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School Board Spotlight - Earl Ericksen

Article Date: 
17 December, 2010 - 06:00

Earl Ericksen has had an interesting and varied life full of experiences. He is an unassuming man when you first meet him, but as he begins to talk a life of novel worthy stories reveals itself.
Ericksen grew up in Manti. In school he loved athletics and music. He was too small to play basketball and so decided to play tennis. His team went on to win the state championship. This was only the beginning of many successes in sports. He also pursued his love of music during his time in high school and this interest would provide many opportunities throughout his life.
After graduation he entered the army. He served during World War II. When he was deployed he arrived and decided that what his unit needed was some entertainment. Many talented individuals were serving in the military and soon he had organized a fourteen-piece band. They had a composer as a part of their group that wrote original music. This group provided regular entertainment to the camp to which he was assigned.
His commanders soon recognized the talent in Ericksen and asked him to be responsible for the athletics and entertainment in the camp. This assignment would continue for his time in military service. His talents in music and in organization served to provide much needed diversions for those serving with him and great fulfillment to him personally.
After the war Ericksen had the opportunity to try out for Major League Baseball. He passed the try out and received an offer to play for the St Louis Cardinals. He said that the pay at that time was only minimal and if he accepted the job that it would have precluded him from participating in any college sports. He turned down the offer from the Cardinals and went to play basketball for Snow College. After two years at Snow College Ericksen went on to attend BYU where he played basketball. He graduated from BYU with a degree in physical education with a minor in music. He then went to teach in Manti. He later earned a doctorate in music from Utah State.
Ericksen met his wife, Gretta, when she was staying with his grandmother in Manti. After they were married he continued to teach PE, but the schedule of sporting events was not conducive to time with his family and so he switched his career to music.
Weber State recruited Ericksen to come and develop their music program. When he arrived the program only had twenty individuals in the band and ten in the orchestra. From this small base he built a full program that has become one of the best music programs in the state.
Ericksen and his wife have lived in Morgan for forty years. They raised their two children here. They came here because it was the right environment to raise their children. Ericksen also said that the small community feel of Morgan reminded him of his years growing up in Manti.
Ericksen ran for the school board in 1989. He has a strong desire to see the extra curricular activities in the district receive support. His experience and success in both sports and music motivated him to help students find the same joy he has in these activities. During his sixteen years, he proudly reports that he has only missed one school board meeting.
When Ericksen joined the school board there were many challenges. He describes his first four years on the board as “hectic.” After some changes in the school administration and school board he felt that things started to smooth out after the fifth year.
He reflects that one of the best decisions made by the district and the voters was the construction of Mountain Green Elementary. The addition of this school has helped the district keep up with the growth in the county.
Ericksen is proud of the board, the administrators, the teachers, and the students that together have delivered the best schools in the state. He is pleased at the construction that will take place next year of the PE facility. He sees many opportunities for students to pursue their love of a variety of activities in this new facility. It will allow for indoor soccer and many other sports. He also sees the facility as a way for the school to allow the marching band to practice in the winter.
Ericksen continues to place a priority on the arts. He reflects, however, that the state requirements are slowly pushing out these programs. He hopes that the district will continue to provide a well-rounded program including academics, sports, and the arts.
Ericksen’s many experiences in education and life have made him an asset to the board as they consider a wide variety of issues. His long tenure on the board provides a perspective that couples well with the new board members. His focus on providing a well-rounded education program supports the goals of the school board to be an advocate for the children.