History of Taylor Elementary

A History of Taylor School
Payson, Utah
(Excerpts from The Payson Chronicle, February 28, 1957)
Most land in the course of civilization is used for many purposes, but the ground surrounding Taylor School has been pounded by the footsteps of happy school children at play for almost a full century.

On January 15, 1866, a town meeting was held, and though many of the leading citizens objected, the people voted to tax themselves to build a one room adobe school house, 26 feet by 40 feet, in each quarter of the town. During the years 1866 to 1875, three were constructed and later, about 1894 all four were finished. They were named for school trustees: Jesse Taylor, George Curtis, Abraham Done and Ammon Nebeker.

Jesse Taylor served for 22 years as a school trustee. His son, Samuel E. Taylor, taught at Taylor School and later, while teaching at Peteetneet School, served as principal of all the schools in Payson, one of which was the old Taylor, during the years of 1902 to 1907. There has seldom been a year when at least one of Jesse Taylor’s descendants hasn not been a student at Taylor School.

The old Taylor School served continuously as a school from 1866 to 1919, when it was torn down to make way for the main part of the present Taylor School building which was erected that year. Louis Bates was the new building's principal. About the time the new school was opened, the Payson City Park was located across the street with a baseball field and grandstand. Later a city hospital was built. Now the Payson City Center is across the street.

In 1949, a new edition was built. It included the auditorium, Kindergarten and two classrooms. A dedication ceremony was held December 15, 1949, in the auditorium with Melvin Wilson, member of the Nebo School District Board of Education conducting. The prayer of dedication was given by Samuel E. Taylor.

Principals since the existing school was dedicated in 1919 have been: Louis Bates, George Wyler, Genevieve Ellsworth, Madge Reese Wardell, Helen Palfreman, Lee Master, Christa Olson Amos, Guy Johnson, Larmar Hendrickson, Wells Monk and Ralph Davis.

Principals since 1957 include, Blaine Moore, Paul Beckstrom, Roger Bushman, J. Lynn Jones, Lynette Neff, Ron Jensen, Chad Argyle, and currently Frank Daybell.


Taylor School Today

Our current Taylor School was finished in the summer of 1996. It was originally intended to be a major addition and remodeling project. During the course of field investigation, it was determined that the existing gymnasium that was to remain was highly unstable. Together, with the district officials and the structural engineer, we decided to demolish the entire existing facility. The new elementary school is a three unit school for 450 students. It consists of a multipurpose cafeteria/auditorium with a stage, a media center, classrooms, computer lab, kiva, faculty workroom and lounge. It is 46,200 square feet. Architect was Kevin Madsen, a native of Payson.

Taylor School was housed for two years at the “old” middle school across from the city park. We moved into the new building in the summer of 1996 and started school here the following August. Our school celebration and dedication was held on November 19, 1996.

Taylor has long been a school interested in educating the whole child, meaning that not only are reading, writing, and arithmetic necessary, but the arts, science, physical education, moral development and good citizenship are important as well. Because of our efforts in these areas, Taylor School has earned national honors besides considerable local and state recognition. Being recognized as a “Governor’s School of Excellence” was a highlight. What makes Taylor a great educational institution and a choice place for students are the faculty and staff, the parents, educational philosophy, and the programs set in place for the students’ learning.

During the last decade, since so many demands for innovation and productivity have been made upon America’s schools, many interesting changes have taken place. We have an SEP program, which requires the student, parents and teacher to set individual goals for the student to reach; Parent Link, which enables the home and the school to keep in close daily touch; an internet lab, a computer keyboarding lab, and computer station in every room; Internet access; and a School-wide network. We have a supportive PTA, a School Advisory Committee, and a School Improvement Plans that direct our vision for school programs.

The student body is still small enough that each student remains a personality rather than just a number. The faculty remains small enough that they are very well acquainted with each other and with the students. We have abundant opportunity to discuss situations, plan together, and assist with each others’ needs. Each faculty member has been carefully selected because of their great love for children, their education background and training, and their dedication not only to teach well, but to become master teachers. They strive to be an exemplary educators. Taylor School is certainly made up of its history, its present and its future.