Hillcrest Jr. High's assistant principal transitions into a new role

Helping hand • From student to teacher to administrator, Andrew Corser focuses on the underdog.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Andrew "Buck" Corser walked the halls of Hillcrest Junior High as a student. He returned there in 2004 as a teacher, and this year, he's taking a new position as assistant principal.

"I'm a product of the Murray School District," he said.

He didn't always see himself as a teacher, let alone an administrator.

"I think I wanted to play for the Yankees," he said with a laugh. "That didn't really pan out."

Although he didn't reach the world of professional sports, Corser played college football at Snow College and Rocky Mountain College in Montana. His time on the gridiron ended with a broken kneecap.

"I had to wear a cast from my hip to my ankle," he said. "It was very difficult."

His college football career ended, but Corser said the injury spun his life in a different direction.

"I had to figure out who I was and what I was about," he said.

Corser has a master's degree in assisted education from the University of Utah. He taught for eight years at Hillcrest Junior High.

"What I love about special education is I felt like I was helping those who needed the most help," he said. "I was helping the underdogs, those who couldn't read or write so well or came from families that couldn't provide for them so well."

Corser was once what could be termed as an underdog himself, having grown up under circumstances he described as "something right out of Charles Dickens."

"We were just on a very low income, very low socioeconomic status," he said.

He was raised by a single mother, who always worked hard, and he appreciates that very much.

"My mother is my biggest influence in my life," he said. "She's the one who shapes anything in my life."

He said the field of education attracted him in general because he gets to interact with kids who have bubbly personalities and dreams to realize.

"Their dreams aren't crushed yet," he said. "I like to see them grow and do well."

He worked briefly as an assistant coach on the Murray High football team, which gave him the opportunity to bond with students and motivate them.

"I wanted to help them feel like they're worth something when they have it rough," he said.

Dan DeMarco teaches seventh-grade assisted education at Hillcrest Junior High. This is his 40th year teaching; eight of those were alongside Corser.

"He was a tremendous young teacher," DeMarco said about Corser. "He was able to build a relationship with students who require special education."

DeMarco also noted how Corser is supportive of the teachers, always went the extra miles to help students and took an active part in school, not just in assisted education.

"He's a fine young man, a great father and community man," DeMarco said. "I look forward to working closely with Buck as other teachers do here."

For Corser, shifting from teaching to being an administrator affords him a chance to work with more students on a personal level.

"I wanted the challenge of helping out more kids, to be in a position of authority and making decisions that affect 700 as opposed to 30 kids in a classroom," he said.

As an assistant principal, he gets to help point and guide students in the right directions, especially when they're struggling.

"This role is cool because sometimes kids will get sent down because they did something wrong, and you tell them you've got a second chance here," he said. "You get to help these kids out and turn their days around."

Hillcrest Junior High principal Jennifer Covington said she was pleased to welcome Corser as a new administrator.

"He is very good at working with the kids," she said. "He's able to assess what their needs are and that we need to be here to educate them and remediate behaviors, not to punish them."

Covington also said Corser is somebody who can help the school grow.

"I know he's basically very sound and wants to do a good job in this position," she said. "He's the type of person who can bring new insights into some of the programs."

She admires his principles.

"He's got a strong moral compass," Covington said.


Twitter: @sltribMid