Davis County special ed director dies after surgery

May 3 2011 - 11:26pm



BOUNTIFUL -- Dr. Steven Hill is remembered as a kind, considerate man who got to know every student he came into contact with.

Hill, director of special education for Davis School District, died Tuesday of complications following cancer surgery, according to a news release by the district and a Facebook page set up in his memory. He is survived by his wife and two daughters. Funeral services are pending.

Pat Gianchetta, a teacher's aide in the learning center at Northridge High School, knew Hill when he was appointed principal of the school in 2005.

"He was one of the best people I knew," Gianchetta said.

Gianchetta said Hill would come into the classroom and "really wanted to hear our concerns and wanted to know what we needed."

It was common for Hill to be in the school's hallways talking to students and greeting each of them by name, Gianchetta said.

"He remembered every student's name and what was going on with them," Gianchetta said.

Lorrie Barber, assistant principal at North Layton Junior High School, said Hill was a friend to all the students.

"He would remember to ask about what was important in their lives, whether it was a ballgame, a dance recital or something about their grandma. He was a kind, nurturing, caring person," Barber said.

Barber worked with Hill when she was at Northridge High School and saw the kinder side of Hill, but, she added, "He wouldn't put up with the (students') shenanigans."

Jill Stuart, a special-education teacher at North Davis Junior High School, said she met Hill only a few times in the past 18 months, but was impressed with how enthusiastic and generous he was to her and her students.

"It was amazing to me that he would actually come into the classrooms and visit with the students," Stuart said.

Stuart said Hill was supportive of the special-education teachers and did what he could to help them.

The special-education department Hill directed provides services to 7,321 students.

In an email sent to district employees Tuesday, Davis School District Superintendent Dr. W. Bryan Bowles wrote, "Steve dedicated his life to children. ... Always, his primary focus was on people and how to better serve them. He will remain a tremendous example to each of us."

Before serving at the district level, Hill served as principal of Northridge High School from 2005 to 2009.

Before his tenure at Northridge, he was an assistant principal at Bountiful High School from 2002 to 2005; served as the school district's director of student services from 1995-2002; and spent time as counselor, special-education teacher, athletic director and coach of basketball, football and track at Woods Cross High School from 1985-1995.

He began his career at Mueller Park Junior High School in 1981 and served as a teacher of U.S. history, civics and physical education. He also coached basketball, track and wrestling.

He earned a doctorate of education from California Coast University, an administrative/supervisory endorsement from Utah State University, and a school counselor certificate, master's degree in social work, and bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Utah.

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