Morgan is mourning the passing of one of their own—one who was tirelessly committed to educating young students—after his burial in the Morgan City Cemetery Dec. 10.
Jay Bryant Taggart was known as a superintendent, LDS stake president, school board member and pillar of the community in Morgan County. Over the years since 1975, Taggart lived in Morgan for about 24 total years.
Taggart moved to Morgan on Esquire Avenue with his wife, Nadine, in 1975, when he was hired as the Morgan County School District superintendent, a position he held until 1982. He served as stake president of the Morgan LDS Stake from 1981 to 1983, when he moved to Washington Terrace.
He moved back to Morgan, this time on Scott circle, in 1990 and stayed for three years. He returned again to Morgan in 1997, residing in the Riverside condos and later at the Family Tree Assisted Living Center until 2012. After retiring, he served on the Morgan County School Board from 2005 until 2009, serving as president of that board from 2007 to 2008.
“Mom and Dad both loved the people in Morgan the most,” said Taggart’s daughter, Bonnie Kennington. “That’s what kept them going back. It was always home to them.”
He had deep family roots in the place he called home. Taggart’s grandparents James Henry Taggart and Adelgunda Heiner Taggart raised their children in Morgan—including his father, Cordon Jay Taggart—before moving to Ogden.
Taggart’s influence spread to other school districts and even the state.
In 2007, the American Association of School Administrators recognized Taggart for his service, awarding him the AASA’s distinguished service award at their annual convention.
His education experience began more than 60 years ago when Taggart taught in the Weber School District. His resume includes teaching subjects such as math, social studies and history at Horace Mann Elementary and Weber High School, as well as Bonneville High School principal in the 1960s. He later became an administrator in the Weber School District, eventually serving as assistant superintendent for five years.
After seven years serving as Morgan’s superintendent, Taggart transferred back to the Weber School District to serve as superintendent there from about 1983 to 1991.
Administrative experience in the two districts lead to a stint as the Utah State Superintendent of Public Instruction from 1990 to 1992, and then the education deputy for Governor Mike Leavitt from 1992 to 1993. He has also served on the state board of regents.
Taggart stayed active in his community and religion, serving not only as an LDS stake president in Morgan, but in Washington Terrace as well.
In 1992, Taggart was inducted into the Utah Education Hall of Fame. Weber State University and Southern Utah University awarded Taggart with honorary doctorate degrees. A member of Utah State University Education Hall of Fame, Taggart was also selected Utah’s superintendent of the year.
Taggart was born in 1928 in Ogden, Utah. He graduated from Pocatello High School in 1946 and later the University of Utah with a B.S in social studies; Northwestern University with a M.A. in humanities; and Utah State University with an M.S. in school administration.
He served in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper in Sendai, Japan, and an LDS mission in France from 1949 to 1951. He married Nadine Carver on June 11, 1952, in the Logan LDS Temple and together they raised nine children: Bryce (Donnell) Taggart, Mark (Michelle) Taggart, Jan (Alan) Stevenson, Diana (Mike) Mangum, Bonnie (Robert) Kennington, Jim Taggart, Scott (Angie) Taggart and Blaine (Nicole) Taggart
Nadine passed away in January of 2004. He married Annette Cook in 2012.