trust.
Second, the schools stayed open last year for a number of reasons.
1. There was a statewide mask mandate.
2. Schools were forced to follow certain mitigation techniques to keep children distanced ect.
3. “Delta Variant” did not exist which has shown to be far more contagious
4. Finally last year adults cared far more about their own health and well being. Now that most adults have a level of protection and adults can continue on with their everyday life COVID is over and the kids will be “Fine”.

The PCSD School Board, Dr. Jill Gildea and the Summit County Health Deptartment are all to blame for the mess of COVID cases in our schools. All parties need to be held responsible at this point. I say it’s time for a “reset” of all of the above. Time for a new Board, new Superintendant and a new Health Director (one who puts Health above appeasing the politicians).


Also I’d like to point out another reason schools stayed open last year. The teachers of the Park City School District! They were all rockstars and deserve a lot of credit!!


Phil Bondurant gets an F from me. He changed the case definition from a lab confirmed case in a 14 day span to a lab confirmed case in a 48 h span. Clearly, this would change the number of positive cases at school. The 14 day definition is the one that the state health department and the test to stay bill stated. Park City School District and the health department may try to duck and blame each other for the confusion, but I think they were both complicit in trying to massage the numbers.

also anonymous

Sure. Maybe so. I am watching the 48 hrs vs 14 days story with interest. In any event, even when PPES was unequivocally above 2% by any counting system, Dr. Gildea and the new principal were telling students they didn’t actually have to wear masks. Multiple people can f**k up and be held accountable at the same time.


Phil Bondurant was pretty up front about the 2 day rule in various public hearings with the city council and PCSD. I thought it was strange at the time, because from what I had read, Delta has a 5 day incubation period. However, no one pushed back on him.

It would be nice to be able to see what the general level of infection is at each school. However, I think after yesterday’s numbers, it’s clear they are on the rise.


You can access that information at your convenience on each school’s website. The dashboards update at 6pm each day. There are, of course, always going to be lags and minor inconsistencies and some cases will not be caught, so I would assume the actual rates are
slightly, but not meaningfully, higher than reported. But it’s a fine estimate and comparison tool. Summary: Parley’s and Trailside are between 2% and 3% of total people in the building actively infected and under a mask mandate, in accordance with county policy. All of the other schools are currently hovering between 1% and 2%. I predict at least two more schools will officially crest the 2% threshold by week’s end.


Summit County City Council and Health Board have already broke the law by even having an emergency order over the last few months. These poor children are being subjected to unnecessary harassment and distractions from why they are even at school. The parents being utterly disrespectful to those that are trying their best to navigate this situation need to do a bit more research into what is really happening here. Manipulation and federal funding are two key themes.

It’s time to leave the kids alone. The VAST majority are not at risk. All of these mandates are way more harmful to them, not to mention, the modeling behaviors of the adults. The hypocrisy is palatable. Apparently, Covid doesn’t show up at parties, restaurants, and other social gatherings. It only presents itself at schools between the hours of 8-3. Stop making these kids suffer! It’s not their problem.


Yeah, that wasn’t the point of the article. If you think the super can just disobey the law, sooner or later they’ll disobey a law you do support.

I personally think masks are pretty worthless for kids this age. That doesn’t mean I think we should ignore the (legal) rules made by the health department.


Saying that the district office has lost teacher trust is an understatement. It is true that everyone makes mistakes, teachers of all people know how much humans make mistakes. I would say in general, we are forgiving, but enough is enough. We need to make some changes before more of our good teachers get fed up and leave.


This is exactly why I voted against the bond. I am all for giving kids the education they need, but to put that kind of money in the hands of these incompetent people is exactly what they wanted. All Gildea does is hire more and more people at the central office that nobody know exactly what anyone does. Gildea is invisible where is she? What exactly does she do besides make other people take the fall for her? I guarantee it was not our PPES principal that made this mistake, she was just helping taking the fall for this. The school nurse who was the whistle blower had enough of having to cover up lies, she flat out quit instead of putting students health in jeopardy. Teachers will not say a word as their jobs are held over their heads. Principals are just following orders and need their jobs also. Oh yes and I will never forget the famous rock in which the public was blamed for destroying a house that we all own and upkeep.


Did anyone else feel like the PCSD board meeting left you with more questions than answers? So confusing…. You can watch it on youtube –

Ilene Sorensen

Being someone in a position she is, one has to stay clear of all lanes, and as mundane as it appears one’s life would become. They need to stay in only one clear-cut lane, their own without any provocation whatsoever!

PC Conservative

While I deplore Glidea, as I did her predecessor who went on to Mesa Az schools (only to be fired for misappropriation of funds.)
I have kids in PC schools and it floors me that while other parents across the country are fighting mask mandates…Parents in PC are fighting FOR mask mandates. Seriously.. follow the science. It saddens me that the Lovely, friendly Park City of the past has devolved into a socialist group-think tank. Let’s be real, if you can afford to live in PC.. you are part of top 5% in the US. I pray that the tide turns with getting rid of the performative activist, SJW’s like Beerman and Henney. It’s a start

A group-think-tank socialist apparently

Well, that escalated quickly


Would you be ok if the super decided we should teach CRT in 2nd grade?

The issue is following the law, not masks.


I think maybe she is tired of watching the Child Abuse of putting these muzzles on our children! Unfortunately, some of YOU Parents are perpetuating this disaster!! Children have a 99.954% chance of avoiding this FLUE in the first place! Also, What the Hell is wrong with you people that want this untested, unknown MATERIALS LIST in this JAB, injected into your most precious beings mon earth?? Don’t be fooled by these deepstate Lier’s!!


I see your very angry Troy. It is Flu not Flue and Covid is not the Flu. Not sure where you are getting your information, but what we are trying to do is keep kids safe.

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