District News

Layton High Employee Receives RISE Award


It’s not every day a representative from Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s office stops by to present an award. However, since only two U.S. Department of Education Recognizing Inspirational School Employees (RISE) Awards are given out per year in the state of Utah, the opportunity warranted a special visit to Layton High recently.

Layton High Facilities Coordinator Rod Southam was surprised when he walked into what he thought was a faculty meeting, but in actuality was a presentation dedicated to him. Karen Peterson, the governor’s education advisor, presented Southam with the RISE award, which honors classified school employees who exemplify excellence in work performance, leadership and community involvement.

Jason Lewis, Utah School Employees Association President and chairman of the Utah RISE committee, joined Peterson in presenting the award to Southam in front of district administrators, board members and Layton High faculty.

“Rod stood out as being a mover and a shaker at both Layton High School and his community,” Lewis said. “He brings pride to his school with his work ethic, professionalism, leadership and his overwhelming care for everyone in his building. For decades, Rod has been an influential employee with scores of instances where Rod has gone above and beyond his position.”

As an employee at Layton High for 13 years, and over 30 years working at Davis School District in the custodial department, Southam has spent countless hours helping students and staff, in addition to training numerous custodians throughout the district, said Layton High Principal Chadli Bodily.

“This is the best custodial crew I’ve ever worked with and it is all because of Rod and how he is able to manage and inspire employees and put the needs of others well above his own,” Bodily said.

To Southam, it’s all just a part of his everyday experience.

“I never expected this,” said a surprised Southam after receiving the award. “I really love my job — managing the campus, grounds and facility.”