David O. McKay's Progressive Educational Ideas and Practices, 1899-1922
Journal of Mormon History
Salt Lake City, UT
Mormon History Association
David O. McKay began his teaching career in 1899 at the Weber Stake Academy. At that time commercial and Sunday School courses were offered, but in the fall of 1900 McKay added history and literature to his teaching curriculum and launched a night school program. McKay continued to expand his curriculum and eventually began teaching grammar and classics, rhetoric, English literature, Church history, training and American literature. Woodger discusses McKay's teaching methods, methods of discipline, and his relationships with students. He became principal of Weber Sake Academy in 1901 and served as the school's administrator from 1902 to 1908. His administrative strengths were extensions of his teaching strengths: organization, positive feedback, site-based management (willingness to involve the faculty in decision-making process and educational philosophy) and concern for students. In April 1908, McKay was called to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve, but continued to serve as president of Weber's Board of Trustees until November 1922 and was called as Church Commissioner of Education in 1919. When called as the prophet in 1951, he established a college at Laie, Hawaii and other schools in Western Samoa, Tonga. and New Zealand. Although McKay's professional career as an educator ended in 1922, his influence particularly within Mormonism continued throughout his long life.