Schae Richards, community editor

Derek Beer loves being an educator, and has always been passionate about learning and making a difference in students’ lives.

Mr. Beer attended college at Utah State University, where he started studying Education, then later switched his major. He earned his bachelor’s in Horticulture and started working in the industry post-graduation.

He and his wife Jill loved living in Cache Valley while going to school, and said they would move back if they ever had the chance.

After several years of working in the Horticulture industry, he decided to go back to school to get his master’s degree in Education. He worked during the day and attended school at the night until he completed his degree and received his teaching certificate.

Mr. Beer landed his first teaching job for the Davis School District. He taught sixth grade for several years and loved every minute. He later decided to take classes to become an administrator and immediately knew it was what he wanted to do.

“I knew a principal who was very influential, and he encouraged me to become an administrator,” he said.

He became the principal for an elementary school in the Davis School District. When his wife was offered a job at Mount Logan Middle School, their family moved to Cache Valley, and he commuted every day for two years. At the end of those years, he started applying for positions at the Cache County School District. He says, “It all fell into place.”

Mr. Beer is now the principal at Sunrise Elementary in Smithfield, and has loved being able to interact with the students and the community.

“The best part of my job is the relationships I get to build with the students,” he said. “There’s nothing better than seeing them grow as individuals.”

He loves that every day is different, and that he gets to spend time with the students and teachers.

“It’s a lot walking,” he laughed. “Being principal means being wherever you’re needed. Sometimes I’m helping a student, teaching a class or just being a support wherever I’m needed.”

When asked what he’s looking forward to most this school year, Mr. Beer said he is excited to get to know everyone a little bit better.

“Since I’m new this year, I want to really get to know the kids and community, and work together to find ways to improve and strengthen the school.”

Mr. Beer loves his wife and two children. His 15-year-old daughter is a student at Ridgeline High School, and his 13-year-old son attends Spring Creek Middle School.